Nightman’s Least Favourite Movies Of 1994!

Greetings, Glancers! As you’ll have seen in my other 1994 post, this was one of my favourite years for Cinema with maybe more personal favourites than any other year. That doesn’t mean there wasn’t a steaming pile of turds as well. Hold your nose, and dive in below.

Ashes Of Time

Wong Kar Wai is a director of phenomenal visual talent. Nevertheless, I do find his movies can be hit and miss in terms of character and storytelling – but sometimes his films use characters and story as a mere backdrop for metaphor and suggestion. Ashes Of Time is a mesmerising and bewildering affair – frequently gorgeous, but ultimately dull. The Redux version is a little more fluid, but the shorter running time still feels like a slog. It’s not surprising that Wong Kar Wai would make a Wuxia film with very little action, so if you’re coming to this expecting Crouching Tiger you’re likely to be disappointed and more than a little confused when instead you get Solaris with swords. The story follows a nomadic swordsman who interacts with various characters in separate yet intertwining chapters, as he works through love, loss, and longing. I think.

Baby’s Day Out

It is what it is. I’m sure kids at the time got a kick out of the antics of a baby being chased around New York by hapless criminals, and I’ve no doubt this would work well as an animation with a decent script, but as it stands it’s a bit of a mess.

Beverly Hills Cop III

I was never the biggest Beverly Hills Cop fan in the world, but the first two movies are classic 80s Action comedies. It’s rare that the third entry in a franchise is good, and it’s even more rare when there has been a significant gap between the second and third. It’s disappointing because there’s a good cast with (some) returning faces, it’s directed by John Landis, and it’s set in an amusement park – all things I approve of. Each of these normally positive attributes is spun into a negative – Murphy seems disinterested, Judge Reinhold is too old to be pulling the same shtick, Landis was on a major downturn in quality, and the setting isn’t used in any sort of interesting way. It’s simply not as funny or energetic as the others and the low stakes of the story mean we don’t care about any of it.

The Flintstones

I was never a huge fan of the show, but it was one of those ‘well there’s nothing else on TV on Sunday morning and I refuse to get out of bed yet’ cartoons so I still watched it. To the film’s credit, it kind of nails the look and the cast, but it also looks very cheap and some of the casting choices are miserable. I could see a bigger budget remake of this doing well now, just make sure the cast are all good fits rather than the 80% on show here. Obviously the story needs to be interesting and there needs to be jokes – both lacking in the 90s version.

Four Weddings And A Funeral

The bastard which started it all. After this the world was crying out for soppy British Rom Coms and Hugh Grants. It fares better than much of what followed in its wake and it does have a collection of British stars who deserve recognition for performances elsewhere. But it’s very dull, very foppish, hits all the quirky notes which nauseate my mind, body, and soul, and like all Rom Coms no matter how you dress it up they all end up in the same spot. I’d like just for once for the Rom Com to end in a shocking, completely random tragedy with no resolution or happy ending – just boom – wtf – end credits.

Junior

Another one of Arnie’s experiments at branching out from just punching heads off and exploding shit. Which is fine, some of those were good. Increasingly though you now look back at Arnie’s mid 90s output and think ‘man, you were still in peak physical condition, why didn’t you make another action movie’. Lets not forget – T2, Total Recall, True Lies, Last Action Hero, even End Of Days were all ostensibly action movies but which elevated the genre and did something different. Eraser and The Sixth Day tried but were not very good. An average Arnie action movie is still better than whatever bollocks this is, a diluted comedy free from the laughs of Kindergarten Cop and the charm of Twins, with added romance. It’s watchable, as Arnie always is, and there’s great cast support, but there’s nothing memorable, no laughs, no one-liners, nothing exciting or funny – the one joke (man gets pregnant) could have worked with any actor. Arnie could have made one more great action movie in that period – a true Expendables, King Conan, his version of I Am Legend. Sigh.

Muriel’s Wedding

It’s Australian Four Weddings. But somehow even more for women.

Mission To Moscow

I’ll defend the Police Academy series to the death. Even number 5 which didn’t know how to recover from Guttenberg leaving the series, and 6 which wasn’t very good. Mission To Moscow is basically unforgivable. There’s another fake Mahoney, most of the cast has buggered off, and it’s extremely cartoonish. Rather than being a series of loosely connected vignettes highlighting the ridiculous characters, this one somehow tries to focus more on plot, but forgets to make the plot interesting or coherent. There aren’t really any laughs – I mean, I’ll laugh watching Lassard do anything, even if that is him trying to communicate with Russian jugglers or whatever he’s doing here – and there’s a bit where fake Mahoney’s moustache goes ‘woop’…. you can see I’m struggling here. The most interesting thing is that we have Ron Perlman doing his finest Zangief impression, Christopher Lee as a Russian Cop, and Claire Forlani looking effing gorgeous. It’s best to forget this exists.

Renaissance Man

Danny DeVito – what were you thinking?

Sirens

It’s more Hugh Grant. Lets be honest, there’s only one reason anyone would watch this, and if anyone does foolishly watch this for that one reason, they’re going to be sorely disappointed. It’s about an English Church dude who goes to Australia and is shocked to see boobs. It’s somehow less interesting than that sounds.

Let us know in the comments if you enjoyed any of the films listed above, and feel free to share the movies of 1994 which you couldn’t stand!

Nightman’s Least Favourite Movies Of 1995!

12 Monkeys' Speaks to Our Current Crisis - Hollywood in Toto

12 Monkeys

We’re coming in hot today, with the beloved by most 12 Monkeys, Terry Gilliam’s crazed tale of time travelling, airports, disease, and Brad Pitt’s hilarious attempts at acting. I have an amount of admiration for 12 Monkeys but a deeper look unravels what a shambles the plot is, and the twists are of the usual sort you find in time-travel movies. I came to the film late, spurred on by heaps of praise by people whose opinions usually mesh with my own. It’s good, but it’s not movie of the year good. If there’s any lesson here, it’s probably that your friends are dicks and you can’t trust their recommendations. BECAUSE THEY’RE A FUTURE VERSION OF YOU. But yeah, one of Brad Pitt’s early attempts at ‘big, real, acting’ following the much more interesting Kalifornia and Interview With The Vampire, are hilarious and I will never understand how he was nominated for any Award, never mind an Oscar.

When Nature Calls

I love the first Ace Ventura. I don’t love the second. Less interesting story, a re-tread of jokes and one-liners which were already over-stated by the time the second film was announced, but beyond that it’s simply more of the same. Normally I would say ‘bring it on’, but I would have much preferred more of the same of The Mask or Dumb And Dumber, or more of the same of Ace Ventura, but with some effort.

