Here Are the Reliably Boring Razzie Nominations!


Yawn!  The Razzies are always so boring!  Here are this year’s predictable nominations.  Talk about them on twitter and impress your friends.

Worst Picture
Fantastic Four
Fifty Shades of Grey
Jupiter Ascending
Paul Blart Mall Cop 2
Pixels

Worst Director
Andy Fickman, Paul Blart Mall Cop 2
Tom Six, Human Centipede 3
Sam Taylor-Johnson, Fifty Shades of Grey
Josh Trank, Fantastic Four
Andy and Lana Wachowski, Jupiter Ascending

Worst Actor
Johnny Depp, Mortdecai
Jamie Dornan, Fifty Shades of Grey
Kevin James, Paul Blart Mall Cop 2
Adam Sandler, The Cobbler and Pixels
Channing Tatum, Jupiter Ascending

Worst Actress
Katherine Heigl, Home Sweet Hell
Dakota Johnson, Fifty Shades of Grey
Mila Kunis, Jupiter Ascending
Jennifer Lopez, The Boy Next Door
Gwyneth Paltrow, Mortdecai

Worst Supporting Actor
Chevy Chase, Hot Tub Time Machine 2 and Vacation
Josh Gad, Pixels and The Wedding Ringer
Kevin James, Pixels
Jason Lee, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Road Chip
Eddie Redmayne, Jupiter Ascending

Worst Supporting Actress
Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Road Chip and The Wedding Ringer
Rooney Mara, Pan
Michelle Monaghan, Pixels
Julianne Moore, Seventh Son
Amanda Seyfried, Love the Coopers and Pan

Worst Screenplay
Simon Kinberg, Jeremy Slater and Josh Trank, Fantastic Four
Kelly Marcel, Fifty Shades of Grey
Andy and Lana Wachowski, Jupiter Ascending
Kevin James and Nick Bakay, Paul Blart Mall Cop 2
Tim Herlihy and Timothy Dowling, Pixels

Worst Remake or Sequel
Alvin and The Chipmunks: The Road Chip
Fantastic Four
Hot Tub Time Machine 2
Human Centipede 3
Paul Blart Mall Cop 2

Worst Screen Combo
Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara and Jamie Bell, Fantastic Four
Johnny Depp and his glued-on mustache, Mortdecai
Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson, Fifty Shades of Grey
Kevin James and either his Segway or glued-on mustache, Paul Blart Mall Cop 2
Adam Sandler and any pair of shoes, The Cobbler

Razzies Redeemer Award
Elizabeth Banks
M. Night Shyamalan
Will Smith
Sylvester Stallone

Playing Catch-Up With The Lesser Films of 2015: Get Hard, Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, Pixels, The Wedding Ringer


SPOILER ALERT!

One or more of the films reviewed below will appear on my list of the 16 Worst Films of 2015!  Can you guess which one(s)?

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Get Hard (dir by Etan Cohen)

Will Ferrell is funny and Kevin Hart is funny and you would think that putting them together in one movie would be especially funny but … nope.  Get Hard, which I watched on HBO a few weeks ago, is incredibly not funny.  Ferrell plays a hedge fund manager who is convicted of fraud and embezzlement and it’s a sign of how haphazard this film is that I was never really sure whether he was supposed to be guilty or not.  Anyway, Ferrell is terrified of going to prison but fortunately, he runs into Kevin Hart.  Hart is playing the owner of a car wash here, a mild-mannered family man who simply wants to be able to afford to send his daughter to a good school.  However, Ferrell assumes that, since Hart is black, Hart must be an ex-con.

So, Ferrell hires Hart to teach him how to survive in prison and Hart agrees.  And, to be honest, this is not a terrible idea for an edgy satire but the film pulls it punches and never really exposes or challenges the racism that led to Ferrell hiring Hart in the first place.  Instead, it’s more interested in making homophobic jokes about prison rape (there’s a particularly long and unpleasant scene where Ferrell attempts to learn how to give a blow job that feels like it was lifted from a deservedly forgotten 90s film) and eventually, it devolves into a painfully predictable action film.

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Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 (dir by Andy Fickman)

I know what someone out there is saying.

