Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Worst Movies of 2014

Sex Tape. Image courtesy of Columbia Pictures.
I was originally going to include my list of the year's worst films in my post that includes my top 10 and runners up, which will be posted on New Year's Eve along with a handful of last minute reviews. But after seeing a movie last night that possibly qualified as my least favorite film of the year, I decided to do a separate post.

The good news for 2014 was that I saw less awful movies this past year - although, admittedly, I skipped some films that ranked highly on other worst lists ("God's Not Dead" and "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," for example). And a few of the movies that other critics drubbed - for example, the Adam Sandler comedy "Blended" and the latest "Transformers" movie - didn't receive good reviews from me, but I didn't dislike them as much as some others.

However, although there were less bad films than in previous years (as well as more good ones than usual), the year's worst pictures (at least, several of them) were pretty rotten. Below, you'll find my 10 picks for the lousiest movies of 2014. Let me know if you agree in the comment section and tell me which movies you thought were the worst of the year.

10. The Zero Theorem - Those waiting for the triumphant return of Terry Gilliam might have to continue waiting as his latest, reviewed here, was a mess, despite some intriguing visuals.

9. Into the Storm - This tiresome attempt at combining the found footage genre with a disaster film boasted some decent special effects, but the characters were paper thin and the dialogue often wince-inducing. Reviewed here.

8. The Raid 2 - Yes, "The Raid" films include some pretty awe inspiring stunts, but this unnecessarily long sequel to the 2012 Indonesian action movie is one scene of brutal violence after the next, making one wonder whether director Gareth Evans just enjoys watching human beings reduced to pulp via kicks, punches, shootings and stabbings with a variety of objects.

7. Robocop - Winning the award for most unnecessary remake of the year, Jose Padhila's update attempted to be an action movie, societal critique and satire all at once, without succeeding at any of the aforementioned. Reviewed here.

6. Devil's Due - The found footage horror movie (hopefully) gasped its last breath in 2014 with a slew of awful entries, including this ludicrous tale of possession. Reviewed here.

5. The Strange Color of Your Body's Tears - Helene Cattet and Bruno Forzani's previous film, "Amer," was an ode to the Italian giallo film and, while it didn't completely work for me, the film's moody visuals left an impression. This time around, the duo's attempts at a giallo only got one thing right - the ludicrous title which might have fit in with others in the primarily-1970s genre. Otherwise, it's an overdose of style that quickly becomes aggravating. Seriously, does it take four or five shots to establish that someone is exiting a room?

4. Big Bad Wolves - Loved by some, this nasty Israeli revenge drama exists solely for the purpose of watching human beings torture others. The film follows two men who kidnap the suspect in a child murder case and go at him with pliers, a blowtorch and various sharp and blunt objects. Despite a semi-clever twist at the end, the film is just an all-around ugly experience. Denis Villeneuve's 2013 film "Prisoners" handled similar subject matter significantly better.

3. Sex Tape - This catastrophically unfunny comedy pitted two talented, funny people (Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel) against a script that bent over backwards to be as crude as possible, but forgot to include jokes. I don't think I laughed once during this film, which is reviewed here.

2. I, Frankenstein - This horror action hybrid might possibly be the most incompetent movie of 2014. Not since "Battlefield Earth," which has become the go-to movie of comparison for misbegotten studio films, has a movie with this budget been as outlandishly awful. Reviewed here.

1. Moebius - Look, I've enjoyed some of the films of Kim Ki-duk, namely the lovely "Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring." But his latest - some sort of grotesque Oedipal horror movie that includes not one or two, but three castrations and absolutely no dialogue other than the occasional grunting or screeching - is virtually unwatchable. The film portrays all of its men as rapists and all the women as castrating psychopaths. If you've read my reviews regularly enough, you'll know I'm all for challenging, bizarre and even disturbing movies as long as they justify their content, but "Moebius" gives us nothing but outrageously cretinous behavior.

Runners Up: These films didn't make my top 10 worst and some of them aren't as awful as those mentioned above, but they're still worth skipping: the wholly unnecessary "Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones," the neither-funny-nor-scary musical theater horror movie "Stage Fright," the reliably loud and obnoxious "Transformers: Age of Extinction," Sandler's unendurably long "Blended," the unfunny "That Awkward Moment," the silly car chase movie "Need for Speed," Kevin Smith's "Tusk," the overwrought horror film "The Quiet Ones," the much maligned Johnny Depp sci-fi thriller "Transcendence," the silly sequels "Expendables 3" and "Horrible Bosses 2" and the nasty wannabe social critique "Cheap Thrills."

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