22 December 2009

Biggest Disappointments of 2009

As is the case every year, some movies surprise and some movies disappoint. I posted earlier my favorite movies of the year. So, I decided that I would dedicate some time to those few films that were not worth my time, or anyone's.

Public Enemies-Why? This movie was so disappointing that I don't even know where to begin. After a killer trailer, I was too stoked to see it. With Michael Mann directing, two of the hottest actors in Depp and Bale, this looked too good to be true. And it was. Both actors seemed unispired and it seemed as though they phoned in their lines. The direction was alright. Mann knows how to have a shoot-out. The music was atrocious. All in all, a very sad attempt at a very cool story.

Paranormal Activity-Why? I know I seem to be in the minority here. I was not impressed by this overly hyped re-imaging of the superior Blair Witch Project. It started out good, got moving great, but ended terribly. The actual last scene was made more preposterous when I found out that it was Steven Spielberg's idea. This has to be my wife's most disappointing film of the year. All she wanted was to be scared, and she wasn't.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen-Why? It was bigger, louder, and stupider than the original. The first one focused on making it seem "real." This one focused on making it loud and obnoxious. They sacrificed storyline for action. They sacrificed character development for action. They sacrificed action for more action. This was as big of a let down as Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. All action, so point.

Seven Pounds-Why? Will Smith is solid. He really does not make bad movies, especially lately. (Hancock is not as bad as some think, just too short.). This movie was just terrible. Onvce you understand what is going on, I could not wait for it to end. I know that this movie came out in 2008, but I saw it January 1. It was my first movie of the year. It put a bad taste in my mouth for the year. One that was luckily taken away by Taken a few weeks later.

Golden Globe Thoughts

Here is what I see:

Best Drama-Inglorious and Avatar are shockers. Hurt Locker is one of the best movies I have seen all year. Up in the Air is good, but the hype has it too high. It is not great. No shock with Precious.

Best Comedy/Musical-(500) Days is the critics choice. No shock with The Hangover, it had to be there. I am surprised that The Proposal is not. It's Complicated and Nine are in the 30% range on Rottentomatoes, so, don't think they have a snowball's chance in hell. Julie & Julia, no shock there, it has Streep.

As for the acting, I am shocked to see Meryl Streep double nominated against herself. Too many Indie film acting nominations. What does that say about the films that are nominated? They are great films, but the acting is not great? Robert Downey? Really? Sherlock?

No shockers in the Directing.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is the only one out there in the Animated. No Christmas Carol? Planet 51? I mean, come on.

TV-I can tell you will win.

Drama-Mad Men
Comedy-Glee or Modern Family, probably Glee
Actor Drama-Simon Baker or Jon Hamm
Actor Comdey-Alec Baldwin
Actress Drama-Julianna Marguiles
Actress Comedy-Edie Falco might upset Tina Fey, might
Supporting Actor-Lithgow might upset Piven, probably will happen
Supporting Actress-Jane Lynch or Adams. Too close to call.

No idea on the Mini-Series crap.

There you have it. I took this way too far, but that is what I do.

Best Films of 2009

Since no one is reading this anymore, because I haven't posted in almost a year, I thought that I would write a Best Of list for the hell of it. I will try to go back and write full reviews of these films first thing next year.

It is hard for me to put them in order because so many of them cannot be compared to one another. It is hard to compare The Hangover to Big Fan. Both are great films, but they are not the same type. So, in the order I saw them, here we go:

Taken-Why? This is a no-nonsense action movie that makes no apologies for what it is. In the preview, they tell you the whole plot. There is nothing to hide, no deep meaning, and thank God, no annoying plot twists. Liam Neeson does exactly what he says he will do in the trailer, and we get invited along for the ride.

State of Play-Why? This movie is based on a 6-Hour British Mini-Series just like Traffic. The story is deep, involved, and twisty in all the right ways. It is the best suspense/thriller I have seen in a while. The cast is stellar and everyone, including BenAffleck, brought their "A Game."

