In a Nutshell – The worst films of 2015

You cannot escape them – some movies leave a scar on your mind. Here’s the 10 worst cinematic experiences of 2015.

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Time has come to review the entire year and pick up the worst cinematic experiences. Even though there was a lot of solid films in 2015, I was quite surprised how many titles could possibly fit the 10 worst films list. So, here we go – the worst garbage, most dissapointing and the least memorable pieces from 2015!

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  1. Ant Man

I have intentionally opened this list with Marvel’s almost-blockbuster Ant-Man. Even the most ardent fans of Avengers should be honest about this one – the very idea of this film was incredibly ridiculous.

Although I admit it was a very light film, with a bit of humor, no sane person could change the way I perceive a guy, whose nickname is Ant-Man. Paul Rudd had some fun, Michael Douglas should have said “no” before he looked into the script, but the only actor truly worth remembering was Michael Pena. Nonetheless, Ant-Man was still awfully campy at moments, sometimes a bit boring and included just-another-no-name-villain as protagonist’s nemesis. Anyone remembers this bald guy’s name in the film? Just as I expected.

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  1. It Follows

Sometimes people wish to see light even in the most overwhelming darkness – that’s how I relate to this cult around Mitchell’s It Follows. I agree that the film is based on a very original idea, consists of a modern, stylistic soundtrack, nicely delivered cinematography, but… the rest is A MESS. Maika Monroe ruins the whole movie with her demolishingly cringy acting, the script is just laughable (mainly in the second part of the film) and it is not even remotely scary.  I get it, the point of the film is that the scare comes from the mysterious “follower”, who remains quite undefined, but let’s be honest – if you are scared by naked, elderly people standing on a roof then it’s about time to stop watching horrors. Or at least watch The Exorcist and then say that a flick is scary as hell.

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  1. Spring

Some praised this indie mixture of horror and romance as something fresh and uniquely engaging. The film told a story of an American, who simply said “**** this ****” one day and travelled to Europe, seeking for a better life. Unfortunately, as far as I’m concerned, Spring was a lackluster attempt to squeeze too much out of a dry fruit. Lou Taylor Pucci’s acting skills are a pain in the *** and the only true reason I finished Spring was Nadia Hilker (mainly her good looks of course). The plot twist, which made some viewers love the film for, was also highly predictable. Why on Earth we need to watch beautiful women turned into werewolves, vampires and all that weird, unattractive stuff? They really look better without any slimy or furry stuff on their bodies…

Check out my review of Spring.

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  1. Seventh Son

The peak of popularity for fantasy films was reached once The Lord of The Rings was storming the cinemas. Right now, there is a lack of good flicks in this genre. And Seventh Son was no sort of help to change it.

More than being just a mediocre fantasy film, Seventh Son’s cast was almost a guarantee of success. Internationally acclaimed actress Julianne Moore as a bloodthirsty witch and Jeff Bridges (no comments needed) should have constituted a hypnotizing duo. What’s more, there was a solid back up from supporting roles – Olivia Newman, Djimon Hounsou and this year’s star Alicia Vikander. It looked more than solid, but Sergei Bodrov managed to create a terribly boring film nonetheless. And even if you added Al Pacino, Marlon Brando and Meryl Streep to the cast, nothing would change. Not one bit. So, my dear UMP followers, don’t waste your time on this film.

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  1. Heaven Knows What

This one might be surprising – at least for those, who follow the latest news on the various prizes and awards. Heaven Knows What gained some vast recognition and received multiple awards (…), but it only proves that the modern cinema is frankly dying. The film follows three drug-addicts and their day-to-day activities, which are faltering, shouting and taking drugs. I must agree that it is a very realistic sketch, but a chaotic and a dull one. And as I have written in my review earlier this year, even hardbass included in the soundtrack did not help to make it better. That HAS to mean something.

Check my review of Heaven Knows What.

