"As punishment for making this fucking awful movie, Friedberg and Seltzer must have their heads torn off."
After rendering audiences momentarily brain-dead and polluting multiplexes back in 2008 with the positively apocalyptic one-two punch of Meet the Spartans and Disaster Movie, I honestly thought and hoped those movies would be the end of the writer-director duo of Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer. Unfortunately, Hollywood is always on the hunt for a fast buck, and thus the go-to spoof movie hacks have made their return with the unreasonably woeful Vampires Suck. This time, the sights were set on the easiest target imaginable: the Twilight saga. The material here is played far more broadly than in the actual Twilight films, but is somehow even worse than the Stephanie Meyer adaptations - and even less funny. Once again, Friedberg and Seltzer relied on jokes which relate to people getting kicked, punched, smacked in the face and beaten up, and such "humour" is unable to compete with the painfully sincere cornball dialogue found in the real Twilight flicks.
My Soul to Take is an utterly bewildering film to experience. And the fact that horror maestro Wes Craven both wrote and directed this hogwash makes it even more head-scratching. Craven must have been pulling some type of elaborate hoax by making this seriously awful film - he's so far above the material that he must be joking, or at least committing an act of cinematic trolling. The premise - a half-hearted mixture of Scream and Nightmare on Elm Street - is ridiculously abstract, and was brought to life with stilted dialogue and awful screenwriting. It's a bit of a difficult task to tell you exactly why the script is so bad, because recognising the flaws requires one to actually understand everything that's happening in the story. Frankly, I can't make heads or tails of it - and I doubt that any of the actors or even Craven himself would be able to explain it.
"I am the condor. The Keeper of the Souls. I eat death for breakfast. I live in a house of blood and I accept that. That's all a man can do. I was ready to be arrested that night. I wasn't ready for what happened instead."
This guy tried to be an action hero in the vein of Sly and Arnie? Jesus...
Remember Judd Apatow's 2009 project, Funny People? While a lousy and flat film, it at one stage cleverly poked fun at actors who have long renounced their dignity for the sake of a paycheck. Tooth Fairy is exactly the type of noxious family entertainment parodied in Apatow's flick. It mixes a few recognisable faces with a nauseating amount of schmaltz, a one-joke premise, and pedestrian filmmaking, resulting in an excruciating flick which is so unbelievably cheesy that one could mistake it for a cheese emporium. Added to this, its target audience appears to be strangely specific - those in the first grade. Second graders are far too old for this tosh, and would easily see through the shitty script. Anyone younger is just too young, as the intricacies of fairy politics would be too complex for their little minds. First graders will enjoy this, however. I just hope they keep it away from the rest of us.
The stars just had to keep thinking about the paycheck, though depression continually sunk in...
The Back-up Plan is so unbelievably slapdash that it feels like something developed for television. This TV pedigree is further solidified by the "talent" involved in the film's creation. Director Alan Poul's CV is comprised of small screen stuff, and The Back-up Plan denotes his big-screen debut. All of screenwriter Kate Angelo's previous credits are for television as well, while nearly all of the actors here are TV veterans. Completely lacking so much as a modicum of engaging personality, The Back-up Plan is a bland, excruciating romantic comedy for which the filmmakers attempted to subvert the genre with a unique premise. In this sense it's semi-clever, but all the potential was wasted on a dull, utterly laugh-less motion picture.
Little did Brendan realise that the animals were actually getting revenge for featuring in this abysmal movie...
The premise behind 2010's Furry Vengeance - a live-action cartoon featuring woodland mammals - is tolerable. However, the film is rendered insufferable due to its soulless, mean-spirited, moronic script as well as the repetitive, obnoxiously unfunny slapstick comedy, and the ill-conceived attempts to inject this cinematic stool sample with an environmental message. Furry Vengeance is a film with no redeeming qualities at all - it's the opposite of art, the opposite of entertainment, and the opposite of funny. It's not so bad it's good, but so bad that it'll make you lament how far Hollywood - and mankind in general - has fallen. If you reach the end of Furry Vengeance without being reduced to a depressed soul who has lost the will to live, it's impossible for you to be a sentient being.
