A look at the good, the bad and the complicated from our film writers
Published: January 2, 2013
7) The Odd Life of Timothy Green
A bizarre yarn about a couple of whiny, childless factory town humps who are "blessed" by the appearance of a wise-beyond-his-years miracle child who helps everyone in town with their personal problems and teaches us all about laughter and love. This treacly magic realist debacle is overloaded with enough syrup to drown Paul Bunyan's breakfast table.
8) Trouble with the Curve
Clint Eastwood also has trouble making anyone give a toss about the troubles of his curmudgeonly, dried-up baseball scout and his high-strung yuppie daughter (Amy Adams). Old soldiers never die, they just keep on haunting the multiplex and occasionally babbling to the furniture.
9) This Means War
This crap rom-com means it's over for Reese Witherspoon.
10) Darling Companion
I didn't suffer through Lawrence Kasdan's turgid act of baby boomer navel-gazing for nothing; I must remind the world of its flaccid awfulness lest anyone else be lured by the many charms of veteran leads Kevin Kline and Diane Keaton.
– Corey Hall
Who needs to read another Top 10 list? Every critic, reviewer, blogger fanboy, nightly news affiliate, and Roger Ebert wannabe Facebook friend has one, and three-quarters of the choices are the same. Zero Dark Thirty is important. Lincoln is literate and handsomely mounted. Beasts of the Southern Wild is wildly inventive. Blah-blah-blah. Instead, here's a rundown of stuff that happened in the movies this year. Some of it was interesting. Some of it was terrible. Some of it had me scratching my head. And some of it just pissed me off.
Where the hell were you?
Every year, it's the same old story: Great movie comes to town, 17 people show up for opening night, attendance dwindles over the next few days, great movie leaves before start of the following weekend. Look, not every film can star Kristen Stewart's furrowed brow or Channing Tatum's oiled pecs, but you've missed out on some seriously good movies this year. Thank goodness there's On Demand and Netflix. Many can be found there. Go, seek them out.
Take This Waltz — Sarah Polley's brilliant deconstruction of rom-com tropes boasts Michelle Williams in another amazing performance and a script that, despite a flirtation with too much quirk, actually has conversation-worthy observations to make about love and romance.
Headhunters — If the Coen brothers grew up in Norway, they probably would have come up with something like this tortuous, so-wrong-it's-right violent black comedy. I guarantee, this one will keep you guessing about where it's headed next. Extra points for writer Jo Nesbo's idea of airbags.
Killer Joe — You'll never look at a Kentucky Fried drumstick the same. Matthew McConaughey delivers an Oscar-caliber performance in a trailer park noir that's blacker than Wayne LaPierre's soul.
Premium Rush — Yeah, the movie posters sucked. And bike messenger movies took a hit they never recovered from with Kevin Bacon's 1986 Quicksilver. But, seriously, this is 90 minutes of lean, mean popcorn filmmaking.
Safety Not Guaranteed — Every under-the-radar list has got to include an oddball, earnestly droll indie flick, and while several releases (Ruby Sparks, Robot and Frank, etc.) this year could qualify, this is my choice. Supermarket clerk Mark Duplass takes out an ad for a companion to join him for time travel adventures. Reporter for the richest newsweekly ever goes on assignment to meet him. When the Hall of Fame for quirky flicks is finally established, Duplass will be on the short list.
Tim Riggins just can't cut a break
If you were a fan of NBC's Friday Night Lights then you know how engaging and charismatic Taylor Kitsch can be. None of those attributes were evident in his leap this year to the big screen. In the unfairly derided but still mediocre John Carter, Kitsch was hopelessly miscast. In Oliver Stone's here-then-gone Savages, he dared to achieve true mediocrity. But in the so-stupid-I-can't-believe-it-was-made-into-a-film Battleship, Kitsch irredeemably whored out both his talent and his soul. 2013 will most likely determine whether this promising young actor will join the ranks of such TV-movie flameouts as James Van Der Beek, Matthew Fox and Tom Selleck. Ashton Kutcher may finally leave this infamous list with his upcoming turn in the Steve Jobs biopic ... or not. Check back after opening.
The other, better Liam Neeson flick
Look, when a killer CIA agent loses a family member the first time, you can chalk up it up to bad luck. But when he loses a second four years later, it's time to revoke his license to kill. Taken 2 was a textbook example of a crappy sequel to an overpraised action flick. Sure, Neeson's aging operative took out a culturally offensive cliché with a rocket launcher, but his Bryan Mills just can't compare with his suicidal hunter John Ottway in The Grey. I mean, the dude tapes broken airline liquor bottles to his fists and mixes it up with a timber wolf. Joe Cranahan's ode to Darwinian fatalism and brooding badassery is ridiculously macho but undeniably exciting.
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