What is Pocket.watch and Will it Become a Dominating Force in Kids Entertainment?

What is Pocket.watch and Will it Become a Dominating Force in Kids Entertainment?

I recently read an article online about a new digital start up company called Pocket.watch. As I started to look further into the company I realized there is a lot to unpack and discuss. And while I’m nearly 30 I always find kid’s media intriguing. What makes kids enjoy certain stories and do kids know when they’re being pandered to? We’ll dig into that topic down the line, but today lets look at this new company, where it came from, what it might mean for the industry, and where it could go.

-Who and What?-

Pocket.watch intends to be a new online outlet for media geared towards children between 2-11 years of age. It comes to us from the mind of Chris M. Williams who has a background in both online distribution and children’s entertainment. Previously he worked as the chief audience officer of Maker Studios and GM of Disney Online Originals. As the CEO of Pocket.watch he has already taken major steps in recruiting talented people into the fold. This includes former head of Nickelodeon and HLN Albie Hecht as chief content officer and well known entertainment lawyer Jon Moonves as chief strategy officer. What we see here is a trio who are not only seasoned professionals, but have a their fingers on the pulse of kid’s entertainment. One coming from the Mouse House and the other coming from Viacom’s green slime producing subsidiary. The group has already raised six million dollars in funding from high profile Hollywood talent including (but not limited to) Robert Downey Jr., Jon Landau, and Leslie Moonves (brother of Jon Moonves). Their goal is to start creating, acquiring, and distributing online entertainment both short and long form to compete with Disney and Nickelodeon. Ambitious but not out of the realm of possibility.

-Changing Viewer Habits-

This is a major factor working in Pocket.watch’s favor. It’s a fact that over the past few years how kids consume content has changed greatly. The Internet has made accessing media in all forms easier and offered a wider variety. Kids no longer have to sit down at a television between the hours of 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. to watch a block of programming geared towards them. Mobile devices and streaming have made it possible to watch in the viewer’s timeframe rather than what some suit assumes are the peak hours of watching. More consumers are cancelling their cable and satellite subscriptions and swapping in ‘skinny bundle’ packages from companies like Netflix and Amazon. People are looking for cheaper options that are available to them 24/7. With Pocket.watch tapping into this trend they’re stepping into the forefront of new media from the get go rather than being dragged into it. When you cater to the desires of customers they’ll be happy and willing to use your product. Smart move.

-Talent and their Treatment-

Just a few days ago it was announced that Pocket.watch had signed popular Youtube creators HobbyKidsTV as one of their first creative partners. HobbyKidsTV currently has nearly 2.4 million subscribers and gets around 200 million views monthly over ten separate channels. This built in fanbase will be a big coup for the company as they begin. Odds are people who come to Pocket.watch to see HobbyKidsTV will explore the other videos on the site. And looking at the state of Youtube it’s good for creators. In the past few months there have been problems brewing. Youtubers have seen profits shrinking from ad revenue as advertisers begin to dictate where they want ads placed and avoiding ‘controversial’ subjects and videos. This in turn has led to a lot of creators upset and looking at other options to make money. Some are getting video sponsorship, selling merchandise, or going to other websites to host their content. Pocket.watch has offered HobbyKidsTV an equity stake in the company. This is big for three reasons: 1. Creators will have a voice in the company and be part of the decision making process. 2. Having a share in the company means creators will get a larger cut of profits. 3. Stake in the company means the creators will have a deeper investment in it’s success. In a time when the collaborative spirit of online content is diminishing it’s surprising that a company wants vested interest from it’s employees.