“YOU’VE NEVER EVEN SEEN THE FIRST PAUL BLART: MALL COP!!!  WHO THE HELL ARE YOU TO REVIEW THE SEQUEL!?”

Well, listen — it’s true.  I’ve never seen the first film and the only reason I watched the second one (on HBO at a friend’s house, which means that it literally cost me nothing) was because I had heard how terrible it was and I figured that I should see it before making out my list of the worst films of the year.  But, even with that in mind, I think I can still give this film a fair review.

(At the very least, I’ll try.  Dammit, I’ll try.)

Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 is one of those films that is so forgettable that you forget about it while you’re watching.  Kevin James plays Paul Blart, a mall security guard who goes to Las Vegas for a security guard convention and ends up getting involved in thwarting a big heist.  It’s a comedy, though I can’t think of a single time I laughed.  Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 was not quite the abomination that I had been led to expect.  It was, in no way, comparable to Birdemic, April Rain, or Man of Steel.  Instead, it was just an incredibly empty and soulless film.  It was a zombie movie that existed only to eat money.

One thing that is frustrating about a film like Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 is that Kevin James seems like he could actually survive appearing in a good film, if he could just get a chance to make one.  He’s likable and he’s got an everyman quality about him.  But, for now, he seems to be trapped in films where he either plays Paul Blart or he’s surrounded by talking animals.

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Pixels (dir by Chris Columbus)

Speaking of Kevin James, he’s also in Pixels!  He plays William Cooper.  When he was a kid, he was obsessed with playing video games.  Now that he’s an adult, he’s the President of the United States!  And he still keeps in contact with his best friend from childhood, Sam.  Sam, needless to say, will never be President.  When Sam was a kid, he was traumatized when he lost a national video game championship.  Now that he’s an adult, he installs home-theater systems and he’s played by Adam Sandler…

When Earth is invaded, it turns out that the aliens are under the impression that video games are real!  So, they recreate a bunch of classic video game characters and send them off to do havoc.  Who better to stop them than the President and Sam?  And who better to help than a nerdy conspiracy theorist (Josh Gad) and Eddie Planet (Peter Dinklage), the same guy who cheated in order to defeat Sam at the video game championship….

If you’re thinking that sounds like way too much plot for a silly comedy about video games coming to life, you’re right.  Pixels has some cute moments (though, based on the comments and occasional laughter of the middle-aged people in the theater around me, I get the feeling that a lot of the film’s video game-themed humor was a bit too “before my time” for me to fully appreciate) but oh my God, it was such an unnecessarily busy movie.  The idea behind Pixels had some potential but the film refused to take advantage of it.

I’ve said this before and I always get some strange looks but I honestly do think that — if he would actually break out of his comfort zone and stop doing movies that mostly seem to be about finding an excuse to hang out with his friends — Adam Sandler could be an acceptable dramatic actor.  Check out his work in Punch-Drunk Love, Funny People, Reign Over Me, Spanglish, and even the first half of The Cobbler.  (Tarantino even wrote the role of Donny Donowitz in Inglourious Basterds with Sandler in mind.)  The fact that Sandler could be doing good work makes his continual bad work all the more frustrating and annoying.

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The Wedding Ringer (dir by Jeremy Garelick)

And speaking of Josh Gad…he’s also in The Wedding Ringer!  For that matter, so is Kevin Hart.  Hart plays a guy who, for a sizable fee, will pretend to the lifelong best friend (and best man) for grooms who do not have enough real friends to fill out a wedding party.  Hart refuses to get emotionally involved with his clients but that all changes when, despite himself, he becomes friends with Josh Gad, who is on the verge of getting married to Kaley Cuoco.

The Wedding Ringer got terrible reviews but it also was very popular with audiences and I imagine a lot of that had to do with the relationship between Hart and Gad.  Both of them give very sincere performances that elevate some otherwise unpromising material.  The Wedding Ringer wasn’t good (it’s predictable, it’s portrayal of Kaley Cuoco’s character verges on misogynistic) but, at the same time, it wasn’t as bad as it was made out to be.  In the end, it was pretty much a typical January film.

I'm so excited!  I'm so excited!  I'm so ... wait a minute, am I just here because this is a post about bad movies?

