My Worst, Disappointing, Least-Like Movies of the Year

It’s the end of the year boys and girls, you know what that means? It’s list time!

I’ll put up my list of “Best/Favorite” movies of the year later, but with all those best and favorite movies I have, I had to sit through some stinkers. Some of these I knew weren’t going to be any good walking in, but I ended up taking the hit anyway. The list ranges all over the place, so don’t think I’m attacking certain movies because it’s easy. I walk into every movie with a clear mind and soaking up the movie for what it’s worth. Good or bad.

The list will have the movies in alphabetical order, just to be fair, and because I really don’t want to go through the trouble anymore of picking a number one because they weren’t good enough to make it on my other list. Like all lists, this is my opinion! So if you don’t agree that’s perfectly fine, and probably justified. Finally, there are other movies that could have gone on the list, but these are the ones that truly stuck out. Alright, let’s get this over with.

 

Dishonorable Mentions

Blackhat (Universal Pictures/Legendary Pictures/Forward Pass)

Hitman: Agent 47 (20th Century Fox/TSG Entertainment/Infinite Frameworks Studios/Fox International Productions)

Hot Tube Time Machine 2 (Paramount Pictures/MGM)

Taken 3 (20th Century Fox/EuropaCorp/Canal+/TSG Entertainment/M6 Films/Cine+)

The Transporter Refueled (EuropaCorp/Fundamental Films/TF1 Films Productions/Belga Films/Canal+)

 

 

Disappointments/Least-Liked/Worst Movies of the Year

Aloha (Sony Pictures/Fox/Columbia Pictures/Vinyl Films)

Cameron Crowe’s latest film was hit with criticism with “white-washing” and keeping the film from critics to review just a couple days before release (not the only film on this list that did that). However, watching the film you can see why they kept it away from critics. Aloha had a great cast of Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams, John Krasinski, and Bill Murray. Sadly, they couldn’t save this. The film tries to have high stakes, but only when it wants to, and it even felt ridiculous at times. Overall, the film was very uneven that at times made the film boring.

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Fantastic Four (Fox/Marvel Entertainment/Marv Films/TSG Entertainment)

This one definitely goes into the disappointing and worst section. 20th Century Fox can’t nail down “Marvel’s First Family,” and it is strike three for them. Of course, it didn’t help that there was so much behind-the-scenes drama between the studio and director Josh Trank, and the troubling reshoots and scenes in the trailer that are nowhere in the film. Despite all that, like I said in my review: The fans lose in this, not Fox or Trank, us because we want to see a good Fantastic Four movie and what we got crap. Started out good, but crap nonetheless.

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Jupiter Ascending (Warner Bros./Village Roadshow Pictures/Dune Entertainment)

I really wanted to like this movie more than I did. There are some great scenes in there, but the film felt way too big for its own good. The Wachowskis seemed like they were doing a lot of world building, but it all felt too condense and rushed with nothing having time to breathe. Dare I say, it probably would have worked better as a mini-series instead of a movie, but that’s just my opinion. The first sign was indeed the release date switch, when they pushed back the release date by a year.

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Maggie (Liongates/Roadside Attractions/Grindstone Entertainment Group/Gold Star Films/Lotus Entertainment/Silver Reel/Gold Star Films/Matt Baer Films)

I wasn’t expecting too much of Maggie, but I walked in open-minded (as always) to watch a different take of the zombie genre. Arnold Schwarzenegger as a father dealing with his daughter, played by Abigail Breslin, being infected with virus that is turning people into zombies was interesting to see. However, Maggie’s slow burn didn’t really do the film any favors as the film felt too slow at times and when something powerful happened it took me a while to actually register it because I had to catch up at times. One thing that made me put the film on the list was the ending. The ending looked like it was going to go down a very powerful route, but instead went out in a whimper, and didn’t take the risk that that film could have really made and where they were potentially hinting at. I will say that Arnold as a father figure was great to see.

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Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension (Paramount Pictures/Blumhouse Productions)

I was a fan and defender of the Paranormal Activity films up until the third installment, and I enjoyed most of the spinoff The Marked Ones, but the series showed signs of losing it during the fourth installment. It seemed like the series just didn’t care anymore, and while it tried to add new things to the series, it just never kicked off the way they probably thought it would. As for The Ghost Dimension, the last of the series, it just didn’t do it for me. The supposed answers we were promised were rushed and lackluster, and the ending was just weak and not a good end to the series at all. The movie felt like just another installment that was setting up the real final installment. Another case of a good series losing it momentum by the end, and overstaying its welcome.

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Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 (Sony Pictures/Columbia Pictures/Happy Madison Productions)

I didn’t walk in really expecting much from this. I’ll admit, I enjoyed the first Paul Blart: Mall Cop. It had its funny and goofy moments, but it knew what it was and didn’t take itself too seriously. Unfortunately, the sequel did take itself a little bit too seriously for its own good. The jokes fell flat the majority of the time, and to be honest it just wasn’t that good. All the charm and goofiness the first film had was stripped away and replaced with unnecessary fat jokes and lame/awful jokes.