Assassins

I’m still not sure how you bring together 1995 Antonio Banderas, Sly Stallone, and give a Wachowski’s story about guns and killings and hitmen to Richard Donner, and make it a dull slog. It’s such a nothing story – the Wachowskis had clearly been watching a lot of John Woo movies and thought they could make their own take on homoerotic machismo (plus guns), but forgot to make it interesting, then everyone else involved didn’t bother giving it any style or attempt to flesh out the characters or assign any sense to whatever the hell was going on.

Get Shorty

Another one of the post Pulp Fiction movies which every studio was pumping out between 1995 and 2000, but this one comes with some genuine cred, based on a story by Elmore Leonard. Cool cast too. I don’t know why ‘cool’ is equated to jazz in movies, when any music fan knows that jazz actually equates to ‘shit’, so we’re subjected to a shitty score, people in sunglasses, dialogue which feels as if the characters are ripping pages from a bad book of poetry and passing them to one another instead of speaking. It’s a hideous bore too, though every time I’ve seen it has been late at night when I’ve already been tired.

Haunted

Haunted may be the most boring, sleep inducing movie of all time. There was a lot of it this year – it’s as if they knew Desperado and Goldeneye were coming out this year and thought ‘why bother’.

Moonlight And Valentino

I get there’s a market for this sort of thing – lonely, middle aged housewives for example – and because I’m not one of those, Moonlight And Valentino was never going to do anything for me. It’s not even good enough for any awkward ‘look, it’s John Bon Jovi’ laughs. As with any other year, there were a number of equally unacceptable shitty rom coms/dramas/costume nonsese that I could have added in this spot – The Englishman Who Climbed A Hill, The Scarlet Letter, Sabrina, Miami Rhapsody etc, but this one commits the cardinal crime of being such an up itself story of unrealistic soap opera relationships that you can neither take it seriously, not laugh at it. Plus it has Gwyneth Paltrow.

Nine Months

I’m surprised this didn’t have Gwyneth Paltrow, but it does have Hugh Grant which is essentially the same thing. It’s a remake of a French film where the comedy simply doesn’t translate. The story is basically about your typical bloke, drifting along, happy with his life, career, relationship who knocks up his girlfriend and begins freaking out. The Simpsons did it better in a single episode. Not only does the humour not translate, there is no attempt to attune the humour in any way, Hugh Grant will never be funny (unless he’s attacking snake people), and like every movie of its ilk you know precisely how it’s going to end from the moment the opening credits run. It’s a shame, as this year had a few decent movies in this genre – While You Were Sleeping, Waiting To Exile….. and Showgirls.

Rob Roy

What a load. Of. SHITE.

To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything Julie Newmar!

Another film where we have to whip out the checklist of things I don’t like; ridiculous name. Quirky camp comedy. Drag. Stockard Channing. Being tame. The only thing going for it are a few interesting cast choices and the fact that it’s a road movie, but those aren’t enough to save it.

Village Of The Damned

Carpenter was on the verge of checking out by this point. I feel like if he had achieved a hit with this, regardless of quality, he would have been more prolific throughout the rest of the decade and into the 2000s. To be fair, it had a lot of positives going in – unusual cast, the genre is precisely in Carpenter’s wheelhouse, and Carpenter has a track record of making good remakes. I would have loved Carpenter to have tackled a Bodysnatchers story, but Abel Ferrera got there first. Instead, he updates the 1960 British classic of the same name. Sadly it’s clear that Carpenter doesn’t give a shit – there’s none of his usual style or flair, the characters don’t feel like real people or even caricatures, and it’s dull. Even the Soundtrack doesn’t help. It does provide some darker twists which set it apart from the original, but it’s a disappoint on all fronts. It was a failure at the Box Office too, and so Carpenter stopped caring about movies.

Let us know in the comments what your least favourite movies of 1995 are!

Nightman’s Least Favourite Movies Of 1996!

Arnold Schwarzenegger brings Christmas cheer and gratuitous violence in Jingle  All The Way / The Dissolve

Brassed Off

1996 is a year I love, so my picks this year are less on the ‘I hated this side’ and more on the ‘meh’ side. Brassed Off is a shining example of this – there’s nothing wrong with the movie, and it’s certainly a damn sight better than the usual 90s English comedy fare I despise. But still, it is a quirky English comedy so it’s never going to be more than ‘meh’ for me.

Down Periscope

Everybody loved Fraiser, right? Sure, it wasn’t as laugh out loud as Friends, and it lacked any emotional connection, and it presented a world of high class intellectualism that few of us could relate or aspire to, but it was still a good show. Kelsey ‘that’s not a real name, and neither is my surname’ Grammer attempts to cash in on his flagship show’s fame by making this Police Academy/Airplane knock-off. It’s funny in places, but it feels out of place in the 90s.

Emma

Lets get out the checklist again, shall we? English? Costume Drama? Quirky rom com? Gwyneth Paltrow. Oscar Bait? This was a cert for my bottom films of the year as soon as it was announced. I like Jane Austin as much as the next English Literature University Graduate, but I much prefer these texts on page than on screen. It’s the story and characters I care about – not the costumes or the setting which are admittedly… pretty? Don’t care. But you ruin it by throwing Paltrow in there who, by her third starring role, I’d long since given up on ever making something I’d be remotely interested in. 

The English Patient

This is more of the same, but at least they dispense with any quirky comedy, replace Paltrow with Binoche, and have the film set in a period I’m actually interested in, but they hike up the sentimentality and the Oscar bait to ridiculous levels. You knew this was down for Best Picture as soon as it was announced, regardless of quality. It’s fine, but not my thing. 

Escape From LA

John Carpenter didn’t have the best of decades in the 90s – he made a batch of interesting films and relative flops, some less interesting material too. Escape From LA feels like a last gasp attempt to win his fans over again, a sequel to one of his most culty cult favourites and featuring one of his most beloved characters. But it’s horrible, mostly a rehash of what was done better in the original, with the added slap in the tits of some shocking special effects. There’s some interesting stuff here – the casting, the score, the nihilism, but there’s also all of this silly misplaced humour… I’m not sure what went wrong but another go over the script, and update of the effects, and a few tonal shifts and I’m sure it would have been a much stronger film.

The First Wives Club

I’m not sure why I even put myself through this in the first place as a glance as the synopsis was enough to make me vomit through every pore in my body. It must have been because Hugh Wilson helmed, and he gets a pass for me every time thanks to Police Academy. But Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn, Diane Keaton – actresses I’ve never cared for – and even worse they have Maggie Smith and Stockard Channing in supporting roles. Silly comedy and a silly story, annoying characters, and the whole thing is aimed squarely at the middle aged woman market who lapped it up like a discount Yoga DVD. All together now – not. for. me.

Jingle All The Way

This should have been for me – Christmas movie and Arnie? What could go wrong? Well, nothing in the entire movie goes right. Brian Levant has never made a good movie – Beethoven is about as close as he came – and what’s more, he’s been attached to a Police Academy reboot for a while, so God help us all. I know it was successful, and I know it was a festive release, but who the hell was this for? It’s an utter mess from top to bottom with not even an Arnie one-liner to redeem a single second.