-Issues in the Past-

As I stated previously, Williams and Hecht have previous experience with the major giants of kids entertainment. Williams with Disney/Maker Studios and Hecht at Viacom/Nickelodeon. And in the meantime issues have been brewing at both of those companies. Many former partners of Maker Studios have expressed displeasure with the tactics the company used. Whether it be taking a surprisingly large portion ad revenue or claiming a large slice of intellectual ownership over videos. And Viacom has been in turmoil since Sumner Redstone resigned as executive chairman of CBS and Viacom. With all this there has been lay-offs and talk of potential lay-offs at both companies. With their knowledge of whats going on, Williams and Hecht have insight into who they can woo over to Pocket.watch in more lucrative and stable positions. And with people uncertain about their futures at a company they’d be more willing to jump ship and join up with Pocket.watch.

-My One Fear-

While everything is sounding innovative and optimistic about where Pocket.watch will go there is something that still worries me. A while back I wrote an article on the up and coming website Vessel. I concluded that my major fear was that the company would end up getting bought out and absorbed into Youtube. While Youtube wasn’t the one to acquire Vessel (that was Verizon) it did end up getting shut down mere months after I wrote the article. In said article I stressed that it’s important to have healthy competition in the marketplace. But in the end if the people in charge of Pocket.watch get offered a large sum of money from another company they’d be foolish to turn it down. For the sake of the consumer and creators I hope Williams, Hecht, and Moonves are in this to change the market rather than building something only to make money selling it off to the highest bidder. Fingers crossed.

These are my thoughts on Pocket.watch, but as usual what are yours? Do you think this company is taking a major step in launching an entertainment empire built on innovation? Is kids entertainment in need of more variety? Are there any parents reading who have an opinion? If you’re interested you can follow me on Twitter @sdfilmthoughts for more. And as always, thanks for reading!

Advertisements

Fun Things from the Doctor Strange Commentary

Fun Things from the Doctor Strange Commentary

As you know I truly enjoyed Doctor Strange so much that it made a spot on my list of Honorable Mentions from 2016. I decided it was time to dig into Scott Derrickson’s commentary and find out the interesting tid bits he had to offer. I really loved Derrickson’s commentary on the Sinister blu-ray (may have to do an article on that one another time), so I was excited for this one. While some tracks are more anecdotal Derrickson tends to take a different approach. He talks extensively about deeper aspects of the story. While I recommend listening to the track as his comments are going to be hard to distill down to smaller pieces, but here are a few great nuggets of wisdom.

-Date of Recording-

Derrickson states that the very start that he is recording his commentary the day before the film is set to premiere in Los Angeles. “It’s a blind perspective in terms of critical, audience, and box office response.”

-Who Was the Film Made For?-

“My intention is to pick a good target for the movie that I believe people will want to see and get their moneys worth out of. And that’s meaningful to me as a creative person. To hit that target and if I’ve done it right. If I picked a good target and I’ve hit that target that’s the reward. That’s the only reward you get as a filmmaker. It’s a huge reward. It’s the ultimate reward.” It’s refreshing to hear a director state that he knows his films aren’t always going to be ‘Four Quadrant’ pictures and instead wants to focus on a good story for a specific group.

-Kamar-Taj Filming and Locations-

Early on we find out that a large portion of the Kamar-Taj filming was done in London, but there was filming that took place in Kathmandu. (More on that below). We also find out that Derrickson deliberately set up the four locations for Kamar-Taj to have two in the east and two in the west. This was to show a more global perspective so the audience knows that they’re protectors of the entire world and not just the west and U.S.A. specifically.

-The Building VFX Origins-

The design of the building bending FX came from the director’s interest in GIFs and Youtube videos that did similar visual tricks. They nicknamed it the ‘Mandelbrot Effect’.

-Accuracy of Surgery Scenes-

While filming there was a consultant on-set to make sure all the minor details were medically accurate. “I feel that accuracy in professions is something the audience can feel. When you’re cheating something technical in a profession they may not know it, but somehow they might feel it.” It also helps that his wife is a nurse. “I get a lot of flack if I ever do anything medically improper.” And it turns out that when Stephen and Christine are performing the surgery on the bullet wound victim that they wouldn’t have had their masks on immediately as they would be rushed into the ER and not have time to prep.