"Now where are the studio execs that fucked up this movie?!"
Jonah Hex was reportedly the victim of severe studio interference, and the hallmarks are all over the final product for everyone to see - the runtime is a scant 70 minutes, the editing is choppy, the violence is neutered, and the narrative is often incoherent. In fact, this picture is paper-thin, with the plot stripped to its barest essentials and with characters that are as shallow as a puddle in the desert. Indeed, it's doubtful that the theatrical cut is actually the vision that any of the makers had when the project first got underway. And if this does in fact represent the true vision of director Jimmy Hayward or the writers (Crank masterminds Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor), what the fuck were they thinking? Especially from a tonal standpoint, Jonah Hex is a huge goddamn mess - it's part spaghetti western, part supernatural tale, part black comedy, and part action film, yet it doesn't work as any of them. What a tragic waste of time and talent.
The bi-weekly meeting of the homosexuals were unnerved by the presence of a female.
In Eclipse, an antagonistic vampire with a grudge another vampire amasses an army of psychotic vampires to attack the good guys. Meanwhile, a bunch of werewolves team up with the good vampires to fight the evil ones, leading to a total all-out monster-on-monster war. So, why does Eclipse suck? Well, because it's a Twilight movie - the vampires are whiny, angsty, emo-ish brats, the werewolves are bland, buff pretty boys, the romantic leads share no chemistry, and by law it is forbidden for anything interesting to happen. After all, if the stories contained anything interesting, it would stand in the way of what the Twilight franchise is truly about: convincing young girls that true happiness can only be attained through co-dependent submission to emotionally domineering douchebags in the context of traditional marriage. If one eliminates all of the hokey mythology surrounding the vampires and werewolves of author Stephenie Meyer's world, all that's left is an ongoing, angst-ridden hormonal explosion.
Romance sells at the box office. Stephanie Meyer (the Twilight saga) knows this, Nicholas Sparks (The Notebook) knows it, and all of Hollywood knows it. 2010's Dear John is exactly the type of romantic tearjerker to be expected from an adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks novel, and it's awful. Look, I admit that this film was not made with me in mind - it's doubtful that the filmmakers told themselves "Let's make this film for a young bloke with a proclivity for hardcore action films". On the other hand, though, I'm not immune to the pleasures of a terrific romance - Titanic is among my favourites, and I'm one of the five people on the Earth who'll defend Meet Joe Black and Australia. But pulling off a successful romance requires a deft touch, and such skill eluded the filmmakers responsible for Dear John.
Even the giant synthetic teddy bear looks bored to be in this movie...
It is possible to amass a star-studded ensemble cast and pull off a great movie. Richard Curtis did it back in 2003 with Love Actually, for instance. Alas, 2010's Valentine's Day will most likely be remembered as one of the worst ensemble films in history. The strengths of Love Actually - telling interesting stories and generating appealing characters despite limited screen-time - are completely absent in the case of Valentine's Day, which feels more like a useless parade of famous faces than a motion picture. Essentially the Americanised version of Love Actually, Valentine's Day suffers from too many cooks in the kitchen, producing not a prime, hot chef's stew but a cold dish of mixed mash. Exceedingly mechanical and woefully uninspired, Valentine's Day does not contain a single truly romantic moment in its gruelling 120-minute runtime. After watching the movie, you won't be left with the sense that you enjoyed it...you'll be left feeling like you survived it.
Even the stars couldn't believe their eyes at the film's premiere...
Someone had better get in touch with Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson and Vin Diesel, because Jackie Chan is stealing their work!
