Films by Rating : 1.5 - 1 Stars

21 (2008)  Badly flawed
April 10, 2008

When the movie "21" was announced with Kevin Spacey and Laurence Fishburne, it sounded like a winner.

When everybody else involved in "21" was mentioned, it was doomed to be a loser.

"21" came from "Bringing Down the House," a nonfiction b ... more

American, The (2010)  Badly flawed
At Any Price (2012)  Badly flawed
May 23, 2013

At Any Price is a melodrama set in Iowa. So it has crops, flags, churches, and is corn-fed. It's as wayward and off-the-wall as an Iowa caucus.

At Any Price is the story of a farm dynasty gone wobbly. Over the years times hav ... more

August: Osage County (2013)  Badly flawed
December 30, 2013

August: Osage County is the most unpleasant film of the year. It's two hours of bilious caterwauling.

It may have worked on the stage, but on film it's a sour mess.

It's for people who enjoy witless pettiness, wi ... more

Battleship (2012)  Badly flawed
May 21, 2012

Someone told me I'd have to suspend my disbelief when I saw Battleship.

Not true. After a while you have no brain left with which to disbelieve.

Battleship is a loud lobotomy.

Based loosely - slackly & ... more

Beer League (2006)  Badly flawed
Beginners (2011)  Badly flawed
July 8, 2011

Boy, Beginners was a movie I was hoping and planning to like.

It had Christopher Plummer in a role that had to be tours de force and probably even Oscar worthy. It had Ewan McGregor, who is a solid talent.

And it had a dog w ... more

Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1970)  Badly flawed
Blind Side, The (2009)  Badly flawed
Blood Diamond (2006)  Badly flawed
December 14, 2006

Blood Diamond is a movie zircon.

It doesn't cut glass, but it cuts plot, character, and credibility. It could be Hotel Rwanda, but instead it's Motel Deep-Six.

What is most bothersome about Blood Diamond is that it tries to be an incisive ... more

Burn After Reading (2008)  Badly flawed
Cars 2 (2011)  Badly flawed
June 29, 2011

Cars 2 runs out of gas. It's on fumes -- and some of them pretty noxious.

Pixar decided to dumb down the franchise. Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson) is not the star of Cars 2. The new star is Mater, the rusted to ... more

Cheaper by the Dozen (2003)  Badly flawed
Cheaper by the Dozen 2 (2005)  Badly flawed
Chloe (2010)  Badly flawed
March 23, 2010

Chloe is an atrocious movie. It's artsy-fartsy-tartsy.

A female voice-over at the beginning says, "I can become your unflinching dream."

I flinched.

Pretension does that to me.

Chloe is con ... more

Cloverfield (2008)  Badly flawed
January 31, 2008

I think when they started filming Cloverfield, somebody accidentally dropped the camera. Someone else said, "Cool."

So they kept dropping the camera. And they threw it, and jerked it, and kicked it. And it went into terminal spasms.

< ... more
Company You Keep, The (2013)  Badly flawed
April 27, 2013

Who is Adam M. Stone?

He represents the essence of The Company You Keep.

Is he the director? No, that's Robert Redford.

Is he the screenplay writer? No, that's Lem Dobbs.

Well, then who is Adam M. St ... more

Contender, The (2000)  Badly flawed
Dangerous Method, A (2011)  Badly flawed
January 21, 2012

A Dangerous Method is a lustreless squabble.

Much of the essence of drama is conflict - often verbal. A Dangerous Method, based on actual figures was a book, then a play, and now it's a film, but somewhere in the long ... more

Date Night (2010)  Badly flawed
April 23, 2010

In today's movie comedies, wit is as rare as Angostura bitters.

If movie comedies were stored at the supermarket, most would be in the day-old section. They certainly aren't fresh.

Comedy doesn't have to be raw, but it ... more

Detachment (2012)  Badly flawed
April 1, 2012

Education is under attack. It always has been.

If the essence of education is independent thinking, it's in free fall these days.

Most homeschooling offers just a single, limited, often anti-social view; corporations don't ... more

Drinking Buddies (2013)  Badly flawed
September 9, 2013

I have always championed actress Olivia Wilde.

I admired her in tv's House. I even affirmed Cowboys and Aliens (2011). But when I heard she was appearing in a nonscripted movie, I was leary. As much as I liked her, I did ... more

Evening (2007)  Badly flawed
July 5, 2007

What's the difference between slasher films and chick flicks? In slasher films they suffer less, and they die quicker. Evening, bless its banal heart, is a chick flick in all its fatuous glory.

Evening has a stellar cast, which includes some o ... more

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011)  Badly flawed
December 22, 2011

People Magazine picked Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close as, "The Best Film of the Year!" At least that's what the ads blare.

There are at least a dozen movies that could validly be picked as best of the year. Extre ... more

Feast of Love (2007)  Badly flawed
Fighter, The (2010)  Badly flawed
December 13, 2010

A 3-ring circus goes to Lowell, Massachusetts, in The Fighter. Based on actual events, this circus is mayhem.

