It pains me to see that current events will forever taint this movie in my memory. This film was the last one I saw at the cinema before the coronavirus happened. So this might be the last recent review we post for a while (an update will be up shortly regarding our status in regards to continuing this site). That’s a shame as this movie deserves better, it’s an incredibly solid piece of film-making, albeit frustratingly inconsistent. It does some things brilliantly but then does the same thing badly a few minutes later, almost like it was made by two separate people.
The main areas of this for me: visuals and audio. There were times where the film seemed to think “music played at a volume that causes it to muffle” is tension. When it happens in climactic scenes and the music is built towards, then yes it is effective, but there are times where it seems just annoying. Similar with visuals, there are some brilliantly subtle moments, where we just see a breath cloud in the background. But this is let down by other scenes which take place in a frustrating amount of darkness. I get the appeal of hiding a lot, Alien etc did it well, but that was done differently. This was done where the main characters were in darkness, so all you could see were blurry shadows moving around slowly.
Now onto the good; the performances. Elisabeth Moss is PERFECT here. Her broken nature is obvious for everyone to see. Even when her partner isn’t on the screen you can see the effect he has had on her just through her performance. She anchors this entire film brilliantly; if her performance wasn’t as good as it is then the film would suffer.
The worry with taking a classic story like this is making it appropriate for the modern age. “scientists and a special magic potion” isn’t really a formula (hah, science pun) that works for modern movie audiences. Maybe this is because people have access to the internet so fraudulent science will be found out easily. They updated this in the best way possible; it’s a suit made of cameras. This not only is a perfectly logical way to fix some flaws in the power of invisibility (vision works on reflection so if you’re invisible, you can’t see either), it being cameras fixes this. Plus it causes a great scene where the suit gets damaged and starts to glitch in and out of visibility.
So in summary; if you get a chance you should definitely watch this. It’s brutal when it needs to be, but is incredibly human too. If the Dark Universe started with this instead of The Mummy (or the Dracula one they attempted to start it with) then maybe it wouldn’t have been dead on arrival. It’s slow but it makes the most of the time, and it has a truly chilling ending.
Hard to say really. The issues with it are ones which you could easily imagine being ones which were mandated by the studio. So I wonder whether the actual scriptwriters are to blame or whether it was mandated from up above. There were A LOT of issues with this film, but the plot was actually relatively consistent. Out of the films nominated I’d say The Mummy had the worst script in terms of consistency and storytelling, with at least the opening 20% being completely worthless, repetition of the origin (they must go over it at least 3 times during it), and WAY too much narration. If I include films which weren’t nominated I’d go with either Geostorm (because I’m pretty sure the script for that was just “Science! Explosions! Romance!”), or The Dark Tower, for being an incomprehensible mess.
Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-off or Sequel
Boo 2! A Madea Halloween
Fifty Shades Darker*
Transformers: The Last Knight
Did it deserve it?
No idea. I try to see as many films as possible, but if I know a film will be diabolically awful, I will avoid it, doubly so if it’s a sequel to a film I haven’t seen/disliked. As such, I didn’t watch 50 Shades (or Transformers for that matter). In terms of films that were nominated: The Mummy was a much worse film, but Baywatch was a more confusing film in terms of brand identity. Fans of the original would not like it, so why bother making it? So I’d say Baywatch should have won, for that reason, and because I get the feeling The Mummy is going to be winning a lot more before this blog’s out, and if I say it should win any more I’m going to begin to feel like I’m kicking a wounded dog. If it was extended to films not nominated, I’d go with Rings. A film so bland I’ve almost forgotten it existed.
Worst Screen Combo
Any combination of two characters, two sex toys, or two sexual positions – Fifty Shades Darker
Any combination of two humans, two robots, or two explosions: Transformers: The Last Knight
Any Two Obnoxious Emoji’s – The Emoji Movie*
Johnny Depp & his worn-out drunk routine – Pirates Of The Carribean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
Tyler Perry and either the ratty old dress or worn out wig – Boo 2: A Madea Halloween
Did it deserve it?
