So we’re now getting into the region of films that might not have been great, but they weren’t that bad. Below are ten films that I wouldn’t go out of my way to watch again, but if they were on TV on a Sunday afternoon then I might sit and watch them…might being the key word.
Included in this specific list is an autistic assassin, a doll that is seemingly haunted, seven mercenaries, one of the most forgettable films of the year and yet another unconvincing film starring Miles Teller, but we start with a film that I was convinced I would hate due to the reviews that were out…….
Cast : Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Brenton Thwaites, Gerard Butler, Chadwick Boseman, Courtney Eaton and Geoffrey Rush
Plot : In an alternative version of Egypt, the Gods live amongst the humans and tower of them. One day, Bek (Thwaites) and his girlfriend, Zaya (Eaton) are attending the coronation to the throne of Horus (Coster-Wildau). Everything seems to be going fine at first, that is until Set (Butler) the brother of Osiris, comes to claim the throne for hismelf, blinding Horus in the process.
One year later Set has enslaved the local humans, including Bek. He steals one of Horus’ eyes for Zaya, but she is killed in the process. Bek soon realises that the only way to rescue Zaya from the underworld is to get Horus to defeat Set, who has made it so that only wealth will get you into the afterlife. Horus is less than keen to get involved.
Why in this position? : I had heard fr om various sources that “Gods of Egypt” would undoubtedly the worst film that I would see this year, and after a few minutes I couldn’t really argue, but as it went on that feeling disappeared and whilst it was by no means a classic, it was at least interesting. The film appears to be completely filmed on a green-screen, and it isn’t even good green-screen. The film looks ridiculous, and in many ways it is.
However, I found something a bit likeable about this film. I can’t quite put my finger on it because there isn’t one particular aspect that I actually liked, but I didn’t hate the film. It looks ridiculous, but it is like a lot of the modern day films based on mythology, an attempt at being fun.
If you do ever decide to watch this film then don’t go in expecting it to be brilliant, it’s far from that. The one thing I can guarantee is that you’ll never forget it.
Cast : Frank Grillo, Elizabeth Mitchell and Mykelti Williamson
Plot : It’s time for the annual purge in America, a night in which everyone gets to live out their fantasies without the fear of repercussion. It also happens to be the night when the new President will be decided, and Charlie Roan (Mitchell) intends to get rid of the purge if she wins, but this makes her a prime suspect for being killed on the night, especially after it is announced that government officials are no longer exempt.
The night starts quietly as Leon (Grillo) has his security team well drilled, but the problem is that not all of them are in Charlie’s camp when it comes to the purge, and they are the first of a long, long line of people aiming to kill the presidential candidate.
Why in this position? : If you’ve seen one of the Purge films then you’ve seen them all. The first of the “Purge” trilogy wasn’t too bad, it was certainly watchable, but the problem was that much like the “Saw” franchise, it outstayed its welcome by quite some way.
Don’t get me wrong, if you’re into violence in films then this is definitely the film for you as when it gets going, it is somewhat entertaining, but it takes far too long to get to this stage as it tries to develop it’s three central characters far, far too much, meaning that you don’t care about the numerous secondary characters.
It also contains one of the worst individual antagonist performances of the year, with Brittany Mirabile (she’s the one in the corset on the poster) delivering a horrible portrayal throughout her time on screen. I don’t think I’ve ever been as happy this year in the cinema as I was when her character gets killed off.
Cast : Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, JK Simmons and Jon Bernthal
Plot : Christian (Affleck) is an autistic accountant who is exceptional at this job during the day. His clients include a variety of honest, hardworking folk, but also some well known terrorists, something that makes him a target of the FBI, but they haven’t got the proof.
His employers hire him out to a company to check why there is a financial black hole, with the company’s director, Ray (Simmons), believing that there is someone stealing from the accounts. Christian is able to quickly confirm this, but it turns out that this is only the start of his issues with Ray.
Why in this position? : “The Accountant” started off in a reasonable fashion and seemed like a relatively stylish attempt at a film about an assassin, but it very quickly started to lose anything that even resembled something interesting. I believe that moment came exactly when Anna Kendrick walked on screen. Dear lord she is an awful actress.
