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The Hush-Hush News Report: 01.09.13: 52 Shades of Ray
Posted by Jeremy Wilson on 01.09.2013


















Hello there 411mania readers. I'm Jeremy Wilson and this is the Hush-Hush News Report. Yep, I'm back after two weeks without a column from yours truly. What happened? Well, the first week fell smack dab in the midst of Christmas and I was unavoidably busy. Since Tuesday fell on Christmas this year, I just couldn't find the time to do a proper job on the column. Last week, I became horrifically ill. I woke up New Year's Day feeling like I got hit by a mack truck and couldn't move or get out bed for hours. I took me four days to fully get over it and by then it was way too late. It was not fun trust me.

Thankfully I'm back and just in time. This Thursday morning Oscar nominations are announced and since it's the beginning of 2013, we can officially move on with 2012. I'll be sharing the worst of what I saw in 2012 further down, as well as my final predictions for who will receive Oscar nominations. However, before we really get going with this week's column, I'd like to take a moment and about this guy:



Love him or hate him, #52 was the best at what he did. I'm from Baltimore. Born and bred here, a city that falls between what you see of the Inner Harbor and The Wire. It's a city of dichotomies in many ways, but at it's core is a hard-nosed, blue-collar city that always has a chip on its shoulder. I mean, wouldn't your city, if all anyone in the rest of the country saw and thought of it was what David Simon wrote for television? Regardless, Baltimoreans are proud people and that pride tends to be channeled through sports. We have a special relationship with our professional teams and because it's not a huge high school / college town, our attentions are almost undivided. I mean, the city was essentially put on the modern map when the Colts walked into Yankee Stadium and won "The Greatest Game Ever Played." And don't even get us started on Mayflower trucks.

We love our sports heroes and we expect a long, exclusive relationship. I mean, we've been spoiled, just in my lifetime alone. We'd put our local sports Mount Rushmore against any and feel pretty damn good about it. Johnny Unitas. Brooks Robinson. Cal Ripken. Ray Lewis. And that doesn't even count all our other Hall-of-Famers and non-team sports athletes like Michael Phelps. We gave Babe Ruth to the world and redefined what modern sports stadiums should be with Camden Yards.

So for us, Ray Lewis is not just a great football player. He's an extension of Baltimore and one of the great stories of redemption in sports history. He wasn't born here, but as he will tell you himself, this has become and is "his city." Ray is more than the greatest middle linebacker in history (all apologies to Dick Butkus, who's right there with him); he's the greatest leader in sports. Period. He's the guy you not only want to go to war with, but lead the charge. He's the guy who can make you believe anything is possible. He's a man who looks and sounds like he walked from the fires of hell to the pearly gates; in fact, he'd probably tell you himself and in the end, you'd believe him. He's a man who went from being charged with murder (he eventually plead guilty to a misdemeanor obstruction of justice charge) to literally being the Commissioner's "go-to" player (Roger Goddell was there Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium, giving #52 a big bear hug), a model citizen and an inspirational role model for a vast number of players coming into the league across every organization. He is also seemingly the city's first transcendent African-American pro sports star, a big deal in a largely African-American city whose previous sports heroes have almost exclusively followed in the quiet, hard-working, blue-collar respect that the city tends to identify most with. Ray Lewis brought a louder, brasher, more theatrical element to Batlimore...and we liked it.



The Baltimore Ravens are a monster success, a model franchise in many respects because of what Ray Lewis has instilled in the team, the organization and the city. He's the last "original" Raven and is the first and biggest football star in the post-Colts era. From the time the Mayflower trucks moved out in the dead of night in March '84 to the day the Browns Ravens arrived – 12 years later – nobody has eclipsed what one football player has meant to their city. He gave us an identity, gave us a great football team, gave us a new major rival (how's it feel to be watching these playoffs, Steelers fans?) and ultimately helped reestablish civic pride, especially since much of the Ravens's lifetime in Baltimore has coincided with a decline in the Orioles.

For the rest of the country, Ray Lewis is a great football player and leader. For Baltimore, he's the modern foundation of football and its return to Baltimore. There's a statue of Johnny Unitas outside M&T Bank Stadium; it not just pays homage to one of, if not the greatest quarterback in NFL history, but to a bygone era, one which was defined by generations of Baltimore football fans, the glory and pain of a team that helped define Baltimore. There will soon be a second statue joining Johnny U, one that represents a rebirth and a new legacy of football in Baltimore and of the city itself.