As the only one of those films I’ve actually seen, I can’t say I entirely disagree with it. Although I’m not really sure it counts as a combo, I feel this award isn’t being taken seriously (weird, I know). but in terms of actors who had absolutely zero chemistry, I’d have to consider Power Rangers. This film is dependent on their being tremendous chemistry between the group, and that’s not there. Which is a shame, I’m not saying it would make the film brilliant, but it would improve it. But the winner, by a country mile (or a city mile, whichever is longer), is Cara Delevingne and Dane DeHaan in Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets. If you were somehow able to witness a complete vacuum, where nothing existed inside it, there’d still be more chemistry in that than between these two actors.
Worst Supporting Actress
Goldie Hawn – Snatched
Kim Basinger – Fifty Shades Darker*
Laura Haddock – Transformers: The Last Knight
Sofia Boutella – The Mummy
Susan Sarandon – A Bad Mom’s Christmas
Did It Deserve It?
Again, no idea as didn’t see it. This category represents a problem I have with these awards in general, they don’t distinguish between a bad performance and a bad film. The Mummy was not a good film, but Sofia Boutella is not the reason for that. They weren’t great performances, but they weren’t noticeably bad, the problems were with the films themselves, or the way the characters are written, not the performances. Plus, considering she’s the title character, is Sofia Boutella really a “supporting” character in that movie? If anything, Annabelle Wallis’s character is the supporting one. For sake of clarity, I’d suppose I’d give this to Kate McKinnon for Rough Night, mainly because of her accent.
Worst Supporting Actor
Anthony Hopkins: Collide, and Transformers The Last Knight
Javier Bardem – Mother, Pirates Of The Carribean
Josh Duhamel – Transformers: The Last Knight
Mel Gibson – Daddy’s Home 2*
Russell Crowe – The Mummy
Did It Deserve It?
No. Russell Crowe did. His performance was over-exaggerated and not in a good way. It was so hard to take seriously as a performance that it was almost laughable. I didn’t see Daddy’s Home, but I cannot believe the performance was worse. If it was down to any film: Matt Passmore from Jigsaw. A performance so flat it’s almost 2-dimensional.
Dakota Johnson – Fifty Shades Darker
Emma Watson – The Circle
Jennifer Lawrence – Mother!
Katherine Heigl – Unforgettable
Tyler Perry – Boo 2! A Madea Halloween*
Did it deserve it?
I didn’t watch any of these (luckily). But I’m going to say yes, purely because I’m bored of typing that title out again and again. Find it hard to believe Jennifer Lawrence was nominated for this, I’d heard her performance was really impressive, albeit in a divisive film. If it was down to any film: Cara Delevingne in Valerian. I defended her performance in Suicide Squad (the first half of it anyway), but I won’t in this.
Jamie Dornan – Fifty Shades Darker
Johnny Depp – Pirates Of The Carribean
Mark Whalberg – Daddy’s Home 2, Transformers: The Last Night
Tom Cruise – The Mummy*
Zac Efron – Baywatch
Did it deserve it?
Yes. Although I think the choice to cast him was worse than any performance choices he made in this film. He is completely the wrong actor for this type of role at this stage in his career. If I included films that weren’t nominated: Jamie Foxx in Sleepless. As a fan of professional wrestling, I understand the importance of selling when it comes to performances. For example; if a character gets hit in the leg, acts hurt for a few seconds, but then in the next scene is running and jumping perfectly normally, it ruins the illusion of what happened. It doesn’t matter if in the next scene you show his leg hurting again, that moment where the audience realised it was fine completely ruins it, even on a subconscious level. That was the issue with this film; Jamie Foxx plays the character as a normal action hero, as opposed to one who is tired, oh, and GOT STABBED IN THE ABDOMEN IN THE SAME DAY! If you don’t watch the opening scenes, you wouldn’t notice the character is in pain. Completely takes you out of the film. I’m not sure if that’s down to him, or the director, but either way it’s a terrible decision.
