Tag Archives: Project X

Movie Review: Spring Breakers (2013)

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I thought Project X, that sorry excuse for a film about three losers who decide to throw a massive house party, was the worst movie of 2012. Spring Breakers is more attractive visually and has much bigger names attached to it, but it’s pretty much the Project X of 2013, except more pretentious.

Written and directed by Harmony Korine (Gummo), Spring Breakers is about four college girls – Selena Gomez, Ashley Benson, Vanessa Hudgens and Rachel Korine (the director’s wife) – who head to a spring break party full of drunken rowdiness and intoxicated/drugged up debauchery in skimpy outfits. After a brief brush with the law, they meet Alien, a local gangster played by a corn-rolled James Franco, causing their world to spiral out of control.

That doesn’t make it sound too bad, except that it is. Spring Breakers was made with the intention to shock and disgust audiences with the despicable behaviour of college students on spring break. This means there’s lots of raunchy dancing, drug use, alcohol abuse and nudity and swearing, which is not necessarily bad if done in the right way.

But Korine’s approach feels gratuitous and contrived, with a really lame narrative structure that jumps around and repeats pointlessly behind an even more irritating Terrence Malick-style voiceover that only accentuates how unattractive and unlikable the protagonists are. Most of all, despite decent performances from all four of them, they don’t feel real. Stupid and obnoxious, yes, but not genuine people.

James Franco’s acting is actually fairly strong in this, but his character is a laughable parody. He’s hilarious (unintentionally), actually, but only because he is so pathetic. In fact, there are several moments in this movie that fall between unintentionally funny and cringeworthy, and none of them are intended. The film’s Wikipedia page calls it a “comedy drama” but it’s really an “unintentionally comedic drama.”

Spring Breakers would have still been salvageable had the story been interesting or compelling, but there wasn’t really much of a story to speak of either. And the ending was just flat out horrible. A ridiculous and fitting end to a loathsome movie.

0.5 stars out of 5

10 Worst Films of 2012

Yep, it’s that time of the year again — the time to name my worst movies from…last year. I suck, I know, but it still has to be done. I have on record 109 films from the year 2012 (ie, with an official release date of 2012, not necessarily watched in 2012) which I’ve reviewed on this blog, and I have sifted through all of them to present you with a list of the worst of the worst.

As it turned out, the “worst of” list was much easier to compile than my “best of” list this year, a reflection of the overall quality of films from 2012. Either that or I just watch a lot of crap movies. Either way, here they are…

(click on the movie title for the full review)

In reverse order:

10. Mirror Mirror (2012)

Someone get me a pair of tweezers
Someone get me a pair of tweezers

There were two Snow White films last year, and neither of them were very good. But for all its faults, Snow White and the Huntsman was at least watchable. Mirror Mirror, on the other hand, starring Lily Collins’ eyebrows and the ghost of Julia Roberts, was atrociously bad. Though it wasn’t badly made, the end product was lame, unfunny, uninspired and lacking in any genuine warmth or excitement. It was a snoozer of the worst kind.

9. Rites of Passage (2012)

Christian Slater speaks to a sock puppet
Christian Slater speaks to a sock puppet

The proof that success in Hollywood is fickle. Christian Slater, Stephen Dorff and Wes Bentley star in this straight-to-DVD laugher about serial killers, hillbillies and talking monkey sock puppets. Imagine a slasher film with all the worst cliches imaginable, including the stupid and unlikable characters. This was worse.

8. To the Wonder (2012)

Imagine this for two hours
Imagine nothing but this for two hours

A controversial choice, perhaps, considering it was written and directed by the worshipped Terrence Malick. But To the Wonder, for me, was the kind of pretentious tripe that would be absolutely ridiculed if it were the product of a lesser known director. Even in this case there were many critics who loathed this arty farty film full of dancing and prancing through the meadows, cornfields and streets with 50 rapid takes of the same scene. Sure, it’s pretty to look at, if you like that kind of stuff, but as a film experience this was a waste of time.

7. The Apparition (2012)

Grab higher or lower?
Grab higher or lower?