-Meeting Marvel-

It turns out that Derrickson had to have eight separate meetings with Marvel in order to get the job of director. “They respect passion, experience, and talent. And I think I had proven my filmmaking skill in the horror genre and success in that genre.”

-Derrickson is a Fan-

He re-iterates that he is a fan of Marvel comics and in fact, Doctor Strange is his favorite character.

-What to Keep From the Comic-

While other things can be re-work or interpreted in a different way, Derrickson states that there were two key things that had to be kept from the comics. 1. Stephen Strange’s origin story. 2. The visual ambition of Steve Ditko’s original artwork.

-Using Real World Drama-

When you’re going to tell fantastical stories you need to ground the characters in reality. “The more realistic and the more grounded and the more relatable in terms of real human characters in the movie. The more powerful and real and effective the fantastical is when it enters into the movie.”

-The Nepal Earthquake-

In between the initial location scouting and pre-production the devastating Gorkha earthquake occurred destroying multiple locations and throwing the chancing of filming at Kathmandu into question. Both Benedict Cumberbatch and Scott Derrickson decided they wanted to film there to highlight the beauty of the area that could not be replicated anywhere else.

-Ancient One Controversy-

While he spoke candidly about the casting controversy around The Ancient One in multiple interview Derrickson re-iterates his intentions. “I knew I had to get away from the stereotypical western view of Asians that was a stereotype perpetuated by the Fu Manchu magical Asian.” “I could not find a way to avoid this character be a magical mystical martial arts mentor with some hidden motives.” i.e. The Dragonlady motif. “I looked for an actress who could embody what was great about The Ancient One.” While some people are still justifiably upset about the casting of Tilda Swinton I back Derrickson’s motives. It was a no win situation that had the best-worst resolution.

-Hints of Horror-

Scott Derrickson has been prominently known as a director in the horror genre. (His directorial debut was the underrated Hellraiser: Inferno.) And while this film isn’t horror Derrickson threw in a few elements (The ‘Hand’ Dimension, Strange coming back to his physical body after getting hit with the defibrillator) as he knew that the general audience coming to the film weren’t going to be horror fans. This way those tiny bits could effectively elicit a strong response from the audience.

-The Ant-Man Reference-

Yes, that was the Quantum Realm Strange entered as he traveled through the other dimensions.

-Shamballa-

The wi-fi password joke was used to show that  Kamar-Taj is still a real place in the world not above or below technology.

-Cumberbatch was the First Choice for the Title Role-

Marvel and Derrickson offered him the part instead of going through auditions. In spite of a scheduling conflict with Hamlet for Cumberbatch and looking at other actors Derrickson wanted him for the lead. Knowing this Kevin Feige pushed back the release date from summer to fall in order to accommodate Ben’s schedule. It’s unheard of that a producer would delay a film at expense to the studio to make sure an actor could appear in a film. I commend Feige for doing this instead of settling on another actor.

-Mads Mikkelsen-

There is nothing but great things said about Mads Mikkelsen. “What can I say about Mads? He is one of the most positive actors I’ve ever worked with.” It turns out that Mads accepted the role because he always wanted to make a Kung Fu film and in fact did a large majority of his own stunts.

-What about Wong?-

To keep him from being a stereotype Derrickson wanted to invert the character. To make him more of a mentor than a sidekick and in ways someone who is more advanced than Strange in the ways of magic.

-Not Wanting to Explain an Origin for Magic-

“Magic by definition is ineffable and beyond our understanding.” That’s what makes it fun.

-On Benedict Wong-

Derrickson comments on how Wong’s performance took exposition scenes and made them interesting. “I think this guy could read the phone book and I would be compelled.” He then goes on to be a little self-deprecating, “I just dated myself referencing the phone book. Do they even have those anymore?”

-The Problem with Origin Stories-

We find out that due to the fact that so much of the film’s story was forced to set up Stephen’s origin and magic in the MCU that there was a lack of time to set up other characters. Clea and Nightmare were originally set to be in the film, but it would’ve taken too long to set them up as well.