I’m so excited! I’m so excited! I’m so … wait a minute, am I just here because this is a post about bad movies?

Which of these four films will make my list of the worst 16 films of 2015?  The answer shall be revealed soon!

 

 

Here Are The Houston Film Critics Nominations!


Another one of my former hometowns has checked in with their nominations for the best of 2015!  The Houston Film Critics gave Ex Machina another nomination for best picture.  Wouldn’t it be kinda neat if Ex Machina snuck into the Oscar race as well?

BEST PICTURE:
The Big Short, Paramount
Ex Machina, A24 Films
Inside Out, Disney/PIXAR
Mad Max: Fury Road, Warner Bros.
The Martian, 20th Century Fox
The Revenant, 20th Century Fox
Room, A24 Films
Sicario, Lionsgate
Spotlight, Open Road Films
Steve Jobs, Universal

BEST DIRECTION OF A MOTION PICTURE:
Alejandro G. Iñárritu, The Revenant
George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road
Lenny Abrahamson, Room
Ridley Scott, The Martian
Tom McCarthy, Spotlight

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE:
Brian Cranston, Trumbo
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Matt Damon, The Martian
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
Tom Hardy, Legend

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE:
Brie Larsen, Room
Cate Blanchett, Carol
Charlize Theron, Mad Max: Fury Road
Emily Blunt, Sicario
Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE:
Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight
Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
Michael Shannon, 99 Homes
Sylvester Stallone, Creed
Tom Hardy, The Revenant

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE:
Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
Alicia Vikander, Ex Machina

Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight
Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs
Rooney Mara, Carol

BEST SCREENPLAY:
Aaron Sorkin, Steve Jobs
Drew Goddard, The Martian
Emma Donaghu, Room
Josh Singer & Tom McCarthy, Spotlight
Quentin Tarantino, The Hateful Eight

BEST ANIMATED FILM:
Anomalisa, Paramount
The Good Dinosaur, Disney/PIXAR
Inside Out, Disney/PIXAR
The Peanuts Movie, 20th Century Fox
Shaun the Sheep, StudioCanal

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY:
Dariusz Wolski, The Martian
Emmanuel Lubezki, The Revenant
John Seale, Mad Max: Fury Road
Robert Richardson, The Hateful Eight
Roger Deakins, Sicario

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE:
Amy, Altitude Film Distribution
Best of Enemies, Magnolia
Cartel Land, IFC Films
The Look of Silence, Drafthouse Films
Where to Invade Next, IMG Films

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM:
The Assassin, Well Go USA
Goodnight Mommy, Radius/TWC
Son of Saul, Sony Pictures Classic
The Tribe, Drafthouse Films
White God, Magnolia

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE:
Ennio Moriccone, The Hateful Eight
Michael Giacchino, Inside Out
Junkie XL, Mad Max: Fury Road

Daniel Pemberton, Steve Jobs
Ryuichi Sakamoto, Alva Noto & Bryce Dessner, The Revenant

BEST ORIGINAL SONG:
“Love Me Like You Do,” music & lyrics by Savan Kotecha, Ilya Salmanzadeh, Tove Lo, Max Martin & Ali Payami, 50 Shades of Grey
“One Kind of Love,” music & lyrics by Brian Wilson & Scott Bennett, Love & Mercy
“See You Again,” music & lyrics by Wiz Khalifa, DJ Frank E, Charlie Puth & Andrew Cedar, Furious 7
“Simple Song #3,” music & lyrics by David Lang, Youth
“Writing’s on the Wall,” music & lyrics by Sam Smith & Jimmy Napes, Spectre

TEXAS INDEPENDENT FILM AWARD:
6 Years
7 Chinese Brothers
Last Man on the Moon
Results
Sir Doug and the Genuine Texas Cosmic Groove

BEST POSTER
Carol – Theatrical Poster
Ex Machina – Theatrical Poster
It Follows – Rear Window Alternate
Mad Max: Fury Road – ‘What A Lovely Day’ Alternate
Sicario – Theatrical Poster
The Walk – IMAX Alternate

WORST FILM OF THE YEAR:
Aloha, Columbia
The Boy Next Door, Universal
Fantastic Four, 20th Century Fox
Mortdecai, Lionsgate
Pixels, Columbia