1. Halloween 2
I wasn’t expecting excellence going into this movie. I was expecting decent-ness, but what I got was an hour and a half of poorly directed gore scenes in between extreme close ups of talking heads, punctuated by a girl screeching directly into my ear like a Banshee taking a bath in acid.
2. X-Men Origins: Wolverine
This movie had so much potential. Wolverine, arguably one of the coolest and most badass characters ever in comics, played by Hugh Jackman, who somehow manages to be an amazing embodiment of the character despite being Australian and starring in way too many musicals.
How do you cock it up?
Well, start by taking the rating from what it should be for a character who eviscerates people by the dozens when he’s not busy getting shot in the face (an “R” rating) down to something that would be about as disturbing for a child to watch as a wrestling match between two Teletubbies. Then, take the emotionally rich backstory of the character and have it gutted by ten surgeons who are all under the influence of a different kind of chemical. Afterwards, stitch up the plot, take a last look at it to make sure none of it makes any goddamn sense whatsoever, throw a few hundred million dollars at it and bingo! There’s your crap movie. Go pick up your cheque for being awesome.
3. Epileptic Directing
This directing technique will probably disappoint me until directors stop thinking it’s a good idea. I’m not sure who decided that shaking a camera around makes the audience feel like they’re “in the action”, but whoever it was has inadvertently booked their balls for an appointment with the point of my boot. There are cases where it works in moderation, but some directors think it’s evidence of their artistic genius when a scene is nearly indecipherable. Also, some directors don’t seem to understand that there’s a time and a place for these bouts of genius. Fight scenes are usually not the time, because the shaky camera can turn well choreographed and tense combat into two unrecognizable people wrestling each other with about as much skill as six year olds. It’s like baking a birthday cake for someone and spending thirteen hours adorning it with icing, figurines, and decorations, and then smashing it with a cricket bat just before serving it to your guests. It took a lot of work and it was probably a beautiful cake, but now we’ll never fucking know, will we?
1. Not Seeing George
This one is more of a personal disappointment. Volunteering at TIFF, I got a last-minute call to leave my usual shift and head to Ryerson to help out at the big Up in the Air premiere. I thought this would be an interesting experience, since it was one of my only chances to see stars while volunteering. However, as it turned out, my assigned job was to mind the back of the line. So, when George Clooney et al. were on the red carpet, I was way around the block. By the time I returned to the front, most of the stars had already gone inside (though I did catch a glimpse of Ivan Reitman).
2. The IMAX re-branding
My only real personal problem with IMAX this year was the summertime $3 price jump. To add insult to injury, though, IMAX’s newest screens are merely “somewhat larger” than a standard screen – they’re no longer building the colossal 6 storey screens we associate with the brand. The backlash against pricing-up and sizing-down began with an angry blog post by comedian Aziz Ansari and it ballooned from there. An article in MacLean’s points out that the smaller screens are part of a rebranding effort by the company to recreate IMAX as more of a “premium” movie-watching experience and not the complete immersion once synonymous with the brand. I happen to have easy access to “true” IMAX screens, but it is disappointing that corporate greed has resulted in IMAX forgetting why people like the brand.
3. Crank: High Voltage
Since I often skip films that I know I won’t like, I only end up having one or two true disappointments each year with the films that I do see. This year it was Crank: High Voltage. I quite enjoyed the original film. I was looking forward to more over-the-top action. However, the film was TOO over-the-top and, combined with the way-too-close cinematography, it made the film a scrambled mess. I have already written a full review of the film, so I will just leave it at that.
Shane McNeil’s Disappointments
1. The Academy
I can just see the internal memo on the decision to up the Best Picture nominees to ten. “Hey guys, last year ruled, right? How bout we satiate the people that were upset about the Wall-E and Dark Knight snubs by doubling the count this year!”
The only problem is that this is the year we felt the sting of the writers’ strike. Instead of getting more people into theatres to see the five chosen films, the AMPAS has more likely caused people to wave the white flag on even making the effort. Congratulations guys, you’re just making it that much easier for the Weinsteins to make money. I give it five years, max, before we have a new “Worst Best Picture. Ever.”
Talk about wasting your artistic currency. Sacha Baron Cohen builds himself an incredible rep as a creative force between the sheer genius of Borat and scene-stealing turns in Talladega Nights and Sweeney Todd and what does he do with it? A full minute of flopping dick on screen. Mind you, that was funny – too bad the rest of the movie wasn’t. My only hope is that this is the last we see of his Ali G Show characters.
This is why no one likes to hear what you have to say before a movie comes out. You tell us that a film is finally going to do justice to a much-beloved comic book (sorry guys, I still refuse to use the term graphic novel with any sincerity) and what goes up on screen is an uneven, overly long scenery chew. I hate to say it, but we may even have been better off splitting the thing in two, just to give everyone more to talk about – though I doubt many would have stuck around for the second part. Also, who was at the switch for the music supervision? Too much on the music cues and way, way too obvious in the song selection.