The worst part is that she is not only is she an awful actress, but her character is completely irrelevant to the story, as are so many other characters in this relatively short film.
After that the film just seems to lose something, and your attention is suddenly awoken to realise that what you are watching is Ben Affleck playing a role whilst seemingly having no interest in doing so. The character isn’t designed to portray any emotions, but even then the performance just feels lifeless, almost as if Affleck was saying the words “contractually obliged” over and over again in his head, all whilst trying to look passively engaged.
And then we get onto the twist at the end. I’m not going to reveal what it is but let me put it this way, it’s unwarranted, rather out of the blue, and does the exact opposite of what a twist is supposed to do, i/e, it leaves me with a massive sigh of “meh”.
That’s the film as a whole. It’s ok, sort of.
Cast : Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Peter Sarsgaard and Haley Bennett
Plot : Rose Creek has been invaded by the corrupt Bartholomew Bogue (Sarsgaard) and he slaughters a group of protesters. One of the protester’s wives, Emma (Bennett) decides that this can’t go on and she rallies the town for money, offering it to warrant officer Sam Chisholm (Washington) as a reward for helping them.
Chisholm starts recruiting a team of rogues and mercenaries, and the seven of them quickly dispatch the men that Bogue has left in the town, but it won’t be long until Bogue returns to reclaim it, and the twenty-two that were killed will look like a small gathering compared to what he is bringing with him.
Why in this position? : “The Magnificent Seven” is part of a genre (westerns just to clarify) that is desperately trying to get back into mainstream Hollywood, and after efforts such as “True Grit” and a few others, this appeared to be the highest profile. This made is even more confusion that there was seemingly so little effort put into the film.
The characters, other than those portrayed by Washington, Pratt and Hawke, are barely given any screen time, or reasonable development. The antagonist is also extremely one dimensional, and he just isn’t that compelling. This means that when characters start dying at the end of the film, you’re just like “meh”.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some good points to the film, otherwise it’d be much lower down. The cast does a great job, especially the ever reliable head-duo of Washington and Pratt, and Haley Bennett is decent enough as the only significant female character.
One of these is that it is one of two films this year to portray native Americans as anything other than a sympathetic character. Before this year I’d never seen a single film in which native Americans were portrayed as anything but super-awesome, but this is a great example of showing that they can be arseholes too. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against native Americans, but it’s great to see a previously seeming one-dimensional, super-awesome group of people.
Cast : Lauren Cohan, Rupert Evans, Jim Norton, Diana Hardcastle and Ben Robson
Plot : Wanting to escape an abusive relationship, Greta (Cohan) takes a job being a nanny for a child in England. She moves over to look after the young son of the Heelshire family (Norton and Hardcastle), but when she arrives they present her to a doll of a young boy. She initially thinks it is a joke, but soon changes her mind due to the serious nature in which they Heelshires take the situation, including having a set of rules.
They go away for holiday, or at least that is what they claim as they actually commit suicide. Greta meanwhile starts to realise that there are some strange things going on with the doll, including it moving when she is not there, and eating food that is presented. Even strange are that if she doesn’t follow the rules, she seems to pay the consequences. Is there something else going on?
Why in this position? : Most people who read this site on a regular basis know that I don’t really do horror films. I don’t mean that as in they scare me that much, but rather the opposite. I am now largely immune to the scares that horror films try to bring about. That being said, “The Boy” was one of the better horror films of the year, but even then it’s not brilliant.
What I liked about “The Boy” is that it kept me intrigued for some time. You’re constantly curious about what is causing the doll to move around without aid, so you’re probably wondering why I have listed it this low down. It’s because when you find out what is going on, you begin to realise that it doesn’t actually make a lot of sense when you look at it in a retrospective manner.
Cast : Evan Green, Asa Butterfield, Ella Purnell, Finlay MacMillan, Samuel L Jackson, Chris O’Dowd and Terence Stamp,
Plot : Jacob (Butterfield) grew up with seemingly fantastical stories told to him by his grandfather, Abe (Stamp), about a school in England that stands still in time and is filled with people with powers. Jacob grows out of it, but he soon discovers that it is true after his father (O’Dowd) takes him on holiday.
