Every month, we are offered a wide variety of DVD and Blu-Ray releases that we are sure to either look out for or avoid. However, some of us don’t really know what some of the movies are about or if we should even pay them any attention. In the month of February, we were offered twenty-one movies on DVD and Blu-Ray, and those movies were (in alphabetical order):
- A Late Quartet
- Alex Cross
- Celeste and Jesse Forever
- Chasing Mavericks
- Fun Size
- Girls Against Boys
- Here Comes the Boom
- Man with the Iron Fists, The
- Master, The
- Perks of Being a Wallflower, The
- Seeds of Destruction
- Sessions, The
- Silent Hill: Revelation
- Silver Linings Playbook
- So Undercover
So in this wide range of movies, what were the top five movie releases that are the worst of the bunch, and that we should definitely avoid? This list offers a good idea of movies to look out for the next time you are at a DVD rack.
5. ‘Alex Cross’
Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Underwhelming and Disappointing
There are a number of few well-known authors in this world, and fewer that have their works made into a number of films. John Grisham and Stephen King come to mind for both television and movie adaptations. Another author is James Patterson and his iconic character of Alex Cross. Cross has been seen before in film played by Morgan Freeman in both “Kiss the Girls” and “Along Came a Spider”. Eleven years later, Tyler Perry took over the role in “Alex Cross”. This film was based off of Paterson’s twelfth book in the series, Cross, so how well did it do?
Alex Cross (Tyler Perry) is a police lieutenant and natural profiler who can decipher a scene of the crime as if he were Sherlock Holmes. His two Watsons are played by Edward Burns and Rachel Nichols. Burns plays Cross’s long-time best friend, Thomas Kane. When word comes around that a psychopath going by the name of “The Butcher” (Matthew Fox) is killing people, it is up to Alex Cross to use his seemingly limitless intelligence to find and stop him before he kills again. However, when The Butcher finds out he has Cross in his crossfires, Cross finds out the lengths that the serial killer is willing to go to finish his mission.
Alright, we have to get other critics opinions out in the open. It is clear by a majority of critics that they hate the movie and think it is terrible. I want to first state that I fully understand where they are coming from, but I did respect it more, even if not by much. So I will go ahead and get the bad out first. Whoever was in charge of casting could not have made more of a worse choice than Tyler Perry for the role of Alex Cross. There are certain scenes that required an emotional return that Tyler Perry just could not submit. There is one scene in particular, without giving it away, where his mood swings from sadness to acting like he completely forgot what made him sad in the first place…as if it never happened.
The movie also had trouble deciding on what kind of genre it wanted to be. First there is action, and then there is ABC Family-worthy melodrama, and then there is the cat and mouse chase to find the villain. In all honesty, it is the melodrama that felt out of place. It was as if Tyler Perry had a say in how the family scenes would go, and he put his very own Tyler Perry spark in there with the sassy grandma. The action was also very tacky. I will not even put it lightly when I say this felt like a failed pilot pitch to NBC for a new Alex Cross television show. Why? It felt like a mid-90’s made-for-television movie special on Saturday night. Nothing more, nothing less. The music felt like it was just tossed in there last second, and in all honesty it really was disappointing all around.
There is goodness to this movie that a lot of critics overlooked. First off, I want to say that it was pretty clear that Matthew Fox was the superior actor in the entire thing. He put so much heart and soul into this film, and how he transformed his body for a role in a movie that turned out the way it did is unfortunate. He tried very hard to pull off his role, but because of the combination of lighting and bad camerawork, it just doesn’t seem like he performed all that well.
I want to also state that this is based off of a James Patterson book. If anyone is a fan of Patterson and have read a few of his novels, you might start to understand how he writes things. He has a style, which is pretty procedural, has interesting characters (especially villains), with heroes that you can connect with and love. While this film was missing the connection with the characters, the story was procedural, and it did have an interesting villain. These things just weren’t conveyed properly, and it is just a simple fact that some of his books are better off books in the long run. This is one of those films.
The make-up was actually done pretty well, as was what little CGI was incorporated into the film. That being said, the rest of the overbearingly bad things associated with this movie are hard to get over. In the end, all you can really say is that they tried. Well hey, you get an A for effort, but you really didn’t do so hot on much of anything else. Better luck next time.
Check out “Alex Cross” for yourself when it is released on DVD and Blu-Ray on Feb. 5!
4. ‘Seeds of Destruction’
Dave’s 3-Word Review:
SyFy’s Typical Garbage
What happens when you take a potentially great idea for a film, mix it with several bad ideas, and even worse visual effects? If you guessed a SyFy Original Movie, you would be right. Now, these movies are typically founded on either a good or bad idea, but regardless of the foundation, the rest of the movie just drowns out any positives it may have once had. “Seeds of Destruction”, formally titled “The Terror Beneath”, actually had an intriguing and seemingly never-before seen idea at the core of the film. Was that enough, however, to distract you from the rest of the predictable SyFy vomit? Unfortunately not.
Joe (Jesse Moss) and Kate (Luisa D’Oliveira) are two environmentalists that get caught up in one of the worst disasters that have ever struck our nation…the killer plants taking over the world. Let’s back up a bit. Before the plants took over the world, they held magical healing properties. As one of the seeds was getting ready to be sold, gunshots are fired, leaving an uncontrolled seed to plant itself, causing the dangerous and rapid growth of plants everywhere. This seed was apparently one of the original seeds that was found in Adam and Eve’s Garden of Eden, and if the seed is in a controlled environment, then all is good. If the seed is in an uncontrolled environment, death is bound to occur. Basically, these people must find a way to stop the growth of the plants in order to save people’s lives.
Somewhere deep at the core of this film is a potentially fantastic idea. We have been teased for years that the next Indiana Jones film would either be about finding Atlantis or the Garden of Eden. The Garden of Eden is a very popular subject that hasn’t really been shown as the main subject of too many movies, especially anything modern. To expand on that, the Garden of Eden was hidden in the bible, never to be found again. So how else to regain what was lost, but to build again? That part of the movie made sense, and it was an incredible idea for them. The movie was also unpredictable, which is hard to say for a lot of SyFy films. Obviously, the plants would just multiply when hit by missiles, bullets, and fire, so how else do they destroy it? Guess you’ll just have to watch to find out.
Now, just because there was an interesting idea in there, didn’t make it obvious to everyone else. Instead of keeping things simple, where it should have stayed, the movie took it way too far, and said in an uncontrolled environment, the plants would lash out. I understand to a degree what they were going for. There needs to be repercussions on planting things in places where they shouldn’t be planted, but in a religious light, if the land is improper or unholy, the seed just wouldn’t work, it wouldn’t turn evil. It is a pure and perfect plant, nothing bad can happen with them, instead…nothing should have happened whatsoever. But of course, we can’t expect every movie to know exactly what they were doing; they just did their best to make things look cool.
Did it? No, the movie didn’t look cool, because as it happens with every other SyFy Original Movie ever made, they try way too hard to capsize on the amount of CGI allowed. It looks tremendously bad. I just can’t stress this enough, SyFy tries way too hard on their movies. If I were to have made the film, it would go something like this: “A couple try to recreate the Garden of Eden when they find long lost seeds that came from the original garden. However, it looks as though their plans are foiled when the FBI learns of what they have in their possession, so they must make a run for it”. The movie would probably also have a lot of religious aspects to it, much like Indiana Jones did.
The only reason you would want to check this film out is if you are actually just a fan of SyFy’s work or just like cheesy, tacky plots that are honestly terrible. If that doesn’t sound like you, it would be better for you to avoid “Seeds of Destruction” when it comes out on Feb. 19!
I reviewed it for the lulz
When people tell ghost stories around a campfire, they are hoping to incite fear into the minds of people through a specific idea. The same can be said for email chain letter hoaxes. It is usually these types of ideas that scare us more than any horror film ever could. Some movies try to take that same method and incorporate it into a horror film, which tends to make that specific movie among the scariest in an expanding world of horror films. However, what happens when a horror film takes the legend of Bloody Mary and revamps it for the digital age? “Smiley” may not be about Bloody Mary exactly, but the legend on its own is almost identical.
Caitlin Gerard stars as Ashley, a girl who has just started at a brand new school. On the outside, she is a sweet, conservative, and intelligent girl with a drive to succeed in school. On the inside, she shows slight interest in the pastimes of college life and the temptation to do anything she wants. When her roommate invites her to a college party, Ashley agrees and has no idea what she has gotten herself into. An urban legend has been spreading its way around college campuses about a serial killer named “Smiley” that shows up on a stranger-to-stranger video chartroom when one chatter types the words “I did it for the lulz” three times, and it kills the other stranger. Students first thought the killer to be some kind of prank, and never took it too seriously until Smiley started coming after them as well.
The story in this film is not what makes it so bad. It is a story that has actually worked well in the past. The problem comes with the execution. The idea on its own works because there is a creepy-looking killer that lives inside a legend. Sure, that is the same premise of many horror films, but it is a proven premise. Everything, however, about the execution feels broken and not taken seriously. The acting, for instance, is not even remotely good. First of all, a horror film has to at least have people that look genuinely frightened, and this film doesn’t have that. Second of all, there is just nothing memorable or special about any of the performances. Sure, Smiley himself has a pretty recognizable face, but beyond that? Nothing.
Next, the movie went a step too far in trying to explain everything. Horror films don’t need to be explained. If you are in a campfire, saying “and then the man with the hook cut off the head of the couple on Valentine’s Day” and then proceeded to explain how the man with the hook for a hand Googled the couple to pinpoint where they would be just so he could kill them…you’re going to lose any form of thrill you once had. No one cares to hear it. We don’t care to hear about how theoretically the internet will one day gain its own consciousness and live all on its own, which is how this creature came about. We just want to see the creature, so just call it what it is, which is paranormal.
Finally, the movie just completely stopped making sense towards the end of the movie. They took it way too far trying to throw in twists that just made no sense whatsoever. It ended up looking so stupid. Throughout the movie you may be thinking that it is okay, maybe a 50/100 rating, but once that twist happens that doesn’t shock you, just confuses you (and not in a good way), your rating will drop down to somewhere around 30/100. When movies give you a reason to think “why did I even take the time to watch this movie”, that’s disappointment. Any movie that disappoints you doesn’t deserve to be seen by anyone else. For that, I say stay away from “Smiley”, which came to Blu-Ray and DVD on Feb. 12!
2. ‘Fun Size’
Dave’s 3-Word Review:
A Boring Hangover
A good source of wholesome, family-oriented kids films used to be found on the Nickelodeon network. Movies like “Good Burger” and “Clockstoppers” are prime examples of good, clean fun that could be entertaining from all ages. Nickelodeon has recently been creeping up to the line of what is acceptable and not, redefining the entire network. Even “Spongebob Squarepants” was accused of being subtly too explicit for children. Nickelodeon’s newest film, “Fun Size” is definitely too mature for young kids, and even creeps further up to the line of inappropriate for teenagers.
Victoria Justice plays Wren, a girl who wants to go to a Halloween party that a cute guy will be hosting. Her plans, however, are ruined when her mother forces her to look after her younger brother, Albert. Enter the twists and turns of adventure and comedy as Albert goes missing. No matter how adult or childlike this film is, it still maintains its level of simplicity that Nickelodeon often brings to the table. It is a story that we have seen a thousand times before. Take away the drinking and amnesia, and you have “The Hangover” when it came to plot, which is a large group of friends running into obstacles to get to a common goal. That’s it, that is your story.
There were just too many things that this movie did not need. There was a lot of language in this film, for being a young adult movie, including a couple usages of the “S” word, and even some hints at the “F” bomb, as well as every other word on the parental no-no list. Secondly, there are some clear sexual innuendo moments throughout the movie. Now that is fine for so many other movies, but it felt out of place because of that simple plot. That sort of plot really is seen in mostly kids’ films, so there was something that felt very off about the movie as a whole.
We also must remember that this is a seasonal movie. While other films were popping up in the theater marked with the “horror” genre, this movie showed up as well, being an adventure/comedy. In the long run, it really didn’t have much of a fight against horror films in the month of October. That being said, it did make sense. There are such things as Halloween parties that kids want to go to, that part is believable. Another believable factor is that kids will probably enjoy this more than they should, because it is inappropriate. Kids love inappropriate things. For the rest of us, we just aren’t going to like it all that much.
It has no real home for an audience. Its target audience is probably teens, and they would probably be the ones to enjoy it out of everyone else. Whether it is appropriate or not is up to the discretion of their parents. Even then, the kids might watch it once and forget about it the next week because for anyone, the movie is just boring.
The plot is so simple that it is boring. Don’t even think about having your mind wander off for a minute, and don’t use the bathroom, because you will lose any fraction of an interest you had in watching the movie. You will be so happy to think about something else that you will stop watching it altogether. So, it is best just to avoid it altogether.
“Fun Size” comes to Blu-Ray and DVD on Feb. 19. So when you see it, don’t let the cool-looking DVD covers fool you. Skip it and move onto something else!
1. ‘So Undercover’
Dave’s 3-Word Review:
So very stupid
Have you ever seen a parody film that wasn’t really intended to be a parody? You know, when a movie seems to borrow from an unlimited source of other movies and lacks any sense of originality? The funny part is when they try to remain their own thing, and expect to be taken seriously. Now throw Miley Cyrus into the mix, and you are unfortunately given a little movie called “So Undercover”.
Miley Cyrus plays a private investigator by the name of Molly who excels in finding cheating husbands and small-time criminals. Working with her is her father Sam (Mike O’Malley). She enjoys her job, but when an FBI agent (Jeremy Piven) shows up, he asks for her help in an extremely delicate case. She must go to a college undercover as a material girl and befriend one of the girls to get close to some kind of illegal operation going down in the school. What happens when she starts falling for one of the guys at the college though? Will her entire operation be tarnished?
If anyone has had the misfortune to see even the trailer to this film, it could easily be misunderstood. What it looks like is that Miley Cyrus is an FBI agent that has to act like a college student. Complete with putting on a costume to assumingly look younger, this already makes no sense and will make people ask if hell froze over. To be fair, she ends up working for the FBI, and the costumes was just to get her to look like one of the girls in her sorority to be easily liked. That being said, it still makes no sense. Who in their right mind is going to believe Miley Cyrus will be working with or for the FBI in any shape or form? Not only that, but the story when it revolves around the FBI is unbelievable and way over-the-top.
Let’s talk about the premise. An FBI agent needs a teen to go to a college to go undercover because they have no available female agents. Okay, let’s go with that for just a second and think for a minute what the FBI investigates. They tend to investigate high profile cases, and there is nothing that shouts out high-profile or importance in this film. Why it isn’t important is because almost immediately after the film explains why she is going there, you completely forget the case. They instead want to focus on comedy and apparently romance. I only bring this up because despite the genre in a movie revolving around the FBI, you still usually feel a sense that the case is important, and that the FBI is actually there, and in this film, you don’t feel like this.
Jeremy Piven plays the FBI agent in this film, and even his role feels nothing like an agent of any government agency, let alone the FBI. He comes in all of the time with a leather jacket and everyday clothes. Does this make him look like a big-shot FBI agent? No it looks like the filmmakers couldn’t afford a simple three-piece suit, and just told him to wear whatever, so he wore whatever he woke up with. You can’t just say you’re FBI, you have to prove it. Imagine there are two kids chasing each other in the backyard with cardboard guns yelling, “I’m a spy!” “No, I’m a spy!”, essentially that is how this film feels like.
When you look past the government aspect to the movie, you have to look at the structure of the rest of the film, which in all honesty feels like a parody. Not a good parody, an example of what makes a parody bad. If you look closely, the main films and TV shows that this movie seems to borrow from, they would be “21 Jump Street”, “Miss Congeniality”, “Veronica Mars”, “Mean Girls”, and every other Miley Cyrus movie ever made. These movies clearly had influence, but it is offensive for the movie to even call itself its own thing, which it really isn’t.
Well, this movie is slightly considered a comedy, and the comedy is terrible. Why? Because the movie as a whole is terrible. There isn’t an engaging element in the entire thing. No adults nor kids who are used to Cyrus on the Disney Channel will enjoy it. Why? Because there seems to lack a target audience, it feels like a Disney movie until people start swearing obscenities that simply feels out-of-place. Miley Cyrus was terrible at acting, but you can’t say she didn’t fit the role because the role was terrible in and of itself.
As always, you can decide how you like it for yourself when it comes to Blu-Ray and DVD on Feb. 5!