Least Anticipated Films of 2015
Hollywood gives, and Hollywood takes. Last time out, we looked at ten potentially great films. This week we prepare to take out the garbage. Ten horrible, nasty, naughty little films that showcase the lousy trends popular in modern film making (plus the bonus “Keanu’s Dozen” pick.) We’ve got unnecessary remakes, decades-old defrosted reboots, sequels with so many digits after the title that it would give a Roman sculptor carpal tunnel syndrome in his chisel hand, and redundant add-ons to already saturated genres. Yes siree, we’ve got an embarrassment of riches this week…
10. The Fantastic Four (August)
Originally, this movie was MUCH further down this list. The Fantastic Four is a hard property for a modern audience to dig. What was new and exciting in 1961 doesn’t exactly get the blood boiling in 2015. They have a back story that has been parodied so many times, it feels like a parody itself. Their powers and relationships come across as campy and archaic. Oh, and Reed Richards was a phenomenally misogynistic douche nozzle for much of the series. So yeah, a hard team to love…but…
The trailer turned me around on this film. Instead of trying to capture that space race/1960’s vibe of optimism that launched the FF, the new Fant4stic (terrible, terrible title, guys) captures the current wave of angst and ennui over a country in decline. It taps that same notion of depletion and uncertainty that set up this year’s space flick, Interstellar. A story about hope and struggle in the face of a worn down populace actually feels like the perfect mood to set for the Fantastic Four. This trailer may just have put my butt in a seat once this bad boy comes out.
9. Furious 7 (April)
Nope. Been there, done that, and even Paul Walker dying is not enough motivation for me to give this iteration of Fast and Furious the time of day. This whole series feels like somebody put on film that story I was telling myself when I was five years old and smashing my GI Joe figures into my Matchbox cars. While that sounds cool as all hell, it ends up having all the depth and substance of a plot cooked up by a five year old. So this movie is a pass…but I am going to root around in my closet to see if I still have any toy cars left laying around. So thanks for that, Furious 7.
8. Alvin and the Chipmunks: Road Chip (December)
Another stinker on four wheels, and another series that I cannot believe continues to get made. The description of the movie on IMDB pretty much sums up this garbage franchise: “plot is unknown.” And largely non-existent, I’d wager.
7. Do You Believe? (March)
Despite audiences cooling rapidly on derivative, exploitative films aimed at Christians, we’re getting another holier than thou mess this spring. From the people behind God’s Not Dead, this movie hopes that their audience’s faith (and money) is not dead, and that they reward this film for so shamelessly pandering to them this Easter. A self-indulgent mess featuring cardboard cut-out stereotypes (some of them racially offensive), Do You Believe? shows us all the power of faith…in a fictional story where everybody gets convenient miracles to tidily confirm their beliefs. Which is pretty much the role of films like this: if you already believe, here’s a hearty helping of contrived bull crap that can make you feel secure in your chosen religion. It’s an “attaboy” for the faithful. For those without a dog in this fight, though, this film is going exactly nowhere. If made up miracles in a movie is supposed to demonstrate that God is out there, then I guess Snowpiercer proved global warming is real and Independence Day proved the existence of aliens, right?
6. Don’t Mess with Texas (May)
A film produced by Reese Witherspoon’s film company, and starring Reese Witherspoon is set to deliver all of the action, laughs, and excitement that you expect from Reese Witherspoon. I’m pegging that bar at zero.
This movie is a reluctant partners comedy, featuring a Texas marshal and the wife of a drug dealer who are being chased across Texas by somebody. I don’t know. For a film releasing in May, there is a fat lot of nothing being said about this movie. The premise seems thin, and the choice of actresses would be a mystery if you didn’t know that Reese basically gave herself the job, despite looking less like a rough and tumble cop, and more like a chaperone at a high school prom.
5. Divergent 2: Insurgent (March)
Hopefully Divergent will be the last choking gasp of the tween literature genre that has glutted the cinema since Harry Potter opened the floodgates. A shameless, derivative and crass rip-off, the Divergent series lacks any single redeeming feature. Shailene Woodley is aptly named, as her performance is highly reminiscent of a dead log. The story apes so many aspects of a genre that is itself painfully generic, that you would have to have been in a coma for 20 years to find any of the thin gruel this movie calls a plot to be exciting or novel. For a film all about how super duper rare and exceptional and free-thinking its hero is, it is a completely painful exercise in craven blandness.
Boy, I just can’t wait to have to talk about this goddamn series again next year when the devastatingly stupid third movie, Allegiant, comes out. Just writing the title Allegiant makes me want to fire gouts of boiling blood out of my eye sockets at the author, Veronica Roth, for having written such absolute twaddle. There’s only one fate awful enough for this film series: into the pit!
