Taylor Lautner is not a leading man. Hell, Taylor Lautner is not even a capable sidekick to an action hero-ish leading man. Sure, the kid probably can kick my ass and the asses of all his fanboy critics, but he still doesn’t have what it takes to front a movie. Maybe in 5 or 10 years he’ll develop something beyond that Blue Steel look, but until then, someone keep this kid in the background where he can grow as an actor. The fact that John Singleton, who used to direct “Boyz in the Hood” was the man behind this awful, awful “action” movie is doubly heartbreaking. Remember when John Singleton used to be a good director? Between Lautner’s flat acting, Lily Collins’ outrageously huge, furry eyebrows, Singleton’s by-the-numbers directing, and a mostly thrill-less script, there isn’t much about “Abduction” that I can recommend. Except, you know, unless you’re fans of flat acting, huge furry eyebrows, and by-the-numbers directing, then you’ll love “Abduction”.
Talk about pointless. “The Thing” 2011 is a prequel to John Carpenter’s “The Thing” 1982. They should have just called it a remake instead, because that’s exactly what this film is. Aside from the gleeful idea of the beautiful Mary Elizabeth Winstead wielding a flamethrower, I can’t for the life of me understand what the point of “The Thing” was. It’s identical in almost every way to the Carpenter original, except with less tension, excitement, thrills, and all those other things that make a good paranoid thriller work. Hell, you can ask the question, “What’s the point again?” with just about everything with “The Thing” 2011. Why should we care about those Norwegians again? Why is the male hero a copycat for the Kurt Russell character? And what’s the point in having Mary Elizabeth Winstead when she’s going to be covered up in thick winter gear the entire movie? Hell, even the awful Alaska-set movie “Whiteout” found a way to get star Kate Beckinsale in the shower for a steamy gratuitous nude shot. “The Thing” 2011 can’t even swing that. So I ask again: what was the point?
Dylan Dog: Dead of Night
I’m not sure when the original comic book “Dylan Dog” came out, or how innovative it was when it premiered in terms of horror storylines and genre concepts, but “Dylan Dog” the movie is dead on arrival. Talk about retreading the same stuff that’s been done to death in a gazillion other movies already. The thing about “Dylan Dog” is that it’s really not that bad, but it could have been so much better, except for too many wrong turns, too many half-baked ideas, and a Third Act that just goes off the rails like a Japanese bullet train trying to cross the ocean. As a Syfy Channel Original Movie of the Week, “Dylan Dog” would have been respectable Saturday night entertainment, but as a standalone feature film with theatrical ambitions, it’s a huge disappointment. Brandon Routh deserves so, so much better. (Hey, Brandon, screw the critics — I still think you were great in “Superman Returns”!)
Oh, Kevin Smith, what were you thinking? No, let me rephrase that: Oh, Kevin Smith, what were you smoking that you thought this was a good idea? It wasn’t. Kevin Smith and serious horror movies do not mesh. “Red State” is less a disappointment than a major misfire that pretty much everyone realized was a bad idea. Everyone, that is, except Kevin Smith, who had been trying to get the movie made for years before finally finding a sucker willing to put up the money. You’d think the fact that it took him so long to find financing would clue him in that this isn’t a viable enterprise, but not so much. If you’re looking for the definition of “shoulda never been”, “Red State” is your example.
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Here’s the deal: I don’t blame Johnny Depp for coming back. I can only imagine the type of money they were offering him to return for the fourth film. (I presume the blood of virgins and whole islands were involved in the contract negotiations.) But I do blame Johnny Depp for not forcing the studio to write a better script. “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” is as pointless and worthless and dull as you’ll get. And this is the guy who fell asleep not once, but twice during “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End”. The only thing remotely worthy of “On Stranger Tides” is the film’s revisionist take on the Fountain of Youth. The rest, including Penelope Cruz’s twisted, unholy relationship with her dad Blackbeard, lands somewhere between mundane and dreadfully dull. Don’t even get me started on what they were thinking trying to force-feed us those two Orlando Bloom-Keira Knightley stand-ins in the missionary and the mermaid. Ugh. That’s all I can say about “On Stranger Tides”. Ugh. And zzzzz.
So there you have it. Disagree? Agree? Let’s hear it.
P.S. For those wondering, Nicolas Winding Refn’s “Drive” is my best movie of 2011.
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