Saturday, January 23, 2010

Conan O'Brien no longer

Still can't believe Jeff Zucker has a job at NBC.

The Jay Leno Show was a bad idea, and so was the contract. Conan was simply the cheaper of the two to buy out. Conan was on fire that last week. I think if he'd been that funny the whole time, his ratings never would have sunk as low as they did.

Jennifer's Body - DVD Review


Starring Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried, Johnny Simmons, Adam Brody, JK Simmons, Kyle Gallner, Amy Sedaris and Chris Pratt.
Directed by Karyn Kusama.

I've seen worse, and I've seen better. Diablo Cody's twitter-friendly dialogue doesn't come off as fresh this time around. In fact there were ten or twelve lines that yanked me out because its self-conscious cleverness couldn't be disguised by the delivery. There's also a big acting disparity. Amanda Seyfried (Mamma Mia!) is really good as the nerdy girl Needy. Megan Fox is, well, Megan Fox as Jennifer.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Gilligan's Island: The Movie

Not happening now, but if it were, I dig Fox411's fantasy casting.

Gilligan - Michael Cera
Skipper - William Shatner
The Millionaire - Alan Dale
His Wife - Jessica Walter
The Movie Star - Christina Hendricks
The Professor - Simon Baker
Mary Ann - Ginnifer Goodwin

My only qualm would be Lost's Alan Dale as Thurston Howell III. He's been the heavy so many times, I wonder if he has the ham inside him. I'd like someone more like Eugene Levy or even Michael Gambon.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Globes Morning After

The Globes are sometimes referred to as a precursor for the Oscars, but the Globes also tend to do things a little more loopy, more populist, than the Globes might dare. The Globes love rewarding movie stars, hence Robert Downey Jr.'s win for Sherlock Holmes. (Plus Downey is always reliable for a good speech. "I'm not going to thank Warner Bros. They needed me.") Sandra Bullock's win seems to be of that persuasion too, but Julia Roberts did win her li'l golden man for doing the same type of tough-talking Southern-woman thing in Erin Brockovich.

I still think the Academy is going to reward Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker. Avatar is making tons of money for everyone, but James Cameron is already King of the World. I also found it interesting the Globes rewarded Up in the Air for writing over Quentin Tarantino, but it seems like QT's reward is casting Christoph Waltz. Best Supporting Actor remains his to lose, so as long as he doesn't give an interview dissing a bunch of people (Burt Reynolds) or play an obese woman in an unfunny comedy opening in February (Eddie Murphy) or agree to appear at Wrestlemania (Mickey Rourke), he should get his trophy.

Mo'Nique is still on course to win for Precious, even though there's been grumblings about her no-showing to some other awards. It came and went in theaters around here; barring a rerelease, I probably won't get to it until DVD.

On to television. Happy for all the winners, except I think they need to stop giving Alec Baldwin every award under the sun for 30 Rock. Between the Globes, SAG, the Emmys, seems like he's won about ten times now for playing Jack Donaghy. I missed Michael C. Hall's speech but I'm glad he and John Lithgow won for their cat-and-mouse season of Dexter.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

2009 Golden Globe Winners

BEST ACTOR DRAMA - Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart
BEST ACTRESS DRAMA - Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side
BEST ACTOR COMEDY - Robert Downey Jr., Sherlock Holmes
BEST ACTRESS COMEDY - Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia
BEST DIRECTOR - James Cameron, Avatar
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR - Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds
BEST SONG - "The Weary Kind", Crazy Heart

BEST ACTOR DRAMA - Michael C. Hall, Dexter
BEST ACTRESS DRAMA - Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
BEST ACTOR COMEDY - Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
BEST ACTRESS COMEDY - Toni Collette, The United States of Tara
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR - John Lithgow, Dexter
BEST ACTOR TV-MOVIE - Kevin Bacon, Taking Chance
BEST ACTRESS TV-MOVIE - Drew Barrymore, Grey Gardens

Friday, January 15, 2010

Best 10 Films of 2009

I've seen 107 titles now in theaters and on DVD with copyright 2009. I'm sure my top ten will shift around and change over the next few weeks. I still haven't seen Oscar bait movies like Crazy Heart, Precious, A Serious Man, and A Single Man, but of what I've seen, these were the best.

