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By midlandsmovies, Dec 20 2018 09:11AM

Top 5 Worst Christmas Movies

Midlands Movies contributor Guy Russell chooses his 5 worst Christmas movies that give him the bah humbugs each festiva season. WIth a couple of controversial choices do you agree with our Guy? Read on to find out more...

1. Black Christmas (2006)

This unoriginal remake was screaming out for an injection of humour throughout its 90 minute runtime. With a talented cast, this should have been a lot better however the film makes no effort to improve on the original 70s slasher instead Black Christmas lazily goes through the motions until it reaches the finish line.

2. Deck the Halls (2006)

Matthew and Broderick and Danny DeVito star in the uninspiring Deck the Halls as two neighbours who battle it out to become their small towns most festive household. Every character is either downright obnoxious or obscenely uptight, watch the dark but brilliant Bad Santa if you like awful people doing awful things. 2006 was clearly a bad year for festive films!

3. Scrooged (1988)

I personally found this film to be monumentally annoying and unpleasant. Scrooged will be a surprise entry for some as it has achieved “classic” status over the last few years however apart from Murray doing what he does best there is little to like in this unfunny take on A Christmas Carol.

4. The Grinch (2000)

Despite a spirited and energetic performance by Jim Carrey, The Grinch is a film that is unpleasant to look at, filled with a lacklustre direction and a confused message. Just stick with the original, animated short film.

5. Home Alone 4 (2002)

Not only is Home Alone 4 completely unfaithful to its predecessors, it is poorly made in every aspect. An absolute chore to sit through even at 88 minutes long. Give this one a miss at every cost.

Guy Russell

Twitter @BudGuyer

By midlandsmovies, Dec 17 2018 10:36AM

Midlands Movies Worst Films of 2018

There have been a fair amount of disappointments this year – The Endless probably topping that list – but here are my picks for ten of the worst movies released in the UK this year. From terrible CGI flicks to sloppy slashers, some films may be technically worse than others but it was the all-round underwhelming nature of these poor efforts that saw them join this list of dreadfulness.

With some unintentional laughs to be had in a few – Escape Plan 2’s hilarious awfulness would never see it at number one on this list – the majority failed across the board with bad acting, script, F/X, story and more.

If you would like to read more about each shocking movie then there are links to our full reviews under each entry and I’d highly advise you avoid these stinkers - so go watch them at your own peril!

10. Final Score (2018) Dir. Scott Man

“Squeezing in to the tenth spot just as the year ends is this woefully misjudged action film where Dave Bautista goes to watch a West Ham football game before joining forces with a steward to take down a group terrorists who have infiltrated the stadium. What??? With a tone that mixes Die Hard with UK soap opera Eastenders, you would think that making a film with that premise would be an incredible mistake. And you know what? You’d be absolutely right. A bike chase across the stadium roof is one of many hilariously misjudged action sequences and it’s a shame this won’t be the first time we see Bautista on this list. This stupid soccer film never kicks off and from its awful script to its clichéd narrative, I couldn’t wait for the final whistle to blow”.

9. The Meg (2018) Dir. Jon Turteltaub

“More monstrous-sized nonsense in this actioner starring everyone’s favourite knees-up-muvva-brown geezer Jason Statham. Here he is a retired and disgraced diver whose skills are needed when he returns to investigate an ocean anomaly and as quick as you like he’s involved in a sub-Deep Blue Sea monster movie with awful CGI and atrocious acting. Films that hope to be ironic b-movies tend not to work unless you go “full pastiche”. So, The Meg’s hammy performances and plastic special effects are not ironically bad, they’re just bad”. Click here for full review

8. Truth or Dare (2018) Dir. Jeff Wadlow

Blumhouse's Truth or Dare? I guess once you have a successful reputation you can slap your name in front of any old trash like Tarantino does at his worst and expect the brand recognition to get bums on seats alone. Here a group of adolescents will die if they fail to share a truth or complete a dare with supernatural origins. A convoluted set of rules confuses what could have been a freaky slasher and the actors are given clichéd characters which they are unable to do much with. I’m not sure why I was surprised to find out the real truth. And what is that truth? It’s utter rubbish”. Click here for full review

7. The Titan (2018) Dir. Lennart Ruff

“Sam Worthington (Avatar) becomes another human-alien hybrid as a pilot who joins an experimental programme to settle the human race on Saturn’s moon Titan. Part Frankenstein, part Splice and a whole dose of The Island of Dr. Moreau quality (i.e. none) the film’s slow pace leads it down to the inevitable test results – it’s simply deathly boring. The admittedly interesting concept is neither explored fully as a scientific drama nor silly enough for its probably more suitable b-movie thrills. An unsatisfying ordeal of titanic proportions”. Click here for full review