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  1. Avengers Grimm

Channel Sy-Fy is a gold mine of campy stuff nowadays, but they have strong back up from the production studio Asylum, which aims at remaking all the currently popular blockbusters – the so called mockbusters. Since this year Marvel has risen up with Avengers: Age of Ultron, Asylum had to strike back with… Avengers Grimm. But don’t expect Thor to fall from the sky – this film’s heroes are, among others: Cinderella, The Wolfman and Snow White (?!). So, the title suggests a rip-off of Marvel, the plot manages to include more classic characters, whilst the production budget was lower than insubstantial – I hope you understand this HAD to be included in this particular list.

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  1. Green Inferno

Well, that was definitely Eli Roth’s year. It cemented his position as one of the most terrible filmmakers of our times. Green Inferno was advertised as a gruesome, spine-chilling experience and the director’s bow before classy gore Cannibal Holocaust. The outcome was something entirely reversed. The gore scenes were campy, no-name actors did their best to become Roth’s cannon fodder and immensely big Amazon jungle was reduced to several, claustrophobic locations. Oh boy, Green Inferno is a mess.

P.S. I admire Lorenza Izzo for supporting her husband to such an extent. I really do.

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  1. Cowboys vs. Dinosaurs

The title says it all – imagine a film where Brokeback Mountain meets Godzilla or Jurassic Park. And add some random dialogues, terrible acting and special effects produced in Windows Movie Maker. Do I really need to tell you more about this utterly bad thing?

P.S. How do they finance these movies? I want to direct one as well…

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  1. Love 3D

Gaspar Noe’s most recent film is an ultimate failure of the French director. His bold attempt to cross the barriers and discuss the essence of love via sex exploitation could be a provocative, intelligent film. Well, could is the key word. Instead, Love 3D paralyzed me with how pathetic it was. The script, which – as the rumor has it – was about 7 pages in total, was a story of a love triangle of three dauntingly bleak characters. The dialogues were painful for any self-respecting viewer (those discussions about titular love written by middle-school teenager…) and the sole essence of the film – sex scenes – where more disgusting than appealing. Mr. Noe should really switch to porn industry…

Check my review of Love 3D.

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  1. Knock Knock

I believe it’s good that this particular film by Eli Roth did not gain enough recognition to be viewed in cinemas. Some of you might have been lucky enough to avoid this ultimate failure, but I joined the miserable, unfortunate percentage of people, who witnessed Knock Knock.

Where to begin? Obviously, it’s a nail to the coffin for Keanu Reeves. It’s just unbelievable how cringe-worthy his performance is, how artificial and lackluster, how ridiculous and hilariously bad. It almost seems like Eli Roth hired Keanu to put him on display and add a golden sign “look! Here is the worst actor in the universe”. The plot of Knock Knock is a home invasion type of script, but don’t expect too much Funny Games spirit here. It’s just two stunning women, who try to be scary and Keanu who tries to be scared. The outcome is a horror comedy so campy that even the first Scream could be considered a full-bodied thriller. And that “**** me daddy” scene, oh God why…

P.S. You know a movie is the worst film of the year when even two pairs of beautiful naked bodies cannot change your perception.


 

That was it. Hope it wasn’t as painful for you to read as it was for me to watch all that garbage 🙂

And here’s a list of outsiders (for many reasons they didn’t make it to the top 10):

  • Jupiter Ascending (anyone still claims Channing Tatum is a good actor after that?)
  • Fantastic Four (I just couldn’t find words to describe how boring and cringe-worthy this flick was)
  • The Human Centipede III (I hope there will be a fourth one, in the Star Wars universum maybe)
  • Klezmer (my natives direct bad films too…)
  • Mortdecai (why Johnny, just why?)
  • Self/Less (how did they convince Ben Kingsley to play in this garbage – I will never know the exact numbers)
  • The Subjects (good idea turned into something amazingly pathetic)
  • Megashark vs. Kolossus (one of the many epic clashes made in Movie Maker)
  • In The Heart Of The Sea (Thor in the seas fighting a huge whale… wait, it’s not Thor?)
  • Blackhat (Thor pretending to be a technology nerd… wait, it’s not Thor again?)
  • Cop Car (You can dream to be like the Coen brothers, but you will never become one of them, mr. Watts)
  • The Hoarder (Mischa Barton wasting her career opportunities vol. XXX)

Road Movies – did we find the end of the journey?