Movies I've seen and liked but not quite in this group: The Blind Side, Public Enemies, Anvil: The Story of Anvil, I Love You Man, Drag Me to Hell, 9, Extract.

Honorable Mentions (11-20):

ADVENTURELAND - A love letter to the 1980's teen-angst comedies. It's set in 1987 and it plays exactly like it could have opened that year and been considered another John Hughes triumph. Jesse Eisenberg is out stammering hero, and Kristen Stewart is the damaged object of his affection. Ryan Reynolds turns in a nice supporting turn and that cool-yet-creepy adult friend.

CORALINE - If you cut out that one vulgar scene, this is a great children's dark fantasy. Henry Selick really gets the possibilities of stop-motion animation, and he respects the morbid corners of a child's imagination.

THE COVE - Suspenseful heist-style movie about animal activists trying to expose the slaughter of dolphins in a little cover outside a small Japanese fishing town. The end-result footage is gruesome.

HARRY POTTER & THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE - The sixth movie in the series manages to stay fresh, despite being within the walls of Hogwarts again, but it also sets up nicely the pending five-hour, two-movie final chapter. Jim Broadbent makes a fine addition to the ensemble as Prof. Slughorn, and Alan Rickman continues to peerlessly maximize every syllable as Snape.

IN THE LOOP - Presidents don't declare war; mid-level paper-pushers do. This sharply funny satire of UK and US bureaucrats trying to strike the right diplomatic notes plays it close to the vest, like something Robert Altman would've produced. I read somewhere that it's a smart comedy about the dumb things intelligent people do. Stand-outs include James Gandolfini as a frustrated American general and Tom Hollander as a flustered English minister who gets tongue-tied every time a microphone is put in front of him.

INVICTUS - Sports movie that transcends the genre thanks to Clint Eastwood's meticulous direction, and Morgan Freeman's charsmatic protrayal of Nelson Mandela.

TAKEN - The most satisfying guy-kills-everyone-in-his-way-to-get-his-daughter-back movies in a long time, probably because it's Liam Neeson's best butt-kicking performance since Rob Roy.

UP IN THE AIR - Jason Reitman is now officially one of my must-see directors. Anyone who's ever been laid off or traveled for business will recognize parts of themselves in this movie.

WATCHMEN - Zack Snyder stays faithful to the source material while still making a good movie of its own right. Of a pretty decent cast, Jackie Earle Haley is the standout as the psychopathic antihero Rorschach.

ZOMBIELAND - It's cinematic junk-food, but dang it was fun. Fun, I say! Apparently Jesse Eisenberg just needs to keep saying yes to movies with the word "Land" in the title. Best cameo of the year, too.

And now...

... My Top Ten Movies for 2009.

10. FOOD, INC. - Eye-opening documentary that investigates all the changes going on in the US food industry, primarily how everything - EVERYthing - has corn syrup in it, and how it's a smaller amount of companies that control the greater amount of our food than you think. It'll make you want to grow your own garden and seek out grass-fed cattle. Any politician who claims to be on the side of farmers should see this movie first to get ideas how they could actually help.

9. UP - Pixar still rules. The first ten minutes are more poignant than 95% of dramas. And I still find myself talking like Dug here and there.

8. AVATAR - A landmark for visual advancements in cinema, and cinema is, after all, primarily a visual medium. I wish he would have used the $250 million he got on a more original story, but box-office receipts show he was smart about it.

7. STAR TREK - Exactly the kind of reboot I would hope for, faithful to the original but set up to boldly go where Kirk & crew have never gone before. The next challenge for the franchise is to find a villain as compelling as Khan. I would think that's impossible, but I would have thought a reboot like this impossible too.

6. THE HANGOVER - The most consistently funny comedy of 2009, and deservedly destined to be a frat classic like Animal House, Caddyshack and Stripes of old. Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Zach Galifianakis are three longtime sidekicks stuck without a leading man, and the plot unfolds like a comic Memento as they try to figure out what the heck happened last night and where their groom is. As each layer is pulled back, we laugh at their horror of realizing just what stupendously obnoxious drunks they must have been.