Michael Collins

I’ve probably mentioned it before, but as much as I dislike quirky English comedies, I equally can’t stand Irish drama. There’s so much potential here, but they end up being so dour, so divisive, and so Award-baity. Michael Collins is each of those things, with the added bonus of featuring a character and story I’m never going to be interested in. It’s mostly well acted, and Neil Jordan knows his way about a movie, but it’s yet another example of the sordid history of a group of island nations whose greatest heroes are also war-mongering murderers.

Striptease

How exactly do you have a movie called Striptease and not show any boobs? At least Showgirls had the dignity to, you know, show girls. Sadly, the film is so boring and uneventful that there probably were boobs all over the place but I was too bored to notice. Look, it was a good year so I’m struggling with what movies to pick – this one is legitimately bad.

There you go – any favourites above? What other terrible movies were unleashed in 1996? Let us know in the comments!

Nightman’s Least Favourite Movies Of 1997!

Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection

Alien Resurrection

One of the big criticisms against Alien 3 was the lack of action. And horror. I mean, there was also a lack of direction, no memorable characters, and the overall story wasn’t very interesting – but it’s still a damn sight better than Resurrection. Resurrection should work – you have Joss Whedon writing – an upcoming star with a love for the genre and strong female characters, you have Jean Pierre Jeunet directing – a director with a distinct visual flair, you have a return to action, a great cast, and Ripley’s back! And swimming Aliens! But somehow everything that could go wrong, does. The story is a mess – the bad guys have somehow brought Ripley back from a lava-based death because that was the only way they could find and clone the Xenomorph, but there’s space pirates or something and Ripley is essentially de-humanized. Jeunet doesn’t do horror often, and his voice and eye and humour simply don’t work in this world with this script. He brings his usual pals who make up the bulk of the cast, leading to a mish mash of accents and faces who should be more memorable than the shaved-bald nobodies of part 3, but zero time is spent defining any of them. Similarly, the action feels like it was directed by someone more comfortable with corsets and wigs than plasma rifles and grenades. There’s precious little horror or threat or suspense, and the overall vibe feels more like Delicatessen. Swimming aliens are cool though.

Batman And Robin

Legitimately one of the worst films ever made. It’s basically Carry On Comic Book Heroes (or if the name of the film appeared in the film itself, it would be called Carry On Cum Ick Boob Herpes) such are the truly awful one liners. I mean, it’s clearly aping the 60s series, and possibly the original comics – but who has the time to read that shite – but that in no way makes a thing good. I’m here to see this product, and the product is vomit inducing. I don’t think I’ve cringed more in any other movie – I don’t think I cringed more watching this than this time I accidentally gave the tip of my shlong a paper cut. Clooney is… fine.. but why make the change from Val? Chris O Donnell is as suitably bland and forgettable as he was in the previous movie. The worst moments, sadly, come from Arnie and Uma – both dial their performances up to 69 – but there’s only so much they could do with material written by a 6 year old future sociopath. Does anyone even remember Alicia Silverstone being in this? It doesn’t look like any other Batman movie, which some see as cause for praise, but it’s hardly unique in that respect – the only thing unique about this movie is that it holds the spot for worst Batman movie.

Double Team

For those of you who, back in 1997, were wondering ‘wait, hasn’t Mr Don’t Give A Van Damme already made a film called Double Team?’ then I’m right there with you. But no, that was the vastly superior Double Impact, which featured Bolo Yeung and an eye-opening sex scene (not literally). No, Double Team is the one with Dennis Rodman, back when he had yellow hair, and back when Mickey Rourke was still a mess. The film is something to do with an ex-dude returning to shooty killy work when his old nemesis starts shooty killing, but the dude is married now and doesn’t want to deal with flambouyant NBA stars-turned actor-turned arms dealer-turned friend of North Korea – Dennis Rodman. There’s shooting and killing and babies and a tiger…. it’s not Tsui Hark’s finest hour, and that guy has some of the finest hours ever committed to action cinema.

Gattaca

Maybe it’s me, but I prefer my sci-fi movies to be more on the shooty, killy side of the moon. Sci movies which tend towards the thought-provoking or introspective or intellectual tend to not be my jam, unless they are singularly brilliant. This is singularly bland. I’m sure I’d probably enjoy it if I saw it again now, or enjoy it more than what I remember from my first and only viewing decades ago, but I have no desire to return to it.

Contact

Re-read my entry for Gattaca.

In & Out

In the VHS player once, then out and into the bin never to be mentioned again.

Mortal Kombat Annihilation

I was a big fan of the first Mortal Kombat movie. Not because it was amazing or anything, but because I was an obsessive fan of the games at the time, and because it made a decent fist at converting a videogame about muscle-bound freaks tearing each others’ arms off and ‘getting over here’, into a wholly entertaining 90 mins. The sequel, which I waited and waited for, comes with all the annoying cast changes you would expect and an even more overblown and silly plot. Worse, it takes its script from the Batman & Robin school of writing, with dialogue last seen scrawled in the bathroom stall of an Eastern European drug den. Even the fighting and introductions of fan favourite fighters is a complete let down. Lets hope the new movie lives up to the hype of the ridiculous trailer.

Mrs Brown

Maybe I now have an innate dislike of anything with ‘Mrs Brown’ in the title thanks to that awful sitcom, but this came first and is equally unwatchable. Lets go through the list of things Nightman cannot abide – Costume Drama? English? Quirky humour? The monarchy? This was going to be on my list before it was even released.

Bean

In a year of personal let downs, this was probably the most heinous. Mr Bean is one of my favourite TV shows of all time. I still watch every episode every year. Rowan Atkinson’s creation is comedy perfection. But like almost every attempt to bring a British comedy show to the big screen, the movie loses everything which made (makes) the show so wonderful. Gone are the set pieces, the humour is changed to cater to a more American audience – a bizarre change when the show is both Universal and timeless – and having Bean following a larger form plot, such as it is, simply isn’t as interesting as seeing him ramble aimlessly from scene to scene and mishap to mishap. Luckliy, the sequel is much better, but I think the day I saw this was the day my childhood died.

The Full Monty

Once again…. lets just go through the list. English? Quirky comedy? Basically a musical? As interesting as (some of) Britpop was in the 90s, the same cannot be said for the films of the era. An unbelievable success, in that I cannot believe anyone paid to see this.

Let us know in the comments what steamers I missed, or if you think I should re-evaluate any of my picks above!

Nightman’s Least Favourite Movies Of 1998!

Shakespeare In Love Review | Movie - Empire

It feels like a long time since I’ve posting one of these. I think that’s because my last batch of favourite/least favourite movie posts were written months ago, then posted sporadically in the weeks afterwards, but I haven’t actually written any new ones in 6 months. Time to get back into these now.

