Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A Reel Opinion: The Best & Worst Films of 2015 - Part 1

The Year in film 2015 was a strong one, and could perhaps go down in the history books as one of the strongest of the millennium. This Blogger screened over 50 films in 2015, and is proud to report that only five (5) are crummy enough to be included in this first part of his annual roundup of Best and Worst.

Every year, there is a lot of fodder released by studios for the sake of filling gaps in the schedule and to keep some income incoming. Movies like that are generally cast-offs and wind up as disasters. This Blogger was sober enough to avoid critically panned stinkbombs such as ROCK THE KASBAH, VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN, MORTDECAI, PAN, ENTOURAGE, VACATION, TAKEN 3…or anything made by Adam Sandler or Tyler Perry. The films in this list are the ones which should have, and could have been a lot better than what wound up on the screen.

Starting from the bottom up (or working towards the bottom)…

5. SERENA – The tag-team of Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper has been wildly successful in the past few years, but the bottom may have finally fallen out with Susanne Bier’s disastrous adaptation of the acclaimed novel. The film was a disjointed assembly of episodes dealing with way too many storylines which never quite connected to each other, once again proving that when a movie tries to be about too many things, it winds up being about nothing. Characters have very little to do, and the two leads, Lawrence and Cooper, drop in and out of their accents. Top it all off with one of the most ridiculous endings in cinema history, and we’ve got a film Lawrence and Cooper would prefer never to be mentioned again.

4. JUPITER ASCENDING – The Wachowski siblings have been responsible for giving us some of the most visually innovative films in the past 15 years, and in their original sci-fi adventure they maintain that reputation, but this newest work from them was a journey to the Planet Dumb. Everything about the film was silly; from characters sprouting wings to honey-bees doing weird things to far-out rocket boots and outlandish alien species. Now we can forgive a lot when it comes to sci-fi, but the structure of the film which consisted of one chase scene after another interspersed with endless dialogue about some galactic legend or another, made it all extremely repetitive and ultimately boring. Villains are one-note and the heroes are bland…making JUPITER ASCENDING the silliest-looking borefest of the year.

3. FANTASTIC FOUR – The latest version of the classic Marvel Comics property didn’t have much of a chance to succeed; it had a ho-hum cast, a director who was more interested in partying than working, and the task of being a relevant film that could compete with, or at least be mentioned in the same paragraph as, the flood of big-name comic book films that are released every year. As it turns out, Fox Studios and director Josh Trank disagreed on everything, and it really showed on screen. FANTASTIC FOUR was disjointed with parts of the film seemingly missing, and the whole thing doesn’t end as much as it does stop during mid-sentence. It’s mind-boggling that something like this could ever see the light of day. This is as messy as it gets.

2. CHAPPIE – The most frustrating thing about CHAPPIE is that the creation of Chappie the robot is a true miracle of visual effects. The character is amazing to spend time with, but unfortunately, supposed-visionary director Neill Blomkamp ruins everything else. From a convoluted and silly plot to horrible acting from droop-face Dev Patel…and veterans Hugh Jackman and Sigourney Weaver, right down to the massive plot holes and predictable ending. To top it off, the casting of South African hip-hop group Die Antwood as low-life gangsters, who brandish pink machine guns, wear their own merchandise and listen to their own music, is one of the most bizarre product-placement attempts ever in cinema. And someone needs to tell Blomkamp that filming in a slum is no longer interesting.

1. TERMINATOR GENISYS – The fifth entry in the once venerated TERMINATOR franchise represents everything that is wrong with the mentality of big studios when it comes to big-budget franchises. As if the stupid-looking sub-title wasn’t enough, GENISYS finished up with over a dozen unanswered questions in its story, all of which was punted down the road to be answered in a sequel. Obviously there was more of a concern to set up a franchise than to tell a story, and the film suffered from it. On top of that, GENISYS took everything that had happened in previous films, events that are beloved by fans, and contradicted it all through a lazy time-travel plot which basically took a smelly dump on every TERMINATOR film made. And why? Just to reset the franchise for further installments. And even from the outside looking in, GENISYS is a bore thanks to its redundant structure of action-scene followed by talking, followed by action-scene followed by talking…rinse and repeat. And despite the clean slate the film wants us to believe in, the film ends with a scene which makes all the events we just sat through completely pointless. This is a film which is an insult to TERMINATOR fans and to cinema overall. Fuck this movie forever.



2.       CHAPPIE



5.       SERENA




  1. I read this one with a bit of trepidation,as I was a bit afraid I liked one or more of them. Thankfully, no

  2. I read this one with a bit of trepidation,as I was a bit afraid I liked one or more of them. Thankfully, no


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