2010's The Spy Next Door denotes the latest attempt by a hardcore action star to launch a new sub-career by performing in dumbed-down family films. Not unlike other fluff pieces starring tough guys, Chan's PG-rated flick is a by-the-numbers slog comprised of unfunny scenarios and merely passable action. Any way you cut it, The Spy Next Door is a fucking awful film. Whether you view it strictly as a critic or try to see it through the eyes of a little kid with no concern about the quality of cinema, this flick is a total dud. It's not funny, charming or particularly exciting, and it certainly is not well-made. Directed by Brian Levant (also responsible for Jingle All the Way, Are We There Yet? and Snow Dogs), this is a hackneyed, mindless waste of time and money.
Ah, isn't it obvious that these two had a terrific time together on this film?
It's beyond me as to what genre The Bounty Hunter falls into. Romantic comedy? Action comedy? Romance actioner? Romantic comedy actioner? Alas, no matter which of these genres applies to the film, it's a tremendous failure. The romance is stale, the action is more likely to induce sleep than elevate the pulse, and the comedy is flatter than a sheet of paper. At no stage is the film even able to reach the heights of mere mediocrity. There is absolutely no on-screen chemistry between Gerard Butler and Jennifer Aniston, and the movie is both hopelessly forgettable and awfully unappealing.
And this, children, is what happens when you cross-breed one of Maurice Sendak's Wild Things with an Arctic wolf.
Coming off back-to-back disappointments with Lady in the Water and The Happening, M. Night Shyamalan has fallen quite far since the day in 2002 when he was declared "The Next Spielberg" by Newsweek. 2010's The Last Airbender seemed like Shyamalan's one last chance to win back his fans and prove that he still has the ability to craft a great movie. Alas, it simply was not to be, as the film instead denotes the continuation of Shyamalan's downward spiral. Working for the first time on a project derived from pre-existing material, the filmmaker was at a total loss of how to revamp the Nickelodeon TV series Avatar: The Last Airbender into a free-standing live-action blockbuster that's suitable for general audiences (guess why the Avatar appendage was removed). The finished product is nothing short of an incomprehensible fiasco; a disjointed, painfully generic, utterly boring special effects extravaganza with awful acting, subpar editing, no heart, and no real purpose. If one replaced Shyamalan's name with "Alan Smithee" in the credits, The Last Airbender would just be another big-budget misfire. Yet, with Shyamalan at the helm, the film also seals the fate of a once-talented filmmaker.
It was hard to tell who should be shot first... The director, or the screenwriter.
One must admit, it takes serious guts to entitle a film The Losers, since lame jokes are just begging to be cracked. Already, the critics who panned this appalling motion picture have utilised the obvious "The losers are in fact the audience" in addition to the also obvious "What were you expecting? It's called The Losers". Added to this, another thing you can count on is the film's screenwriters referencing the title on several occasions. In the very first scene, the line "Hey, you losers!" is used, and from there the references keep on coming. Alas, these one-liners lack the zing you'd anticipate, while the action is unbelievably pedestrian and the film rapidly degenerates into the same type of PG-13 junk you'd expect Michael Bay or Brett Ratner to deliver (though the filmmakers did not even aim that high). The Losers (based on a series of comics) should have delivered over-the-top action and large explosions. Instead, The Losers is all about limits: limited budget, limited scope, limited effort and limited imagination. Even the movie's best moments are still abjectly disposable.
Similar "what the hell" expressions graced whoever attended the movie's premiere.
2010's Death at a Funeral is the American remake of the long-forgotten, years-old 2007 movie of the same name. That's correct - by the time this remake entered multiplexes, barely three years had elapsed since Frank Oz's British original hit cinemas and found cult success. The twist (if it can be called as such) is that this American version features a primarily African-American cast, who were given the almost exact same script as the 2007 picture to act out. However, one word springs to mind while describing this American version: why? Why remake a three-year-old British film (which was in English) and redo the exact same gags? It might work for those unfamiliar with the original, but even that is debatable.