6. Death Wish (2018) Dir. Eli Roth

“A remake of the Charles Bronson 1974 revenge flick, Willis plays surgeon Paul Kersey who takes the law into his own hands after a home invasion sees his wife killed and his daughter end up in a coma. But Death Wish is a ham-fisted and low-quality attempt to pull ideas together. A waste of time that is perhaps trying to tap into the Taken crowd, Death Wish has a scene where a man actually gets hit on the head by a bowling ball which is a fine metaphor for this poor film itself”. Click here for full review

5. The Strangers: Prey at Night (2018) Dir. Johannes Roberts

“Any positives the first film had are completely absent here in this belated sequel set ten years later where a family are terrorised at a mobile home park by masked assailants. I know it’s not high art but come on. If it’s supposed to be a homage/satire of slasher then it’s 20 years too late anyway whilst the kills are uninspiring, motivations non-existent and only Christina Hendricks seems to be aware of the trash she’s in. Half way through I was ‘praying’ for a better movie”. Click here for full review

4. Winchester (2018) Dir. Michael and Peter Spierig

“Helen Mirren stars as heiress Sarah Winchester - the lady of the house who is haunted by spirits in her turn of the century mansion. Along for the (dull) ride is Jason Clarke but don’t expect the slow build up needed for these kind of films. Quiet, quiet, quiet then BOOM, a pale looking ghost appears. If that's your thing then fill your boots but for the rest of us that technique is lifeless and predictable. A lack of true shocks, a boring narrative and scene after scene of dull exposition, not even the talented actors can raise this flop from the dead”. Click here for full review

3. Escape Plan 2: Hades (2018) Dir. Steven C. Miller

"Sylvester Stallone is back in prison again in an unbelievably bad (and unintentionally hilarious) mish mash of dull action, bad acting and sci-fi! Yes, sci-fi. The plot sees his colleague Shu Ren (Huang Xiaoming) end up in a prison that is more Tron: Legacy and Running Man than it is a modern prison. Neon lights, smoky corridors and laser doors (!) replace any sense of even a semblance of reality and by the mid-way mark I half thought the ending would reveal them to be in space. The sets are small, badly lit and cheap looking and the lighting is abysmal. “It’s bad to be back”, Sly says in an action one-liner which means nothing – yet summing up this film to perfection". Click here for full review

2. The Hurricane Heist (2018) Rob Cohen

"From the director of such “classics” as XXX (2002), Stealth (2005) and The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008) comes this inane action romp where a bunch of criminals plan a bank heist around the impending arrival of a Force 5 hurricane. There’s so little to recommend in a film with such a ludicrous premise as this and it’s not only a no-brainer in all senses of the word, the film is unsurprisingly a no-entertainment zone too. So, batten down the hatches and ensure you are safely hidden away until this monstrous disaster has passed you by”. Click here for full review

1. The Predator (2018) Dir. Shane Black

“Wow! Just wow! To have seen The Predator is truly to have witnessed a tragedy. The film takes anything remotely enjoyable from the series and throws it in the bin and with sets seemingly made of cheap plastic, the film has all the cinematic gloss of a jungle grub. Black’s talent for witty scripting is nowhere to be seen as “yo momma” quips and Tourette syndrome expletives pepper the awful, no woeful, dialogue. Whatever this film set out to achieve it fails across every single one of them. The Predator is a dumb, badly-written and awfully constructed mess of a film whose one saving grace is that it makes all other Predator films seem better by its very existence. It’s almost beyond comprehension how any of this even passed the brainstorming phase and with a low box office take we can only hope no further sequels are in the works anytime soon”. Click here for full review

Mike Sales

By midlandsmovies, Dec 30 2016 08:38PM

Midlands Movies Mike Worst 10 Films of 2016

As in previous years I do not want to give too much exposure to the releases in a year that have bored, annoyed or disappointed me but here is a quick recap of the 10 films I liked least in 2016. Some were disappointments rather than outright bad and I did my best this year to avoid true stinkers on the basis that life is far too short for such distractions.

I know some people loved a few of these and as with all these lists it’s entirely subjective but here are a few of the worst films of 2016 (plus a few choice quotes from our reviews).

10. Goodnight Mommy

“The whole thing is undercut by the most obvious “twist” that can be figured out in the first 5 minutes. Guessing where the film was going so soon meant the finale was unsatisfying. It has a lot to say but sadly a horrifically bad set up and payoff”.

9. Central Intelligence

"Despite its premise, Central Intelligence has the majority of its humour redacted".

8. The Greasy Strangler

7. Batman V Superman

“There is FAR too much for one film to handle and it leaves us with the obligatory CGI city-destroying smash up that permeate all these movies. Cavill is so dour as Superman he’s simply miserable to watch at times and is an unnaturally gloomy feature and a structural mess from the outset”.

6. Jason Bourne

5. Don’t Breathe

“This is the quintessential film of two halves. Characters begin to make stupid decision after stupid decision and the leads’ ability to think even slightly rationally/logically was completely absent. A huge disappointment in terms of expectations given its descent from excellence to rubbish in a mere 15 minutes”.

