Friday, January 23, 2015

Best of 2014: 25-11 (with honourable mentions)

Click here and here to read my worst list!

Now that we’re done with the worst, we move onto the best! Which I’m really happy about, because I don’t like being so negative about something that I love that 2014 was a damn fine year for film. How good was it? My honorary mentions, the ones I thought were great but were an inch away from the best, is as long as my worst list! For those curious, here they are:

22 Jump Street, A Most Wanted Man, Atilla Marcel, Blue Ruin, Boyhood, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Cheap Thrills, The Congress, The Dance of Reality, Dead Snow 2, Enemy, Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem, Gone Girl, Guardians of the Galaxy, In Order of Disappearance, The Invisible Woman, Love Eternal, One Christmas Eve…, The Sacrament, The Skeleton Twins, Strangers by the Lake, Under the Rainbow, The Unwanted, The Wind Rises

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s start this countdown with:

25. Ladder to Damascus

The first movie of legendary Syrian filmmaker Mohammad Malas in about 8 years, and it’s made all the more heartbreakingly poignant due to the events that befell his country this year.

In the time he has taken out, Syria went from a time of economic prosperity to horrific civil war, which this movie wishes to reflect. A young filmmaker finds a woman who claims to be the inhabited by the soul of a girl who drowned the day she was born. Fascinated by her, he takes her under his wing and helps her find a place to stay, a dormitory with himself and several other students. As the relationship between the two (or three) leads blossoms, the streets are filled with conflict.

This is a very lyrical, flowing film and can be read in a lot of ways. Personally, I see it as a metaphor for film itself, and how we use it as a form of escape. Our lead character, Fouad, wishes to capture the life of modern girl Ghalia and deceased spirit Zeina, both representations of a life sheltered and a spirit rocked by tragedy. Each character can be seen as taking a role in this ‘movie’, ala Inception, but the movie is not a reflection of how ideas are implanted, more that they’re sidetracked or ignored. While film is important, it can sometimes be used to point in the wrong direction, most pointedly demonstrated by the movie’s brilliant use of limited staging. We rarely leave the dorm after we go there, the characters exiled there just as the city starts to burn, trapped in a relic of a tight dorm and the technology that once enriched their lives.

While this movie is wonderfully intelligent and quite symbolic, it does suffer from a lack of focus. None of the characters are terribly interesting and it kind of meanders and stumbles in the middle, after a very strong opening. Still, this doesn’t take away from what a beautiful film this is. A movie that both celebrates and condones artistic vision and creativity in the midst of horrific event, makes smart choices with its shooting (the dorm feels big, like they’re trapped in another world completely separate from the outside, only to slowly crumble once they realise they’re living in a delusion), and has one of the most powerful final images of any film I have seen all year. Definitely one worth checking out.

24. Starred Up

This intense and very real prison drama is certainly one that stands out from the crowd. Based on the writer’s real life experience as a prison therapist, it follows Eric Love (Jack O’Connell) as he gets transferred from a juvenile facility to an adult prison, being introduced to his father (Ben Mendelsohn) for the first time; a lifer.

The story makes the smart choice by portraying everyone evenly. Nobody is glorified or really condemned for who they are, it just tells the story and lets you make up your mind if the prisoners or the police staff or the worse off.  While Jack O’Connell is amazing and proves once again what a force to be reckoned with he is, it’s Ben Mendelsohn that steals the show, giving one of the best performances for a supporting character all year as Eric’s emotionally stunted, angry but oddly caring in his own way dad.

All the supporting cast is great, in particular Rupert Friend who plays the sympathetic and frustrated prison therapist. If there’s any character that feels underdeveloped, however, it’s Peter Ferdinando who is fantastically terrifying as Dennis Spencer. His character’s role ends up amounting to not much, and he feels a little out of place in what is otherwise a very grounded and realistic look at life in a prison system.

Not to be outdone by it on a writing and acting level, the direction is quite brilliant. Like Damascus, it’s in a limited setting, but unlike that movie, the set is used to be as tight and constrained as possible. Everything closes in around our characters, and particularly Eric, as he seeks to be free of both his mental and literal holdings.

With some amazing performances, impressive sound design, clever direction, a wonderfully honest script and a very sombre, effective tone, Starred Up is a triumph from all involved, and a triumph for those looking for a prison movie with a bit more grit.

23. The Babadook

So there was a horror movie out this year that was actually scary. Go figure.

This creepy and incredibly effective film gets to the core of what makes horror work. It’s not the big monsters, or the jump scares, or even the screaming. It’s the unknown we fear the most. Seeing Amelia (beautifully portrayed by Essie Davis) slowly deteriorate into madness over a monster that may or may not be there is so excellently well handled, you begin to question if the Babadook really is real. It’s long, lingering shots and tension built up on simple things like a mother and son arguing really hypes up the tension and adds to the generally unpleasant, extremely unsettling tone.

Not only that, it works as a great metaphor for loss. At its core, it is a movie about a mother and son trying to move on from the loss of the father and the deterioration of their family unit. How people react to this, and especially the son’s issues with the passing, is very real and you truly feel sorry for their plight. Even if you can’t get into the creep factor and scares of the film, it’s still a great story about a woman trying to hold it together after such a devastating passing.

This movie is fantastic and absolutely worth the watch, and the only reason it’s so low is a pretty petty one; the kid is awful! I’m usually a little more accepting of terrible child actors, but he’s so prominent in the movie, that his annoyingly terrible performance is like nails on a chalkboard. If you have a little patience for annoying children, this movie may be a bit of a chore for you.

Despite this, The Babadook is one of the best horror movies I’ve seen for years and a fantastic debut from director Jennifer Kent. Here’s hoping she has some more great films, horror or not, in her system that she can get out there.

22. The Lego Movie

Everything, indeed, is awesome.

This movie just feels like it was done on a dare. Like a major studio and toy brand just went to a couple of directors and went ‘Bet you a tenner you can’t make a glorified marketing gimmick that’s good!’. And, thankfully, they went to the guys who made Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and 21 Jump Street and we both went ‘Oh, you are so on!’ I hope they spend that ten dollars wisely.

Not only is this a feat in animation, it’s just a hell of a lot of fun. It has a great tone and fast-paced energy that just never lets up right until the end. There are laughs a minute, and has such a great, loose and hyperactive sense of humour that you’re bound to find a joke you appreciate. There’s are pop culture references that are cleverly integrated, jokes about generic children’s movies that feel good natured and don’t ignore what makes them so popular, jokes at the expense of Lego themselves, and just plain old witty lines or clever puns.

