Although Rupert Wyatt's upcoming film The Gambler is actually rather annoying (the screenplay is far too clever for it's own good), the character of Frank, as played by John Goodman, comes across as a legitimately threatening and frank presence in the movie. Frank is a gentle gangster who assumes you know the rules of dealing with criminal lowlifes, and he will never sugar-coat his intentions. When Frank looks you in the eye, and calmly – as if ordering a pizza – declares that if you double-cross him, he will murder your entire family, you know for sure that he means it.
Eva Green seems to be making a career of being the best thing in bad movies. She played the villainess in two pretty bad films this year, and yet in both, she was an astonishing and irresistible screen presence. In 300: Rise of an Empire, she played a vicious killing machine named Artemisia who hate-screws her foes, and severs heads with amusing glee. In Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, she plays the eponymous dame who waltzes around, freely nude, teasing and torturing every man who wanders into her sight. The movies suck. But Eva Green is awesome.
SPOILERS: The Lego Movie, the beloved, far-more-clever-than-it-had-any-right-to-be animated film, was – thematically speaking – all about creativity. Near the end of the film, it was revealed that the animated adventures of our little toy people were in fact the fantasy of a young boy playing with his dad's Lego set. His dad, played by Will Ferrell, felt that Legos are meant to be displayed, and not played with. He was the enemy of creativity, preferring order and conformity over chaotic childhood play. The naughty little boy inside all of us could see what a bummer this guy was. Luckily, The Man Upstairs was redeemed.
The title villain of this little-seen Dutch horror trip was a bearded, underground-dwelling being that may or may not be human, and who may or may not have supernatural powers. All we know is that, over the course of Borgman, the imp insinuates himself into an average bourgeois family in order to poison, confuse, seduce, and trick them for no other discernible reason other than spite. This man, it seems after a while, is nothing other than a Nightmare, crouching on the chest of the heroes, sucking out their lives. That's pretty badass.
What happens when you break into the home of the world's most dangerous assassin, steal his car, and murder his dog? The awesome action movie John Wick happens. John Wick himself is the hero of the movie, facing off against callow and violent gangsters who function as the film's villains, but John Wick plays a lot like a villain vs. villain scenario. A scenario wherein a bad guy sends killers after an even badder guy, only to have the badder guy kill them all. John Wick is a capable, awesome, and interesting antihero who could easily show up in future films.
A unique feature of the X-Men movies is that the villains tend to be sympathetic. The series' central villain, Magneto, is not so much a megalomaniacal monster as he is a deep-thinking man with a strongly-held opposing viewpoint. The same can indeed be said of Dr. Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage), the villain from the 7th X-Men film, X-Men: Days of Future Past. Here is a man who is trying to accomplish a goal he believes to be righteous, not knowing that his work will bring about an apocalypse. He is so convinced of his righteousness, he doesn't even feel like a villain. And that's a really interesting view of a villain.
Paul W.S. Anderson's Pompeii is a terrible movie. It's not fun to look at, badly plotted, and has a foregone conclusion (um, we all know Pompeii was destroyed by Mt. Vesuvius, right?). But given that this film is so trashy, it gave Kiefer Sutherland a delightful chance to swing for the walls as a greedy, horny senator named Corvus. This guy was a classical mustache-twirler of the highest order, and Sutherland seemed to know that, doing his best Snidely Whiplash impersonation. No chance to chew scenery was passed up. Sutherland made this awful film bearable.
I hate Lou Bloom. Not as a dramatic construct, but as a person. He is so clearly crazy. So smug. So clearly manipulative. So clearly selfish and amoral. He's such an evil bastard that I was upset – upset! – when the characters around him didn't call him on his crap. Indeed, they just enabled him to continue down his path of casual evil, proving to the guy that being evil really is the only way to get ahead in the world. Jake Gyllenhaal famously lost a huge amount of weight to play Nightcrawler's reptile, making him gaunt and greasy and gross. Yeah, it's hard to like this guy. And yet, you can't take your eyes off him. Just like the snuff films he makes.
SPOILERS: Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck), the lead character of David Fincher's wicked thrilled Gone Girl, is hardly the best husband. He neglects his wife, moves her to cities she doesn't want to move to, seems vaguely threatening, and cheats on her. But when it's revealed what Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike) has done to get her revenge, you realize that Nick's neglect is but a drop in Amy's lake of evil. Amy's plot involves not just murder, but set-ups, complicated accusations, and all manner of outwardly evil behavior. At the end of the film, you'll be astonished at what this woman did. She did what with a wine bottle? Eesh.
Oh, The Guest. How do I love thee? The character credited as “David” (as played by Dan Stevens) is the most charismatic monster to come out of 2014. He starts out as a vaguely sinister stud who moves into a dead friend's family's house, only to reveal his inner violence on the people nearest to the family. David has a twinkle in his eye. He may be a killer monster, but, damn we love this guy. He's dead sexy, and seems to have a twisted code of righteousness that we kind of respect. Does he do terrible things to good people? You bet. Do we want to see him get away with it? Of course.