Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Year End 2016: Cinematic Disappointments

This year  I'm going to start my year end review with a look at the cinematic disappointments. These are the films that kind of almost were something but crumbled for one reason or another. These are the films that kind of might have been something if they had either been just a tad better or failed more.

You'll notice that there really aren't any big Hollywood films and that's simply because either I didn't see them or they didn't disappoint so much as were really good or really bad.

HERE ALONE- this won the Tribeca Audience Award? Really? I have yet to find anyone -ANYONE- who feels it deserved that award even some writers who were passionate champions for the film. Not one person I know can explain how this won other than ballot stuffing- which considering the truly bad way that Tribeca did the balloting is entirely possible. The voting had to be done either via cellphone orspecial kiosk (which didn't always work) and it had to be done within 30 minutes of the end of the film which became complicated if there was a long post film Q&A. It is an okay zombie film about being a solo survivor that goes off the rails in the last half hour as logic goes out the window.

14 MINUTES TO EARTH- Okay portrait of a man who parachuted from the edge of space is nowhere near as exciting as it should be. While jump itself is cool, the whole lead up is so clinical as to drain any excitement from it.

ALL THIS PANIC  could have been the greatest coming of age doc about women ever made. The problem is the editing is so bad we have no sense of time, of place or anything else. The film focuses on some girls more than others to the point we don't know why the lesser ones are here. Worse it feels like the filmmakers only filmed now and again when they thought of it so any sense of life is nowhere to be found. If this could be re-edited, assuming there is a lot more footage, it should be great, but as it stands now it's shit

LAST LAUGH- a look at humor and the Holocaust is not informative enough. While it contains all the right people (Mel Brooks, Gilbert Gottfried ) the film tries to do too much and goes too far a field bringing in other subjects and focusing on a Holocaust survivor in such way that the film doesn't always seem to know what it's about. It has moments but it should have had more.

TONI ERDMANN- hailed from Cannes as the best film of the year and by Dennis Lim at NYFF as the second coming of Christ (no really), the film is simply a much too long dramady that isn't the screwball one advertised. Yea it has some of the best laughs of the year but it isn't a comedy and it's frequently heartbreaking. What film did it's champions see because this film is just okay and nothing more. (Now if it was cut in half it might be something)

CREEPY- Kiyoshi Kurasowa's latest is a white knuckled thriller from start to finish- though the reasons in the first half are different from the second. In the first half a cop hunts for a serial killer and we are tense waiting to see how it will play out. In the second logic and reason go out the window and we are trapped on a rollercoaster to hell as literally anything can happen just because.  Its the director at his best and worst and gives the audience whiplash as it switches from genuinely great to being intriguing because its so far off the tracks you want to see where it crashes, burns and blows up.

SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL- Film about the  Process Church sets out to clear up all the misconceptions about it by talking to everyone in the church...and in the process wrecks the mystery and does so in a manner that isn't all that thrilling.

BILLY LYNN'S LONG HALF TIME MARCH- shot in an experimental process that varied the frame rate to up to 120+ frames a second creating a hyper real sense. Sadly the film has a weak script and crappy direction that makes it no better than 1000 similar straight to home video dramas except with 3D and a big name cast. Ang Lee who blew viewers out of the water with the 3D in THE LIFE OF PI here is blind to the possibilities many scenes simply actors talking to the camera. All I can think is that he took a paycheck and ran. Absolutely not worth your time

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