Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Worst Movies of 2007

Of the movies making worst ten lists, I haven't seen such gems as The Hitcher (20%), Gray Matters (10%), Kickin' It Old Skool (3%), Captivity (7%), I Know Who Killed Me (7%), BRATZ (7%), Daddy Day Camp (1%), Balls of Fury (25%), Death Sentence (16%), The Brothers Solomon (14%), Mr. Woodcock (14%), The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising (13%), Good Luck Chuck (2%), The Comebacks (1%), Hitman (11%), any of the After Dark Horrorfest 2007 flicks, and so on, (those percentages are their Rottentomatoes.com rankings) but of what I've seen, these were the worst:

Dishonorable Mentions:

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD'S END & SPIDER-MAN 3 - They weren't that bad, they were okaaay, but they were the weakest installments in their trilogies and therefore disappointing. At World's End was at least 20 minutes too long and ended on a horrible note with Will & Elizabeth, and Spidey spent too much time angsting and not enough on Venom wreaking some havoc. They had the chance to kill the whiny MJ so Peter could go out with Gwen, and they didn't take it.

I also resented the waste of Paul Giamatti's time and talent in The Hawk Is Dying, but it only made about $4000 in theaters, so it didn't make my bottom twenty. Boo to Funny Money, Hannibal Rising and Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium as well.

The Worst 11-20:

Not quite bad enough to make my bottom ten, but still, they stunk. In alphabetical order:

ARE WE DONE YET? - With sequels in this franchise? Please say yes.

BECAUSE I SAID SO - Diane Keaton dithers and stutters her way through a melodramatic comedy about an overbearing mother afraid of letting her youngest daughter grow up. Keaton used similar tricks to great effect in Woody Allen movies and Something's Gotta Give, but here it's grating and artificial.

DOA: DEAD OR ALIVE - Actually it's Unconscious Or Alive. I think only a couple people die in the whole movie. This movie has to spend so much effort choppily editing fight scenes to make it look like these skinny chicks can beat up muscle-bound giants that it's impossible to get into the action. Even so, the movie has its tongue burrowed so far into its cheek, it gags itself a few times.

GHOST RIDER - I always thought American Beauty's Wes Bentley would amount to more than he has. He bites the Hollywood bullet here and plays the demon Blackheart (which sounds like a Care Bears villain), enemy to Johnny Blaze, played by Nicolas Cage as if confused he's in this movie at all. Some comic books are best left on the page.

HAPPILY N'EVER AFTER - You could say Happily N'Ever After is ripping off Shrek 3, and you'd be right, but neither were that funny. HNA looked and felt cheap; S3 looked great. Both had plots of fairytale villains taking over, and if only one of these movies existed this year, it still would've been disappointing. Sitting through two lost opportunities made it worse. This one didn't make my Worst Ten due to budget and expectations.

RISE: BLOOD HUNTER - Lucy Liu spins her wheels in this Blade/BloodRayne unholy thing of a movie. She's made undead by a couple vampires and now seeking revenge. Why did Michael Chiklis spend his time off from The Shield and the Fantastic Four franchise making this?

RUSH HOUR 3 - A bigger budget doesn't mean a better movie, especially in something so predictable as this. I'm sure they'll reconvene in five years for Rush Hour 4, and it will suck too.

VACANCY - When I think of leading men for horror films, Luke Wilson is not my first choice. Or thirtieth. The guy is better in off-kilter comedies (Old School, Idiocracy) or when he actually has a character to play (The Royal Tenenbaums, The Family Stone). Here, he and Kate Beckinsale play your standard couple-in-peril, but Frank Whaley is such a cartoony villain, between him and Wilson, it's impossible to feel suspense.

WILD HOGS - Four big stars plus one paint-by-numbers script equals big money apparently. I found it shallow and utterly predictable from opening credit to closing, and wished at any point in the movie, it would let something realistic or natural happen.

