ByJack Giroux, writer at
Jack Giroux

2013 has been a fantastic year for going to the movies. Looking at critics's top 10 lists or seeing what films people loved in the comment sections on Moviepilot has been a reminder of how lucky us film fans were this year. I'm sure we could all point to a number of films we loved.

Of course, we could do the same for the movies that didn't impress us as much. Bad movies are expected every year, but it's the ones that had genuine potential that truly sting. This year there were plenty of films to feel disappointed over.

Here are the 10 releases that didn't match their prospects:

10. Riddick

had been promising Riddick's return for a long, and after all that waiting, a movie that's simply "okay" came out. The first 20 minutes promised an ambitious take on the character, but ultimately the film became an overly familiar monster movie where the monsters and side characters sucked all the fun out of its B-movie potential. Sometimes returning to your roots is a good thing, but Riddick proves that's not always the case.

9. The Canyons

An instance where the buzz surrounding its troubled production is far more exciting than the actual product. Paul Schrader and Bret Easton Ellis teaming up should've produced a film that at least gets some reaction out of its audience, but the movie provokes only indifference. Paul Schrader has crafted some of the best films ever made, but this is not one of them. Far, far from it, sadly.

8. The East

and are exceptionally talented filmmakers. If you haven't seen their debut film, Sound of My Voice, please do, because it's a great movie. Their followup, The East, isn't quite a sophomore slump, but a misstep. There was a leanness to Sound of My Voice missing from The East. What could've been a solid 90 minute thriller that raises questions is instead a 2 hour thriller that wants to give you all the answers instead.

7. Thor: The Dark World

If this was a list for the worst villains of the year, Malekith would top that list. He's an antagonist so thin and recycled that whatever fun was possible with this Thor sequel is demolished. The worst part is Malekith wasn't this only film's problem, because this script gives Thor an emotional arc we've already seen with The Avengers, a personal motive so cheap and easy, and uninspired set pieces. This is Marvel's first major misfire.

6. The Lone Ranger

The Lone Ranger isn't as terrible as you've been told. Buried underneath its 2 and a half hour running time is a solid 2 hours without all the bloat and overdone Tonto slapstick. Because there is a good movie here, it makes Gore Verbinski's take on the iconic character a real missed opportunity. This movie comes is so close to being enjoyable, but it gets in its own way by overcompensating.

5. Paradise

Diablo Cody's introduction as a director isn't as sharp as it should've been. Cody's direction isn't the problem, but, weirdly enough, it's her own script. Paradise is a movie that often tells, rarely ever showing. When it does show what it's distant protagonist is going through, it's tonally and structurally off. The whole movie is a strange miscalculation and misstep for Cody.

4. Bullet to the Head

Writer/Director Walter Hill (The Warriors) is better than this. This delayed action pic was both a critical and box-office bomb, and once you see the movie, you'll understand why. Bullet to the Head follows the buddy movie formula so closely that it forgets to show us anything new or exciting.

3. Star Trek Into Darkness

Remember when Star Trek came out in 2009? It was a surprise hit, and a film that I saw three times over the course of that summer. What didn't work from a script standpoint was overshadowed by J.J. Abram's energetic direction and his charming cast. After four years of waiting, its sequel lacked the personality and charms of its predecessor. Kirk's arc of taking responsibility was thematically muddled, the use of Khan was an even bigger blunder, all the female characters were so thinly drawn, and don't even get me started on using Old Spock simply to give that piece of exposition. Hopefully Star Trek 3 gets this once promising reboot back on track.

2. Evil Dead

A surprisingly bad remake of Sam Raimi's classic. Up until the film's last 15 minutes, director Fede Alvarez's modern take on Evil Dead is overly serious and a real slog to sit through. It's more interested in making a blood bath that it forgets to have genuine laughs and scares. You don't need Ash to make this series work, but at least some character you can root for or laugh at.

1. Oldboy

Now, Oldboy is a superior film compared to Evil Dead, but it remains a greater disappointment because it was Spike Lee who made it. With a few exceptions, this Americanization had none of Lee's personality. It's a middle-of-the road remake that shows potential with Josh Brolin giving the role his all and a promising first act, but there's something off about the rest of the film. Does it want to be a serious character study or an over the top revenge movie? Lee never decides. Apparently Lee's director's cut was 30 minutes longer than what we ended up on the screen, and maybe one day we'll see that version. Let's hope it's more alive and interesting than this misfire.

Which movies let you down this year?


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