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The Overrated Films List

  1. roryphelan90
  2. Rory

Films I would consider to be significantly overrated by critics.

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  roryphelan90's Rating My Rating
Marvel's The Avengers 2012,  PG-13)
Kick-Ass 2010,  R)
people are morons
The King's Speech 2010,  PG-13)
The King's Speech
The following are a number of reviews and comments I have come across that I generally agree with (I'd scroll down to the final comment to sum up my general opinion of the film):

"Working from the British-royalty-biopic template perfected by Peter Morgan (The Deal, The Queen), The King's Speech provides a cute, complication-free portrait of the Duke of York (Colin Firth), who would eventually become King George VI of England, and his difficulty overcoming a lifelong stammer. Opening in 1925 to the sight of George addressing a Wembley Stadium crowd with halting bits and pieces of words, Tom Hooper's film proceeds to chart the future king's failed efforts to deal with his problem through kooky speech therapist sessions (one has him stuff marbles in his mouth), all while his father, George V (Michael Gambon), lambastes his younger son-after one of the King's famous, eloquent Christmas broadcasts via the newfangled radio-to just speak, "dammit!"

As embodied by Firth, George VI is emasculated and debilitated by his disobedient tongue, which has made him at once a reticent figure prone to retreat into silence, and a furiously angry man driven half-mad by his handicap. Firth's high-pitched stuttering voice only infrequently plays as an affectation, but even in those rare moments, the actor's well-modulated, pent-up performance refuses to devolve into caricature. That makes it something of a triumph considering that, from its fundamental narrative building blocks on up to its particular one-liners, The King's Speech remains a decorous bit of middlebrow mush.

Having previously worked with Morgan's writing on The Damned United, director Hooper proves a competent fit for David Seidler's Morgan-knockoff script, shooting the action in austere hues and with low-angled compositions in order to create a superficial sense of period-piece solemnity and significance. However, no amount of surface classiness or historical-bigwig cameos (hey, there's Timothy Spall as Churchill!) can mask the contrived nature of the film, which pivots around the relationship between George and Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), an "unorthodox and controversial" Shakespeare-adoring speech therapist and failed actor who challenges George to not only train his body, but, more crucially still, to confront the root emotional causes of his stammer. These can be boiled down to "It's the fault of my demanding daddy, bullying brother, and mean nanny!"

Yet despite such simplistic psychologizing, The King's Speech barely buys what it's selling. No sooner are these explanations introduced than they're discarded, all so the proceedings can eschew true character development in favor of the jokey sight of George learning to enunciate through singing and cursing, the romantic shenanigans of his older brother, Edward VIII (Guy Pearce)-who assumes the throne and then relinquishes it to marry a twice-divorced American hussy, Wallis Simpson (Eve Best)-and the buildup to war with Hitler, whose threat to the U.K and, specifically, George, is epitomized by his mesmerizing oratory skills.

Through it all, George and Lionel develop a combative but respectful friendship that, following romantic-comedy dictates, starts out unevenly, then blossoms, and is eventually destabilized by a foolish act of betrayal and then saved in time for a heartwarming finale. Rush exuberantly expresses Lionel's confidence and taskmaster bossiness, but, from an early lesson involving a phonograph recording to his assertive poise in the face of the Church's archbishop (Derek Jacobi), who functions as the story's nominal kinda-sorta villainous presence, he remains a two-dimensional cipher of impeccable virtue and noble intentions. The same holds true for George's loyal wife Elisabeth (Helena Bonham Carter) and, ultimately, George himself, whose intermittent furious outbursts mask such pedestrian-and easily resolvable-hang-ups that he comes across as more petulant than deeply pained.

No leaden symbolism Ó la The Queen's stag further weigh down The King's Speech, a merciful development given how sluggish and reductive the material is to begin with, epitomized by both its eventual, one-dimensional conflation of George's speech issues with the WWII effort and its glossed-over address of the radio's role in transforming the ruler-ruled dynamic. Straining to elevate its real-life footnote of a tale into a meaningful fable about a man, and nation, "finding their voice," the film manages to spit out merely high-minded sitcom uplift."

