70. The Book of Henry (2017) – Colin Treverrow returns to his indie roots after directing the big-budget extravaganza Jurassic World to make this film that sounds like a Lifetime Movie of the Year. The talented cast featuring Jaeden Lieberher, Jacob Tremblay, Naomi Watts, and Dean Norris can’t even save this tonal catastrophe about a genius boy’s plan to kill his neighbor for raping his stepdaughter (that’s not a spoiler, by the way). Every character makes dumb decisions and the climax left me at a loss for words, and I don’t mean it in a good way.
69. The Space Between Us (2017) – I have never seen a sci-fi/romance so bland, dreadful, and silly as The Space Between Us. Asa Butterfield (Hugo, Ender’s Game) plays a teenager born on Mars who falls in love with a girl (Britt Robertson, Tomorrowland) who lives on Earth. Together, he seems to enjoy this rite of passage while scientists cannot withstand it for a second. The romance is so soapy I used it to wash my hands. Gary Oldman has never been so wasted in an antagonistic role.
68. Pixels (2015) – I was actually looking forward to seeing this. Adam Sandler and friends fighting off aliens in the form of retro video game characters. Sounds fun, right? Wrong!
Despite some decent action (particularly the Pac-Man sequence and the finale) and the best remix of Queen’s “We Will Rock You”, director Chris Columbus and writer Tim Herlihy suck the joy out of it with its awful attempts at laughs, terrible chemistry between the cast (especially Sandler and Michelle Monghan), and effects that would look alright if Pixels came out in the 1990s. And also, the subplot with Josh Gad’s crush on a hot video game character becomes creepy as hell. I have a theory about Sean Bean (who makes a short appearance): If he doesn’t die, the movie becomes terrible.
67. After Earth (2013) – Remember when M. Night Shyamalan was hailed as “The Next Steven Spielberg” by Newsweek after the success of Signs? Remember when his commercial hit The Sixth Sense got nominated for Best Picture and Best Director? I was only a child when all of those occurred.
Now heading into my 20s, this wonderful filmmaker has made some stinkers including The Happening and this mundane, monotonous sci-fi adventure, starring Will Smith and Jaden Smith. After Earth is a movie with so much potential; with Shyamalan taking half-credit for writing the screenplay from Will Smith’s story. Unfortunately, this film is underdeveloped in its science-fiction elements, so preachy in its philosophies, and so dull in its performances. Some of the dialogue (including the argument between the son and his injured father after their spacecraft crashed in a futuristic ecosystem) is nothing short of laughable. Definitely not a father-son duo to root for.
66. Anna Karenina (2012) – I don’t know what the hell Joe Wright was thinking of adapting the Russian novel to the silver screen. I understand why a lot of people love it, but it just didn’t do it for me. This is an overblown, convoluted melodrama that looks marvelous. Keira Knightley leads a massive British cast that don’t bring any depth into their performances. It feels like Aaron Taylor-Johnson is in a satire with his over-the-top portrayal as Anna’s lover. Also, what’s the point with the theatre stage?
65. 7 Days in Entebbe (2018) – This decade brought forth some great thrillers based on real events including Bridge of Spies, Captain Phillips, and The Revenant. 7 Days in Entebbe, a film about the 1976 hijacking of four terrorists who put the crew and passengers hostage in a Ugandan warehouse. Daniel Bruhl and Rosamund Pike don’t bring anything to their performances in a film so lifeless, boring, and unintentionally funny. Also, the spiritual dancing sequences that open and close the movie could have worked better in another movie than this.
64. Jane Got a Gun (2016) – Years of being in production hell, Gavin O’Connor’s lifeless Western still feels rushed and incomplete. Bullets fly, but there’s hardly any blood. The cast including Natalie Portman, Joel Edgerton, and Ewan McGregor look like they didn’t want to be involved with the project at all. No wonder why it became one of the biggest box-office flops of all-time.
63. Child 44 (2015) – Tom Hardy is one of Hollywood’s tough guys. It’s hard not to love him in movies such as Bronson, Warrior, The Dark Knight Rises, and Mad Max: Fury Road. He has been in a few stinkers including this thankfully forgotten historical thriller about a police detective going after a serial killer preying on young boys. Also starring Gary Oldman and Noomi Rapace, the actors perform in Russian accents that are hard to take seriously. The tone shifts from historical thriller to straight-up mystery; failing on both levels. Those two-and-a-half hours feel like two-and-a-half weeks.
62. Colombiana (2011) – “Never forget where you came from,” says the heroine’s uncle before his demise.
I wish I could forget seeing this action-revenge tale in theaters. 2011 already brought a terrific action-thriller called Hanna. Then, in late August, a fiasco co-written and produced by Luc Besson. Zoe Saldana is an undeniably attractive actress, but doesn’t give enough to save this unintentionally silly romp that feels anticlimactic. Thank goodness Saldana went onto star in Guardians of the Galaxy.
61. The Hangover: Part III (2013) – When one of the early scenes involves a giraffe getting its head decapitated on a highway, it’s not a good sign for the movie. There are a few good scenes; I particularly liked the thrilling scene in Caesar’s Palace. Other than that, there is not a single gag I find funny nor is there a single character to root for.