Ray, congratulations on a stellar career and thanks for everything. The last dance was pretty special.



Now, let's do this thing.


PROMO TIME!

Before you start reading, have you bookmarked 411Mania.com yet? It's the easiest thing in the world to do, and it'll get you your daily dose of entertainment news that much quicker! Typing the URL out in the address bar is such a pain, don'tcha think? Hell, make it your home page and it'll be that much easier for you!


Also, do you Twitter? If not, you should! And while you're at it, add these to your list of people that you follow so that you can get the latest updates! Come on Peeps, I and 411 need Twitter followers to validate our existence. Or something like that.










And if you don't do the whole Twitter thing, or want something a little more tailored for movie lovers, check me out on Letterboxd, a very slick, very cool social network/diary for movie fans. I've been using it for months and a number of other 411 Movies Zone writers are on there as well, so check it out. And no, I don't get money for saying that...I genuinely like it.




Now allow me to plug some of our 411 film reviews here including reviews of:

My reviews:
Killing Them Softly
The Man with the Iron Fists

Reviews by other 411 writers:
Zero Dark Thirty
Django Unchained
Jack Reacher
This is 40
The Guilt Trup
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Rise of the Guardians (2)
Rise of the Guardians
Red Dawn
Life of Pi
Anna Karenina
Silver Linings Playbook
Lincoln

We'd still write them if no one was reading, but to be honest it's better and more worthwhile when people do. Something about a tree falling in a forest. Anyway, on with the news....



Young Lead Cast In Transformers 4




If you want to know what Michael Bay is up to, apparently all you have to do is ask. Bay continued disseminating information about his future projects through his blog , this time announcing the young male lead who will star opposite Mark Wahlberg in the upcoming fourth installment in the Transformers franchise.

"I just hired a great new actor for Transformers 4 to star against Mark Wahlberg. Jack Reynor, he is an Irish kid that came to America with 30 bucks in his pocket. Pretty ballsy. Seriously who does that? Anyway I spotted him in a great little Irish movie WHAT RICHARD DID. This kid is the real deal.

Transformers 4, is not a reboot. That word has been floating around on the net. This movie takes place exactly 4 years after the war in Chicago. The story makes a very natural transition, and reason as to why we have a whole new cast. This Transformers will feel very different then the last three. We are embarking on a new trilogy."

Michael


Obviously, we don't have a lot of knowledge about Jack Reynor so there's little point in speculating on the casting until we actually see him work. We already basically knew it was going to be a new trilogy and that it wasn't a reboot, so I don't really think that's breaking news or anything. I think the most intersting part of Bay's statement is that this fourth film will "feel very different then the last three." I have no idea what that means, but I can't imagine Paramount and Hasbro are interested in changing things up too much. These movies are made to bring in cash and all three have essentially been the same (the first was a little more comedic and less action-packed, but you get it). One can always hope maybe the humor is smarter and action is less frenetic, but Bay is still directing so I wouldn't put money on it.

I think the most interesting part of Bay's statement is that this installment will "will feel very different then the last three." I have no idea what that means, but I doubt that Hasbro and Paramount would a fourth film that is too different from the first three. At this point, we all know what Transformers is about and one gets the sense that either Bay is deluding himself or flat-out lying.

One can only hope the humor is smarter and the action sequences are less frenetic, but at this point I wouldn't bet money on it. So everybody get amped for three more Transformers movies!




Sin City 2: A Dame To Kill For Is Coming Together; Josh Brolin To Play Dwight




Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill for, the long-awaited, highly-anticipated sequel to 2005's hit Sin City is finally coming together. Yesterday, reports leaked out that Joseph Gordon-Levitt will co-star in the film. Today, more casting news has come out and it's pretty big.

Josh Brolin has been tapped to star as the younger version of Dwight, a character played in the first film by Clive Owen. Since A Dame to Kill for is a prequel, it makes sense why Dwight would look different (although Brolin has never exactly looked young). In A Dame to Kill for, "Dwight is hunted down by the only woman he ever loved, Ava Lord, and then watches his life go straight to hell."

In addition to Gordon-Levitt and Brolin signing on, Deadline is reporting that Christophger Meloni has signed on for the film to play a disreputable cop.

