Welcome to the bottom of the barrel of 2018. Of all the films I sat through in this past year, these were the 10 worst. Each placement is accompanied by my original short review.
Enjoy, but please under no circumstances see these movies if you haven’t already.
10. Ready Player One
When the creator of a popular video game system dies, a virtual contest is created to compete for his fortune.
A master filmmaker – who in the 1970s helped perpetuate the now obsessive need for the culture to soak itself in nostalgia for whatever occurred during one’s formative years – delivers us the ultimate ouroboros of nostalgia for nostalgia. Literally hundreds of visual and aural pop-culture references whiz by in an uncompromising celebration of the introductory years of the early movie blockbusters, recreated here with a $200 million budget. And that’s the reason why, in spite of any amount of skilful staging, dazzling CGI or clever stratagems (not that there’s a lot of any of these), this film had almost no chance with me, as, philosophically, everything the film propagates I find unconditionally abhorrent. We live in the era of the death-dealing nostalgia. Even on the most superficial level, what is more serviceable: A amalgamation of seemingly endless pop-culture references or creating something new that others may yearn to refer to? Dear reader, if spending 140 minutes playing spot-the-reference is your idea of a fulfilling experience, then by all means ignore me. But, personally, I have better things to do with my time.
d – Steven Spielberg
w – Zak Penn, Ernest Cline (Based on the Novel by Ernest Cline)
ph – Janusz Kaminski
pd – Adam Stockhausen
m – Alan Silvestri
ed – Sarah Broshar, Michael Kahn
cos – Kasia Walicka-Maimone
p – Donald De Line, Dan Farah, Kristie Macosko Krieger, Steven Spielberg
Cast: Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, Lena Waithe, T.J. Miller, Simon Pegg, Mark Rylance, Philip Zhao, Win Morisaki, Hannah John-Kamen, Ralph Ineson, Susan Lynch
9. A Wrinkle in Time
After the disappearance of her scientist father, three peculiar beings send Meg, her brother, and her friend to space in order to find him.
Intolerable garbage: Ugly visuals, atrocious performances (particularly from its juvenile cast) and blatantly clumsy direction on a scene-by-scene basis. The method of this madness is the typical contemporary velvet thinking that if one believes in oneself one will achieve the impossible. As good as their intentions are, both DuVernay and Winfrey (and many other modern filmmakers, it seems) need to understand that thrusting one’s politics onto the shoulders of a movie will not make it inherently enlightening. Cinema is an artform and, like any artform, requires rumination and expertise rather than ardour, money or a big megaphone.
d – Ava DuVernay
w – Jennifer Lee, Jeff Stockwell (Based on the Novel by Madeleine L'Engle)
ph – Tobias Schliessler
pd – Naomi Shohan
m – Ramin Djawadi
ed – Spencer Averick
cos – Paco Delgado
p – Catherine Hand, Jim Whitaker
Cast: Oprah Winfrey, Storm Reid, Deric McCabe, Levi Miller, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Chris Pine, Zach Galifianakis, Rowan Blanchard, André Holland, Michael Peña, David Oyelowo, Bellamy Young
Laurie Strode comes to her final confrontation with Michael Myers, the masked figure who has haunted her since she narrowly escaped his killing spree on Halloween night four decades ago.
Hysterical and birdbrained horror film with unclear intentions and a confusing position in regards to the franchise’s timeline.
d – David Gordon Green
w – David Gordon Green, Danny McBride, Jeff Fradley (Based on the Characters Created by John Carpenter, Debra Hill)
ph – Michael Simmonds
pd – Richard A. Wright
m – Cody Carpenter, John Carpenter, Daniel A. Davies
ed – Timothy Alverson
cos – Emily Gunshor
p – Bill Block, Jason Blum, Malek Akkad
Cast: Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, Will Patton, Virginia Gardner, Nick Castle, Miles Robbins, Toby Huss, Jefferson Hall, Haluk Bilginer, Christopher Allen Nelson
7. Peter Rabbit
Feature adaptation of Beatrix Potter’s classic tale of a rebellious rabbit trying to sneak into a farmer’s vegetable garden.
Nasty, annoying, crass comedy that contains none of Potter’s wit and is content to believe that James Corden’s insufferable voice and Domhnall Gleeson falling down are both automatically and routinely funny.
d – Will Gluck
w – Will Gluck, Ron Lieber (Based on the Book by Beatrix Potter)
ph – Peter Menzies Jr
pd – Roger Ford
m – Dominic Lewis
ed – Christian Gazal, Jonathan Tappin
cos – Lizzy Gardiner
p – Will Gluck, Zareh Nalbandian
Cast: Rose Byrne, Domhnall Gleeson, Sam Neill, James Corden, Daisy Ridley, Margot Robbie, Elizabeth Debicki, Colin Moody, Sia Furler, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Felix Williamson
When three different animals become infected with a dangerous pathogen, a primatologist and a geneticist team up to stop them from destroying Chicago.
