WORST MOVIE OF THE YEAR:
Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark
The year brought us no shortage of haunted house movies, from the latest Paranormal Activity entry to Insidious. But the worst of the lot came from someone who should know better: Guillermo del Toro. The original 1973 made-for-TV movie made an impression on the young Mexican director, but this remake he co-wrote didn’t make an impression on me. Despite a top-notch effort from Bailee Madison (who’s well on her way to become one of the finest youth actors around), the film never really provides the scares its trailer and R rating promise. In fact, the film simply acts as a machine, churning out alleged scares and conversation until everything comes to a laughable finale. The only thing scary about this movie is the fear del Toro may have lost his touch.
The Hangover, Part II
How does a movie I sort-of recommended end up here? Because the more I think about it, this sequel represents the ultimate in Hollywood laziness (at least for a project not involving Adam Sandler). The first film was such a hit because of its camaraderie, surprises and quotable-ness. So instead of finding a way to re-capture that or—better yet—leaving well enough alone, Todd Philips and his cast struck while the iron was hot and simply copied the first film “good enough” and sent it out. The Hangover, Part II re-creates the exact same story, music cue for music cue, only does it in a far less funny, inorganic way. Sure it gives us some laughs, but at what cost?