Monday, December 19, 2011

Bad to the Bone: The Worst Movies of 2011

For every film that reminded me why I love the cinema in the first place (Hugo, Drive and Midnight In Paris to name a few), there was utter crap that made want to pull my hair out. Here’s my list of the movies that deserve my one finger salute and my scorn…

1. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part I: Where do I possibly start with this year’s crème de la crème of crap? I didn’t think it was possible to outdo New Moon as the worst movie in the series, but director Bill Condon’s entry – in which Bella (Kristen Stewart) has a demon baby growing inside her, Edward (Robert Pattinson) continues to mope and Jacob (Taylor Lautner) still can’t take a hint, pulled off a double-whammy: it carves out a new low in god awfulness and made room for its old-fashioned views on sex. Did I mention there’s one more movie left to go before this terrible movie series ends? The end can’t come soon enough.
2.     The Hangover Part II – Loved the first movie where Todd Phillips weaved dark magic in what happens the night after a bachelor party filled with debauchery at every turn, hated how everything in Part II was a rehash of the original, and not very funny the second time around. Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms) and Alan (Zack Galifianakis) get wasted on the night out in Thailand, end up in Bangkok and lose the groom’s soon-to-be brother in law. Way to kill the good vibes in Part I, by making Part II a bland, disappointing exercise in excess.

3.      Red Riding Hood – How bad was this movie? Even the great Gary Oldman (who’s usually solid, even in a crap movie) turns in his worst performance as demon hunter who’s on the trailer of a murderous werewolf who’s killing off the village people. Amanda Seyfried is lovely as Bella Swan – er – Valerie, but her romance with bad boy Edward Cu…uh…I mean Peter (Shiloh Fernandez) have all the heat of dead ash. Don’t be fooled by this faux Grimm-inspired tale. It’s Twilight all over again.

4.      The Tree of Life – Yeah, I said it, and it had to be said. This isn’t the movie the critics are making it out to be. This was pretentious bullshit; a legendary director throwing gorgeous shots of the formation of the cosmos, and questions of who we are and our role in the world and hoping that it sticks with the arthouse crowd. Boy did it ever. If there ever a prime example of too much style and little substance, Malick’s….whatever he calls this, should be the posterboy.

5.      Green Lantern – Ryan Reynolds’s portrayal of cocky fighter pilot Hal Jordan and how becomes the first human to join the Green Lantern corps made me pine for the days of Ben Affleck hamming it up in Daredevil, and Thomas Jane’s miscasting as Frank in The Punisher. Add to it, bad visual effects and dull action pieces and you have one of the worst superhero movies ever.

6.      Transformers: Dark of the Moon – What year-end worst list is complete without this hack? Dark of the Moon isn’t as godwaful as Revenge of the Fallen, but it’s still filled with all of Bay’s signature touches: big, loud, dumb and long action pieces, bad dialogue, veteran actors lining up for a paycheck, and the Michael Bay close up on a woman’s ass and body. Some things never change.

7.      Tower Heist – It’s painful to watch Eddie Murphy, Ben Stiller and Matthew Brodrick, three funny comedic actors, delivering punchlines that don’t land, and jokes that taste stale in our mouths. It’s even worse when the goal is to combine Soderbergh’s fast and ultra-cool Ocean’s trilogy with the Great Recession-era antagonists, the lone bright spot is Alan Alda’s Trump-like character who oozes wealthy scumbaggery.

8.      New Year’s Eve – What do Robert DeNiro, Halle Berry, Abigail Breslin, Hilary Swank, and an ensemble cast has to do with the biggest party of the year? It’s all one big, sappy, clichéd mess.

9.      Sucker Punch – Visually, Zack Snyder (300, Watchmen) pulls out all the stops in this babes and bullets show, and the soundtrack is full of acid rock covers that add to the twisty ride of Babydoll’s (Emily Browning) escape from the psych-ward by day, whorehouse by night. Unfortunately, it can’t disguise the bad acting from the entire cast and a plot which can’t match the visual wonder onscreen.

 10.  The Eagle – You know a historical action drama will suck when its main character is played by an American actor, no attempt to do a British accent, and it’s Channing Tatum to boot.

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