Tag Archives: Paranormal Activity 3

10 Worst Films of 2011

It’s a Christmas Day miracle!

Yeah, you better believe it. I have finally finished watching and reviewing all the 2011 movies (ie, movies with a 2011 release date according to IMDB) on my list and I’m ready to deliver my worst and best lists of the (last) year. Sure it’s a little late, but better late than never, right? Take that, 2011!

Anyway, it was very interesting going through all 110 movies on the list and seeing whether I still felt the same about the movies so long after I initially rated them (well, for the older ones at least). There were indeed some differences. For example, I could have sworn I gave Transformers 3 a rating much worse than the 2.5 stars it received, and from memory I thought Something Borrowed should have been worse than 2 stars. On the other hand, having seen The Adjustment again more recently I think perhaps it deserved more than a 3.5. But to keep it to first impressions I decided not to change anything.

To make it easier for myself, I highlighted all the movies with ratings more than 4.25 and less than 2. And guess what? I ended up with exactly 10 films for each! Another Christmas Day miracle!

OK, so here goes. First up, counting down my 10 worst films of 2011! Click on the title to read the full review for each film.

10. Never Back Down 2: The Beatdown (2011)

IMG_8497.CR2
You don’t wanna mess with us, punk

You know, the sequel to MMA flick Never Back Down is not actually that bad when placed in context, which is a straight-to-DVD film with low expectations. The fight scenes are OK, but its recycled plot, laughable subplots and cringeworthy dialogue were enough to propel it into my top 10 worst of the year. Just.

9. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011)

1223-Film-Review-Extremely-Loud-Incredibly-Close_full_600
Tom Hanks piggy backs annoying kid

This was supposed to be a triumphant tear jerker about post-9/11 American, but instead it came across as exploitative and pretentious, and probably the worst Best Picture Oscar nominee ever. The kid (Thomas Horn) deserves some kind of award for portraying the most irritating child character in recent years.

8. Your Highness (2011)

Natalie Portman's best performance ever
Natalie Portman’s best performance ever

I really wanted to like this fantasy comedy farce but it turned out to be one of the year’s biggest disappointments. Perfect example of where there was not enough script and too much improv for a bunch of stoned actors/comedians who needed to be reined in and saved from themselves.

7. Paranormal Activity 3 (2011)

OMG, we're in a movie that's exactly the same as the last two!
OMG, we’re in a movie that’s exactly the same as the last two!

As long as they keep making them I’m pretty sure Paranormal Activity movies will keep landing on my worst movies list every year. This one was actually one of the better ones, which really says it all about this gimmicky franchise that has as much trouble filling up the screen time as it does producing genuine scares.

6. The Art of Getting By (2011)

Let's see who can stare at the other person longer
Let’s see who can stare at the other person longer

Probably the most pointless film of the year in which a kid tries to get by with minimal effort, meets a girl, falls for her, kind of, not really, no one cares. Whatever the message was, it didn’t come out.

5. Jack and Jill (2011)

Two Adam Sandlers laugh at an Adam Sandler movie while everyone else pouts
Two Adam Sandlers laugh at an Adam Sandler movie while everyone else pouts

Adam Sandler movies used to make me so happy, but now they just make me sad — and angry. Jack and Jill is yet another example of how far he has fallen. Not only is it terribly unfunny and mean spirited, the film takes a dump all over screen legend Al Pacino by allowing him to be involved.

4. Gnomeo and Juliet (2011)

Watching real garden gnomes would have been more exciting
Watching real garden gnomes would have been more exciting

Possibly the worst animated film of the last two decades. The last cartoon I fell asleep in was Cars, and that was because I was really tired. This one had no excuse. The dearth of laughs was terrifying and there was no originality apart from the fact that they are garden gnomes. And as nearly always, the 3D was a waste of everyone’s time.

3. The Darkest Hour (2011)

Why am I screaming?!
Why am I screaming?!

The idea was good on paper and the trailers looked promising, but invisible alien enemies turned out to be oh-so-lame…until you saw the aliens and realized that was even lamer. Despite all the running and supposed danger, for whatever reason, The Darkest Hour just had no pulse. With no characters to root for and almost zero excitement, it was indeed the darkest hour — well, 89 minutes, to be exact.

2. ATM (2011)

I think people are watching us watching them watching us
Hang on, I think people are watching us watching them watching us

Ordinarily, a film released straight to video-on-demand and DVD should not be this high up on the list, but ATM does star Alice Eve, Brian Geraghty and Josh Peck, who aren’t exactly unknowns. My problem with it is that it’s just too unbelievably stupid and nonsensical, to the point where I actually started getting annoyed and wanted the protagonists to get killed for their lack of IQ. A slasher movie where everything is so predictable is never a good thing either.

1. New Year’s Eve (2011)

Michelle Pfeiffer and Zac Efron being forced to pretend there's chemistry between them
Michelle Pfeiffer and Zac Efron being forced to pretend there’s chemistry between them

The honour of the worst film of 2011 goes to New Year’s Eve, a new low in saccharine ensemble films where a bunch of stars are forced together on the screen because of some arbitrary common theme. How they managed to make a film with 20+ Hollywood A-listers that sucked so bad is beyond me. No one is given enough screen time to do anything meaningful and nearly all the characters/story arcs are unlikable or contrived or both. It was my only reviewed film of 2011 to be rated less than a 1 star (I actually gave it a 0.5), meaning the gap between this film and the my no. 2 film is wider than the gap between no. 2 and no. 9. The only positive thing I can say about it is that at least it wasn’t in 3D. Eek.