It’s also got a script that is way, way smarter than it should be. It has a lot to say about corporate control and how designed and conservative life can get through our media and marketing, without getting too heavy or in-your-face about it. This stuff is there, but it doesn’t bog the movie down by trying to look really smart. What’s even better is that it doesn’t really take a side on the ‘imagination vs. control’ it brings up; it’s genuinely wants to find a middle ground here, which is so rare for a Hollywood movie, let alone one aimed at children.

On top of that, it just has a lot of heart. The cast are great, and really put their all into it. Mostly comedicaly, but also emotionally. There are some genuinely touching moments at the end of the movie, brought on by how clever and subversive this film is. The inclusion of Batman, the ‘Chosen Boy’ narrative, the obsession with the freedom fighters being ‘cool’ and the rather crude jokes about ‘adult’ things all have a purpose and are very deliberate. You find out why at the end of the film. It’s a reveal that’s surprising and actually makes a lot of sense, and leads to a very touching climax to a wonderful movie.

Do you need to see all of this to get this film? Of course not! You can appreciate its beautiful animation, designed to look like those stop-motion Lego movies when it’s really CG and it’s very effectively done. It’s fun and funny, greatly paced, has a cast that you just love, is made by two masters at subverting your expectations and will go on to be a beloved classic for everyone to enjoy.

SPACESHIP!!!

21. The Grand Budapest Hotel


Wes Anderson gets more and more…him as he goes on with his work. Which is not something I have any real issues with at all.

A wonderfully bright and hilarious look into a bygone age, the layered structure gets across this idea of history and how stories are integrated and preserved over time. This is as much a tribute to a bygone age of cinema as it is an age. The effects are very crude and overly simplistic, but are deliberately so to give it a sense of classic Hollywood and like you’re watching a movie from the 20s. You know a movie has impressed you when even its mistakes seem genuine!

It’s not even the visuals, however. The story is very engaging and is a very entertaining madcap adventure also reminiscent of a classic socialite comedy, except maybe a bit more sexually suggestive than movies of old. Ralph Fiennes gives one of the most entertaining performances, with Gustave being such a charming bastard while also being really likeable. Tony Revolori is equally as engaging as Gustave’s  loyal and unassuming employee Zero is equally fantastic. They have great chemistry and are a double act for the ages.The cast is impressively filled, as is the case with most Anderson fares. You’re bound to love an actor who appears, and there are great cameos and bits throughout the film.

What’s most impressive about the movie is that, like The Lego Movie, it finds a lot of heart near the end. It has such a powerful thematic resonance that it’s really hard not to be touched by. It’s a tribute to an age of gentlemen and women that has sadly passed, how we choose to remember our personal histories and history as a whole, how legends are made and remembered, and how we take a bit of it with us in this long road and tributary to life.

Wes Anderson continues to be an intelligent and incredibly competent filmmaker. He has a style utterly his own and manages to get stories charming, irreverent, uniquely shot, meticulously blocked, wonderfully awkward and just fascinates and absorbs you into these worlds he creates. Never has an sense of unreality felt so real, it’s like his own personal dollhouses come to life, and this one is about a grand hotel in Budapest that will lived on through the tapestry of time.

20. Nymphomaniac

If Wes Anderson becomes more Wes Anderson in his movies, Lars Von Trier becomes more insane.

I contemplated whether or not I consider this one of my favourite because it is kind of flawed. Its treatment of the lead can border on insulting, the story is very weird and meandering, I don’t think the run time and two movies is really necessary, and has a dumb as hell and incredibly insulting ending. Yet, when thinking about it, what makes it so great is that it really gets a life across. Especially with someone who has such an ill-defined and unexamined addiction to sex.

Charlotte Gainsbourg is, as always, wonderful in the role; she has a great sense of melancholy and weariness to her performance as she regales her life. The movie feels like a reflection of Trier’s career framed in a character study of someone with sexual addiction, which is an odd thing to do but this is coming from the ‘I am a Nazi’ guy. He goes through different styles and cinematography changes to reflect different parts of his career and his work. The always fantastic Stellan Skarsgard offers critical insight, and it’s clearly rambling nonsense that doesn’t get to the heart of the issues displayed in this film.

The movie is bold, shocking and controversial. While it will rub (heh) people the wrong way, it’s wild and passionate, and gives us a very painful look into how unsatisfying and lonely sex addiction can be. It’s a great reflection of a fascinating life, both of the character and the director. It’s probably the most flawed movie that will get on this list, but it is also one of the most fascinating and is one that can be dissected, looked at and heavily criticised (VERY heavily criticised) as much as can be done. It’s 4 hours of brilliant madness, and well worth checking out.

19. The Summer of Blood

This is arguably the funniest movie I saw all year.

While it can come off as a bit self-indulgent (the director/writer is also the star), it’s a rather clever and hilarious twist on vampire lore; what if a completely annoying, charmless loser got the powers of the undead?

Erik is not someone to be admired. At all. He’s whiney, self-centered, self-entitled, kind of creepy, incredibly annoying, a complete jerk to every person and all around him, incredibly apologetic, and yet he’s so engaging and funny to watch. This truly is down to Onur Turkel managing to find the charm in someone who has absolutely none whatsoever. You don’t like Erik, but you follow his journey pretty easily and it just goes from hilarity to downright insanity after he gets turned.

Watching him abuse these powers for awful personal gain is both incredibly cynical and really, really funny. It cleverly subverts the vampire lore, which in turn really highlights how awful someone with these powers would be. It’s got an honesty not a lot of the romanticised vamp flicks have, showing that human nature would use these powers to satisfy themselves sexually and abuse it for their own ways.

Not much to say about this one, it’s just really, really funny. Your liking on it may depend on how much you can stand this guy, and he can be pretty grating, but if you can get behind what the movie is doing, it’s a really damn funny ride.

18. Wrong Cops

Quentin Dupieux is something of an acquired taste. His movies are plotless, strange, incredibly surreal, and seem to fight against any form of any real thematic depth. It seems almost like a joke to try to put them up in any real critical capacity, or put above a best list above a filmmaker as beloved as Wes Anderson or as critically lauded as Lars Von Trier. And yet, it’s a movie I’d watch again over them.