5. (500) DAYS OF SUMMER - A breezy anti-love story that really captures what it feels like when the guy likes the girl more than she likes him. It'll bring up catharsis for any guy or many gals who've ever been there. It would've worked even if it didn't jump back and forth in the timeline, but that was a nice touch, and it has the best use of a Hall & Oates song ever.

4. PARANORMAL ACTIVITY - The scariest movie I've seen in years. It's mandatory to be seen in a dark room, preferably a theater, where you can get engrossed. It builds its sense of dread slowly, the old fashioned way, until you get that final punch at the end.

3. DISTRICT 9 - I can't necessarily say it's one I want to revisit too often (I've seen others on this list more than once), but its impact was huge. It just shows what talent and ingenuity can accomplish given soem cash and a producer who believes in them.

2. INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS - Quentin Tarantino remains one of the cinema's most talented geeks. He takes a little bit of Dirty Dozen, a little bit of Sergio Leone, and spits out a wild ride through revisionist history WWII. Of this 160-minute movie, I think there are only twelve scenes, each building on the other til we get to the explosive finale in the theater, and the denouement in the woods. QT is a movie-lover through and through, and he always knows where to put his camera. Brad Pitt's the dude with his name above the title, and Christoph Waltz is deservedly getting kudos everywhere as Jew-hunter Hans Landa, but credit must also go out to Melanie Laurent, Matthew Fassbender, Diane Kruger, and all the dialogue QT lets them say. Movies like this make me wish he'd work more often.

1. THE HURT LOCKER - Kathryn Bigelow deserves to be the first female to win Best Director in the history of the Academy. She knows how to pace action, but she also gets probing performances in this apolitical take on the Iraq/Afghanistan wars. Jeremy Renner gives a star-making performance as a bomb-defuser who doesn't want to die but stopped fearing death a long time ago. The story takes unexpected turns and get good work in small roles from more recognizable faces like Ralph Fiennes and Guy Pearce. It never made its money back in theaters; hopefully the DVD market can push it into black.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Up in the Air - Movie Review


Starring George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick, Jason Bateman, Amy Morton, Danny McBride, Melanie Lynsky, JK Simmons and Sam Elliott.
Directed by Jason Reitman.

I loved this movie for the first 90 minutes or so. Probably up to the last minute. Then it switched to the "like" category. Why? Well, when I think about Jason Reitman's first movie Thank You for Smoking (that made my Top Ten that year) and his second movie Juno (that also made my Top Ten that year), I remember the final scene of each movie, and the final scene served as punctuation for the movie, with the characters in different distinct places than where they started, while still being true to themselves. This was one movie that would have benefitted from being a little more like that.

But not to take away how well-made this otherwise is. It is full of honest moments. George Clooney plays Ryan Bingham, a man who lives out of his suitcase, flying all over the country with the job of firing people. He's a man with enough empathy to know how to break news to people, but with no emotional ties to anyone to make him want to travel less. When his company looks into firing people via videoconferencing, Ryan is outraged. Since the idea was the brainchild of new-hire 23-year-old Natalie (New Moon's Anna Kendrick), Ryan takes Natalie to some cities to fire in person, to get her to understand why it's better face-to-face.

As someone who's been laid off, and as someone who sometimes travels for business, this movie spoke to me on a couple levels. I got lost in this movie, in a good way, even as it swam through other people's pain. There are so many notes Reitman hits just right.

But man, that last minute...

Ah well, I still liked it.

Leno back to Tonight, Conan to Fox?

It looks like Jay Leno will be going back to The Tonight Show, and Conan O'Brien will leave NBC, perhaps go to Fox.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

DVD Reviews (Gomorrah, Extract, Paper Heart, Summer Hours)

GOMORRAH (***) - Starring Toni Servillo and Gianfelice Imparato. Directed by Matteo Garrone.

It does for deglamorizing the mob in Italy what The Wire did for deglamming street gangs in Baltimore. But I only watched one season of The Wire cuz the first episode of the second season I realized I didn't care about the characters and didn't want to descend into an urban hell for another 13 hours. This left me feeling the same way. I appreciated its artistry and it's exposing some of the harsh elements that still go on with organized crime in Italy, but I was happy to be rid of their company at the closing credits.