Here's the press release announcing Brolin's involvement:

ACADEMY AWARD® NOMINEE JOSH BROLIN ADDED TO ALL STAR ENSEMBLE AS "DWIGHT" IN CO-DIRECTORS ROBERT RODRIGUEZ AND FRANK MILLER'S SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR

New York, NY January 8, 2013 – Today Dimension Films announced another big name that has been added to the SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR cast roster, further ramping up the ensemble – Academy Award® nominee Josh Brolin (GANGSTER SQUAD, MILK). Brolin will star as "Dwight" in the follow up to FRANK MlLLER'S SIN CITY for co-directors Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller. The part of the "Dame" has yet to be cast.

Dwight is one of the favorite characters from Miller's books and the 2005 film. In SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR, Dwight is hunted down by the only woman he ever loved, Ava Lord, and then watches his life go straight to hell. Chronologically, this story takes place prior to "The Big Fat Kill" (featured in the film FRANK MILLER'S SIN CITY) and explains how Dwight came to have a dramatically different face.

"Dwight is a constant character throughout the Sin City world and "A Dame To Kill For" is a defining episode in his life. We're looking forward to Josh's take on Dwight," said Rodriguez and Miller.

Brolin will next be seen alongside Sean Penn in the Warner Bros. 1940's police drama Gangster Squad set for release January 11, 2013. Brolin recently completed production on the Jason Reitman-directed film Labor Day opposite Kate Winslet, in addition to Spike Lee's Oldboy, a remake of the popular Korean film. Brolin last appeared as young "Agent K" in Men in Black 3, directed by Barry Sonnenfeld and co-starring Will Smith and Emma Thompson. In 2008, Brolin was nominated for an Academy Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award and received awards from the New York Film Critics Circle and the National Board of Review for his portrayal of ‘Dan White' in Gus Van Sant's acclaimed film Milk. Prior to that, Brolin earned a Screen Actors Guild Award as part of an ensemble for his work in Joel and Ethan Coen's No Country for Old Men, which also won four Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director.

SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR weaves together two of Miller's classic stories with new tales in which the town's most hard boiled citizens cross paths with some of its more repulsive inhabitants.

The star studded ensemble includes already announced original cast members Academy Award® nominee Mickey Rourke as "Marv," Jessica Alba as "Nancy," Rosario Dawson as "Gail" and Jaime King as "Goldie/Wendy" with new cast members Joseph Gordon-Levitt as "Johnny," Dennis Haysbert as "Manute" and Jamie Chung as "Miho." Production is underway at Rodriguez's Troublemaker Studios in Austin, Texas.

SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR was developed by Frank Miller based upon his graphic novel, with a screenplay by Miller.

The film will be released by Dimension Films in the US and Canada on October 4, 2013 and produced by Robert Rodriguez's Quick Draw Productions, Aldamisa, AR Films, Miramax and Solipsist. International sales are through Aldamisa International.



Tina Fey In Talks To Star Opposite Ricky Gervais In The Muppets 2




Tina Fey is beginning to line up her post-30 Rock career. Heat Vision is reporting that Fey is in talks to join Gervais andModern Family's Ty Burrell in the film which is reportedly a caper that takes place in Europe.

Burrell is reportedly playing a lazy Interpol inspector while Fey would play a Russian gulag prison guard. James Bobin, who directed the 2011 film, is back to helm the sequel and also co-wrote the screenplay with Nicholas Stoller. It would seem like The Muppets will find themselves behind bard at some point, and one would expect a Kermit or Miss Piggy soliloquy out of it, which is always welcome.

Meanwhile, Fey will keep herself busy following the conclusion of her long-running NBC hit. She and friend Amy Poehler will co-host this month's Golden Globes telecast and she is co-starring with Paul Rudd in the upcoming comedy Admission set for March. Fey and Gervais aren't total strangers; they worked together in Gervais' 2009 comedy The Invention of Lying.


Director James Mangold Talks The Wolverine




Director James Mangold spoke with EW about his upcoming comic book adaptation of The Wolverine starring Hugh Jackman once again as the popular X-Men character. In the interview, Mangold talked about the film's storyline, how the film relates to other X-Men films and more.

On the film drawing heavily from the Claremont/Miller storyline that finds Wolverine wandering Japan alone: ""It's definitely more [than sampling the vibe and some images from the comics]. A lot of that story and a lot of beats from that saga are in there — and a lot of characters. Without being religious about it, I think it's a very admiring adaptation. Obviously when you're adapting anything you make some changes. But all the characters are there – Yukio, Viper, Mariko, Shingen, and Logan obviously. The whole cast of characters that exist in that world exists in our film."