This star vehicle for Twilight‘s Ashley Greene had somewhat of an intriguing premise that lasted about two minutes. From then on it was the usual crap you would expect from a generic haunting movie that steals — very poorly, might I add — from horror films you’ve seen over the years, topped off with one heck of a silly, predictable ending.

6. What to Expect When You’re Expecting (2012)

This pic says it all
This pic says it all

I’m actually surprised that this film was not higher on the list. Movies based on bestselling self-help books are made to land on my “worst of” lists, and this one is no different. Star-studded ensemble cast having way too much fun amongst themselves to the boredom and disgust of everyone else. It’s saccharine, manipulative and just plain bad.

5. Paranormal Activity 4 (2012)

Like we haven't seen this before
Like we haven’t seen this before

Paranormal Activity films are a sure thing to land on my “worst of” list every year, and this year is no different. The fourth film in the franchise is more of the same old — filler filler filler, lame scare, filler filler filler, lame ending, all captured on ubiquitous HD cameras. At what point will audiences wake up and realise they’re all the same crap?

4. Red Dawn (2012)

Hey Chris, did you see Kim Jong-un?
Hey Chris, did you see Kim Jong-un?

A teen action flick in the vein of Tomorrow, When the War Began, except the concept simply does not work in a modern setting. Even with Chris Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson carrying the star power this was a film destined to fail from the beginning. I tried, but I just couldn’t get over the fact that absolutely nothing made any sense. The plethora of holes in the plot and the complete lack of logic and common sense made this one of the most unwatchable movies of the year.

3. Piranha 3DD (2012)

I was as appalled as this guy
I was as appalled as this guy

At least this film knew it was going to be bad. Intended to be a so-based-it’s-good guilty pleasure full of crazy violence, gore and gratuitous nudity, Piranha 3DD could be enjoyed by adolescents who “woo” and “ahh” at every severed penis and spray their shorts at the first hint of a sideboob shot. For everyone else, well…watch at your own peril.

2. Smiley (2012)

Smiley is as bad as this scene looks
Smiley is as bad as this scene looks

It’s probably a little unfair that Smiley ranks so high on this list because the budget and expectations were so low. It’s a good example of viral online marketing (that’s how I came across it in the first place) and an even better example of a horrible movie. Nothing about this film could come close to being categorised as even average. From the limp plot to the sad acting to the tsunami of slasher cliches, Smiley is about as appalling a film as you can see (or for your sake, not see). And yet, there is one film in 2012 that tops it.

1. Project X (2012)

project X
Yep, Project X is the worst

In this list I have covered poorly conceived ideas, poorly made films, pretentious films, and films that never had much of a chance of being any good. Project X is worse than all of them and receives the dubious honour of being the worst film of 2012. It’s a reflection of everything that’s wrong with the western world, but rather than sending a warning about it, Project X celebrates it with a debaucherous party that is supposed to be humorous. Instead, it’s the most unfunny and unattractive film of the year, and the vinegar-laced mean spirit that runs through it also makes it by far the most loathsome.

Dishonourable mentions: About Cherry, Cosmopolis, Fire with Fire, That’s My Boy, Alex Cross, Resident Evil: Retribution

PS: Up next, my top 10 films of 2012!

2012 Movie Blitz: Part 5

Man on a Ledge (2012)

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The aptly titled Man on a Ledge is about — wait for it — a man (Sam Worthington) on a ledge. It looks like he’s there to commit suicide, but there’s more to the story because Worthington is actually an ex-policeman turned ex-crim who stole a very valuable diamond from a douchey businessman played by Ed Harris. Elizabeth Banks plays a negotiator with the most perfect hair in the world despite being summoned at a second’s notice, and Anthony Mackie is Worthington’s old partner. And Ed Burns plays an officer with the most annoying voice in the world (actually, that’s just because he’s Ed Burns).

Man on a Ledge is a fairly interesting film with a nice set up but it should have been a lot better. It’s a crime thriller that works backwards in the sense that you start off at a climatic situation without knowing what is going on, and the film takes you through various twists to turns to put the pieces of the puzzle together. Personally, I like such films, but the execution here is too weak to make the film compelling. Apart from the implausible plot and the even more impossible stuff that happens in the film, the tension was never there — even though you have a man standing on the ledge of a building the whole time!