4. They Look Like People

3. Triple 9

“Never has a great cast delivered so little in this dull thriller. Leaden performances aren’t helped by a pacing so tedious I could barely stay awake. Lacklustre dialogue, lifeless action scenes and dreary directing simply was not good enough from the filmmakers and actors – all who have much to bring, but show so little here”.

2. Warcraft

“What was he thinking? Jones has made a huge blunder for a once focused filmmaker whose themes were mysterious and multi-layered. A sad flop from the once promising director, I hope Jones returns to some original source material and avoids any follow up the studio may have plans for”.

1. London Has Fallen

“Not even funny to laugh at, the film will barely bring any joy, even to those who like to watch B-movie brawn-a-thons. This yawn-a-thon is terrible throughout so you’ve been suitably warned of its impending hellishness”.

Midlands Movies Mike

*Use our website search for the full reviews to these and any other reviews of 2016.

By midlandsmovies, Dec 21 2016 09:34AM

Big budget, little entertainment

When Mike asked me if I would be interested in submitting my top ten list for the year I broke out in a cold sweat, had I seen ten films that were worthy of recommendation? Did these films truly deserve to help up as a sign of exceptional quality or were some of them simply alright in a cinematic year that I felt was mediocre overall.

Then I thought, hang on I have seen a lot of stinkers this year wouldn’t it be easier (and I refute any allegations of laziness on my part) to create a list of my worst films of 2016.

Now many of these films technically speaking are not bad. They are all more than competently made with high levels of technical expertise, decent actors and sometimes big budgets but for whatever reason they lack that certain something (or in some cases several things) that make them enjoyable. I have to admit because of this Grimsby and Sausage Party don’t make my list as although both are bad films they did cause me to snigger much in the same way as Beavis and Butthead do.

So whether it’s because of an unengaging and cohesive script, erratic direction or even just the crew lacking an editor who understands film here are my personal top stinkers of the year.

Zoolander 2

Completely missing the point as set out by the first film - Stiller and Wilson return in another cameo heavy poke at fashion and celebrity. Although this time it appears that not only are the celebrities in on it but their complicity strips the film of any genuine credibility or validity rather becoming an ironic send up of the first. All would (almost) be forgiven had the script been any good but sadly even the most ardent fan of the original would struggle with the lack of humour contained in this one.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Just awful from the get go and a real struggle to sit through the full movie. Arguably it was tonally supposed to be along the lines of Nolan’s darker Batman series but once again Synder just fails to deliver, which a shame as I feel that he had such a strong start to his directorial career.

Furthermore we can all be in no doubt that this film was also supposed to be the one to act almost as a launch pad for the Justice League and this potentially took away from the directors focus. Perhaps next time spend a little more time in the editing room and a little less thinking about future work eh Zack.

Suicide Squad

On the subject of fantasy heroes (or anti-heroes) having been over-marketed for months and months and shoved into our faces every time we set foot in a cinema I suspect the majority of movie goers were over this film by the time it finally landed and it’s easy to see why. With the exception of the now iconic (and sure-fire cosplay staple Harley Quinn) this film just failed to capture the imagination of viewers as it suffers from poor character development, even poorer baddies and a script that feels like it is three TV episodes bundled together to create a whole film.

There was a rumour going around stating that the marketing men had the final say on the edit and while this is almost certainly rubbish I wish it was true as it would at least make sense. The narrative barely flows and many of the sequences appear to be set up for highlight reels and promotional shots rather than for the benefit of the story. Quite frankly very little works in this mess of a film.

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie

No one asked for it. No one wanted it. So it is amazing that it grossed as much as it did as people desperate to relive those moments from the TV show flocked to this bloated swan song that really did seem to come out of nowhere. That said I am sure die-hard fans enjoyed what could have just been a holiday special.

Precious Cargo

Bruce Willis does it again, another stinker only this time he has pulled Zac from Saved by the Bell (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) down with him in this tale of no honour between thieves that just screams TV movie from the very get go and won’t do his career any favours. One to avoid.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

This was a personal disappointment for me having been a big fan of the book of the same name. I was of the belief that cinematic adaptations of best-selling zombie books could not get any worse but I was certainly mistaken as this ill-judged, teen friendly borefest was released. It’s no surprise at all that to date it hasn’t even made back half of its reported $28 million budget and by chasing the mass audience it alienated those who actually were interested and willing to pay to see the film. A terrible mistake indeed.


Now while not a massive fan of The Da Vinci Code or Angels and Demons there were elements I enjoyed and bits that have, quite surprisingly, made me want to revisit them but Inferno is just a mess. Perhaps that was the intention, for the film to mirror Robert Langdon’s (Tom Hanks) fragmented memory but Ron Howard overshot and despite some beautiful scenery and well-staged set pieces overall the film fails to live up to what it needed to be and as such makes this list of let downs.

