Here Are The Boring Razzie Winners!


I thought I was about to finally get some rest for the night and then I suddenly remembered that I needed to post the Razzie winners.  The Razzies are supposed to honor the worst films of the previous year.  I personally find them to be really overrated but some people care about them. Que sera sera.

You can check out the nominees by clicking here.  The winners are listed below:

Worst Film: Fifty Shades of Grey and Fantastic Four

Worst Actor: Jamie Dornan for Fifty Shades of Grey

Worst Actress: Dakota Johnson for Fifty Shades of Grey

Worst Supporting Actor: Eddie Redmayne for Jupiter Ascending

Worst Supporting Actress: Kaley Cuoco for Alvin and the Chipmunks 4 and The Wedding Ringer

Worst Director: Josh Trank for Fantastic Four

Worst Screenplay: Fifty Shades of Grey

Worst Screen Combo: Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson in Fifty Shades of Grey

Worst Remake, Rip-off, or Sequel: Fantastic Four

The Razzie Redeemer Award (honoring former Razzie champs who subsequently redeemed themselves): Sylvester Stallone, from all-time Razzie champ to Creed

For the most part, that’s pretty lazy collection of winners.  Were Fifty Shades of Grey and Fantastic Four bad?  Sure, they were.  But then again, so was The Big Short

 

 

 

Here Are the Reliably Boring Razzie Nominations!


Yawn!  The Razzies are always so boring!  Here are this year’s predictable nominations.  Talk about them on twitter and impress your friends.

Worst Picture
Fantastic Four
Fifty Shades of Grey
Jupiter Ascending
Paul Blart Mall Cop 2
Pixels

Worst Director
Andy Fickman, Paul Blart Mall Cop 2
Tom Six, Human Centipede 3
Sam Taylor-Johnson, Fifty Shades of Grey
Josh Trank, Fantastic Four
Andy and Lana Wachowski, Jupiter Ascending

Worst Actor
Johnny Depp, Mortdecai
Jamie Dornan, Fifty Shades of Grey
Kevin James, Paul Blart Mall Cop 2
Adam Sandler, The Cobbler and Pixels
Channing Tatum, Jupiter Ascending

Worst Actress
Katherine Heigl, Home Sweet Hell
Dakota Johnson, Fifty Shades of Grey
Mila Kunis, Jupiter Ascending
Jennifer Lopez, The Boy Next Door
Gwyneth Paltrow, Mortdecai

Worst Supporting Actor
Chevy Chase, Hot Tub Time Machine 2 and Vacation
Josh Gad, Pixels and The Wedding Ringer
Kevin James, Pixels
Jason Lee, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Road Chip
Eddie Redmayne, Jupiter Ascending

Worst Supporting Actress
Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Road Chip and The Wedding Ringer
Rooney Mara, Pan
Michelle Monaghan, Pixels
Julianne Moore, Seventh Son
Amanda Seyfried, Love the Coopers and Pan

Worst Screenplay
Simon Kinberg, Jeremy Slater and Josh Trank, Fantastic Four
Kelly Marcel, Fifty Shades of Grey
Andy and Lana Wachowski, Jupiter Ascending
Kevin James and Nick Bakay, Paul Blart Mall Cop 2
Tim Herlihy and Timothy Dowling, Pixels

Worst Remake or Sequel
Alvin and The Chipmunks: The Road Chip
Fantastic Four
Hot Tub Time Machine 2
Human Centipede 3
Paul Blart Mall Cop 2

Worst Screen Combo
Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara and Jamie Bell, Fantastic Four
Johnny Depp and his glued-on mustache, Mortdecai
Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson, Fifty Shades of Grey
Kevin James and either his Segway or glued-on mustache, Paul Blart Mall Cop 2
Adam Sandler and any pair of shoes, The Cobbler

Razzies Redeemer Award
Elizabeth Banks
M. Night Shyamalan
Will Smith
Sylvester Stallone

Face Front, True Believers! The New Fantastic Four Is As Bad As The Old Fantastic Four!


FFFace front, true believers!

This is the one you’ve been waiting for!  There’s a new Fantastic Four movie out, looking to cash in on this cozy crazy comic book fad!  It’s been getting terrifyingly terrible reviews and the ravenous reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes have given it a scintillating score of 9%.  But don’t let my manic misplaced modifiers put you off, pilgrim!  The ancient prophecy is true!  Fantastic Four is as boldly bad as everyone says!  Not even the merriest members of the Merry Marvel Marching Society will find much to marvel at here!

