Sunday, December 23, 2012

"Unclean! Unclean!" The 10 Worst Films of 2012 (OR: A Bad Year for the Color Red)

Complete with links to (and quotes from) my reviews:

10. A Thousand Words

“All those years of acting opposite animals and CGI effects for the kiddies appear to have taken their toll on [Eddie Murphy]: He hams it up to such an unnatural degree that he scrubs every moment clean of wit or charm. He’s trying so hard to make us laugh that we feel almost afraid to.”

9. Red Tails

“How exactly do you screw up a movie about the Tuskegee Airmen?”

8. Red Dawn

“This Red Dawn isn’t so political as it is just nakedly corporate. At heart, it might as well be another alien invasion picture, only this time the CGI aliens have been replaced by Asian people.”

7. Big Miracle

“At various points it tries on the guise of media satire, love story, inspiring rescue tale, culture clash, and paean to the environment, but keeps settling for pre-digested half measures. By the time Sarah Palin shows up at the end (don’t ask), we don’t even blink; it just feels like one last ‘screw you’ to the audience.”

6. The Paperboy

“A deranged hodgepodge of tones and acting styles and strange mannerisms and affectations and narrative dead ends that feels like it was assembled by a committee of bipolar extraterrestrials.”

5. Gone

“It’s always tough to spend most of a movie wondering whether the characters are morons and/or lunatics; even if it eventually turns out they’re not, the sheer suspicion is enough to poison the experience.”

4. Good Deeds

“A lot of critics (myself included) aren’t too keen on Perry’s brand of evangelizing comedy-melodrama — with its wild and sudden tonal shifts, its broad comic gags, its simple-minded psychologizing and even simpler-minded attempts at communal catharsis, all of it living uncomfortably crammed together in one visually undistinguished cinematic package. But it is, for better and for worse, his thing — the stylistic and artistic realm in which he operates and where he clearly feels most comfortable (and where he’s made boatloads of money). Watching the impossibly dry and somnambulant Good Deeds, you actually miss that crazy side of Perry. It’s sort of ironic: Here’s a film about a guy who’s being false to his true self, and you realize the director might be doing the same.”

3. One for the Money

“Mixing genres, the movie is supposed to be romantic, funny, and suspenseful, but the only tension generated comes from the awkwardness of watching actors who clearly don’t want to be anywhere near each other. Some films fall apart because the actors seem to be having too much fun. This is one that falls apart because everybody on screen seems to be dying inside, and we can smell it.”

2. Red Lights

“Come back, M. Night Shyamalan, all is forgiven.”

1. What to Expect When You’re Expecting

“The five couples on display here seem less like an attempt to create variety and more an excuse to avoid developing any one character’s predicament; to focus on one couple might have actually required some narrative ingenuity and drive.”

Honorable Mention (aka, I Know It’s Not One of the Worst Films of the Year, But Boy, You Sure Could’ve Fooled Me While I Was Watching It):

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey 

“It was always going to be a challenge to reconcile the tonally more effervescent story of The Hobbit with the dark sprawl of the Rings epic. Sure enough, this lighter, less substantial story cannot support the monumental bombast Jackson brings to it. As a result, you're tired before the first film even gets to its halfway point.”

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