I had a tough time with this one – I had to resort to scanning down all the movies released according to Wikipedia, and it wasn’t until the letter H that I found one that I was even remotely inclined to include here. Quite a few of the movies I’ve listed – I don’t think they’re bad, I don’t even dislike them much. It’s just that out of the movies I’ve seen from 1998, these ones I liked least or had some personal issues with. There are, of course, a few stinkers.

Hard Rain

The letter ‘H’. It’s a film I don’t have anything against, it’s just a little meh. Underwhelming. It was one of Christian Slater’s last shots at the big time before he sadly fell into straight to DVD fare. He’s one of my favourite actors, he’s in some of my favourite movies, and he’s capable of so much more. Here he rejoins Morgan Freeman in a sort of action, sort of thriller, though both the thrills and action leave plenty to be desired. It’s a decent idea, coming around the same time as all of those 90s era disaster special effects blockbusters, but it lacks the entertainment or the scope of those.

The film looks good – it just lacks that spectacle. Danish Cinematographer Mikael Salomon directs – famed for his work on The Abyss – but the story doesn’t deliver the thrills which the setup promises. It’s basically a heist movie inside of a disaster movie, which sounds great on paper, and the disaster is the flooding of a small US town. Slater is the everyman good guy, while Freeman plays against type as the villain. It’s worth seeing, it probably didn’t deserve to flop as badly as it did, but it’s hardly the most memorable movie of the year.

Knock Off

In the 1980s, Jean Claude Van Damme made his name for himself as a respectable action movie star. Then again, in the 1980s you could get away with a lot of nonsense which simply wouldn’t work in any other era. When we entered the 90s, much of the cheese went away and the surviving successful action stars had to adapt – bigger budget movies, higher concepts – with Van Damme doing well in the first half of the decade thanks to Universal Soldier and Timecop. Those less inclined to follow every movie such stars release would have though JCVD dropped off the map, but he was still there pushing out a mixture of cult classics, lesser known fun times, and shite like this.

It seemed good on the surface – Tsui Hark is a man renowned for his flamboyant, amusing, action packed Hong Kong movies, with the Once Upon A Time In China series being one of the greatest Martial Arts franchises. But then Rob Schneider appears in the cast. And Paul Sorvino. And the plot is about… stolen pairs of jeans? It doesn’t matter. It all circles on Knock Off clothing and Van Damme and Schneider are the cops tasked with sorting all this shit out and making sure only wholesome American brands are worn on ever thickening American asses.

The movie is camp as get out, something I’m usually resolutely against in my humour, but there are a few amusing moments. Mostly because the whole thing is ridiculous. It tries to follow the straight man/weirdo buddy cop formula… but the mixture of Hong Kong algorithms into the mix really throws things off meaning it becomes a bizarre, unwieldy mish mash which isn’t really suited to anyone. The most egregious crime is that it lacks the kinetic and visual flare of the HK side, or the brutality and coherence of the US side. If you like JCVD, it’s certainly one of many curios in his career, but it’s not worth the time for anyone else.

Little Voice

1998 was one of those years where the influence of Britpop and Cool Britannia spilled over into British Cinema – on the surface all of these new British voices – writers, directors, actors, were hitting the mainstream. The worldwide mainstream. British Cinema was firmly on the map again. Four Wedding And A Funeral kind of kicked it off, and Trainspotting blazed the trail in a different direction, but it wasn’t until the latter half of the decade that all of these British (English) movies made an impact beyond our shores. People suddenly loved British Cinema again. The stupid thing is, the whole era resulted in a grand total of fuck all good movies. There are a few of them on my list this year, and each in their own way signifies everything I hate about English film in the populist sense. From the sickeningly desperate leg-humping attempts to be notice by the big boys in Hollywood (rather than having the self respect to be their own thing), to the inevitable cutesy twee humour which, again, is something which exists only because it’s what the big boys in US expect. These movies are always, always comedies, with slightly offbeat characters – the types of people you cross the street to avoid, then wait until they’re out of sight before following them home and shitting on their doorstep – but they completely avoid the truest, best trappings of British humour. Look at any number of British sitcoms of comedy TV shows from this same era, which were made primarily for British audiences; there’s simply no comparison. TV writers were pumping out some of the finest characters and sketches ever committed to screen, while movie makers were shoving this shite down everyone’s gaping holes.

You know exactly what this film is before seeing it – it hits all of the same character, comedy, and story beats of every other film of its ilk. Shy woman from working class background hides from the world and impersonates her favourite singers (read – has zero personality of her own). Her mum, who is a shit, thinks she is shit. She is encouraged to sing in public, and after some misfires becomes a success. The end. The amount of awards this was nominated for is ridiculous.

There was any number of other British films this year that I could also have included here (further down the list I have) but the likes of The Land Girls, Waking Ned, Titanic Town almost made the cut but were just redeemable enough to avoid such embarrassment.

Lock Stock And Two Smoking Barrels

With its poster adorning the walls of idiots around the globe, Lock…. was a sensation and launched the career of Guy Ritchie – a man who has yet to make a single film I have even tolerated, never mind enjoyed. His success is truly bewildering to me. I get that people love his early work, but I just don’t understand any of it. It’s cut rate Tarantino at its worst, and even more unforgivably it centres on a bunch of Cockney twats who I wanted out of my life within seconds of seeing. A bunch of people I don’t like arsing about in a convoluted yet empty crime plot with a soundtrack by artists I can’t stand – the only good thing about this was that I generated a nickname for one of my English teachers at the time – Mr Blackstock And Two Smoking Armpits. Because he was a sweater. And because I am a genius.

Psycho

There’s a silly argument which goes on about remakes of foreign movies – that the US version must somehow be superior, or that the original is somehow inferior or overhyped simply because it is foreign. Because it is subtitled. Pushers of this argument double down on the remakes which are essentially scene for scene. Ignoring the casual racism inherent in such a statement, it’s a very silly argument to make. I could make the argument that if the US remake isn’t very good but the foreign original was lauded and lavished with praise – simply that the critics and reviewers were wrong or that the wrong films are being remade. The whole thing is rendered pointless when we think of US shot for shot remakes of US films. Gus Van Sant’s remake of Hitchcock’s masterpiece is as close to a shot for shot remake as you’ll ever get. Yet it somehow lacks the chills and the shocks and the atmosphere and the intelligence of the original. Which highlights the simple fact that, no matter how similar you make your remake it’s still an entirely separate entity. Different director (probably), different cast, different filming period, different everything. Before comparing remake to original or blindly assuming the original must somehow be a product of reviewer bias if the remake is poor, maybe go watch the fucking thing yourself.