EXTRACT (***) - Starring Jason Bateman, Mila Kunis, Kristen Wiig, Ben Affleck, JK Simmons, Clifton Collins Jr., David Koechner, Gene Simmons and Beth Grant. Directed by Mike Judge.

Mike Judge once made the slacker classic Office Space, about an employee dealing with stupid bosses. Now here come Extract, about a boss dealing with stupid employees. Bateman is our deadpan hero who (while high) is talked into hiring a gigolo to seduce his wife (Kristen Wiig) to see if she'll take the bait. As his home life unravels, he has to deal with the demands of entry-level employees who feel entitled to more and more from him and the company. Maybe this was hurt by the bad title and the timing of being sympathetic to an employer when unemployment is over 10%, but while it's not laugh out loud funny, it certainly creates more smiles than your average Hollywood comedy.


PAPER HEART (*1/2) - Starring Charlene Yi, Michael Cera and Jake Johnson. Directed by Nicholas Jasenovec.

This movie pretends to be a documentary that happens to capture Charlene Yi and Michael Cera fall in love while Yi is making a cross-country documentary about love. But there's nothing revelatory in her interviews with regular people about love, and their courtship is actually a dull thing on which to eavesdrop.


SUMMER HOURS (**) - Starring Juliette Binoche, Charles Berling and Jeremie Renier. Directed by Oliver Assayas.

I'm surely in the minority here, but this movie never captured my attention. It's about adult children who must sell the home and possessions of their mother after she dies, and it's about letting go. It's also so leisurely paced that it never really feels like anything is happening. It's a well-acted French film that made me want to take a nap.

Princess a little too eager

(Movie Review)
Starring the voices of Anika Noni Rose, Bruno Campos, Keith David, Michael-Leon Wooley, Jennifer Cody, John Goodman, Jim Cummings, Jenifer Lewis, Terrence Howard, and Oprah Winfrey.
Directed by Ron Clements & John Musker.


This movie is trying to be everything to everyone. It's a pleasant enough return for Disney to its 2-D glory, and a decent addition to the DVD Princess collection. Tiana should be right at home mingling with Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora, Belle, Jasmine, Megara, Mulan, etc. At different points in the movie, it reminded me of The Aristocats, The Rescuers, and Tarzan too. It also has a prince with his own motivation and personality, which is a welcome change.

It's better than Home on the Range and Treasure Planet and some of those 2-D animation misfires that put the whole genre on hold for a few years. I would have liked it more if I'd seen it 15 years ago, as it feels just like a movie that should've opened 15 years ago.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Avatar - Movie Review


Starring Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Michelle Rodriguez, Giovanni Ribisi, Wes Studi and CCH Pounder.
Directed by James Cameron.

Visually it's the most impressive thing to hit the big screen yet. In 3D, Cameron fills every inch of the screen and creates more than a few moments of vertigo from the heights and depths of everything. Story-wise, yes, it's Dances with Wolves in space, but Cameron's demonstrated some global shrewdness by sticking to such a plot.

It's now 150-ish years in the future. Earth is running low on resources, and a military-corporate-science team has travelled through space to the gorgeous planet of Pandora, which has the very valuable resource called unobtainium (I'm not making that name up, but I don't have a problem with it either considering the current elemental table has names like californium.) The trouble is, there's an intelligent, indigenous population called the Na'vi that lives above the largest deposits of unobtainum, and they don't want to move.

Giovanni Ribisi is the Head Corporate Suit, a shallow guy who keeps calling the Na'vi "savages." Stephen Lang is the Head Military Guy, a soldier who can't wait to break out the big guns and slaughter some bow-and-arrow-wielding blue people. Sigourney Weaver is the Head Scientist, the voice of reason, the third estate who ranks below Heads 1 & 2.

Sam Worthington is Jake Sully, a Marine who benefits from being the twin brother of a Ph.D-scientist in the Avatar program. Since his Avatar has already been grown, they don't want to waste the $100 billion it took to grow the blue thing (I don't remember if the monetary number is ever tossed out), so Jake gets to join some scientists on Pandora. He gains the trust of the Na'vi, reports defense weaknesses to Head Military Guy, but the longer he mingles, the more his sympathies switch to Head Scientist. What will Jake do?

Giant hint: the bad guys are the corporation and the military.