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Point Break (Warner Bros./Alcon Entertainment/DMG Entertainment/Studio Babelsberg)

Despite my slight optimism for remakes in general, Point Break was a shallow and pointless remake that didn’t do much for me – and probably anyone – and while it had it’s very short and brief moments and a great performance with Edgar Ramirez, Point Break failed on all spectrum’s.

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Seventh Son (Universal Pictures/Legendary Pictures)

Seventh Son felt a bit messy. The movie isn’t horrible, but the movie sometimes feels like you’re already familiar with some aspects of the world and it’s a little off-putting at times. One scene in particular threw me off only because they made the scene feel like it was really important, but emotionally it didn’t come out that way because there was no real investment in character involved.

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Terminator Genisys (Paramount Pictures/Skydance Productions)

Terminator Genisys had some potential, Arnold Schwarzenegger came back, after some fans wanted him back, Alan Taylor was directing, and the film was going to add some new things to the timeline that we all know. Then that second trailer came out. You know, the one that gave away what could have been the biggest twist in the series and potentially a great moment to watch onscreen for the first time. Yeah, that one. Knowing that going in really hurt the movie, and despite their being another layer to the twist, it still wasn’t enough to forgive them for spoiling that big plot point in the trailers, TV spots, and posters.

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The Gallows (Warner Bros./New Line Cinema/Blumhouse Productions/Management 360/Tremendum Pictures)

Another addition to the Found Footage horror subgenre was The Gallows, and like some of the films before it: it wasn’t good. Despite some cool and eerie shots in the movie, one of the characters – mainly holding the camera – was annoying to the point that it took me out of the movie. I can handle annoying characters, but holy hell did he reach a whole new level. Moreover, the motivation and reveal of why the events happen ended up making no sense whatsoever and seemed like a last minute thing. The Gallows may be the worst Found Footage movie I’ve seen.

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The Green Inferno (BH Tilt/High Top Releasing/Worldview Entertainment/Dragonfly Entertainment/Sobras International Pictures)

I’m not the biggest Eli Roth fan, but I’ve slightly enjoyed some of his movies in the past, but The Green Inferno was rough to watch, and not in the way it was supposed to be rough to watch. None of the characters were really all that likeable, with the expectation of maybe two, and even the slow burn and waiting for everything to go to hell isn’t worth the wait. Some of the gore is good – that’s what the film is really about anyway – but overall this wasn’t good at all. This is definitely one of the worst films of the year.

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The Lazarus Effect (Lionsgate/Blumhouse Productions/Relativity Studios)

This one had a ton of potential and even had the cast lead by Olivia Wilde and Mark Duplass to back it up. Unfortunately, the potential of the film disappeared once the film became a supernatural slasher-esque film in the last act. The Lazarus Effect had a great premise behind it, but the execution of it lacked power and left the film underwhelming to watch.

lazarus_effect

Tomorrowland (Walt Disney Pictures/A113)

This one hurt. I was actually conflicted to put Tomorrowland on this list and not put it as an “Honorable Mention” on my “Favorite/Best” movies of the year. However, that wouldn’t be extremely fair to the other movies. Tomorrowland had ton of potential, had a great team behind the camera and in front of the camera, but ultimately it was the lack of execution and beating over the head theme (which I loved, but sill) that made this probably one of the biggest disappointments, if not the biggest, of the year.

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So, what were your biggest disappointments, worst, or least-liked films of the year?

‘The Gallows’ Review

gallows

Dir: Travis Cluff & Chris Lofing

Writer(s): Travis Cluff & Chris Lofing

Cast: Reese Mishier, Pfeifer Brown, Ryan Shoos, and Cassidy Gifford

Synopsis: 20 years after a horrific accident during a small town school play, students at the school resurrect the failed show in a misguided attempt to honor the anniversary of the tragedy – but soon discover that some things are better left alone.

 

 

*Reviewer Note:  This will be a spoiler free review.*

 

I’ve mentioned it before, but I don’t feel comfortable reviewing horror movies. Not because I don’t like them, because I do, but because half of the fun of watching a horror movie is experience it and no matter what people tell you – myself included – that experience does need to be experienced and not told. Moreover, it’s harder to review a movie that you also didn’t like entirely. If I don’t review a movie on here it is for a few reasons. One, I feel like it needs to be experienced. Two, I don’t have time or Three, I don’t like. However, since I’ve skipped a few reviews on movie I’ve seen and never really posted a review to a movie I didn’t really enjoy, here’s my review of The Gallows. Don’t worry, it’s not going to be a complete bash.

