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!

Pixels Review

I wasn’t really looking forward to going to see Pixels. I had read and heard lots of reviews that were slating the film and I wasn’t feeling particularly motivated to go and watch it. But, as it was on its final few days in the cinema, I thought I may as well go for the sake of film journalism.

Pixels stars Adam Sandler, John Gad, Kevin James, Peter Dinklage and Michelle Monaghan and is directed by Chris Columbus. After aliens misinterpret a collection of 80s video games in a NASA probe as a declaration of war, it’s up to veteran gamer Sam (Sandler) and his friends to save the world.

The acting (if I can even call it that) is all over the shop. Adam Sandler as usual is just playing himself, an overgrown man-child who never knows when to shut his mouth. According to several people in the film he’s meant to be a super-smart guy who invented gadgets at university but the way Sandler saunters around the screen, it conveys the exact opposite. Josh Gad is alright as the more socially awkward gamer Ludlow, always clutching at Sandler’s sleeve for support, but it quickly turns into him screaming at an insanely high pitch. Peter Dinklage is wasted in the film, I feel a little bit sorry that he had to perform some of the worst lines ever committed to paper (and then don’t feel sorry because he probably only did it for the money).

The script is the main problem with the film. The story has thousands of plot holes and doesn’t have any coherence in its tone or logic. For instance, Kevin James, who plays the President of the United States (because that’s totally not self-aggrandising) in the beginning says that his wife hates him, but throughout the film they are seen to be smiling and having fun together. It’s as if the two screenwriters, Tim Herlihy and Timothy Dowling wrote the script over a lazy weekend and then never revised it, just giving it straight to the actors on the first day.

The jokes are the same childish attempt of humour that were in Grown-Ups (1 and 2) and can be seen coming from a mile off. Many jokes are made at the expense of the three gamers, most of which are based around the tired, outdated stereotype that all gamers are basement-dwellers that still live with their parents. For a film that is trying to fly the flag for video games, Pixels instead just demeans the audience that it’s trying to pander to. the film also is laden with homophobic and racist jokes, with an entire sequence where Josh Gad is screaming at a platoon of Navy SEALs, using homophobic slurs to try and pump them up so they can take on the alien video game characters.

Although, these jokes are nothing compared to how the film depicts women. The film obviously doesn’t pass the Bechdel Test (although that’s not a mark of quality), since all the women are either crying in the closet while drinking wine, demonised by their husbands or are a literal trophy, given to the gamers after beating the aliens at Donkey Kong. It’s cringe-worthy to see a film in 2015 that still treats women as the tropes of the damsel in distress or as objects that are given in exchange for good work.

While there were a few lines that I smiled at, such as when Professor Toru Iwatani, creator of Pac-Man appears and tries to appeal to the alien version of Pac-Man. It’s a really nice scene, but it’s swiftly ruined by a crass bout of profanity when Pac-Man bites his creator’s hand off. This was my favourite scene of the film, until I started reading up on the film for this review, when it was revealed that it wasn’t the real Professor Iwatani, and instead just an actor. Knowing that it isn’t the actual creator having a sweet moment with his creation, the scene is robbed of all the impact that it managed to have.

To be honest, Pixels isn’t Adam Sandler’s worst film. But with its uninvolving action sequences, lame jokes and it somehow seeming to drag on forever (despite being only 106 minutes), Pixels is one of the dullest of the year.

Score: 2/10 It will bring you to tears by how boring it is.