6. Now You See Me 2
A surprise hit leads to a disappointing sequel. A story we’ve seen many times in the history of Hollywood. The original Now You See Me was far from a masterpiece, but it was at least fun and surprisingly more complex than many thought it would be.
The sequel was anticipated as more magic filled fun, but the sequel went overboard with twists and turns, but had less hiding ups its sleeve. Now You See Me 2 was released worldwide in June and was financially successful, raking in over $300 million.
The best thing about the sequel is the addition of Lizzy Caplan into the cast. She completely steals the show with her smart and sassy energy and really livens up the boy’s club.
The movie is fun, mostly because of Caplan and Daniel Radcliffe as the creepy yet hilarious villain. However, director Jon M. Chu does not seem as comfortable with the run and gun magical style as the previous director is.
Overall, Now You See Me 2 is really fun, but there is not much underneath the stunts. It’s just a series of stunts with a few characters thrown in. I wanted them to improve the magical formula from the first movie, but all they did was put that formula into overdrive and went overboard. Don’t worry we are getting Now You See Me 3.
7. Free State of Jones
Starring Academy Award winner Matthew McConaughey as Newton Knight, the film is inspired by Knight’s life and his armed rebellion against the Confederacy in Jones County, Mississippi, during the American Civil War. It was written and directed by Gary Ross who gave us Seabiscuit and Pleasantville and the shaky camera in the first Hunger Games film.
Free State of Jones stars McConaughey, Gugu Mbatha-Rae, Mahershala Ali and Keri Russell. The film failed to recoup its $50 million budget and received mixed to negative reviews.
I think the film relied too heavily on the superstar in the true story motif, thinking that his name alone would bring in people to watch the movie and that the movie would be worth watching in the first place.
The story of Newton Knight and of Jones County is quite interesting and should have made a better film, however the story becomes stilted and is poorly paced. It has the noblest intentions, but the final product does not deliver.
When I first saw the trailer I was quite excited. I love a good historical drama, but in the end Free State of Jones took too many liberties with history and the performances were not as strong as I would have liked. It was a valiant effort, but a disappointing one.
8. X-Men: Apocalypse
Featured on my list of films to look forward to in 2016, X-Men: Apocalypse received mixed reviews and has the lowest critical scores since X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
In X-Men: Apocalypse, the ancient mutant En Sabah Nur awakens in 1983 and plans to wipe out modern civilization and take over the world, leading the X-Men to try to stop him and defeat his team of renegade mutants.
The film received mixed reviews and was a box office success, grossing over $539 million worldwide. What I found was that X-Men: Apocalypse did not live up to its name in intensity. It feels like everyone is just going through the motions, there is no spark.
There is not really a compelling villain. I wanted more from some characters and others, like Mystique, played brilliantly by Jennifer Lawrence, are not given much to do.
This is the first Bryan Singer X-Men movie that I walked out of disappointed. He directed the first movie X2 and Days of Futures Past. It seemed like the franchise ran out of things to do so they just started blowing things up with too many characters to boot.
I was really looking forward to this film as a nice closing chapter to the trilogy, but all it did was disappoint and will serve as the launching pad for off shoots that are unneeded.
9. The Neon Demon
Director Nicolas Winding Refn has ascended the directorial ladder in Hollywood and is considered one of the best younger directors out there, especially after the release of his acclaimed film Drive in 2011.
However, his last two offerings, Only God Forgives from 2013 and The Neon Demon from this year have had mixed reviews, some heralding them as masterpieces, while others saying they were too meta and pretentious for their own good.
The Neon Demon sounds great on paper as it follows an aspiring model in Los Angeles whose beauty and youth place her in significant danger amongst the women she becomes associated with in the industry, who are murderous and dangerous.
The film even competed for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, Refn’s third straight film to do so. The film stars Elle Fanning, Christina Hendricks and Keanu Reeves.
After being released at Cannes to mixed reviews, it was released in the United States in late June, again to mixed reviews. It really depends on who you ask here, because some saw the film as a masterpiece, while others thought it was ridiculous and poorly paced.
These mixed feelings led to a 51% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and the film so far not being able to recoup its budget. However, it was not on the grandest scale, so maybe not many noticed. However, in terms of what this director is capable of and the premise the film is a disappointment to some.
Sometimes you can have all of the right components and still screw up the recipe. In Genius, we have Strong source material, in the form of A.
Scott Berg’s National Book Award–winning biography, a top-notch screenwriter (John Logan) and a to-die-for A-list cast, including Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth, Jude Law, and Laura Linney.
The story of Genius follows the story of American Southern writer Thomas Wolfe and his connections with New Yorker Maxwell Perkins, the publisher. Perkins had already previously published works by the great American writers Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald.
The story also follows the almost “romantic” affair between Wolfe and Perkins. With an excellent screenwriter John Logan, the man behind The Aviator, Hugo, and Skyfall, the interesting, if familiar premise really could have worked, even with a first time director Michael Grandage.
However, critics agreed both at the Berlin International Film Festival, where the film premiered and when it was released worldwide in June, the parts did not come together well.
On Rotten Tomatoes the film has a rating of 42%, based on 12 reviews, with an average rating of 5.7/10. Many critics cited the hammy acting, over stylization of everything and the late emerging story as the main culprits of the film.
It is truly a shame too. As soon as I saw the preview, I was quite excited for the film. However, after seeing it in theaters, genius is not how I would describe it.
Author Bio: Ryan Anderson is a sophomore at Miami University in Oxford Ohio, where he is studying Zoology and Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies. His love of classic cinema and film history keeps his love for film strong and ever-present in his life.