4. Paul Blart, Mall Cop 2 (April)
Ha Ha Ha Ha…Nope.
3. Jupiter Ascending (February)
Jumping Jesus Christ on a biscuit, what the hell is this movie? After the colossal clusterfuckery that was Speed Racer and the jaw-droppingly self-indulgent Cloud Atlas, why on earth would anyone give the Wachowskis a free pass (and millions of dollars) to make yet another bloated, semi-coherent, psycho-babble laden farce? As the Matrix sequels showed, the pair just cannot get out of their own way when given complete creative control. The original Matrix and V for Vendetta were slick and entertaining films, but everything else from these two has been gaudy and hollow.
Jupiter Ascending has got nearly all of the same problems that plagued the second and third Matrix films. The dialogue is canned and corny, offering up inane sound bites that attempt to sound deep and philosophical but are about as insightful as a fortune cookie. The film asks too much from its lead star, as Mila Kunis seems hopelessly out of her acting depth in this film. It pits her against a villain who sounds like he is choking on a mouth full of cotton balls, and has been directed to deliver his lines in a quivering rage that makes the young Eddie Redmayne sound like a petulant third grader. The story is gibberish, the fantasy is nonsensical, and the visuals are just more of the “Sonic the Hedgehog CGI” school of film making, where crap goes flying around in front of your face until you are rendered comatose.
Oh yeah, and Sean Bean is a genetically modified bee-person in this film.
Mr. Wizard, get me the hell out of here!
2. Jurassic World (June)
In Jurassic World, the dream of creating an island safari center full of dinosaurs has become a reality. Not content with owning the Disney World of Dinos, the company in charge decides to combat waning interest by creating a new hybrid dinosaur. That’s right. The film is about a greedy mega corporation shamelessly seeking attendance by flaunting a new creature. I hope Universal Pictures is in on the joke. I’m only sad they went with the name Indomitus Rex for the new tourist eating disaster instead of Self-Parody-a-Saurus Supreme.
This film was stuck in production limbo for more than a decade. After the debacle that was Jurassic Park 3 (you know, the one that was basically Godzilla 1998, except with a T-Rex?) nobody wanted to get this project done. Looking at the trailer, you can see why. This film looks like a retread of the original Jurassic Park… except for where it looks like Jaws 3.
The premise of Jurassic World is old. Older than Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, old. We shouldn’t play God with nature, blah blah blah. Stick a sock in it, stuffy Chris Pratt character. You’re job is to work all day with Velociraptors. What did you think, that they were farm raised dinosaurs? You’re suddenly becoming squeamish about tampering with genetics NOW? Piss off! If you walked into any museum in America and announced you were hiring for a park full of ancient lizards, you’d have so many takers you could fill a tanker ship full of applicants, and not a single one of them would be anything less than stoked to work with the franken-dinos. This mopey moralizing was tiresome in the first film. Yes, making dinosaurs is a bad idea…but it’s the best goddamn bad idea mankind has ever had, so get me a drill bit and some prehistoric mosquitoes, cause it’s about fucking time I had my own Triceratops!
1. Terminator: Genisys (July)
This film is a desperation play by Arnold Schwarzenegger to get back into making hit movies after a trio of flops. He goes back to the well for the fourth or fifth time, depending on how much grief you want to give the Governator for his CG cameo in Terminator Salvation. This time around, the continuity of the first two films is being monkeyed around with so as to plausibly re-insert Arnold into the action, despite that fact that he has never looked less ready for action in his career.
The big reveal trailer shown at the Super Bowl this Sunday was supposed to whet our appetites for another go around with the T-800, but only served to highlight everything that is wrong with this movie. It scraps the continuity of the only good films in the franchise, recycles the best bits from those films shamelessly, has laughably bad CGI, and is just as flabby and tired as the film’s leading man. Sorry, Daenerys, despite doing a credible Linda Hamilton impersonation, if you don’t start picking better projects, your big screen career is going to be shorter than your marriage to Khal Drogo.
*Bonus Round*: Point Break (July)
Anybody ask for this film to get remade? Anybody? You, there in the back?
Nope. I just checked with everybody, and nobody, and I mean NOBODY asked for this thing to get made. One of the “so bad it was good” cheese ball flicks to come out of the 90’s, the original was so laughably over the top, it managed to fool you into thinking it was better than you remembered. But it wasn’t. It really wasn’t. So why are we getting a remake? Who knows. All I do know is that no Keanu means no way am I going to watch this.
Well, probably no way. I mean, if they have a hologram of Patrick Swayze show up in it or something, I might be down for it. Maybe.