10 Worst Films of 2012!

December 30, 2013 in Best Of, Movie Reviews, Reviews

Yep, it’s that time of the year again — the time to name my worst movies from…last year. I suck, I know, but it still has to be done. I have on record 109 films from the year 2012 (ie, with an official release date of 2012, not necessarily watched in 2012) which I’ve reviewed on this blog, and I have sifted through all of them to present you with a list of the worst of the worst.

As it turned out, the “worst of” list was much easier to compile than my “best of” list this year, a reflection of the overall quality of films from 2012. Either that or I just watch a lot of crap movies. Either way, here they are…

(click on the movie title for the full review)

In reverse order:

10. Mirror Mirror (2012)

Someone get me a pair of tweezers

Someone get me a pair of tweezers

There were two Snow White films last year, and neither of them were very good. But for all its faults, Snow White and the Huntsman was at least watchable. Mirror Mirror, on the other hand, starring Lily Collins’ eyebrows and the ghost of Julia Roberts, was atrociously bad. Though it wasn’t badly made, the end product was lame, unfunny, uninspired and lacking in any genuine warmth or excitement. It was a snoozer of the worst kind.

9. Rites of Passage (2012)

Christian Slater speaks to a sock puppet

Christian Slater speaks to a sock puppet

The proof that success in Hollywood is fickle. Christian Slater, Stephen Dorff and Wes Bentley star in this straight-to-DVD laugher about serial killers, hillbillies and talking monkey sock puppets. Imagine a slasher film with all the worst cliches imaginable, including the stupid and unlikable characters. This was worse.

8. To the Wonder (2012)

Imagine this for two hours

Imagine nothing but this for two hours

A controversial choice, perhaps, considering it was written and directed by the worshipped Terrence Malick. But To the Wonder, for me, was the kind of pretentious tripe that would be absolutely ridiculed if it were the product of a lesser known director. Even in this case there were many critics who loathed this arty farty film full of dancing and prancing through the meadows, cornfields and streets with 50 rapid takes of the same scene. Sure, it’s pretty to look at, if you like that kind of stuff, but as a film experience this was a waste of time.

7. The Apparition (2012)

Grab higher or lower?

Grab higher or lower?

This star vehicle for Twilight‘s Ashley Greene had somewhat of an intriguing premise that lasted about two minutes. From then on it was the usual crap you would expect from a generic haunting movie that steals — very poorly, might I add — from horror films you’ve seen over the years, topped off with one heck of a silly, predictable ending.

6. What to Expect When You’re Expecting (2012)

This pic says it all

This pic says it all

I’m actually surprised that this film was not higher on the list. Movies based on bestselling self-help books are made to land on my “worst of” lists, and this one is no different. Star-studded ensemble cast having way too much fun amongst themselves to the boredom and disgust of everyone else. It’s saccharine, manipulative and just plain bad.

5. Paranormal Activity 4 (2012)

Like we haven't seen this before

Like we haven’t seen this before

Paranormal Activity films are a sure thing to land on my “worst of” list every year, and this year is no different. The fourth film in the franchise is more of the same old — filler filler filler, lame scare, filler filler filler, lame ending, all captured on ubiquitous HD cameras. At what point will audiences wake up and realise they’re all the same crap?

4. Red Dawn (2012)

Hey Chris, did you see Kim Jong-un?

Hey Chris, did you see Kim Jong-un?

A teen action flick in the vein of Tomorrow, When the War Began, except the concept simply does not work in a modern setting. Even with Chris Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson carrying the star power this was a film destined to fail from the beginning. I tried, but I just couldn’t get over the fact that absolutely nothing made any sense. The plethora of holes in the plot and the complete lack of logic and common sense made this one of the most unwatchable movies of the year.

3. Piranha 3DD (2012)

I was as appalled as this guy

I was as appalled as this guy

At least this film knew it was going to be bad. Intended to be a so-based-it’s-good guilty pleasure full of crazy violence, gore and gratuitous nudity, Piranha 3DD could be enjoyed by adolescents who “woo” and “ahh” at every severed penis and spray their shorts at the first hint of a sideboob shot. For everyone else, well…watch at your own peril.

2. Smiley (2012)

Smiley is as bad as this scene looks

Smiley is as bad as this scene looks

It’s probably a little unfair that Smiley ranks so high on this list because the budget and expectations were so low. It’s a good example of viral online marketing (that’s how I came across it in the first place) and an even better example of a horrible movie. Nothing about this film could come close to being categorised as even average. From the limp plot to the sad acting to the tsunami of slasher cliches, Smiley is about as appalling a film as you can see (or for your sake, not see). And yet, there is one film in 2012 that tops it.

1. Project X (2012)

project X

Yep, Project X is the worst

In this list I have covered poorly conceived ideas, poorly made films, pretentious films, and films that never had much of a chance of being any good. Project X is worse than all of them and receives the dubious honour of being the worst film of 2012. It’s a reflection of everything that’s wrong with the western world, but rather than sending a warning about it, Project X celebrates it with a debaucherous party that is supposed to be humorous. Instead, it’s the most unfunny and unattractive film of the year, and the vinegar-laced mean spirit that runs through it also makes it by far the most loathsome.

Dishonourable mentions: About Cherry, Cosmopolis, Fire with Fire, That’s My Boy, Alex Cross, Resident Evil: Retribution

PS: Up next, my top 10 films of 2012!