Rasen

Ringu is one of the greatest horror movies of all time. It’s also one of my personal Top Ten movies of all time. Rasen is the forgotten… side sequel? Honestly, the whole Ring book and movie series is quite complicated, but basically both Ringu and Rasen are based on the original books by Koji Suzuki – Ringu is the first novel and Spiral is the second, with Rasen based on Spiral. Both movies share some cast members – namely Hiroyuki Sanada and Miki Nakatani, and exist in the same universe. That’s about where the similarities end. The book series is loosely horror, and as it proceeds begins to deal with artificial intelligence and the link between the supernatural and technology, and that’s kind of the tone which Rasen follows. Ringu is all terror, all the time. Ringu was a massive hit, singlehandedly kicking off the J-Horror movement, while no-one remembers Rasen exists. It’s hardly surprising, because Rasen is a slog to get through, isn’t scary, and doesn’t really know what it’s supposed to be.

It doesn’t make an ounce of sense. The books are incredibly well written and in dealing with complex theories they actually drive an engaging narrative and convince the reader of what is being proposed. Rasen jumps from scene to scene and twist to twist with little explanation, and what explanation there is ends up bewildering further. The film was such a flop that those in charge demanded a new sequel – the vastly superior Ring 2 more closely following the events of Ringu insteaf of the books.

Shakespeare In Love

Here we go again. Another British Rom come. This ticks a tonne of my no go boxes – English (kind of)? Rom Com? Period Piece? When I first heard about it… I thought it was a good idea. As an English Literature Degree holding guy this should have been up at least one of my alleys. But a combination of irritating casting and misguided humour, along with the aforementioned no go boxes meant this was at best an annoyance best forgotten. The fact that the film was such a monumental success was salt, ketchup, and garlic and chives into the wound. We’ll get to the whole Oscars debacle at some point in the future, but it’s neither here nor there – the film is utter balls.

Sliding Doors

Two Gwyneth Paltrow movies in one list in one year? I’m not surprised, given how garbage an actress (human?) she appears to be. Existing in this space entirely on the backs of famous parents, her entire career is a mess. If I look down her entire filmography, there isn’t a single performance that I’ve seen that I’ve enjoyed, and her appearance in films I have more or less liked – The Talented Mr Ripley…. actually, that’s probably the only one – her appearance has brought those films down. Why is she a thing?

Sliding Doors… another quirky English Rom Com which panders to the big boys. It’s actually an okay premise – how something as uneventful as getting on or not getting on a train could be on your life. In reality, such things don’t actually make a difference to anyone’s existence – few things do, but that’s the Hollywood lie to keep us poor folks hoping and dreaming and giving over money to our betters. The idea is used only to serve the ‘romance’ which is what really matters, but the horrible dialogue, the cutesy twee crap, the awful casting, the production line beats of the script… it all adds up to yet another wholly unnecessary entry in a genre which has produced more shite than almost any other.

The Thin Red Line

Terence Malik, I love ya but… this increasingly feels like a meandering misstep. With every new Malik film released it feels like the dude is only good at one thing, and thing stopped being interesting in the 70s. Still, The Thin Red Line is a beautifully shot experience and should be seen by anyone with even a passing interest in Cinema as an art form. It’ll certainly pick up plenty of nominations in my personal Oscars lists when I get around to those. I only wish I cared about any of what was happening. By no means a bad film… it just passed me by like yet another exhibit in a gallery I didn’t have to pay to enter.

You’ve Got Mail

Gwyneth Paltrow and Meg Ryan may well be the same person. Have you seen them in the same room at the same time? In any case, they both select the same sort of material and play the same sort of characters regardless of the film or the genre. Of course, that genre is usually RomCom, but you get the idea. Ryan, to her credit, is a better performer and has sometimes chosen more edgy and exciting material, but it’s movies like this that she is known for. Films for hopeless romantics (read – hopeless people), movies which have these people in ridiculous situations and somehow come out of them with a diamond ring and a nice pretty husband. You’ve Got Mail is one of the most notable of these sorts of movies – it’s equally illogical and annoying as the others, it’s a void of ideas, it’s shot with the flare of a housewife filming her baby’s first birthday, and… well, it’s just for me. I think we’ve established that repeatedly by now. If people enjoy this, more power to them. For me, it’s just another inane entry and the garbage spewing canon.

What are your thoughts on 1998? Have I treated any of these films unfairly? Which films from my list, or from 1998 would you include as your least favourite? Let us know in the comments!

Nightman’s Least Favourite Movies Of 1999!

Notting Hill review – a year-round treat, not just for Valentine's | Notting Hill | The Guardian

1999 was a pretty favourable year for me, as you’ll have seen in my Favourites post. There were plenty of movies I enjoyed outside of those Twenty movies, so it was tricky finding enough I didn’t like for this post.

Angela’s Ashes

There’s no valid reason for me having this on the list – I just don’t like Irish films for the most part. Maybe because it’s too close to home, because they’re grimy and filthy, and offer me no escapism that they become nauseating. It’s well made, well acted, and disturbing. But it’s on the list.

The Haunting

Man, this just takes everything which makes the original movie (and haunted house movies in general) interesting, and throws it out the window in favour of dodgy effects, tepid characters, the atmosphere of a vet’s waiting room, and endless aimless dialogue. There are a few unintentionally funny moments here and there but not enough to make it worth anyone’s time.

In Dreams

I was looking forward to this, being a fan of Neil Jordan’s work (excluding some of his Irish stuff) but I generally don’t care for Annette Bening or Aidan Quinn. Having crafted some of the more interesting horror movies in recent decades, this should have worked, but once we get into so called twisting psychological territory, things fall apart quickly with the same old tired tropes and obvious twists signposted early on – plus the whole thing has a drab visual design.

Lake Placid

This is another movie I had looked forward to, hearing it compared favourably to Jaws and Tremors. Both comparisons are insulting with Lake Placid being more similar to Jaws 3 or, well, Tremors 3. The camp humour is risible, the script clueless, and it fails to either entertain or scare or engage in any manner.

Notting Hill

Another year, another dastardly British ‘comedy’. If it’s not a shitty musical, it’s one of these. It reeks of Richard Curtis – smarmy faux slapstick comedy, toff scum, English ideals and character types who don’t actually exist. The annoying thing is that I actually like the central idea – a Hollywood superstar just randomly stumbling upon some nobody’s life. I could do without the falling in love part, and Hugh Grant will never be convincing as anybody other than Hugh Grant. With that idea alone, an overhauled script, new cast, new director, you might have an enjoyable movie.

Runaway Bride

Sorry, Julia Roberts, I think you’re a very good actress – you just have an annoying habit of picking shitty material. Master of the shitty Romantic Comedy, Gary Marshall, created yet another inexplicable hit – did he ever make a good movie though? There’s nothing you need to see here.

Stigmata

Yet another film I was pre-disposed to like – horror, religious iconography, Patricia Arquette, and a Natalie Imbruglia song on the soundtrack to top it off. Sadly, it’s just not very good. Not interesting, not scary… I’m not sure what it was trying to be.

Let us know in the comments what your least favourite movies of 1999 are!

Nightman’s Least Favourite Movies Of 2000!

