Tag Archives: american

Top 5 Most Overrated Films

Here, I run through a list of my personal picks for the top 5 most overrated films in recent memory. No particular order…

1. Superbad 

After his earlier efforts, Anchorman and The 40 Year-Old Virgin gained cult popularity, 2007′s Superbad was probably the most talked about and anticipated movie from Judd Apatow. Telling the story of two guys simply trying to break into the popular social circle of sex, booze and killer one-liners by simply acting like a couple of idiots. By no means is Superbad a bad film, because it actually does what it does to an ‘ok(ish)’ effect. But after a torrent of hype surrounding the film it was very difficult to go into this film without believing it to be an instant classic comedy hit – complete with unextinguishable quotes that I could show my Grandkids.

One way to get a box office draw? Get hold of 3 sexually unappealing teenagers

 The plot is very formulaic, the jokes are so-so and there’s predictability throughout. All that and an obvious homo-erotic scene involving our two main characters that hardly anyone spots – which is just completely out-of-place and unnerving.
 

2. American Gangster

Denzel Washington is horribly miscast as a prominent Manhattan kingpin who is fast becoming a thorn in the side for the long arm of the law as he traffics heroin from Asia. Everyone’s favourite brawler from down under, Russell Crowe, is the detective who strategically plans to take down Washington. During a considerable running time of the film, Washington’s character (Frank Lucas) is painted as a hero, a pillar of society, and well-respected. But it soon changes and the dark pattern starts to emerge after the pursuit by Crowe (Richie Roberts) becomes more stressful and burdening for him.

'Little Green Bag' would have made this brimful of bad-assery

I found it rather annoying that the plot seemed to play on Washington’s status as an actor, rather than the terrible real-life criminal he was playing. Whereas Roberts is depicted as a womanising mess, with relationship and family issues. And this is the good guy! But yeah, Lucas… The role, the character, even some of the scenes where he’s just talking just seem really un-Denzel Washington. Playing the bad guy or the criminal just does not suit the guy at all. I’ll give it to him, he’s undoubtedly the best African-American actor working today – but his prowess and ability just doesn’t shine here. It just makes for uncomfortable viewing. Oh and Crowe’s New Yorker accent…. Fucking horrendous.

3. Anything That Has Danny Dyer In A Starring Role

You thought of the constipation joke as you read this caption...

I understand this might be abit of cop-out. And I mean no disrespect to actors that have worked with this man, because he genuinely just ruins everything for me. From the annoying tit in Human Traffic, to the ‘I’m getting remorseful’ hooligan in Football Factory. Danny Dyer is a blight on British cinema and an embarrassment to actors, past and present. His portrayal of any character harkens back to the man himself and really makes not conceivable effort to differentiate between the two. It is so obvious you don’t need to look for it – I hate this man’s mindless fortitude to call himself an actor.

4. Memento

A hate rant on possibly the best director around and my favourite working today? Well… sort of, but not quite. Memento, which was Christopher Nolan’s breakthrough film, is the story of a man’s troubling quest to find his wife’s murderer, coupled with a condition that inables him to store new memories in his mind. Nolan is well-known for alternating timelines in his films and using unconventional methods of storytelling. The sypnopsis is intriguing and intellectually well-manifested, but my problem is with the narrative of this film.

"Whosajiggawhaa?"

It’s very difficult to pinpoint where I got lost in this and it took about 4 full-viewings before finally piecing together the erratic timeline changes. I will credit Memento on its uniqueness and different take on the ‘revenge’ movie, and Guy Pearce is probably in his defining role as the lead. However its complexities are far too over-powering and really does unforunately tarnish its very smart premise.

5. X-Men Origins: Wolverine

A real stinker. Directed by Gavin Hood, ‘Wolverine’ is the prequel to the original and very popular X-Men trilogy, helmed by Bryan Singer (X1 & X2) and Brett Ratner (X3). With comic book movies, there is always the chance of alienating that core fanbase - by actions such as disregarding source material, shift of focus from premilinary or core characters, or muddled up, uninspired casting choices. With this film, Hood along with studio, Fox. Totally ignores the establishment of the previous three films and kind of make a mess along the way. Wolverine’s character is drastically altered from the one we’ve come to know, and his origins are very much bastardised in the name of fan-service which comes to harm this movie even more.

