All week, we at mxdwn will be looking back at what the cinema had to offer in 2015. Before we get to the good stuff and start celebrating the very best achievements of the year, our staff compiled a list of their absolute least favorite movies of 2015, our cinematic shame so to speak. Take and gander.
THE AGE OF ADALINE
This film didn’t ever seem to know what it was, and neither did its star Blake Lively. Combining romance, several periods of time, unexplained magic, and an attempt at Tim Burton-style whimsy, The Age of Adaline never found solid ground. Lively provides a stiff performance as the film’s ageless beauty and a misplaced appearance by Harrison Ford only adds to the feeling that this movie is all over the place. The costuming is gorgeous, but doesn’t make up for the erratic story and casting.
Boring, unwieldy, hard to follow film with uninvolving characters and non-sequitur touches that leave one wondering, just what was Cameron Crowe thinking in the first place?
ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: ROAD CHIP
Do I really have to say anything?
CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA
Read our review.
Two amazing actresses struggle to portray characters that are never given the room to breathe. The dialogue is often stilted and the story seems to go on and on without ever getting anywhere. Despite their talents, Kristen Stewart and Juliette Binoche are unable to give any life into Olivier Assayas’s film.
An obvious choice, yes. But have you seen this thing? Just who or what is to blame for this mess of a superhero film- absurd amounts of studio interference; an inexperienced director in way over his head, little to no understanding of the titular heroes on anyone’s part, Tim Heidecker- is irrelevant at this point. Any hint of what Fox’s Fantastic Four reboot could’ve or should’ve been is buried under a filthy stinking pile of cynicism, drab color palettes, unclear character motivations, bland performances, uninspired special effects, rushed plot points and a pathetic and obvious longing to be part of the MCU (they even have a discount S.H.I.E.L.D. show up!). Can we just get this franchise back to Marvel and be done with it?
Watching this movie all the way through is probably the most difficult and unpleasant experiences I’ve had with movies ever. Boring and uneventful, this remake of the Fantastic Four squanders the abilities of its young and talented cast. The fault here lies with the script, which was uninteresting and confusing, dragging the film along and down as it continued.
There’s no simple way of putting it, this film was just excrement. It impossibly makes the aborted Roger Corman Fantastic Four of the 90s (made to just hold on to character film rights) look like brilliance. The performances are wooden, the story bizarre and confusing, allegiances break and our re-formed again without justification and the movie suddenly decides to be incredibly violent for about ten minutes and then somehow not. Never mind the ending that is so obviously grafted to the end of the film. Just pure crap.
Regardless of the film we got versus the film director Josh Trank claims to have made, the film we got was terrible with no true identity. The film feels like it belongs from the post-Spider-Man wave of superhero films of the likes of Daredevil, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and, of course, the previous Fantastic Four films. More than its worn out origin stories or cliché ending, the worst crime of all is that the excellent young cast is wasted. We have seen excellent performances from Miles Teller (Whiplash), Kate Mara (House of Cards), and Michael B. Jordan (Creed) but here they don’t have the material or direction to salvage this trainwreck.
Read our discussion.
This film obviously has its niche crowd it’s delivering to, but enough is enough. This overblown car-on-steroids franchise delivers on explosion and women, but little else. How many more binds can Dom and company film themselves in before something actually happens to then other than amnesia.
It’s so convoluted and never really grabs our attention other than its set pieces–which seem to be the only thing it’s concerned with. I can’t recommend this movie to anyone just based on the fact that it’s terrible.
THE LAZARUS EFFECT
Read our review.
In a year that gave us Fantastic Four and Jupiter Ascending, The Lazarus Effect still wins out for worst film of 2015. Blumhouse’s biggest clunker of the year, The Lazarus Effect takes great care to drain all the tension and imagination out of its already tired premise, turning what could have been a sci-fi horror romp into a lazy joke. This is a film where death by choking on an e-cigarette is horror, not comedy. The Lazarus Effect is a new low in lowest-common denominator horror trash; the only thing scary about it is how stupid it is.
Since seeing this movie in January, Mortdecai has stuck with me in all the wrong ways. Never funny, never clever and never fun, this movie was a painful watch. Johnny Depp’s career has been on the fritz for a few years now, but his mustachioed Mortdecai was a new low. Cringe-inducing doesn’t even begin to explain how I feel about this movie and performance.
Read our review.
Yep, I’m going there…come at me. Beautifully photographed for sure (cinematographer extraordinaire Emmanuel Lubezki may well pick up his third consecutive Oscar following previous triumphs Gravity and Birdman), but so rigorous, dreary and serious in all caps, The Revenant is within an inch of full-on camp. (I dare you not to get the “church giggles” during the bear attack sequence which just keeps going and going.) Director Alejandro González Iñárritu’s bloody, joyless and tedious two-and-a-half-hour chronicle of one man’s suffering (embodied by a committed but ultimately impenetrable leading turn by an Oscar-bound Leonardo DiCaprio and featuring Tom Hardy in a supporting role with all of nuance of Yosemite Sam) is so ponderous and striving to be a “the greatest of its kind” epic that it seemingly never occurred to anyone that perhaps a simplistic tool like a screenplay may have been a good starting off point. Whatever was going through Iñárritu’s brain (and whatever was driving him- ego or madness), he’s crafted a gorgeous pile of dung that continues his recurring and ever-pleasant theme of “doomed and martyred manly men with suicidal tenancies.”
Read our review.
There are a lot of contenders for worst movie of 2015 – and I’ve seen Pixels, Fantastic Four and War Room. However, I give the nod to Terminator: Genisys. The movie has such disdain towards fans of The Terminator series that it goes beyond shameless cash grab into something a bit more cynical and malevolent. Clearly, a lot of money went into this movie, but it was directed towards a hollow soulless product in a world full of hollow soulless products. Downer actors like Jai Courtney and Emilia Clarke, wasted good actors like J.K. Simmons and Matt Smith, needless plot twists like John Connor being a Terminator were all in service to a movie whose sole mission was throwing as many Terminator callbacks in the hopes to distract us from the nothingness at its core. Sure, many modern tentpoles are essentially branded placeholders that only exist to set up sequels (e.g. The Amazing Spider-Man), but none so gleefully destroyed an original beloved timeline to give us nothing in return – at least Star Trek kept Original Spock.
-Brett Harrison Davinger
Agree? Disagree? Sound off in the comments.