Recently seen on DVD:
The Sum of All Fears
: A laughably bad first half, containing all sorts of tonal problems, embarrassing expository dialogue, shitty characterization, and bad character acting. Second half is more numbing in its plot stupidity and condescension to the audience. Almost everyone involved is smarter than this shit, except maybe Clancy, Robinson, and Affleck. A nuclear holocaust is treated as an inconvenience, comic relief scenes are not only unfunny, but completely out of place and misguided. The only highlight is genius actor Liev Schreiber, who wipes the floor with Affleck and would clearly be the better Jack Ryan, were he dumb enough to take the role. I was pretty surprised at how much this sucked.
: A forgettable and derivative farce, showing Barry Sonnenfeld's desperation to recapture the glory of Get Shorty
. Problem is, he's working with Dave Barry material (co-written by a South Park
guy) instead of Elmore Leonard. I always like Dennis Farina and Andy Richter, but most of this is pretty lame. A few laughs, but not enough to save it -- even at 84 minutes it feels long.
: Absolutely no reason for this to be made -- the original film wasn't even all that good, done in by a rotten story. Soderbergh, Nolan, and Pacino are trying to make it craftier, but the same uninteresting plot is in place, which is basically moralistic propaganda with a stuffy air of pretension all around it. Robin Williams is really good in this, strangely -- better than he was in the far superior One Hour Photo
-- but it's a dull failure of a movie that never generates tension due to a curious lack of style or energy. High reading on the who-gives-a-shit-meter.
All three of these films are contenders for my worst of the year list, but this has been a fortunate year for me in that I haven't made too many bad choices at the theater: all of the films released this year that look like shit stains (and there have been plenty) have thankfully passed me by. I'm sure I'd have really hated Scooby-Doo, Feardotcom, Master of Disguise, Attack of the Clones, Showtime, Pluto Nash, Dragonfly, MIB 2,
and Resident Evil
, but I'm not that stupid.