WIND CHILL - Dull, one-setting horror flick that would have been better suited to debut on the Sci-Fi Channel, between Mansquito and Ice Spiders. Surely Emily Blunt (The Devil Wears Prada) has better things to do?

And now...

... The Worst Ten

10. SHREK THE THIRD - Pop culture references and poop jokes abound, in a franchise that's lost whatever charm it had. With all the money and talent involved, they should have been able to do better than this.

9. PRIMEVAL - There's something tonally wrong in a horror flick about a giant killer crocodile spending most of its time lamenting genocide in Africa. That may be an important issue to address, but is it appropriate in a giant killer crocodile movie? Regardless, the actors look lost in this movie. Prison Break's Dominic Purcell should stick to TV, and Jurgen Prochnow needs an agent who will rescue him from doing so many bad movies in a row.

8. BLOOD & CHOCOLATE - Underworld ripoff with a werewolf falling in love with a human, though the romance never sparks, and Agnes Bruckner is no Kate Beckinsale. Just another disposable MTV movie.

7. THE HILLS HAVE EYES 2 - Judging from this, Wes Craven is one of the last horror masters who views rape as entertainment. I know it's supposed to be repulsive, but when it's a mutant cannibal raping a National Guard female, there's just a new level of low there, especially when so much of it is typical horror-movie pick-em-off-one-by-one silliness. And of course, it leaves the door open for a Hills Have Eyes 3.

6. ALIENS VS. PREDATOR - REQUIEM - I was relieved when Paul W.S. Anderson did not return to the director's chair for this sequel, but the Brothers Strause aren't much better. Would it kill the cinematographer to actually light a scene? Would it kill the studio to actually hire some talent for this franchise? It's been 21 years since James Cameron made the last good Aliens movie. *Sigh*

5. CODE NAME: THE CLEANER - Cedric the Entertainer embarrasses himself as a janitor with amnesia who now believes he's a super-spy. Or is he really a super-spy? Either way, Lucy Liu kicks butt around him as he tries to piece together the conspiracy. It's one of those movies where I was wondering why the cast didn't have anything better to do.

4. PATHFINDER - Marcus Nispel directed this 10th century epic in the same style he directed the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake. It seriously would not have surprised me to have Sheriff Hoyt show up with a sword in hand. Vikings, who all wear animal skulls and therefore might as well be Uruk-Hai warriors, love coming to the new world and slaughtering peace-loving Indians, but when one Viking boy hesitates to cut off an Indian's head, he's instantly disowned and left behind. Then fifteen years later, when the Vikings return, he magically remembers how to be an expert swordsman, not to mention his native tongue. Karl Urban, who has burnt off all of his Lord of the Rings karma with this and Doom and the Chronicles of Riddick, is the lead, and everything about the acting, directing, choreography and cinematography just punctuates how Apocalypto is a better film. (Hm, Daniel C. Pearl was the DP for AvP2 and this...)

3. SEPTEMBER DAWN - What could have been a powerful tragedy is torpedoed by melodramatic cliches and the filmmakers' clear hatred of the LDS faith in general.

2. HOSTEL PART II - The elements of the first movie that made it scary/suspenseful are tossed aside here. I mourn for those hundreds of screenplays that were ignored so this could be made, and I'm relieved Eli Roth has decided to try a non-horror movie next.

1. EPIC MOVIE - This isn't really a movie. It's more like The Rerun Show. Remember that show a couple years ago, where sketch actors redid scenes from 1970's sitcoms? Epic Movie does that here, except with broadly unfunny jokes from beginning to end. If Kal Penn spends 10 seconds drinking the yummy chocolate from Willy Wonka's river, how is it funny if he's then told it's from the sewage pipe? He didn't notice for 10 seconds he was drinking crap instead of chocolate? This movie thinks having someone dressed as Capt. Jack Sparrow is the entire joke. It puts a stake through the heart of the parody genre.

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