Alex Kurtzman – The Mummy
Darren Aronofsky – Mother!
James Foley – Fifty Shades Darker
Michael Bay – Transformers: The Last Knight
Tony Leondis – The Emoji Movie*
Did it deserve it?
Fuck it, I’m going with The Mummy again. For how they made the villain look ridiculous, and for the length of the opening narration. As a director, he should have questioned that moment in the script and refused to do it. If it came down to any film, The Bye Bye Man. The script let it down for sure, but the directing choices didn’t help. Completely ineffective at building any tension at all. As such it didn’t work as a horror movie, actually, I’m not entirely sure it worked as a movie either.
Fifty Shades Darker
The Emoji Movie*
Transformers: The Last Knight
Did it deserve it?
No. It was not as terrible as it seemed. Although to be fair, nothing could be as bad as the reviews made this seem. And I’m really surprised Baywatch was nominated, there was nothing terribly notable about it in terms of terrible films, and if that was nominated, why not CHiPS? That was far worse in every way and had an extremely problematic approach to its female characters. Out of the nominees, again, The Mummy is the (un)lucky winner. In terms of any film: Wish Upon, for reasons I go into here.
So there it is, the best of the worst. Surprised that The Book Of Henry wasn’t nominated, neither was The Space Between Us, The Mountain Between Us, or Shut In. They were notable in how bad they were. The worst you can say about a lot of the nominees this year is that they were bland.
Okay, the title is oversimplifying it a lot. These are just films I didn’t like, some aren’t necessarily bad, but were more a victim of hype. There’s going to be a few (and I can guess which ones) which a lot of people will disagree with, but taste is subjective so here goes, if you disagree, let us know with which ones. How I chose what to go in this was simple: these are the films that even if they were on tv and I had nothing to watch, I’d unplug my television and leave the house just so I don’t accidentally watch it. Oh, and there’s plenty of spoilers, so, be wary of that. In alphabetical order because, well how the darn else would I do it?
Why does this exist? Seriously, was anybody calling out for a remake of a pretty forgettable tv show? Doesn’t really work, at all. I think it’s because the show itself doesn’t have a massive fanbase, it hasn’t really entered the popular culture that much. Also, the film itself is bad. Not just bad, kind of problematic too. I don’t want to get all “SJW” here but one of the female characters in this film is basically just a vagina that rewards the main character with sex. She starts off hating him then grows to like him because, well, because the script tells her to. It’s not just her, most of the female characters are written as trophies for people to attain.
+ At least the cast look like they’re enjoying themselves.
-Almost everything else.
Genuinely thought this came out a few years ago. Would not have guessed this came out in 2017, I’d have guessed 2015 or something like that. Pretty much the film equivalent of a cheap cheeseburger, disposable, and you won’t remember it a few minutes after you finish it.
+Kumail Nanjiani is really funny in it. Not his best work this year, but he provides the best work in this film. Also, the story itself actually works. Characters motivations make sense.
-Doesn’t have enough jokes that land to really be effective.
Again, and this will come up a lot for this year (this blog in particular); why does this film exist? Is it the 90’s again? I don’t know too much about science (as my GCSE results show) but this film still set off my “that seems like bullshit” sirens (not as bad as the complete abomination that was After Earth, but still). Oh, and the ending was a fucking cop-out. Did one of those “the hero sacrifices himself for the greater good, everybody cry. Oh wait, nevermind, they got saved so the death doesn’t happen and meant nothing just for the sake of a happy ending” endings so they can have both the emotional climax and the happy ending instead of actually having to risk anything. Which reminds me, fuck Iron Man 3, I like that film more than most people but they should have had the guts to kill Paltrow in it.
+The action set pieces work and look good.
-Ed Harris turns out to be the bad guy, I think we were supposed to be surprised by that but it just seemed really obvious.
King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword
This is what happens when you write a film with the sole intention of setting up a franchise and deliberately hold back so much for sequels that you don’t put enough in it. The story and the style of directing didn’t mesh well together, it would be like directing Halloween using lots of bright colours and a spice girls soundtrack.
