Dec 19, 2010

2010 In Review: Part 1 - The Worst of 2010; Runners Up

NOTE: This post contains some very strong language.

2010 was a busy year for me, the busiest I’ve ever had in terms of the amount of new films I saw. For all of the following posts I’ve assessed as eligible those films that either showed at UK festivals or in UK cinemas between January 1st and December 18th, which I saw for the first time. For example, though both played at LFF 2009 and I saw DOGTOOTH at that festival, I was only able to see LOURDES on its 2010 cinema release, so DOGTOOTH was eligible for last year’s lists and awards, while LOURDES is eligible this year.

Over the next five days I’ll be revealing my highlights and lowlights of the year. We’ll start with a The runners up lists for the worst and the best films of the year films, then move on to the 24FPS awards for the year and finish up with the bottom and the top 10 of 2010. Enjoy, and Happy Holidays, whatever you’re celebrating.

There was plenty to choose from when attempting to sift through all the chaff that was vomited onto screens in 2010. These are some of the very worst, okay, they aren’t quite as toxic as the upcoming Bottom 10, but you should avoid these films with extreme prejudice. This list is in alphabetical order by title.

DIR: Anton Corbijn
I, admittedly, have seen a lot of films, several times the amount that most normal people will ever see, but still, you don’t have to have seen something approaching 8000 movies to realise how staggeringly predictable this movie is. Five minutes in I knew EXACTLY what was going to happen in the rest of this paralysingly slow and tedious film, right down to predicting the details of the final ten minutes in pretty excruciating detail. George Clooney doesn’t help matters, as he’s been doing for a little while he coasts here, assuming that his (admittedly extraordinary) charisma will take the place of an actual character. THE AMERICAN is beautiful to look at, but for me it was like watching a slide show of George and Anton’s Italian holiday, while knowing exactly what each slide would show before it came up.

DIR: Clio Barnard
Why? Honestly, that was the only question I had after watching this movie. Not so much why does it exist (we’ll come to those movies soon, trust me) as why is it in a cinema. This experimental documentary uses audio interviews to tell the story of playwright Andrea Dunbar (who died aged just 29) and of her daughters, but, curiously, has those interviews lip synced (not entirely brilliantly) by actors. The sound and the images are so totally disconnected that it feels less like watching a film than watching karaoke. The story is riveting, but its telling is so odd that it disconnects you from it. This is radio, why the fuck was I seeing it in a cinema?

DIR: Todd Phillips
A few years ago I was clinically depressed, and nothing threatens to put me back in therapy with more reliability or regularity than mainstream Hollywood comedy. Todd Phillips’ latest attempt to break my mind is an uncredited and desperately unfunny remake of John Hughes deathlessly wonderful PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES, following Robert Downey, Jr’s utterly loathsome architect as he tries to get home for the birth of his child. ‘Jokes’ include wanking and multiple instances of assault (once on an 8 year old… FUNNY!!), and each one made one more little part of my soul die. Too many more films this depressing and I’m not only going to be in a care home, I’m going to be literally soulless.

DIR: Noah Baumbach
It is, perhaps, unfair to list a film so well acted alongside the inept likes of some of the films yet to come on this list, but despite the fact that I can only admire the work of Ben Stiller, Greta Gerwig, Rhys Ifans and Jennifer Jason Leigh there was almost no other film this year that I so desperately wanted to be able to stop watching. I hated GREENBERG because I hated its title character so much. Roger Greenberg was such an insufferable cunt that not only did I want to punch him in the face, I was unable to buy any of the events of this film, largely because it didn’t show him living a totally miserable, friendless existence. More than the fact that I didn’t buy in to the drama (especially Greenberg’s relationship with Greta Gerwig’s charming Florence) it was the fact that I hated him so much that I just wanted to leave so that I no longer had to be around that twat.

