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Here, I run through a list of my personal picks for the top 5 most overrated films in recent memory. No particular order…
After his earlier efforts, Anchorman and The 40 Year-Old Virgin gained cult popularity, 2007’s Superbad was probably the most talked about and anticipated movie from Judd Apatow. Telling the story of two guys simply trying to break into the popular social circle of sex, booze and killer one-liners by simply acting like a couple of idiots. By no means is Superbad a bad film, because it actually does what it does to an ‘ok(ish)’ effect. But after a torrent of hype surrounding the film it was very difficult to go into this film without believing it to be an instant classic comedy hit – complete with unextinguishable quotes that I could show my Grandkids.
2. American Gangster
Denzel Washington is horribly miscast as a prominent Manhattan kingpin who is fast becoming a thorn in the side for the long arm of the law as he traffics heroin from Asia. Everyone’s favourite brawler from down under, Russell Crowe, is the detective who strategically plans to take down Washington. During a considerable running time of the film, Washington’s character (Frank Lucas) is painted as a hero, a pillar of society, and well-respected. But it soon changes and the dark pattern starts to emerge after the pursuit by Crowe (Richie Roberts) becomes more stressful and burdening for him.
I found it rather annoying that the plot seemed to play on Washington’s status as an actor, rather than the terrible real-life criminal he was playing. Whereas Roberts is depicted as a womanising mess, with relationship and family issues. And this is the good guy! But yeah, Lucas… The role, the character, even some of the scenes where he’s just talking just seem really un-Denzel Washington. Playing the bad guy or the criminal just does not suit the guy at all. I’ll give it to him, he’s undoubtedly the best African-American actor working today – but his prowess and ability just doesn’t shine here. It just makes for uncomfortable viewing. Oh and Crowe’s New Yorker accent…. Fucking horrendous.
3. Anything That Has Danny Dyer In A Starring Role
I understand this might be abit of cop-out. And I mean no disrespect to actors that have worked with this man, because he genuinely just ruins everything for me. From the annoying tit in Human Traffic, to the ‘I’m getting remorseful’ hooligan in Football Factory. Danny Dyer is a blight on British cinema and an embarrassment to actors, past and present. His portrayal of any character harkens back to the man himself and really makes not conceivable effort to differentiate between the two. It is so obvious you don’t need to look for it – I hate this man’s mindless fortitude to call himself an actor.
A hate rant on possibly the best director around and my favourite working today? Well… sort of, but not quite. Memento, which was Christopher Nolan’s breakthrough film, is the story of a man’s troubling quest to find his wife’s murderer, coupled with a condition that inables him to store new memories in his mind. Nolan is well-known for alternating timelines in his films and using unconventional methods of storytelling. The sypnopsis is intriguing and intellectually well-manifested, but my problem is with the narrative of this film.
It’s very difficult to pinpoint where I got lost in this and it took about 4 full-viewings before finally piecing together the erratic timeline changes. I will credit Memento on its uniqueness and different take on the ‘revenge’ movie, and Guy Pearce is probably in his defining role as the lead. However its complexities are far too over-powering and really does unforunately tarnish its very smart premise.
5. X-Men Origins: Wolverine
A real stinker. Directed by Gavin Hood, ‘Wolverine’ is the prequel to the original and very popular X-Men trilogy, helmed by Bryan Singer (X1 & X2) and Brett Ratner (X3). With comic book movies, there is always the chance of alienating that core fanbase – by actions such as disregarding source material, shift of focus from premilinary or core characters, or muddled up, uninspired casting choices. With this film, Hood along with studio, Fox. Totally ignores the establishment of the previous three films and kind of make a mess along the way. Wolverine’s character is drastically altered from the one we’ve come to know, and his origins are very much bastardised in the name of fan-service which comes to harm this movie even more.
There are a host of problems in this film. The plot is full of ‘craters’, from start to finish, the CGI effects are, in a word.. TERRIBLE for these times, and there are just laughable moments during certain scenes that eye-rolling couldn’t have a place for. The movie was not well-received by critics but was popular among some fans which has given Fox the greenlight to pursue a sequel. Talented director, Darren Aronofsky was slated to direct, but has since left the project due to constraints against his personal life. Thank the maker!
So the announcement was made earlier today (4th March 2011) by Warner Bros that the sci-fi classic, Blade Runner, will become another casualty of great films…. A god damn franchise of sequels, threequels, prequels and more quels than you can shake a lightsaber at.
Now, the dark times really begin…
Directed by Alien and Gladiator helmer, Ridley Scott. Blade Runner, released in 1982, starred Harrison Ford and Rutger Hauer as leads Rick Deckard and Roy Batty (a special forces cop and genetically engineered humanoid respectively), and was and still is consistently heralded for its story, direction and production. Truly paving the way for many science fiction films, television shows and computer games to this day.
