Blu-ray Review - Hell Comes to Frogtown
The Best Films of 2019

The Worst Films of 2019


VOD goes DOA, Harmony Korine needs a new dealer, a ham-handed theater haunting, return of the Shatnering, NASA team torment, another visit to Amityville, leave Sharon Tate alone, Tyler Perry arranges a funeral, Alec Baldwin and Salma Hayek need rehab, and a graphic novel assassin shoots himself in the foot.

These are the Worst Films of 2019.



The Gallows Act II

2015’s “The Gallows” was a minor success and a terrible movie, trying to cash-in on the found footage trend with its own offering of quaking camerawork and amateur performances. “The Gallows Act II” was envisioned as a quickie follow-up, but ended up taking a few extra years to arrive in theaters, while the found footage gimmick was replaced by dismal basic cable production values and acting. Trying to switch things up to keep viewers interested in the brand name, writer/directors Chris Lofin and Travis Cluff actually manage to top the original effort in the tedium department. There are no scares here, just plenty of cringe-worthy offerings of melodrama for the pre-teen crowd.



“Polar” tries to make an impression through excess. It’s a conflicted assassin story via the graphic novel realm, but in the hands of director Jonas Akerlund, the feature becomes an obnoxious exercise in overkill, punishing the audience with its lousy estimation of style. Akerlund isn’t one to take it easy on the senses, but he hits a career low point with “Polar,” which tries to be edgy, cool, and grotesque, but mostly succeeds at being an appalling waste of time for all involved, including star Mads Mikkelsen, who deserves better than what this rancid production is offering.


The Haunting of Sharon Tate

The story of Sharon Tate and her eventual Manson Family murder is a delicate one to share, touching on the cruelties of life and the depths of mental illness. For writer/director Daniel Farrands, the Tate saga offers a chance to play with supernatural elements and a diseased sense of misdirection when it comes to the ultimate fate of Tate and her companions. “The Haunting of Sharon Tate” is incredibly tasteless, with star Hilary Duff trying to shake typecasting by participating in a mean-spirited overview of a particularly grisly crime, only to end up a focal point in an incompetent, exploitative thriller that has no particular interest in respecting the details of the case.


Drunk Parents

Alec Baldwin and Salma Hayek are talented actors, but their career instincts fail them with “Drunk Parents,” participating in the latest comedy from Fred Wolf, director of “Joe Dirt 2: Beautiful Loser.” Wolf doesn’t have the greatest track record when it comes to conjuring funny business, and he’s positively deadly here, organizing what tries to be a romp concerning the panic of parents trying to stay ahead of financial and family disaster. Wolf never gets “Drunk Parents” going, sticking with lazy jokes and directorial flatness, wasting a prime chance to cut loose with stars eager to be silly.


A Madea Family Funeral

Writer/director/star Tyler Perry has hinted “A Madea Family Funeral” will be the last offering of wig-wobbling, bosom-swinging hellraising from his widely successful character. It’s hard to believe Perry is walking away from a gold mine, but he’s definitely driven the concept into the ground, offering yet another abysmal screen comedy with his 11th installment of the Madea series. Fatigue weighs down the viewing experience, watching Perry stumble through the motions with “A Madea Family Funeral,” adding whatever babbling and nonsense that pops into his head to the movie without a second thought. He’s switched to autopilot, perhaps aware that anything featuring his beloved character will be warmly received, showing no interest in an authentic filmmaking effort. R.I.P. Madea, at least until Perry runs out of cash.


The Amityville Murders

Writer/director Daniel Farrands returns to view with “The Amityville Murders,” his second offering of real-world agony turned into B-movie nonsense. This time, the helmer fashions a prequel to “The Amityville Horror,” heading to the supernatural to help explain the senseless household slaughter that inspired the franchise and a few of its countless sequels. “The Amityville Murders” has trouble with everything it encounters, struggling with performances and suspense, while Farrands dials up the ickiness of such an endeavor, looking to cash in on human misery by making yet another punishing ghost story.


Devil's Revenge

“Devil’s Revenge” promises plenty of William Shatner in its marketing, but the acting legend is barely in the feature, which is primarily concerned with low-budget antics involving ancient evil and spelunking. Admittedly, Shatner goes for it in “Devil’s Revenge,” easily making limited screentime count with his customary abuse of emphasis and face-tightening rage. The rest of the movie doesn’t have a clue, providing embarrassing creature creations, a loose sense of continuity (character names change throughout the film), and a dismal pass at dream logic.


10 Minutes Gone

VOD product rarely performs at elevated levels of viewer engagement, but “10 Minutes Gone” doesn’t even try to stimulate the senses. Director Brian A. Miller is an expert at letdown cinema, but his latest endeavor reeks of a rush job, putting together the basic idea of a thriller without bothering to add any thrills. There are grueling cliches at every turn of “10 Minutes Gone,” which weirdly does away with mystery and character to be an action machine that never gets anywhere it wants to go. And there’s co-star Bruce Willis, here putting in the least amount of effort to boost a leaden viewing experience that’s cheap-looking and devoid of entertainment value, even with lowered B-movie expectations.


The Beach Bum

Harmony Korine managed to collect his first hit with 2012’s “Spring Breakers,” only to follow it up with “The Beach Bum,” a wandering, insufferable presentation of the helmer’s blunted instincts when it comes to drugged out comedies. Overacting more than usual, star Matthew McConaughey embraces the feature’s meandering ways, clearly having a blast with Korine’s wandering attention to storytelling. It’s an experience movie, and one that feels never-ending, with Korine under the false impression the effort has charm, focus, and a funny bone. “The Beach Bum” is punishment.


Lucy in the Sky

“Lucy in the Sky” is inspired by the wild true story of Lisa Novak, a NASA employee who lost herself while in the throes of romantic obsession and psychological abuse, leading her to a diaper-wearing cross-country drive to complete a kidnapping, receiving a host of criminal charges instead. The movie takes on these events with no particular spirit, trying to remain at arm’s length from the loopier details of the woman’s mental decline. Instead of understanding such growing instability, director Noah Hawley slogs through muddled drama and makes distinct visual choices with shifting aspect ratios that add nothing to the viewing experience. While intended to be Oscar bait, “Lucy in the Sky” doesn’t have anything to celebrate, going frustratingly mild with the true crime case, striving to become something more refined and insular with a confused screenplay and a helmer working too hard to prove his artistic worth.

Also of note: Serenity, The Curse of La Llorona, Wonder Park, Climax, What Men Want, The Hustle, Little, A Dog’s Journey, Miss Bala, Dark Phoenix, Last Christmas, The Best of Enemies, The Intruder, The Art of Racing in the Rain, and Charlie’s Angels.        


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