The cinema of road as one may call it, has been exploited quite often – what are the good, the bad and the weird ones included in this subgenre?

Sometimes, just sometimes, the concept of the so-called “road movies” cross the boundaries of being a blissful masterpieces and turn into a complete waste, garbage of the worst sort, which is just unwatchable. And this time, I want to talk about the modern road cinema – we all know the classics, but my big concern was as it follows: is this sub-genre actually still alive? Times of lonesome drivers are quite gone in the cinema nowadays, hence the real road movies are a rather rare experience. If you love the road movies, maybe you will find something to watch this weekend. And if you love the ridiculous clunkers of cinema, I assure you it’s an article for you as well. 

Let me start with the recent cinematic stuff – last week I was given an opportunity to watch “Mange tes morts” (2015), directed by Jean-Charles Hue. I found the first half an hour quite intriguing, developing an outre web of events – the plot focuses around a car-park-like village in France and one family with criminal background. All in all it is one busted flush, bursting with weak acting, fiddly storyline which aims towards nothing constructive and finishes as a flat, incomprehensive pulp.  Not to mention the fact it was promoted as a riveting thriller praising the concept of road cinema, “Mange tes morts” is pure garbage. And even the sublime cinematography taste does not help in this one. After watching “Scenic Route” (2013), I felt exactly the same, with the exception of anything particularly good about it – one of the biggest flops of 2013 without a doubt. Hence it seems to be a fact, that directing a road movie is a breakneck task, especially nowadays, when audiences appreciate booming action, sex and lots of violence. Well, you can have sex in the car, you can punch someone too and you can drive fast – but that does not constitute the magic, which we are trying to extract, right?

My faith was restored by “The Rover” (2014). My review of this pure cinematography brilliance still awaits to be published, but trust me – this is one hell of a movie! Brutal, nostalgic, darksome, sometimes a bit edgy – David Michod (“Animal Kingdom” 2009) thriller grasps the attention from the very beginning. Strongly backed-up by astonishing roles of duo Pearce&Pattinson, “The Rover” encouraged me to give the modern road cinema a shot. A good choice to support the statement, that there is still hope, was 2009’s hit starring Viggo Mortensen, “The Road”. Post-apocalyptic, bleak landscape and human-eaters, walking around the desolate places, created a picturesque and interesting thriller and what is most important – not only the title matches the road-based concept of the movie.

Road movies are not necessarilly dark, lonesome journeys of wretched maniacs, killers or rovers, who’s got nothing to lose – not everyone are supposed to be Mad Max. Although this example might seem “a bit” crazy, Borat, portrayed by Sascha Baron Cohen, was also a perfect example of a road movie hero. The famous comedy document about a reporter from Kazakhstan, who visited the States to pick up ideas how to improve living standard in his own country, met with mixed reviews – either you loved “Borat” or you hated it whole-heartedly. The scene below is the introduction scene to the movie.

My special pick for this text is the tv series “Sons of Anarchy”. How not to love the motorcycle club gang story, an epic drama with one of the best (if not the all-time best) soundtracks ever created? Would be a disgrace, really. A long journey it is (lasts 6 seasons), but it’s worth giving it a try. And it is a beautiful tribute to the idea of a journey in the cinema – not only in terms of kilometers of highways, but this personal one, happening in the mind of each character.

Concluding, let’s melt away with the most remarkable picks from this sort of cinema – throwback time opened. My personal favorite is “Vanishing Point”, followed by “Mad Max” and “Easy Rider” – movies, which somehow defined the whole generation of alike films. And to finish, I have one ultimate conclusion: road cinema is not dead.