 

The Gallows is shot in the found footage style so the movie opens up in an old video tape playing from 1993. The recording is from the high school play, “The Gallows” which ends in the accidental death of lead Charlie (Jesse Cross), as he’s being hanged in front of an audience and what we assume is his family. We jump forward to 2013, and the current students at the school somehow managed to convince the school board to revive the play in honor of Charlie.

 

We are introduced to our main characters from here. Reese (Reese Mishier), a former football player who is the lead in the show in the part that killed Charlie. Pfeifer, the leading lady of the play and the “theater girl”; Reese’s friend Ryan, who is a “joker” and the movies camera guy at the beginning of the movie, and Cassidy, Ryan’s cheerleader girlfriend. Reese is having a hard time getting into character and delivering his lines so Ryan gets the idea to ruin the set for the play the night before the play is set to, each means going in the middle of the night. Reese is reluctant, but eventually agrees and Cassidy tags along. While there they experience weird banging and then find Pfeifer. Of course, everything goes to hell.

 

It very clear from the drama club involved and some of the parents that Ryan “interviews” early in the movie that Charlie’s death has become something of an urban legend – the movie says it’s based in Nebraska – in terms of the school having weird things happen like; locked doors, weird noises, lights going on-and-off, etc. That already sets us up for what’s to come.

 

Thankfully, The Gallows is only 81 minutes long, because the movie doesn’t have a lot to offer. The movie is like your run-of-the-mill found footage movie. It follows the same beats and fake-out moments that we’ve seen in other movies with the same concept, but doesn’t do anything to make it their own. It does nothing to reinvigorate the subgenre and even with its “different” approach in terms of cameras, which could have been a good way to try some awesome stuff, all it does is make the process of watching the movie harder with overused aspects.

 

What made the movie harder to watch is the cast. The filmmakers probably tried to add something to them by making them use their real first names, but their delivering in lines is just bad. They clearly feel scripted and at some points the characters and the actors playing them feel wooden. The only expectation really is Pfeifer, who is by the default the best actor in the movie. Even worse than that, the characters are unlikable – especially Ryan. He doesn’t come off as funny or cool, he actually comes off as a dick and bad friend. Reese is conflicted, but you can tell with a scene at his house why he’s supposed to be distance, but that’s an excuse. Cassidy is just kind of there.

 

I will give The Gallows some credit. There are a few, and I do mean a few, cool and eerily shots that I really liked and worked well with the environment. One scene in particular worked really well with the lighting and the sudden visual that you know is coming, but when it happens it surprisingly works.

 

The execution of story, if that’s what you want to call it, is frustrating. Some of the setup never pays off, maybe to the fast pace and short runtime, but none of things that are supposed to be surprising work because of the weak story and the fact that it is so contained within itself and the characters. The Gallows has very brief moments of what could lead to great storytelling or even a cool moment, but then it takes it away and goes back to the genre’s tropes which make you angry because you want to see how that could be done.

 

My main problem with the found footage subgenre is that, most of them, are the same. Without getting too much into, The Gallows has what we’ve seen in other films before it. And if you’ve seen enough found footage movies, you’ll know what I’m talking about. You even forget about it, because it reminds us at the beginning and, of course, with the constant recording. But, the worse part is the rushed endings, which The Gallows suffers from.

 

All in all, The Gallows doesn’t bring anything new to the found footage subgenre. The few good visuals are far-and-between in what is a easily going to be a forgotten movie by the end of the month.

 

The Gallows

2 out of 5

July Movie Releases

Hello!

 

It’s July everybody! The Summer Movie Season is almost over, but it’s not going down without a fight. July has some great movies coming out, especially some anticipated movies for some. So let’s get to it.

 

1st

Terminator Genisys

I, like many out there, am a huge Terminator fan. Many have been critical of the series since Terminator 3, some of that criticism is justified, so when this movie was announced, some were off-putted, while some were looking forward to what they were going to do. Genisys looks to have changed the timeline of the well-known franchise with some twists. Sarah Connor is well-aware of Kyle Reese beforehand and saves him from a T-1000. She also has Arnold’s T-800 protecting her, but the big difference is the what the trailers have spoiled: John Connor is a terminator. It’s a rather odd – and stupid – move for a studio to give away a big twist like that, so my only hope (and some others) is that they studio has some more twists that they are hiding.

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3rd

Magic Mike XXL

Ladies! The sequel to Magic Mike is here for all your enjoyment. Guys, suck it up.

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10th

The Gallows

A new horror movie that has had some success on the festival circuit will haunt theaters finally. The movie takes places 20 years after an accident during a small town school play. Some students try to set the play back up-and-running during the anniversary, but of course things don’t go according to plan. The movie has gotten some more online traction thanks to the viral campaign of the “Charlie Charlie” game. The movie looks to have an atmospheric horror to it, which could hopefully set it apart from other horror movies.