But to the good stuff. Seriously, I don't care what the story is, I will see anything James Cameron does. Not hard since he makes a movie once every 12 years these days. (Who does he think he is? Terrence Malick?) There are a few times the Na'vi movement had a jerkiness to it, but for the most part, I never really noticed what was CGI and what was real, and the marriage between the two was as flawless as I could hope. I loved swooping and swimming through this world. I loved climbing the trees and scaling the cliff-walls and flying the ships and just being in the movie. 3-D as it was meant to be.

Film is primarily a visual medium, and visually speaking, James Cameron's made the most important movie of the year.

NBC yanking Leno from primetime

It was dumb when NBC decided to force Jay Leno out in 2009. Their fear was losing COnan O'Brien. Then instead of giving Jay Leno once a week or twice a week, they gave him five hours of primetime real estate to do essentially what he did at late night.

It may have saved them money but it cost them viewers, and now NBC has been forced to remove Jay from the schedule. The plan right now is to have Jay on at 11:35/10:35, pushing Conan and the Tonight Show back half an hour, and then Jimmy Fallon would be pushed back as well.

Something tells me that Conan's going to quit, Jay's going to reclaim the Tonight SHow, and Jimmy Fallon doesn't have to go anywhere.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Avatar still #1

The weekend box-office:

1. Avatar - $48.5 million ($429.04) - 4 wks (Fox) -29.2%
.....3422 screens / $14,173 per screen / $250 mil prod budget
2. Sherlock Holmes - $16.61 ($165.18) - 3 wks (WB) -54.6%
.....3626 / $4581 / $90
3. Alvin & Chipmunks 2 - $16.3 ($178.18) - 3 wks (Fox) -53.7%
.....3641 / $4477 / $75
4. Daybreakers - $15 - 1 wk (LG)
.....2523 / $5945 / $20
5. It's Complicated - $11.01 ($76.37) - 3 wks (U) -41.5%
.....2955 / $3725 / $85
6. Leap Year - $9.17 - 1 wk (U)
.....2511 / $3650 / $19
7. The Blind Side - $7.75 ($219.2) - 8 wks (WB) -34.9%
.....2880 / $2691 / $29
8. Up in the Air - $7.1 ($54.7) - 6 wks (Par) -33.8%
.....2218 / $3201 / $25
9. Youth in Revolt - $7 - 1 wk (Dim)
.....1873 / $3737 / $18
10. The Princess & the Frog - $4.7 ($92.6) - 7 wks (BV) -52.2%
.....2620 / $1794 / $105

Avatar is getting 75% of its ticket sales from 3D, which are $2-3 more per ticket, but even so, it's extraordinary for a film in this day and age to make $48.5 million over its fourth weekend of wide release. It actually has a chance of passing Titanic, domestically and globally.

Of the new films, the vampire craze fared the best with Daybreakers.

Daybreakers - Movie Review


Starring Ethan Hawke, Willem Dafoe, Sam Neill, Claudia Klavan, Michael Dorman, Vince Colomiso, Isabel Lucas, Jay Laga'aia and Mungo McKay.
Directed by Michael & Peter Spierig.

Filmed two years ago, this movie sat on the shelf while other fang-themed movies (the Twilight saga) and TV shows (True Blood, The Vampire Diaries) kept audience appetites craving more. Now the trend has reached its natural conclusion, in a world where vampires are the majority. The world has been overrun by them, to where the human population, and more importantly their blood, is running low. Corporations are working on a decent substitute for human blood, but one vampire, a scientist named Edward Dalton (of course he's named Edward), runs into some fugitive humans who claim to have a cure for vampirism.

The movie sets itself up nicely, with rain-soaked sidewalks and collar-turned trenchcoats, it evoked this Gattaca-type future if Blade had lost. The longer the movie goes, the more claustrophic it becomes, where the limited budget becomes more obvious. There are several scenes in offices, corridors, and a final big battle in a lobby. Its sleek, but it doesn't ever capture the imagination. It disappears from the mind as quickly as a vampire exposed to the sun. (And I don't mean a sparkly Twilight vampire).

