Friday, January 27, 2012


I had stated previously that 2011 would not be remembered as a great year in cinema and this list of the following films makes the point loud and clear:

"Another Earth" & "Like Crazy"

Both of these low-budget independent films, "Another Earth" and "Like Crazy" managed to receive plenty of critical praise and film festival glory (which was part of the reason why I went to see them) but the appeal of either of these films was completely lost on me. Both films features attractive, privileged and seemingly intelligent young people who make some bad mistakes. One foolish; in "Like Crazy" a young couple is kept apart because the British female (Felicity Jones) decides not to return home after her visa expires in order to be able to spend more time with her new American love (Anton Yelchin) and the other tragic; "Another Earth" is about a bright, young woman (Brit Marling) whose promising future is ruined after accidentally killing the family of a brilliant composer (William Mapother) on the eve of the discovery of a duplicate Earth. While it's clear that there were some talented people working in front of and behind the camera on these films but neither has that spark to elevate them to engaging or memorable works.

"The Future"

I really loved Miranda July's first feature film, "Me and You and Everyone We Know" in 2005, so I was really looking forward to finally seeing her follow-up film, "The Future" but I was really disappointed in how much I really disliked this really monotonous mess. It's about this annoying, whiny couple (July and Hamish Linklater) whose relationship has grown stale, so they decide to adopt an injured cat which causes them to re-evaluate their lives. Oh, and this cat named Paw Paw narrates the story. I'm sure Ms July knew exactly what she was trying to say with this artless film but didn't feel any strong need to let the audience in on it.

"Sucker Punch"

I am now completely convinced that "300" was simply a fluke for director, Zack Snyder as his follow-up films "Watchmen" (which found a spot on this list in 2009) and now "Sucker Punch" have demonstrated that he has no clue in how to properly make an action film. Sure, it's a great-looking film with plenty of loud, over-the-top, repetitive action sequences but the real problem is everything in between. Incredibly bad dialogue and two-dimensional characters drags this convoluted and disturbing story down. It's about a cute, young girl in pig-tails who is wrongly placed in a mental institution as she fantasizes about battling her care-givers as a super-human (with a samurai sword) and this all take place before she is lobotomized. The work of Zack Snyder somehow manages to makes the films of director, Michael Bay (and you don't know how badly it hurts to say this) look like an art.

"The Rum Diary"

"The Rum Diary" is a glossy yet surprisingly lackluster Johnny Depp vehicle, based on the novel by Hunter S. Thompson, in which he plays a New York journalist who travels to Puerto Rico in the 1950's to write for a local newspaper. While there, he deals with a crew of odd reporters, gets wrapped up in an unsavory business deal, seduced by a beautiful woman (Amber Heard) and consumes as much rum and other controlled-substances that he can possibly get his hands on. The problem with "The Rum Diary" is not that it's necessarily awful, it's just extremely frustrating because you can clearly see it had the potential to be so much better.


"Immortals" is very loosely based on the Greek myth about Theseus (Henry Cavill) and the Minotaur but this involves him rescuing a virgin high priestess (Freida Pinto) from the clutches of Hyperion (Mickey Rourke?), the king of Crete and stop him from getting his hands on the Epirus Bow that can be used to release the imprisoned Titans so they can destroy Zeus (Luke Evans) and the other gods. Whatever. The film is littered with relentless, bloody battles, tedious beheadings and painfully bad acting with a script that is incredibly inept. Tarsem Singh, the director who is best known for his work in music videos, spends plenty of time on the truly dazzling visuals but not nearly enough on creating a logical plot or coherent film.

"Just Go With It", "Straw Dogs", "Fright Night" & "Conan The Barbarian"

What do "Just Go With It", "Straw Dogs", "Fright Night" and "Conan The Barbarian" all have in common? They are 2011 re-makes of films from the '70's and '80's that have become cult classics. While none of the original versions of these films would be considered great yet they are still miles ahead of these pointless, incompetent make-overs. Although each film takes full advantage of today's cinematic technology, they are all completely lacking in style and substance.