Film Reviews

Here we are, up to the waist in the award’s season, but almost no one honors the truly terrible misfires. We’re not going after the obvious, just-barely-there flicks–like The Human Centipede, for instance–but the high profile, often star-driven vehicles like The Green Hornet, an unparalleled yick-fest.

To end on an upbeat, we then list and recommend several movies that deserve more attention than they received.

Atlas Shrugged (Part One)

Even Ayn Rand deserves a better version than this wreck of a movie, based on her once-popular extreme-capitalist novel about the survival of the fattest (as in cats), her peculiar take on social Darwinist economics. The film staggers from boardroom to boardroom, making little sense. The movie came to Honolulu, went, and sank without a trace.

Bad Teacher

Cameron Diaz, once the highest paid Hollywood female star, continues to destroy her career with bad choices. A steal from Bad Santa, this one details the life and career of a lousy, lazy, foul-mouthed middle school teacher, but it’s not nearly so much fun as that sounds. It’s careless and obvious. Hint: Look for the wet spot on Justin Timberlake’s jeans, the highlight of a disappointing movie.

Battle: Los Angeles

With the most hilarious-looking aliens in recent movie history, this badly stitched-together action dud doesn’t make sense of any kind, even on its own terms.

Don’t let anyone who likes this movie borrow your car.

Dream House

Perhaps the most embarrassing fiasco of all, this muddled, murky film, askew in structure, stars Daniel Craig and Naomi Watts in a “psychological thriller” about murder and mayhem. Or is it merely a bad dream?

The audience’s, I mean.

Cowboys and Aliens

Robert Downey, Jr. dropped out of, and was replaced by Daniel Craig (way miscast) in this this hybrid action film, mixing pulp sci-fi and the Western genres. It stumbles, it fumbles, and co-star Harrison Ford grumbles, looking angry and distracted. Even the head of the studio which made this thing called it a disaster.

The Green Hornet

With a slapdash script by star Seth Rogen, especially lousy dialogue and a nothing part for Cameron Diaz, this old-time comic book story looks as if it was made by unregenerate stoners, and that’s probably the way it was meant to be seen. I’ve seen traffic accidents that were funnier.

Just Go With It

Another pimple on the face of American cinema, courtesy of Adam Sandler (as a plastic surgeon) and Jennifer Aniston. It’s a sloppy re-make of the classic Ingrid Bergman farce Cactus Flower. Aniston needs to go back to tv, where she belongs.

The Immortals

The usually reliable Tarsem Singh misdirects a cheesy adventure film, with Stephen Dorf giving one of the worst performances imaginable. The special effects are anything but special.

Red Riding Hood

Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight) directed this misbegotten, wayward fantasy with a sexual subtext featuring a werewolf, a demon lover, and a village that shrinks and expands according to the demands of a ill-written script and some terrific miscasting. Poor Amanda Seyfried, she of the poached-egg eyes, “stars” and stops her career cold. Who green-lighted this mess?

Underappreciated Movies

Take Shelter, Cave of the Forgotten Dreams, Source Code, The Trip, Another Year.

Try see on Blu Ray or DVD.