Andrew’s Most Disappointing Films of 2013

With the film year coming to a close, and everyone finalizing their top ten lists, it seems like as good a time as any to not only talk about what we enjoyed this year, but what we didn’t. There were a lot of great films this year that caught my attention, and more than a few that I felt could have been great, but inevitably let me down. That is what this list is for. The movies I made people see on opening night because they looked promising, only to find out I was wasting everyone’s time. I think it’s important to note that these are in no way the worst films of the year, but the ones I had high hopes for that never really panned out.

5. Ender’s Game

 

To be fair I didn’t expect this movie to blow me away, but I had some hopes.  I really liked the book, and while I was wary after seeing the trailer, I thought they might be able to pull it off.  However, it didn’t really turn out, and I found Ender’s Game to be extremely generic with a quite poor sense of pacing.

4. Oz the Great and the Powerful

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This one kind of just bummed me out. It was a movie that didn’t come together at all, it felt disjointed and awkward, it tried to do too much and kind of accomplished none of it.  I am a huge fan of director Sam Raimi, and felt like he tried to save it, but between the bad writing and plotting, it kind of couldn’t be saved.

3. Only God Forgives

 

So, this is kind of a weird one for me because I actually was very excited for this movie, and liked it quite a bit. That being said, It is a terrible movie. It was bizarre, almost laughable at points, and makes next to no sense as a cohesive story. But hey, it looked kinda cool.

2. Kick-ass 2

 

I was surprised by the first Kick-ass movie, as it actually turned out to be a smart play on the super hero genre and an immensely enjoyable film. When I heard they changed directors for the second one, I still held on the the hope that they could once again capture lightning in a bottle. And boy was I wrong. This movie played out like a bizarre cross between the original film and Mean Girls, and all the clever bits from the first film were replaced with cheap bathroom humor, culminating in what might have been the worst scene of the year, where characters where actually vomiting and shitting themselves on screen.

1. Gravity

 

As for my radical opinion of the year, here it is. I sort of hated this movie. Alfonso Cuaron is easily one of my favorite directors, and this was by farm my most anticipated film of the year. Man, was it a let down. I expected something really special out of this, and instead felt like the plot was predictable, the characters were flat and I had trouble relating to them or caring about them at all. It was just one miraculous event after another as the characters narrowly avoid death, to the point where there’s no real danger of things actually killing the protagonist.

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The 5 Worst Films of 2012 (In No Particular Order)

At a certain point, I draw the line. While it is true that many films slink off quietly to die in the grey swamps of mediocrity, and every now and then a truly exceptional specimen will break the surface of stagnation like a glittering marlin, it is also true that a special recognition must be given to those films which are so bad, so gut wrenchingly beyond redemption, that they must be made an example of. Today, we’ll take a look at the absolute nadir of the 2012 cinematic experience. For a variety of reasons, the following films have distinguished themselves as the lowest of the low and represent the creative swill of Hollywood from which I desperately, though not necessarily successfully, search for an escape.

Note: In what is likely a futile attempt to preserve my tissue-thin veneer of pseudo-professionalism, I will only include films that I have actually seen this year.

Snow White and the Huntsman

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Director Rupert Sander’s fairy tale adaptation misses the mark with its uneven pacing, exceptionally lackluster acting, and uninspired writing. Not even a year has passed and I can’t remember a single thing about it besides Kristen Stewart’s scowling face mirroring my own expression of bored exasperation. My question is why this movie needed to exist at all with director Tarsem Singh’s Mirror Mirror already saturating the market with yet another aggressively mediocre Snow White adaptation in 2012.

That’s My Boy

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I have a historically low tolerance for bad comedies. My philosophy is if you’re going to sacrifice depth, plot, and characterization for jokes, I’d better be howling with laughter by the end. Not only is this film blatantly unfunny, it seems to completely misunderstand it’s target audience. Case in point: Right alongside the copious masturbation jokes that would probably cater more to the sensibilities of an 8th grader is a plot-critical appearance by Vanilla Ice of all people, who had a few hits in the early 1990’s (before the ‘supposed’ target audience was even born) before promptly and perhaps mercifully dropping off the face of the Earth. I will never be able to reclaim the two hours of my life that I wasted watching this movie.