 

Artistic horror – still an oxymoron?

My personal opinion about the new trend in the horror film industry.

Horror movies became one of my major areas of cinematic interest recently and it’s undisputable, that the dumbness of the majority of them goes far beyond the imagination of ordinary people. There is no need to dig deep into the topic; just recently we could be blessed with flops like “Pyramid” or “Ouija”. Everything would be cool, if I didn’t see the so-called genre revelations, which created a heated debate not only among the critics, but also horror fans. Here is what I think about those allegedly artistic hits.

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Last year’s horror top lists were taken over by “The Babadook” – an Australian story of a mother, whose son suffers from a psychological disorder issues and claims their house is haunted by Babadook – a demon from the book he found. We should begin with stating the obvious – children in horror movies can be either scary as hell (“The Shining”  or “The Grudge” for instance), but also ridicuolously hilarious and cheesy (like “Children of the Corn” series proves). The problem with Noah Wiseman, who plays the role of Samuel, is that his performance is way too dramatic and overdrawn, creating a vague and rather cliche character. Apart from that, melancholic performance of Amelia does not provoke any sympathy either. All in all, two main characters happen to be a blurry silhouettes on the very mysterious canvas. Needless to say, there is something artfully delectable about the cinematography of Jennifer Kent‘s “The Babadook” and this is what distinguishes it from hundreds of mediocre features. Nevertheless, this is not enough.

The critics hailed the intellectual aspect of “The Babadook“, pointing out that the psychological penetration of the relationship between Amelia and her son is used to frighten the audience, simultaneously avoiding horro cliches. Kent’s movie is not free from them, but they are quite wisely covered by this mysterious atmosphere, hanging heavily in every scene. “The Babadook” did not deserve to be such an acclaimed picture, but at least, it’s an interesting approach to the horror genre. It dwells on a psychological aspect of fear and pictures the disturbing paranoia in a quite an appalling way.

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The list of those “ambitious” flicks gets bigger every year. “As Above, So Below” (picture above), directed by John Dowdle, also received quite a heart-warming reviews, although the movie is just another POV-filmed aftermath of “Blair Witch Project” idea. This time, instead of dusky forests, we follow the endless corridors and chambers of Parisian catacombs. Nevertheless, Dowdle’s movie was at least originallly written and even though the creators did not avoid a lot of plotholes in the script, “As Above, So Below” was surprisingly fun to follow – still, did not constitute a wind of freshness in the genre.

My horror frustration rose to the maximum after watching “It Follows“… Jay, an attractive teenage girl, meets a guy and sleeps with him – as a consequence, he transfers onto her a demon, which follows her everywhere. Furtherore, she cannot be touched by it and she can pass it only by having sex with someone. Sounds like a ridiculously stupid idea for a horror movie?  Even though the story already raised my doubts whether to see “It Follows“, I gave it a shot…

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… And experienced a truly pitiful, gimcrack piece of pseudo-artfull horror. The list of the numerous flaws of Mitchell’s film was getting longer and longer, as “It Follows” made me more sick with every minut passing by. David Robert Mitchell was extremely hyped about creating a visionary horror, influenced by such movies as Winding Refn’s “Drive” or Carpenter’s “Thing“. His ambitious approach clashed with a complete lack of a neatly-crafted script and well-picked actors. Hilarious scenes double and triple, Jay does not change her facial expression at any cost and at the peak of the mountain we have naked, old people, creepingly walking or staring. Does that sound even a bit scary or, God forbid, artistic?

All in all, there is something charming how tacky those artistic horrors are. Cinema is rapidly evolving, the genres are mixed and blended all the time, but yet those revelations are still longshots from what could be possible called this way. I still find movies as “The Shining” or “The Ring” to be the milestones, which lay way further than 2014/2015 hits. And don’t get me wrong – I firmly support this desire to bring horror genre to a new, artistic level – there is a great potential in it. But not the way movies like “It Follows“, “The Babadook” attempt to do.

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