Cop Out is indie filmmaker Kevin Smith's first attempt at working within Hollywood's big studio system. However, by all accounts, the studio granted Smith the requisite freedom to make Cop Out his way (like an independent film) as if it was all his own creation. Problem is, this movie is not all Smith's own creation - the script was penned by television writers Robb and Mark Cullen before Smith got involved, making Cop Out the first movie Kevin Smith has directed but not written. This results in a bland, mostly disastrous motion picture. Typical airplane food has more flavour.
Look up in the sky! Is it a bird? A plane? No, it's...Jabba the Hutt.
Experiencing 2010's Grown Ups is akin to watching somebody's awful home movies - the people onscreen clearly enjoyed themselves while the camera was rolling, but the sense of fun does not translate to an enjoyable viewing experience for everyone else. In fact, with the amalgamation of a non-existent storyline and the pedestrian directorial style of Dennis Dugan, Grown Ups feels less like a cohesive movie and more like an extraordinarily dull behind-the-scenes documentary about a bunch of stars awkwardly killing time between takes on another (and presumably better) movie. While it does not strike the abysmal depths of Sandler's worst movies (namely You Don't Mess With the Zohan), Grown Ups fails to provide anything worthwhile. Even Sandler's most die-hard followers will have a hard time managing more than a few guffaws during this interminable slog of a comedy.
"Oh Lord! Please see it in your heart to forgive us for starring in this travesty!"
Employing the same type of "found footage" gimmick made popular by The Blair Witch Project over a decade ago, The Last Exorcism aspired to do for exorcist movies what Paranormal Activity did for haunted house movies. The film's plot is unremarkable, but an effective, authentic-feeling found footage approach could've allowed The Last Exorcism to stand as an excellent genre pic and the first genuinely terrifying exorcism-related movie since The Exorcist back in 1973. Unfortunately, the finished product is a far cry from what it should have been. A common complaint of found footage movies is that they're boring, and The Last Exorcism is guilty of this cardinal sin to an unforgivable extent, with leaden direction and a constant feeling of artificiality.
"If you believe in God, you have to believe in the devil. Jesus himself was an exorcist. Therefore, if you are Christian and you believe in the bible, and you believe in Jesus Christ, you have to believe in demons. "
One, two, a Nightmare remake was overdue,
Three, four, but it's something to abhor,
Five, six, you should not mess with the classics,
Seven, eight, Michael Bay's movies are dead weight,
Nine, ten, don't watch horror remakes again.
Michael Bay's Platinum Dunes production company have so far produced remakes of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Amityville Horror, The Hitcher and Friday the 13th, so it was only a matter of time before they tackled A Nightmare on Elm Street. However, what should have been the best remake of the bunch (considering the legacy, characters, themes and ideas of the series) is instead a motion picture with no purpose, rhythm or heart. Music video director Samuel Bayer and the duo of screenwriters simply recreated a few famous scenes from the original Nightmare on Elm Street and positioned them in the midst of a barely-cohesive narrative surrounded by subpar acting, dull characters, uneven pacing, generic atmosphere, and a Freddy Krueger who looks more like a deformed space alien. Wes Craven's original film was a chilling, creative horror flick concerned with female empowerment, but this remake/reimagining is a standard slasher picture with tragically watered-down character nuance.
A natural reaction by all those who read the script...
In supernatural end-of-the-world films, it's typically the Devil who brings about an Armageddon, but in 2010's Legion it's God who chooses to destroy mankind. That's the plot of this apocalyptic thriller, which should've been an irresistibly daft blast of B-Grade fun, but is instead a deadly dull, poorly-paced, uninvolving, pedestrian hodgepodge of familiar genre ideas and downright appalling connect-the-dots screenwriting. Legion also serves as evidence that Dennis Quaid, who is a perfectly decent actor when working with the right material, is truly on a never-ending quest to feature in as many bad movies as possible. Who knew the end of the world could be such a bore...
Is it any wonder the actors had trouble looking at each other after starring in such a fiasco?
