Monday, January 6, 2014

Eimer's Worst Movie Experiences of 2013

Throughout any given year, I read a lot about upcoming movies. It's almost like I'm studying for a test that I will never take.

When it comes to film, I know the good, the bad and the ugly before the celluloid (are they even using celluloid anymore) hits the theaters. Which is why, nine times out of ten, I usually like the majority of movies that I view. And, thanks to movie blogs, Rotten Tomatoes and the like, I tend to stay away from most of the crud that comes out of Hollywood. Granted, once in a while, I may miss a gem hidden under the poop, but not often.

But, just like the sands through the hour glass, year after year some stinky turds always seem to get through the Eimer film funnel. Which brings us to this list, which definitely does not make up the worst movies released last year (I still haven’t seen Grown Ups 2, Smurfs 2 or The Lone Ranger, but I want too!). These are simply the worst movie experiences that I personally witnessed last year.

So, take them with a grain of salt. But, please avoid them nonetheless. And, if you happened to see them this past year, I feel sorry for you.

Chan-wook Park's first 'English speaking' movie is cinematically dazzling ... yet narratively dull. If you're judging a film by cinematography and art direction, this film is phenomenal, tons of thought-provoking, innovative shots that made my jaw drop. Basically, that's what I stayed around for. As far as plot, this movie was very predictable and, sadly, not that interesting at all. It's a pity because I was really looking forward to seeing this film after hearing great things from critics. Perhaps, said critics where a bit blinded by Parks' previous outings including the Vengeance trilogy of OLDBOY, SYMPATHY FOR MR. VENGEANCE and SYMPATHY FOR LADY VENGEANCE, which are highly recommended by the way.

When I saw Soderbergh was on board for this movie and I had read a tiny bit about the movie, I was expecting an engrossing, thought-provoking movie about anti-depressants and over medication of America, sort of like his other great works including TRAFFIC, CONTAGION and ERIN BROCKOVICH. However, this movie took a sad turn for the worse and veered into the absurd and disappointing; something stupid that reminded me of a far better movie (with a somewhat different plot) ... Richard Gere's PRIMAL FEAR (1996). Although this film was expertly shot, directed and acted, I was a bit disappointed and felt a little misled in the end. However, that's just me.

There were a couple of big flaws with this film. First, Director Stern was forced to cram all of his big achievements (and failures) into 110 minutes. Second, the only preparation Ashton Kutcher did for the part was master Job’s odd walk, which mimics a weird pigeon-toed prance. Third, after reading the book last year, I’m convinced that a 2-3 hour film version probably isn’t the way to go to highlight this man's life. Perhaps a 10-part miniseries in 1-hour increments could work (i.e. Band of Brothers) on HBO? I think there would have been more opportunity to 'air' out his life story a bit more. Truth be told, this film didn't really move me too much, say as LINCOLN or BEHIND THE CANDLEABRA or [insert another cool docudrama here]. It was just meh. Maybe, after it's all said and done, it's simply too early to make a movie so soon after his death. Acting was adequate, but nothing noteworthy save Josh Gad as Woz, which just felt weird as well.

Ugh. Not sure where to begin. The convoluted plot, which is a bit like T2: JUDGMENT DAY, but not as good. The ‘zany’ (i.e. stupid) twist in the middle. Or the fact that, basically, Iron Man is a robot in this movie. It's The Iron Giant. Tony Stark doesn’t even need to be in the uniform anymore, which is just stupid. Let me reiterate, Iron Man is not a real person anymore - it's a freaking robot. Speaking of Tony Stark, he’s turned into a mix between DIE HARD'S John McClane, Nightmare on Elm Street’s Freddy Krueger and Pierce Brosnan’s JAMES BOND, with his, bland rimshot one liners before he does something fantastic. Blech. If this is what the next generation of movies are turning into - superheor rehashes, remakes, CGI overload and leftover ideas – then the future of film is going to suck balls and I’m out. Even the Mandarin. The Freaking Mandarin as a craptastic villain? When it comes to digging up villains for Marvel superheros to fight, we've reached the bottom of the barrel people. C’mon Hollywood! C’mon Marvel! Superhero movies have officially jumped the shark. Meh, I guess we'll see how the new X-men film is.

Great special effects and make-up, but dang if I haven't seen this movie again and again and again. They should have written an original horror story and let the chips fall where they may, because this retread stuff is getting old. How many times are we going to see TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, HALLOWEEN, FRIDAY THE 13TH, NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, and this movie over and over again before I die. Five more times? Six more times? This movie was already made, people! And it was freaking awesome. Which is why I can't give it more than two stars. At least the rehash of FRIGHT NIGHT tried to serve up some original material.