On the film's timeline in relation to the other X-Men films: "It's set after X-Men 3, but I wouldn't call it a sequel to X-Men 3… [I set it after all the other films] because of some of the themes in the Claremont/Miller saga. I felt it was really important to find Logan at a moment where he was stripped clean of his duties to the X-Men, his other allegiances, and even stripped clean of his own sense of purpose. I was fascinated with the idea of portraying Logan as a ronin – the definition of which is a samurai without a master, without a purpose. Kind of a soldier who is cut loose. War is over. What does he do? What does he face? What does he believe anymore? Who are his friends? What is his reason for being here anymore? I think those questions are especially interesting when you're dealing with a character who is essentially immortal."

On the end of The Last Stand being an effective end to Logan as a member of the X-Men: "It was only to my advantage to set it after the X-Men films because the X-Men had effectively ended at that point. A lot of the key characters had died. There was a sense if I'm locating this film not five minutes after the other movie, but a period of time after that last X-Men movie, I can find a Logan who is living separate from the world. He is no longer a member of some superhero team."

On likening The Wolverine to a western or cop movie: "A fantasy film is often improved by some kind of human reality. What makes them hard to sit through is that the modern-day tentpole film has become a lot of fast cutting and an incredible amount of money spent generating effects. What are we left with? We're left with what we see – a kind of inundation, a head-banging barrage in which they keep turning the volume up on the mix, and flying things at you faster in the hope that it keeps you in your seat. For me, the idea of making a film with hardcore action, with physical action like I grew up reading in the comic books, but also with a heart – and this character has great heart – to me, it's no different from making a western. Or a cop film."

On where find Logan in this film and what sparks the story: "What brings him there is an old ally in Japan. We find Logan in a moment of tremendous disillusionment. We find him estranged. One of the models I used working on the film was The Outlaw Josey Wales. You find Logan and his love is gone, his mentors are gone, many of his friends are gone, his own sense of purpose – what am I doing, why do I bother – and his exhaustion is high. He has lived a long time, and he's tired. He's tired of the pain."

The Wolverine hits theaters July 26th, 2013.


A New Pacific Rim Trailer




Warner Brothers released a new trailer for Pacific Rim at Qualcomm's presentation for this year's CES. If you haven't been living under a rock, Pacific Rim is an upcoming summer blockbuster giant man-made robots (known as Jaegers) built to fight sea monsters (known as Kaiju). Or put another way, Guillerm del Toro has gotten $200 million to make a movie about giant robots and monsters who leave a lot of destruction in their wake. Yup, it looks as awesome as it sounds.



Pacific Rim stars Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Charlie Day, Rinko Kikuchi, Max Martini, Rob Kazinsky, Clifton Collins Jr., and Diego Klattenhoff. The film opens July 12, 2013 in theaters everywhere. The official synopsis reads as follows:

When legions of monstrous creatures, known as Kaiju, started rising from the sea, a war began that would take millions of lives and consume humanity's resources for years on end. To combat the giant Kaiju, a special type of weapon was devised: massive robots, called Jaegers, which are controlled simultaneously by two pilots whose minds are locked in a neural bridge. But even the Jaegers are proving nearly defenseless in the face of the relentless Kaiju. On the verge of defeat, the forces defending mankind have no choice but to turn to two unlikely heroes—a washed up former pilot (Charlie Hunnam) and an untested trainee (Rinko Kikuchi)—who are teamed to drive a legendary but seemingly obsolete Jaeger from the past. Together, they stand as mankind's last hope against the mounting apocalypse.



Directors Guild Announces Nominations For 65th Annual DGA Awards




The Directors Guild of America has announced their nominations for this year's DGA awards. The DGA awards are one of the most accurate predictors and strongest correlations to the Academy Awards. This year there wasn't a major surprise for the year's most prized category of "Outstanding Direction in Feature Film" on the level of last year when David Fincher got a nod from the guild for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. However, in a strong year for movies and big-time directors, not everyone will be happy with the guild's choices and snubs are inevitable.

