Top 10 Worst Films of 2015

Another year gone and sadly, it was really easy to pick the Top 10 worst films for 2015. I guess when you know you’ve seen a really good film; you also know when you’ve seen an absolute stinker. And these are my worst of the worst.

Just like my Best-Of list, only films I’ve reviewed will be eligible for the list, so no Taken 3 on this list (even though I actually enjoyed it enough that it would not even appear on the list even if I had done a review of it). But let’s get on with it. This is going to be therapeutic for me. First though, some honorable, or in this case dishonorable mentions;

A Royal Night Out

Ruth And Alex

Spooks: The Greater Good.

Okay then. Let’s get started!

10.

The first review that I really gave a negative mark to, it’s The Gunman. I went back and watched The Gunman again just to see if it was as bad as I remembered and sadly it was. With a cast list of Sean Penn, Rat Winstone, Mark Rylance and Idris Elba, it’s sad that The Gunman was such a poor film.

9.

I didn’t want to watch this film. Every other reviewer and their mother had already said their piece on Pixels and with all the negative press around it, I wasn’t feeling too thrilled to actually spend money on it. But in the name of journalistic integrity I went, and I was thoroughly bored. I didn’t have the same reaction as everyone else (that of wanting to spit venom at the screen) but it wasn’t a good movie by any stretch of the mind.

8.

Keanu Reeves is one of those actors who has a tendency for choosing really odd roles. I mean, look at his filmography, The Matrix, Point Break, Man Of Tai Chi, it’s an eclectic mix. So when he teamed up with Eli Roth for B-Movie horror film Knock Knock, it was an interesting proposition. Sadly, all the good will in the world wouldn’t have been able save this utter flop, with some of the worst acting in the world and script that seems to have been written by a 12-year old who’s just learnt what sex is.

7.

Novel-to-film adaptations have been a staple of Hollywood since the dawn of the medium. I had managed to read a small amount of Child 44 before I had seen the film and I was disappointed that director Daniel Espinosa had managed to turn a thoroughly riveting book into a snooze-fest. Tom Hardy is totally off his game as wooden officer Leo Demidov, with only Gary Oldman being the shining light in a cast of duds. You might find enjoyment if you’re a fan of the book, but I wouldn’t hold your breath.

6.

Vin Diesel is one of those actors that manages to get pet-projects pushed through the machine of Hollywood. He did so with Riddick back in 2013, and did so with The Last Witch Hunter, which is my number six. A Dungeons And Dragons style fantasy film set in modern day New York, it doesn’t do anything interesting or new with what is a pretty good set-up. A note to screen-writers, immortal characters aren’t exciting, the fact that they can’t be beaten is boring.

5.

If a comedy film isn’t up to scratch, then it quickly becomes a tragedy. Spy is one of those types of films. Many of the best jokes were given away in the trailer, and the ones that weren’t were stolen from director Paul Feig’s earlier films with Melissa McCarthy, with most revolving around “Ha-ha she’s fat and that’s funny”. Add Peter Serafinowicz as a borderline-rapist character (which again, we are meant to find funny) and Spy becomes a toe-curlingly, cringe worthy film.

4.

I wanted to love this film so much. One of my favourite game series that had already being messed around with back in 2007, Hitman: Agent 47 is the film I’m most disappointed in this year. Awful characterisation, horrible action and the bare minimum of relation to the source material, all of it can be traced back to screen-writer/hack Skip Woods. The only good thing about Hitman: Agent 47 is the endless sweeping shots of Singapore.

3.

This one is a surprise. A film that has been garnering top marks from all of the prominent critics and has been hailed by some as the best film of the year. For me though, Carol is one of the most boring and over-hyped films of recent memory. A film about an adulterous lesbian relationship in the 1950s, Carol tries to be this year’s Blue Is The Warmest Colour but just doesn’t have anything of merit to make it worthy of a place on a Top 10 list. Stay away, this film doesn’t deserve your attention.

2.

