6. The Tourist – directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
It is difficult to believe this is the same man who directed the magnificently brilliant and superior film “The Lives of Others” in 2008, which won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.
In spite of the randomness and bitterness associated with the term “Hollywood hack/export” for its frequent uttering, there is no way to describe the rationale behind this famous misfire of a film. Von Donnersmarck tried his best, but didn’t anticipate the bland chemistry between the lead characters played by Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie.
The film also has severe pacing issues along with a very predictable plot twist the pacing doesn’t go well with the kind of film that is “The Tourist.” Even the filmmaker himself was confused with the genre of the film, sometimes labeling it as a comedy and sometimes as a romantic drama with thriller elements. Again, it is difficult to believe Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck previously made “The Lives of Others.”
7. The Lovely Bones – directed by Peter Jackson
What was Peter Jackson thinking when directing the film adaptation of “The Lovely Bones”? The book by Alice Sebold from which the film is based and the script of the film features a very tragic story at its core, so there was no need to overindulge in sentiment in the film’s treatment which made the film a cringeworthy tear fest.
The ideas were largely underdeveloped, the acting is very mediocre aside from Stanley Tucci’s effort, and Jackson juggles poorly between drama and thriller elements and can’t decide on one single tone. It is evident from the treatment of the film that Jackson was unsure of what to do with the material.
The proportion of violence against the sentimentality is uneven, the purgatory scenes abruptly switch between cheerfulness to limbo, and the film ultimately became one of the most unnecessary messes of all time.
8. The Neon Demon – directed by Nicolas Winding Refn
Dollops of color, famous and pretty casting, and stunning cinematography don’t automatically make a good movie: it needs a soul, and a solid script upon which the film will stand. The modeling world of Los Angeles doesn’t have a soul; it is only based on jealousy and rage and to express this vapid existence of this lifeless world, Nicolas Winding Refn literally eschews all life out of it.
A master of style over substance, in the Elle Fanning starrer film “The Neon Demon” Refn presents visually delectable 4k images with themes of violence inhabited deep within them. Full stop there – there is nothing more profound in this film.
The exploitation of fashion industry is very well known nowadays, and a film with a great story still can unearth many unknown secrets of this glamorous town, but “The Neon Demon” finds no excuse other than being an experimental genre exercise.
9. Mektoub My Love: Canto Uno – directed by Abdellatif Kechiche
No one can deny the unfathomable charm with which Abdellatif Kechiche dissected all the stages and circles of young love and affection in his 2013 Palme d’Or winning film “Blue is the Warmest Color.”
Despite rave reviews and a tearjerking story, he found himself under scrutiny with his questionable directing methods, especially during the film’s lesbian sex scenes, which the cast of the film commended that they found themselves feeling like whores. Watch the film and you will know that Kechiche likes to film his visions with epic lengths and he also loves female bodies. Then watch “Mektoub My Love” and you will surely question the man in charge, just like the actresses of the previous film.
There, Kechiche had an excuse; here he has none because the “Mektoub My Love: Canto Uno” has no single clear narrative thread; with so many unnecessary images of female sex organs, it feels like a softcore film premiered in Cannes. Why are all the young lads in the film interested in bedding girls as soon as possible? Are all millennial acts this way, or this is a product of Kechiche’s perverse mind? Looks like it is the latter.
10. Ready Player One – directed by Stephen Spielberg
Spielberg made this film as a dedication to the films he loves. There is a dearth of substance beyond that. Even the logic in the film is convoluted; the film is set in the future, but the youngsters clearly love ‘80s pop culture.
Why? The film doesn’t have anything other than pop culture and video game references in its run time, so Spielberg naturally divides its target audience. It is difficult to believe as a film directed by the master Spielberg other than fan fiction. Better to go re-watch his other films.