Sadly, despite the great cast and interesting set up, Man on a Ledge is straight-to-DVD fodder.

2.5 stars out of 5

Piranha 3DD (2012)

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I watched the predecessor to this film, Piranha 3D, for some reason I cannot recall. I had been expecting a gimmicky Jaws-like tribute in 3D that was enjoyable in a campy sort of way. As it turned out, it was gratuitously gory, tasteless and not nearly fun enough. It was a film made for the stupid generation who just want to see naked girls and carnage. I think I gave it 2 stars, even though looking back on it I can’t see how it could have been so high.

The title of the sequel, Piranha 3DD, should give audiences a fair idea of what they are in for. With a smaller budget (US$5m vs US$24m for the first film) and a lesser known cast, Piranha 3DD tried to make up for it by upping the gore and tastelessness to a new level, including coming up with possibly the most gruesome sex scene in history (you can take a guess). Maybe I am showing my age again, but is this seriously supposed to be funny? What is wrong with people these days?

I have trouble remembering the plot but it had something to do with a family water park and the prehistoric piranhas being unleashed on the poor patrons. As expected, the carnage is epic and there’s a lot of over-the-top blood and guts and people screaming and fish being blown up. Strangely, I found all of it mind-numbingly dull.

The only positive worth noting from this film, if it can be called that, is an extended cameo from David Hasselhoff as himself, playing a douchebag parody of himself (potentially accurate depiction). Unfortunately, even that is nowhere near as funny as the filmmakers thought it was.

0.5 star out of 5

Project X (2012)

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I don’t care if everyone else in the world liked it or thought it was making some kind of meaningful social statement — Project X is without a doubt one of the worst films of 2012. This is one movie I will gladly admit I didn’t get it.

The film is allegedly based on the antics of Corey Worthington, the worthless Melbourne party boy who shot to international fame for about 15 seconds after holding a party at his parents’ house that spiralled out of control. The story itself was newsworthy, I get it, but I just didn’t understand why people think trashing your parents’ house is a cool thing to do.

That didn’t mean Project X had to suck though. But it did. Badly.

As the story goes, three friends want to throw a party to make themselves more popular. They invite a lot of people and the invitations go viral, and as a result the house is flooded with losers. Drinking, dancing, drugs, sex, infantile behaviour — all the stuff you would expect — ensues, before things get so out of control that police, firefighters and media descend upon them.

The movie is largely captured by a handheld camera belonging to one of the three protagonists, which adds to the obnoxiousness of the whole affair. If the movie was actually funny it would have made a huge difference on my opinion but sadly it was criminally unfunny, so much so that I have genuine fears about the future of humanity. It would be false advertising to market this movie as a comedy.

Add on top of that unoriginal, mean-spirited, moronic, charmless, and infuriating (and many more words not suited for this family-friendly blog), and what you end up with is one of the worst movies of the year, or any year. Sometimes movies are just bad. Project X is loathsome.

PS: It’s frightening that a sequel is in the works.

0.25 stars out of 5 — and only because I don’t believe in zero stars

Iron Sky (2012)

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I was excited about Iron Sky, or at least the concept of Iron Sky, which is about Nazis who fled to the moon (and colonised it) after their WWII defeat but are planning their return to conquer the world in 2018. It’s a premise so deliciously outrageous that it seemed like a cult classic waiting to happen.

With great expectations come great disappointment, and unfortunately Iron Sky was at best a mediocre farcical comedy that couldn’t quite get over the hump. The jokes were largely based on the idea that the Nazis were stuck with their primitive 1940s technology and their outdated political ideals, which worked for a while but soon became stale. The tone was also all over the place, making the film feel like a complete mess at times despite the occasional good joke.

The film also employs a cool colour scheme of mostly all greys and blues, which made it almost graphic novel-esque, and I kind of liked it, even though the dreariness got a bit annoying by the end.

In all, it was simply not good enough to be just a good movie, and not bad enough to be a guilty pleasure or cult classic; just a worst place to be for a film — frustratingly mediocre.

2.25 stars out of 5