-The Astral Battle-

The idea of the Astral Battle between Strange and Lucian was taken from the Doctor Strange graphic novel ‘The Oath’. It was also the first scene Derrickson wrote as part of his 90 minute presentation to Marvel.

-James Gunn’s Contribution-

James Gunn shot Stan Lee’s cameo for the film while film Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 in Atlanta. Gunn shot four Stan Lee cameos in that time. Derrickson states Doctor Strange and Guardians Vol. 2 were two of the four shot. I assume the other two had to be Spider-Man: Homecoming and Thor: Ragnarok.

-Inception-

Derrickson addresses the online comments about Strange’s visuals being a rip-off of Inception. He states that the film was an influence, but wanted to take it further in the amount of trippy. Other influences were M.C. Escher, Salvador Dali, and German Expressionism. “That’s what we filmmakers do. We borrow from the sources of each other. Hopefully it’s standing on the shoulders of that movie rather than ripping it off or repeating it.”

-Hong Kong Battle-

The Hong Kong battle is a play on other MCU finales. Instead of seeing a city fall apart we get to see it come back together.

-Respect for Teachers-

While talking Derrickson often says ‘um’ in between comments in order to collect his thoughts. He states that everytime he does it he hears the voice as his old English teacher Mrs. Cannon saying, “No ums, please.” He even apologizes to her in the commentary.

-“I’ve come to bargain.”-

Many people online have speculated that part of Dan Harmon’s contribution to the script was the “I’ve come to bargain.” scene as it felt in tone with his sensibilities. Turns out that this scene was in Jon Spaihts first draft and survived multiple drafts with minimal changes.

-Hitting the Target-

Derrickson re-iterates that he makes films to hit the target he aimed at. “That’s all you can do sometimes.” He briefly touches upon how Deliver Us From Evil wasn’t a hit critically or commercially, but it was the film he wanted to make and landed with horror fans. Personally, I think it’s an overlooked gem and worth a watch if you’re looking for a dark horror film.

-Taika Waititi’s Contribution-

It was Taika Waititi that shot the mid-credits scene between Doctor Strange and Thor.

These are just a handful of moments from Scott Derrickson’s commentary and it only scratches the surface. Multiple times he speaks about recurring plot points and the philosophical and religious beats that influence the story. The man is well spoken and gives a lot of great insights into his creative process when building a story from the ground up. As usual, what are your thoughts? Have you listened to the commentary yet? Did you enjoy Doctor Strange as much as I did? If you’re interested you can find links to a few other commentary rundowns that I did for Ant-Man and Deadpool. Don’t forget you can follow me on Twitter @sdfilmthoughts. And as always, thanks for reading.

https://sdfilmthoughts.wordpress.com/2016/06/08/fun-things-from-the-ant-man-commentary/

https://sdfilmthoughts.wordpress.com/2016/05/12/fun-things-from-the-deadpool-commentary-part-1/

https://sdfilmthoughts.wordpress.com/2016/05/16/fun-things-from-the-deadpool-commentary-part-2/

My Ten Favorite Films of 2016

My Ten Favorite Films of 2016

Three and a half months into 2017 and I’m finally getting around to my Top 10 list of 2016. What can I say, deadlines have never been my strong suit. It hasn’t helped that a rather harsh winter has forced me into making fewer trips to the multiplex. So let’s dig into a year that has produced some phenomenal films that I truly hope will stand the test of time and get more recognition in the long run.

10. Captain Fantastic

In my opinion Viggo Mortensen was robbed at the Oscars this year. His turn as the patriarch of a family that lives off the grid was humorous, heartbreaking, and felt truly honest. Throw in a large selection of younger actors/actresses and veteran Frank Langella and the cast is aces. As the movie ended it elicited the same feelings I got when I watched Little Miss Sunshine for the first time almost a decade previously.