It took me a longer time than it usually does to find a suitable list of movies to include for this post. Sometimes you get those years where very few films stink up the nose holes.

Kevin And Perry Go Large

More difficult than me finding ten movies I didn’t like this year, is finding a British sitcom which translates successfully to the big screen. In the case of Kevin And Perry – they came from more of a sketch show rather than a sitcom, though their particular sequences in the various Harry Enfield series essentially acted as a mini sitcom. Being in my early teens when the Harry Enfield series were prime time viewing, maybe I should have related more to Kevin and Perry, somehow, even though they were clearly mocking annoying teen culture and clueless parents. They weren’t my favourite sequences or characters though – I still liked them but I liked other parts more. Maybe what irked me most was the fact that these guys were held up as the ‘mascots’ of the series – everyone was doing impressions and one-liners of these guys to the point that it was clear they hadn’t watched any other part of the show. The movie itself sees the teenagers heading off to Ibiza for a steek-fest, in the hope of getting drunk and getting laid, and it sadly became a celebration of 90s Lad Culture instead of a satire. Plus, it isn’t funny, it’s badly directed, and the characters are too thin to sustain a feature.

What Lies Beneath

Big budget horror movies with big names, fully backed by a powerhouse studio? Honestly, these never work for me anymore – the recent attempts at classy horror like this, like The Others, lack the scares and don’t show me anything new. It wasn’t until A24 came along and pulled the same trick, but did it with authenticity and originality. What Lies Beneath sure looks the part – A-list cast, it’s pretty, it’s classy. But it has zero balls, it’s bland, it relies on a twist which is fairly obvious from the opening minutes, and it is painfully long.

Billy Elliot

It’s a British comedy about a boy who just wants to dance. Was there any way this wasn’t going to make my list? The only other question is why I ever watched it in the first place.

Book Of Shadows

As much of a divisive film as it is, I love The Blair Witch Project – not only for what it did and achieved, but because it was for me an extremely effective horror film with an ever increasing atmosphere, a crippling of characters’ mentality, just enough world-building to intrigue, and a wonderful finale. I fully understand those people it didn’t work for – different things scare different people. I fail to understand how anyone could enjoy Book Of Shadows, on anything more than a base level. It fails as a sequel, it fails as a standalone due to its general incoherence and amateur feel, and it fails as a horror film – we’ve seen it all before a thousand times better and worse. I only ever saw it once when it was released, so maybe my feelings will have changed if I saw it again now – doubt it.

Red Planet/Mission To Mars

Honestly, I can’t remember which one of these it was, or indeed if it was both. I think it had Val Kilmer in it, but then again Mission To Mars sounds like the film I remember him being in – which isn’t the case. All I remember is looking out the window more than at the TV. In truth, both weren’t great but one was particularly grueling.

How The Grinch Stole Christmas

I only saw this one during a recent Christmas break, as something festive to watch with the kids. A mistake on my part, and on everyone involved. This is the sort of monstrosity I assume that the Cats movie is, but I struggle to see how anything could be more painful than this. Now – like the previous entry, there’s every chance I’m confusing this or merging it with The Cat In The Hat movie with Mike Myers. In any case, both are abominations which should never be spoke of again, unless as part of some arcane incantation to invoke the undead holy power of Nzzgrprtkaghk.

Snatch

Guy Ritchie has yet to make a movie I’ve tolerated, never mind liked. This and Lock, Stock were all over ever twats’ walls in poster form when I went to University. I don’t get it. Of course, I can’t stand any of that Cockney shite that people seem to love – I can think of fewer things I like less than films set in London’s criminal underworld.

Ginger Snaps

This film angered me because it seemed to get a lot of plaudits and credit and acclaim when it immediately struck me as a try-hard Buffy clone. While nobody actually seemed to be talking about Buffy and how important it was, critics were fawning over the stuff that wouldn’t have existed without it. In the late 90s, a lot of Buffy clones made it on to our TVs – young, sexy, self-aware, smart teens quipping in school and juggling daily lives and some wider conspiracy or secret. Ginger Snaps is precisely this, but told in a more irritating way and without an ounce of the originality it is claimed to have.

Meet The Parents

Are any of these good? Actually, don’t answer that, I don’t care. The first was bad enough.

Let us know in the comments which films of 2000 you would slap onto the naughty list!

Nightman’s Least Favourite Movies Of 2001!

In 2001 I started some genuine ‘study’ or ‘criticism’ with regards to Cinema, thanks to picking up a few Film modules in University. I say ‘genuine’, but what I really mean is ‘watched for more than mere entertainment’. This just happened to coincide with me fully branching out to watch everything I could get my hands on. Unfortunately it meant I watched a tonne of crap and discussed those with an honest critical hat on. I have long abandoned any hope or desire to being any sort of critic – I just call it as I see it, and reserve in depth discussion for those films I love. Today’s list – I don’t love.

Valentine

A few years too late to both the post-Scream horror world and post ‘David Boreanez is hot’ landscape. This is a by the numbers, contrived 90s slasher with none of the smarts of the best of its genre, and few of the scares. I lay in bed watching this when it first aired on TV, and that was the absolute best place I could have been to view such a snoozer.

Bridget Jones’s Diary

It’s a British big screen comedy, so that’s one black mark. It’s a romantic comedy, so that’s another. Hugh Grant and Colin Firth are doing their thing, so that’s two more. And there is nothing in the positive column.

Moulin Rouge

Your yearly musical, and really the first one to bring the Musical back to the big time. Perhaps its greatest travesty was ensuring that no matter where you went or what you did between 2001 and 2004, you were subjected to hearing that awful Lady Marmalade song – absolutely one of the most terrible creations in the history of music. The 70s version was bad enough, but throw in Aguilera’s uncomfortable gyrating and skin-tearing caterwauling and you have one of the purest torture instruments since the good old ‘grenade under foreskin’.

Jurassic Park III

The Lost World wasn’t amazing, but it still had ideas and felt like an adventure. Part 3 devolves into camp and converts a solid enough cast into a bunch of bumbling tools acting out an extended Scooby Doo episode, but without the sexual intrigue or fun.

Ghost World

It’s the movie that your annoying proto-hipster pseudo-friend wouldn’t stop harping on about because they thought it reflected them and their life (spoiler alert – it did; both are worthless). There’s one of these every year or so, and they’re never as good as what people claim they are. I probably got a couple of grins out of this, mainly because of Buscemi’s antics, but the whole ironic nerd-gazing anti-pity party tone in this sort of movie always irks me.

The Others

I wanted to like The Others as it claimed to be a throw-back to the good old atmospheric ghost stories of days of yore. And to a certain extent it is, except that you realize that that sort of movie with that sort of tone just doesn’t work anymore – we have progressed as a culture and as an audience to the point that films going for that tone and atmosphere need to bring something new to the table. Most of the movie hinges on a twist, which is glaringly obvious from round about the opening scene of the movie, and an atmosphere which always felt to me more detached and gloomy than foreboding and dread-inducing.