This is the latest attempt to start a Fantastic Four film franchise.  This time Reed Richards (Miles Teller) and Ben Grimm (Jamie Bell) are both unlikely teenagers.  Dr. Franklin Storm (Reg E. Cathey) recruits Reed to help work on a “Quantum Gate” that will transport explorers to the Negative Zone.  Instead of being transformed by gamma rays, Reed and his friends become super human as a result of going to Planet Zero and getting splashed by green goo.  Reed has the power to stretch.  Ben develops a rock-like hide.  Dr. Storm’s son, Johnny (Michael B. Jordan), becomes a human torch while his adopted daughter, Sue (Kate Mara), is given the power of invisibility.

Doctor-DoomIt takes over an hour for Reed and friends to become fantastic and, even after they do, there’s no sense of wonder or excitement to Fantastic Four.  It’s obvious that a lot of money was spent on special effects but there is not a single scene that can match the power or imagination of a Jack Kirby illustration.  Worst of all is what is done to Dr. Doom (Toby Kebbell).  One of Marvel’s most complex and iconic characters is reduced to being just another vaguely motivated movie bad guy.  Fantastic Four feels like a throwback to the worst comic book movies of the 90s.  Nuff said?

This version of Fantastic Four was directed by Josh Trank, who previously directed the excellent ChronicleFantastic Four is so joyless and rudimentary in its approach that it feels like the anti-Chronicle.  After the initial negative reviews came out, Trank tweeted, “A year ago I had a fantastic version of this. And it would’ve received great reviews. You’ll probably never see it. That’s reality though.”  (He later deleted the tweet.)  Perhaps studio interference explains why Fantastic Four feels so disjointed.  It seems to be missing key scenes.  For instance, do you remember all of those cool moments from the trailer?  Most of them are not in the actual movie.

fant_fourIf you count the never released Roger Corman-produced 1994 film, this is the fourth attempt to reboot The Fantastic Four.  When I was growing up and reading comics, I never really cared about The Fantastic Four.  The only time I ever read Fantastic Four was if they were doing a crossover with the X-Men or Spider-man.  I knew they were important to the history of the Marvel Universe but they also seemed old-fashioned and almost corny.  It’s hard to take seriously a scientific genius who can not come up with a better name than Mr. Fantastic.  As characters, the Thing, the Human Torch, the Invisible Woman, and Mr. Fantastic all feel like they still belong in 1961 and maybe that is why all the recent film adaptations of The Fantastic Four have failed.   Perhaps the fifth attempt should take a retro approach and set the story in the 1960s.

Perhaps then the flashy, fulsome, and far-out Fantastic Four will get the marvelous movie masterpiece that they deserve!

Excelsior!

031611_ff

 

Review: Chronicle (by Josh Trank)


“Found footage” films have become all the rage of late. Many attribute this to the extreme popularity of the Paranormal Activity films of the last couple years, but I like to think it goes even farther than that. Even before the aforementioned horror series we got the found footage horror of both the Spanish horror series [Rec] and it’s Americanized version with Quarantine. One thing which we haven’t gotten to see use this style of storytelling is the superhero genre which still continues to go strong. Filmmaker Josh Trank and screenwriter Max Landis (Masters of Horror: Deer Woman) solve this lack of superhero/found footage film with their surprisingly well-made Chronicle.

The film begins with one of three high school seniors, the shy and troubled Andrew (played by Dane DeHaan), testing out his new video camera. We learn through this first ten or so minutes of the film that his only friend in school is his own cousin Matt (Alex Russell) and that his plans for the new camera is to videotape everything that goes on through his day at school and at home. We learn much about Andrew during these first minutes of the film. We see that his home life consists of him worrying about his very sick mother and trying to avoid the wrath of his drunken, abusive father. School life is not any much better as he’s bullied by other classmates and seen as a non-entity by the rest outside of his cousin Matt. It is his cousin who invites him to a rave party in one scene which will lead up to the two meeting up with a third high school senior, the very popular Steven (payed by Michael B. Jordan), and their discovery of something strange in deep in the woods.