That was depressing. Next up, my 10 favourite films of 2011!

PS: It actually wasn’t such a bad year in terms of bad movies. A lot of average and below average stuff but not many made me want to pull my hair out.

Mega Catch-up Movie Blitz (Part 1)

With around 25 movies waiting to be reviewed in my draft folder, I have decided that it’s no longer possible for me to just “catch up” to present day with detailed reviews for each film, especially not when I have plans to eventually put out a long overdue “Best of 2011”film ranking.

And so I have decided to go on a bit of a mega review blitz and get most the majority of the films out of the way with condensed reviews. I have reserved more detailed reviews for the newer and more high profile films I have something to say about, which I will hopefully chuck in there somewhere.

Anyway, here is the first batch:

The Way Back (2010)

My only 2010 film in this entire review blitz. I had been dying to see The Way Back for quite some time but never managed to get around to it until a couple of months ago.

It’s supposed to be inspired by real life events (also have to take that with a grain of salt), about a bunch of gulag prisoners who literally walk fromSiberiato Nepal/India. It features an all-star cast including Jim Sturgess, Ed Harris, Saoirse Ronan and Colin Farrell, and I believe the film was nominated for a 2011 Oscar for its make-up.

This is one of those visually stunning, well-acted, inspirational “true” stories that highlight the strength of the human spirit. Most of the film is about the kind of amazing feats (and crap) these people went through to survive, so from that perspective it was compelling to watch, but on the whole it didn’t quite have that “memorable epic” feel to it. At the end of the day, I enjoyed both the story and the technical achievements of the film but also came away slightly disappointed that it didn’t blow me away like I wanted it to. I’m glad I caught it on DVD.

3.5 stars out of 5!

The Three Musketeers (2D) (2011)

My knowledge of the Three Musketeers, sadly, comes almost exclusively from that 1998 Leo DiCaprio movie The Man with the Iron Mask, where the Musketeers are played by powerhouses Jeremy Irons, John Malkovich and Gerard Depardieu, with Gabriel Byrne as D’Artagnan.

This new version of Musketeers, on the other hand, is played by relative unknowns – Luke Stevenson, Ray Stevenson and Matthew Macfayden (Mr I love, I love, I love you from the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice), with Percy Jackson himself (Logan Lerman) as a young D’Artagnan. The bigger stars, Orlando Bloom, Christoph Waltz and Milla Jovovich, on the other hand, are relegated to smaller roles.

I’m afraid this one was not at all very memorable for me. The lack of star power amongst the key roles might have had something to do with it, but for some reason despite all the swordplay, flying around and blowing things up I never felt…well, anything. It wasn’t awful and admittedly it was fun at times, but I found myself watching for the sake of it and not really caring what happened next.

Apparently a sequel was planned but I’m not sure I’d want to see it.

2.5 stars out of 5 

Paranormal Activity 3 (2011)

Having called the original overrated and the sequel one of the worst films of last year, I returned for more punishment with Paranormal Activity 3, which is actually a prequel about a young Katie and Kristi, the sisters who led the first two films in the franchise.

I suppose the makers deserve some kudos for coming up with the prequel idea so they can milk a little more money out of audiences – but still, the movie sucked dog scrotums. Perhaps it was scarier than the other two from a “boo” factor perspective and slightly less tedious in its build-up, but those are the only positive things I have to say about the film, which has really scraped the bottom of the barrel this time.

For one thing, I thought being set in 1988 meant that the “film everything” philosophy would have to be slightly reconsidered, but instead this family had some of the most advanced video camera technology ever used. I mean, seriously, what kind of family from the 80s would install cameras in just about every corner of the house, and what kind of futuristic cameras were they using to capture both crystal clear audio and high definition quality video for every second of the freaking day? This would have had to have been on tapes, by the way.

But I guess people who watch these films already know what to expect — a lot of time fillers, a few chills and several boo moments here and there, and a crazy ending where all hell breaks lose. Strictly speaking this might have been the most enjoyable movie of the three, but because the predictable formula has been reused so many times I can only give it…

1.5 stars out of 5

The Double (2011)

Richard Gere. Topher Grace. Straight to DVD (I think). That just about sums up The Double, a film about a Soviet operative called Cassius who is some super deadly killer seeking revenge against those who harmed his family. Gere and Grace are two CIA agents trying to track him down, but is there more to the story than meets the eye? And why is it called The Double?

Actually, this was not too bad for a straight-to-DVD flick (if that’s indeed what it is). But as a feature with two somewhat marketable stars – plus the likes of Martin Sheen, Odette Yustman, Stana Katic (from Castle) and Stephen Moyer (True Blood) – The Double fails to generate any real suspense or genuinely exciting action. It reminded me a little of those Carlos the Jackal films that were popular for a while, except those films were considered cool back then but not now.

The so-called “twists” were fairly obvious and didn’t add a whole lot to the drama. The execution wasn’t all bad but I think the script itself needed work. Not an atrocious effort overall but still a completely forgettable film. As you can see I am struggling to remember the details.

2.25 stars out of 5