10 for ’10: Worst Movies

26 12 2010

Catch up with the idea behind this series here.

How do you know when it’s been a bad year for the movies?  Answer: when you have to narrow down a field of the year’s worst.  There were WAY too many candidates for this 2010’s worst of the year; I had to whittle down from a list of 20 to get an ultimate 10.  You’ll notice that “I Am Love” is absent from this list despite me giving it a flat F, and that’s because I saw it way back in 2009.

So enjoy – or cringe – this list of movies so bad, they don’t even get a snide remark under the picture.  They just get linked back to my review from earlier in the year when I totally trashed them.  Take the time to look at the reviews if you need convincing – I think I write my best stuff when I’m mad as #&*$ writing a bad review.

(NOTE: These are the worst movies that I saw this year.  There are probably much worse out there that I simply refuse to subject myself to watching.)

Grown Ups

The Last Airbender

Alice in Wonderland

Clash of the Titans


Dinner for Schmucks


The Bounty Hunter

The Wolfman


REVIEW: Splice

3 06 2010

You should be warned: “Splice” goes there.  It pushes your moviegoing boundaries in unwanted and unsettling ways, which wouldn’t have bothered me had they not been so unrewarding.  Telling you the exact nature of how it will disturb you would undoubtedly spoil the movie, so I’ll just leave it at a very strong warning against seeing this movie if you are easily offended.  It had my packed preview screening groaning in disgust and shock.

I don’t mind being feeling these emotions while watching a movie, it just has to be done right.  The filmmakers need to present the edgy material and build the rest of the movie knowing the implications of it.  “Splice” simply disturbs you and then tries to act like it didn’t happen.  A heated argument between two scientists whose latest experiment has made them tense and frenzied (Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley) completely evades discussing unethical and immoral behavior.  There’s no point in destroying boundaries if you don’t explore what’s on the other side of them, and the movie abandons you with the empty feeling of shock value.

Really, this unspeakable scene turns “Splice” from bizarrely plausible to just plain bizarre.  I didn’t think the first two acts were all that bad.  There’s all sorts of parallels to “Frankenstein” as the two scientists create their monster out of anger.  But it’s actually a story about the perils of parenthood.  Elsa (Polley) was raised by an abusive mother, and it forever distorts her perception of the necessity of children.  When Clive (Brody) even brings up the subject, she seems to relate having a baby to having a parasite.  In some ways, she uses Dren, their creation bred from a hybrid of human and animal DNA, to give her the kind of parenting experience she wants.  The movie does a great job of showing us how twisted she really is, mainly through her undying love for the gross thing.  Props also the visual effects department for creating a monster in their own right.

But still … that one part.  It’s unfortunate when one part of a movie stands out so much that it overshadows the rest of the movie.  The scene has unintended consequences, particularly a dramatic shift in tone of “Splice.”  The movie becomes outrageously farcical as it comes to a close.  Because it enters such strange realms, it’s hard to take anything that follows seriously.  And for a movie that tried to sell itself as horror but is in reality all science-fiction, the whole thing just comes off as a jumbled mess.  D+ /

What To Look Forward To in … June 2010

16 05 2010

Summer heats up with June’s releases.  We have the welcome return of an old franchise (“Toy Story”) and the unwelcome return of a newer one (“Twilight”).  We have reboots (“The A-Team”) and remakes (“The Karate Kid”).  We have old comedic stars (Adam Sandler) and new ones (Russell Brand).  Whatever the month give us, let’s just hope for some entertainment.

June 4

“Get Him to the Greek” looks to provide some summer humor in the same weekend that made “The Hangover” the smash success of 2009.  I’m not even watching the trailer in an attempt to make it the most hilarious experience possible.

“Splice” stars Oscar-winner Adrien Brody and Oscar-nominee Sarah Polley (for writing, not acting) as scientists who create a monster.  This looks really freaky.

Really, Katherine Heigl?  You quit an Emmy Award-winning show so you can focus on movies, and now you are doing this?  And you really expect people to take you seriously?  Really?  SNL references aside, “Killers” looks absolutely horrific.

June 11

“The A-Team” looks to reboot the franchise with only a little bit of nostalgia.  Good luck.  With Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Sharlto Copley of “District 9,” and some guy who looks like Mr. T, it might be possible…

A remake of “The Karate Kid” already?  The original only came out 25 years ago, and Pat Morita only just passed away.  I’m curious to see how this fares.  Jackie Chan isn’t exactly on a hot streak – “The Spy Next Door,” anyone?  Jaden Smith is unproven other than “The Pursuit of Happyness,” which was all his dad.  It’s only going to corner the market on the family crowd for one week, so Sony had better hope all the families come out on opening weekend.

Opening in limited release is “Winter’s Bone,” a Sundance hit which made it onto my list of the ten most anticipated movies of the summer.  It reminds me a bit of “Frozen River.”  That movie got 2 Oscar nominations.   We’ll see how this turns out.

I’m really excited to see what makes Joan Rivers tick in the documentary about her, “Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work.” What lies behind that plastic face will most certainly be entertaining. Now it just has to get to Houston…

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