The year's half over, and if we're grading the state of cinema in 2009, we have to hand out a mixed rating. Animated films have soared like the balloon-decked house in "Up," but it's about time to drive a stake through the heart of the vampire trend.
Most likely to produce a crappy film: A movie based on a TV show
Wouldn’t it be a wonderful world if the mediocre “Land of the Lost” film inspired Hollywood to stop making movies based on TV shows? Not going to happen. Not only do we have “The A-Team” movie to look forward to, we also have a big-screen “Magnum” (based on “Magnum, P.I.”) and “CHiPs.” Haven’t we suffered enough? And shouldn’t actors, such as Will Ferrell, who not only has “Land of the Lost” on his resume, but also “Bewitched” and “Starsky & Hutch,” know better?
Grade: D+. This would be a lower grade, but this year’s “Star Trek” bumped it up by being one of the few TV-to-movie films that worked.
Most likely to produce a genuine smile: Animated movies
Maybe it’s because this is one of the few genres that doesn’t have to concern itself over that pesky teen boy audience, but animated films are just getting better and better. “Up” is so genuinely moving that I actually cried twice, and I spent the rest of the film dazzled by great visuals, an even better story and the adorableness of all those dogs. But “Up” isn’t alone. It’s as if Pixar is inspiring every other animated filmmaker to raise their game. We’ve also had the wonderful “Coraline” and “Monsters vs. Aliens.” And we still have “G-Force” and Hayao Miyazaki’s “Ponyo” to look forward to.
Grade: A. And make that one 3-D, because this so-called “gimmick” just adds to the magic.
Most likely to wear out his welcome: Ryan Reynolds
So far he’s appeared in “Adventureland” and “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” but he’s not done yet. This acting equivalent of a doorstop will also be coming your way in “The Proposal” and “Paper Man.” Why does he get so many roles? Exactly which women out there in America think he’s “hot”? Well, those are questions for the ages. But the man does seem to love to work. When he’s “good,” he just blends into the scenery. When he’s bad, you may actually mistake him for Dane Cook.
Grade: C. At least he’s not actually Dane Cook.
Most likely to become the next Lindsay Lohan: Megan Fox
Remember when it seemed like Lindsay Lohan had a thriving career ahead of her? It’s hard not to read Entertainment Weekly’s recent interview with “Transformers” co-star Megan Fox and wonder if she’s getting ready to follow in Lohan’s footsteps. While she doesn’t have Lohan’s substance problems, Fox doesn’t seem to have any kind of filter when it comes to talking about herself, her career, other people or basically anything an interviewer might ask. And while gems such as, “Working with Michael Bay is not about an acting experience” and “I'm so psychotic and so mentally ill,” are incredibly entertaining to read, it’s hard not to see a dozen red flags. If she starts eating lunch at the Ivy, I’m officially worried.
Grade: C+. “Transformer’s” co-star Shia LaBeouf has Fox beat on the TMI and the bad behavior, but given that he’s a man, he’s more likely to be forgiven for both.
‘Twilight’ stars light up Hollywood
The hot vampire series is taking cinemas by storm, and its stars' off-screen romance only helps matters.
trueH6falsetrue1Fangs, but no thanks: Vampire movies and TV shows
“True Blood” is awesome, “Twilight” has its fans, but suddenly, on both small screens and large, we are being overrun with vampires. Still on the way: a new “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” movie, with —sacrilege!— no input from series creator Joss Whedon; two “Twilight” sequels; the CW’s new fall TV series, “The Vampire Diaries”; Cam Gigandet’s new film “Priest”; the Ethan Hawke-starring “Daybreakers”; and an American remake of the very good vampire flick “Let the Right One In.” And that’s just a small sampling. Somebody needs to drive a stake in this trend.
Grade: B-. “True Blood” does a lot to redeem this otherwise tired genre.
Most likely to show up for a job interview drunk: R-rated comedies
Unpredictable and bold, R-rated comedies continue to be the best place to turn for actual laughs. For movies without laughs, see every other family-friendly PG-13 rated comedy. Face it, the über-dark “Observe and Report” with Seth Rogen could kick Renee Zellweger’s “New in Town” butt. And it’s a fight I’d like to see. Judd Apatow doesn’t even have to be involved anymore for a terrific R-rated comedy to happen; “I Love You, Man,” “Adventureland” and “The Hangover” are proof. And any genre that turns regular guys like Paul Rudd, Jason Segel and Jesse Eisenberg into stars is one worth watching. And don’t forget the (just barely) R-rated “Bruno.”
Grade: A-. Mostly because I’m afraid Adam Sandler’s dying comedian story “Funny People” will bring down the curve.