Sunday, December 23, 2012

My bottom five for 2012

As I tend to accurately pick what I think I will like my worst list for any year will always fall short of the best list. MIFF also throws this off considerably even though I'm far more haphazard in my choices from that program. Then again, a broken leg will knock a great swathe of cinemagoing out of the schedule. Anyway...

The Rum Diary: Johnny Depp aided and abetted by Bruce Robinson make the thoughts of the pre-Gonzo Hunter S. Thompson into Animal House. No thanks. It's rubbish.

The Woman in Black: Renders a good solid novel and chilling sparse tv adaptation (by the late great Nigel Kneale) into a fun park ride with a lot of boo moments that wouldn't stop a ten year old. Also, if you're going to add elements that aren't in any previous versions (including the source novel) try and give them something new. Every original-version-warping addition made to this travesty was straight out of the cliche chest. When Kneale wrote his adaptation for the small screen he knew it would have a tiny budget and so scrapped any special effect that would jeopardise the gloom, dread and sadness that the story needs. His additions involved very clever use of contemporary technology and poignant mementos of the story-recent First World War. The 2012 version just adds cheese. Complete bullshit.

Prometheus: The good thing about Alien was the near total lack of back story. The characters talk shop, union regulations and salvage rates before getting torn apart by the alien. This is all backstory and one of the most hamfisted attempts at creating depth by adding religion. If you're not remotely religious (and I'm not) it comes across as a massive waste.

Damsels in Distress: Whit Stillman considers himself arch and sophisticated but if he weren't so intent on letting us know he thinks this we might enjoy his films more. But he continually demolishes all chance of that happening. It ends up looking like the most contrived garbage outside of the blast radius of a Wes Anderson stinker. Argh!

Dark Knight Rises: EEEEHHH? Dark Knight Rises? Worst? Don't you know it's Christopher Nolan, the man who gave brains to blockbusters? Yes, I know and there they are splattered all over the screen. Look, it is better than most of the others and superior to any of the Tim Burton attempts by going deep into the central conflict and imbuing every main thread with colour and depth. That's the problem, though, because in the end it is really just a big action movie as it should be but bloated out by increasingly lunking pointers to just how clever and deep it is. The effect is to make the conflicts and subtleties and darkness that are part of every major big action piece blaring and obvious. Take those out or allow them to appear to the audience who then can choose to get them (they probably will) or let them slide so the explosions can be enjoyed. Nolans brainy blockbusters remind me of prog rock. Nice playing lads but rock needs to have something primal and joyfully cretinous dominating and driving it. Slamming some Tchaikovsky into Get Off Of My Cloud makes utter faeces of both. Stop it!

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