Let’s be honest there are plenty of other stinkers such as Now You See Me 2 (but I had very low expectations going into that one anyway) and Hollywood’s attempts at bringing back the biblical or ancient epic (Ben-Hur; Gods of Egypt; Risen – all of which make the film in Hail, Cesear! look genuinely award winning) but on the positive side this is all the more reason to get out and discover new and exciting independent productions in 2017 especially with the midlands being so well served in terms of local independent art house cinemas.

Get involved and let us know your worst film of the year over on Twitter @MidlandsMovies

Midlands Movies Marek

By midlandsmovies, Dec 10 2015 03:20PM

Midlands Movies Worst 12 Films of 2015

I’m not going to waste anymore time explaining why these abominations are bad – if you’ve seen any of them then you will know – but suffice to say, Fantastic Four was a real gem of a mess. The well publicised struggles between the director and the production company 20th Century Fox was a Summer highlight with the daily press narratives well worth following and almost deserving of its own behind-the-scenes documentary.

Aside from that, from dullness and incomprehensibility to hollow CGI and actors who couldn’t care less, these films were not just the worst of their genres but lessons in how to make huge mistakes. It's also worth noting that at least 3 of these made me physically angry (Vice, Gallows and Knock Knock) so brave any viewing of them at your own peril.

Click on the film name to be taken to our full review.

12. Fantastic Four

11. San Andreas

10. Knock Knock

9. Kidnapping Freddy Heineken

8. Survivor

7. Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead

6. Jupiter Ascending

5. Exodus: Gods and Kings

4. Inherent Vice

3. The Interview

2. The Gallows

1. Vice

Please note Vice stars Bruce Willis who has now been at number 1 of the worst of the year for 3 out of the last 4 years. Well done Bruce!

By midlandsmovies, Jun 23 2015 09:24PM

All Arnold Schwarzenegger Films Ranked from best to worst

Here’s our countdown of Arnie’s best movies since he became an actor all the way back in 1969.

We’re sticking with starring roles so some cameos, bit parts and TV appearances are not included. Sadly that means no Terminator 2: 3-D Battle Across Time (1996) – the movie short directed by James Cameron that appeared during Universal Studios’ Terminator ride at their Florida theme park. It’s still better than Terminator 3 though! I haven’t included Maggie and Terminator: Genisys (both of which are due for release later in 2015). “I’ll be back” with a position for those two films after Summer ;)

29. Batman & Robin 1997 Dr. Victor Fries / Mr. Freeze Warner Bros. Pictures

Well, the least favourite for Arnie is one of my least favourite films of all time too. With ice-related puns coming quick and fast (27 in total!) and an awful design aesthetic for Arnie’s costume and the film as a whole, it’s no wonder it was Empire’s #1 Worst Movies Ever in 2010.

28. Red Sonja 1985 Kalidor MGM / United Artists

A sort-of spin off from Conan, Arnie does not play Conan but a carbon copy warrior (the film could not get the rights to the character) in this awful fantasy. Arnie never slates his films (not even his worst attempts) but went as far as telling his kids that: “If they get on my bad side, they'll be forced to watch Red Sonja ten times in a row”. Punishment indeed.

27. Conan the Destroyer 1984 Conan Universal Pictures

After original director John Milius was unavailable, the film company went with a more family-friendly affair much to Arnie’s protests which subsequently made him only star in contemporary films from then on.

26. Collateral Damage 2002 Gordy Brewer Warner Bros. Pictures

A simply unremarkable film that both haters and lovers of Arnie’s oeuvre cannot often recall in this 2002 movie. Its terrorist subject matter was played down and publicity kept to a minimum in the wake of 9/11 but once it did get a release no one cared anyway.

25. Jingle All the Way 1996 Howard Langston 20th Century Fox

Some have found a commercial/capitalist political undercurrent in this Christmas farce but I think it’s a load of old tosh that not even Turbo Man could save. Festive yet frightfully poor.

24. Hercules in New York 1969 Hercules Trimark Pictures Credited as Arnold Strong

To nab the role in his film debut, Arnold’s agent said he had years of "stage" experience, implying the theatre but Schwarzenegger owned up later to say this was simply bodybuilding stages. The film is awful but can be enjoyed as a cult curiosity given Arnie’s subsequent rise.

23. End of Days 1999 Jericho Cane Universal Pictures (US)

Coming 2 years after Batman, Arnie was struggling to get insured after his heart attack but was eventually back doing his action in this mostly forgettable Satan-based story.

22. The Expendables 2010 Trench Mauser The Expendables 2 2012 The Expendables 3 2014

I’ve lumped these together as they are as much cameos as they are full parts. It was great to see Arnie back on screen after his career in politics came to an end but his age was starting to show and Sly’s films were pale imitations of the awesome 80s action films he was attempting to emulate.

21. Stay Hungry 1976 Joe Santo United Artists

Playing a professional body builder was hardly a stretch for Arnie in this film but his solid stint actually resulted in him winning a Golden Globe Award for "Best Acting Debut in a Motion Picture" (even though Hercules was actually his first!)

