I left one movie off my previous post from 2007, which was my Part One list of Twelve Movies From The Last Five Years That I Wanted To Like But Didn’t. Remaining are the movies from 2008 and 2009 that made (or didn’t make, if you look at it that way) the cut.
This movie was built up to be pretty big in the minds of those that love a gangster film. You have Denzel, Russell Crowe, Ridley Scott directing, a Jay-Z-laden soundtrack, and comparisons to the classic film Scarface, then…ehhh. The movie was just okay. It wasn’t along the same lines of the Pacino/DePalma classic, it didn’t really move me, nothing about it was very memorable, even though it was a solid film. It was just another movie and that was disappointing. I still haven’t seen it since.
2008 – Be Kind, Rewind & Blindness
Be Kind, Rewind
Be Kind featured Mos Def and Jack Black, an odd and intriguing pairing, mixed with the directing talents of Michel Gondry, and the result was one of the weakest movies of the year. Mos was almost impossible to watch (to listen to him), the lo-fi film recreation storyline should have been a lot more fun, and it really amounted to a schlocky, underwhelming piece, that made me further question the talents of those involved, and have highly soured me on Gondry as a director. He has to earn back the good will that he built with Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and I don’t know that he is up to the task.
This turned out to be the biggest rip-off ending in a film that I have seen in years. With Fernando Meirelles helming one of my favorite films of the past decade and a high-ranking personal favorite of all-time in the amazing City of God, this was an opportunity to see him take the next huge step as a director and reap the rewards that fans of City of God wanted for him. (Fernando, feel free to mix in a Lil’ Dice cameo). Instead, he didn’t take advantage. The movie kept your attention (though not easily) for the duration and then yanked the rug out from beneath your feet in a horrendous ending. I don’t know that I will ever forgive him. BTW, Fernando, call me – because in truth I don’t remember the ending, I just know I absolutely hated it.
2009 – Bronson, Watchmen, The Hangover & Public Enemies
Nicolas Winding Refn’s film built up as A Clockwork Orange type of film, but was nothing more than a weird, sordid tale about a guy, told in an odd, and rather uninspiring way. I was very high for the film before I saw it only to be incredibly let down. It was actually hard to make it through. I know it was based on a true story, but it didn’t redeem it at all for me. I hoped for a lot more.
This was a film that had a great trailer. Normally I wouldn’t have had much interest in a film like this, but it was built up to be perhaps one of the biggest movies ever, and landed with a rather resounding thud. This wasn’t a horrible work, but if you counter it with a movie like The Dark Knight which more than matched the hype, it only exaggerated the difference of what this film might have been. I think Zack Snyder may be able to become an interesting director, but he also might be the next Michael Bay. At this point, the meter is swinging in the “Bay” direction. Not good.
I don’t like comedies. Rarely, do they ever live up to my expectations, which are, I don’t know, how do I say this, to….laugh during the movie. Is that too much to ask? Absolutely. I chuckled two to three times during the film. That does not a good movie make, nor is it worthy of being the biggest comedy of all-time. This movie exemplifies how different the tastes of mainstream America and mine are. I envy you, mainstream audiences. To derive enjoyment from such average work must be nice. I wish I was as easily entertained, but alas, I am not. I’d rather be hung over, than watch The Hangover. It was not believable, nor very fun.
I have to include this movie on the list, because we did a dedication week to Michael Mann here on The Film Nest, and I (essentially) had breakfast with the man a few months ago. I was hoping for another movie along the lines of his previous actioners such as Heat and Collateral. This did not match that. I don’t think that this is a bad movie by any means, it just wasn’t great, and I thought it had the potential to be that.
Casting Johnny Depp (a feminine man in a masculine role) was the starting point of this heading down the wrong path. The action was ordinary and you didn’t care enough about the characters to engage in the story. It was a movie you simply watched but didn’t interact with. For that, it makes the disappointing list. And Michael, next time we are at breakfast, easy with the staring at me brother, I’m just trying to eat and mind my own business. Don’t use me for your script inspiration – unless of course, you really, really needed it.
I hope all movies I see are entertaining, but the odds are stacked wildly against me. In the next five years, if I lower my expectations, perhaps there won’t be a need to compile such a list. I’m counting on you Hollywood, to bail me out. If not, my pen (or keyboard in this case) is ready. Good luck.