This surrealist film follows a world where lawlessness is the norm and cops do awful, self-centered things in order to get their kicks. Not only is this a pretty hilarious message in its own way, the movie is filled with such creativity and hilarious ideas out of this premise. There’s the cop trying to make a record with a  bleeding man, two of them try to dispose of said dying man because one of them shot him accidentally, one deals with a woman he sexually harasses, one harasses a 15-year old teenager hilariously played by Marilyn Manson with no attempt to hide how old he is…it’s just a bizarre ride.

There are a few returning cast members from Wrong, and Dupieux even tries to create a connected, insane universe (Rubber is apparently a movie in this movie). While it comes as a little full of himself, it’s clear that he doesn’t take himself seriously at all, and that kind of laisez-faire, caution-to-the-wind kind of mood is infectious and takes you on this bizarre, clever and very funny journey.

His movies may not be for everyone, but if he continues to be a creative and unique voice in cinema, while also making somewhat pointed statements all throughout the insanity, I’ll be along for the ride.

17. Tracks

This emotional and triumphant movie is based on the true story of Robyn Davidson, who in 1977 crossed nearly 1,700 miles across Australia to get to the Indian Ocean.

A project in the works for years, the movie opts out of being grand and epic and focuses mainly on our protagonist, played perfectly by Mia Wasikowska, further proving just how talented an actress she is. What’s great about the film is that her reasons for making the trek are never really emphasised; she feels the need to travel across Australian deserts, and that’s all you need to know.

The desert of Australia is shot in a very real way; beautiful when it needs to be and equally as treacherous. It fits the move of our heroine as she battles exhaustion, the sun, loneliness, loss, and her own sanity in order to complete this incredible journey.

What really makes this movie work is how slowly built up it is. It shows Robyn preparing for her trek; training camels, dealing with scammers, meeting her friends and the photographer who meets her at certain points to document her, Rick Smolan (Adam Driver).  It truly treats it like a dangerous trek; she’s warned to turn away, that she won’t finish it, and that it’s a death sentence. It’s through the strength and determination of Robyn that helps pull it through.

The movie is very rarely boring, despite its setting may make it appear. There’s always something going on, places and even people Robyn comes across, giving us great culture and life to an area we’d just assume totally abandoned. The use of surroundings is greatly used both as an insight into indigenous Australia and as a really engaging adventure drama. It also does a great job giving the animals a presence. I really want a camel, now.

Adam Driver is great, and it’s beautifully directed to let the physical environment reflect on the personal journey, but it truly is Wasikowska’s movie. She makes you feel every bit of pain, all the joy, wonderment, despondency, hopelessness and triumph. It’s an inspiring, surprisingly understated movie that shows the real strength of the human spirit. A perfect little movie to tribute a great woman.

Also, every person should have a Mr. Eddie in their lives.

16. Locke


Okay. Just throwing a bold statement out there; Tom Hardy is the best working actor at the moment. Not only can he do any voice and just transform into any character, the man is incredibly engaging to the point where he holds an entire movie up on his own.

This brilliantly effective domestic drama is set entirely in a car, with Hardy being the only face we see as he drives to a hospital to get to a woman he impregnated by cheating on his wife. Not only is Hardy chillingly good as his façade slowly descends and he tries desperately not to crack, he plays off the supporting cast really well. They’re all incredibly accomplished actors who do a great job only interacting with him on his speakerphone.

Ivan Locke is also a pretty engaging thing. He’s an ordinary guy who did a pretty horrible thing. It works around to break his life down, while the man tries to remain cool and collected, as it is his default. While he’s kind of cold and a bit of an asshole, you can’t help but feel sorry for him as he races to the hospital in some  way of doing the right thing.

The movie is also pretty stunning to look at. The cinematography is completely on point, giving us gorgeous visuals all while we’re in a car. It gives a great visual for Locke’s descent into madness and really keeps the movie alive while in the one location.

Original, emotional, unbelieving engaging and potent, Locke is a great movie carried on the back of a great actor. I cannot wait to see what this director and this actor do in the future.

15. 12 Years a Slave

Last year’s Best Picture winner. It’s why I put it at number 15.

It’s kind of hard to talk about this movie in a way everybody else hasn’t. It’s so raw and real and gets under your skin with how uncomfortably potent the entire experience is. Chiwitel Ejiofor gives the performance of his life as he dramatizes the life of Solomon Northup, a free man tricked and sold into slavery, remaining there for 12 years of his life as he transported from owner to owner.

The theme of freedom is obvious, but it’s more in the way of how it’s explored that this movie gets its power. What does it mean to be free? What do we do with our freedom? Is Cumberbatch’s Ford, the kind-hearted slave owner, any better than the emotionally and physically abusive Epps (Michael Fassbender), or is he trapped by his surroundings?  Lupita Nyong’o Patsey is broken by her abuse, but Solomon tries to remain dignified and hopeful during his. They are all elements of a system that was horrific and a massive human tragedy, and this pulls no punches with its effects.

Steve McQueen continues to be one of the most interesting directors out there, with a wonderful handle of cinematic language. This is his best movie yet, and his long lingering shots and uncompromising displays of violence continues to shock and engage audiences, and here’s hoping he’ll have a great career in the future.

It’s not my favourite movie, but it’s beautifully real and incredibly important, showing a system that still has ripple effects to this day. It’s a pure display on what it means to be free and the human struggle to obtain it, in honest or insidious ways. Here’s hoping it will be remembered as the fantastic movie it is.

Also, Lupita Nyong’o is one of the best discoveries of the year and can she stay around please? She’s in the new Star Wars movie. Make her character big. This lady needs her  name in the lights, and not just an Oscar win where she’s then forgotten. Kthanksbai.

14. The Wolf of Wall Street

Unlike 12  Years a Slave, this didn’t win an Oscar. If you think I’m leading into a  DiCaprio joke, please leave.

Martin Scorsese further proves that he’s a master of his craft, and he shows no signs of slowing down. In his latest hilarious, high-energised comedy, he looks into the rather depraved life of Jordan Belfort, a stock broker who used every trick in the book to get rich, and even more tricks to spend it.
This movie is filled with drug use, prostitution, insane and dangerous activities and has this feeling like you’re on the biggest high of your life as it zips through Belfort and his cohort’s activities at its huge run time of 3 hours.

Despite all this, what is framed to be a rather egregious hedonistic comedy showing off how awesome it is to be rich and powerful, it’s honestly a huge condemnation of this as well. Belfort is a pretty nasty guy, played perfectly by DiCaprio who just shows that, yes, even if he doesn’t have an Oscar, he’s one of the best in the bizz. Jonah Hill is also excellent, earning himself a second Oscar nom.