REVIEW NO 2 (Notice how it also mentions 'sitcom' in its criticism)

"The King's Speech isn't the worst of the recent films to receive a gluttony of Academy Award nominations, but it is quite likely the most boring. There are films that win Oscars and there are films that are made with the intent to win Oscars, and sometimes those two overlap, but for the time being (nominees were just announced this morning) Tom Hooper's film is most definitely in the latter category. As dolled up and self-consciously serious as to count as something of an epitome of the glamour-hungry Weinstein Company's distinctive output, this dramatization of Prince Albert's (later King George VI's) journey to overcoming his speech impediment would like to think of itself as a moving, soulful character study, but such are the clothes of the naked emperor. In actuality, this high-minded exercise -- pretty looking and paper-thin -- utilizes the same template as any number of crowd-pleasing biopics, but whereas a film like Walk the Line embraces the simplifying nature of historical caricature (and Hollywood-typical manipulation), The King's Speech foolishly tries to pass off connect-the-dots psychology as profundity and sitcom mechanics as high art.

It speaks to the strength of Colin Firth's lead performance, then (as well as his shared chemistry with Geoffrey Rush, who portrays the speech expert who tries to cure the King), that the film almost gets away with it. Alas, personality has been washed from the cloth of The King's Speech with a heavy starch, and save for a few humorous sequences concerning Bertie's (as his family and friends refer to him) diction lessons, the effect is not unlike being straightjacketed for tea. A scantly-used Rorschach device typifies the wasted potential here; instead of a legitimate psychological inquiry, we're given a lavish movie of the week with lip service, and for every idiosyncrasy there are a half dozen lame concessions to sutured, unimaginative screenwriting -- it isn't long before the film feels thoroughly "safe" and insignificant. Emotional heft is traded in for tidy resolutions and pat history lessons (Hitler, the ultimate challenge of his kingship, is presented as a daunting Great Speaker and then promptly forgotten), and they all lived happily ever after. Ultimately worth watching for Firth, who finds nuance amidst what might otherwise be cartoon slickness, Helena Bonham Carter, who puts on a great fashion show as Bertie's wife, the Duchess of York, and Rush for his particular refusal to devolve into complete two-dimensionality, but only just. The pleasures are minimal, but at least the pain is, too."
"Very boring and completely superficial. But hardly anyone else out there seems to agree."
"it was one of the most two dimensional, painfully boring, completely draining, sadly obvious movies of the year. Seriously how the hell is this so well recieved..."
a boring piece of poo.
A Single Man 2009,  R)
A Single Man
Flawed review, but I am trying.

Three stars at the very most.

I am worried by the praise that has been dished out for 'A Single Man', by critics and viewers alike.

The film claims to have something meaningful to say about life, but visually this has about as much profundity as a Dolce & Gabbana advert. I quietly fret when I come across people who apparently 'see more' than that, who see this as a genuine piece of art. (although, yunno, whatever floats your boat)


(Pardon my French --> ) The cinematography is alluring but pretty depthless shit. Actually it's not just alluring, its incredibly alluring, beyond any artistically sensible reason.* Every fabric, every shiny surface, every lit cigarette/dapper pose by the actor screams 'buy me' or 'add me to your collection' 'Bring this fashion trend back' etc. The production is confident and proficient but is, yes, steeped in the soulless ideology of a fashion/perfume advert.**

**(to illustrate here is a link to such an advert:
courtesy of Dolce & Gabbana. Compare this to the visuals and 'artistic' tendancies/'poetic' nature of this film. Do you honestly see much of a difference?)

And I would have thought it obvious that this inhabits a shallow fashion-centric ideologue. But no, apparently people don't see the difference between this and genuine art. oh dear.