9. Hail, Caesar!

I know that some people were felt underwhelmed by the Coen Brothers recent film, but for me it was a fun romp. The big problem was how the trailer mis-marketed the film. But I am a sucker for films set in the Golden Age of Hollywood and the extravagance of those old productions. It’s also fun seeing a humorous take on the shadier side of that era’s glamour.

8. The Witch

This was a very divisive horror film this year. Some people called this a bland and boring film while others said it was completely unnerving. I’ve always had an interest in the Salem Witch Trials, so seeing a film set in that time frame was a wonderful surprise. The film’s atmosphere is almost palpable at times as you wonder what is going on. And I will state right here that the final fifteen minutes really got under my skin. Fingers crossed Anya Taylor-Joy has a long career.

7. Kubo and the Two Strings

Laika continues their winning streak with another well written and visually stunning film. I am genuinely annoyed that this film got snubbed at the Oscars. While ParaNorman stands as my favorite film they’ve done so far Kubo keeps inching closer to Coraline and may eclipse it as number two. Adventurous, funny, heartfelt, and with just a small bit of scary I can not recommend it enough. Hands down the best animated film of the year.

6. The Bronze

Holy shit! I saw the trailer and thought this film would be funny, but I did not expect to love this movie as much as I did. Melissa Rauch and her husband Winston Rauch penned a funny script that is a great black comedy which doesn’t get too mean spirited. When you write a very unlikable character like Hope it’s difficult to sell her to an audience, but Melissa made it work. Her comedic chemistry with co-stars Gary Cole and Thomas Middleditch was spot on. Throw in Sebastian Stan playing a perfectly slimy antagonist and this is one of 2016’s most underrated films.

5. Lights Out

Working off the premise of a fantastic short film, Lights Out was hands down my favorite horror film of the year. Using a time tested fear we’ve all had from one time or another (what’s in the dark) and giving it a small tweak it made what could’ve been cliche feel fresh. Clocking in at just over 80 minutes this movie knows how long it needs to be and gives the audience what it needs without getting bogged down in a convoluted story.

4. La La Land

Sure everyone loved this film and I am one of them. I am a sucker for musicals and grew up on them. It’s rare that we get one these days that isn’t animated or geared towards children. Chazelle, Gosling, and Stone all brought their A-game and it is glamorous. I know the film is going through it’s backlash phase at the moment, but it will once again come back around to being liked soon enough.

3. Swiss Army Man

A film that was sold on the premise of a buddy comedy that included a talking farting corpse some people weren’t sure what to make of Swiss Army Man. What we got was a heartwarming tale that examines love and loneliness. Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe are both fantastic actors and made this concept work. Throw in some of the best production design and costuming with the other facets and it’s a film that’s reputation will grow over time.

2. Silence

I’d been waiting for Martin Scorsese to make this film for over a decade. I remember hearing him talk about it and at times feared it would never come to fruition. There was casting news that kicked up every now and then, but other films kept pushing it onto the back-burner. When it finally started production and the trailer dropped I waited with bated breath. Clocking in at nearly three hours this is a beautiful and devastating film. I can not recommend it enough.

1.The Nice Guys

Shane Black is making another crime comedy, sold! Following up the smash hit Iron Man 3 Black went back to the well and drew fresh water. As someone who loved Kiss Kiss Bang Bang I was ready to see him return to the genre. Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe are a perfect combination and setting it in late 70’s L.A. at the apex of Hollywood decadence was great visual backdrop. All three of these men have said they’re open to making a sequel. I can only hope that happens.

Another year has come and gone leaving behind numerous films I’ve yet to see, but these are ones I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. As always, what are your thoughts? What were your favorite films from last year? Did you enjoy any of the films on my list? Are you ready for another year of films? As always you can follow me on Twitter @sdfilmthoughts. And thanks for reading!

The Honorable Mentions of 2016

The Honorable Mentions of 2016

As always there are some films that are good, but can not make their way onto my top ten that I want to talk about. Be they 100 million dollar blockbusters or introspective indie films they were great. So in alphabetical order here are my honorable mentions of 2016.