With all the high-octane insanity, it isn’t afraid to tear these men down and just show them for what weasely, unlikeably sad they all are. It feels more on the side of the poor bastards who were caught in these guy’s lies, while not shying away from the fact that these guys got away with what they did.
Even with this, the movie is just fun. The quaaludes scene is one of the most side-splittingly hilarious thing I’ve seen in film, the actors are great and clearly having a lot of fun and it’s sort of infectious, even if it’s easy to see what deplorable people these are, and how they’re not worthy of praise. 

Demented, funny and, most importantly, very honest, this movie goes to show how much fun despicable people can be.

13. Veronica Mars

Yeah, I’m putting what was essentially a really pricey fan movie (made by the cast and crew from the original show, granted) on this best list (which is my really pompous way of saying ‘favourite’, of course). I make no apologies, as if you’re going to make a movie that pays tributes to a great show, you do it like this.

I mean, yeah, Rob Thomas isn’t that stunning a feature director, the mystery is pretty tepid, even if it cleverly incorporates background characters, Dan Lamb is basically a meaner Don Lamb who doesn’t have the same connection with Veronica, and Weevil’s presence is very lacking, but everything this movie gets right, really does get right. All the important surviving characters without the surname ‘Kane’ return, and have such natural and believable developments at this point that they all felt so genuine. Leading the charge is Veronica herself, Kristen Bell felt like she never stopped playing the character 9 years on.

It’s still very sharply written, with the story being a metaphor about how inescapable our past really is. Veronica has a really deep connection to Neptune, and it’s great that they chose to look at this, as it’s never really been explored on the show. It ties into the mystery really well, and the high school reunion was a great way of getting everyone back together.

The movie is even filled with great cameo or bit roles. James Franco has a hilarious scene, and it even has Scream Queen Jamie Lee Curtis. There is a great balance to get this to appeal to a new audience and make it something the fans would love and connect with, and I think it does both brilliantly. I recommend you see the show first (or see it anyway, because it’s brilliant), but even if you haven’t, it’s still a fun watch and easy to follow.

Veronica Mars continues to prove why it’s the perfect modern noir. The town of Neptune is a great backdrop, almost a character in of itself, the cast fit their roles perfectly, it’s moody and dark and technologically savvy, but it also has a great sense of smarts and modern-day self-awareness not to take itself too seriously. It’s shocking and funny and dark and clever, and all the elements of the show fans loved are captured in this great little movie. If a continuation is never made, I’m honestly satisfied to end it here. Well worth the nine-year wait.

12. The Past

A moody and effective French drama with a brilliant cast of three. While most of the focus would be on The Artist’s Bérénice Bejo, all of them are equally fantastic and carry what is basically a very simple and tender family drama.

While it eventually develops into a much more elaborate conflict, it really does start off being a simple domestic issue. The first hour or so just deals with the relationship between Bejo’s character Marie and her relationship with Samir (Rahim), and the family’s reaction to that. The dynamic feels natural and very real, making what could be a mundane problem very poignant and relatable to a lot of people. Helped is the excellent cinematography and music, making the film look intimate and personal.

When the more dramatic turn of events finally comes into play, it’s built up so slowly and carefully that it really doesn’t feel like it comes out of nowhere. Nothing feels rushed and there’s a real weight and tension that feels earned rather than them throwing something dramatic into play and hoping the audience just goes along with it.

Unlike The Babadook, the child actors here are great and their annoying tendencies feel a lot more natural. Props in particular going to Pauline Burlet, who plays the eldest daughter Lucie. She has a lot of emotional baggage to carry due to her role in the story and she handles is brilliantly, almost on par with the three leads.

I think the reason I love this movie so much is that, no matter their actions or crappy tendencies, there is no ‘villain’ of this story. Everyone feels justified in their positions and no one character is diminished for the sake of another.

This is just a triumphant film about a personal issue from the brilliant Asghar Farhadi, director of A Separation. Let’s hope he has more great movies in his future. This is a taut, personal and quite brilliant insight into a family split apart by tragedy and circumstance, and leaves on a powerful and memorable final image. Well worth the watch.

11. Two Days, One Night


Depression is not an easy thing to film, especially the aftermath of a depressive episode. So to see a movie not only get it, but do it perfectly, it’s one that’s absolutely deserving of attention.

Emotionally wrought and incredibly honest, it tells the story of a woman trying to keep her job after she was fired due to her absenteeism. She’s given the rather uncomfortable task of trying to convince her co-workers to give up their Christmas bonuses in order to cover her salary, and has to do it in a weekend before they vote on the matter.

This set up is amazing, as it gets across a lot of things. People’s senses of self-preservation, their value of money over people, their attitudes of depression, and it helps layer our lead with her interactions with each one of them. They all get a different reaction from the other, but not in a way that feels disingenuous or contrived; you truly buy that these are real people in a very hard conflict (well, for some it’s hard).

During all of this, our lead Sandra is fighting her own weak mental state, not helped by this undignified and eye-opening request for people to give their salary up to let her keep her job. What’s great about this is that, while every character has a different reaction to the request, it’s never repetitive and all of them feel real. There’s truly a grounded sentiment to this movie; the camera is loose and very constrained to Sandra, we take this journey with her and we’re put into her pretty awful situation. Every moment of joy when somebody takes her side we feel, as well as every soul-crushing rejection she receives. It’s as stark and incredibly uncomfortable movie, not helped by the fact that there’s very rarely background music.

Now, to my favourite part of this film: Marion Cotillard. I can say, without any hesitation, that she gives the best performance of 2014. Her emotionally naked and ugly transformation into someone with serious depression is absolutely awe-inspiring. She not only nails every varied emotion and range, but she even looked haggard and extremely fatigued. She looks like she’s been put through hell, which really sells how much this has taken it out of her and she nearly always looks ready to end it. There are probably more engaging performances, more emotionally charged performances and even more meticulous ones this year, but there has hasn't been a more real one.

I love this movie for just how honestly it gets it. It’s important and truly powerful, and I recommend anyone to check it out. It’s not a happy watch, but it’s definitely worthwhile.

Next time: this list concludes with my top 10 favourite movies of the year. You can find out by clicking here and here

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Worst of 2014: 10-1


If you haven't read it already, click here to read the first 14 on my list and dishonourable mentions! Now, let us continue with:

10. Pompeii
While too late to jump in on the interest in ancient Greek and Rome culture with the popularity of Rome (finished 7 years ago) and more pertinently Spartacus (which ended in 2013), they did manage to cash-in on the Game of Thrones popularity by getting a cast member from it! Well, they’re both ancient history, as this movie proved pretty shortly after its release.
 