Ben Affleck for Argo

Kathryn Bigelow for Zero Dark Thirty

Tom Hooper for Les Misérables

Ang Lee for Life of Pi

Steven Spielberg for Lincoln

If I'm being honest, these wouldn't be my choices. In fact, the only two I'm okay with are Spielberg and Affleck. I'm in the minority in the fact that I was not a fan of Life of Pi – although I can understand fellow directors' admiration for Lee's film. It's a filmmaker's film. It is Lee's fourth DGA nomination, Spielberg's eleventh, Hooper and Bigelow's second and Affleck's very first nod.

Hooper, on the other hand, is an expected – if infuriating – choice. This isn't really the moment for what will eventually be my rant on Les Misérables, but needless to say I was extremely unimpressed with Hooper's work. Les Misérables was always going to be a major nominee and a player in this awards season, although I think Hooper dragged it down as much as humanly possible. I would have rather seen Paul Thomas Anderson, Quentin Tarantino, Andy & Lana Wachowski and Tom Tykwer, or even Rian Johnson get nominated over Hooper, but all in all these five nominees are more than likely the five we'll see when Oscar nominations are announced Thursday.

The DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film has traditionally been one of the industry's most accurate barometers for who will win the Best Director Academy Award. Only six times since the DGA Awards began in 1948 has the Feature Film winner not gone on to win the corresponding Academy Award.

The six exceptions are as follows:

1968: Anthony Harvey won the DGA Award for The Lion in Winter while Carol Reed took home the Oscar for Oliver!
1972: Francis Ford Coppola received the DGA's nod for The Godfather while the Academy selected Bob Fosse for Cabaret.
1985: Steven Spielberg received his first DGA Award for The Color Purple while the Oscar® went to Sydney Pollack for Out of Africa.
1995: Ron Howard was chosen by the DGA for his direction of Apollo 13 while Academy voters selected Mel Gibson for Braveheart.
2000: Ang Lee won the DGA Award for his direction of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon while Steven Soderbergh won the Academy Award for Traffic.
2002: Rob Marshall won the DGA Award for Chicago while Roman Polanski received the Academy Award for The Pianist.




Trailer Face-Off:


As we move past the busy holidays and delve deeper into the heart of Januray – a traditionally weak time of year for new movies – there remain some interesting options at the movies, including the wide release nationwide of the one of the year's most critically acclaimed movies Zero Dark Thirty. Joining ZDT into wide release are new releases such as Ruben Fleischer's delayed gangster flick Gangster Squad starring Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone and Sean Penn, and the Wayons horror spoof A Haunted House. In limited and VOD release, British sci-fi indie Storage 24 and Dustin Hoffman's directorial debut Quartet.

What are you planning on seeing this weekend



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The Hush-Hush Editorial Section: Worst Movies of 2012


2012 is so last year. 2013 is all the rage now. But before we move on, it's always good to take a look back at the year that was and encapsulate the best and worst in arbitrary lists. Yay! This week, the 10 Worst Films of 2012. The caveat, as always, is that these are films I HAVE SEEN, so I'm sorry if you think I'm missing something. Make sure to let me know in the comments and I'll check it out. Granted, I've seen a LOT of shitty movies, but I'm only one man. I don't live in New York or Los Angeles and I'm not made of money. I can't catch them all. So some obvious possibilities based on the opinions of folks I trust – such as Chernobyl Diaries, Project X, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, House at the End of the Street – aren't on this year's list. Also, please note, I go by general U.S. release date. Now, on with the worst I saw:

5 Films not in my Bottom 25 but were extreme disappointments:
Killing Them Softly, Les Misérables, Life of Pi, The Campaign, This is 40

Filling out the Bottom 25 (in alphabetical order):
Alex Cross
ATM
Cosmopolis
Dark Shadows
Extremely Lous and Incredibly Close
Ice Age: Continental Drift
Lockout
Resident Evil: Retribution
Rock of Ages
The Iron Lady
The Lorax
The Man with the Iron Fists
The Three Stooges
This Means War
Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie


10. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

I'm sorry, I know a lot of folks either like or don't mind AL:VH but I found it a depressing experience. First off, it's ugly. In every sense of the word, AL:VH is a dark, muddled, cheap looking movie. At least Bekmembatov's Wanted had a certain visual flair and sense of pulpy fun. I just found this movie incredibly ugly, its effects laughably bad at times (Lincoln hopping stampeding horses is not just ludicrous, but insanely hideous to watch).