From my personal viewpoint, it’s most probably the richest and boldest sci-fi film in history. And my all-time favourite of the genre. A film with depth, pure dramatic brilliance from start to end, and an amazing interpretation of a future dystopian society shadowed in a noir-inspired landscape and architecture. There’s a massive sense of gravitas throughout, although it seems that it plays out as an action film. In addition, the intricate complexities that riddle Blade Runner have made it a favourite for many cult followers and movie-goers for decades.
Blade Runner’s continued popularity today may indeed hold the key to why it has been ‘drafted’ into the forever growing sequel territory. However that’s from a financial standpoint. Which, of course I have no quarrel with. Cinema is all about the bucks, and don’t we know it. But, on the other hand – There is a line, and it’s a big one. A line that draws between one film, and another.
Today, filmmaking is not what it used to be. Not in the context of production, or acting. But more in the general ‘feel’ of the movie, what it is trying to convey, what it is trying to emote and say to us, the viewer. There is no way I can see an array of sequels or prequels bettering or even equalling to the bar Blade Runner raised. Ever. But there are franchises that it can work with, and it has. Bryan Singer’s Superman reboot back in 2006 channelled just enough of Richard Donner’s stellar and pioneering Superman films that it almost felt like we was continuing on a legacy and not just whoring it out in a dirty back alley. And JJ Abrams Star Trek reimagining totally reinvigorated the franchise and gained a legion of new fans. The likes of Carlito’s Way, Halloween, and cult teen classic The Karate Kid have been among those subjected to shoddy remakes/sequels with lacklustre stories, and little to no acknowledgement of the cannon set by their predecessors. It’s what I call the great bitchslap of the all mighty dollar.
There are lines. And they need to be drawn.
The problems are abundant, this will never go away I fear. I’m starting to feel a great disdain toward Hollywood’s big guns. One moment I get a sense of excitement and anticipation, the next I’m holding my head in my hands. It’s such a quick transition I hardly can tell when it happens.
If production companies are interested in resurrecting a popular franchise/movie – then look no further for a lesson learned than George Lucas. A guy, who amongst his millions and millions of dollars – has alienated millions and millions of loyal fans that he essentially turned his back on. With a constant backlashing against his work from the last decade, it’s almost against all odds that converting those abominations into 3D will earn him any retribution.
This Will Happen To Warner.
With almost no original thought left in the world of cinema today, I fear only the worst is yet to come. A complete, and utter extinction of true, honest filmmaking. And an uprising of misguided and selfish oafs that will cause a mass degeneration of the one thing I hope could last forever – Real art.
The people can stop this. WE need to take OUR films back, into our hands as their rightful owner and proprietor. WE have to stop these films, that have shaped and made us into who we are today, from being casualties of greed and gluttony – All in the name of a quick buck.
This must happen now
Ok, just a few picks that I, personally found suitable for this list. I’ll be giving a few thoughts on each one…
1. ‘Evan Almighty’ (Original – ‘Bruce Almighty’)
Let me be frank, Bruce Almighty (starring rubber face himself, Jim Carrey) was never a masterpiece, nor was it amazingly funny. But with the film being the jump start for the film career of Steve Carell, it did stir some interest – As a big fan of Carell in The Office, I decided I’d give this film a watch. The end result is a…ugh… ‘comedy’… that doesn’t even touch the sheer stupidity of Jim Carrey’s multi-digited limb. It’s just a damn miracle that Steve Carell is able to shine in other films and become lesser-known for this one.
2. ‘Alien Ressurection’ (Originals – ‘Alien’, ‘Aliens’ & ‘Alien 3’)
A disgustingly horrific way to fully kill one of the best sci-fi franchises of the last 30 years. Alien 3 pretty much ruined it all, but this one was the killing blow…. Actually no, I’m wrong. Alien 3 was the killing blow. This just beat its dead lifeless body down with a massive 40 inch dildo.
3. ‘Everything George Lucas has been involved with since 1999’ (Original – ‘Everything George Lucas was involved with before 1999’)
This picture, tells us exactly what George Lucas, as a filmmaker and what his films represented. Interest, excitement, art, honing a craft, inspiring.
Now, look at what he looks like now… Bloated, boring, egotistical, nonsensical overbearing smugness, dishevelled, piece of crap. These are traits he shares with the films he’s produced in the last decade. George, you killed your baby.
4. ‘TRON: Legacy’ – (Original – ‘TRON’)
TRON was one of those ‘kewl’ flicks from the 80’s that we all love. It’s not great now by today’s standards, but that shit was awesome 20 years or so ago. But it’s been slightly shitted on by this long-delayed sequel that would’ve been much better off being produced while technology was not as advanced as now. The first one just seems completely organic in comparison. Again, one of those CGI filled shit-fests that could’ve been so much more.
5. ‘Home Alone 3’ (Originals – ‘Home Alone’ & ‘Home Alone 2’)
Oh, John… John, John, Johnny, John, John…. I wish you could’ve died a happy man.