20. Junior 1994 Dr. Alex Hesse Universal Pictures

Directed by Ivan Reitman who also made Kindergarten Cop and Twins, Junior reunited Arnie with his co-star of the latter film Danny DeVito in a meek comedy about a pregnant man and although it’s made with heart, the result was a misfiring and mostly unfunny comedy

19. Raw Deal 1986 Mark Kaminsky

Originally intended to be called "Let's Make A Deal”, this forgettable action film was part of a contract Arnie negotiated which ended in him making Total Recall many years later. The story of an ex-FBI man going undercover is as old as the hills but Arnie’s career skyrocketed as he began stamping his big presence all over these types of action films.

18. The Last Stand 2013 Sheriff Ray Owens Lionsgate

Modern Schwarzenegger came back after T3 with this tale of an over-the-hill Sheriff in a small town. Johnny Knoxville does his best to ruin the film, but Arnie’s jokes about his old age and some neat action sequences push the film along and whilst hardly a classic, it demonstrated Arnie had not lost his big screen presence.

17. Twins 1988 Julius Benedict Universal Pictures

“I’m your twin brother Julius!” Arnie’s comedy teams him up with DeVito as two long lost brothers in an experiment gone wrong. With a much-mooted sequel called “Triplets” (with Eddie Murphy as the third sibling) never materialising, Arnie was content with making $35 million from his 20% video sales contract - earning more from this than any of his Terminator movies in this amusing mismatched farce.

16. Red Heat 1988 Captain Ivan Danko TriStar Pictures

A cold war buddy-cop movie matching Soviet Schwarzenegger with James Belushi, this culture clash film had solid action and comedy whilst scenes depicting Moscow’s Red Square were actually shot incognito as the crew had failed to get permission to film there.

15. Escape Plan 2013 Emil Rottmayer / Victor Mannheim Summit Entertainment

A long overdue proper team up with fellow 80s action hero Sly Stallone for this second comeback film, Arnie (again) plays on his old action persona but the film had one surprising scene with Arnie speaking in his native Austrian language. I think this was possibly the best acting I had ever seen from the “oak”. Showing that he still has some surprises left in him I would love to see more of this and less of the “jokey” Arnie he often descends into.

14. Eraser 1996 U.S. Marshal John Kruger Warner Bros. Pictures

Erased had a troubled production with Arnie playing mediator between crew members as well as last minute re-writes meaning the film didn’t hold together as well as it should. But with James Caan as an evil villain and some impressive CGI-augmented guns, the action beats were all there for more classic mayhem.

13. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines 2003 The Terminator Warner Bros. Pictures

Arnie’s terrible turn as his iconic role still manages to lift this awful film above its station. Killing off Sarah and a bleak ending involving Nick Stahl were two miscalculated decisions but with all the series’ motifs returning, Arnie showed he could still take a battering as a ‘bot. A misfire on so many levels but ‘bad Terminator’ is still better than most sci-fi action films out there.

12. Pumping Iron 1977 Himself

From his humble Austrian beginnings to the bright lights of World Bodybuilding, Arnie’s autobiography compliments this amazing documentary and highlights how much the sport helped him develop and how much it means to him. Helping to focus Arnie’s talents and then taking his big persona across the globe, Schwarzenegger used this as a platform to get him into movies but not before ensuring we had a better understanding of our bodies and health. Whilst some of the stories were embellished (Arnie has admitted that not attending his father’s funeral was an outright lie) the doc shows the rivalries and ripped biceps of the biggest lifters on the planet.

11. The 6th Day 2000 Adam Gibson / Adam Gibson Clone Columbia Pictures

An overlooked gem in my opinion, this sci-fi cloning movie disappeared without much fanfare at the turn of the millennium but its multi-personality themes and chase narrative is a classic Arnie trait through and through. The action is solid and it concerns itself with more serious issues than most but with the usual one-liners and plot beats. With a satiric tone and big ambition it fails to hit the loftiest heights but gives an admirable showing of the action genre that Arnie does with aplomb.

10. Kindergarten Cop 1990 Detective John Kimble Universal Pictures

A silly piece of fluff is probably the best of Schwarzenegger’s family-friendly films as he plays a rough cop going undercover as a teacher at an elementary school. With the kids proving adorable and annoying to our hero in equal measure, its soft edges are the main contrast with Arnie’s mountainous and imposing frame. From funny one-liners (“It’s not a tumour”) to a fine cast of child actors, this was the pinnacle of PG-Arnie. But he didn’t make many thank goodness!

9. Conan the Barbarian 1982 Conan Universal Pictures

Sword training, martial arts and horse-riding made sure Arnie had the skilled components to play the legendary barbarian in this fantasy film. Alongside James Earl Jones and a series of exciting set-pieces, the film shows revenge, orgies and war battles and Arnie’s towering physicality brought to life the comic book anti-hero.

