Movies to Avoid

Remember, I warned you. Each of these represent two hours of your life that you will be willing to kill your mother to get back.

Perfect Stranger

The director of this misbegotten chunk of lifeless cinematic afterbirth is James Foley, previously responsible for Glengary Glen Ross, a brilliant adaptation of David Mamet’s play. That earlier work was top drawer and it still had half as many virtues as this movie has vices. Perfect Stranger smacks you across the face with plot holes so huge that it would be an insult to your intelligence if only you could be bothered to care.

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Premonition

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Something is seriously fucked up!

You know, I had the funniest feeling I wasn’t going to like this movie.

Obvious puns aside, it was almost like I had seen it before. Wait, I had seen it before. It was 1993 and back then it was called Groundhog Day and it didn’t suck. Continue reading

Poseidon

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The filmmakers behind Poseidon said they didn’t want to do a simple remake of The Poseidon Adventure, that they wanted to do something different. If by “different” they meant that they were disposing of a coherent story line and any characters we could actually care about, then they succeeded beyond all expectations.

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Battle for the Planet of the Apes

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The Apes saga staggers to a limp and unsatisfying conclusion that asks us to believe that, in less than one generation, the largely inarticulate apes of the last film have not only acquired the power of speech, but also a level of philosophy. There I go, applying logic to fantasy again, but there’s only so much absurdity a man can take.

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Beneath the Planet of the Apes

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While this is technically a sequel to the original Planet of the Apes, it’s probably best described as a half-assed remake. This film basically recycles most of the macro-plot elements of the first film, only without much of the same wit, subtlety or substance.

Charleton Heston had the good sense to want to stay far away from this movie and only agreed to appear when the producers acceded to his request to kill his character and end the film in such a way to preclude any further sequels.

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Flightplan

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It’s not so unusual to find that Jodie Foster is the smartest thing about one of her own movies. Even when she’s slumming for a paycheck like she is in this potboiler, she projects a level of intelligence that often makes the film seem better than it really is.

Thus, it’s no surprise that Ms. Foster is the smartest thing about Flightplan. Sadly, that’s really no accomplishment, since the seat cushions on the airplane set are smarter than this simple, linear but mind-blowingly illogical rift on Hitchcock’s The Lady Vanishes. If a person had the same level of brain activity found in this script, he or she would be harvested for organs before the doctors pulled the plug.

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North Country

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The opening credits for North Country claim that the movie is “inspired on a true story.” That puts in near the lower end of the Hollywood food chain for “true” stories. At the top would be the actual true stories, which are understandably rare. Even the “truest” films tend to employ some level of creative license, compositing characters and compressing events to make the story more “cinematic.” The next level down would be “based on a true story,” which roughly translates to, “We made up some shit to tailor the story to the A-List actor that we busted our ass to sign.”

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Wedding Crashers

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This is one of those unfortunate comedies where the concept is actually funnier than the execution. It’s a shame, too, given the cast they had at their disposal. I’m sure the pitch sessions for this movie were a riot. Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson crashing weddings to pick up women? Christopher Walken as the Secretary of the Treasury? Hilarity must inevitably ensue, right?

Unfortunately, no. Continue reading

Lord of War

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Lord of War is a black comedy that labors so hard to be ironic it forgets to be funny. It’s better than the misfired Deal of the Century, but it still fails to engage your outrage because it views its subject through the amoral eyes of Yuri Orlov (Nicholas Cage). Whatever the aims of the filmmakers, the audience ultimately empathizes with the hero, undercutting the film’s condemnation of gunrunning.

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I,Robot

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I, Robot was a series of stories by the late Isaac Asimov about a future society where robots serve humans and are governed by the now immortal Three Laws of Robotics.

  1. A robot will never harm a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot will always obey the commands of a human, except where those orders conflict with the first law.
  3. A robot will preserve it’s own existence, except when doing so would conflict with the first or second law.

These laws became so famous within the science fiction community that if you wrote a story with robots, you were in danger of being bombarded by letters from outraged 13-year-olds if your robots didn’t obey Asimov’s Three Laws.

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Wrong is Right

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Wrong is Right bills itself as comedy, but it works better as a mediocre spy thriller with occasional bursts of humor. It largely fails as a comedy because, for the most part, it’s often hard to tell at what they were aiming their humor. As political satire, it’s too broad and too tame to be effective.

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