It’s amazing we’re now halfway through 2012, a year that has offered plenty in the way of both blockbuster films and the smaller, more intimate indie fare. Taking that into account, it seems only fitting to offer up something a long the lines of a best of/worst of post for the first half of 2012.

Worst Of

Unfortunately, as is the case typically with both Hollywood and the early months of any year, 2012 has been chock-full of some, well, crap. It’s the unfortunate by-product of an industry that can often be maddeningly indifferent to its artform. Perhaps selfishly, I managed to avoid some films which seemed to be universally despised. But I did my best to bare the burden of terrible movies to better inform the public (read: the few readers who actually take me seriously) on what to avoid.

That being said, I have certainly not seen everything. In fact, I’ve only seen 40 new releases in 2012 so far, which is by no means all of them, but probably enough to have a decent idea of what’s out there.

But let’s get to it; the lowest of the low. The worst ten films of the first half of 2012:

#10. Brave

Brave definitely takes the cake for the most disappointing film of the year. That being said, it’s not on the level of “complete trash” as some other films are farther down the list. But by no means is Brave a good movie, on the contrary I found it to be shockingly bad. The “least-Pixar” Pixar has ever been, Cars and Cars 2 included. The only saving grace here was the expert animation, which saved the film from being your run-of-the-mill direct-to-DVD Disney flick. Oh yeah, and the $185 million budget.

#9. Man on a Ledge

Man on a Ledge gets the edge above Safe House as it takes its self slightly less seriously. The grit and general tone of this one lends itself more to “popcorn fun,” but that doesn’t really mean much when you have a movie this preposterous and bad.

The truly maddening part here is that Man on a Ledge has flashes of what is actually a decent thriller, but those are so few and far between you’ll be pulling your hair out at the sheer stupidity of this film. When it comes down to it, there aren’t really any redeeming qualities here. [review]

#8. Red Tails

What is it about World War II fighter plane movies that makes it impossible to tell a good story about them? This was the case with James Franco’s Flyboys, and, to a lesser extent, with the George Lucas-produced Red Tails. There is clearly a story here worth telling – the first all African American fighter pilot squadron. Yet, the film opts to feature spectacle over character, drama or really any significant substance. What a pity. [review]

#7. Safe House

What a complete mess. Safe House is everything an action thriller shouldn’t be. Uninteresting, choppy, excessively unwatchable. Oh yeah, did I mention the “twist” can be seen coming from a mile away? It’s sad, considering Denzel Washington is in a role that should make a film interesting on its own merits.

What Safe House succeeds at is confirming that choppy grit does not mean style, particularly when there is nothing of real substance here. What a disappointment this film was when you take into account the talent involved. [review]

#6. Dark Shadows

Here’s a movie that could have been fun. A Tim Burton and Johnny Depp take on the tired vampire genre could have been something special, but oh what a mess it was. This felt so much to me like the filmmakers was just being strange because they could, not for any specific reason.

While showing signs of promise early on (like in the first fifteen minutes), and featuring a whole host of capable actors, Dark Shadows was derailed fast and by the time the terrible final act came around, I was completely checked out. What a waste of a movie! [review]

#5. Contraband

Contraband is essentially akin to Safe House, but without Tobin Frost and the exotic locations, hence the slightly lower rating. It does suffer from the same pitfalls, however. An overly gritty and dark film with a mind-numbingly stupid plot and twists, plus no real characters or intrigue completely ruins this thriller. [review]

#4. The Vow

I’ll admit, I saw this film at a dark time. It was in the midst of a series of truly terrible movie releases and I was fed up. That being said, my perhaps overly-critical review wasn’t far off. The Vow is a pretty horrendous film.

From the top-down, The Vow fails on basically every narrative level. The characters are unlikable, and uninteresting as they operate in cliches and archetypes. The only saving grace here is that Rachel McAdams seems to always be able to pull the audience onto her side. But even my boy C-Tates can’t save this piece of melodramatic trash. [review]

#3. This Means War

Now this movie is what I like to call “lousy.” Apart from a tad bit of chemistry between Chris Pine and Tom Hardy, This Means War is an absolute nightmare. Terrible plot, characters, execution, jokes, action…er, everything. [review]

#2. The Lucky One

Here we have what is essentially akin to The Vow, but without Rachel McAdams and a plot-line that includes some truly appalling storytelling decisions which raise the stupidity over the top. This is not to say that I’ll automatically hate a chick-flick, because clearly they can be done right. But c’mon, some of the stuff here is just preposterous and actively aggravates me. The Lucky One really is a Terrible, terrible film. [review]

#1. Act of Valor

Here we come to the cream of the – er, “scum” of the crop. Act of Valor a movie that is not only terribly executed, but the fact that it exists deserves my wrath. In my review, I likened watching this to watching your friend play Call of Duty, but with a worse story.

I forgot to mention that at least there you’re with your friend, possibly having a good time. Here there are no redeeming qualities. I’m going to finish this sentence and hopefully never think about this movie again. Done. [review]

There you have it. The ten worst movies (I’ve seen) from the first half of 2012. Now for the fun part: follow the jump to the next page for a glimpse at the ten best films of the first half of 2012. There are some good ones in there, I promise.

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