2015 was certainly an interesting year for politics, economics, art, and everything in between. The world was forced to watch on in horror as the forces of evil attempted to destroy our way of life. People lost their lives, cities were attacked, and the world’s governments came together to make a difference. We stood against those responsible, questioning their motives and responding to threats.
The year in cinema pushed boundaries and formed unique and invigorating works of art. Films including The Martian and Sicario, both of which I watched on the same day, proved the magic and majesty of celluloid can illuminate the globe. However, film including Fantastic Four and Chappie fell flat on their stupid faces!
For Reshoot & Rewind, the year delivered its fair share of hits. Covering a greater number of topics and formats, I aimed to take chances and deliver the best articles possible for my loyal followers. I hope to make 2016 an even better year for myself and the site. Thank you all for embracing the craziness – delving into the reviews, lists, interviews, news pieces, op-eds etc. I loved putting together.
Here are the worst of the worst:
Family action-comedy Pixels represents every single thing wrong about 21st century Hollywood filmmaking. This bland effort teams up a short-film premise with Adam Sandler and his band of merry morons. Director Chris Columbus sinks further into mainstream hell with this derivative waste of time and money. Talents including Michelle Monaghan, Brian Cox, Josh Gad, and Peter Dinklage are left stranded in unlikeable roles. This is Hollywood’s worst impulses stuffed into a hurricane force of mediocrity. F*ck off, Sandler!
2. By The Sea
Writer, director, activist, and actress Angelina Jolie was given free reign to produce and market By the Sea. The Result: a critical and commercial disaster of epic, Gigli-esque proportions. This self-indulgent, trite romantic-drama lambasts the very idea of marriage… despite being created by the most famous married couple on Earth (very strange, indeed). The plot is non-existent, the characters are unlikeable and childish, and Jolie’s writing and direction bang the same note repeatedly. First Unbroken, now By the Sea – go back to humanitarian work!
3. Taken 3
Despite the cheap thrills of Run All Night, 2015 marked the sad, violent conclusion of Liam Neeson’s reign as Hollywood’s leading geriatric action hero. Taken 3, bludgeoning a dead horse, is somehow worse than the excruciating Taken 2. Lacking the original’s bursts of energy, director Olivier Megaton (Columbiana) delivers a sequel entirely for the sake of monetary gain. Gigantic plot-holes and a derivative man-on-the-run narrative further obliterate contemporary action cinema’s reputation.
4. Fantastic Four
After the 2005 and 2007 Fantastic Four disasters, 2015’s ‘dark and gritty’ reboot needed only to improve upon its lackluster predecessors. Bafflingly, those flicks now seem more refined and unique compared to this clunker. This tone deaf, bizarre superhero flick lacks the energy, thrills, and even pulse of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and X-Men entries. Thanks to feuds between the studio and director Josh Trank, Fantastic Four is a confused and boring non-starter. Back to the drawing board, yet again.
5. Hot Pursuit
Reese Witherspoon, following up her latest Oscar nomination for Wild, destroys her reputation with Hot Pursuit. Producing and starring in this tired comedy, Witherspoon’s attempt at strong female characters fails spectacularly. She and co-star Sofia Vergara portray the year’s most annoying and insulting characters, tripping over one another thanks to bizarre accents and over-the-top pratfalls. The film’s attempts at edgy comedy also fall flat – adding menstruation jokes to almost every scene.
Director Neill Blompkamp, following up his breakout hit District 9 with polarising blockbuster Elysium, further descends into the M. Night Shyamalan-writer/director doldrums with sci-fi-drama Chappie. His latest effort is a misjudged, over-the-top venture afraid to delve into any one discernible plot-line or theme. Shoving multiple feature film ideas into one narrative, this romp is a hollow mess of plot-holes, shallow characters, and a limited sense of style and vision.
7. Jupiter Ascending
The Wachowski siblings, like Blompkamp, are on a downward slide from bad to worse to downright disgraceful. Are the failures of Speed Racer and the Matrix sequels, Jupiter Ascending finally puts the last nail in the coffin. This sci-fi flick stuffs seven TV episodes into one two-hour experiment – forming an irritating cacophony of exposition, one-note characters, atrocious dialogue, and laughable moments. Thankfully, the Wachowskis have now been banished to TV with Sense8.
8. The Last Witch Hunter
Vin Diesel, arguably the most famous Dungeons & Dragons player in history, was given all the power and money to adapt his adventures for the big screen. However, The Last Witch Hunter proves Diesel should only be allowed to do Fast & Furious and Riddick installments. This cliched, uninteresting action-adventure is a confusing slog through exposition and predictable plot developments. Dragging talents Michael Caine and Elijah Wood through the mud, Diesel’s latest project shows some people have too much power.
Vinnie, E, Turtle, Drama, and Ari Gold return in a TV adaptation released at least three years too late. Unleashed four years after the series’ final season, this franchise extender lands smack-bang in one of Hollywood’s most progressive eras. Carrying the show’s wish-fulfillment elements, whilst lacking the first-two seasons’ satirical bite, the film is a frat-boy fantasy drenched in pure sexism, bitterness, excess, and self-indulgence. Jeremy Piven aside, the movie also features the year’s worst performances.
10. Knight of Cups
‘Ambitious’ writer/director Terrence Malick, after Oscar-buzz magnet The Tree of Life and polarising drama To The Wonder, returns with Knight of Cups to diminishing returns. Although aided by cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, this pretentious, befuddling effort offers little else than Malick’s signature flourishes on repeat. The film lacks any sense of narrative, character, or theme other than: “Hey look, sunsets are nice”. Worse still, its biggest crime is under-utilising Christian Bale’s talents.
The Dressmaker, Vacation, Legend, Pan, Survivor, Hitman: Agent 47, Self/less, Paper Towns, Ruben Guthrie, Ted 2, Terminator: Genisys, The Loft, The Cobbler, Jurassic World, Unfinished Business, Dumb & Dumber To, Aloha, Home Sweet Hell, The Gunman, Get Hard, Unbroken, The Theory of Everything
Joy, Truth, In the Heart of The Sea, Spectre, Spy, Crimson Peak, The Walk, Black Mass, Everest, Southpaw, Minions, San Andreas, Gemma Bovery, Tomorrowland, Woman in Gold, Blackhat, Pitch Perfect 2, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Inherent Vice