8. Commando1985 Colonel John Matrix 20th Century Fox

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Vernon Wells have remained close friends ever since the making of this action movie and a sequel was drafted by Frank Darabont which eventually went on to become Die Hard. However, this was the perfect template of B-movie action fests that became Arnie’s calling card. With all the clichés in the world – retired elite Black Ops Commando? Check. One-man war? Check. South American criminals? Check. Kidnapped daughter? Check. AND an exiled dictator – meant that it has been providing Saturday night thrills ever since.

7. Last Action Hero 1993 Jack Slater / Himself Columbia Pictures

Misunderstood on its release, this quirky pastiche of genre clichés has since received a warmer welcome from critics who now appreciate its post-modern take on the films that made Arnie who he is today. Containing such random touches like a cartoon sidekick, Arnie as Hamlet and endless crossover parodies of characters from real life and fictional, the film tries to do too much AND aim for a broad family audience. Whilst it is a failure from one angle, it’s a subversive (albeit messy) success from another.

6. True Lies 1994 Harry Tasker 20th Century Fox

Along with Sigourney, Cameron found a bit of a sci-fi muse in Schwarzenegger and although this is probably the worst of their collaborations, it still holds up as a fine spy-caper riffing on everything from Mission Impossible to James Bond. From suburban slob to secret spy, Arnie is hardly the most convincing undercover agent you will see but with housewife Jamie Lee Curtis’s stereotypical terrorist, the cast managed to gracefully tango the fine line between genuine thrills and silly escapism. An enjoyable but nonsensical vehicle for Arnie’s trademark guns and violence, truly this was one explosive blockbuster from the mid 90s!

5. The Running Man 1987 Ben Richards TriStar Pictures

Apparently inspiring American Gladiators (just Gladiators here in the UK, awooga!) and loosely based on a story by Stephen King, this film featured Arnie as a man set-up to take part in a violent TV game show where he needs to survive along with fellow captured resistance fighters. Fighting off against such hilariously named “stalkers” like SubZero, Buzzsaw, Dynamo and Captain Freedom (ex wrestler and fellow Predator chaser Jesse Ventura) Arnie takes down host Killian who televises the shady show in the oppressive police state. Fun and frantic, the movie moves at a fast pace and strangely Arnie criticised the director for filming it like a TV show! His character also says “I'm not into politics. I'm into survival”. Quite.

4. Total Recall 1990 Douglas Quaid / Hauser TriStar Pictures

Paul Verhoeven (Robocop, Starship Troopers) made this film part of his classic sci-fi oeuvre which stars Schwarzenegger as Doug Quaid, a man bored with his life who has implanted memories put into his mind. When the procedure goes wrong, he uncovers he could be an undercover spy (or is it part of the inception) and goes off on an adventure to free (another) oppressive regime. With one of the first uses of CGI for the X-Ray scanner, another Arnie-on-the-run film was helped by Verhoeven’s satirical take on familiar genre tropes and by adding 3-boobed aliens and Oscar winning special effects made this one fans would recall again and again as near-perfect Arnie.

3. Predator 1987 Major Alan "Dutch" Schaeffer 20th Century Fox

With a script by Shane Black (who also stars) Predator may even beat out Terminator as Arnie’s most quotable film even though the best lines are spread throughout the cast. “Get to the Chopper”, “I ain't got time to bleed” and “Come on... Come on! Do It! Kill me!” will be familiar to all of his fans and the support from Carl Weathers and Bill Duke round out a brilliant ensemble. With a jungle rescue mission going awry, the party are picked off one by one by the alien hunter in this brilliant mix of dialogue and dread in the dark and drizzly rain forest.

2. The Terminator 1984 The Terminator Orion Pictures

Giving him his most iconic role, James Cameron cast the ex-bodybuilder as an almost indestructible cyborg from the future on the prowl to kill the mother of a future resistance leader. Requiring few words, a huge physique and robotic acting range, it has to be said that Arnie was perfectly cast as Cameron takes a b-movie premise and gives it a much needed jolt with wit, great actions scenes, some innovative special effects and a solid cast to create a sci-fi behemoth. Which leads us to...

1. Terminator 2: Judgment Day 1991 TriStar Pictures

Schwarzenegger was indeed “back” as Cameron delivered a high budget follow up to his “tech-noir’ original. Upping the ante with more action, deeper themes and an equally iconic CGI villain made of liquid metal, the mix of blockbuster action, clever smarts and spot-on casting cemented Arnie as the character we all loved. Becoming the “goodie”, this neat switch meant that audiences had a brand new story rather than a rehash making Cameron the king of sequels with this and Aliens. Being the only sequel to win an Academy Award when the previous movie wasn't even nominated, T2’s legacy is still being felt today with subsequent films trying to capture the unique and iconic magic of this 90s classic.

Midlands Movies Mike

By midlandsmovies, Mar 8 2015 10:14AM

Vice (2015) Dir. Brian A Miller

A 0% score on Rotten Tomatoes, whilst not the be all and end all of how to grade a film, it is a score that one may want to take note of before embarking on spending some of your precious life on a movie. Especially this movie. I’ve no doubt that director Miller and all the cast (bar one) and crew gave it their best but this really is a shoddy piece of work, as bad as anything I’ve ever seen.

