As you may already know, I’m of the opinion that 2012 was a pretty strong year for films. But even in the best of years there is always a deluge of awful just waiting around the corner to ruin your good time.
Unless you want to actually watch a bad movie (and, let’s face it, sometimes it’s fun to watch bad movies), I strongly advise against watching any of the films below. And even if you are in the mood for a bad movie, I would still recommend never, ever seeing the film that quite literally stole the top spot on my list.
It was honestly so bad, I broke a few rules just to avoid having to write about it again and made my say here my final say on the movie overall. Previous lists never featured a built-in film review for any of the films that didn’t have one previously on The Viewer’s Commentary, but this film was a special kind of awful, and so I decided to treat it thus just for this occasion.
Which film could possibly be so bad to inspire such madness? Well you’ll have to read on to find out. … Or you could just scroll down and spoil the surprise, but… well, that would be kind a mean and hurt my feelings. I already compiled this list for you so that you could avoid them and have a good time, and all, and you’re just going to ignore all my hard work, aren’t you?… Read more…
This same section of my 2011 in Review had 17 films listed on what I, at the time, called “The Films I Liked.” 2012 being the first full year that I was blogging, I made a concerted effort to see as many films released in the year as I could afford. And, wouldn’t you know it? This list has 31 films on it — films that I realized I didn’t always entirely like, too, but were not necessarily worthy of being put on any kind of definitive “Worst of…” list that I could come up with. I could have been a pessimist and just put all the bad movies on the naughty list or something, but I’m feeling especially upbeat right now, and so I’ve decided to rename this list as a list of the films that were “Neither the Best, Nor the Worst Films I Saw.”
As the name would imply, these are a mix of films that range from bad to good, but never awful nor excellent. Some of these films are possibly even films that I may not even feel much of anything towards, so I just put them here because I saw them and they met the criteria for making this year in review — that is, they were released (at least widely) in 2012, and I saw them at some point before writing this, either theatrically or on DVD.
There is one exception I made for this list, and I will be making it again for another film in a future list, and that is for the film that is marked with an asterisk (that’s the little star symbol that looks like this: *). It featured previously on my 2012 IN REVIEW: Films I Didn’t See list, and yet I finally saw it now that it’s on video, and I felt that it was good enough to comment on here. I won’t be making that exception for every film I’ve since seen from 2012 since starting this year in review, but I’m making some exceptions and marking them as such.
Anyway, without further delay, here are the films that were neither great nor awful, the good films on down to the bland ones that I saw from 2012: Read more…
Produced by: David Foster, Lawrence Turman, Wilbur Stark, Stuart Cohen
Written by: Bill Lancaster (screenplay)
Cinematography by: Dean Cundey
Music by: Ennio Morricone, John Carpenter (uncredited)
Starring: Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, Keith David, Donald Moffat, Charles Hallah, Joel Polis, T.K. Carter, Richard Dysart, Donald Moffat, Thomas G. Waites, Richard Masur, Peter Maloney, David Clennon, Charles Hallahan
Based on the novella Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell
The Thing is one of those movies I dismissed as a kid as yet another stupid monster movie. Looking back, I know exactly where this prejudice came from. Apparently that was the general consensus upon release, too. The film opened up against E.T. and Blade Runner and subsequently lost a good chunk of change from movie going audiences who wanted to see aliens and sci-fi adventures on the big screen. A bunch of scientists in the Antarctic being attacked by an alien creature doesn’t exactly compare to the wonderment of a little boy befriending an alien visitor or a detective seeking out robot fugitives on paper, when you think about it, huh? Critically, it suffered similarly, with the film’s nihilism and grotesque special effects not exactly endearing The Thing to critics of the time. Much like me, perhaps, popular opinions did gradually turn around, and now the film is recognized for its better qualities, chief among them the very same nihilism and special effects that were so controversial for their times. Read more…
Produced by: Paul Brooks, Eric Newman, Thomas Bliss
Written by: James Gunn
Cinematography by: Gregory Middleton
Music by: Tyler Bates
Starring: Nathan Fillion, Elizabeth Banks, Gregg Henry, Michael Rooker, Tania Saulnier, Brenda James
Slither is an amusing horror comedy from James Gunn, the director of the indie superhero film Super andfuture director of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy adaptation (so expect him to be kind of a big thing soon). Featuring a familiar B-grade horror film vibe while elevating it to a higher, sleeker form, Slither provides a lot of great scares and plenty of familiar yet effectively disturbing moments to please horror aficionados (such as the alien slug’s gradual approach toward a girl soaking peacefully in her bathtub in the poster), but it also cuts through the gross-out moments with plenty of laughs and has a great deal of fun with the concept without falling into the camp category. And though it may be taking on the form of lower rung monster thrillers, Slither also shows that fun horror films don’t have to be straight up satires or mindless gags, with a narrative about faithfulness and trust woven throughout. (Please note that this review brings up narrative parallels, and, thus, contains some spoilers.) Read more…
Produced by: Dean Devlin
Written by: Dean Devlin, Roland Emmerich
Cinematography by: Karl Walter Lindenlaub
Music by: David Arnold
Starring: Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Margaret Colin, Vivica A. Fox, Mary McDonnell, Judd Hirsch, Robert Loggia, Randy Quaid, James Rebhorn, James Duval, Adam Baldwin, Harry Connick, Jr., Mae Whitman, Harvey Fierstein, Brent Spiner, Frank Welker (voice)
There’s an exchange between two characters in this film that I think perfectly sums up the whole attitude one should have when preparing to watch this film: “You really think you can fly this thing?” “You really think you can do all that bullshit you just said?”