Ben Walker is a weak lead and his supporting cast isn't much better. I like Mary Elizabeth Winstead, but she's lifeless as Mary Todd (although the script doesn't help her out much). Dominic Cooper, Anthony Mackie and Rufus Sewell don't exactly do their best work and the film never rises to "fun." I know there are a a lot of fans of the novel and that it was a serious thing, but this is a poor adaptation and a miscalculation on the part of both Bekmembatov and producers.

9. Gone

Not worthy of Amanda Seyfried's talent. Its direction is mediocre, the editing is worse than the direction and the script is a moronic procession of red herrings and inexplicable moments that have you going "what?" As in the creepy, leering cop/red herring who might be a suspect, but who isn't in the last third of the movie because he has to go take some soup to his mother. Yeah, it's that kind of movie. In fact, this is the worst, most inept group of cops I've ever seen in this kind of movie. Actually that's something of an accomplishment I suppose.

Cheap, dumb and messy. And ultimately unsatisfying. Seyfried will survive this as she did Red Riding Hood but she's got to pick her projects a little more carefully.

8. One for the Money

It's almost worth it just to hear Heigl valiantly attempt and maintain a "tough" New Jersey accent for almost ninety minutes.

Almost worth it.

It's so poorly put together and conceived, that even with Heigl's "star power" behind it, it would almost certainly be Direct-to-DVD were it not for it being an adaptation of the popular Janet Evanovich franchise. Though admittedly, the idea that there might be more of these coming in the near future does instill both fear and perverse anticipation. Could it actually get any worse? (Part of me hopes so...the sadistic snarky part). Heigl's campaign to destroy the modern romantic comedy marches on.

7. Journey 2: The Mysterious Island

It took all of 5 minutes for Journey 2 to piss me off and mutter "Oh fuck this movie." This is the kind of movie w/lines like "What in the blue heck is that?" or "It looks like the liquefaction has tripled overnight!"

My favorite exchange was when they first get to the island.
Hutcherson: "Ladies & Gentlemen, I give you..."
Rock: "...The Mysterious Island!"
Hudgens: "What is this place?" (She obviously isn't a Verne fan)

Michael Caine clearly slummed it in this. I'm glad he had fun, but it's like watching Jordan play a pickup game at the Y against middle-aged overweight white guys.

I'm also stunned at how openly homophobic Rock is in this. I mean I guess I'm used to it from his WWE act, but this is a family adventure film and it's REALLY noticeable and off-putting. Dwayne has way too much charisma and natural abilities to go that route.

This entire thing is just one giant "It's okay, I slept at a Holiday Inn last night" movie. It's gross and stupid and lazy. Boo on Brad Peyton and company.The film's CG is really mediocre too, even for a kids movie.

I didn't like the original Journey. I mean, come on, Brendan Frasier! But somehow Journey 2 (even w/Michael Caine) was worse. I did not expect that. It's terrible for adults, uncool for the pre-teen/teen crowd and probably a bit intense for really little kids. It sure is COLORFUL though! And yet, it made a butt-load of money, making much of my criticism moot. Lovely.

6. Wanderlust

Shockingly unfunny. Painfully boring. Thematically inept.

When you laugh more during the outtakes in the closing credits than during the entire length of the film, you know something has gone awry. Completely flat, one-dimensional hippie humor and really an embarrassment in trying to shed any sort of light about relationships, materialism or the current world we live in. Shocking.

5. What To Expect When You're Expecting

Pregnant women can be such bitchy crazy people, right? Or, at least that's what I'm supposed to take out of the ridiculous and terrible comedy starring Elizabeth Banks, Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Lopez as women either pregnant or trying desperately to get that way. It's the same platitudes we've come to expect in "comedies" about pregnancy, childbirth and parenting: being pregnant sucks, pregannt women become crazy rage-monsters out to ruin their inept husbands' lives, raising young children is an exhaustive, soul-sucking experience that ruins your life, BUT is all still magically worth it when you hold your little baby in your arms. There's also something incredibly distasteful and depressing about using one of the standard pregnancy guide books as the basis for an ensemble romantic comedy that bears almost no resemblance to it in the slightest feels like studios are not even attempting to hide how crassly they seek to exploit audiences. Depressingly predictable cookie-cutter characters and an ensemble film comparable to New Year's Day and Valentine's Day.