Based on an arcade game and dopey as all hell: Bad CGI characters, corny jokes, a puerile plot (with villains who seem to be based on the Trump children) and a star who is deathly afraid that any audience member may not like him.
d – Brad Peyton
w – Ryan Engle, Carlton Cuse, Ryan J. Condal, Adam Sztykiel
ph – Jason Presant
pd – Barry Chusid
m – Andrew Lockington
ed – Bob Ducsay, Jim May
cos – Melissa Bruning
p – Beau Flynn, Hiram Garcia, Brad Peyton, John Rickard
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Naomie Harris, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Joe Manganiello, Malin Åkerman, Jake Lacy, Jack Quaid, Marley Shelton, PJ Byrne, Breanne Hill, Matt Gerald
5. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
When the island's dormant volcano begins roaring to life, a campaign is mounted to rescue the remaining dinosaurs from this extinction-level event.
You think the people in these movies would realise how ill-advised the concept of cloning dinosaurs would be by now. Then again, you'd think modern-day audiences would realise how boring it is to watch CGI animals chase around awkwardly reactive actors, but the box-office receipts say different. The trajectory of this franchise has become ridiculous to the point of paralysis: the characters' behaviour is senseless, the plot twists are laughable, the attempts at serious science are embarrassing and for no discernible reason a great deal of the action takes place indoors. A very stupid movie.
wd – JA Bayona
w – Derek Connolly, Colin Trevorrow (Based on the Characters Created by Michael Crichton)
ph – Oscar Faura
pd – Andy Nicholson
m – Michael Giacchino
ed – Bernat Vilaplana
cos – Sammy Sheldon Differ
p – Patrick Crowley, Belén Atienza, Frank Marshall
Cast: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Isabella Sermon, Rafe Spall, James Cromwell, Justice Smith, Daniella Pineda, Geraldine Chaplin, Ted Levine, Toby Jones, BD Wong, Jeff Goldblum, Michael Papajohn, Robert Emms
4. Life Itself
As a young New York couple goes from college romance to marriage and the birth of their first child, the twists of their journey create reverberations that echo over continents and through lifetimes.
So jejune, so self-indulgent in its infantile themes of life as a phenomenon, and how we are all connected in this beautiful world, that mockery is inescapable. It’s also frightfully boring.
wd – Dan Fogelman
ph – Brett Pawlak
pd – Gerald Sullivan
m – Federico Jusid
ed – Julie Monroe
cos – Melissa Toth
p – Marty Bowen, Wyck Godfrey, Aaron Ryder
Cast: Oscar Isaac, Olivia Wilde, Mandy Patinkin, Olivia Cooke, Laia Costa, Annette Bening, Antonio Banderas, Samuel L. Jackson, Sergio Peris-Mencheta, Àlex Monner, Jake Robinson
3. Bohemian Rhapsody
A chronicle of the years leading up to Queen's legendary appearance at the Live Aid (1985) concert.
Endlessly fascinating in its abysmal awfulness: It falls upon every musical biopic cliche in the book, bungles easily recognisable historical inaccuracies, deals rather distastefully with Mercury’s homosexuality and contains some of the worst lines of spoon-feeding exposition ever committed to film.
d – Bryan Singer
w – Anthony McCarten, Peter Morgan
ph – Newton Thomas Sigel
pd – Aaron Haye
m – John Ottman
ed – John Ottman
cos – Julian Day
p – Jim Beach, Graham King, Bryan Singer, Brian May, Peter Oberth, Roger Taylor
Cast: Rami Malek, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy, Joseph Mazzello, Lucy Boynton, Aidan Gillen, Tom Hollander, Mike Myers, Allen Leech, Aaron McCusker, Dermot Murphy, Meneka Das
2. Solo: A Star Wars Story
Through a series of daring escapades deep within a dark and dangerous criminal underworld, Han Solo meets his mighty future co-pilot Chewbacca and encounters the notorious gambler Lando Calrissian.
Woeful from beginning to end, offering nothing new in regards to either aesthetic or subtext. Like the previous prequel in the franchise, this was designed merely to regurgitate scantly explored ideas in an exercise of referential ascertainment that for some reason people find gratifying. Like a well of water that will never run out. In the past, I have spent a great deal of ink on here explaining why this saddens me. By all means, enjoy your garbage.
d – Ron Howard
w – Jonathan Kasdan, Lawrence Kasdan (Based on the Characters by George Lucas)
ph – Bradford Young
pd – Neil Lamont
m – John Powell
ed – Pietro Scalia
cos – David Crossman Glyn Dillon
p – Kathleen Kennedy, Simon Emanuel, Allison Shearmur
Cast: Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Joonas Suotamo, Paul Bettany, Jon Favreau, Linda Hunt
1. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
The second installment of the "Fantastic Beasts" series set in JK Rowling's Wizarding World featuring the adventures of magizoologist Newt Scamander.
Massively boring, lame and incomprehensible; the 2000s-era Harry Potter films were hardly enthralling works of cinema but these soul-sucking money-grubbing attempts by Rowling to try and stay as relevant as she can were to them what the Star Wars prequels were to Star Wars (1977).
d – David Yates
w – JK Rowling
ph – Philippe Rousselot
pd – Stuart Craig
m – James Newton Howard
ed – Mark Day
cos – Colleen Atwood
p – JK Rowling, David Heyman, Lionel Wigram, Steve Kloves
Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Alison Sudol, Dan Fogler, Jude Law, Ezra Miller, Johnny Depp, Zoë Kravitz, Callum Turner, Claudia Kim, Carmen Ejogo, Jessica Williams
Avengers: Infinity War
The Cloverfield Paradox
Holmes and Watson
I Can Only Imagine
Jeepers Creepers 3
Johnny English Strikes Again
Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms