5 – Non-Stop
If there is anything Liam Neeson can’t do, I’d like to know, but in the meantime, we get to see him stop bad guys like he always does in Taken, except all of this takes place on a plane. The plot of Non-Stop was descent enough, a U.S. Air Marshall (with a thick Scottish accent, don’t ask me how that works) has been assigned to protect a plane. Little does he know terrorists are aboard the same plane, and are threatening to kill passengers until they receive a large sum of money. The problem with this film was the execution of it. Non-Stop does so many absurd things to move the story along, that it makes the simple plot look overly complex. It gets to a point where you have to suspend disbelief, and just go with it. Then, when you arrive at the even more absurd final act of the film, you won’t have to suspend disbelief any longer, because you’ve already hit the ground, face first. But Neeson is more than enough to keep Non-Stop from spiraling out of control, it’s just going to be a bumpy ride from start to finish.
4 – Transcendence
Wally Pfister‘s debut is all about style and no substance. While visually appealing, Transcendence lacks anything resembling a coherent plot. The idea was sound, using fears of technology advancing further than any human can regulate, but the stellar cast (Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall, Morgan Freeman, Paul Bettany, Kate Mara, Cillian Murphy, and Clifton Collins Jr) all look like they are there just to receive another paycheck. Jack Palgan‘s script is chock full of plot holes, that not finding one is a bigger task than trying to stay awake during this boring movie. The film fails to act on any of the questions it brings up, instead it brings these ideas into the light and lets the run loose. By the time the film ends, it doesn’t make us question any of the ethical implications of how we are using technology today. Which really is sad, because with a film like this, you would hope that people would be talking about the subject. Instead we are made to feel that as long as there is a reset button, everything will be alright.
3 – That Awkward Moment
Romantic comedies can be very formulatic so much so it makes each and every one of them that much harder to watch. So when Tom Gormican‘s film would focus on the male perspective (Zac Efron, Miles Teller, and Michael B. Jordan) of varying relationships, the film had a lot of promise. However, That Awkward Moment is just another formulatic rom-com, that is just chock just full of dick jokes. Contrived and really boring, the film is cookie cut to the core, and doesn’t dare to be different from any of the other rom-coms we have seen in the past. And while the three twentysomething characters were in different stages of a relationship, these characters don’t really learn from their mistakes, and instead end up making even more mistakes, or giving us very hollow resolutions. Even some of the chemistry between various characters didn’t mix well, particularly the one between Efron and Imogen Poots. The film refuses to take any chances, and by doing so, we get the same play-by-play we would see in any sort of rom-com. Thus making That Awkward Moment a less than memorable one.
2 – RoboCop
The film wasn’t suppose to be remade in the first place, and yet some how it ended up getting through the Hollywood pipeline and into theaters. New technologies give Jose Padhila‘s Robocop a cool new upgrade. While this incarnation looks well polished, sleek, and cool on the outside, Robocop’s hardware is just full of bugs, kinks, and viruses. There is no doubt that the technology available today makes the action sequences a little bit cooler than what we saw in the 1987 version, there were so many great visual and makeup effects back then, that the CGI we see in the 2014 verison looks so bland and dull. The film tries to replicate on its predecessor’s satire and thirst for violence, but the PG-13 downgrade just made everything worse, turning a iconic cult film into a boring retread. It also reinforces the notion that, not everything should be reboot, for whatever reason. Inferior in every way, the film fails to bring anything new to the table, or shed light on the new issues that affect society today. If a film wants to address how society has an affinity for violence, don’t water it down by making it accessible to all audiences with a PG-13 rating, give it the hard R it so rightfully deserves.