Zoolander

I have no clue why this was a hit at the time or why people still talk about it. Sure, I didn’t see it at the time and came to the party quite late (mainly because I’m not a big Ben Stiller fan), but when I did it confirmed everything I had anticipated – not funny, a chore to finish.

Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone

I only watched this film for the first time last year, avoiding it and the novels all of these years. I had no desire to watch it upon release and then when my kids were born I thought it would be a great series to watch alongside them, given all the rave reviews and hype. So we watched it last year – wow, what a pile of crap. I appreciate the first in a series is all about creating a world and establishing characters – but the world depicting is bland and unimaginative, the characters are hackneyed and show no progress over those seen in something like The Worst Witch, and the central performances of the (then) child actors are uniformly terrible. I get that they’re child actors picking up this huge mantel, but man there is a monumental level of sucking here. The plot is very much ‘lonely boy realizes he’s special, and goes off to a new place to learn why he’s special’ but with no drama, no laughs, and no endgame. It has all but destroyed any desire I had of watching the others in the series, but more crucially, my kids have zero interest in pursuing it.

A Beautiful Mind

From Day One this looked and smelled like Oscar bait. From the late Seventies these Oscar Bait movies became increasingly prevalent. I almost never enjoy them, especially when they are Biographical in nature. Usually it’s because the biopics are based on people I don’t care about and whose life holds no great interest for me. It’s the same with  A Beautiful Mind – it’s by no means a bad film, it’s simply no different to me than a made for TV movie with a big name cast concerning a person and a story that I’m never going to care about.

Ocean’s Eleven

This one comes down to personal taste more than anything – though of course the same could be said for any entry. The fact is – I’m not a fan of the Rat Pack, at all; their movies, their music, the image – it’s all hateful to me. So when this was announced I was skeptical. It’s not the same as the 60’s outing, but it’s a similar enough exercise in style and dialogue and approach that this was never going to be for me. Credit to bringing together a cast like this, but the whole suit wearing, high life, wise-guy, shtick is to me what being hit in the face with a basketball is to toddlers.

I’m sure there are some favourites in there for any readers – feel free to tell me what I’m missing and add your picks of least favourite movies of 2001!

Nightman’s Least Favourite Movies Of 2002!

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2002 was such a strong year for me, in terms of movies in general, and in terms of my personal tastes, that it was very difficult for me to really find any movies I didn’t like. I pretty much only went to the Cinema for movies I knew I’d love, and all of the DVDs I bought of 2002 releases I’ve enjoyed. As this was peak in my interest of Asian Cinema and beyond, even most of the foreign releases I saw are much close to love than hate. Most of the obvious picks from this year I have continued to avoid, so they won’t make my list.

Chicago

Our requisite crappy musical of the year, I’m aggravated by this one more than others because it was the first big studio backed, star-studded, successfully musical in years and it encouraged every twat in Hollywood to proclaim the return of film’s most needless genre. Almost every box for ‘Nightman Won’t Like This’ is ticked – it’s a musical, the music is jazz-based, it’s set in the 1930s, and it stars a trio of performers I’ve never given a shit about. There is absolutely zero in this film which appeals to me in any way whatsoever.

Deathwatch

A horror movie set in the trenches – sign me up. Now, I’ve still only seen this once, at release on the big screen, and part of me wants to watch it again to see if it’s as bad as I remember. I remember finding it grimy and grim enough, and slowly makes its way towards a twist ending we all saw coming. It was a case then of a great idea (which has since been done better and worse in other films) done badly, too rambling, too visually bland and dark, but I do plan on watching it again to see if it has improved with age.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding

The less said about this, the better. It has gradually been forgotten over time and I certainly don’t want to get people talking about it again – let it rot. It is a prime example of how shitty most romantic comedies – studio backed, indie, or otherwise, always are, with hackneyed ideas and ideals, clumsy unrealistic women, and even more unrealistic Prince Charming types wading their way through shmaltzy, earthy dialogue and badly performed low grade slapstick.

About A Boy

You can be almost certain that if there’s a British Hugh Grant film in any given year, it’s going to make my list. As is generally the case with these, there’s a bunch of hateful characters you wouldn’t waste a knife on stabbing, placed in some stupid situation, and they all live happily ever after. Never darken my door again.

Windtalkers

By and large I’ve loved everything John Woo has ever made. Several of his films make my Favourites lists, including some of his US made movies. Windtalkers had so much potential, including a cast of people I respect, a large budget, and the scope of the WWII told from a different perspective. Sadly, it just doesn’t feel like a John Woo movie – his trademark beats and style is all but omitted and the film is strangely bland – visually, emotionally, across the board. I wouldn’t go so far as calling it a bad film, but somewhere along the line whatever the film should have been faded away and what remained was a by the numbers war flick with good intentions.

Halloween Resurrection

I only watched this movie recently, having long since stopped caring about the Halloween franchise (original, 2, 4, and 5 are the only movies from the original series you need to see). I actually don’t mind the central idea behind the film – cashing in on the Most Haunted pre-found footage, Reality TV crazes of the time. My problem is – why is it a Halloween movie? It may have been better without the Myers name and myth attached. However, Myers is cellotaped into the film, back from the dead once more, and the cast is one of the more annoying in Slasher history although credit for bringing a unique cast to things. Beyond the TV/hidden camera premise, which is used for all the 100% expected gags you smell coming and nothing more, it’s a standard slasher which attempts to take the genre back twenty years.

The Ring

They say that when it comes to this franchise – whichever one you see first is the one you prefer. That’s nonsense – the Japanese original is clearly the superior film in every respect. The remake, sure it has the big name cast, but it goes for cheap jump-scares rather than the gnawing trauma of Ringu. The famous finale of Ringu is one of the great moments in horror, but the remake essentially destroys this by constant cuts away and MTV editing. On top of that unforgivable mistake, the film adds ham-fisted attempts at explanation, Samara is the least creepy child outside of The Red Queen from Resident Evil rather than the inescapable force of vengeance that Sadako is, and there’s a whole tonne of crap about horses for some reason. Also, ‘the videotape’ is not creepy in the slightest – like a Christian Metal band trying to be Tool.

Die Another Day

The only current Bond movie to make my list, and I hope the only Bond movie to ever make such a list, Die Another Day is an abomination the likes of which should be chained in the attic and fed fish-heads twice a week. It’s not a Bond movie – it’s a Carry On movie with worse dialogue and CG effects which appeared to have been created on a Commodore 64.

Maid In Manhattan

It’s Jennifer Lopez, pretending to be poor and ugly. Nuff said.

Let us know in the comments which movies would make your list!

Nightman’s Least Favourite Movies Of 2003!

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We veer ever closer towards the tail-end of the Nineties with another batch of ill-advised films which either were not made for me, or which were made precisely for me but fell far from giving me the happies. It’s a nice balance of mainstream films and offbeat foreign films which fewer readers will be aware of.

