Every year, same story. For every great, original, well-written film, we get a clichéd, misguided film with lazy writing and uninspired direction, sometimes with flat acting. The year 2019 is hardly different. This year has given us great films like “Us” and “Gloria Bell,” but then we also got some major disappointments.
A pretentious sci-fi film full of plot holes, a very poorly-made reboot of a beloved comic character, an uninspiring remake of a classic comedy, or just yet another clichéd horror with the cheapest jump scares? Yes, this year has them all. Let’s take a look at some of the stinkers of the year.
That was sure something. Is it because of Steven Knight’s reputation and previous work that this script got made? It’s interesting how he came up with this movie in general. The trailers for this seemed alright.
The movie industry needs more adult thrillers and they sort of tried to make it look like “Body Heat.” And movie seems intriguing, even if it’s full of ridiculous elements to some point. Then the twist happens, which explains some of the weird moments of the film, but you wish it won’t.
Knight obviously had some interesting ideas in his mind, but he turned it into something fully absurd and the more you think about the twist, the more weird the whole movie becomes. And if you think that it just stops there – no, it doesn’t. It just keeps getting more and more insane.
The film had so many well-known names in the cast, but unfortunately they all are wasted, except maybe Jason Clarke, who chews the scenery and is just fun to watch; he overacts for a reason and it works.
Yet there’s no need to put this movie any higher on the list because it has that “so bad it’s good” element to some degree. Yes, it takes itself too seriously at times, and that’s what can turn it into a cult film in the future. It’s crazy and it acts like it isn’t crazy. Surely a film to remember.
Basically a worse version of “Sixth Day.” Having lost his entire family in a car accident, the genius scientist does everything he can to bring them back to life, while ignoring any scientific fact out there – because why not? Keanu Reeves is having one of his better years with “Toy Story 4” and “John Wick 3,” but this is yet another wooden performance from him in another terrible film full of plot holes.
Now the premise isn’t that bad; the idea of cloning and the morals behind it is interesting, but the film doesn’t know what to do with it. The second half of the film is even worse. The film gets so pretentious that you can’t help but laugh.
Now for the positive part: it’s not a predictable movie, but because it’s a weird mix of different kinds of sci-fi clichés, you don’t know what they’re trying to do. Even the much-trashed “Godsend” was a better movie. Sometimes they’re seemingly out of ideas to where there really isn’t anything happening for huge stretches of time. The ending is kind of unpredictable, yet also ridiculous like the rest of the movie.
8. The Professor
Johnny Depp just keeps delivering. He has had an interesting career trajectory; he was one of the most interesting actors in the 1990s, but by the end of the decade, he’d made some questionable choices.
Around the turn of the 21st century, he became a bigger star thanks to films like “Pirates of the Caribbean,” but his smaller film choices were mostly failures and he had rarely given a notable performance (except maybe “Black Mass”) for more than a decade already.
In this glib portrait about a dying academic, Depp actually tries to do something acting-wise, but like some of his recent efforts, he comes off unnecessarily hammy at times and in the end up turns out to be unconvincing.
Though, everything about this film is unconvincing. Many of the story elements just don’t make any sense. It’s also hard to care for the central character, and every supposedly unique trait about him comes off as extremely clichéd and annoying. Everything feels so surface-level. Even if you’re not annoyed by the movie, it’s something that you’ll hardly find yourself thinking about afterwards.
7. The Curse of La Llorona
With the exception of “Annabelle: Creation,” all of the films in this so-called “The Conjuring Universe” that don’t have the word “Conjuring” in their title has been a massive disappointment. They’re simply cash grabs, and how can you blame them when their box office returns often end up being surprisingly strong?
Pretty disappointing, actually, because having a successful horror universe in mainstream cinema would be so cool. This installment is particularly weird, because it has almost nothing to do with the other
“Conjuring” films, but yet they use it on several promotions along with James Wan’s name. Well, what they do with the marketing is perfectly fine; everybody wants to sell their material, but here the problem is the film itself. When you read the Mexican folk legend “La Llorona,” it’s actually really creepy and interesting. This movie does zero justice to the legend.
In fact, they don’t do anything with it and the film isn’t even set in Mexico. They just use the name of La Llorona for…. no particular reason? The story is very generic, the jump scares are predictable and clichéd, and there’s nothing inspiring about anything in this film.
La Llorona herself is not scary; it feels like a different variation or some kind of cosplay of Valak from “The Nun.” The director of this movie is also going to handle “The Conjuring 3,” which is pretty worrisome.
6. The Hustle
Gender-swap films can work and sometimes they do, but the problem is that the creative team behind most of those movies doesn’t try to make a clever update on the material; instead, they try to sell their movies based only on that narrative. “What Men Want” was another disappointment where the writers could have done so much with the premise for our modern times, but instead we got an exhausting experience.
“The Hustle” is another gender-swap remake, this time based on the comedy classic “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” which in turn is based on the lesser-known original “A Bedtime Story.” Now “Scoundrels” was a hilarious film with Michael Caine and Steve Martin at the top of their game. While here, the chemistry between leads doesn’t work, the tone is dull, the story doesn’t do anything creative with the material, and the jokes fall flat.
Anne Hathaway, who was the best part of the mildly entertaining gender-swap remake of “Ocean’s Eight,” feels one-dimensional in this poorly written part and it’s her second film on the list. It may sound like she’s having the worst year of her career, but no worries as she has two baity films upcoming this year: “The Last Thing He Wanted” and “Untitled Todd Haynes Project.”