From confusing entries from directors like Cameron Crowe to downright awful efforts from emerging filmmakers, there was lots to complain about when it comes to this year in film.
Below, find excerpts from reviews of this year’s worst movies. If you hate your life and would like to see it pass more quickly, click on each one to find out if you can still catch it somewhere.
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N: These films bombed this year
88 (action, thriller): 88 runs for 88 minutes, but it really shouldn’t. There’s barely an hour of plot, revisited again and again in flash-cut montages designed to add an intensity the story itself can’t muster.
Aloha (drama, comedy, romance): Aloha is the first time Cameron Crowe has delivered something that feels like a genuine disaster. It’s a movie that has no clear point of view, no apparent tone and not even a semblance of dramatic tension.
American Heist (action, crime, drama): It’s the sort of familiar, warmed-over crime drama that would be a lot more fun if it had let Hayden Christensen’s character realize he’s actually trapped in a feeble rip-off of Michael Mann’s Heat.
Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young, The (documentary): It’s hard to care when you can’t connect to the characters. Organizer Lazarus Lake, however, gets tons of screen time to offer smug commentary, every second of which is infuriating.
Boy Next Door, The (thriller, mystery): Everyone involved seems confident they’re making a terrible movie, so the actors adjust their performances for camp.
Chappie (action, crime, sci-fi): Blomkamp’s genius, at least in terms of marketing, is that he can always find a simple, easily digestible metaphor on which to hang his sloppy, derivative action mechanics.
Cobbler, The (comedy, fantasy, drama): It’s basically a tone-deaf remake of Sam Raimi’s Darkman, with Adam Sandler using his mystical power to goof on annoying jerks and help a nice young woman (Melonie Diaz) fight a scheming developer (Ellen Barkin) bent on gentrifying their neighbourhood.
Cocksure Lads Movie, The (comedy, music, drama): It feels like writer-director Foster called in a lot of favours to get this made but never figured out how to fit his caricatured rockers into the more realistic setting of contemporary Toronto.
Gallows, The (horror): Don’t expect many thrills from hanging around The Gallows. It’s a horror movie whose climax brought derisive laughter from the preview audience.
Games Maker, The (adventure, family): This unbelievably incompetent Harry Potter knockoff is destined for the DVD bargain bin.
Get Hard (comedy, crime): There are ideas in Get Hard. Actual ideas. Under all the shouting and ass play and borderline minstrelsy of its black and gay characters, this is a movie that wants us to think about stuff, at least for a minute or two.
How To Make Love Like An Englishman (comedy, romance): Tom Vaughan’s romantic comedy trivializes so many serious issues, it should be called A Moron’s Guide To The Real World.
Hunting Elephants (drama): Hunting Elephants can’t even be enjoyed ironically believe me, I tried.
Intruders, The (thriller): The Intruders stacks the deck with all the familiar horror signposts, as if straying from clichés were the most frightening thing of all.
Journey Home, The (adventure, family): The Journey Home, the thoroughly lacklustre and frequently incompetent tale of a boy taking a polar bear cub to be reunited with its mother, is all clichés and nature photography rolled together with as much care as it takes to build a snowman.
Krampus (horror, comedy): This will be attractive to a certain strain of horror nerd, raised on cool posters for movies that never really delivered on their marketing.
Last Knights (action, adventure): Kaz I Kiriya‘s Last Knights is set in a medieval world where an empire reaches across the whole world, enveloping “people of every race, colour and creed” – which at least explains why Morgan Freeman speaks in an American accent while everyone else is English or trying to be.
Love, Rosie (comedy, romance): Even by the low standards of the genre, the film is a mess, full of eye-rolling coincidences, secondary characters from a Richard Curtis film and so many trans-Atlantic trips it appears that London is a 30-minute commute from Boston (which is played by Toronto anyway).
Love The Coopers (comedy): Love The Coopers offers ideal festive entertainment for anyone who felt Love Actually was too subtle and funny. A talented ensemble cast is wasted in this nauseatingly manipulative and sentimental bit of holiday swill that hasn’t a single saving grace.
Mangiacake (comedy): There’s no sense of place (apparently it was shot in Ottawa), MacPherson’s Lilianna seems never to have met her daughters before, and the atonal romantic development in the second half isn’t properly set up.
Max (family, adventure): Max makes American Sniper look like a complex, nuanced portrait of American patriotism.
Mortdecai (action, comedy, mystery): Mortdecai is a disaster. More precisely, it is a disaster specifically because of Depp. He’s lost himself in annoying characters before, but what he does in Mortdecai is unparalleled in its self-indulgence and wrong-headedness. It is a preening and obnoxious rendering of the most annoying character imaginable.
Depp is so awful in Mortdecai, he ruins the genuinely promising elements of the picture: fun supporting turns by McGregor and Paltrow, a knockout comic performance by Paul Bettany as Charlie’s long-suffering manservant, a chic score by Geoff Zanelli and Mark Ronson and a really well-crafted car chase through Moscow.
My Ex-Ex (comedy, romance): In My Ex-Ex – a rom-com that André Bharti wrote, produced and stars in – an extremely drunk female played by Emily Alatalo (frequently characterized in the movie as a slut) enjoys double penetration from two men… when she’s not throwing up on them.
No Depo$it (drama): No Depo$it is the latest act of cinematic self-love from Toronto hyphenate Frank D’Angelo, the brewery magnate and restaurateur who makes terrible movies in his spare time and somehow books them into theatres.
Outcast (action, adventure): For an action movie, Outcast is really boring.
Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 (comedy): Unexpectedly, most of the running time is dedicated to sentimental schmaltz about how Blart learns to love himself and let his daughter (Raini Rodriguez) grow up, so even those inclined to laugh at the barrel-scraping Happy Madison gags won’t leave satisfied.
Perfect Guy, The (drama, thriller): It’s so perfectly predictable that some of the almost all-female audience giggled all the way through and called out dialogue lines before they were spoken on screen.
Playing It Cool (comedy, romance): It’s The F Word, only it’s set in and around Los Angeles instead of Toronto, and rather than having Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan grapple with platonic buddyship, Justin Reardon‘s comedy stars Chris Evans and Michelle Monaghan as its should-be lovers.
Serial (Bad) Weddings (comedy): So few Gallic films get a theatrical run in Toronto, it’s a farce that this offensive, unfunny comedy should be one of them.
Seventh Son (action, adventure, fantasy): Unlike The Hobbit, Seventh Son is over quickly, like ripping off a band-aid. Soon enough we won’t even remember the pain.
Sleeping With Other People (comedy): This is a contrived, witless, utterly infuriating movie. Barely five minutes in, I wanted to pick it up and shake it like a snow globe in the hope that the elements would then settle in a more pleasing manner.
Alison Brie (left) and Jason Sudeikis try to keep it platonic in Sleeping With Other People.
Survivor (thriller): I’m pretty sure I wasn’t supposed to laugh out loud at several points during the press screening of Survivor, but at least I wasn’t the only one.
Taken 3 (action): There is no redeeming value to Taken 3. We don’t get the satisfaction of a well-made action movie, the pleasure of elaborate stunt work or the pure joy of watching Liam Neeson badass his way through a bunch of heavies.
Ted 2 (comedy): MacFarlane’s inability to manage tone, combined with his boundless self-regard, leaves Ted 2 a shapeless mess of lazy jokes and half-assed narrative.
Unfinished Business (comedy): Jammed between pratfalls that include a man’s face and a penis coming together is a sentimental story about the challenges of being a good, supportive dad. The movie wants you to hug your family – but wait, whoa, look at those tatas!
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