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!

Hitman: Agent 47 Review

I believe I am a pretty big video game fan. Being born in the 90s I grew up with a least one console in my home during my childhood years. One of my favourite franchises is the Hitman series, a long running stealth game franchise about being…. well a hitman. Be it the games, books or even the first Hitman film starring Timothy Olyphant (which is a guilty pleasure of mine), I love the franchise and it’s protagonist, so when I heard about a reboot I was all for it.

Hitman: Agent 47 stars Rupert Friend, Hannah Ware, Zachary Quinto, Thomas Kretschmann and Ciaran Hinds and is directed by Aleksander Bach. The story follows Agent 47 (Friend) a genetically engineered clone who is out to stop an organisation known only as the Syndicate from obtaining a woman with very special skills.

As always, let’s start with the good. The best actors by far are Rupert Friend and Ciaran Hinds. I believe Friend is the best on-screen adaptation of 47, he looks the part with his shaved head and barcode tattoo, he walks and talks just like the character should and has the presence of “you-have-no-idea-who-you-just-messed-with”, which is something I felt Timothy Olyphant was lacking in his portrayal. Ciaran Hinds is also good in the film, playing a retired scientist who knows a lot more about 47s past that he’s letting on. To be honest Hinds is brilliant in basically any film he’s in. I mean, he made the second Tomb Raider film fun to watch.

The film at times looks stunning, especially when the third act rolls around and the characters head to Singapore. The camera swoops around the almost futuristic city, soaking in the beautiful architecture on display. A key scene in the third act takes place at the famous Gardens by the Bay is spectacular to look at, as well as a few shots of the amazing infinity pool at the Parkroyal at Pickering hotel. The finale, which takes place on top of a helipad, also uses the city for it’s stunning backdrop. These shots of the city at night are beautiful and it fits straight into the globetrotting story that Hitman is used to.

Now for everything else. The rest of the actors are appalling. Some, like Thomas Kretschmann just look bored with the material, others like Hannah Ware and Zachary Quinto are just hamming it up making bad dialogue sound even worse. Quinto is especially bad, giving off a wide-eyed mad dog look for most of the film. Ware is monosyllabic and her primary dialogue is just the f-bomb repeated at varying degrees of volume.

The fight scenes are also below par, feeling more like action for action’s sake. Shoddy CGI is used to make bodies crumple for long falls, barely hidden stunt doubles are used, and the camera is shaking around and cutting around ten times per second. When will directors learn that this doesn’t look good on screen? With the camera cutting every time there is an impact, the fights loses any sense of momentum and geography, to a point where during one scene I clocked out for a couple of minutes because I was so bored. The only fight scene that is worth any merit is at the end, where the film takes a leaf out of John Woo’s book by setting everything to slow-motion, giving 47 his two trademark silver pistols and letting us watch the almost balletic gunplay unfold, with some synchronised shooting finishing off the scene when a sidekick comes to help him.

Most of the film’s problems do come from the script, which feels like it’s been written by someone who was brought up solely on a diet of 80s and 90s action films starring either Schwarzenegger, Stallone or Van Damme. The writer, Skip Woods is the genius that also wrote the screenplay for films such as X-Men Origins: Wolverine, A Good Day To Die Hard and the other Hitman film. While the film does have some fun little Easter eggs for fans of the franchise with recurring characters, locations and assignments from the games, as well as a few lines of funny throwaway dialogue to liven up some dead actions set pieces, the rest was a collage of action clichés that made me shake my head in disbelief.

It shouldn’t be hard to write a story for a good Hitman film. With hundreds of pages of great storytelling from both the games and the books, Skip Woods could have created something that was fun and enjoyable, or at least competent. There are gaping plot holes throughout the film, as well as some sub-plots that go nowhere apart from a few lines. There are even a few teasers and an end credit scene that hint at a possible sequel and franchise. Even as a die-hard Hitman fan, I am very apathetic about Hitman returning to the screen.

In conclusion, Hitman: Agent 47 is not just a generic action film with dull characters and shoddy fight scenes; it’s an insult to the character of Agent 47 and the people who created him.

Score: 2/10 The first film was better.