+Technically well directed.
-The box office returns have pretty much killed all hopes for it to be a franchise, so this story will forever be incomplete.
On rotten tomatoes this film has a score of 8%, I think that’s too high. Overly earnest and with a twist that’s so obvious I’m not sure it’s really a twist. A complete waste of both the audiences time and the actor’s talents. Everyone involved is much too good to be in this film.
+Very well directed, the story isn’t great but Farren Blackburn at least made it look good.
-Predictable as hell.
I’ve seen quite a few bad films at the cinema, but rarely are they as tedious as this was. You’d think a 90-minute action film set in Las Vegas would be exciting, you’d be wrong. The only reason certain things happen is because characters are idiots, for example at one point the villain points a loaded gun at the main character, now instead of shooting him, he takes a few steps backwards and gets run over a van (which he somehow didn’t hear coming, in an empty parking lot, the emptiness of which I have a problem with also). I’ve seen defences of this say “yeah but as long as you don’t think too hard about it it works. It’s just dumb fun”. And they’re half right, it’s dumb. It’s not nitpicking to point out that someone who has been stabbed (and for whom the wound continues bleeding for 4 hours) should be weakened by that. But nope, the only indication of it is that he occasionally stops and goes “ah”. A stab wound has the same effect as an ice cream headache. It’s a shame as the cast do their job well, it’s just the script is kinda dumb. There are some odd choices when it comes to directing too. You know that “shaky cam fight scene” that the Bourne movies use? They do that here, only they do it for EVERYTHING in the fight. Someone walks away after the fight; Shaky Bourne Camera, someone gets their phone out to phone someone: Shaky Bourne Camera. It also ends with the most obvious sequel hook in a long time, yet considering everybody in the cinema stood up the very second the credits started, I don’t think it’s going to be looked forward to that much. Maybe I’m spoiled by John Wick, which set my standards unbelievably high, but still, not a great film, it’s not even a good one. Which is a shame as it should be good, the story is at its base a very compelling one; a severely injured person in an action movie in a city that never sleeps. Opportunities for lots of good set pieces and should look superb. But nope, just dull.
-So dumb and flawed that it’s impossible to look past them.
Not bad, just disappointing. Very bland, the kind of film you see and then immediately forget. Shame as it has some very good moments in it, but some of the jokes fall flat and land not with raucous laughter, but with silence. Same with directing too, a lot of the visual and editing decisions are kind of strange. All in all, it seems like every part of it was the first draft, every shot closing not with “perfect, one more for safety” but “that will do for now”. Same with the script, entire scenes seem like bits which should have been taken out in a second draft.
+Joan Cusack is brilliant.
-The sense of disappointment that this is Goldie Hawn’s first film in over a decade.
The Belko Experiment
Not really a fan of it. For this film to work you need it to be one of two things:
Really stylish and brutal.
This is neither. It seems to run out of ideas by the end of the trailer. It would be a really good short film, but for it to be a full-length feature it needs something else, it needs a twist, it needs to amaze and surprise you in the final third, it needs something, ANYTHING that you didn’t see coming. As it is….nothing. It doesn’t say or do anything really unique and fresh.
+Good performances in it. John Gallagher Jr. is particularly impressive.
The Bye Bye Man
A film that really earnt the bad reviews it got. This film fails because of one thing; it does a TERRIBLE job of mythology setting. It doesn’t build up the villain at all really. As such you don’t really know much about the motivations, powers, etc. It also did something that way too many horror movies do lately that I detest: hallucinations as scares (seriously, that’s happened in a ridiculously high amount of films lately). Basically “argh, scary thing, oh wait it’s not real, OR IS IT? no, it’s not, OR IS IT?” repeated ad nauseam.
+Would be a good first draft.
-A lot of things are bad about this film, but the worst is still the title.
