Each year has its share of disappointments, this is 2013, a unique year with its own share of disappointments. Lets look at some of them.
del Toro has been trying to break-through to an American movie audience more than a decade, only to find his greatest success in a film about 1940′s Spain under Fascist rule. Everyone assumed he was going to win the Best Foreign Film award in 2007, mostly because it was the only foreign film they had heard of that year. Upon not winning, del Toro was martyred and since then has been given a free pass to do what he wanted. With that free pass, del Toro has done three things: 1) Join projects only to drop out of them early in pre-production, 2) continue to make Hellboy movies for nobody, & 3) act as executive producer on films that test exactly how much his fan are willing to put up with.
This year’s del Toro endurance tests were called Mama and Pacific Rim. The best thing I can say about Mama is that it is not a found-footage film (more about those later). The worst thing I can say about Mama is that it was boring. We have been hearing about Pacific Rim for more than a year and many hoped that it would be a deeper film then Gamera vs Robot Jox. Turns out it was just Robot Jox except minus totalitarian sub-text and more shirtless, sexy men.
On the one hand, with the democratizing effect of high-end digital technology, we have seen more unique and interesting films from all over the world then ever before. On the other, go turn on Netflix right now and tell me how many horror-themed found footage films there are (bonus points if you can find one that does not feature zombies or zombified creatures). On top of that, every found footage film has a sequel because the inebriated Netflix audience will want a follow up to that movie they were hardly paying attention to and fell asleep during.
There is nothing wrong with the found-footage film, it has given us some gems but to say that the current theme of horror films is ‘overly-reliant’ on found-footage does not quite do it justice. It feel as though filmmakers are afraid that if their film is not a found-footage-zombie-horror film, no one is going to watch it. To try anything else would just be lunacy. There is an obnoxious comment I hear from time-to-time that “Hollywood is out of ideas”. Really? I would venture to say that it is not Hollywood who drilled the found-footage-zombie-horror genre dry and fracking its remains.
This years Oscar bait
To quote a woman I worked with who recently watched The Book Theif: “I did not realize it was a holocaust film until the Nazis showed up.”
Anything with the word ‘Marvel’ attached to it.
I feel like I have gone to this well enough this past year, but lets revisit it once more, shall we? Marvel’s ominously named ‘Phases’ show how little interest the company has in doing anything other than making the same film with a higher rate of return. Gone are the interesting directors who would bring in an curious audience and breath life into a world of flat characters, replaced with TV directors. The only job a director of a Marvel film has any more is to hold down the fort for the creative producers and not make Joss Whedon’s job any harder with Avengers 2: Getting the Band Back Together.
Marvel also given the ravenous fan base a relatively, uninteresting show. It used to be that Mr. Whedon’s name attached to a show could be a sign of quality, something you could really hang your hat on, a real go-getter of a show. I am unaware of his level of involvement in the show, which is never a good sign with a Whedon Joint.
Here is hoping that 2014 is a better year and how could it not? We get TWO Paranormal Activity films and the long awaited sequel to the money that inspired The Amazing Spider Man! How truly blessed we are.