2010 in Movies: Biggest Disappointments

1. I couldn’t see some of the Cannes and Sundance Festival favorites because they haven’t been released where I live: Poetry, Certified Copy, Uncle Boonmee, Cane Toads: The Conquest, Aurora, The Princess of Montpensier.

2. After director Niels Arden Opley’s super rockin’ The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the second and third films in Stieg Larsson’s Milenium trilogy were dragged down by plodding director Daniel Alfredson.

3. The 2004 French action movie District B13 introduced us to thrilling parkour and was an original, offbeat spectacle.   But this year’s sequel District 13: Ultimatum was cartoonish and very, very dumb.

4Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps:  First of all, I hoped that the movie was going to be primarily about the Michael Douglas characterization of Gordon Gekko – which Douglas knocked out of the park yet again. Will someone explain to me why Shia LaBeouf seems to be a movie star? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Second, the screenplay keeps raising the issue of moral hazard (whether to bail out people from the consequences of risks that they knew they were taking).  Yet, at the end, the two flawed main characters each get exactly what they wanted at the beginning of the film despite making risky or evil choices throughout.  The movie’s payoff (things will turn out OK no matter how badly or foolishly you behave) is exactly opposite of the movie’s sermonette.

5. No one could find a better vehicle for the sublime Amy Adams than the execrable Leap Year?

6.  Pirate Radio:  Has Philip Seymour Hoffman been in a worse film?

7. From the trailer and the buzz, I thought that The Kids Are All Right was shaping up to contend for Best Picture.  It’s a good movie with a wonderful performance by Annette Bening, but  it didn’t fulfill its promise as one of the year’s best.

8. I really wanted to like Ireland’s animated The Secret of Kells, but it was a snoozer.

9. The German comedy Soul Kitchen had a fun trailer (that contained the actually funny three minutes in the entire film).

10.  Shutter Island:  Marty, what were you thinking?

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