Every year, there are good and bad movies. 2015 is no different. After spending a week compiling and made a shortlist for worst movies of the year, here is my Top 10 pick as follows:
10. The Gunman
Two-time Oscar winner Sean Penn (Mystic River, Milk) tries to reinvent himself as an unlikely geriatric action hero that echoes the similarity of Liam Neeson’s career path. Well, too bad he’s not Liam Neeson. In The Gunman, he spent most of the time looking bored playing a former special forces operative with severe brain trauma. The action is decent, but the overall movie is plagued by the sluggish pace and a bloated screenplay that tries too hard to blend political intrigue, romantic drama and action-movie formula all at once.
After three decades since the 80’s comedy gem of National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983), the Griswolds are back with a modern reboot. The premise, in the meantime, is more of the same: the Griswolds (Ed Helms, Christina Applegate, Skyler Gisondo and Steele Stebbins) plan on a cross-country road trip… and as expected, all hell breaks loose. Most of the gags are mean-spirited and painfully unfunny. That particular heavily-advertised gag where they took a bath in raw sewage? Not funny either.
8. The Last Witch Hunter
If only this fantasy action-adventure doesn’t take itself too seriously, and that’s exactly what went wrong in The Last Witch Hunter. Although this big-budget production does boast some eye-catching visuals and intricate CG environment, the movie itself is disappointingly lame. The action is surprisingly minimal, and the plot drags a lot with a series of standard crime procedural storyline that depicted Vin Diesel’s titular character as a CSI-like investigator. Yes, I kid you not.
7. Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials
The first Maze Runner in 2014 isn’t exactly a genre classic, but at least it has an intriguing premise. The sequel, however, not so much. With the maze no longer the main setup here, all we have left is a follow-up where the recurring characters running and wandering around the wasteland. The action, in the meantime, is mostly unimaginative. The movie also severely lacks a forward-momentum approach, which made its 132-minute running time seems like forever. Even the recurring characters don’t do much other than watching them — I hate to repeat this — running away from zombies.
6. Knock Knock
Eli Roth used to be a promising horror director, especially with his first two modern genre classics including Cabin Fever (2002) and Hostel (2005). Even his inferior sequel to Hostel in 2007 has its moments. In 2015, it was supposed to be his comeback. But the first movie — The Green Inferno — failed to live up its controversial hype that touches on cannibalism. The second one fares even worse in Knock Knock. At the first glance, it’s nice to see Eli Roth steps out of his comfort zone to deliver something more psychological than relying on his signature torture porn genre all the time. In fact, both Lorenza Izzo and Ana de Armas looks the part as two crazy femme fatales. Too bad the rest of the movie is laughably bad. Worst of all? That would be Keanu Reeves. Here, he delivers one of his worst performances ever, who spent most of his time whining and screaming for mercy.
5. Fifty Shades of Grey
This big-screen adaptation of E.L. James’ kinky bestseller of Fifty Shades of Grey certainly made a boatload of money in the box office. It was banned in Malaysia, and understandably so because of its erotic content. But really, for all the massive hype and whatnot, Fifty Shades of Grey is disappointingly flaccid. Sure, Dakota Johnson deserves some kind of praise for being daring enough to go nude and engage in numerous explicit sex scenes. Too bad, all the copious amount of sex and nudity are surprisingly tame. The dialogue is atrocious, and Jamie Dornan is all brooding look but his acting is equivalent of a wooden plank.
4. Hitman: Agent 47
In 2007, Xavier Gens did a lot of damage in the ill-fated adaptation of Hitman. Now, first-time feature director Aleksander Bach inflicts more damage in this failed reboot. Rupert Friend does look the part as the titular character, but the action is a huge disappointment. It relies too much on CGI and the plot is yet another convoluted mess that repeated the same colossal mistake of the 2007 version. Until the studio manages to find the right director who really understands the popularity of this video game, there’s no point making another Hitman movie. (Read my full review here)
3. Terminator Genisys
After the Schwarzenegger-less fourth movie of Terminator Salvation (2009), it’s finally a relief to see the muscular action icon reprises his signature T-800 role in Terminator Genisys. But Thor: The Dark World director Alan Taylor made a huge mistake by messing up the first two Terminator movies with a so-called “alternate timeline” storyline. Whoever thought that making Terminator Genisys into a “rebootquel” (a term which refers as part reboot and part sequel) is a good idea, seriously needs to get a slap in the face. The plot is tedious and filled with too much expository dialogue. The action lacks the same visceral impact of the previous Terminator movies. Emilia Clarke is undeniably miscast as Sarah Connor, whose baby-faced look and petite appearance hardly convinced me as a tough woman. Jai Courtney, in the meantime, gives a typically wooden performance as Kyle Reese. As a proposed first movie in the new Terminator trilogy, this Genisys is sadly dead on arrival.
Once upon a time, Cameron Crowe used to make good movies like Jerry Maguire (1996) and Almost Famous (2000). He did suffer from career misfire in the ill-fated remake of Vanilla Sky (2001), but never before he stoops so low in Aloha. Despite the star-studded cast (Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone and Rachel McAdams) and a wonderful Hawaiian backdrop, the movie is a jumbled mess. Writer-director Crowe tries to mesh his typical rom-com style with numerous subplots such as anti-war message and Hawaiian folklore but fails to develop whatsoever. Then there are the vaguely-written characters. Bradley Cooper is all smiles and dreamy blue eyes but barely registers as an interesting character. Emma Stone’s all-too-bubbly and oddball personality feels awkwardly misplaced as a military captain. In fact, how do her half-Hawaiian and half-Chinese character that goes by the name of Allison Ng looks so white? Rachel McAdams looks lovely as always, but that’s about it. The supporting actors are equally wasted, with Bill Murray acting all weird as if he’s auditioning a role in a Wes Anderson movie. As a romantic comedy itself, Aloha feels forced.
1. Fantastic Four
From bad buzz to poor box-office result, Josh Trank’s gritty reboot of Fantastic Four is a cinematic fiasco that should have gone back to the drawing board. I mean, even the first two lacklustre version of Tim Story’s Fantastic Four movies have their fair share of entertaining moments. By contrast, this movie is a pathetic bore. After a promising start, the story nosedives once the four characters (Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara and Jamie Bell) get their superpowers. Not only the movie is curiously lacking action, but the overall production value feels like it’s made for television series. The special effects are dated, the plot is a snooze while the climactic showdown between the Fantastic Four and Doom (Toby Kebbell) is devoid of excitement.