>> The Spirit: A Case of Miller Lite

The Spirit, heralded by some as the worst piece of crap to hit screens in 2008, will be gone from theatres very soon, possibly by this weekend. Somebody should eulogize this film, so I pick me. Hello there. I can tell from the box office totals that you didn’t take the time to see it. That’s ok. Honestly, I didn’t either. I watched about three-quarters of it out of a projection booth window, while babysitting a finicky lamphouse. Imagine Warren Beatty’s 1990 version of Dick Tracy mixed with Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. Now take that mixture, wrap it in a Maxim magazine and mail it to Sin City. Notice I didn’t mention Will Eisner at all?

Read the FULL ARTICLE at cybermonkeydeathsquad.com!  I will be writing for CMDS throughout 2009, as well as keeping up with reviews on this very site.

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>> Obligatory 2008 Year-End “Least Favorite” List!

“Worst” is arguable; “Least Favorite” is not.  These are just the ones that I saw that I ended up hating.  I’m sure there were worse films this year than some of these, but pity the man who had to see them.

(EDIT:  This became a list of six after I discovered that I omitted Fanboys.)

6.  Repo!  The Genetic Opera (4.5/10–Read review here.)

“Check out the song “Seventeen”:  “Something’s changing/I can feel it/I’m seventeen now/Why can’t you see it?/Seventeen and you can’t stop me/Seventeen and you won’t boss me!/You cannot control me, father/Daddy’s girl’s a f***ing monster!”  And if you thought those lyrics were a little too on-the-nose and witless, then imagine a movie filled with songs like that, set to some of the least memorable melodies of any musical in recent memoty.  It’s unabashedly childish in its approach–campy, convoluted, and almost always annoying.”

5.  Fanboys (4/10–Read review here.)

“This astonishingly unfunny film, with its parade of cameos from Pineapple Express and piles of humorless Star Wars references,  is almost a chore to sit through…Will only find an audience exactly like the characters depicted in this movie–people so blindly in love with Star Wars that simply stating “Star Trek sucks!” is enough to elicit a belly laugh.”

4.  The Haunting of Molly Hartley (4/10–Read review here.)

“You really should’ve nailed down the specifics of the plot before you decided to become a movie, because the only people who are going to be able to enjoy this are 10-year olds, folks mentally unequipped to tell you exactly why the religious mumbo-jumbo and questionable psychiatry in your movie make your movie idiotic.  I literally can not understand you, and it’s your own fault.  There is not a single reason I can think of to tell anyone why they should see you, and I hope you are soon forgotten.  Good luck in your future life as the movie nobody wants in the “2 for $11″ Wal-Mart  discount bin.”

3.  Eagle Eye (4/10–Read review here.)

“You don’t have to be a technological genius to despise this movie.  Just a basic working knowledge of technology will make this film absolutely unwatchable, leaving the Amish and cavemen as director D.J. Caruso’s apparent target audience.”

2.  Deadgirl (3.5/10–Read review here.)

“I wanted every scene to end quickly; every character to please, stop talking.  This is an incredibly weak movie about potentially strong stuff. ”

1.  Disaster Movie (2/10–Read review here.)

“All of the dialogue in this movie consists of actors announcing who they are dressed up as and then leaving, or other characters pointing out who the other characters are and running away from them.  It’s not a movie; it’s a costume catalog.”

>> Obligatory 2008 Year-End “Best of” List!

10.  Sauna (8/10–Read review here.)

“This atmospheric, creepy “thinking man’s” horror film is the kind of movie that you really hope develops an audience, even a cult one, because it’s totally deserving of the attention.  The unusual time period and setting, along with gorgeous, stark visuals and fantastic production design are all part of what makes Sauna a must-see.”

9.  Iron Man (8/10–Read review here.)

Iron Man is definitely a Marvel Pop Art Production–timely without being deep; disposable entertainment yet completely unforgettable. In other words, superhero comic books personified.”

8.  JCVD (8/10–Read review here.)

“Here is an actor laying himself bare, in the most “meta” of ways, somehow addressing every audience criticism of his acting and his body of work, while still telling a suprisingly original heist story.”

7.  Frost/Nixon (8.5/10–Currently not reviewed.)

The year’s best boxing movie.  My formal review is still on the way.

6.  Synecdoche, New York (8.5/10–Read review here.)

“The reward comes in watching someone’s imagination at work, full-steam ahead, creating a dense, crazed story that feels shockingly personal.”

5.  Slumdog Millionaire (8.5/10–Read review here.)

“The new Danny Boyle film Slumdog Millionaire opens with torture and ends with dancing, and the journey that takes place between these bookends is one of the best times I’ve had at the movies all year long.”

4.  Estomago (8.5/10–Read review here.)

“A robust celebration of food and the female posterior, Estomago is a movie filled to the brim with passion.”

3.  The Wrestler (9/10–Read review here.)

“This movie just feels lived in, more than any other narrative film released in 2008.”

2.  The Dark Knight (9/10–Read review here.)

“This film will influence the landscape of superhero films to come, and if they can come close to capturing a fraction of this movie’s dense complexity then we are very lucky viewers.  The Dark Knight is a crime thriller in every sense of the word, humming with palpable dread, taut suspense, and richly drawn characters.”

1.  Wall-E (9/10–Read review here.)

“I would go so far as to say that the first half of Wall-E is as good as a movie can get. It transports you wholly to another place and time, and connects you emotionally, almost immediately, to an object–not a person, or a loveable talking animal, but a garbage compacting machine called a Wall-E. What kind of skill does it take as a filmmaker to make me empathize and cheer for a garbage compactor?”