Mirror Mirror (2012) vs Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)

June 8, 2012 in Best Of, Movie Reviews, Reviews

As I have foreshadowed, my movie reviews are a little backed up, so why not kill two birds with one stone with this double-barreled review of two new films based around the same premise, Julia Roberts’ Mirror Mirror and Kristen Stewart’s Snow White and the Huntsman?

To be honest, I didn’t have much an interest in either film, but as usual, I watched both. What can I do? I’m a film buff.

First up, Mirror Mirror, which should have been more aptly titled “Lily Collin’s Eyebrows.” Since the Taylor Lautner vehicle Abduction, Collin’s eyebrows have been elevated to a whole new level. I was so distracted by the eyebrows that I often forgot to focus on the film. Which is easy, by the way, because it sucked donkey balls.

The majority of Mirror Mirror’s plot follows the original fairytale. Collins is Snow White and her stepmother and the Queen, Julia Roberts, is trying to get rid of her so she can remain the fairest of them all. Yes, there is a prince and yes, there are dwarves. No surprises.

Theoretically, Mirror Mirror should have been the better film. Just about everyone’s impression of Snow White comes from the Disney cartoon, which made it naturally more suitable for a family comedy as opposed to Snow White and the Huntsman’s “re-imagining.” While it was admittedly trying to be fun, Mirror Mirror suffered from a complete lack of freshness and laughs. The majority of the jokes were what I would call “family humour”, which is code for unfunny. There may have been a couple of good ones here and there, largely thanks to the charming wit of Winklevii star Armie Hammer as the prince, but for the most part the jokes hopscotched between obvious, lame and unimaginative. I can see children enjoying it, but I must say I cringed more than I laughed.

Mirror Mirror was more this

To be fair, the film was not badly made. Director Tarsem Singh, who last worked on Immortals, infuses flair into the art direction, and the costumes, especially those donned by Roberts, were all quite brilliant. The performances were strong and, thankfully, no one took themselves too seriously.

But in the end, I just couldn’t force myself to like or enjoy Mirror Mirror. Some might think the final Bollywood tribute sing-song was a redeeming feature but I found it totally bizarre and somewhat uncomfortable. If the film had lifted my spirits prior to this point I might have felt differently, but alas, it did not.

This brings me to the second Snow White film, Snow White and the Huntsman, which I thought would stink even before I caught the first trailer. Surprisingly, while I also struggled with it, I found it to be the better motion picture overall.

The Huntsman (let’s just call it that for short), is in the vein of last year’s Red Riding Hood, you know, that Amanda Seyfried “re-imagining” of another popular fairytale. It takes the basic plot and essentially does whatever it wants with it. In Red Riding Hood’s case, it was obviously inspired by the love triangle and teenage angst from Twilight, which doomed it to suckiness from the outset. In The Huntsman’s case, it’s a lot more complicated. This one takes “inspiration” from a lot of movies, from Lord of the Rings (or some might say Game of Thrones), Joan of Arc, Braveheart, Alice in Wonderland, Kingdom of Heaven, just to name a few. It’s both a blessing and a curse.

In this one, Snow White is imprisoned by the evil Queen for years before a daring escape into the enchanted forest, and a new character, known only as the Huntsman, is tasked with tracking her down. To me, even though the script was pretty muddled, it was by far more interesting because there were characters and plot points I didn’t expect. Sure, the story takes some questionably wild turns and spirals into absurdity on more than one occasion, but at least it kept me wondering what was going to happen next (for the most part, because at 127 minutes it was way too long and lost my interest for a while).

The final act of the film, the supposed climax, was crap and predictable. Anyone that has seen the trailers or the poster will know that Snow White, who has been imprisoned in a tiny cell since she was a child, mind you, suddenly becomes a sword-wielding badass for some reason. Her obligatory Braveheart-style motivation speech (which has become a staple of every movie with a big battle scene these days) was probably the most WTF moment I have seen on the big screen in years.

The standout character in the whole film has to be Charlize Theron as the crazy bitch/witch of a Queen. She’s fascinating despite the shortcomings of her character and Theron does an amazing job of portraying the seductive nutjob notwithstanding the sometimes trite dialogue she has to spew out.

Chris Hemsworth’s Huntsman is also an interesting character and he fits the role well, but there were too many loose ends when it came to his relationship with the princess.

Snow White and the Huntsman was more this

Speaking of which, if there is an Oscar for unexplained/exaggerated heavy breathing, Kristen Stewart would win it every year. She’s not bad in this but her act is wearing thin on me. I became a massive fan of hers after watching Into the Wild back in 2007 (one of my favourite films of all time), and sadly my affection for her has dwindled with every subsequent film she has been in (well, Adventureland is an exception). By the time I watch Breaking Dawn: Part II, I might very well find myself despising her.

Visually, the film is stunning, with the scenes involving Theron’s spells and the enchanted forest exemplifying what movie magic is all about. Amazingly, this is the first feature of director Rupert Sanders, who was previously best known for his advertisement of the video game HALO. I’d be very interested to see what he comes up with next.

Although it’s very difficult to compare two such different films, ultimately, The Huntsman is the better movie. That’s not saying a lot, considering how disappointed I was in Snow White, but as pieces of entertainment, it’s not much of a contest.

Mirror Mirror: 1.5 stars

Snow White and the Huntsman: 3 stars

PS: Ray Winstone must be the only guy in Hollywood who can play Beowulf and one of the Seven Dwarves. Just sayin’.