DIR: Pascal Chaumeil
Proving that the Americans don’t have a total monopoly on insufferably hideous romantic comedy, here’s a (rampagingly misogynistic) contribution from France. Romain Duris is a man who breaks up couples for a living, he’s hired to destroy the impending marriage of Vanessa Paradis. Guess what happens. The comedy is predictable, poorly executed and groan inducing. The drama is laughably undernourished, and suffers from a plot so join the dots simple that a five year old with limited motor skills could draw you this picture and the romance is insipid, unconvincing and quite frankly impossible to root for because both the characters are pretty hateable. Charmless.

DIR: Christopher Nolan
First off; yes, really. Now that we’ve got that out of the way let’s cut to the chase shall we? Is it a dream? God, I don’t care; not, at least, beyond the fact that I wished that I could have woken up to find myself watching something else. INCEPTION has a huge amount of ideas, and spends such an endless amount of time explaining them (to little avail) that it forgets to have little things like characters worth caring about or a story that engages you. The whole film seemed like one huge McGuffin, which might have been fine if I gave a shit but, despite some decent performances, I just didn’t. I knew where it was going (down to calling the final shot) and was bored as it meandered its way there. I keep hearing that Chris Nolan is THE great filmmaker of our time, but all I see is an emperor with no clothes on.

DIR: Alexandre Aja
It’s been a shame to see Alexandre Aja, whose career began with the spectacular slasher HAUTE TENSION, gobbled up by the Hollywood remake machine. This, his third remake on the trot, is an horrendous version of Joe Dante’s silly, but effective, JAWS parody from 1978. Aja substitutes the wit of Dante for hideously unfunny jokes, boobs (lots and lots of boobs) and overblown gore, all delivered in sub par converted 3D. This is, apparently, what is now regarded as progress. Somebody kill me.

DIR: Ridley Scott
When is a Robin Hood movie not a Robin Hood movie, apparently when it’s directed by Ridley Scott. Scott and his frequent collaborator Russell Crowe transplant GLADIATOR to early medieval England in this unfathomably boring prequel, which feels about as much like Robin Hood as MONSTERS INC. feels like The Three Musketeers. The sole interest lies in trying to figure out from Crowe’s globetrotting accent where Robin is supposed to come from and in seeing whether Oscar Issac, as King John, can possibly keep continuing to find new pieces of scenery to chew in every scene (yes, by the way). There’s just no excuse for a Robin Hood movie this boring.

DIR: Sofia Coppola
Talking of boring… as wonderful and as charming as Elle Fanning is, she can’t rescue Sofia Coppola’s latest from its director’s spectacular lack of ideas and self-indulgence. SOMEWHERE is essentially LOST IN TRANSLATION: Redux, only with an even more slappable main character. We’re actually expected to sympathise with Stephen Dorff’s bored movie star, I just wanted to scream DO SOMETHING at him, because a good hour of this movie consists of scenes of Dorff’s character sitting around doing nothing. The closest SOMEWHERE comes to an action scene is when Dorff and Fanning play Guitar Hero and, lucky us, we get to see the whole song. It’s a film about nothing, and is even more dull than that makes it sound.

DIR: David Slade
To David Slade’s credit, this is the least worst Twilight film yet, and yet it is still mind bogglingly awful. Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattison and Taylor Lautner still have, between them, the personality of a tree stump, the effects and action scenes are still absolutely appalling. The script is still sub moronic, painful to listen to and spectacularly disturbing in its sexual politics. The vampires are still laughably unthreatening, the stakes are still incredibly low, the threat remains laughably weak and the conflict is still fantastically stupid. The sole bright spot remains the lovely Anna Kendrick, who has more talent and charisma in her little finger than the series three ‘stars’ can muster between them. It’s a depressing sight to see; teenagers eating this shit up at the box office.

Fuck. I’m depressed already, and these aren’t even the bottom 10.

1 comment:

  1. I have to say, it's interesting that two films on here are in my Top 10... and you can probably guess which two.