The Dark Tower
It’s very, very bad. Idris Elba really needs to fire his agent, out of a cannon, into a brick wall so he can’t convince him what roles to take any more. Really, he deserves better than this, actually, he deserves better than most films he’s in. A shame as he is good, he just seems to pick bad roles when it comes to film. Very disappointed with this as I was intrigued by the trailers, I thought all the bad reviews were wrong, but nope, they were accurate. It’s just as bad as the reviews say. I read a review that summed it up well:
“Elba’s a good Roland in a movie that doesn’t allow him to actually embody the character in any meaningful way. He’s undercut at every turn. The strongest stuff in the film is when Roland and Jake are bonding, but that relationship is so accelerated that there’s no room for an arc.”
I don’t say this often for terrible films, but this really could have benefited from being longer. 95 minutes is waaaaaay too short to delve into the mythology the books created.
+Matthew McConaughey is compelling as hell as the villain.
-A PG-13 adaptation of a Stephen King book that’s also really short. No way in hell this would work.
The Emoji Movie
So bland. Not even bad enough for me to say anything funny about it. Despite what some reviewers may say it’s not proof of all that is wrong with society, it’s not entirely evil, it’s just shit. Product placement was so blatant that it is slightly uncomfortable though.
+The non Emoji bits are actually pretty good and tell a good story. If this was done by Pixar it could have worked.
-This movie exists. This is like if you made a Tetris or Minecraft movie. Oh, wait, what’s that? Both of those are happening? F*ck you Hollywood.
The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)
A very Adam Sandler and Ben Stiller movie, for better and for worse (mostly worse). I don’t think I like Noah Baumbach as a writer. Nothing personal it’s just his stuff kind of grates with me for some reason. Basing this entirely on this and While We’re Young, but they both seemed very similar to me. Uncompelling characters talking way too much and being way too old to be acting like they are. Also, it’s the sense of false cosiness, it’s like a fake fireplace in a chain restaurant. You get what they’re going for but didn’t really hit it.
+Dustin Hoffman is delightful.
-During way too many moments did the thought “Stop whining and just move on already” enter my head.
You know what I said earlier about CHiPs having no reason to exist? Yup, same here. You know what I said earlier about King Arthur showing how it’s a bad idea to make a film with the intention of setting up a franchise? Yup, same here. You know what I said earlier about Geostorm attempting an emotional ending that backs away at the last minute? Yup, same here. And if you think this entry was repetitious, just try watching this fucking film.
+Sofia Boutella is really good in it and her character is actually very well done.
-Can be best summed up in two reviews I read: “The film delivers all the chases, explosions, zombies and ghosts you could ask for, and there are a few amusing lines and creepy moments, but, between the headache-inducing flashbacks and hallucinations, the narrative would be easier to follow if it were written in hieroglyphics”. and “some nice moments but is basically a mess. The plot sags like an aeon-old decaying limb, a jumble of ideas and scenes from what looks like different screenplay drafts”
The Space Between Us
I was actually looking forward to this. But no, just no. Asa Butterfield, Britt Robertson, and Gary Oldman do the best with what they can, but what they’re given was not great. My main issue is the obvious lack of scientific accuracy. May seem a bit nerdy, but it’s not high-level science they fail, what they do is the equivalent of a medical TV show saying “she got pregnant because she held hands with a man”. You wouldn’t see that on a TV show as it’s obviously false and only belongs in Alabama sex education classes.
+An interesting story underneath it all.
-Albeit very badly told.
A really good idea; a box that grants wishes but needs blood sacrifice to work. Could be a really compelling script about the moral quandary that goes on with an item like this. But nope, the main character is never bothered by what she did. She seems selfish and hateful to the point where when (spoilers) she dies at the end you don’t really care, you just think “okay, the villain’s dead now, good”. Shame as Joey King was REALLY good in other films but now I don’t trust her as an actress. The film itself also is kind of bland, Every idea it has comes from a better film.
+Shannon Purser is fantastic in this.
-Slightly racist in parts, really badly developed characters, a main character it’s impossible to root for.