It’s a Paul W.S. Anderson movie that does Paul W.S. Anderson things: terrible shooting trying way too hard to be cool, production values that wouldn’t feel out of way of a pre-school play, actors who just look bored or embarrassed to be there (how miscast is Kiefer Sutherland in this movie?!) , terribly slow pacing and unintentional hilarity in otherwise drab places. I can no longer tell if Kitt Harrington is a terrible actor (I liked him in How to Train Your Dragon 2!), or if he just picks terrible roles because good lord, he managed to find a character more boring than Jon Snow!

The movie just meanders around in a dull, boring gladiotorial story arc (Spartacus!) while we wait for the only thing Pompeii is really known for to happen over 2/3rds of the way to the end. It tries to do the Titanic thing of banking on the audience’s knowledge of the story. The difference is that Titanic focused on the fucking boat. This gives  halfhearted hints at what’s to come tipped off by a story so boring I am legitimately struggling to remember what happened in it. A shameless cash-in seemingly made so they can put cool lava shots on the promotion.

9. Maleficent
How do you fuck this up? How do you make something so painful out of an idea as great as focusing a movie on one of the most memorable Disney villains of all time? Simple, you inexplicably make her totally the victim and a  goody good girl who was just misunderstood! Gag me.
 
I’m not going to sit here and insult your intelligence by pretending that Maleficent was some complex and multi-dimensional villain, but she’s memorable for a reason. Proud, dangerous, takes charge, delights in what she does and is powerful and creepy. In order to make her relatable, they make her a victim of an attack from the King in the story with some rather disturbing rage/genital mutilation imagery, even if it’s likely unintentional.

It’s an insult that they remove all the power out of one of the most powerful villains in Disney canon. Especially in such a disturbing way. Which is a shame; when Jolie is allowed to be menacing and charming, she’s really damn effective.

Even ignoring Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, it’s a pretty terrible film on its own merits. The effects are garish and ugly looking, most of the cast are annoying or so hammy you cannot take them seriously (which is a pity, as the cast is usually solid), the message of the movie is both odd and it hits you over the head with it, it feels tired and completely lacking magic, and the Fairies go down as the most annoying characters of 2014.

This movie is not only an insult in a really gross way, it’s just not that interesting or fun. I don’t think anybody was expecting Maleficent to be completely evil (this is Disney, after all), but she could at least be a lot more dynamic and less  victimised than this.

8. Tarzan
It’s the Disney version set in modern time. And the apes don’t talk. And the animation could not be more terrible if it tried. I just…I got nothing else, really. This one won’t be as long-winded, thankfully.
 
The story is stale, the modern day incorporation into the classic tale is awkward and really forced in order to buy the legitimacy of the conflict, none of the characters have any real development or just gain stalker feelings because…because, and the plot revolves around an alien rock. There’s a fucking alien rock in a Tarzan movie. I can’t actually think of any other adjectives outside of ‘That is strange’ to describe it.
The insane plot can’t even make it unintentionally hilarious-it’s just a slog and I can’t really see a child sitting through this entire snore fest without bothering their parents at some point. All of this combined with some of the most horrifically awful animation I have seen in an officially released animated movie in a while just tops off this confused, boring and really creepy looking film.
Seriously, the character designs will haunt my nightmares. It’s like those creepy claymation horror cartoons from the 80s got skin. Their eyes are dead, man…

7. Knights of Badassdom
Yep. I said it. Fight me!
 
Now, admittedly, this  movie was absolutely destroyed in post. The studio didn’t think they could sell this thing, so they cut the shit out of it to the point where the director more or less said it wasn’t the same movie. It’s a pity it was dumbed down so much, especially with how it was stuck in post-production hell for so long. 

That doesn’t excuse how painfully weird and just meandering this film is. The story tries too hard to be crazy and silly and just comes off as extremely obnoxious. As much as I appreciate that they try to portray nerds in a way that nerds would actually be, can they not just rely on stoner loser stereotypes?! The lead is an asshole, most of the best characters are removed pretty quickly, its stellar cast of beloved actors like Peter Dinklage and Summer Glau are not used as best they should, the editing is weird and really choppy and it’s just kind of a mean, bro-medy when it could have been a love letter to LARPers and their culture. 

It’s a shame this movie was torn up so much, but it really does seem like a badly thought out mess that was an excuse for the crew to mess around than to make an fully-fledged movie. I hope a director’s cut that’s closer to his original vision, but for now, it’s just a substandard, annoyingly obnoxious flick. When a later episode of Supernatural does a better job at representing LARPers than your movie did, feel shame!
6. August: Osage County 
What happens when you put a talented as hell cast at  a dinner table together? What happens when you think you can successfully adapt a stage play by changing very little to make it, you know, cinematic? For the cinema? What happens when you take one of the most beloved actresses of all time and make her acting so goddamn hammy and painfully forced that you know the only reason she was nominated because she’s Meryl freaking Streep?
Th…The answer is this movie. I hope I didn’t play my hand too soon, there.

Dialogue-heavy plays do translate to screen well, and while exceptions can be made, this is not one of them. Every character has a forced conflict and are so terribly unlikeable that you have a hard time really caring about what’s going to happen to them unless you like the actor beforehand. Not to mention they’re dialled up to 90 because this movie is going for Oscar gold! So usually restrained actors like Ewan McGregor turn up the hamminess because the script needs them to be over-characterised to make up for how lacking and passionless the plot is!

It’s also a really ugly looking movie. There’s this weird orange tint to a lot of the shots, it really fails to make the movie feel melancholy and the sets and shots are straight out of Norman Rockwell’s wet dream. If you want movies pandering to the critics, you can do a lot better than this melodramatic, extremely harsh and hard to sit through film that goes to show that plays need a lot more thought put into them when being put up on the big screen.

5. Mr. Morgan’s Last Love
Why does Michael Caine keep on being in terrible films?

The premise is actually pretty decent and somewhat relevant. It’s about a man who tries to find a new lease on life after losing his wife,  with the unique twist about a much younger woman being the one to help him lead the way. This isn’t a terrible premise, but its execution...

