Friday, December 27, 2013

Bottom Ten 2013

Frances Ha - Indulgent and charmless portrait of youthful free spirit who learns to curb her life fantasies because she bloody has to. Not for me.

Compliance - Intriguing tale of response to perceived authority quickly derails itself when it leaves the viewer with no option but to side with the baddie and view his victims with contempt. Sleazy for the wrong reasons. Unclean.

Mama - None other than the great Guillermo Del Toro is to blame for encouraging the maker of this to contaminate it with a Hollywood backstory bloated with a routine orchestral score and everything else that makes good ideas into rubbish blockbusters.

Kill Your Darlings - Almost good, it's here for being disappointing. Good cast let down by writing and filmmaking annoyingly more conventional than its subjects.

Nothing Can Hurt Me: The Big Star Story - Snatches wincing boredom from the jaws of potential greatness as the afterband careers are given equal time without mind paid to their unequal results which makes it plod and lose direction. This is a documentary about a band rescued from obscurity by a now durable posthumous adoration and it still manages to turn into time wasting glug.

The Complex - In which the inventor of the most effective genre wave in the last two decades (J-horror) returns to his roots and looks like one of his imitators.

Aim High In Creation - Good ideas and some intriguing results cannot mask the cracks from being pulled in too many directions. In the end it doesn't really feel like anything has been done and you have to remember that parts of it were completely fascinating.

The Bay - Barry Levinson should know better. He led the way on tv in the moving camera and changing film/video stock with the gorundbreaker Homicide: Life on the Streets. But here he seems to have lost touch with the point of that and that a generation on from Blair Witch you really need to do more with the found footage form than rest on its apparent veracity. The Bay just ends up being corny and fake.

Mud - Tale of dreams and responsibility as seen through a convincingly well drawn teenage boy's mind almost touches the far shore but gets too convenient in the final act and feels a tad pat. Some splendid moments ruined by unwelcome subplotting.

Hitchcock - I don't know what I was expecting but it wasn't serious biographical fiction. What I got was a pleasant diversion on a favourite cinematic subject with some fine performances and arch writing. Potential takes a pratfall.


  1. Bio-pics are, by and large, an unwatchable genre.

    1. Well, the only one I can think of that I really like is Amadeus but that doesn't pretend to be a biography and is happy staying within fable territory.