Star Trek-Why? I am no Trekkie. I tried one year in college to become one, but I guess that is too hard to do. I could not make it through the first season of The Next Generation. I have only seen First Contact and Nemesis. Like I said, no Trekkie. The preview to this, and the knowledge that J.J. Abrahms is at the helm, made me see this. This made Star Trek cool to me, and to a younger generation without bastardizing the original series. It kept continuity, according to the fanbase, and think that is important. Bond was rebooted, so they took liberties. Star Trek has been reborn in the old body. I am by no means a Trekkie now, but I am looking forward to seeing where they plan to go next.

The Hangover-Why? Simple, it is hilarious! When I first saw the trailer to this film, I could not wait to see it. I stalked all kinds of websites trying to get a code to see it for free. At last, i was successful. It was worth every minute of my effort. From start to finish, this movie had me laughing. All the actors were great, but Zach Galafanakis was extraordinary. He stole every scene he was in. I loved him in Out Cold and even more here. A sequel is inevitable, but there is so much they could do and so many places they could go. Crude? Absolutely. But even my Mom enjoyed it.

Up-Why? It is hard not to like a Pixar film. This one is the most melancholy film I have seen in years, maybe ever. It is not necessarily the saddest, but it is no happy-happy movie. It is much more serious. I recently watched this for the second time, and I cried. I do not remember crying the first time, but I did the second. I think I might cry more the third, but that time it will be on Blu-Ray.

The Proposal-Why? This movie looked funny in the previews. That was misleading. This movie was hilarious. Again, it is beginning to sound like a theme, but the acting was through the roof. The cast was perfect. Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock played so well off each other. Bettie White was perfect. From start to finish, this was very funny. The story was a unique take on a romantic comedy, and I appreciated that. I recently saw this for a second time, and I laughed just as hard this time as I did the first time.

The Hurt Locker-Why? This movie starts with a suspenseful bomb defusing, and never lets up. Throughout the remaining two hours, you are kept on the edge of your seat. I loved the acting and directing. It is hard to believe it was directed by the same woman that directed Point Break. As we follow the bomb tech crew through Iraq, you feel like you are there, and feel what they feel. They are just trying to get through their tour, and we are hoping they do.

Big Fan-Why? Patton Oswalt was amazing. That is why this movie worked. It was all him. Well, the writing didn't hurt. From the same writer as last year's critical baby The Wrestler, the story is phenomenal, gripping, and sad. The downfall of this film is the directing. I think that a better, more seasoned director would have made this movie what it was struggling to be. It was a first time director. Still, one of my top 5 films of the year.

The Informant!-Why? Who wold have thought corporate price fixing could be funny and entertaining? I sure didn't. This movie was hilarious in both the classic sense and the dark sense. Matt Damon put in a job of a lifetime. He made this movie what it was. The supporting cast was great, too.

Zombieland-Why? Where to start on this movie is the hard part. This movie was absolutely hilarious. It was about killing zombies and finding Twinkies. Somehow, that was funny for 90 minutes. I loved the directing and art direction of this film. Woody Harrelson was great, as was the cameo. A sequel will probably happen, and I will not wait so long to see it. As far as entertaining, this movie might be the best of the year in that department.

Up in the Air-Why? It has nothing to do with it being filmed here in St. Louis. It is just a good movie. Period. I think it pales in comparison to the director's last two great films, Juno and Thank You For Smoking, yet, this one hits home. Sadly, I think that is why all the critics are loving it. It is about corporate downsizing in a bad economy. It seems that the art imitating life aspect will help in the award season. I enjoyed it a lot, but I do not think it is the "best" film I have seen all year.

Avatar-Why? Two words: James Cameron. It has been 12 years since Titanic set all the box office records. It has also been 12 years since Mr. Cameron has given us a movie to enjoy. This movie does not disappoint visually. It was worth all the hype. The story has been told before. The script left something to be desired. The acting did what they could with the material presented to them. The movie as a whole is not just a movie, it is an event. I paid $12.50 to see it last night at 7:00pm at a digital projection 3D presentation. My only regret about that, it wasn't offered in IMAX. Totally a breathtaking film as far as the visuals go. I do not know how you can conceive such an idea. It was amazing! At 162 minutes, I was never bored.

So there you have it. I have yet to see Inglorious Basterds and Precious. Those are the two I think might need to join this list.