List: Top 10 Worst Films of 2012 4 145

Thoughts On Film - Top 10 Worst Films of 2012

I’ve already posted what were my Top 20 Films of 2012 but of course things weren’t all good this year. There were many which left more than a bad taste in the mouth, the films that make you weep for the state of cinema if only for that two hours you’re watching them, the films that are not so much at the bottom of the barrel as lying flat under it.

Below are are the films I consider the worst to be released over the last 12 months. Now keep in mind I didn’t see absolutely everything released in the year and I tend to avoid the movies which I know for a fact are going to be absolutely terrible; for example the likes of Keith Lemon: The Film, Jack & Jill, Top Cat – The Movie and The Knot won’t be making an appearance. These are just the worst of those I happened to see at the cinema. Feel free to disagree, in fact I welcome that, but remember this is my list.

So without further ado here are my top 10 worst films of 2012!

10. Alex Cross

Alex Cross movie review

This ludicrous and unintentionally laughable mystery thriller features Tyler Perry (yes, that Tyler Perry) as the popular literary character of the title. His wooden and uncharismatic performance is the least of the film’s problems, however, as it stumbles from one ludicrous set-piece to another, wedging in forced emotion any and every way it can. Even the occasionally fun Matthew Fox as a bald-headed psycho obsessed with pain can’t save this one. FULL REVIEW HERE

9. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

Ghost Rider 2 Spirit of Vengeance movie review

A sequel that in the first five minutes basically tells you to forget the last one, this misjudged follow/mulligan from the directors of the Crank franchise somehow makes the first one look like a great film. Alongside the obligatory bad acting and head-smacking dialogue, its shaky cam action and nonsensical story (even taken on its own terms as a throwaway blockbuster) make this one of the worst of the year. FULL REVIEW HERE

8. Silent Hill: Revelation

Silent Hill: Revelation Movie Review

I’m actually not as down on the first Silent Hill as a lot of people seem to be; it has some interesting visuals and some decent scares. However, the same can’t be said for its pointless sequel. Basically redoing the same sort of visuals found in the first film except with less flair and imagination, this is stupid and ridiculous horror at its limpest. FULL REVIEW HERE

7. Resident Evil: Retribution

 Resident Evil: Retribution

The (believe it or not) fifth installment in the bizarrely successful Resident Evil franchise is a lazy, unimaginative rehash of what the series has been doing for the last three movies, complete with gimmicky 3D, boring and repetitive action and an ending that so blatantly sets up a sixth film that it practically means that you could have skipped this one altogether.

6. Love Bite

Reviews In Short - Love Bite

Another one of those low-budget British horror comedies that fails to provide either the scares or the laughs to make it even a half-way worthwhile experience. Practically stealing its character types and laddish humour from The Inbetweeners but lacking all the wit and likeability, this is most definitely one to skip. FULL REVIEW HERE

5. Nativity 2: Danger in the Manger!

 Nativity 2: Danger in the Manger!

I never saw the first Nativity movie but apparently it was cute fun in its own right. However, the sequel was anything but. Although generally good-natured (which is the only reason why it’s not higher on the list), this is a shockingly bad film that is, essentially, about a classroom assistant who kidnaps a bunch of young school kids and takes them on a trip through the Welsh countryside, all in the name of making it in time for a Christmas singing competition. I’m sorry, it doesn’t get away with it all just because “it’s supposed to be for kids.” The little ‘uns deserve better than this.

4. The Watch

The Watch movie review

What could have been a riotous laugh with a bunch of funny comedic actors at the top of their game was instead a mess of vulgar humour and lame sci-fi. We spend the runtime with Ben Stiller sleepwalking his way to a paycheck, Vince Vaughn doing his usual loud-mouth routine, Jonah Hill looking like he belongs in a different movie and the usually brilliant Richard Ayoade completely wasted as a character whose only real purpose is to be the bumbling Brit who doesn’t understand Americanisms. The half-hearted sci-fi aspect only adds insult to injury. FULL REVIEW HERE

3. The Fourth Dimension

EIFF 2012 - The Fourth Dimension Movie Review

A little film that I caught at the Edinburgh Film Festival, The Fourth Dimension is a bizarre, pretentious, self-indulgent piece of nonsense made up of three different segments (one of which features Val Kilmer as some sort of weird motivational speaker at a bowling alley), each as pointless as the others. FULL REVIEW HERE

2. The Devil Inside

The Devil Inside movie review

This disgrace to the horror genre utilized the now extremely overused found-footage format in the worst possible way, providing zero scares and consistently insulting the audience’s intelligence. It also ends not with a proper ending but rather instructions to visit a website. Atrocious. FULL REVIEW HERE

1. Project X

Project X movie review

More of a 90-minute long party (that I would have no interest in ever attending) than an actual film, Project X has stuck with me as a lowlight of the past 12 months. A film so hateful, so mysoginistic, so ridiculous, so pointless and so terminally boring, with some of the most irritating characters in ages, that I have no choice but to name it my worst film of 2012. FULL REVIEW HERE

 

(Dis)honourable mentions: The Lorax, This Means War, Paranormal Activity 4, Taken 2Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Piranha 3DD, Mirror Mirror, One for the Money, The Darkest Hour, Bel Ami

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That does it for my top 10 worst films of 2012. Feel free to comment below with your thoughts on my list (play nice!) and also letting us know what were the worst films you saw this past year.

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I’m a freelance film reviewer and blogger with over 10 years of experience writing for various different reputable online and print publications. In addition to my running, editing and writing for Thoughts On Film, I am also the film critic for The National, the newspaper that supports an independent Scotland, covering the weekly film releases, film festivals and film-related features.