Obviously Logan left the hot tap running abit too long...

There are a host of problems in this film. The plot is full of ‘craters’, from start to finish, the CGI effects are, in a word.. TERRIBLE for these times, and there are just laughable moments during certain scenes that eye-rolling couldn’t have a place for. The movie was not well-received by critics but was popular among some fans which has given Fox the greenlight to pursue a sequel. Talented director, Darren Aronofsky was slated to direct, but has since left the project due to constraints against his personal life. Thank the maker!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

#7 ‘An American Tail’ (1986)

Mousel tov!

Cast:-

*Phillip Glasser

*Dom DeLuise

Director:- Don Bluth

*MINOR SPOILERS*

Back in the late 80′s, early 90′s. Don Bluth was the shit.

From ‘The Land Before Time’ to ‘The Secret of NIMH’ all the way to his work on the ‘Dragon’s Lair’ game franchise – He was undoubtedly my favourite filmmaker. Though I didn’t know who he was in all honesty. But hell, the movies – were awesome! Emotional, hard-hitting, gritty and realistic. All that, with some inspiring and beautiful animation that still stand the test of time today against the likes of Pixar.

An American Tail – set in 1895 - is a story of survival. It also plays out as an ‘all’s not lost if you have hope’ piece of narrative, which is probably some of the best, of this particular nature, that I’ve seen.

 The film’s lead, is a young Russian-Jewish mouse, Fievel, voiced by Phillip Glasser. Who, after being forced to leave their shack under a family home in Russia with his Father, Mother and two siblings – is swept away during a frightening sea storm en route to New York City – Their potential new home. Fievel is washed up ashore in New York, and is befriended by a French pidgeon, Henri. Who, willingly gives him a bubble bath in the near-constructed Statue of Liberty (the scene is crushingly funny and so heart-warming at the same time it almost seems impossible), and encourages him to look for his family – Who believe that their son perished during the storm.

Now, watching this almost 20 years after I last had the VHS tape, it’s really a completely different movie altogether. As a kid, I’d often pick up more on the ‘humour’ and the songs (Especially ‘Somewhere Out There’ – that one is a killer). But maturity and age allowed me to broaden those horizons and read between the pages - to find that this film is truly a classic piece of animated cinema.

In places – it does get rather depressing, Fievel is taunted constantly by the loss of his family – though with companions at his side throughout, he’s never truly alone. But there are constant reminders and teases that his family are closer than he thinks. It actually becomes excruciating to see how often it happens – all for Fievel just to wind up disappointed.

To be fair, it’s pretty heartbreaking. But Bluth’s knack for delivering such human emotion and characterisation to rodents(?) is quite the feat. There’s laughs, there are tears, joy, sorrow, anger, resentment – All thrown in this little bag. The negatives, in this respect, outweigh the positives, however the conclusion is very endearing and totally worth the anticipation.

An American Tail is probably not your average kids flick. It’s abundant with adult-overtones. Such as war, immigration, cruelty, mass genocide and a host of others. I did find a lot of similarity between this and Christian Bale’s plight in ‘Empire of The Sun’. Obviously his character’s situation was in the middle of full-scale war, however both himself and Fievel’s vulnerability and innocence are the heart of the two films. It’s what keeps you transfixed on the events to come, and encourages you to encourage THEM to get back to where they need to be.

There’s an amazing charm to Fievel, as well as his family. His oversized red jumper, his dopey tongue expressions, his dancing to his father’s violin-playing – Effective and simple. There’s not that much around these days. Where are you, Bluth? There’s a lot of support characters in the film, the villainous ‘Warren T. Rat’, which is an amazing villain name. And ‘Honest John’, a reliable but often inebriated mouse politician living in the New York, to name a few. But it’s Dom DeLuise as ‘Tiger’, the vegan cat – who steals the show in his few minutes on-screen. Channelling The Cowardly Lion character from The Wizard of Oz, DeLuise delivers some wise-cracking wit as the cat who befriends Fievel during his search. Capped off with a lovely bit of toe-tapping duet stylings from Glasser and DeLuise.

In closing – it’s definitive animated excellence – However some wishing to show it to children will find the content of the film slightly over the mark.

Very slightly.

8/10


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