Well, Caine openly stalks our heroine, played by Clémence Poésy. Which starts off a rather unhealthy relationship where it’s not really sure what Póesy’s character gets out of this interaction outside of helping some self-pitying old man who is kind of manipulative and complete jerk to his children (yes, the movie acknowledges this, but it also seems to vilify Morgan for his actions). Not really helped is Weed’s Justin Kirk, who is good at making obnoxious characters likable, but he’s unbearably whiney and self-centered that you can’t really sympathise with what a prick his dad is.

And I could deal with all that, even with the dopey script that refuses to develop its premise or characters leaving the love interest a Manic Pixie Dream Girl for a depressed old man with an inconsistent accent (seriously, there are some scenes where it’s neutral, some places it’s heavily Southern…I think? I know Caine’s accent is terrible guys, but at LEAST keep it consistent!). The direction is actually pretty solid, and Gillian Anderson is a lot of fun in the little of it she’s in (did she owe someone a favour?). It’s the ending that really put this on my shitlist. It’s tone deaf, completely goes against any point the movie could have been developing, is a pretty fucking terrible message to get across to the elderly and seems to have no issue with how problematic it is. It is easily the worst ending of any movie I saw all year, and I saw Interstellar…fin.

(also, Hans Zimmer’s score does not fit, like, at all)

4. Here Comes the Devil
This rather strange horror movies starts out as a psycho-sexual horror (the parents bone when their kids go missing), then a revenge thriller, then turns into a possession movie, then turns into straight up horror, then has a really dumb twist and really doesn’t amount to, well, anything really. This movie goes into so many weird directions, that Alfred Hitchcock would have went ‘Woah! Slow down, son!’ (at least he can gradually earn these tonal shifts).

I think what really hurts this movie is that it has a lot of potential. The idea that parents take ‘revenge’ for a person they thought killed their children, only for their kids to turn up later, is a great set up to get some wonderfully psychological ideas from it. It’s only hurt by the fact that the direction is amateurish and unfocused, the tone is all over the place going from creepy to really goofy, the acting is barely passable, the direction the story takes is really obvious, and the kids are not as creepy as the movie is building them up to be.

It may be harsh to pick on an indie film, but even with its limited budget it could have pulled out something pretty inspired. You’re Next was a low budget film set entirely in a house, and that’s a great movie. It’s got some great looking locations, so the fact that the cinematography is tepid and really uninspired just goes to show whoever was handed this movie should do some schooling in film before going behind a camera. A dull, confused, pretty annoying and, most importantly, disappointing horror film.

3. God’s Not Dead
Like the movie above, putting a Christian movie on here is probably below the (Bible) belt. I mean, are these ever good?!
 
No, but they also never make 31 times their budget back, so I say that kid gloves are off.
Do I even need to get into how stupid and one-sided this movie is? There is a way to make this concept and making it Christian-friendly without making the opposition the most card-carrying Evil Atheist dude you could find! All he’s missing is a fedora and a goatee.  It’s not just atheists that get a rough deal, though; there’s a really uncomfortable moment of islamaphobia that really just feels like a low blow out in service of the Christians.

Our message of God is sent by the idiots from freaking Duck Dynasty and some weird Christian band. The title is an insult to Nietzsche, which of course even the freaking PHILOSOPHY LECTURER seems to misunderstand its meaning! Also, famous scientists like Hawking and Dawkins get dragged into the mud. And Shakespeare, as we understand that our nemesis is an atheist, not because he has opposing ideological beliefs that don’t adhere to any set religion or belief in a deity…but because something bad happened to him. Smallest violins, folks.

Look, Christians, all over the world,, out there. You’re pretty cool people. And ye still have a majority, especially in the USA. So please, pleaaaaase stop acting like you’re being persecuted in some ways. At least stop giving us your pathetic attempts at hitting back at your opponents if you’re going to continue with this persecution complex. It’s just a shambles of a movie in every way you can think of, and that doesn’t even touch on the billion and one subplots the movie tries to cram into its nearly 2-hour painful runtime!

2. Coherence
Apparently, ‘complex’ and ‘convoluted’ means the exact same thing to people.
 
So somebody was making a really boring one-room drama (similar to Osage: Orange County) and then decided it was more interesting to make it about time travel! At least I think that’s how it happened. 
This movie is an amazing mess, doesn’t try to portray the time stuff in any consistent capacity and is filled with some of the most stock, wooden and just all-round unlikeable cast of characters you could find. While it’s admirable from a financial standpoint that the director shot the majority of the movie in his house, it’s so dimly lit and terribly underutilised that you almost develop cabin fever being in this damn location. That could have worked for the story, but it’s rarely ever brought up.
I just do not see what you can get from boring, rich assholes doing boring, rich asshole things. At least in Orange: Osage County, their conflicts were somewhat sympathetic! These people can live in an eternal weird loop that pretends its clever with recurring tropes, self-fulfilling prophecy, confusing the shit out of the viewer in lieu of making them think and just being a flat, unmovable bore which I’m totally comfortable labelling as pretentious. It thinks it has a lot to say, so it repeats its nothing ad infinitum.

1. The Canyons
Yeah. Anyone who has even heard of this movie will probably not be surprised that this is my worst movie of the year.
 
Now, I don’t hate Lindsay Lohan. Once upon a time, she had the potential to be a really decent actress, and unlike most people, I don’t look at her downfall with scorn and derision. So her making a comeback movie isn’t, in of itself, a terrible idea.  So it’s a good thing that she decided to make her comeback this absolute horror story of a film (it’s a thriller), because otherwise people would have taken the idea of her doing a comeback seriously.

So why is this the worst? To put it simply, nothing works about it. It’s an examination of Hollywood, sexual politics and the power of privilege. Not only do they hit all these with the subtlety of a bulldozer, it doesn’t really say anything about them. It has this framing device of abandoned buildings to symbolise the decay of Hollywood, but it feels poorly incorporated and doesn’t really add much to the overall plot of crazy former porn star tries to control a former Disney star.

Yeah, this movie introduces the world to James Deen. That’s Deen, the porn star, not Dean the legend of cool. If this movie is any indication, he should have stayed in porn because he is awwwwwful! And he’s in the movie so much, it’s hard to escape just how terrible he is in the film.

What’s even worse is that the director is the writer of Taxi Driver (who manages to make Los Angeles look abandoned, which I did not think was possible), and the writer is the author of American Psycho (who writes the most basic, boring and uninteresting psychopath in cinema after writing…well, Patrick Bateman). 