I have a passion for all types of cinema, and have a particular love for foreign language film, especially South Korean and Japanese cinema. Favourite films include The Big Lebowski, Pulp Fiction and 2001: A Space Odyssey.

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Movie Review: Home Again 0 420

This review was previously published at The National.

Despite an obviously talented leading lady in Reese Witherspoon and a family pedigree behind the camera in making this sort of rom-com flutter sweetly off the screen, Home Again struggles to finds its way out of cloying cliché and narrative contrivance.

This is the directorial debut of Hallie Myers-Shyer, daughter of genre stalwart Nancy Meyers (The Holiday, What Women Want). It focuses on the life of Alice Kinney (Witherspoon), a single mum who has just turned 40 and tries her best to raise her two daughters Isabel (Lola Flanery) and Rosie (Eden Grace Redfield) in Los Angeles with her job as an interior decorator.

Freshly separated from her British music mogul husband Austen (Michael Sheen), she embarks on a drunken birthday night celebration that leads to her meeting a trio of 20-something lads – Harry (Pico Alexander), George (Jon Rudnitsky) and Teddy (Nat Wolff) – who are trying their best to break into the Hollywood movie business.

The young men improbably end up staying in Alice’s guest house while they work on finishing the script for their first film. Before long they become an integral part of her life, from Alice embarking on a romantic relationship with Harry to George helping out Isabel with her school play. To quote the title of the director’s mother’s 2009 film – it’s complicated.

Except the film mistakes the kind of enjoyably frothy complexity exemplified by the best of the genre for skin-clawing convolution that renders much of the romantic and comedically-tinged drama of Alice’s life lacking in authenticity. Not that it needs the ring of truth that comes with, say, a Ken Loach picture but you need to be able to invest and believe in these characters’ lives as presented.

The approach to gender and generational relationships is simplistic which, of course, is nothing new to a genre that, at least in its Hollywoodized state, so often throws up films meant to be taken as easy-going fluff. But it’s particularly frustrating here when it squanders the potential thrown up with the initial concept of a woman trying to find herself again once she’s out of a stale relationship by entering into one with a much younger man.

It strangely seems far more interested in the plight of the three young men working as three cogs of one creative machine – director/producer, writer and actor – to get ahead in the movie business.  But even then it smacks of implausibility, like a cheap rom-com version of the bromance found in Entourage but without any of the snarky wit or Hollywood satire. Despite decent chemistry between a likeable assembled cast, Home Again is a tough pill to swallow as it rings false through and through.

3.5 out of 10

Movie Review: Goodbye Christopher Robin 0 452

This review was previously published at The National.

The world of celebrated children’s author A. A. Milne and the creation of his beloved Winnie the Pooh stories are chronicled in this frightfully polite biopic from director Simon Curtis (My Week with Marilyn) that flirts with dipping its toes into darker waters but steadfastly clings to safe tropes and always with its top button firmly fastened.

We start off in 1941 where we find an ageing Milne (Domhnall Gleeson in questionable make-up and greyed hair) and his wife Daphne (Margot Robbie) living on their secluded East Sussex farm. They receive a telegram informing them that their son, C.R. Milne, is missing presumed dead after heading off to fight in World War Two.

We then jump back in time to Milne on the front lines of the First World War. He returns from the fighting a changed man; suffering from PTSD (popped balloons evoking sudden gunfire et al.), becoming increasingly sick of just making people laugh with his West End plays and the general hustle-bustle that comes with big city life.

He convinces his reluctant wife to move to the country for some peace and quiet and where his infant son, Christopher Robin (played by Will Tilston at the younger age, Alex Lawther as he gets older), can go on the childhood adventures he deserves with the support of loving nanny Olive (Kelly Macdonald).

Settling into the kind of serene life he craves, he is inspired to create Winnie the Pooh and the rest of his soon-to-be-beloved friends inspired by the stuffed animals with which his young son has become so enamoured. Unfortunately for Christopher – referred to by everyone as “Billy Moon” – his father uses his real name in the stories, turning him into one of the most famous boys in the nation.

Despite the obvious attraction of it exploring the world famous Pooh stories, it’s a film much more interested in the effect it has on a fractured family clinging on to peacefulness, not least the unwanted attention thrust upon a young boy who simply isn’t equipped to handle it and how his parents carry on oblivious.

If anything it takes a curiously bleak outlook on what these stories mean to the world once they’ve been put out there, conveying a somewhat confusing message for a film that ultimately wants us to celebrate these stories as immortally cherished tales; that the Winnie the Pooh embraced immediately by the public and has now stood the test of time for almost a century is in some way missing the point of what it truly means to the author and a son who, inadvertently or not, was used as a tool of innocence to sell the idea of an idyllic childhood in Milne’s Hundred Acre Wood.

It’s bolstered by almost uniformly moving performances; Gleeson plays Milne with a kind of damaged empathy that makes you feel like you get to know the author beyond the public persona. Macdonald is oftentimes heart-breaking as Christopher’s devoted caregiver and Tilston walks away with the film as the adorably sweet-natured young Christopher. It’s only with Robbie that the film makes a misstep; she’s miscast as Milne’s wife and never stepping out of the shadow of cold motherly cliché.

In spite of its darker leanings, the film remains too buttoned up to properly wrestle with those themes in any sort of lasting way, far too polite to ever dive head first into the murky waters into which the drama intermittently peers.

Wrapped in Ben Smithard’s handsomely old-fashioned cinematography and soaked in Carter Burwell’s perpetually swelling score, it’s an aesthetically and emotionally appealing but nevertheless fairly vanilla period biopic best suited to being enjoyed on a rainy Sunday afternoon with tea and biscuits.

6.5 out of 10