Thursday, January 7, 2010

A Perfect Getaway - DVD Review


Starring Timothy Olyphant, Milla Jovovich, Steve Zahn, Kiele Sanchez, Marley Shelton and Chris Hemsworth.
Directed by David Twohy.

This is a screenplay that is really proud of itself. It reminded me of the play-turned-movie Deathtrap by Ira Levin, where the characters are very self-aware that they are characters, and that what is happening around them is plot. In fact, I looked up Deathtrap to make sure I had Ira Levin's name right, and what do you know, one of the character names from Deathtrap shares a name with a character from A Perfect Getaway. I saw that, and I felt like I'd just had my own little Act 2 twist for the day.

This movie is about Cliff (Steve Zahn) and Cyndey (Milla Jovovich), two newlyweds who go to vacation in Hawaii. But just when they set out on the island, word gets around there's a young couple posing as newlyweds who've murdered two people. Suddenly every couple they meet seem suspicious. Couples practically introduce themselves to Cliff and Cyndey with "Hi, we're suspicious." Like the tattooed-backpackers Kale and Cleo. Hmm...

Cliff is a screenwriter, so when they later hook up with Nick (Timothy Olyphant) and Gina (Kiele Sanchez), Nick has all sorts of screenplay tips for him. Nick's got some wild stories about being in Special Ops, and Gina seems a bit off-kilter herself. Could they be the killers? Hmm...

The movie nicely keeps the suspense going, and the big Act 2 twist hits, and part of me wanted to go back and watch the first hour again just to make sure it fit what had happened. I'll just assume David Twohy had his screenplay bases covered. He worked on it a long time. I just wish there could have been a few minutes in the movie somewhere where I could have forgotten that these are CHARACTERS in a SCREENPLAY.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

World's Greatest Dad - DVD Review


Starring Robin Williams, Alexie Gilmore, Daryl Sabara, Geoff Pierson, Henry Simmons, Mitzi McCall, Evan Martin and Bruce Hornsby.
Directed by Bobcat Goldthwait.

I'd intended on skipping this, but when it made more than one Top Ten list, I remembered to myself that Robin Williams has a pretty decent track record on indie films the past decade or so, and this wound up proving to be no exception. Bobcat Goldwthwait, who redeems himself here for Shakes the Clown, has written a darkly funny (we're talking Heathers-dark) film about the uncomfortable relationship between struggling dad Lance (Williams) and his grumpy son Kyle (Spy Kids' Daryl Sabara).

I hesitate to give away the inciting incident, but suffice to say, Lance's relationships at home and school change for the better over a lie, so Lance must now walk the tightrope to keep his house of cards from falling. Williams (he did win an Oscar once) is very good at keeping three or four emotions on his face simultaneously, and the ending, well, it uses "Under Pressure" to good effect.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Worst 10 Films of 2009

Dishonorable mentions (aka the worst 11-20):

ALIEN TRESPASS - Lovingly recreates terrible sci-fi alien b&w horror movies circa 1959, with no real satirical point. So it's a terrible sci-fi alien b&w horror movies circa 2009 set in 1959. But I'm sure my friend Scott will love it.

DRAGONBALL EVOLUTION - Probably the silliest movie of the year. Some Japanese kids cartoons just shouldn't be brought to life. My understanding is this was intended to be the first film in a trilogy, but that ain't gonna happen.

THE EDGE OF LOVE - One of them corseted Keira Knightley dramas people used to fall asleep to when flipping to PBS too late in the day.

HORSEMEN - Serial killer movie that makes less sense the longer it goes on until it finally crashes and burns with a ridiculous ending. Dennis Quaid continues to squander his comeback made possible by The Rookie.

LAND OF THE LOST - Will Ferrell trashes a 1970's kid show by amping up the vulgar humor, which isn't funny no matter what vehicle they were using. File this under "What were they thinking?"

THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT - Unpleasant and unnecessary.

MANAGEMENT - Boring, chemistry-free comedy with Jennifer Aniston as a traveler, and Steve Zahn as the motel employee who falls in love at first sight and then stalks her.

OBSESSED - Ali Larter copies Glenn Close's performance from Fatal Attraction, but the character never comes alive as a real person. Then we have Idris Elba who practically walks around exclaiming "I am so faithful to my wife!" trying to rebuff her advances. I didn't buy a single second of this movie. It's just there as an excuse to let Beyonce and Ali have a catfight for the climax.