In short, the movie riffs on WestWorld (1973) where a theme park of human-esque robots repeats the same day over but begin to break their programming. Much to the base pleasure of the paid patrons, the “Vice” park allows visitors to play out their dark desires (mostly murder and rape) under the watchful eye of park owner, Julian Michaels (played by a dead-eyed Bruce Willis).

As one female cyborg becomes self aware, she gets caught between the park’s security guards trying to shutdown their rogue robot and a cop trying to pull the plug on the nasty goings-on forever. While the cop is played by a valiant but futile performance from Thomas Jane, it’s Bruce Willis, who cements his utter lack of interest in any project he is currently taking on, that lingers long in the memory. In my eyes, Bruce has gone from an absolute hero of mine, with the classic Die Hard being the pinnacle of his wise-cracking action bravado, to someone who gives the kiss of death to everything he is in.

The frankly atrocious Die Hard 5 showed his lack of conviction in his movie-making choices whilst his off-screen antics (awkward press interviews & douchebaggery to Kevin Smith on Cop Out) have made the Bruce “brand” so utterly unlikeable. Here, he is a selfish character (played by a selfish man rightly kicked off The Expendables 3 for demanding too much money) and although the villain of the piece should be somewhat unlikeable, his few minutes of terrible screentime and a catatonic performance (where his face and mouth barely move!) spreads like a virus all over the movie.

As a piece of SyFy television crap, this low budget “film” may have just passed muster as a misfiring pilot for the inevitable spin off series, but as a film, Vice stakes its claim to be at the top of my “worst of 2015” list already. And I think it will take something truly spectacular to remove it from the top spot. Avoid!

1/10 Midlands Movies Mike

By midlandsmovies, Jan 13 2015 04:52PM

The Worst Sequels of All Time

With a mix of franchise balls-ups and delayed sequels as well as the truly horrid unnecessary follow up, here is my countdown of 30 of my least favourite sequels of all time with a few reasons why.

Sorry for those wanting to see Matrix Reloaded (the action saves it for me), X-Men: Last Stand (it’s pap but finishes the story fine for me) or Terminator: Salvation (it’s not the worst in the franchise by a long way) but I hope there’s plenty of others that got on your nerves without spoiling too many of your favourite films. From classics to straight-to-video, you’ll also find no prequels here (so no Phantom Menace or Dumb and Dumber: When Harry Met Lloyd) but definitely some of those WTF were they thinking moments and the always difficult to accept changing of established cast members.

Let the countdown begin..


30. The Exorcist 2 – replace the horror with grasshoppers and “visions” and you lose any audience that may have come with you from the original.

29. Rocky V – a franchise killer with Stallone casting family members unable to act in key roles.

28. Star Trek V – seriously old men camping in coats talking to God in this “action” sci-fi.

27. Spider-Man 3 – as a big fan of the Raimi-helmed web-slinger it pains me to include this but a duffer it is with far too many villains and THAT emo-Peter Parker dance scene. Tingling.

26. Son of the Mask – remove the excellent Jim Carrey and replace with Jamie Kennedy. That’ll work. No, it didn’t. It really didn’t.

25. Teen Wolf Too – replacing Michael J Fox with Jason Bateman was this film’s worst crime.

24. Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps – *spoiler warning* bad enough was a belated sequel no one cared even slightly about, but the original provocateur Oliver Stone concludes his movie with a ridiculous happy ending. This from the man who brought us Natural Born Killers, JFK and Platoon. Unforgiveable.

23. Deuce Bigalow: European Gigalo – a contender not because it spoilt the original – a mildly amusing gross-out farce – but because it could be the least funny comedy ever on screen.

22. Staying Alive – do you want to see a sweaty John Travolta in a leotard trying to make it as a dancer on Broadway directed by Sly Stallone? Nope. Neither did anyone else.

21. Sin City 2 – possibly the dullest sequel for sure and one that missed its chance of success by nearly a decade too late.


20. Robocop 3

Different actor for Robocop? Check. Directed by someone with no pedigree at all? Check. Ninjas? What the fuck but yes, check. Flying Robocop? Why the fuck not?! All the ingredients for a right old fuck up were here and present as Verhoeven’s original is stripped of any edge for a future children’s audience. You have the right to remain terrible.

19. S. Darko

Seriously. Whose idea was this? It’s such a mind bending decision that I would have rather seen a film about that than the absolute knock-off/money-grabbing sequel that was released.

18. Blues Brothers 2000

The terrible replacement of a beloved character (in which the actor died no less) is no way to begin thinking about creating a sequel 20 years after a classic. Add some worse musicians, an annoying kid and a rubbish plot and you have one of the lamest films from John “Trading (I forgot he was once good) Places” Landis.

