Just in case you'd thought I'd gone soft, we return to bitter invective with this year's Trashcan of Shame. To find each nugget of Cinema Redemption your humble servant must crawl through a veritable sewer of lazy, formulaic, badly produced, stinky bilge. Here are the worst of the many offenders, conforming to the usual mix of shameless cash-in genre flicks; politically offensive exploitation flicks and auteurs gone awry.
THE SHAMELESS CASH-INS GENRE FLICKS.
1. P.S. I LOVE YOU. Hilary Swank attempts comedy. The film-makers mistakenly believe you can make a feel-good comedy out of bereavement. Mawkish. Unfunny. And what accent is Gerard Butler going for exactly?
2. MADE OF HONOR. Another offensively lazy, formulaic and charmless romantic comedy - all the more impressive for killing Michelle Monaghan and Patrick Dempsey's natural charm.
3=. 88 MINUTES and RIGHTEOUS KILL. Lo-rent "thrillers" in which Pacino and de Niro live off viewer nostalgia and clip their pension coupons. You know it's gone Pete Tong when Fiddy is far from the worst actor on screen.
HUMOURLESS EXPLOITATION FLICKS.
5. NEVER BACK DOWN. Like Karate Kid without the naive charm, NEVER BACK DOWN was basically misogynistic macho bullshit attracting the same sort of voyeurs who get kicks from happy slapping.
6. WANTED. Again with the misogynistic, macho bullshit. Bored viewers were left to ponder which was more ridiculous: James McAvoy affecting a six-pack or the Loom of Fate?
7. RAMBO. By far the most tragic entry in my trio of macho idiocy because as lurid as FIRST BLOOD was, it at least had a point. How are the mighty fallen.
8. BABYLON A.D. The existential angst of Vin Diesel vanishes in a puff of improbability. Mathieu Kassovitz flushes his art-house rep (LA HAINE) down the toilet with this star-vehicle sci-fi mish-mash. Even Michelle Yeoh as a kick-boxing nun can't save it.
AUTEURS GONE AWRY.
9. W. Liberal intellectuals wanted answers. Oliver Stone gave them a pastiche.
10. AUSTRALIA. Baz Luhrmann promised us a knowing epic embracing romance, political injustice and war-time melodrama. He gave us a wooden, poorly edited, over-blown vanity project - a failure of monumental proportions.