We never get any full explanation as to the origin of the mysterious object the three teens find underground, but all we know afterwards is how it’s given Andrew, Matt and Steven the ability to move things with their minds. This new found ability is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg as all three learn more about their new found powers. Matt figures out that their power is like a muscle and constant use just strengthens and enhances what they’re able to do. All three react to having superpowers as all high school teenagers would when confronted with such a situation: they become giddy boys behaving badly.

They test out their powers on the unsuspecting public at the local mall parking lot and stores. It’s all pretty much harmless, teenage fun until an accident caused by Andrew shows all three the inherent dangers in their new abilities. Matt wants ground rules in how they use their powers with Steven following suit, but Andrew doesn’t understand why the need for them even though he’s remorseful of what he had caused. It’s the beginning of small cracks in the relationship between the three teens that would widen as the film moves into it’s second half with less joy and lighthearted fun and more darkness as one of the three begins to act out on his troubles both at home and in school.

Chronicle could almost be a coming-of-age story in addition to being an origins story that superhero films seem required to do. We see Matt, the cousin, grow from being the wannabe intellectual into someone genuinely caring about what is happening to his introverted cousin Andrew. Steven, the popular football captain and student body president, learns more about Andrew and how he his new friend’s troubled upbringing concerns him enough to try and bring Andrew out from his protective shell and make him more confident about himself. With Andrew we see a teenager who many would feel much sympathy for. He’s the kid who symbolizes the turmoil a growing teen must go through both emotionally and psychologically. Whether it’s rebelling from familial authority or trying to survive the dangerous waters of high school life. We can see ourselves in Andrew’s shoes and his reaction to finally having the ability to fight back against those who have made his life a living hell feed our own fantasies as teenagers to be able to do the same.

All of this would be moot if the film ended up being uninteresting, bland and boring. Fortunately the film doesn’t end up being any of those three. What we get is a fun and thrilling film which takes both the superhero genre and the found footage gimmick and adds some new wrinkles that combines towards a fresh new take on both. Found footage films have the unenviable task of convincing the audience that we’d believe someone would be lugging around a camera all the time and find ways to videotape every moment to create a believable narrative. It’s a leap in logic that will sink or swim these types of films. With Chronicle we see how their new abilities solves this particular dilemma in found footage stories. Being able to move things with one’s mind should make it easy to film yourself without having to hold the camera and instead have it floating and following one around.

The film also does a great job in building up these characters into believable ones with their own back stories and motivations. We’re not left with basic cutouts of what we think teenagers are in films. Max Landis’ screenplay goes a long way in turning these three into real teenagers and their reactions in their new powers were quite believable. How else would teen boys react to finding out they’re now superheroes, but behave badly and use them not for the benefit of others but to have fun.

The film could easily have gone the route of making them want to start helping others (though in Steven’s case he does try to help Andrew become more outgoing through the use of his abilities), but that would’ve felt disingenuous and unrealistic. Even the film’s dialogue seemed to flow naturally without having to resort to witty teen-speak that some writers think teen conversations are full of. It helps that the performances of the three actors playing the three teens came off as well-done. Dane DeHaan as the troubled Andrew comes off looking best of all three with his reactions to his own personal troubles coming off as real and not as some young actor trying too hard to try and impress.

For a found footage film Chronicle does a great job in recreating the look and feel of the three teens superpowers. Whether it’s moving things around with their mind or flying through the sky, the film makes each and every act look like something that could happen for real. The scenes of destruction which encompasses the climactic sequence of the film look very realistic and on the small-budget (when compared to most superhero films) come off as very impressive. The technique of each scene being part of video camera footage (whether they’re handheld HD cameras or smartphone footages) allowed for whatever CGI-effect used to look seemless and not artificial looking.

January and February have always been the dumping ground for films the studios either have little faith in or think don’t deserve the much more lucrative summer blockbuster and holiday season months. Chronicle manages to make its case that this would’ve been one film that could’ve done well playing around with the mega-budgeted blockbusters this summer and hold it’s own. It’s a film that takes a simple premise and creates something not just fun and exciting, but also takes a delve into the psyche of the teenage mind and all the pitfalls and dangers one can find themselves in navigating through it. Chronicle is one of the better films in these early months of the 2012 film season and overall probably one of the better one’s by year’s end.