 

Self/Less

Ryan Reynolds and Sir Ben Kingsley star in this sci-fi thriller about a dying rich man (Kingsley) who sees his chance to live “forever” as he transfers his consciences to a younger body (Reynolds). While he enjoys his younger body, something goes wrong and starts to see memories of his body’s former life and starts to look for answers. The film looks pretty interesting and I’m interested to see how they approach the material. The film also stars Matthew Goode,

 

Minions

A spinoff/prequel of the Despicable Me movies follows the loveable yellow minions before they meet Gru. The movie takes place during the late 60s and the minions are under the wing of Scarlett Overkill (voiced by Sandra Bullock), who is trying to take over the world. The minions were some – if not – they favorite thing about the Despicable Me movies, so fans will mostly likely pour into theater for this one.  

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17th

The Stanford Prison Experiment (Limited Release)

Based on an actual event that happened (look it up, pretty interesting stuff). The movie looks to follows the same events in where it takes twenty four male students and out of seventy-five that were randomly assigned to play the parts of prison guards and prisoners in a mock prison building experiment. The film stars Olivia Thirlby, Ezra Miller, Thomas Mann, Billy Crudup, Keir Gilchrist, Moises Arias, Callan McAuliffe, Ki Hong Lee, Michael Anagarno and Ty Sheridan.

 

Mr. Holmes (Limited Release)

Ian McKellen plays an aged and retired Sherlock Holmes who looks back at his life and grapples with an unsolved case, while leaving out in the country. Some early reviews say the film is very good and the performances are standout, especially by Sir Ian McKellen himself.

 

Trainwreck

Amy Schumer plays a writer for a big time magazine that has to do a story on a big time doctor, played by Bill Hader. Hader’s character starts to fall for Schumer’s character, the problem is that she doesn’t believe in monogamy and starts to have mixed feelings about dating him. The movie is directed by Judd Apatow from a script by Schumer herself.

 

Ant-Man

Marvel releases their next film in their Marvel Cinematic Universe, which isn’t without its own missteps. Edgar Wright was attached since its inception back in early 2007 when Iron Man was first announced and ready for release, but after many years Wright dropped out before the film was ready to shoot. The film has gone through some script changes, but Marvel and new director …. Have promised that the movie is still good and fans will be happy. I’m looking forward to it especially after the last trailer which showed it’s great mix of action, drama, and humor in the only way Marvel can.

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24th

The Vatican Tapes (Limited Release)

A horror movie that sees a priest and two Vatican exorcists doing battle with an ancient satanic force to save the soul of a young woman. I know what you’re probably asking, what’s so different from the other exorcists movies? Well one advantage is the cast. The film stars Djimon Hounsou, Michael Pena, Dougray Scott, Kathleen Robertson and Olivia Taylor Dudley.

 

Pixels

Based on the short that the movie takes its inspiration from, Pixels has the Earth attacked by aliens using 80s video games and the only way to save the world is video gamers that are masters of those video games. The film stars Kevin James as the President with Adam Sandler, Josh Gad and Peter Dinklage playing his old friends and other video gamers set to save the world. The cast, with the expectation of Dinklage and Gad, had me worried (I’m looking at you Sandler!), but the last trailer I saw actually made it look like fun, and it could be at least enjoyable. Hopefully.

 

Paper Towns

John Green adaptation are now the “it” thing in Hollywood. The Fault in Our Stars was a smash hit and now Paper Towns may be on the verge of that success as well. Green’s other’s books are also getting adapted with Looking for Alaska looking like the next one coming. But, Paper Towns should hold over fans until then.

 

Southpaw

Jake Gyllenhaal is getting down and gritty – and freaking ripped – for this boxing drama. Seriously, look up pictures of him for this, he is jacked! Anyway, the movie looks like a great redemption and boxing family drama. Gyllenhaal has given a great string of performances lately and it looks like it’s going to continue with this. The film also stars Rachel McAdams, Naomie Harris, 50 Cent, and Forest Whitaker.

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29th

Vacation

A sequel/sort of reboot to National Lampoon’s Vacation that sees the youngest Rusty, played by Ed Helms, taking his family(Christina Applegate, Skyler Gisondo, and Steele Stebbins) to Wally World and ending up in his misadventure with his family. The film also stars Leslie Mann, Keegan-Michael Key, Charlie Day and Chris Hemsworth. It also brings back original stars Beverly D’Angelo and Chevy Chase as Rusty’s parents.

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31st

A LEGO Brickumentary (Limited Release)

Simple stuff: A documentary on the legacy of LEGOs.

 

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

The series has always found a way to improve and even reinvented itself. It shows no stopping at that with Rogue Nation. I’ve always been a fan, so I’m looking forward to what they do here and with its great casting, I’m sure we are in for a fun ride.

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What are you looking forward to?