17. Jaws 2/Jaws 3-D/Jaws: The Revenge

A truly special entry for 3 films that are all terrible in their own unique ways. Jaws 2 was always going to live in the shadow of its classic forerunner, whilst 3 added a low budget gimmick and terrible effects to the proceedings. The final mess of a film is universally despised (and rightly so) with the pissed off piscine hunting its prey and swimming 2000 miles in 3 days to do so. A franchise fail of great white proportions.

16. Grease 2

The not-needed sequel to the only musical film I really love was a huge mistake and not even one of my favourite actresses, Michelle Pfeiffer, can save this monstrosity. Throw in a few cameos from supporting characters (i.e. the only people who needed the money) and you’ve got a film that is far from supreme.

15. Matrix: Revolutions

Along the same lines as a film we’ll see later on the list, Revolutions thought more complexity equalled more interest. As we spend even less time in The Matrix (including an opening set in a limbo-representing subway, remember that shit?) the plight of Zion becomes something we care less and less about until an overblown fight and disappointing ending got the whole debacle over with and left us with the fading memory of that amazing first film.

14. Highlander 2

A legendary bad sequel that not only was a bad film, it totally changed the concept of the film before by including an alien back-story that made little or no sense. It would be higher in the charts if I was a bigger fan of the first but I know a duffer of a sequel when I see one and feel the pain of a once-beloved film being shat on.

13. Scream 4

A big fan of the original films (even 2 & the misjudged 3), here was a belated sequel literally no-one was crying out for – maybe except Courtney Cox’s accountants. With some behind-the-times allusions to cyberspace and celebrity culture, the first trilogy’s self-referential tone was lost amongst Epic Movie style pop culture “jokes” and zero scares.

12. Transformers 2

I’ve mentioned elsewhere my unapologetic and superficial enjoyment of the first Transformers film but by the sequel we were already seeing where this franchise was going. With less emphasis on the humans, more focus on comedy, a 2 ½ hour runtime and more product placement than you could shake a stick at, this sequel set the new low- standard for the others that came next.

11. American Psycho 2

Didn’t know this film exists? Well it does and this direct-to-video movie has Mila Kunis (of Black Swan fame) killing fellow students for a good grade. It also stars, wait for it, William Shatner. An absolute mess of a sequel and the pinnacle of low (no) budget filler follow ups.


10. The Godfather Part 3

It’s going to be difficult to follow up the Oscar winning original and the lauded sequel but what you shouldn’t do is wait nearly 20 years, give a key role to your unable to act daughter and not include one of your main protagonists (Robert Duvall). Despite 7 Oscar nominations and a large budget, this is rightly hailed as a template for why sequels can fail.

9. Terminator 3

I will still never understand the hate for Salvation whilst Rise of the Machines is in existence. Arnie’s “comedy” robot, Nick Stahl’s annoying Connor and SFX somehow worse than T2, this film should have been so much better but a disappointment was all we got.

8. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End

I literally still have no idea what went on in this film. Part 4 was bad but at least had a self-contained story. This third part lost its navigation and do you remember that bit with Jack Sparrow as a chicken or talking to a goat? Well, it’s there and we’ve collectively blocked out this appalling stinker.

7. Alien vs Predator: Requiem

Watching this revealed one of those moments where you literally stop and think “how did we get here?” From the TV-soap opera cast and awful “story” we are light years away from Ridley Scott’s original space horror.

6. Blair Witch Project 2

A sequel to the infamous found footage horror ditched the main conceit of that film – the found footage aspect – and made a sequel with such bad acting and lack of connection with the previous film that its surprising it was even released as a sequel at all . Bland Witch Project.

5. Superman IV

An interesting one as I kind of remember enjoying this as a kid but a recent rewatch showed up the huge lack of budget and hilariously abysmal special effects. Heck some of the shots were even reused within the film. An absolute franchise killer for almost 20 years. Super!

4. Speed 2: Cruise Control

This is one of those completely unnecessary sequels that not only moved the exciting freeway-speeding concept to a rather slow boat, it lost its biggest star and still got a cinema release! The only remarkable thing was the speed in which the quality went from classic action to box office bomb.

3. Batman and Robin

I was such a huge childhood fan of Batman that when I hired this film from the shop, the 15-year old me turned it off halfway through and took it back the same day. Well done 15 year old me and I stand by that decision to this day.

2. Ocean’s Twelve

As a huge fan of the first heist movie, it lost everything that made that movie fun and its worst crime was Julia Roberts playing a character who gets mistaken for Julia Roberts by Bruce Willis. Yes, that’s the level of this film.

1. Die Hard 5

If you ever want a franchise killer, here’s one. Nothing like any of the previous films, Willis (showing up in spots 2 and 1) sleepwalks through a PG-level film making it my worst film of that year and the worst sequel ever since. My hatred of this film is immense and if it were possible, Die Hard 5 should be on its own list whereby if you have seen it you can get your mind wiped of its badness as in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

Midlands Movies Mike

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