Captain America: Civil War

The Marvel Cinematic Universe keeps it’s hot streak going. Who would’ve thought that out of all the solo Marvel characters Captain America would have the trilogy that continued to improve with every film.

Deadpool

I read the script for this film when it leaked online and got excited, but doubted it would happen. I watched the leaked test footage and got giddy. When Fox announced Deadpool was being made I worried that they would screw it up like a few recent X-Men films. I exited the theatre and was blown away that against all odds this film got made.

Dr. Strange

Three films in on this list and they’re all based on Marvel. Am I Marvel nerd, yes I am. But I am one happy Marvel nerd. I never thought I’d see the day Dr. Strange would get adapted into a 100+ million dollar blockbuster film. The fact that this film exists and was done right is just as amazing as Deadpool’s existence.

Fences

Denzel Washington returns behind the camera and once again makes a great film. Antwone Fisher is an underrated gem that should be seen and Fences continues the man’s directorial winning streak. Throw in amazing source material, powerful performances, and the film overcomes the minor issue of having trouble transcending it’s stage roots.

Green Room

It’s tough to see such a talented actor get taken away from us at such a young age. Anton Yelchin proved once again with this film that he was on his way to the A list. Green Room has some of the best tense scenes from a film of last year. The supporting cast is superb and Patrick Stewart is chilling.
Hacksaw Ridge

It’s been great seeing Andrew Garfield take on a number strong roles in his post Spider-Man career. (We’ll talk more about that on my top 10 list). Hacksaw Ridge is a brutal story as much as it is an uplifting one. Quite possibly the best World War II film since Saving Private Ryan.

Hell or High Water

There’s always something compelling to me about a story that has smaller stakes. And what desperation can force two people to do when they’ve been screwed over. Ben Foster as always, turns in a gangbusters performance and Chris Pine ups his game showing there’s more to him than his recent blockbuster roles.

Keanu

I know some were a little disappointed by this film, but I blame how they mis-marketed it. If you’re a fan of Key and Peele’s comedy this will be right up your alley.

Lion

Dev Patel continues his winning streak with another beautiful performance. It’s only a matter of time before he snags an Oscar and the sooner the better. I’ve always been a fan of true stories where people overcome impossible odds to achieve their goal. I can not wait to see director Garth Davis’ next film.

The Lobster

Talk about a divisive film. While some people called it pretentious garbage I fell into the category of people who enjoyed the odd examination of love and relationships. It does start off very dry, but once you get immersed in the story it gets intriguing.

Patriots Day

I was on the fence about seeing this, but it was director Peter Berg’s name that got me interested. He takes what could’ve been an exploitative topic and handles it well. You feel the tension that traverses the film leading up to the bombing and get pulled into the investigation and stories of the survivors.

Star Trek Beyond

As it stands, for me Star Trek Beyond is the best of the reboot series. It felt like a nice combination of the original series plot with the more action oriented style of the Kelvin timeline. How they handled Leonard Nimoy’s passing was a touching send off to the man. And again, you’ll be missed Anton Yelchin.

There you have it. As always, what are your thoughts? Did any of these films speak to you? Remember you can also find me on twitter @sdfilmthoughts. Check back in for my top 10 of 2016.

My Ten Worst Films of 2016

My Ten Worst Films of 2016

2016 has been a weird year to say the least. Whether we talk film, television, online content, or just everything else that happened. (Let’s not, this is a place for film). With some films not quite living up to their hype or just being plain stinkers there’s a lot to dig through so let’s begin.

10. Sausage Party

This is one of those films that suffered a number of problems for me. First, the animation at times felt like it was barely a tier above the mess that was Foodfight! Yes, the budget was low, but there were times when things felt unpolished. I try not to let behind the scenes controversy taint a film for me, but when it comes to hard working crew members getting shafted I get pissed. If it wasn’t for those animators your film would’ve been a bunch of actors sitting in a booth in front of a microphone. Sound like a film worth watching? And finally, for being dubbed one of the filthiest films of all time I was kind of let down. Seeing a hot dog say fuck multiple times and a ‘food orgy’ got boring. Does that say something about me as a person?

