July 3, 2013

2013, the First Half: Least Favorites

Where does the time go? Seriously, it seems like just yesterday we were at the dawn of the year with all those potentially awesome movies lay out before us, begging for our attention. Now, 2013 has reached middle age. It is time to take a quick look back at my least favorite movies so far of the year. I have tried to avoid movies I know I won't like, easy targets like Scary Movie 5 and A Haunted House. Still. I do end up seeing movies that are almost destined to appear on lists like these. Without further adieu, let's count down my least favorites from 10 on down to one.

10. The Call. This movie didn't really start off too bad, but quickly degenerated into a mash of thriller and horror before arriving at an unsatisfying conclusion. I thought the portrayal of the 911 call center was interesting and I see the attractiveness of centering a thriller on it. I just think that the elements they use are too generic and did no demonstrate any real creativity. I was also uncomfortable with the handling of the underage victim played by Abigail Breslin, and not dramatically uncomfortable, more just am awkwardness that could have easily been avoided. This was underdeveloped ad ultimately set up to fail.

9. Olympus has Fallen. Die Hard in the White House. This movie replaces character develop,em with a faux sense of patriotism. It is a movie that is not about subtlety, it is all about a red blooded American man beating up on terrorists. It feels all robotic and scripted rather than spontaneous. The movie does have blood and bad language in its favor, but it is no replacement for actual character and plot. The audience I was in seemed to love it, I just did not see it.

8. Escape from Planet Earth. This is a flat, uninspired, yet colorful babysitter. Nothing special or memorable or anything. As I sit here trying to type a little about it, I am having a hard time remembering any of the details and I never did write about it. I have learned that it was in development hell for six years and had more ham a dozen rewrites forced on it by the Weinstein Company. Nothing helped and more than likely made it worse. I'm a year of lackluster animated fare, this ranks pretty low.

7. Beautiful Creatures. Here is another movie trying to fill the young teen romance hole left by Twilight. It tanked at the box office, so it is just another has been and rightly so. This is not a good movie, and I am pretty sure there is a scene that implies statutory rape. It is a story of a witch finding love with an outcast longing to escape their deep southern town. It is over the top, half baked, and not memorable at all. It replaced actually intelligent writing with repeated references o Vonnegut and Bukowski. They only wish...

6. Trance. This Danny Boyle film is an aggravating disappointment. It is built around the theft of a valuable piece of artwork. But something happens that causes the man who hid it to forget what he did with it. They hook up with a hypnotist to try and find the truth. The plot is a convoluted mess that seems to revel on pulling the rug out from user you. It keeps changing the story and whats important. Some may like this, but I found it annoying and poorly constructed.

5. Dark Skies. Here is a movie that never finds a voice of its own, instead it begs, borrows and steals for other films and never gives itself time to develop much of anything. It plays like a mash of Insidious, Poltergeist, and Fire in the Sky. It brings up points but them never follows through, they are left hanging without context. Pass.

4. The East. While it is advertised as a subversive statement on corporate guilt and ecoterrorism, the movie is revealed to be more Donnie Brasco than The Promised Land (not necessarily a bad thing). It is much more meandering and typical even as it tries so hard to be something more. I was bored by its meandering and the scenes that are there for convenience to plot movement than for anything else. If only they paid off on what the trailer was advertising.

3. After Earth. Watching After Earth is much like watching someone else play a video game. And you know just as well as I do that watching someone play a game is not very fun. Essentially, this movie takes the idea of cinema as a passive activity to the edge of the cliff and just keeps on going onto the abyss. It is true that movies are essentially a passive activity, but they don't have to be, the good ones engage the viewer and involve the imagination, this one takes a standard survival tale and mixes it up with the side scrolling action game. Boring, uninspired.

2. The Host. I knew I shouldn't have bothered with this. I had been hoping that Andrew Niccol would work some magic and make this interesting. No such luck. It is a lame teen romance in the guise of a science fiction, alien invasion. The problem is that nothing was given context, nothing interesting was offered. I can excuse a nonsensical setup of it does something else interesting, like The Purge. This was just annoying all the way around, from the whiny characters, to the invasion that has no logic, to the constant voice overs. Ugh. Now I want to punch something....

1. Movie 43. There are very few movies that I want to walk out on. Movie 43 is a movie I wanted to walk out on. It is one of those moves that I actively disliked. It is filled with big name stars doing things that are just not funny. First movie to get a 0 rating for, me. There is nothing else you need to know.

That about wraps it up for the least liked so far. Fortunately, you have the nest of the fest alf to look forward to... Or not, many tend to not agree with me.

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