To my detriment, I have been privy to seeing the following films, and I must say most were just plain awful. “The Human Centipede (first segment)” rates better than this list of celluloid trash that has been accumulated here. A lot of wasted talent, money, and time went into these horrible pieces of garbage. You may or may not agree, but I would never sit through any of these features a second time, even on an intercontinental flight.
1.) Shutter Island – Leonardo Di Caprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Max Von Sydow, Jackie Earle Haley, and directed by Martin Scorsese, how can you miss? It did, and miserably. From the trailers, which tell too much these days, it was predictable that Leo’s character was the crazy inmate who had escaped the dreaded Shutter Island Sanitarium. Guess what? The prediction and trailer were accurate, and it took forever to get to the conclusion. Boring!
2.) The Lovely Bones – Based on a novel by Alice Sebold, “The Lovely Bones” tells a story of a girl who is abducted, raped, and murdered. She then watches her family, and killer from heaven. Starring Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Susan Sarandon, and Stanley Tucci, this film could have been a hit, especially with Peter Jackson as the director. But for some odd reason, frolicking in heaven and seeing beautiful and majestic images took the place of the story, which was uninteresting. In the end, the accidental death of the serial killer left one to say, “Who cares?” The audience should have reacted with, “How ironic and satisfying!” Either way, it was a huge disappointment.
3.) The Wolfman – Why? This film plagued Universal worse than the Lycanthrope curse that drove the storyline. For what was created here, the old adage applies, “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” Benicio Del Toro, and Anthony Hopkins couldn’t save this story that lacked suspense. Something that made the original a classic. Finally, remaking a film with a shorter running and padding it to last longer than it should made not only a mess, but also a box-office bomb.
4.) Nightmare on Elm Street (reboot) – Fresh off of “Watchmen” and “Shutter Island,” Jackie Earle Haley couldn’t save this retelling of the infamous dream boogie man Freddy Kruger. A good actor in his own right, he was too short and thin for the part. The make-up was a bit too realistic, and since the film was a remake, it left little to be re-imagined. The question is, “How many years should Hollywood wait before they remake a horror film?” (Clue: Check out “The Wolfman”)
5.) Alice in Wonderland – I cannot express, and I know I will be shot for writing this, but I believe Lewis Carroll’s The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland, and Alice Through the Looking Glass are boring. To this day, I have never found a reason for these stories to be made into film. There are a few quotable lines, but overall they are dark, dismal, and tedious. This feature is a continuation of these famous literary masterpieces. Tim Burton’s re-imagining follows suit. Even though this film broke a billion at the box-office, I found it difficult to watch. Alice has a mission. She must stop the Red Queen’s evil reign. Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, and Anne Hathaway turned in terrific performances, but Crispin Glover was over the top with his portrayal as Stayne – Knave of Hearts. The special effects and the scenic beauty of Wonderland were creative, but they could not keep my eyes open for two viewings. (I contradicted myself.) I really tried. However, I may have found the magic bullet and cure for insomnia.
6.) Jonah Hex – Jonah has acquired the power to bring back the dead, but he couldn’t raise the body count at the box office, even with a sexy Megan Fox by his side. This film was a cross between “Wild, Wild West” and “The Outlaw Josie Wales.” Unfortunately, the film used a limited animation sequence at the beginning of the film to explain Jonah’s origin. This was far more interesting than the rest of the film and maybe the producers should have focused in on that instead of trying to prevent the launch and detonation of the world’s most powerful weapon on Washington, D.C. Jonah Hex had special effects behind it but no substance. The story jumped around worse than a bucking bronco, and travel from one part of the country to the other was accomplished in a day or in a matter of hours. There was absolutely no sense of time.
7.) The A-Team – This film was so predictable, that all the plot points could be spotted by a military Predator plane, while still sitting on the tarmac. The bad guy could be seen coming and blowing up from the beginning, only to return to taunt our heroes at the end. The smuggled handcuff key passed with a kiss, and the falling tank are just added incentives not to see this movie, which follows a trend in Hollywood to take old television shows and adapt them to the big screen. This was certainly among the failures. Stephen J. Cannell R.I.P.
8.) The Expendables – Sylvester Stallone tries to peck at the keys of his typewriter to create a story about a bunch of over-the-hill muscle heads. They are mercenaries with no other use, which makes them, “Expendable.” (Cue stinger music here!) This film was as cuddly and appealing as a porcupine. Was talent wasted on this endeavor? Yes, Mickey Rourke, and Eric Roberts were the two-standout actors that deserved better than this. How many countries and dictators has Stallone declared war on? I’m sure it could be counted, but now the testosterone powered crew he has assembled does it for money. A better plot for this film would be, a bunch of over-the-hill muscle heads go to a finishing school to learn acting after their careers stall. I think this may be the same plot. Anyways, the public is getting a sequel, whether they like it or not. Go GHB!
9.) Machete – A parody trailer that fronted the 2007 grindhouse film, “Planet Terror” takes itself seriously in this film. “Machete” is a superhero for the Mexican cause, which starred Danny Trejo, as a gun for hire, ex-Mexican Federale. He is double-crossed by some shady characters that want to assassinate a U.S. Senator. Machete vows revenge, and with the help of some of his compadres, he gets it. “Machete” was highly controversial because it made fun of America’s anti-immigrant hysteria. It also had the help of the November elections and Arizona’s proposition 1070 anti-immigration law to add to the contention. Director and writer Robert Rodriguez should be ashamed of himself for feeding off his audience in this manner. Nonetheless, the film made money and it is poised for two more installments.
10.) Faster – Duane “The Rock” Johnson’s fans have been waiting a long time to see him in an R-rated action film. Here is the story. After 10 years in prison for bank robbery, Driver (Dwayne Johnson) has a somewhat singular focus to avenge the murder of his brother. Apparently, after the heist, another crew of crooks double-crossed the gang and took their loot. The initial crew suffered tragedy when Driver’s brother had his throat slit, while Driver himself suffers a near fatal shot to the back of his head. So, after his decade long stint, Driver is a free man who heads out to kill the people responsible. This film follows Driver while he tracks his quarry, only to end up with a ridiculous finale between Driver and Killer reminiscent of an automobile jousting tournament. Driver speeds away with the police hot on his trail in a car that is nearly totaled. In the end, all the characters get their just rewards, and yes, there is room left for an unnecessary, disjointed sequel.
Audiences can only hope that 2011 will bring a better crop of films, but that is highly dubious. Between superheroes, Transformers, and Cowboys and Aliens, it will be difficult to find the true gems, but they will exist. Taking time to sort through the detritus will be the real job. See you at the cinema!