2018 In Film Part 1: The Bad

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?

Breaking In

I see what they were trying to do. But it didn’t really work for me. The script really let it down, as did the directing. If this was a made-for-tv movie it would have been fine, but it really lacked the finesse needed for a wide cinematic release. If I didn’t have a list, I would have completely forgot I saw this film, it left no impression on me.

Original review here

+Gabrielle Union is fantastic in it.

-It looks flat and dull. Everything looks simple. Potential for stand-out scenes, ones which really stick with you, this potential is not lived up to.

The Commuter 

Have you seen a Liam Neeson film? Then you’ve seen this. Really standard fare with nothing new to it.

Original review here

+It does what it does well.

-But you’ve seen it all before.

The Darkest Minds

Similar to The Commuter. Nothing here hasn’t been done before, and done better. I was especially disappointed by it because when I first saw the trailer I thought it was some kind of X-Men body horror film, and not only was it not that, it was this. Incredibly bland, the kind of film you forget about very quickly after leaving the cinema. The best YA movie of 2000’s (just a shame it came out in 2018).

Original review here

+The intended audience will probably love it.

-A romance story where the romance doesn’t really work

Downsizing

Oh dear this was a mess. Way too long, It doesn’t make the most of the concept. Every single choice the story takes seems to be the wrong one, and we end up following possibly the most bland character in the movie. It has a lot of potential and briefly flirts with great ideas; the idea that a government is forcibly shrinking dissidents for example is a dream for a dystopian nightmare. In this, it’s used to cause a romance plot.

Original review here

+Hong Chau. Everything about her, her performance, her character, everything about it is fantastic. Shame she’s not the main character as her story is much better than the one we actually got.

-So much wasted potential.

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Although it does win the award for “most random appearance from a cast member of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”

The Equalizer 2

Did you like the first one? Then you probably won’t like this tbh. You know how sometimes a film is really successful and becomes a franchise? Each film seems progressively less like the ethos of the original, and then by the fifth one it seems to just have a slight essence of the original. Like the characters are there, but the motivations are completely different and make no sense. That’s what this one is like, like the 4th sequel to a film.

Original review here

+The sound editing. Weird thing to praise but just like the first one, it’s superb in that department.

-Waaaaay too many sub-plots.

Father Figures

This film could be on netflix right now, in fact it probably is. I wouldn’t know as I hope to never ever see it again. Everything about it seems like it was made in the 90s. It had no nuance, no cleverness, really nothing to recommend.

Original review here

+Katie Aselton’s character shares a great scene with Ed Helms, full of warmth and joy and cosiness.

-Completely pointless. I can’t imagine it being someones life ambition to make this.

The Happytime Murders

Oh dear. I really wanted to like this. It looked like it would be funny, subversive, and incredibly different to anything else. It’s none of those things. The jokes are all waaaaay too obvious, and most of them aren’t even really relevant to the film, they could be put in almost any cop film. It doesn’t do enough with the premise. And I don’t say this often, but this film would have been much better as a musical.

Original review here

+Some very funny moments.

-Nowhere near enough, and the rest of the jokes are very “first draft” ones which should have been improved. Note to the writers; just having puppets either say “fuck” or do fucks, doesn’t equal a joke.

Red Sparrow

Yup, this film existed this year. It has naked Jennifer Lawrence, was released this year, yet when was the last time you heard it being talked about? There’s a reason for that, it’s painfully dull with a script that is not as clever as it thinks it is, or as it needs to be for this genre. The dialogue is the the epitome of “telling, not showing” and despite it being over 2 hours long, barely anything about it will stay with you.

Original review here

+An effective throwback to a genre that doesn’t really exist any more

-For good reason.

The Secret Of Marrowbone

A film so bland I actually skipped past it in the list. A mess of genres which didn’t work at all, and had way too many twists. Having just one of them would have made it a much better film

Original review here

+Some good ideas. And one of the twists is really good.

