10 for ’10 – Most Forgettable

21 12 2010

It’s that time of the year when it’s time to put on the retrospective lens and look back on 2010 for what it was, the good and the bad, for better or for worse. To commemorate my first full calendar year of blogging, I decided to write a series I am calling “10 for ’10”, ten top 10 lists celebrating all things 2010. Half will be devoted to the movies, and half will be devoted to the blogging. Obviously, it will culminate on December 31 with my top 10 movies of the year.

To kick off, I’d like to feature a list that’s not your typical year-end top 10 list. Rather than celebrating the best or the worst, this list celebrates mediocrity. There were plenty of movies released this year that were just middling, not earth-shatteringly great yet not horrifically bad. These movies are often left to dry by the end of the year, but it’s time that they get their recognition.

So, without further ado, I present the most forgettable movies of 2010.

The American

Did anything even happen in this movie at all? Thanks to the RunPee app, I missed the big sex scene that was apparently so racy. As for any sort of plot, I’m pretty sure I had forgotten it before I left the theater.

The A-Team

Congratulations, you made a bunch of stuff blow up and freed yourselves from death and imprisonment multiple times.  Too bad you didn’t make this movie back in the ’80s, A-Team, because then it would have been exciting.  Now, it’s standard.  Next…

Conviction

Who knew that DNA evidence could clear someone wrongly convicted of murder? Try everyone who has looked at the front page of a newspaper in the past two decades. Like every single newspaper headline boasting the triumph of the truth, this movie heads for the back of my mind.

The Disappearance of Alice Creed

Not even the movie’s out of nowhere gay lovers twist could save this boring, minimalist kidnapping story from dissolving in my mind almost instantly.

Just Wright

Formulaic romantic comedy. Need I say more?

Leap Year

See above.

Morning Glory

I liked this movie a lot better when it was called “The Devil Wears Prada” and had Meryl Streep instead of crotchety old Harrison Ford.

The Other Guys

This Will Ferrell/Mark Wahlberg collaboration had nothing to make it stand out in either star’s catalog. Neither has a strong or memorable character spouting any quotable lines. Perhaps it’s best that we can forget this movie because I certainly know Farrell is hoping we forget the movies he made before this.  We’ve seen plenty of buddy cop movies done right, and there’s no reason to ever watch it done to mediocrity as it is here.

Secretariat

I have a well-documented distaste for inspirational sports dramas, mainly because they all come down to “this person shouldn’t have won but they worked hard and they were good people so they did win, and we should all learn a lesson.” This horse racing drama diverts a little bit, but it’s so packed with corny lines that I’ll forever group it with those that follow the template.

She’s Out of My League

“Knocked Up” dealt with everything this Jay Baruchel failed star-launching vehicle tried to tackle, only better and with much more humor. I’ll forever consider this a lame rip-off.





REVIEW: The Disappearance of Alice Creed

7 08 2010

In “The Disappearance of Alice Creed,” two kidnappers (Eddie Marsan and Martin Compston) hold the daughter of a rich businessman hostage for a hefty ransom.  It goes all according to plan in the first stage, but it all seems to go wrong after that due to a series of blunders.

Funny enough, our reaction to the movie echoes all the plot developments.  The movie is gripping for the first thirty minutes, particularly as we watch the kidnappers set up for the abduction and the period following.  There’s something very chilling about how meticulously organized their process is, and it’s made even more eerie by their silence.

In typical minimalist indie fashion, we don’t see the actual kidnapping, but the aftermath is just as scary.  They bring Alice Creed (Gemma Arterton) into a soundproofed apartment where they quickly strip her, gag her, and tie her to a chained-down bed.  And once they have her securely in their grip, the movie starts to lose its grip on plausibility.  The respect that we had built up for it slowly begins to diminish for the next hour until the thriller practically devolves into a comedy.

Just when we expect the movie to wow us with originality, it takes a series of bizarrely typical twists of the genre.  There are all sorts of hackneyed gimmicks designed for a quick thrill.  The situations are robbed of any suspense because we’ve seen it done a million times, and the ultimate unintended result is laughter at their predictability.  In a summer where laughs have been hard to come by, I’ll take them where I can get them.

Really, the unexpected relationships between the characters are the only things unique about the movie.  There are literally three people in it, no extras, no voices on the telephone, no random people in the background.  Just Marsan doing the same old cantankerous villain, Arterton baring it all while getting away from her 2010 tentpole action movies, and Compston making a blip for the first time on my radar.  These aren’t three random people, as we find out.  But for the same of keeping the atmosphere of a thriller in “The Disappearance of Alice Creed,” maybe they should have been.  B /