M. Night Shyamalan. I could literally stop my review of The Visit there and it would be a sound enough argument for it to be number two on the worst of the year list. But I’ll keep going. Found Footage. Jump Scare Horror (that doesn’t even work half the time). Continuity Errors. Ageism. A stupid little teenager rapping throughout the film and over the end credits. That’s it, I don’t want to think about The Visit anymore.

1.

This isn’t a film you’ve probably heard of. As I said in my Best-Of list, I’ve had to watch a lot of films that I would have normally seen since doing this. Some have been absolute gems, but this is one of the most appalling films I have ever seen, not just 2015. Phantom is not just a bad film, it’s a film that hates its audience and doesn’t give a crap who knows it. Billed as a Zero Dark Thirty set in India, Phantom tries to be an action film and ends up coming off as Team America but lacking all self-awareness and humour that Team America had. Please, do not seek this film out, just read the review and leave it at that. I don’t want to give this film traffic.

That’s it for 2015! I’m Tom, The Student Film Critic and I’ll see you in 2016!

Read the contrasting post on the Top 10 Best Films of 2015!

Child 44 Review

After I finished watching Child 44, I was exhausted. Was I exhausted by a film with a compelling story that made me sit on the edge of my seat for the entire run time? No, quite the opposite in fact, as I was battling to stay awake.

Child 44 is about an officer in the Soviet Union called Leo (played by Tom Hardy), who after a grisly child murder is committed, takes it upon himself to catch the killer. The film also stars Noomi Rapace, Gary Oldman, Vincent Cassel, Jason Clarke, Fares Fares and Paddy Considine. And with a cast list that good the film fails to deliver anything spectacular.

I did manage to read the first couple of chapters of Child 44 before I saw the film, and when reading it I thought the story was exciting and gripping. It’s a shame then that it doesn’t become anyone of those things when transported to the cinema screen.

To go back to actors for a second, performances from nearly all of the actors involved are very wooden, most notably Tom Hardy, who looks bored in his role as Leo. The only actor that seems to be bringing anything to the screen is Gary Oldman, who in the fleeting few scenes where he actually gets some lines of dialogue delivers them with some much needed character. All the actors don Russian accents in the film, but these fluctuate as well, with Hardy giving a thick accent, while other actors such as Paddy Considine and Charles Dance not displaying any Russian accent, leaving the film feeling stilted. Also, the film hardly uses any of some of its bigger names, the aforementioned Considine and Dance, along with Vincent Cassel and Jason Clarke, all of whom have hardly any time on screen.

The director, Daniel Espinosa directed one of my favourite films of recent times, Safe House, starring Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds. However, looking at Child 44, you would be hard pressed to even think they were made by the same director. Espinosa makes some odd choices during the film, with extreme close ups and shaky handheld camerawork littering the first half of the film. Fortunately the camerawork becomes a bit more coherent as the film goes on, but descends back into jumbled messes for two uninspired fight scenes. It’s shame because Espinosa knows how to create well shot fight scenes, (just watch Safe House), but here he fails spectacularly, giving us no clear shot of the action.

The films length is also a problem. The film is just over two hours long, which when coupled with the uninvolving action on film left me at certain points to nod off for a couple of seconds. It was through sheer determination that I managed to stay awake, just to get through the film to see if it would eventually get any better, it did not. There are certain scenes that feel over padded, and maybe they were sticking close to the source material by including it in the final cut, but it just fills the film with needless subplots that don’t go anywhere.

To add onto that, the story is a grab bag of ideas, corruption, child murder, redemption, but none are carried throughout the entire film, they’re just picked up and dropped whenever the film feels like it. This leads to an overall confusing storyline, with characters making revelations without any prior knowledge, making certain plot points feel more like deus ex machina.

In summary, Child 44 has a formidable cast list, but even that is not enough to save weak direction and a dull script, leading to a dud of a film. I might say if you’re a fan of the book you might get some enjoyment from seeing it on the big screen, but I wouldn’t hold your breath.

Score: 2/10 Don’t bother wasting your time on this one.