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.)

10.
Grown Ups

9.
The Last Airbender

8.
Alice in Wonderland

7.
Clash of the Titans

6.
Splice

5.
Dinner for Schmucks

4.
MacGruber

3.
The Bounty Hunter

2.
The Wolfman

1.
Marmaduke

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REVIEW: The Wolfman

5 08 2010

Joe Johnston’s “The Wolfman” is a remake of the 1940s original, yet it winds up making you nostalgic for a completely different decade.  Strangely enough, it most resembles the 1980s.  Benicio Del Toro in his werewolf makeup looks like he walked straight off the set of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video and somehow wound up in 1890s England.  Weird…

The movie tells the same story we have seen countless times with all sorts of predatory creatures, although it’s typically werewolves and vampires.  Some sort of flesh contact is made with the creatures, a normal person is transformed into one of them, and they subsequently find themselves living on the outskirts of society.  In fact, we just recently saw Neil Blompkamp use this formula and apply it to aliens in “District 9,” and he created something that felt refreshingly original.  Here, it’s just same old, same old.

In fact, the only thing that Joe Johnston does to add some flavor to the tired story is to amp up the violence and gore.  “The Wolfman” bears an R rating and uses that level of freedom to go hog wild on the blood.  There’s all sorts of decapitations and ripping of limbs in the movie, almost to the point where it becomes overkill.  One has to wonder if Johnston turned over the reins to some violent video-game loving teenager for these sequences.

I can’t think of the last time where I actually thought that a movie’s special effects were bad, but they certainly are here.  Blame poor planning and poor execution on the filmmakers’ part.  And there’s absolutely no relief from the hackneyed story, not even from a pair of Oscar winners, Del Toro and Anthony Hopkins.  Never has the latter been so far away from his “The Silence of the Lambs” glory days.  If he doesn’t start picking better movies, I’m going to have to hold a moment of silence for his career.

And still, I just can’t get over that wolf makeup because it’s just absolutely horrific.  I find it so hard to believe that it’s the work of renowned Oscar winner Rick Baker, not some mom for a high school play.  Watching Del Toro’s wolfman fight civilians just made me chuckle; watching him fight another werewolf was as funny as any comedy this year.  The suspenseful, climactic battle scene just feels like a dreadful”Scary Movie” parody of the wretched “Twilight” series.  D /





What To Look Forward To in … February 2010

7 01 2010

We’re still in some hazy territory in the month of February, but the new decade looks to give this month some much needed energy.  Fueled by two movies originally scheduled for release in 2009, I might actually drop a good amount of change at the movies in February (not just on repeat viewings of Oscar nominees).

February 5

Put “The Notebook” in front of anything and you are guaranteed a flock of screaming girls coming with boyfriends in tow.  Put wildly popular model/actor Channing Tatum in the poster and you can add some more girls aside from the hopeless romantics.  “Dear John” has just that: a super sweet story from author Nicholas Sparks and girl eye candy Tatum.  Thankfully for the guys, the filmmakers cast Amanda Seyfried (“Jennifer’s Body”), who isn’t so bad on the eyes either.

I’m a little weary to endorse “From Paris with Love,” another John Travolta villain movie.  He’s only good at playing subtle ones (“Pulp Fiction”) with the exception of “Face/Off.”  2009’s “The Taking of Pelham 123” was a disaster mainly because of Travolta and his villainy established only by constantly dropping the F-bomb.  Potential redemption here?  I’ll need positive word of mouth before I watch Travolta go evil again.

February 12

“Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief” is the name given to the film adaptation of Rick Riordan’s kids novel “The Lightning Thief.” Clearly Fox is setting up a franchise with the title, and they picked the right place to stake the claim. I read the book in seventh grade, and it is the real deal. I even got a chance to have lunch with the author, Riordan, who is one of the neatest people I have ever met. Whether they ruin it or not is yet to be known, but the movie is being helmed by Chris Columbus, the man who got the “Harry Potter” series flying. That has to count for something.

If Pierce Brosnan isn’t a big enough star to draw you to the aforementioned movie, you should find solace in “Valentine’s Day,” which features just about every romantic comedy actor ever. Literally, I can’t even list all of the stars of the movie here. The post would just be too darn big. Garry Marshall, director of “Pretty Woman” and “The Princess Diaries,” is in charge here, so I find some comfort in that. But if the movie flops, this will be a high-profile disappointment.

Sorry girls, the werewolf in “The Wolfman” is not played by Taylor Lautner. Academy Award-winning actor Benicio del Toro metamorphasizes in Victorian England into the hairy beast when the moon is ripe.  This werewolf is not based on cheeky teen lit but on the 1941 horror classic.  And this adaptation is rated R for “bloody horror violence and gore.”  Get ready for some intense clawing.

A big winner at Cannes and a contender for the Best Foreign Film at this year’s Academy Awards, “A Prophet” is a foreign film that may be worth a look.

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