Thursday, December 19, 2013


It was a very good year for movies – lots to rave about, lots to recommend and even some that, if rented or caught on cable by accident, wouldn’t do too much bodily harm.  There were others, however, that stunk up the Cineplex something fierce.
Not only would it be impossible to go a full year without any stinkers, it would be no fun to not have a few – say 10 in particular – to make fun of…
Join me, won’t you, as I poke sticks at the barely breathing carcasses of the worst ten movies of 2013:
Disney takes to the skies with this well-meaning, highly marketable and yet meandering and unmemorable mess of a movie that favors the selling of back-to-school backpacks in lieu of character development, story structure and talented voice work. There’s no hiding the fact that this rudderless and lazily fashioned vessel was originally intended for straight-to-DVD consumption – it’s a carbon copy of Pixar’s CARS without the wit, heart and humor (and even CARS was running low on that gauge).
A goofily patriotic and excessively violent political thriller that’s more aptly titled CLEAR AND PRESENT DIE ZERO DARK OLYMPUS FALLEN DANGER HARD THIRTY– because of its liberal lifting of ideas from far better films if its ilk. It’s a bloody cinematic tour of the White House that’s off-balanced, underwhelming, shallow, tactless, suspenseless and as graceful as a sledgehammer to the skull. Blatantly ripping at least a dozen beats directly from the original DIE HARD, it’ll easily scratch any no-brain-needed action itch you may possess – but if you’re looking for anything beyond goofily thunderous gunplay, you best lower your expectations on this derivatively over-the-top flick.
A wannabe PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN-goes-western, franchise kick-starter that almost exclusively fires blanks... An exhaustingly unbalanced, indulgently desolate, hyper-violent and shockingly dull, 149 minute exercise on how to stop a blockbuster dead in its own tracks. Its also, most certainly, not a film for the eyes of young children (even with the Disney logo prominently displayed above the title). Scene to scene, the tone swings wildly from serious, to lighthearted, to screwball, to boring, to downright tedious.  Hi Ho Silver?!  More like Hi Ho Pewter…
7. R.I.P.D.
This supernatural, beyond-the-grave, buddy cop, action comedy is nothing more than a mind numbingly blatant rip-off of MEN IN BLACK and GHOSTBUSTERS that spastically plays out like an overblown, under-written explosively uninteresting mess. The poster says RIPD stands for REST IN PEACE DEPARTMENT – but in an effort to better serve you the moviegoer, you’re better off remembering RENT IT PLEASE if you DARE.

A snail-paced, convoluted and contrived wannabe-political potboiler.  You can try, like me, to assemble the puzzle– but with so many missing pieces – so little intrigue – you’ll ultimately end up wondering what enticed this A-list of actors to go slumming in January fodder. It’s dull, clichéd and teems with a slew of unresolved plotlines, unimaginative dialogue and uninteresting characters. BROKEN CITY is unfortunately beyond repair.

Radically departing from the blacked-out, detective-like formula that made PART I a hilarious smash hit and PART II a déjà vu induced dud – this final page to the Wolf Pack Saga sidesteps wit, creativity and original sense of fun by delivering a virtually soulless final chapter.  The unjust focus here is mostly on action and doing little in the way of pleasing fans as the fresh bloom of pure comedy has faded from this once schizophrenically vibrant, cinematic flower. It’s an underachieving, underdeveloped and underwhelming send-off. A little darker than two, not nearly as funny as one – it’s high time we all popped some Advil® in the hopes these last couple of HANGOVERS might just go away…

PLANES TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES meets MIDNIGHT RUN minus the wit, heart, brains, fun, action, laughter…and, again, fun.  Lame gags, unnecessarily convoluted storytelling, far-fetched predicaments and an asinine premise do not serve the considerable talents of the movies two leads at all.  Bateman and McCarthy are both much better than this cinematic slop.  It somehow simultaneously tries too hard and not hard enough to entertain.  The real THEIF here is the movie itself as it steals 111 minutes right from under your feet…

Watch this and you’ll be the wrong guy/gal in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Detective John McClane is an over-the-hill, underused underdog in an uninteresting, uninspired and underwhelmingly generic, live-action cartoon. It’s actually quite evident that this new, hack-happy, bargain basement director consumed far too many Road Runner cartoons and very little in the way of actual DIE HARD movies while growing his ‘craft’. ‘It starred Bruce Willis’, ‘there was action’ and ‘the words ‘Die’ and ‘Hard’ are in the title’ are the only three forms of faint praise I can muster if ever I were to discouragingly recommend this to anyone… It lacks almost every last ounce of heart, spirit, wit and soul of its far superior predecessors and numbs the mind as well as the butt. Packed with ridiculous action and little else, today would actually be a GREAT day for all future installments of this series to indeed DIE HARD.

nder director M. Night Shymalan’s once-there-but-now-completely-diminished expert guidance, Will and Jaden Smith attempt to get jiggy wit’ a dull, meandering and gutless sci-fi outing that generically moves at the speed of molasses. With nothing to offer in the way of intrigue, creativity and/or soul, this nepotistically hollow right-of-passage flick singlehandedly hobbles the genre and brought the summer movie-going season to a screeching halt. The acting is wooden, the story is forced and the entire sci-fi premise is grounded.  It’s a cold, thin and lifelessly insignificant bore from start to finish. The forced boy-becomes-a-man journey within may be littered with overly computer generated baboons, cougars and killer slugs(!?), but the real threat lies in the probability of falling asleep and hitting your head on the coffee table in front of your couch.  

Like wearing a metal soup pot on your head, banging it with a wooden spoon, having someone toss firecrackers at you every seven seconds and M80’s every twelve -that’s probably the most apt description of what it feels like to endure this loud, listless, pointless and plotless flick. It’s nothing more than an overblown, underwhelming, derivatively extended car chase that teams Hawke’s wide-eyed, I-have-no-idea-what-to-do-next bore with Gomez’s yammering, too-smart-to-be-taken-seriously, obnoxiously know-it-all teen – this flick is a disposable, misdirected, unimaginative, incoherent, unfocused pile up of twisted metal and wasted minutes. DRIVE, GO, TAKEN, RUSH and SPEED are all similar, spoken-for titles that would have made more sense for the directives of this movie – GETAWAY only works in that it openly warns you what to do when you have an opportunity to watch it. The 90-minutes you take to watch this irrelevantly numbing piece of cinema will go by FAST, but you’ll still be FURIOUS that you spent your hard earned time and money to do so...

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