-Uneven in terms of genre. Has no idea what type of film it is.

Truth Or Dare

I read reviews of this before I saw it, calling it one of the worst horror films they’ve seen in a while. “surely it can’t be that bad?” I thought, wrongly. Nothing about it works, it’s too sanitised, too poorly scripted, and you don’t give a shit about the characters. The same mistakes a lot of bad modern horror films make, really.

Original review here

+REALLY good performances. Like, REALLY good.

-That ending.

Tully

This is a film a lot of people will fall in love with. It just wasn’t for me. The characters didn’t appeal to me (and in some cases actively annoyed me), there were too many moments which seemingly were there to pad out the plot, and the ending will either entrance you or annoy me, it annoyed me.

Original review here

+Some of the dialogue is very funny.

-“that person is a figment of your imagination” endings just make me annoyed.

Winchester

Wanted to like this, I love Helen Mirren (as everybody does). It was just really boring though. Too many scenes which weren’t needed, and the scares were repetitive and stopped being effective the third time they did the same one.

Original review here

+FANTASTIC premise. Deserving of a much better film.

-Doesn’t make the most of the premise. Entirely forgettable.

 

 

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Winchester (2018)

Imagine going to see a magician. You sit in the crowd watching, wondering whether he’ll be any good. She (for the purposes of this hypothetical it’s a female magician) comes on stage and for her first trick pulls a lion out of a hat. Wow, pretty impressive. Then for her next trick, she turns a bouquet of flowers into a Ford Fiesta, again you’re impressed. She then produces a hat, you’re excited to see what she’ll do, you anxiously await to see what will happen. Drum roll, lights dim, and she slowly reaches into the hat and pulls out……a lion. I mean, that’s still impressive, but less so than it was before.  But then she gets another bouquet of flowers out. You fear the worst, and she does the worst, transforming them again into a Ford Fiesta. She repeats those two tricks for the entire night. Now, no matter how impressive those tricks were the first time you saw them, would you still consider that a good show? No, you’d consider it a waste of time and ask for your money back. That, pretty much, is what watching this film is like. It runs out of steam after the opening scares, which, by the way, aren’t needed. You can cut the entire opening and it wouldn’t affect the film at all. Actually, it might improve it as it would save some of the creepy visuals for later.

I really wish this film was better. It has a great concept, someone has acquired vast sums of wealth but feel guilty by the deaths caused by it, so seeks to make amends to those who have died. That would be a great character-driven drama to have. It also wastes the location. It’s set in a house that’s constantly changing and with no real floor plan. That’s PERFECT for a horror film. A house that’s a maze, trapping people in there making you wonder if the house is genuinely set up like that or if the characters are losing their minds. Actually, that would be a great survival horror video game; you’re locked in an ever-changing house and need to escape before you starve to death and the longer you last the harder it gets as you start to suffer hallucinations.

And now back to the film. It has its good points. There’s a scene near the end where a room full of guns suddenly rise and point themselves at the main character, it’s a beautifully composed shot in an otherwise visually-lacking film. The story has potential but never really fully lives up to what you think it can do. The performances are……..okay. Helen Mirren deserves better than this. Jason Clarke continues to be a dependable “where do I know that guy from? Oh right, ALMOST EVERYTHING” guy. His performances are usually pretty good, but every single one makes it seem like he’s the guy they get in to replace the actor when a successful film franchise goes straight to DVD. I’ve never really found much to fault with his performances, but I’ve also never been overly impressed, he’s just been there, like the casting equivalent of white bread.

I think that’s the best way to describe this film actually; bland. When I come to the end of year list this will be really hard to write about and place as I don’t think I’m going to be able to remember much about it, in fact, if I didn’t keep a list I’m not sure I’d even remember I saw it. Helen Mirren deserves better, the story deserves better, and the audience deserves better. It kind of feels like a modern remake of a far superior film.