In the main ring are the daredevils, led by junior welterweight boxer "Irish" Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg).

... more

Fountain, The (2006)  Badly flawed
Four Lions (2010)  Badly flawed
December 4, 2010

Four Lions is a wayward, fitful attempt at incisive comedy.

Finding humor in Four Lions is like searching for a weapon of destruction in Iraq -- where is it? Relating Four Lions to the brilliant Dr. Strangelove< ... more

Get Smart (2008)  Badly flawed
Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (2009)  Badly flawed
Good Day to Die Hard, A (2013)  Badly flawed
February 13, 2013

A Good Day to Die Hard might be titled Rocky and Bullwinkle Die Hard. Except it's not that subtle. Or that good.

Those going to see the latest John McClane movie (the 5th) expecting another smart and sassy Die Hard, inste ... more

Hancock (2008)  Badly flawed
Happening, The (2008)  Badly flawed
Happy-Go-Lucky (2008)  Badly flawed
February 16, 2009

Happy-Go-Lucky is flibbertigibbet cinema.

Mike Leigh directed Sally Hawkins in this paean to a peahen.

Sally Hawkins plays Sappy -- I mean Poppy. Poppy is a primary school teacher in London; she's on a journey to see the ... more

Hereafter (2010)  Badly flawed
October 20, 2010

Alfred Hitchcock should not have made musicals. He didn't.

Probably Clint Eastwood should not make sentimentalized, epical films about wish fulfillment. But there's Hereafter.

It's a film that might make Clint ... more

I'm Still Here (2010)  Badly flawed
September 11, 2010

There has been a lot of discussion by reviewers whether or not I'm Still Here is a put-on.

Casey Affleck has made a "documentary" about his addled brother-in-law Joaquin Phoenix and JP's announcement that he is not g ... more

Intolerable Cruelty (2003)  Badly flawed
Iron Lady, The (2011)  Badly flawed
K-19: The Widowmaker (2002)  Badly flawed
Kill Your Darlings (2013)  Badly flawed
November 24, 2013

Kill Your Darlings is more about the makers of the Bleat Generation than the Beat Generation.

Set in 1944, the movie focuses on three young, burgeoning writers - Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe), Jack Kerouac (Jack Huston) and ... more

Kite Runner, The (2007)  Badly flawed
Ladykillers, The (2004)  Badly flawed
Lone Ranger, The (2013)  Badly flawed
July 3, 2013

When I was a small boy, I thought The Lone Ranger was The Long Ranger.

Little did I know how prescient I was.

In 2013 The Lone Ranger is long. Very, very long. And clumsy. And tacky. Director Gore Verbinski shows how tacky a ... more

Looking for Mr. Goodbar (1977)  Badly flawed
Loren Cass (2006)  Badly flawed
Malena (2001)  Badly flawed
February 1, 2001

Giuseppe Tornatore's Malena lacks emotional resonance

For those of us who love Cinema Paradiso, the news that its Italian director Giuseppe Tornatore and his musical soulmate Ennio Morricone were getting back together to do another ... more

Man on Fire (2004)  Badly flawed
Miami Vice (2006)  Badly flawed
Micmacs (2010)  Badly flawed
July 4, 2010

Micmacs is a Gallic mishmash.

It's a sloppy souffle that falls more than it rises. It's airless whimsy.

Micmacs is the sporadic story of Bazil (Dany Boon), whose father was killed by a landmine in north Africa. Bazil ... more

Million Ways to Die in the West, A (2014)  Badly flawed
May 31, 2014

A Million Ways to Die in the West is a clumsy, overwrought comedy. It's raucously dumb.

It could be subtitled How the Wit Was Lost.

It doesn't push the envelope - it crams it full of urine and excrement an ... more

Monkeybone (2001)  Badly flawed
March 1, 2001

The already flopping Monkeybone deserves its fate

The film Monkeybone is a raucous mess. Director Henry Selick mixes animation and live action to the noisy, clumsy detriment of both.

It's the strident story of cartoonist Stu Miley ( ... more

Night Listener, The (2006)  Badly flawed
Nowhere Boy (2009)  Badly flawed
Nymphomaniac: Volume 1 (2014)  Badly flawed
March 29, 2014

Early in Nymphomaniac: Volume 1, Seligman (Stellan Skarsgard) talks about fly fishing. Except this fly has a zipper. And another one. And another one.

Seligman discovers Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg) one night, bloody and beaten, lying ... more

Oblivion (2013)  Badly flawed
April 23, 2013

Scientologists, forget wives.

Get Tom Cruise some actresses. Please.

Cruise's forte, as an actor, is his solid credibility. But in Oblivion he has more chemistry with drones than with his two love interests.

They ... more

Passion of the Christ, The (2004)  Badly flawed
Pink Panther 2, The (2009)  Badly flawed
Pink Panther, The (2006)  Badly flawed
Rachel Getting Married (2008)  Badly flawed
Rambo (2008)  Badly flawed
February 7, 2008

Rambo and Stallone

Do you want disembowelment and decapitation with your popcorn? Is gore glorious? Is brutality orgasmic? Is spurting blood the fountain of fun?