THE UNBORN - It goes through the motions of previous PG-13 supernatural horror movies with no real understanding what does or doesn't generate suspense. But kudos for nabbing Gary Oldman to play the exorcising rabbi.

WHATEVER WORKS - Woody Allen hasn't made a good comedy in a long time, and this is no exception. Larry David plays a curmudgeon that makes his Curb Your Enthusiasm alter-ego look compassionate, and like all Woody movies, a young beautiful woman falls for a much older unattractive man.

... My Worst Ten Movies of 2009...

10. 12 ROUNDS - John Cena continues to prove that his acting skills won't get any better. But this role ain't exactly Duvall in The Apostle. It's just so by-the-numbers pointless. Renny Harlin must really be scraping for work these days.

9. BATTLE FOR TERRA - Same plot as Avatar, but much much worse. Humans and their military invade a peaceful planet and are the bad guys while primitive aliens fight back. Too simplistic for teens and adults, and too dark and humorless for kids.

8. OUTLANDER - A spaceman (Jim Caviezel) lands in Norway 709 A.D., blends right in, and we have our Viking movie for the first half. Then it's revealed he brought a generic human-chomping alien with him, so the second half is a creature feature. This movie tried to be two things at once, stinking at both.

7. BRIDE WARS - If you've seen the preview you've seen the movie. In fact, if you watched the preview 40 times, your feelings probably wouldn't change if you spent the same amount of time watching the movie. Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway try to out-bridezilla each other, then hug it out in the last two minutes. End credits.

6. YEAR ONE - Career lows for Jack Black and Michael Cera. One key factor to a successful buddy comedy is chemistry and they guys don't have it. They underline each other's weaknesses. Meanwhile the two cavemen wander a landscape of Biblical characters that just shouts how much better is The Life of Brian. I'm tempted to rent 1980's Caveman just to see if it's somehow worse.

5. THE MUTANT CHRONICLES - Shoulda been straight-to-DVD actioner about 28th-century soldiers battling a Matrix-like machine that turns humans into zombie-brained mutant killlers. Only fun part was John Malkovich's three-minute cameo of self-parody. Three minutes out of ninety. Sigh.

4. STREET FIGHTER: THE LEGEND OF CHUN-LI - It makes the 1994 Jean-Claude Van Damme look like an action classic. This felt like a combination of Elektra and Ballistic: Ecks v. Sever, two movies that also made my Worst Ten lists in the years they came out.

3. TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN - This movie had the marketing. It could have had much higher quality and still grossed over $800 million worldwide. It's a noisy, chaotic mess, and that could have still been okay. But this franchise nuked the fridge with the gold-toothed jive-talking autobot twins. At this rate, Michael Bay's career send-off will be two hours of a man jingling keys at the camera. Shiny, explosive keys.

2. BRUNO - Sacha Baron Cohen won't break character even when serious physical harm seems imminent, so I'll give him that. But Bruno is no Borat, not even close to Borat. Bruno is a freak, a self-absorbed deviant who deserves to be shunned, a host of the meanest episode of Punk'd ever. He sexually assaults people, and their recoiling in horror means the joke's on them? Is that what this is supposed to be? I just felt sorry for the people that came within a hundred yards of him.

1. MISS MARCH - Zach Cregger & Trevor Moore, from IFC's sketch-comedy show The Whitest Kids U Know, wrote, directed and starred in this disaster about a guy who gets knocked out on prom night before he can lose his virginity, only to wake up four years later from a coma and discover his girlfriend is now a Playboy centerfold. So he and his pal go cross-country to confront her at Hef's mansion. Everything about this movie feels like it was written, directed and acted as a five-minute sketch stretched 80 minutes too long in the editing room. Trevor Moore should be nominated for a Razzie for Worst Actor in a Comedy.

P.S. I have not seen Crank 2, The Informers, Imagine That, The Ugly Truth, I Love You Beth Cooper, The Goods, Shorts, H2, All About Steve, Beyond A Reasonble Doubt, The Burning Plain, Old Dogs, The Fourth Kind, Did You Hear About the Morgans, or anything with Nia Vardalos.