CHICAGO – Cinemax’s ominous new series “The Knick” is a hospital drama that’s very much in the voice of its director, Steven Soderbergh. Set in New York City at the turn of the 20th century, the series presents the medical world as it inches closer and closer to modernity, while making contemporary parallels to the desperate hustle by surgery room clients and their doctors alike regarding treatment of the human body. What has changed in the politics of medicine? What hasn’t?
Film Feature: The 10 Worst Films of 2012
CHICAGO – Sitting in the dark, watching 2012 unspool through the reels of the year’s films, often creates a situation in which time can actually be felt going by. That happens when viewing “The 10 Worst Films of 2012.” Brian Tallerico and Patrick McDonald join forces to analyze these time wasters.
From fish who eat people, to old-timer baseball scouts, to campaign year propaganda, no subject seemed untouched in the pursuit of 2012 cinematic blight. To soften the blow, Tallerico and McDonald split the assignment, and contributed five films apiece from their Halls of Shame. A Redeeming Factor is added, to keep them from going completely insane. Each reviewer is indicated by their initials (BT, PM) at the end of their insight for each torturous film. And away we go…
Photo credit: Dimension Films
Dumb, dumb, dumb. What did we learn here? Tongue-in-bloody-cheek gore-fests like the first “Piranha 3D” are nowhere near as easy as they look. Alexandre Aja’s first film looks like a genre masterpiece compared to this terminally unfunny piece of fish crap that completely misjudges the balance between character, humor, and horror, producing none of the above. David Hasselhoff isn’t even believable playing himself and he might be the best thing about the movie.
REDEEMING FACTOR: Almost everyone who you quickly grow to hate in “Piranha 3DD” dies in brutal ways. There’s a small bit of joy in watching stupid characters die in stupid ways. One only wishes the filmmakers would get in on the action. BT
“Trouble with the Curve”
Trouble with the Curve
Photo credit: Warner Bros. Pictures
Oy, the trouble with this movie! Let’s start with the miscasting – Amy Adams and Clint Eastwood have no chemistry as the daughter and father (the aging baseball scout), Justin Timberlake – as a baseball scout colleague – is as sports oriented as you’d expect from an ex-boy band singer, and John Goodman is just same old, same old as a baseball executive. The baseball itself is useless in any basis in reality and the ending – when a phenom comes out of proverbial woodwork – is impossible to believe in this era of traveling youth leagues. Instead of Clint capitulating to his golden years, he of course he is ultimately right and heroic in the film. So much for nuance. I count five strikes, two more than necessary for an “out!”
REDEEMING FACTOR: Director Robert Lorenz did one fancy shot during a baseball game that could be called creative. PM
“The Lucky One”
The Lucky One
Photo credit: Warner Bros. Pictures
In a year of stupid romantic dirges like “The Words” and “The Vow,” this one easily took the prize as the movie that should instantly end any blossoming relationship if your potential mate likes it. “You know I really love that movie with Zac Efron as the half-asleep vet who hunts down a girl in a picture like a stalker!” “Check, please!” Efron and poor Taylor Schilling have zero chemistry in this snooze-fest that plays almost like a “Family Guy” spoof of other Nicholas Sparks movies. Only not quite as funny.
REDEEMING FACTOR: It’s always great to see Blythe Danner working. She’s been underrated for decades. One just wishes she would be a bit more choosy with her scripts. BT
Photo credit: Millennium Entertainment
One of the most uncomfortable “elephant in the room” circumstances is a couple who want to have babies but cannot. So let’s make a comedy out of it! Hoo-Ha! This is painfully unfunny, and so forced I expected studio interns at the theaters to hit me over the head with a binky while I took it in. The story line morphs into a heist picture, as better to give director Jay Chandrasekhar a small part as a stereotype from India. What are the wacky boys from the Broken Lizard comedy troupe trying to steal? Seminal fluid from the sperm bank. It’s a comedy that keeps on coming, I mean giving.
REDEEMING FACTOR: The interview I conducted with Kevin Heffernan and Jay Chandrasekhar was infinitely better than the film. PM
“The Devil Inside”
The Devil Inside
Photo credit: Paramount Insurge
Hey, let’s make half a movie! When “The Devil Inside” ended with little more than a push to get viewers to bring traffic to a website that didn’t deserve it, there was nearly a revolt. The F CinemaScore and stories of people booing and throwing things at the screen led to an amazing 76% drop in its second weekend. The story about the awful non-ending and box office plummet overshadowed the fact that “The Devil Inside” is an AWFUL movie even if it had a great ending. The thing plays with nothing but cliche and it does so in a lackluster, uninspired, entirely non-scary way. There’s not one genuine character, idea, or even jump-scare in this junk and even if the ending was disappointing, it at least stopped the awfulness of what came before.
REDEEMING FACTOR: You can use it on April Fool’s Day and trick people into thinking they’re seeing an actual movie. “Hey, want to watch a scary flick!” Then watch their face when the non-ending ruins their day. Scream April Fool’s and wait to get punched. BT