The first “Divergent” was mediocre at best. It’s direct sequel doesn’t even reach that level, though, as “Insurgent” came off as a complete mess. Despite lead actress Shailene Woodley’s best attempts, her dialogue remains weak and the story structure is terrible. Additionally, co-star Theo James is lifeless on screen and Academy Award winner Kate Winslet is wasted in the role of an ineffectual villain.
This was a film that I actually wanted to like. I was rooting for it. I like some of the performers like Ed Helms, Chris Hemsworth and Leslie Mann. The execution was just awful, though. More or less, this reboot just took a lot of the aspects from the original 80s film and pushed them to such a ridiculous level that it was too over the top and unrelatable. It’s a complete contrast to what made the original film (and following series) good. On top of that the movie relies way too heavily on gross-out humor and the kids were portrayed as way too mean spirited for no reason.
8. Hot Pursuit
Talk about a bad follow-up to Reese Witherspoon’s fantastic film “Wild” in 2014. “Hot Pursuit” felt so damn factory produced. The story was exactly the same as we’ve seen from other buddy cop movies and relied almost exclusively on slapstick humor. Now, this can work in some circumstances, but the acting has to be on point. Not the case in Hot Pursuit, Both Witherspoon and Vergara just seem to yell their lines for most of the movie and they hardly had any on screen chemistry.
7. The Gunman
“The Gunman” could have been a really solid picture, having strong actors such as Sean Penn, Javier Bardem and Idris Elba. Unfortunately, the movie gets weighed down by forgettable performances and limited screen time for Bardem and Elba. On top of that, the movie spends too much time on a romantic subplot that wasn’t necessary and is too slow for a ‘man on the run’ type film. It was really a bore.
What happened to Cameron Crowe? The latest movie from the director of “Jerry Maguire” was such a complete train wreck. In my review I said that “Aloha” is like a puzzle where the pieces don’t fit together, and I stand by it. There are romantic subplots, military subplots and Hawaiian politics. None of it really comes together. The lead character was also written poorly, sometimes being a down on his luck type and at others being a quick witted talker. It simply didn’t mesh.
5. Paul Blart 2
Kevin James plays a bumbling loser who keeps screwing but still takes down the bad guys. Need I say more? Completely forgettable picture.
I’m not anti-remake. If the execution is good and there is legitimate effort behind it, I can like a remake. Unfortunately, the new “Poltergeist” movie turned out to be just a waste of time. Some of the technology from the 80s counterpart is updated, but for the most part, this horror remake does nothing innovative, nothing to set it apart from the original. It failed at recapturing the creepy atmosphere and for the most part is a waste of time.
Adam Sandler is stuck in a rut, and I really hope he gets out of it soon. For now, though, he’s still there, and the latest example was this year’s movie “Pixels.” A movie that had an OK idea, but failed spectacularly in its execution. Instead of a fun film about video games that embraces the culture, “Pixels” instead relied on the same things Sandler and company have been doing for years that has gotten stale as well as just reference nostalgic games. Compare the likes of “Pixels” to what Simon Pegg and Nick Frost have been in with “Shaun of the Dead,” “Hot Fuzz” and “The World’s End,” films that took a humorous look at film genres while still embracing them. Or even “Kick-Ass” or “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World,” which were fun takes on comic books and video games respectively. “Pixels” is on the other side of the spectrum from these films, with nothing to offer than stupid slapstick. On top of that, the movie comes off as sexist as hell in some scenes.
2. Love the Coopers
“Love the Coopers” is the worst holiday movies in recent memory. Filled with clichéd humor, sloppy pacing and a horrible narration, “Love the Coopers” becomes a real chore to sit through. What’s worse is that the movie set up so many subplots in the first two acts that the resolutions to all of them come off as rushed and contrived. The movie also wasted some talented performers. Anthony Mackie’s character appeared in the first half and was fine, but he completely disappears in the second half. Then there’s June Squibb, for example, who just plays the wacky grandma.
No movie this year made me want to walk out as much as this. This year’s “Pan” was absolutely dreadful to sit through and it was pure bliss to finally see the credits start to roll. The movie starts at an orphanage where nuns are cartoonish mean when they didn’t need to be. Then it gets to Neverland where for no reason whatsoever the villain and the evil pirates sing modern day songs. As the movie goes along the audience is also submitted to an awful performance from Garrett Hedlund as Hook.
The worst part of “Pan,” though, was the main protagonist himself. In other incarnations, Peter comes off as a quick-witted, mischievous kid who gets the better of pirates through tricks. In this incarnation, though, Peter seems to be a bit too timid and there’s a bloated lore that explains his whole family which just came off as unnecessary. Along with this, the action was a complete let down. The battles aren’t exciting, the CGI was poor and the flying even looked lame.