If so, Rambo is 4 U.

There is an audience that goes to the mo ... more

Reader, The (2008)  Badly flawed
Revolutionary Road (2008)  Badly flawed
Righteous Kill (2008)  Badly flawed
September 25, 2008

Righteous Kill

Imagine this conversation

A phone call between actor Bob De Niro and director Marty Scorsese

Bobby: Hello, Marty. I've been calling and texting, but you never answer.

(Silence)

Bobby: I'm talking to you. Are you ... more

Road, The (2009)  Badly flawed
November 4, 2009

Alaska has its Bridge to Nowhere. The movie The Road has its Bridge to Less Than Nowhere.

One wonders why it was made. It's misery, misery, misery. It's misery for The Man (Viggo Mortensen), The Boy (Kodi Smit-McPhee), and t ... more

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)  Badly flawed
August 19, 2010

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is a film full of sound and fury signifying WTF. It's slick shtik.

It begins with 22-year old Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) dating a high school girl named Knives Chau (Ellen Wong), as he's trying ... more

Sex and the City 2 (2010)  Badly flawed
June 9, 2010

Films that are aimed at a particular target audience can cause a critic dyspepsia.

The latest Target movie -- actually more Saks Fifth Avenue or Bergdorf Goodman -- is Sex and the City 2, which is erratically slung toward middle-age ... more

Shame (2011)  Badly flawed
Snake Eyes (1998)  Badly flawed
Snowpiercer (2014)  Badly flawed
July 6, 2014

Snowpiercer is Throw Momma and the Kitchen Sink off the train. It's a snow job.

Character goes clattering helter-skelter into mile high drifts of icy chaos.

When you go to see this film be sure to leave your shtick detec ... more

Somewhere (2010)  Badly flawed
Spanglish (2004)  Badly flawed
Synecdoche, New York (2008)  Badly flawed
December 4, 2008

Writer Charlie Kaufman is the pseudo-intellectuals' "intellectual." He's pompous, self-flagellating and pretentious. So they love him.

Kaufman makes Sarah Palin seem humble.

Kaufman wrote Being John Malkovich, which was a diverting ... more

Taking Woodstock (2009)  Badly flawed
Thanks to Gravity (2006)  Badly flawed
Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)  Badly flawed
July 3, 2011

Animator Chuck Jones was a brilliant master of comic destruction. It had wit, style, and grace.

Director Michael Bay is a master of destruction. It is witless, styleless, and graceless.

Jones's movies went "beep, beep." ... more

Tree of Life, The (2011)  Badly flawed
Trouble with the Curve (2012)  Badly flawed
September 24, 2012

Trouble with the Curve should be titled Trouble with the Cliche.

It was not written by a hitter; it was written by a hacker.

It's depressing to think that Clint Eastwood's final screen appearance may be in thi ... more

Unraveled (2012)  Badly flawed
April 24, 2012

Unraveled is a con job.

It has the clammy hands of its crooked main figure all over it.

Unraveled is a documentary, directed by entertainment attorney and filmmaker Marc H. Simon, about Marc Dreier, who bilked hedge f ... more

Vantage Point (2008)  Badly flawed
2012 (2009)  Awful
Because I Said So (2007)  Awful
February 15, 2007

There are chick flicks and upchuck flicks. The movie Because I Said So is an upchuck chick flick.

In Because I Said So, Diane Keaton gives the worst performance of her storied career. She goes to the head of the line as contender for a Razzie ... more

Black Dahlia, The (2006)  Awful
Friends with Money (2006)  Awful
Girl Most Likely (2013)  Awful
July 25, 2013

Girl Most Likely is phony from beginning to end. It's disingenuous tripe.

When I first heard much of it was set in Ocean City, New Jersey, I had some faint hopes that the fresh setting might stimulate a little life into the woul ... more

Good German, The (2007)  Awful
Green Hornet, The (2011)  Awful
Lions for Lambs (2007)  Awful
Postman, The (1997)  Awful
Salinger (2013)  Awful
September 22, 2013

My name's Holden.

If you really want to hear about it, Salinger is a lousy movie.

Some crumb-bum named Shane Salerno just made a crappy documentary about my mentor. I'm a liar myself, but - as you may know - ... more

Squid and the Whale, The (2005)  Awful
Sugar and Spice (2001)  Awful
January 25, 2001

Sugar and Spice is more like snips and snails and puppy dog tails

Director Francine McDougall thinks of her film Sugar and Spice as "a sophisticated black comedy." Yeah, right. Its as sophisticated as a Twinkie, and as black as a marshm ... more

Tropic Thunder (2008)  Awful
10,000 BC (2008)
4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2008)
Alien vs. Predator (2004)
Duchess, The (2008)
Mesrine: Killer Instinct (2008)
Nathalie (2003)
Paris 36 (2008)
Paul Blart, Mall Cop (2009)
Resident Evil (2002)
Six Degrees of Separation (1993)
Transatlantic Coffee (2011)

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