Open Water

Open Water is one of those horror movies for people who don’t like horror movies. It’s also complete shit. I’m always on the look out for a good shark movie. I say ‘good’, but what I really mean is ‘a movie where a bunch of idiots are eaten’. Open Water takes a more realistic approach – it’s supposed to be more drama, more tragedy than horror, but the problem, or one of the problems is, that in a shitty shark movie at least we know they shitty characters are going to be picked off one by one. Here we have to watch them bob up and down for 90 minutes contemplating nothing before we fade to black. Every so often there’s a splash in the water, or a fin passes by. I get what they tried to do with this, to make us feel up and close the terror of being lost in the ocean and surrounded by sharks. But I felt nothing close to fear, or empathy, or caring for any of it. It failed to draw me in, and mostly I kept thinking how cool it would be to be in a film like this, to be out there in the ocean, swimming, and arsing about with sharks.

Calendar Girls

Every year or so Britain comes up with a piece of shit comedy which breaks through to the mainstream. Every one of them is terrible. This one exists and dies entirely on its premise – a bunch of old women get their baps out. If that’s your cup of tea, enjoy.

Dreamcatcher

Stephen King’s works don’t always translate well to film. Even some of the more simple stories don’t even work. When you have shit weasels, aliens, and King’s fondness for magic handicapped folks you have your work cut out to make anything out of it. I love King, and I’ll watch any of his adaptations. This is the worst of the bunch. Not Graveyard Shift, not any of the Children Of The Corn Movies, not Golden Years – this. Everybody involved drops several rungs in my ladder of estimation – Morgan Freeman, Jason Lee, Olyphant, Jane – some of whom are King regulars. But Damien Lewis… I don’t know what movie he thought he was in but if this had been the first thing he’s been in I guarantee it would be his only credit. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a worse performance in my life. The curious thing is, while the book is definitely a remake of IT in all but name (Pennywise even shows up at one point) you can see someone talented making a decent flick or mini-series out of it. It wouldn’t be amazing, but it might be entertaining enough for the low bar I’d set. This slithers far below that far and right up its own ass.

In The Cut

The movie which was billed as bringing back Meg Ryan, or finally showing what a powerhouse dramatic performer she could be. Really? Really? I’m sure can be fine, with the right material, but has she ever really been good? In anything? I’ll give her The Doors, in which she had little to do, and as ‘the woman’ in Top Gun, Inner Space, Armed And Dangerous, she’s adequate. Most known for terrible romantic comedies, this was a step out of the shadows for her, into something darker. And once again, she’s fine. It could have been anyone. The film is just another proceedural thriller with a slight saucy edge, but it’s more Indecent Behaviour than Basic Instinct. It’s hardly surprising with the overrated Jane Campion at the helm. Mark Ruffalo shows up too!

The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Or, The Avengers prequel. Or, the film so bad it ended Stephen Norrington and Sean Connery’s careers. Or, the film so bad Alan Moore refuses to acknowledge its existence. Or, the film so bad it belongs in an abandoned banshee’s naval. Or, the film so bad its mother ignores its phone calls. Or…. you get the idea.

Lost In Translation

I think this may have been the movie which prompted me to admit to myself that I didn’t really like Bill Murray. I still like plenty of his movies, and I still like him in them, but his shtick wears very thin very quickly for me. I feel about Lost In Translation the way people feel about The Godfather III. It’s well made, looks swell, it has a bunch of famous faces, but it’s as far from a pleasurable viewing experience as you can get without having someone talk to their mates on the phone throughout. It’s another example of me not getting the swelling of praise it received – it’s an anti-romantic comedy, except that it is a romantic comedy through and through, and as far as dramas go nothing of import or relevance happens. I get that’s half the point, but what I don’t get is why nobody else was left so uncaring by the end of it. It’s insulting, borderline racist, and like many comedies of this type I don’t think it garnered a single grin on my behalf. For stuff like this to work its magic on me, I have to like, or at least tolerate the people involved. I don’t. Why should I care about entitled, soulless harpies? I don’t care about them or about any of it, and for that reason it’s one more forgettable movie which could as easily have been made by a nobody rather than the child of a somebody, and starring people you’ve never heard of.

Love Actually

We didn’t just get one dodgy Brit Rom-Com this year – we got two! And shock of shocks, they’re both drivel. Perhaps the worst slight this film caused the public at large is that it’s going to continue to be shoved down our throats every Christmas. There are boundless amounts of fantastic British comedy just waiting to be discovered worldwide, but it’s shite like this which we are fraudulently known for.

Once Upon A Time In Mexico

El Mariachi was great. Desperado is fantastic. This final part in the trilogy is depressingly poor. Rodriguez films follow a very simple pattern – the less money he has, the better the movie is. This should have been a no brainer, continuing the adventures of Banderas and Hayak, but it brings in a host of new characters who take the focus away from the characters we actually give a shit about, and they drop much of the action and wit which made the first two kinetic delights. The film is worth it for one thing only – the Mexican or Mexican’t line – and that’s not even that funny.

Save The Green Planet!

Another film I was dearly looking forward to after loving Shin Ha-kyun in Sympathy For Mr Vengeance, this film is worth watching just because it’s almost impossible to describe. Right up my alley in terms of all encompassing weirdness, it does take a darker turn towards the end but unfortunately by that point I’d mostly tuned out. It’s another case of me getting hyped up and ultimately being disappointed. I still like it and revisit it, and it still makes me laugh and cringe – it’s really good, unique, but I’ve no idea how I could recommend it to or how to sell it. Just the sheer amount of wonderful stuff coming from South Korea at this time meant that this one didn’t measure up when I thought it would.

Battle Royale 2

If we’re going to talk about hype and disappointment, then BR2 has to top my list. Considering the first film remains my favourite movie of the last twenty years, its sequel had a lot to live up to, When visionary director Kinji Fukasaku died mid-filming, my doubts began to creep in. I was already skeptical about a sequel in the first place but given my love for the first one, surely the second couldn’t truly be bad. It’s not. It’s not bad at all. But it is more bloated, less action packed, not as funny, more of a dig at American politics and culture than Japanese, and it dispenses with much of the heart and innocence of the first. Crucially, it shoves the heroes of the first movie into the background and instead we get a more faceless batch of kids and adults, topped off by Riki Takeuchi – never one for subtlety but here dialed up to fifty seven. It’s not afraid to court controversy – it’s opening scene depicting the annihilation of ‘twin towers’ if you will, and placing the viewer alongside the terrorists, and ending with our protagonists fleeing to Afghanistan… it’s trying to say something potent but doesn’t really know how. The tension is certainly lacking and its best moments are when the people we actually paid to see show up. I just wish they had have gone in a completely different direction with the story.

Let us know in the comments your take on the movies above, and which films of 2003 would make your list!