There’s nothing redeemable about this movie. People are saying it’s this generation’s Showgirls, but at least that was unintentionally funny! This is an endurance test: no pacing, terrible acting from everybody, characters who get randomly added and dropped whenever they’re needed, some of the ugliest, flattest cinematography I have ever seen, and an overall mood that is in no way moody, it just seems tired and jaded. Lindsay Lohan is miscast as the abused Hollywood hotty that everyone loves and tries her best in a bad situation (her character does not come off as how the script wants us to see her, also), and everything it’s trying to say about Hollywood and privilege has been said before and much better.  The former was done his year in Cronenberg Maps to the Stars.  The latter in a movie based on the writer of this piece of shit’s previous work!

Worthless, trashy in all the wrong ways, banal, painful, and most importantly empty. This is a soulless and completely mismanaged film and is not worth your time at all. Do not watch it, even out of curiousity of a person you inexplicably despise failings to come back.

Next time: That was the worst. so what were the best? Find out by clicking here, here, and here

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Worst of 2014: 24-11 (with dishonourable mentions)

And so it is, the time honoured tradition of running down the best and worst of the year for movie critics. They usually don’t do it in the latter half of January, but hey, I just love to live on the edge!

I’ve been compiling my best and worst of the year since around 2009, just posting them on Bebo and then Facebook accounts. Now that I’m running a movie blog (and because my halfway to the year list was the first post I put up-now deleted because I wasn’t that happy with it), it seems fitting that I do something a bit more…elaborate to my countdown.

Instead of limiting myself to a top and bottom 10, these are simply my favourite and least favourite movies of 2014. They don’t have any precedent or limit; if I really loved them, they got on the list. 2014 was a pretty damn good year for film, so my list is pretty large. Alas, it had some stinkers too, and we’ll start with those, as these lists will be split!

For worst, I’m counting up to 11 and then doing a bottom 10, then doing the same for my favourites. A few precedents on this list before I start:

1. Candidacy for this list is that the movie I add onto it has to have been released and viewable in the Republic of Ireland (i.e. my hometown, fool!) in the year 2014. This means that a lot of my picks may be officially from 2013, but they’re not being released in this country until after that year means they go on here. This means a lot of Oscar contenders from 2013 are on here, as they tend to get released a bit more evenly here compared to the US where they’re vying to compete. This is obviously difficult to track due to online releases and film festivals, so if I put a movie on here that was technically released in Ireland in 2013, let me know and I will gladly remove it.

2. This also obviously means there are a lot of 2014 releases I haven’t seen. Movies like Birdman, Foxcatcher, The Theory on Everything, Inherent Vice, and Whiplash, among others, will have to wait for my 2015 list to be deemed worth of it. I also haven’t seen every movie in 2014 (though, once you see how long my list is, you’ll note that I clearly tried) as there are hundreds of releases every year and I am but one man (and part robot). If you have any suggestions or movies that I missed out, recommend them to me! I’m always looking for new flicks to watch. There are obviously popular movies that I didn’t put on either list, I just didn’t like or hate them enough to put on. Sorry…

3. Features only. I’m not that well-versed on documentaries, so I don’t really count them. I may be changing this rule as I’m getting more and more into docs., but as of now, I do not put them on my list.

That’s about it! Be sure to comment on any you agree, or especially disagree, with, and enjoy the list!

To start off, though, here are my dishonourable mentions. These are movies I did not like, but had enough going for them so that they just missed the cut-off point:

American Hustle, Before the Winter Chill, Brick Mansion, The Drop, The Expendables 3, God’s Pocket, I Frankenstein, Jack and Ralph Plan a Murder, Kid Cannabis, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, Monuments Men, Night Moves, Non-Stop, Northern Soul, Poison Pen, St. Vincent, The Stag, Sin City: A Dame to Kill for, Transcendence

Now, onto the list! Starting with:

24. The Tribe


Now, I know I’m going to get shit for this pick, and the reason I put it down so low is because it’s actually a huge achievement when it comes to technique. A Ukrainian movie about a schoolboy who gets roped into a gang at a deaf school, it’s unique that the entire movie is told through sign language, no subtitles. This is frankly a triumph and should be talked about. The plot is easy to follow even if you don’t sign, the actors are great and really pull this off, and it’s a huge achievement for inclusion of people who are hearing impaired. Hopefully more films like it are made. My issue is to do with how needlessly, relentlessly and almost ridiculously dark it is. None of the characters are remotely likeable or interesting, the lead falls into the group so fast you’d wonder if he has a subscription to ‘Assholes Weekly’, it tries to hit every social taboo you can think of and it just seems to do it because it wants to be seen as this shocking, edgy masterpiece. Just because it’s an important movie socially doesn’t make it a good one, and if they toned back how nihilistic and dark it was, I may be singing the movie’s praises. Judge it for yourself, because this is the only movie on my list I’m recommending you watch.

23. Palo Alto

From a socially important movie to every generic teen drama you’ve ever seen. Based on James Franco’s short story collection (he also stars in the film), it’s the directorial debut of Gia Coppola, granddaughter of legendry filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola and yet another from the Coppola stable to get into film. Sadly, it’s a dry, meandering film with very little character and feels all too similar to every indie flick that has come out in the last decade. Emma Roberts is a seriously rising young talent, but even she can’t save this dry and unremarkable flick.

22. Yves Saint Laurent

Why do biopics just hone in on certain aspects of a person’s life, usually at the behest of what made them famous? I know Yves Saint Laurent has a wealth of interest behind him outside of his clothing line, but you’d think that would get a bit more attention other than his drug problem and homosexuality, or at least the balance would be a little better done? Focusing on his relationship with Pierre Bergé, this movie is a slogging and surprisingly colourless trip into the life of the famous fashion designer, which doesn’t seem to believe that a man who underwent electric shock therapy is interesting enough to carry his own movie. Let down by an amazingly banal performance by lead Pierre Niney, one has to wonder if the other YSL movie that came out this year just personally financed his forgettable slog in order to be the superior movie (those who have seen Saint Laurent feel free to confirm or deny this).

21. Willow’s Creek

What really hurts this movie is that it does have a lot of potential. Behind the lifeless plot and overemphasis on build-up over…well, atmosphere, tension, pacing, or character development, we have two pretty decent actors and a horror story about the legend of Bigfoot. It all builds up to the ending but, outside of a really intense scene in a tent, the leads are annoying as hell (the male should have died earlier because of what an idiot he is), and the last shock would have shocked if I had cared what was going on. Another disappointing entry by Bobcat Goldwaith, who I can’t believe is the same director behind World’s Greatest Dad.