4. Piranha 3DD

Wanna know the difference between Piranha 3D and Piranha 3DD? The latter has twice the boobies and about 1/100th the execution, charm and fun. It's pretty goddamn inept in almost every way. Except for boobies. There's still lots of those. And the requisite severed penis. Still, a terrible, cheap, joyless movie.

3. Playing for Keeps

The tragic tale of a man forced to watch his lovely, if bland fiance, who he has loved and provided for her and her young son these last three years, fall prey to an immature old flame who has finished his partying and womanizing ways (apparently) and has arrived in town dead-set on upending all their lives and inserting himself into their happy famly...no matter the cost. If that weren't bad enough, said ruffian former soccer star loser is so enchanting to the opposite sex, the women of the neighborhood can't help but throw themselves and their panties at him whenever he's near. On top of it all, he's really a terrible father; he lets his 9-year-old son nearly drive a ferrari into a stream, drops him off at some random person's house so he can go have sex with a mother trying to help him get a job out of state and misses the chance to see a soccer game with his son in order to bail out some random coked-out creep who he barely knows.

I mean how could he know that his fiance would pick THAT guy over him. Poor Matt. He never had a chance. Chap got played alright.

Playing for Keeps was the most hollow, soulless movie I saw in 2012.

2. The Devil Inside

The Devil Inside is the kind of film that makes me feel like I was way too harsh on other bad and infuriatingly stupid 2012 horror films like ATM. This movie has to be the bottom of the barrel...for horror, for found footage, for exorcism/possession movies. For movies in general. Because if it isn't, I can't imagine what would be worse.

Seriously, screw this movie, its ending and anyone who managed to make a dime off of it. May their souls be taken possession by some of the demons in this film.

I'm sorry ATM, you weren't the stupidest horror film of 2012. This movie was it in a fucking landslide.

And now, the #1 Worst Movie of 2011 is…

1. That's My Boy

Congratulations Adam Sandler. You've followed up your legendarily terrible 2011 with the single biggest cinematic turd of 2012. There were a lot of worthy films that could be described as "the worst movie of 2012." I can't bemoan anyone who has The Devil Inside or Playing for Keeps or Piranha 3DD as their #1. But for me, That's My Boy took cinematic suck to a whole new level in 2012. It is one of the most misogynistic mainstream movies I've ever seen and is further proof of Sandler's disdain for not only general movie audiences, but his own fans as well. There's gross-out, highbrow comedy and then there's the kind of crap Sandler is pumping out. It's hard to deny that since the relative failure of Funny People, Sandler effectively gave up, deciding to double-down and ramp up on his Happy Madison-style comedy he developed all those years ago. Well, it shows in That's My Boy, as man-child Sandler does the same stupid, cutesy voice and plays an even older, grosser and less likable man-child than he did in his first films. Andy Samberg is forced to play the straight guy and struggles mightily, while every single female character is portrayed as a slut. This is led by lead slut Leighton Meester, who stars as Samberg's fiancée and gets the double pleasure of being the stuck-up bitchy slut, humiliated by the end of the film in one of the year's more unnecessary and bizarre plot twists.

It's moronic, disgusting and undeniably lazy. It's insulting and fans should demand better from Sandler. That's My Boy is a thoroughly horrible movie and one I would want to watch less than other Sandler/Happy Madison abominations such as Jack and Jilll, Just Go With It, Don't Mess with the Zohan and I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry. If that isn't the most damning thing I could say, then I don't know what else would make my point.

2012 LVP (Least Valuable Performer):
1. Adam Sandler – That's My Boy is that bad. Hotel Transylvania was alright, but his Dracula was a little over-the-top – even for a kid's movie. Plus, the fact he's getting Grown Ups 2 ready to shove up audiences' collective asses for 2013 doesn't give me much hope that next year will be any better. Can Sandler and Happy Madison pull off the three-peat?
t-2. Seth Graham-Smith – The writer of both Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and Dark Shadows, Graham-Smith had a disastrous 2012 helping deliver not only two terrible movies, but two box office bombs as well. Once thought to be one of Hollywood's up-and-coming screenwriters, Graham-Smith has a lot to prove in 2013 and beyond.
t-2. Gerard Butler – Has he ever been good? In anything? Playing for Keeps is beyond bad and Chasing Mavericks was a middling disappointment.
3. Robert Patttinson – Unlike many, I was much less impressed with his work this year, especially in David Cronenberg's disappointing and uber-dense Cosmopolis. Add in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 and Bel Ami and R-Patz has yet to convince me he can be a good leading man.
4. Paul Rudd – It breaks my heart to put Paul Rudd on here, but he starred in two of the year's most disappointing romantic comedies – Wanderlust and This is 40. I continue to like Rudd, but he's been in some real stinkers the past couple years.
5. Catherine Zeta-Jones – Bizarre turns in Rock of Ages, Lay the Favorite and Playing for Keeps made me question where exactly the career is heading for everyone's favorite bi-polar Welsh beauty's. After a three-year break, 2012 was not kind for the former Oscar winner.