Project X

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Why? Why? WHY does this movie exist? Who though it would be a fun or interesting experience to watch a couple of teens metaphorically masturbate for an hour and a half? Crude, dull attempts at humor and an eminently uninspired plot (the climax of which could be seen coming from a mile a way) not to mention an arbitrary and ultimately useless romantic subplot culminate in a pristine example of how not to do a found footage movie.

The Tall Man

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I cannot, for the life of me, remember why I watched this movie to the end. With plot holes the size of moon craters, some truly, truly horrible acting and teaspoon shallow characterization, this film is an embarrassment to the horror genre, and that’s saying something. Attempting, no doubt, to capitalize on the Slender-man craze of 2012, The Tall Man is a shamelessly thrown together piece of trash that literally left me shaking with rage – and not in the good way.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

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If a documentary were to be made about how not to execute a book-to-movie adaptation, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is the prime subject. I believe I tore this film apart when it first came out for being one of the biggest disappointments of the year. God awful CGI, schizophrenic direction, lackluster acting and a vigorous and whole hearted omission of everything that made the book worth reading earns this sorry and frankly upsetting excuse for a film its rightful place on this list.

Albert’s Top 5 Picks for Halloween

5. Insidious

Insidious is one of those rare films that understood the concept that the less you see of a monster, the scarier it is. A few brilliant shots and an unceasing atmosphere of doom (not to mention some creepy as hell stop-motion)  are all one needs to create a chilling and supremely effective ghost story. I also enjoyed the Lovecraftian astral projection angle; a bit of a deus ex machina, but a well executed one nonetheless.

Memorable quote:

Elise: Dalton? Why aren’t you…why aren’t you talking anymore? Dalton?

Dalton: If they hear me, they’ll hurt me.

Elise: Who will hurt you? Who will hurt you, Dalton?

Dalton: The man…with…fire…on his face.

4. The Silence of the Lambs

Though not a horror movie per se, this one makes the list, not because of the gore or violence, but because of the sheer amount of gut-wrenching tension that silver screen god-king Anthony Hopkins can cram into a single, chilling conversation. I’ve never seen a better anti-hero than Hopkins’ portrayal of Hannibal ‘the cannibal’ Lector, nor do I ever expect to.

Memorable quote:

Hannibal Lector : A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti.

3. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Because of this film, the hellish buzz of a whirring chainsaw has forever ingrained itself the the minds of Americans as a sign of sheer terror. There are so many elements of horror in this film, including captivity, a terrifying masked thing, and a truly brutal way to die.

Memorable quote:

Old Man: “I just can’t take no pleasure in killing. There’s just some things you gotta do. Don’t mean you have to like it.”

2. The Mist

Some hated The Mist. I loved the Mist because it capture the sense of being absolutely trapped with no escape and with enemies on every side as if to suggest that when people are thrust unwillingly into impossible situations, they’ll eat each other alive. The ending was one of the greatest tragedies and the blackest of pitch black ironies I’ve ever seen.

Memorable quote:

Amanda: You don’t have much faith in humanity, do you?

David: None, whatsoever.

Amanda: I can’t accept that. People are basically good; decent. My god, David, we’re a civilized society.

David: Sure, as long as the machines are working and you can dial 911. But you take those things away, you throw people in the dark, you scare the shit out of them – no more rules.

1. REC

This Spanish horror flick mixes the best of the unknown, conspiracy, deadly contagion, and gruesome visuals. As the virus spreads, the remaining protagonists seal themselves off into smaller and smaller sections of the complex, essentially baiting their own trap. All the while, the audience roots for someone…anyone…to make it out alive.

Memorable quote:

Angela: There are incredible security measures in place. We know nothing. They haven’t told us a thing. We saw special forces, health inspectors wearing suits and masks, and it’s not very comforting.

 

 

*Honorable mention: Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence

Vile. Just sick, in the most intense form of the word. Everything, from the main character to the locations to the relationships, is designed to be repulsive. I usually have a strong stomach for gore, but this meta and admittedly unique piece of cinema is by far the filthiest, nastiest, and most cringe-inducing film I’ve ever seen. I’m still trying to process it all, and trying to decide if it’s tripe or a triumph.