20. Into the Storm

It’s the found footage version of Twister. Does the found footage version of Twister sound good to you? No? Don’t watch this movie. A breathless bore where the cast just hit their marks and the tornado is way too controlled and convenient to be believed that it’s a force of nature and not deliberately trying to kill these group of people. Skip it and watch Twister, it’s at least more entertaining.


19. The Sea

It kills you when you see great actors waste their talent on such lacking material. Outside of the cinematography doing the MOST OBVIOUS AND OVERDONE PALETTE CHANGE FOR THE FLASHBACKS, this movie drags its feet through a very unengaged story with little weight or impact. Ciaran Hinds and Charlotte Rampling are way too good for this material, and the always great Ruth Bradley gets a very thankless role in this badly structured, terribly clichéd mess. 

18. The Amazing Spider-Man 2

If I let my own personal bias’ and love for this character get in the way, it would be higher on the list. As it stands, this film is absolutely awful and an insult to Marvel’s flagship hero. Terribly unfocused plot, where Peter goes from puppy dog cute love to full on stalker, villains that have the dumbest motivations with great actors not having a clue what to do, terrible effects which are either goofy or look unfinished and product placement that would put Man of Steel to shame. This is looking to be the straw that broke Sony’s back as they are contemplating bringing the character back to Marvel and their plans for an expanded Spider-Man universe franchise (really?) seem to be dead before they’ve even begun. Let’s hope they stay this way so we don’t have to suffer more cynical, ugly and badly constructed ads for whatever they have planned for later.

17. No Good Deed

It has not been a great year for Idris Elba. After disappointing earlier this year in a terribly pedestrian Nelson Mandela biopic (despite him and Naomi Harris being amazing in their roles), we then get one of the most contrived and terribly thought out home invasion thrillers I have ever watched. It’s an interesting enough setting; a bored housewife lets a handsome stranger in her house under the guise that he’s waiting for his care to be towed from a crash, not realising he could be a danger to her and her family. The problem is that the situation just lacks tension as we know Elba is a murderer straight from the off, so this movie seems to mistake ‘tension’ for ‘waiting for the inevitable’. The story is so unoriginal, the cameraman even looks like he’s asleep with no sense of dread or even some decent shots, the score is like something you’d pull out of ‘Evil Scores no.2,482’ and the only thing that keeps this standing is that Elba and bored housewife victim Taraji P. Henson are both great in their parts. Let’s hope that they can shine in the coming years and leave this disappointing mess behind them.

16. Expelled


This movie tries way too hard to be a 21st Century Ferris Bueller. It just lacks the charm, laughs, smarts, decent writing and likeable characters. Outside of that, sure, it hits the mark! A woefully obnoxious fratboy comedy, it goes out of its way to show how unimaginative and just utterly unoriginal it really is. The acting is either flat or standard, there’s a really forced love interest that only seems to be there because movies need a love interest, it has the most annoying lead who will bash on stage and ruin a play and we’re supposed to root for him despite him being an unbearable twerp and it’s just baffling how completely lacking in charm or wit the film is. Let’s just hope it stays expelled and long gone.


15. Deliver us from Evil

One of the greatest comedies I’ve seen all year! Oh, wait. It’s supposed to be a horror? Really? With the…and the, uh…yikes. Awkward…

Uh, nothing I can say, really. The acting is bland, whatever scares it’s going for just don’t work, and Sean Harris and Joel McHale are way, way too good for this shit. Harris, in particular, is really creepy and should have had this performance in a movie people would actually be frightened by. This guy is doing the Doctor Strange movie, may God help us all.

14. Horns

So let’s take a good idea with a good actor and make one of the most fucking unbearably stupid and by-the-numbers horror/thriller we can even imagine. Daniel Radcliffe gets gifted with powers of the devil, which forces people to be brutally honest with them. He uses the powers to track down who killed his girlfriend, played by Juno Temple, who he has been accused of murdering. A great premise which has hilariously bad effects, the pacing of a slug, nearly every cast member outside of Radcliffe phoning it in and if you do not guess who the killer is within 20 minutes, get your head checked. Juno Temple’s character really makes my skin crawl, in how much of a victim they make her and how utterly in love and perfect she is beforehand. She’s a prop for the story and it’s uncomfortable how the movie treats her. Do no watch this even for Daniel Radcliffe’s saving grace performance, this movie goes out of its way to insult you with how bad it is.

13. I, Origins

First of all, fuck you for that pun.

There were a lot of pretty bad religiously slanted movies this year. Here is one that seems to want to cater to the hipster crowd, with its soft tan lighting, its quirky, young and spirited characters exploring oh-so-kooky things, and a love story that starts with a quicky in a tiny bathroom (I am not even kidding). The lead is a creepy asshole, the girl is just there to force creationist shit down the audiences’ throats, its ideas on reincarnation and spirituality are…strange, and it tries to give a scientific explanation for a literal look into the phrase ‘The eyes are the windows of the soul’. Intrigued? Great, don’t watch this movie.

12. Noah

Okay, I championed this film. Hard. Darren Aronofsky is my favourite director, and while this is a weird step in a new direction for him, I’m open to change. I went in hoping it’d be good despite the criticism layered on it. Unfortunately, they were all right. This movie is a fucking trainwreck of weird ideas, confused Christian imagery, a thoroughly unlikeable lead, some weird additions to the story that don’t make a lot of sense, and rock monsters. The rock monsters are cool. The film would have been bad, but pretty passably so if the final act in it wasn’t so stupid, badly paced and crazy that it brings this movie from a unique but bland take on the story of Noah into an insultingly deranged film that is likely to piss you off no matter what religious affiliation you are. You broke my heart, Darren. You broke it.

11. Transformers: Age of Extinction

Okay, I really didn’t want to go for the obvious choice and put a Michael Bay movie on the worst list, but this one is so fucking terrible it really has an earned it. There’s not a hell of a lot to say about it, except that the Transformers continue to get uglier and more over-designed, the catering to the Chinese market is so obvious it borders on unpatriotic for the cornbread Americana Bay, Mark Wahlberg further proves that I have no idea why people keep on casting this guy, and at 2 and a half hours, it’s a fucking drag to sit through. Terribly shot, terribly acted, awkwardly written (the ‘Romeo and Juliet clause’ scene comes to mind), and just overall another terrible addition to the Bayformers franchise.

And no, the Dinobots do not make up for it!

Next time: the final 10! Or just click here to read 'em. You can also click here, here and here to get my favourite movies of 2014.