January is the month that many cinephiles catch up on the films that they missed out on during the preceding year. Here are a few that you probably shouldn’t waste your time on.
The Book Of Henry
Oh brother, where to begin with this? A film that reveals so much in its mise en quirk that it failsto notice when it crosses over into the ludicrous and morally reprehensible. Henry (Jaeden Lieberher), is an eleven-year-old super genius who runs the household finances for his less than reliable but still somehow charming single mother Naomi Watts and makes goofy Rube Goldberg machines for his younger brother. One dark twist later and Henry is dead from incurable brain cancer and his mom is left with a red notebook that we saw Henry meticulously creating before he went into the hospital. In it, instructions on how to kill their neighbor the police chief whom Henry had discovered was molesting his pre-teen step-daughter. Novelist Gregg Hurwitz worked and re-worked the screenplay for nearly two decades, proof that you can over-polish something. A miasma of differing tones, themes and intents, director Colin Trevorrow burned a lot of cred that he earned from directing the blockbuster Jurassic World and may have lost the gig to helm Star Wars: Episode IX because of the awfulness of this. – Rich Drees
The Dark Tower
Someday someone will write the definitive history of how an adaption of Stephen King’s epic 4,250 page epic The Dark Tower fantasy cycle went from an ambitiously planned three film/two televisions series project to the single 95 minute movie that finally showed up in theaters. Idris Elba as Roland the Gunslinger gives it his all in service to a script that frankly doesn’t deserve or earn such an effort. An empty disappointment of a film for those who aren’t familiar with King’s source material, The Dark Tower must be an exceptionally bitter pill to swallow for fans who must now wait years for the stink of this film to dissipate enough for another filmmaker to take a new run at the material. – RD
The Emoji Movie
Hollywood always likes to make a quick buck off of whatever fires up the cultural zeitgeist. The fact that they have no idea what makes these fads popular never seems to stop them. Case in point: The Emoji Movie.
This film is a blatant cash grab in the direction of the millions of people who use emoji’s. Making a full length film out of emoji’s is pretty hard, so the makers of this film decided not to even bother trying. All we get is a lame plot, stale jokes the writers thought were funnier than they really were, and a whole bunch of free advertising for the apps that foolishly agreed to be in the film like Facebook, Spotify and Crackle. One of the only laughs in the film was when one of the characters made a point to how secure the Dropbox application was, a line of dialogue that has the appearance of being written by someone in the app’s PR department.
What can you expect? This is a film that thinks its the height of wit to have Sir Patrick Stewart voice a poop-emoji. That just about sums up that filmmaker’s approach the to the quality standards of the material. -William Gatevackes.
Fifty Shades Darker
This film could not be anymore atrocious. The follow up to 2015’s Fifty Shades of Grey, we pick back up with our titular characters Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey. Christian has been spurned by Ana, and so he tries to win her back, but she demands a new sex contact be written up before she will even consider it. We ended this film with more cheap BDSM sex scenes than we needed and a proposal that was automatically accepted by our heroine. This film is misogynistic in its view of women, objectifying them as helpless, submissive, and shallow. And not even Kim Basinger, with an obvious nod back to 9 ½ Weeks could spice up this movie. There is no palpable chemistry between the two leads, which for creating a physical relationship on screen is crucial. Yet, despite its Twilight fanfiction storyline, sex sells. Well, if you want a better storyline, better acting, and still want to get your rocks off, skip this film and watch 9 ½ Weeks, you’ll be greatly surprised at how superior it is to this. – Natasha Bogutski
Underworld: Blood Wars
I was prepared to like this film. The cast, the action, and the mythos of this franchise had me hope for great things. But sitting down in the cinema I was disappointed, over and over. The story was a hodgepodge of ridiculous and made almost no sense based on the timeline of the original films. The action sequences were the only interesting things about this film, and even that really wasn’t enough to make it entertaining. Most of the cast was wasted in Underworld, with the exception of Charles Dance; who was the only character that was given truly depth over their tenure in this franchise. Selene (Kate Beckinsale) hasn’t really had anything to do apart from be an action hero in latex since Underworld Evolution, which is a shame. It’s about time for this franchise to end. It no longer has anything new to offer, and not even the actors they bring on can save it. – NB
You might consider this to be a bit of a cheat because it was a TV show, but the first two episodes debuted in IMAX weeks before the TV show started, so we think it counts as a half a film at the very least.
Once upon a time, The Inhumans were earmarked for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But, strangely, Marvel Television struck a claim on them and rushed a series featuring the characters into production. Whether it was deliberate sabotage or a case of misplaced hubris, they decided to premiere the pilot in IMAX theaters to add a bit of buzz about the show, What they forgot to do was, well, make the show good.
It was horribly miscast, poorly written and looked exceedingly cheap. After bombing at the box office, The Inhumans then limped on to ABC to stumble through its remaining six episodes. –WG.