The Hush-Hush Racetrack Oscar Odds


The following are my own, FINAL predictions for who will receive Oscar nominations. The 85th Academy Awards nominations will be announced this Thursday morning, January 10th. The Oscars ceremony will be held on February 24th, 2013. My choices are in alphabetical order.

BEST PICTURE


Argo
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Django Unchained
Les Misérables
Life of Pi
Lincoln
Moonrise Kingdom
Silver Linings Playbook
The Master
Zero Dark Thirty



BEST DIRECTOR


Ben Affleck (Argo)
Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty)
Tom Hooper (Les Misérables)
Ang Lee (Life of Pi)
Steven Spielberg (Lincoln)


BEST ACTOR


Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook)
Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln)
John Hawkes (The Sessions)
Hugh Jackman (Les Misérables)
Denzel Washington (Flight)


BEST ACTRESS


Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty)
Marion Cotillard (Rust and Bone)
Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook)
Emmanuelle Riva (Amour)
Naomi Watts (The Impossible)


BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR


Alan Arkin (Argo)
Javier Bardem (Skyfall)
Robert De Niro (Silver Linings Playbook)
Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Master)
Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln)


BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS


Amy Adams (The Master)
Sally Field (Lincoln)
Anne Hathaway (Les Misérables)
Helen Hunt (The Sessions)
Maggie Smith (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel)


BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY


Amour
Django Unchained
Looper
Moonrise Kingdom
Zero Dark Thirty



BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY


Argo
Life of Pi
Lincoln
Silver Linings Playbook
The Perks of Being a Wallflower



BEST ANIMATED FEATURE


Brave
Frankenweenie
ParaNorman
Rise of the Guardians
Wreck-It-Ralph



BEST FOREIGN FILM


A Royal Affair
Amour
Beyond the Hills
No
The Intouchables

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE


How to Survive a Plague
Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God
The Gatekeepers
The Invisible War
Searching for Sugar Man



BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
Anna Karenina
Les Misérables
Life of Pi
Lincoln
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey



BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Les Misérables
Life of Pi
Lincoln
Skyfall
The Master



BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Anna Karenina
Les Misérables
Lincoln
Mirror Mirror
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey



BEST EDITING
Argo
Les Misérables
Lincoln
The Master
Zero Dark Thirty



BEST MAKEUP AND HAIR
Les Misérables
Lincoln
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey



BEST SCORE
Anna Karenina
Life of Pi
Lincoln
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
The Master



BEST SONG
"For You" (Act of Valor)
"Learn Me Right" (Brave)
"Skyfall" (Skyfall)
"Song of the Lonely Mountain" (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey)
"Suddenly" (Les Misérables)


BEST SOUND EDITING
Les Misérables
The Dark Knight Rises
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Skyfall
Zero Dark Thirty



BEST SOUND MIXING
Les Misérables
The Dark Knight Rises
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Skyfall
Zero Dark Thirty



BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Cloud Atlas
Life of Pi
Prometheus
The Dark Knight Rises
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey



BEST ANIMATED SHORT
Adam and Dog
Fall of the House of Usher
Maggie Simpson in The Longest Daycare
Paperman
The Eagleman Stag



BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT
Education of Mohammad Hussein
Inocente
Kings Point
Mondays at Racine
Open Heart



BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT
9meter
Asad
Curfew
Death of a Shadow
when you find me





Trailer of the Week (You Might Have Missed): Only God Forgives



Red-Band Trailer of the Week: Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters



Funny Video of the Week: "JibJab Year in Review 2012 – The End is Here!"



Like I Need A Reason Video of the Week: "Ray Lewis – Career Highlights"




That's all for this week. As always, let me know what you think in the comments section. For now, this is Jeremy Wilson, off the record, on the QT...



...and definitely, "Hush Hush!"





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