The concept of a self-aware film has already become a familiar trope, but Independence Day acknowledges its nature as a big budget B-movie while never truly drawing attention to the fact. It’s all played straight, and yet it’s still hilariously playful, just the same. Here’s a film where you really have to turn off your brain and not really think too much about the action, lest you be driven into madness trying to nitpick all the little details of the plot and pinpoint all the ridiculous things that the characters within are saying and doing. Once you do that, you’ll likely find yourself enjoying it far more than the film probably deserves. Read more…
The Michel Gondry/M. Night Shyamalan Parallel, feat. KIDS SWEDE MOVIES presents: ALIEN – CHEST BURSTER SCENE
You know, despite the presence of children in the scene, this is still pretty horrific. But also kinda cute.
I need to rewatch Be Kind Rewind, as I enjoyed it the first time, but it’s also kinda like M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs in that it was the third major feature film from a director whose first made me love them, but made me also realize that they were losing their creative edge, followed by a fourth film that was a huge disappointment.
Michel Gondry / M. Night Shyamalan:
1) Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind / The Sixth Sense* – Visually stunning masterpieces with wonderful ideas and brilliantly moving performances.
2)The Science of Sleep** /Unbreakable – A welcome, enjoyable, and visually stunning shake up of a familiar genre (rom-com / superhero) that’s not quite up to par as their predecessor, but still pretty awesome.
3) Be Kind Rewind / Signs — Halfway good films that start to show that the director is fallible and is starting to trip up and they’re making some bad decisions with their creative freedoms. Enjoyable for what they are, but you kind of expect more, and the films leave you hoping for a return to the breathtaking form that made you fall for the directors in the first place.
4) The Green Hornet / The Village – The law of diminishing returns takes effect, and you begin to think that maybe it was all a fluke. They may redeem themselves some day, but, man, did this really suck!
And, so, yeah, there’s where my mind went when I saw this video. Alien parody -> “sweded” -> Be Kind Rewind -> Michel Gondry -> parallel with M. Night Shyamalan. That’s my random morning post and a little example of how my mind works. Hope you enjoyed it! I’m going to go enjoy my day off now!
[Video found via io9.com]
* The Sixth Sense technically came after Shyamalan’s Praying with Anger and Wide Awake, but those didn’t really put him on the map, so they don’t count as “major” films in my eyes, regardless of their quality.
** Dave Chappelle’s Block Party also isn’t counted here because it’s a documentary, rather than a story-driven film. Again, regardless of its quality, I’ve disqualified it.
Produced by: Ridley Scott, David Giler, Walter Hill
Written by: Jon Spaihts, Damon Lindelof
Cinematography by: Dairusz Wolski
Music by: Marc Stretenfeld
Starring: Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Idris Elba, Logan Marshall-Green, Charlize Theron, Guy Pearce
Here’s a little thing you really need to know about Prometheus, and it’s something that Ridley Scott would definitely like you to know, as well: Prometheus, though set in the same universe as the Alien film series, is not a prequel — at least not in the sense that one would expect from hearing that word. Prometheus, aside from a few nods, does not feature the parents of Ellen Ripley, does not feature Lance Henriksen, and does not, in fact, really set up any plot points in the Alien films that came before, and without the scattered connections and references to those films, Prometheus likely would have stood on its own as a completely unrelated film. What connections to the Alien films that are present are neat little nods that fans will enjoy that help to effectively build up this universe rather than just exploit a film franchise. But, much like the plot, do not go in expecting a film that apes any of the films that came before it. You will be profoundly disappointed if you do. Read more…
Produced by: Gale Anne Hurd, Gordon Carroll, David Giler, Walter Hill
Written by: James Cameron (screenplay & story), David Giler and Walter Hill (story)
Music by: James Horner
Cinematography by: Adrian Biddle
Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Carrie Henn, Michael Biehn, Lance Henriksen, William Hope, Paul Reiser, Bill Paxton, Jenette Goldstein
Mother’s Day is coming up, and so of course I had to do something for the site. I was considering two of many other ideas floating around in my head to commemorate the occasion: The first idea was to review one of my own mom’s favorite movies in honor of her. Certainly, this would have resulted in a possibly more diverse list of films in the Reviews section of the site. However, my second idea was far more enticing to me, as it involved a film that I hadn’t seen in its entirety for quite sometime: Aliens. Of course, if the title of this review didn’t give it away, I went with the second idea. (I’ll just have to review one of my mom’s favorites on her birthday.) Read more…
Wow. If this is somehow not as awesome as it looks, I well be very sad!
Please, Lord, let 2012 be a repeat of the awesome Iron Man / The Dark Knight summer of 2008!
Produced by: Nira Park & James Wilson; Jenny Borgars, Will Clarke, Olivier Courson, Matthew Justice, Tessa Ross, and Edgar Wright (exec. producers)
Written by: Joe Cornish
Starring: John Boyega, Jodie Whittaker, Alex Esmail, Franz Drameh, Leeon Jones, Simon Howard, Luke Treadaway, Jumayn Hunter, Nick Frost
Music By: Steven Price
I’ve read several of the major publication reviews of this film on Rotten Tomatoes (not all of them, but several), and it seems as though the general consensus regarding Attack the Block among many of the reviewers is that the film is ultimately a B-film that they happened to have enjoyed. Many, including some of the more favorable reviews, are quick to point out the film is a “satire” of genre tropes and a film more concerned about pacing than plotting. Read more…