Look before you start to get nippy and say ‘What? This movie was awesome’. I’ll agree the special effects were great. And that English chap by the name of Cumberbatch? He was okay. I loved him as Smaug a bit more. But that’s about it. And this movie serves as the perfect example as to why I think Abrams is a flawed moviemaker. He yearns for those Speilberg moments and tender touches, but he just doesn’t know how to create them or write them or pull them from his actors (ahem, Super 8, anyone?). Instead he hides the lack of a storyteller’s soul with whiz-bang special effects. Quick! Tell me the plot of the first Star Trek? How about Mission Impossible 3? I can't remember. That’s why all of his movies are ‘just okay’. They’re forgettable. Sure, they’re great when you’re in the theater, but you don’t think about them at all after you leave, which is a bummer. Like I stated in my intro paragraph above, there were a lot of worse movies out there. But to make an ‘important’ film like this that’s forgettable after one viewing is a major crime in my book. Which is why I’m treading lightly in my anticipation for the new Star Wars movies. Where is Spielberg when you need him? Oh yeah, he’s out making kick-ass meaningful movies.

Oh my god, this film was a mess. You have a great cast, with a somewhat okay idea, but it gets lost in the 109 minutes from start to finish. I'm not getting the whole seven psychopaths idea either. Just a terrible, slow, boring movie. And you would expect much more from that title, right? Wrong. Very disappointed because I heard rave reviews and was pretty excited to watch this. Almost two hours of my life I'll never get back.

Sorry Guillermo and Director Muschietti, this was a paint-by-numbers ghost flick. It's a pity too, especially after watching the behind the scenes MAMA sfx work as well as the short film that inspired the movie. And what's with the end? I'm all for a big Shamalayan ending, but the twist these guys put into the end totally takes away from the entire plot. Wait a minute, was there a plot. I'm not so sure. Great idea, but it just falls flat in the end. I was expecting so much more after viewing the trailers, and seeing the actors involved and the producers who ponied up their money and expertise.

Like all of Malick's films. the cinematography is top notch. There are many breathtaking scenes that make me wish I saw this in the theater. But that's about it. This film almost seems like an extension of TREE OF LIFE, but much more ambiguous and - dare I say - boring. Look, I get what Malick is trying to do. But I'm not a fan of this new turn he's taking with odd silent voiceovers. True, you do not need dialogue for everything, but you do need some dialogue to tell a freaking story. Just a little bit more than you offered up Mr. Malick. And stop with the whispering. I'm sorry that I didn't really like this movie. I was extremely excited to see it after reading about Roger Ebert's final posthumous review about this movie in which he gave it very high marks. Let's hope Malick returns to his 'older' form in his next couple movies. But, I’m not holding my breath. Fool me once with TREE OF LIFE, shame on you. Fool me twice with TO THE WONDER, shame on me.

I'm officially done with this series. Just a crappy movie from start to finish. And they went back to the satanic/cult territory! Even though the third mish-mash cult attempt was terrible. Don't waste your time on this crap. Loved the first. Managed the second. Hated the last two installments. I will never watch another one of these PA movies again. I hate myself for getting sucked into this dreck. I hear the new one is supposed to be pretty good, but I'll never know, because I'm not going to fucking watch it.

I thought this movie was simply terrible. Acting. Direction. Overall plot. And screenplay. What an utter disappointment and waste of time. Look, there's a tiny twist of an ending at the end. But by that time, you're so angry that you ponied up the cash for this movie that you don't even care. It's nice to see Elisabeth Shue working again, but it's not worth the rental. I just can't believe movies like this are getting green-lit by Hollywood. Terrible. Terrible. Terrible. Dumb.

If you're judging a movie purely based on cinematography, then hands down this is a great film. Everything else like acting and a script? Not so much. Slow, plodding storyline about a happy couple who transform into an unhappy couple based on an act of...what?...cowardice? Mmmm...I'm not so sure. The two hikers played by Hani and Gael act like two seven-year old kids throughout the film. Their love for one another is somewhat annoying. But when they get into a 'disagreement' or 'fight' over said incident, it's just downright dreadful to watch. It's almost like Director Julia Loktev is trying to put on her Terrence Malick hat, with terrible results. Again, loved the cinematography as well as ambient sound, but I could not in my right mind recommend this movie to anyone - except cinematography and photography lovers.


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