Saturday, January 2, 2010

Cinematic Underachievers of 2009.

In no particular order:
1. DRAG ME TO HELL--Sam Raimi got some ecstatic reviews for this underwhelming
cursed-woman-tries-to-get-uncursed tale, which at least occasionally evokes 60s American
International Pictures/William Castle product.
2. NINE--Someone needs to tell Rob Marshall that audiences post-CHICAGO are more
comfortable with movie musical conventions and the numbers-taking-place-inside-the-character's-head motif isn't necessary. And enough with the cross-cutting between the
numbers and "reality" already!
3. THE ROAD--Apparently interfered with by the Weinstein Company, John Hillcoat's
adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's man-and-boy-on-the-Post-Apocalyptic-Trail novel doesn't quite hit
the stark-but-human notes that THE PROPOSITION (Hillcoat's previous film) did.
4. WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE--Spike Jonze's film of the Maurice Sendak book
(apparently also interfered with by Warner Brothers--witness the obvious tacked-on
ending) meant well and had some great voice work from the actors playing creatures.
But the oh-tres-hip decision to include a grating song score from Karen O (ironically, the Arcade Fire song used in the trailer worked much better) is enough to qualify this as an underachiever.
5. WHATEVER WORKS--After Woody Allen made VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA his best film in a decade, he returned to New York and gave the world a dinner theater-level comedy which would have worked a lot less without Larry David in the lead role.

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