He stumbles on the world by accident, but soon meets the seemingly fictional Miss Peregrine (Green) and her school of children with extraordinary abilities. Jacob soon becomes attracted to Emma (Purnell), but she leads him into the realisation that if he was to stay with at the school, he would never see his friends of family again, and be stuck in the 1940s. This isn’t help by him wanting to help fight Mr Barron (Jackson), a leader of group determined to kill the children so that they can restore their own humanity.
Why in this position? : “Miss Peregrine” appears to basically be X-Men for children, but the problem is that it is remarkably boring compared to that franchise. Let’s put it bluntly, it is a blatant rip off of X-Men, with the only real differences being that it is a female head of the school, and it’s largely set in the 1940s. Not to forget the outsider falling in love with a girl in the school, a girl who already has a boyfriend. Anyone who claims that it isn’t a rip of of the X-Men franchise is a fool.
The problem with “Miss Peregrine” isn’t just that it is a blatant rip off of X-Men, it’s that the characterisation is very poor. The characters are all exceptionally dull and portrayed with very little effort from their respective actor/actress, and other than one or two of the children, virtually none of them are given any development.
I have only ranked this so highly because I really liked the time loop element and that everything feels relatively consistent throughout in terms of how things are presented. They’ve taken a great deal of care in that, and visually the film is great in both time periods that the film takes place in.
Cast : Rosamund Pike, David Oyelowo, Jack Davenport and Tom Felton
Plot : Ruth (Pike) is bored of dating the same type of men, but her family talk her into going out for a party and there she meets Seretse (Oyelowo), a black man. The two fall in love but pretty much everyone writes it off. Seretse eventually receives a letter from his native country of the modern day Botswana, and he reveals to Ruth that not only does he have to return home, but that he is to be named King. Ruth eventually agrees to go with him, and the two wed.
The British are still very prevalent in the area though and amongst the many objectors are government representatives Alistair (Davenport) and Rufus (Felton), both of who try and make sure that the marriage doesn’t disrupt the already tense relationship with neighbouring South Africa. It is only when Seretse is banished that Ruth realises that she is pregnant, and the two appeal wildly to the British government to allow Seretse home.
Why in this position? : If I was to list the most forgettable and irrelevant films of the year, “A United Kingdom” would be a front runner to top that list. Whilst there were some films that made me so angry that they features in my bottom ten, at least none of them left me bored. That’s what this film was, nearly two hours or pure and utter boredom.
Now you may be wondering why I have decided not to not only not put this in my Bottom Ten, but also why it’s relatively high on the list, and the reason is that despite not being that good, it’s not overly that bad. It’s just forgettable.
Rosamund Pike is predictably delightful, and the cast portraying the British Members of Parliament are portrayed with the hatred that their characters are supposed to embody, but other than that no-one really stands out. I write this less than two weeks after watching the film and I can barely remember anything about it. It’s that forgettable.
Cast : Billy Bob Thornton, Kathy Bates, Tony Cox and Brett Kelly
Plot : Willie (Thornton) is still depressed about his life and is seemingly stuck in a big rut. He is taking on low paid jobs just to get by, but largely has no life satisfaction. He is regularly visited by Thurman (Kelly), who has now grown up and has a job making sandwiches. One day Thurman brings Willie a package full of money that was sent by Marcus (Cox), revealing that there might be more.
With his interest peaked, Willie visits Marcus and discovers that he plans to rob a charity that keeps most of the money for themselves. Willie goes along with it, but is exceptionally unhappy when he realises that his mother is involved as well.
Why in this position? : I vaguely recall watching the original “Bad Santa” film several years ago one night on Film4, but it didn’t stick with me at all, hence why I use the words “vaguely recall”. Despite that I thought it was time to watch a comedy at the cinema. The one thing that you’ll notice about this lengthy list (as in the whole breakdown of the year) is that there aren’t many comedies, it’s not a particularly good genre in my opinion. There have been few comedies throughout the years in which I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience, but I really like Billy Bob Thornton as an actor, especially after his role in the TV series “Fargo” a few years back.