After 2009's surprise hit The Hangover, one would think that reuniting director Todd Phillips with the inimitable Zach Galifianakis would lead to another laugh-till-you-drop comedy. Add the tremendously talented Robert Downey Jr. to the equation, and Due Date's prospects would seem to be stratospheric - it'd have to be impossible for the film not to register as at least moderately amusing. But unfortunately, Due Date is proof that pedigree doesn't mean everything. Plus, due to its basic plot outline, it would be easy to compare Due Date to John Hughes' hilarious and heartbreaking 1987 feature Planes, Trains & Automobiles. Indeed, this could be considered a loose remake of Hughes' classic. But while Planes, Trains & Automobiles confidently stands tall as one of the greatest comedies of the '80s, Due Date comes off as a pale, uninspired rendition lacking in wit which will be easily forgotten in a few years' time.
It must not have been difficult to obtain the green light for 2010's Red. All the correct elements for a lively, successful action-comedy were in place - it's based on a graphic novel, and the cast is comprised of a number of excellent actors who are now in their autumnal years. The cast is by far the biggest selling point of the enterprise, but this half-hearted action-comedy merely proves that even Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, John Malkovich, Brian Cox, Karl Urban, Ernest Borgnine and Richard Dreyfuss cannot enliven an incredibly substandard screenplay and a boring storyline. Despite the cast, director Robert Schwentke (Flightplan) infused Red with an appalling sense of kinetic movement - the film alternates between stale, static dialogue scenes and hyper-stylised action set-pieces. With boredom perpetually setting in between the sprays of bullets, the film is forgettable and underwhelming.
A similar scene unfolded between fans of quality cinema and Paul W.S. Anderson when this film was first announced...
The notion of a fourth Resident Evil flick will almost certainly induce heart-scratching, especially considering that the preceding films in the series were panned by viewers and critics alike, and the franchise has been spluttering on life support for years. However, the first three Resident Evil flicks were successful from a commercial standpoint, which is all that matters in Hollywood. Thus, 2010's Resident Evil: Afterlife was produced in an attempt to recharge the franchise, with Paul W.S. Anderson returning to direct and with the movie being captured in 3-D to bring the blood-soaked zombie mayhem into your lap. It's a polished, slick effort for sure, but it's deathly dull and joyless. Worse, writer-director Anderson was so concerned with handling the technically advanced cameras (the same cameras used for Avatar, in fact) and servicing the 3-D format that he gave absolutely no thought to such essentials as story, character and suspense.
Clash of the Titans is the latest demonstration of Hollywood's erroneous belief that any appalling work of screenwriting can be made palatable if enough money, CGI and British accents are thrown at it. An update of the 1981 cult classic of the same name, the movie is a rowdy heroes & villains video-game-style extravaganza direly lacking in personality and character. On the one hand it's a marvellous visual experience featuring a handful of magnificent widescreen images, but on the other it's shallow, underwhelming, underdone, frustratingly cold at its core, and marred by a grim self-serious tone unsuitable for the material. In other words, there's lots of sound and fury, but it comes at the expense of...well, everything else.
Over recent decades, each of the classic big-screen monsters from the former half of the 20th Century have started receiving glossy, big-budget Hollywood resurrections. This trend was kicked off by Francis Ford Coppola in 1992 with Bram Stoker's Dracula, which was followed two years later by the Kenneth Branagh production Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. In the shadow of these two motion pictures arrived Stephen Sommers' reinvention of The Mummy in the form of an Indiana Jones-style blockbuster action-adventure. This brings us to 2010's The Wolfman; director Joe Johnston's long-delayed reimagining of the 1941 Lon Chaney movie. This retelling of the classic story could've either been a fun, blood-soaked creature feature or a restrained, effective thriller. Unfortunately, it's an uneasy, poorly-paced hodgepodge of these two categories with boring characters and stale dialogue.
Unfortunately, each year in movies is pervaded by those crappy titles that were either the result of money-grabbing studios wanting cash through the least amount of effort, or just the result of a filmmaker having an off day. Whatever the excuse, this cinematic climate is full of crap. And this is the crap we got during 2010...