9. Now You See Me 2

Not that the original film was any masterpiece, but you can tell that while the original film had time to get it’s script kind of right this one feels extremely rushed. All the actors are likable and Lizzy Caplan was a nice addition, but the writing really let everything down. From ret-conning the ending of the previous film to make a character a good guy to the magic getting even more out of the realm of reality this was dumb, but dumb in the, “It’s on FX at one am and I have no other options so I might as well watch it.” way.

8. The Forest

There were some fantastic horror films that got released last (A few of which will be found on my Best of 2016 list), but this is not one of them. Natalie Dormer is a competent actress and the premise of telling a horror film set in the Aokigahara Forest had promise. Unfortunately cliched writing, obvious scares, bland side characters, and an almost forgettable plot killed this one.

7. Dirty Grandpa

Why does it seem like Robert De Niro hasn’t cared about his filmography for over a decade? Sure he’s had a few good supporting roles, but on the whole the man is a shadow of his former self. This is a perfect example of an idea crafted in a Hollywood boardroom with little to no creativity except for a premise (an old man saying filthy things). Zac Efron tried, but even his charisma wasn’t enough to make this tolerable.

6. Alice Through the Looking Glass

I’ve voiced my disdain for the previous live action Alice film Disney made, (it was my worst film of 2010) so I had a feeling this one was going to be more of the same. James Bobin felt like a director for hire executing a preconceived idea. The noisy and overly CGI visuals are once again vomited all over the screen and the actors seem to care even less this time around. At least Sacha Baron Cohen was highlight in a rather blah film.

5. 31

Once again Rob Zombie serves up his style over substance exploitation film homage brand of horror film and again it’s more of the same. Considering this one was even divisive amongst his fans it’s no surprise it floundered with me. This feels like a spiritual successor to The Devil’s Rejects (My favorite of Zombie’s) and yet the antagonists (aside from E.G. Daily) were nowhere near as interesting. And what’s worst is the protagonists are nothing but fodder for the killers.

4. Holidays

I love anthology horror films and holiday themed horror films, so this seemed like a no-brainer. If only the directors had taken more time to flesh out their stories instead of turning in half-baked messes. It was a big letdown seeing Kevin Smith’s Halloween segment. I’ve been a fan for ages and this year has been a real letdown (more on that to follow). Save yourself some time and only watch the segment Father’s Day.

3. Yoga Hosers

After seeing the embarrassingly bad trailer for this film I knew the writing was on the wall. As someone who has defended Smith’s recent work (I genuinely enjoy Red State and thought Tusk was flawed, but had moments) I can not defend this mess. It’s a patchwork of ideas strewn together and nothing really measures up. Too bad we’ll never get to see Clerks III as that had some real potential.

2. Punk’s Dead: SLC Punk 2

A sequel to a cult film is never a good idea. Making it nearly 20 years after the original when the director made nothing of merit in between is a horrible omen. Nothing about this film captures the original’s spirit or even acts as a good counterpoint to it. Fans were left irritated while newcomers were indifferent.

1.Cell

Oh my goodness, where to begin? If being adapted from one of Stephen King’s worst novels in recent years wasn’t bad enough this film had a rough post-production that left it a shoddy mess. I can not tell if the director wanted to make a horror, satire, or a dark comedy, but it’s none of the above and feels like a cheaply made mess that makes me wonder if John Cusack’s agent is secretly working to tank his career.

There you have it. Another year where the good, the bad, and the mediocre were put on the big screen and VOD. I will have a list of honorable mentions and a Best of list coming soon, so keep your eyes peeled. I will also try to return to posting more regularly, but life can be hectic and who knows what will come next. As always, you can find me on Twitter @SDFilmThoughts.