But anyway, so yeah, I went to watch “Bad Santa 2” with very little knowledge of the original film, and to be honest, I’m still not entirely sure why I bothered watching this. It does have its moments, mainly due to the aforementioned Thornton’s deadpan delivery of some great jokes, but other than that the comedy does feel rather lazy.
There are stereotypes all over the place and the filmmakers try to make the most of them. This ranges from a dwarf who likes to remind people of his height, a mother who neglected her child but now wants to reunite with him, a Hispanic security guard who does all of the stereotypes of that ethnic background, and probably most offensively, centring a lot of the jokes around a mentally handicapped young man.
“Bad Santa 2” does have its moments, but is largely quite crass.
Cast : Miles Teller, Aaron Eckhart, Katey Segal and Ciaran Hinds
Plot : Vinny Pazienza (Teller) is a boxer with a poor record at this weight class, and after losing his latest match he is persuaded to go up two weight classes. Despite everyone writing him off, Vinny manages to win the title at that weight class and celebrates hard. He remains on cloud nine as he goes on a road trip, but a car accidentally drives into his path and the accident leaves Vinny with a broken neck.
Spending several months in a depression, Vinny convinces Kevin Rooney (Eckhart) to help him start training again, all whilst he still has the head cage still on. Vinny slowly regains his strength, but he struggles to find an opponent for his next fight as just one punch could be enough to snap his neck again.
Why in this position? : You know one thing that I have never seen in the cinema? A good Miles Teller performance. It’s amazing that he keeps getting roles when he doesn’t really seem to be enjoying what he is doing. That being said, this was probably my favourite performance of his.
That is not to say that this is a good film, far from it. It’s horrendously predictable throughout, and I was able to call what happens in the end just from the trailer alone, and before someone says “well it’s based on historical events”, I don’t like boxing and had never heard of this guy before, so I can only base it on the film and the film just isn’t that good.
With its use of sharp noises, including a noise that tinnitus suffers will recognise as very familiar, for long periods of time, and a soundtrack that I personally didn’t like, the story needed to be more than something that I hadn’t already seen ten times before in boxing films, but unfortunately it wasn’t.
Cast : Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Mark Ruffalo, Dave Franco, Lizzy Caplan, Daniel Radcliffe, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman
Plot : Daniel (Eisenberg) is getting increasingly frustrated at a lack of answers from the “Magic Eye” society, especially as he, Merritt (Harrelson) and Jack (Francko) remain in hiding following the events of the previous film. They are soon told that they will re-emerge into the public eye and will take on board a new member, Lula (Caplan).
Their first show is going well before it is hijacked. During their escape they go down a trash shoot before somehow landing in China at the end of it. Confused, they soon realise that they have been tricked by Walter (Radcliffe), the son of Arthur Tressler (Caine), a man who the horsemen stole from in the first film. He forces them to try to steal a computer chip, but can they turn the tables on Walter?
Why in this position? : Out of all of the films to get a sequel during 2016, “Now You See Me” was certainly one of the least expected. The original was a fun movie, but was completely ruined by a completely out-of-nowhere twist that even rewatching it didn’t make sense.
“Now You See Me 2” was a fine example of an unnecessary sequel that tries to be the original but beefed up, but what they attempt to beef it up with is pure crap. Isla Fisher is replaced by Lizzy Caplan, and she just seems to be concerned with trying to be funny, but the problem is that random does not necessarily equal being funny.
The film just tries too hard to be funny and relevant, but ends up being neither, and is made even more unbelievable by trying to convince the audience that seemingly every single person on any street in the world recognises the main characters, whereas in reality very few people care about magic in order to make any of them household names.
This film has Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Daniel Radcliffe, Woody Harrelson and many other fine actors, just how was it so bang average?
“Now You See Me 2” was one yet another film released this year that was a sequel that really wasn’t needed at all. The first film was ok, it was definitely passable.