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!

The Last Witch Hunter Review

Actor pet project films are always interesting to watch. Vin Diesel, being a large Dungeons and Dragons player, talked with screen-writers to try and get a big-budget adaptation of his favourite past-time into theatres, and finally, after three years, they made it. Does Diesel’s passion for table-top role playing games come through in the film?

The Last Witch Hunter stars Vin Diesel, Rose Leslie, Elijah Wood and Michael Caine and is directed by Breck Eisner. the story follows Kaulder (Diesel) an immortal witch hunter who works for the secret society The Axe and Cross, to defend the human world against those in the Witching World who would attempt to destroy it.

The film starts with a very Dungeons and Dragons style battle set in the Dark Ages, as Kaulder and other hunters attempt to rid the world of the Witch Queen. It’s a fun opening, full of swords, bows and arrows and magic spells and it also shows us what Vin Diesel looks like with a full head of hair. This Dark Ages setting though is soon dropped, with the Witch Queen’s apparent death and Kaulder being cursed with immortality, so the film transports us to modern day New York, where Kaulder is still fighting to keep the worlds of witches and humans separate. It’s similar to Men In Black or R.I.P.D. in terms of a two-world story but it never comes anywhere close to being as good as those two.

The acting is really quite poor. Vin Diesel is playing the same character as always, but the main problem is that he seems to be trying to blend all his words together. It sounds like he’s gargling gravel, without hardly any sounds being recognisable as words. Michael Caine and Elijah Wood seem to be retreading their roles of Alfred and Frodo from Batman and LOTR respectively, but both look bored to be in The Last Witch Hunter. Caine especially, who speaks in a monotone voice and doesn’t change his facial expression once in the film.

The story, despite a few good moments of lore-building, is very undercooked. Even with all the lore that the story tries to cram into the film, none of its engaging. I fell asleep for a good five minutes in the middle of the film and when I woke up I didn’t care if I had missed anything important. The problem I can trace it all back to is Vin Diesel’s character Kaulder being an immortal warrior. The film tries to play Kaulder off as the best fighter in the world (much like another Vin Diesel character, Riddick), but that doesn’t make him empathetic.

The best heroes are ones where we can see they are in peril. Characters like John McClane (except in Die Hard 5) or any one of Jackie Chan’s characters, we empathise with them because we can sense the danger they are in. Even Wolverine in the X-Men series, despite being immortal there is always at least one character who can best him in each film. Kaulder on the other hand, is always on top of the situation and never seems to have any trouble taking down wave after wave of enemies. Even though the film tries to de-power him in the final act, the stakes never feel high enough that we think Kaulder will lose.

All in all, The Last Witch Hunter had the crux of a good, if overused idea at its heart. But a weak script, abysmal acting and an un-sympathetic main character make it one of the most boring to watch. I would give the film a lower score, but it doesn’t actively offend me. It’s just tedious.

Score: 2/10 Vin Diesel can do better than this.