At one stage Firths character bumps into this Spanish gigolo type person, his hair qwoffed up in a faux James Dean look, and he honestly (no exaggeration) looks like one of those skinny supermodel types you see puckering their lips in a noughties hairgel commercial. Nobody in the 50/60s looked this twatty.***

OK, I know I have already offended certain peoples film sensibilities/social philosophies with the above ranting, but I think i should just spell out my views as best I can -
This film may have solemn pretenses on the surface, but this is clearly fashion porn,
fashion porn with a deluded (and frankly, worrying) sense of artistic importance/pretension.

To take it even further, if you can't see the emptiness here, I worry about you.


After saying all that, I should also say that
there are signs of potential here.

While I totally disagree with the ideological undercurrent of this film, theres no denying that for what it is, it is deftly handled. It certainly is confident in its blagger, and remember that the source novel was oft considered unfilmable, so considering the fluidity of this adaptation there is a certain talent present.

Other (vaguely positive) compliments:

The cinematography is depthless but proficient - it may have the depth of a perfume advert but it still has the comfort of a very well mounted perfume advert.

The film is also paced and structured in a way that accentuates this sense of cosiness (It is a film of creature comforts, for the fashionably inclined, and for the aspiring bourgeois prat in all of us.)

The director clearly puts alot of care (and what he thought meaningful) into the film.

There is also a moment when the director seems to let go on his tight reins - we watch Firth and Moore dance like idiots to Green Onions - which is not exactly a classic scene but it points to a potential/a freedom which the rest of the film was lacking. [Ultimately, the scene highlights the films inadequacies as humanist drama - In an instant where the characters are left to breathe, we can see how confined they are for the rest of the film (vacuum packed, cling filmed, other air dried metaphors), stuck under all this artistic pretence. Or, sorry, the films approximation of artistic pretence.]

Firths affable performance makes the film some way bearable...****
...but I generally found it to be an empty experience, and was quite bored about the life lessons rendered.

Its all in the rendering.


Nicholas Hoult is also very wooden. He plays a key role, and essentially helps a key section of the film fail.


* [The makers would probably argue [quite maddeningly] that to shoot in such a way is artfully inclined, their own attempt to capture 'the vibrancy of life', or at a stretch to make some comment on consumerism or the fastidious tendencies of the central character. But deep down you know there isn't an artistically sensible reason why the aesthetic is this alluring.]

***[Firths character is also referred to as looking 'unhealthy/poorly/unwell' on a number of occasions, when he clearly looks fantastic (he is very tanned, toned and healthy looking.) I mean, what nonsense is that? Are we supposed to buy into that, that he is ill?
That's another little nugget that shows how skewed a version of reality this is.]

****(Firth is as charming and as warm as he always is. Although, with this in mind, his performance is hardly as revelatory as the hype would suggest. At the end of the day this type of character is not a huge departure for him. Its like a slightly more nuanced version of well worn shoes. Saying that, his [Firthian?] shtick is well suited to the 'strut' of this film.)
Holy Motors 2012,  Unrated)
Holy Motors
This film is like staring at a cannibal leprechaun with an erection.
Such a sight would no doubt be diverting for any man, woman or child. But if there is no in-depth point (beyond one note commentary) And if there is no (how do I put this) genuine cinematic transcendence in the way the image manifests itself, the diversion is shallow and momentary.

A load of overrated shit, basically. A significantly empty style, an unconvincing strut. Bar the odd diversion, this is largely hollow cinema that has been frustratingly championed as proper cinema. Which makes me sad and worried.
Argo 2012,  R)
Argo is not terrible but its cliched. Tense scenes are proficient to an extent but are hardly exemplary. The characters have no flesh/depth, you couldn't care less about them more importantly.

Also the claim by Affleck and American critics that this is a liberal conscientious view of Iran/US relations is a dishonest one, judging solely from the finished product of the film - The 'historical summary' comic strip intro and the odd allusion to CIA dicking around in the middle east may seem adequate for some as balance, but anyone with a vague grasp of cinematic language can discern that said 'balance' is clearly overwhelmed by far more prominent elements of the film - the 'CIA saves the day' setup, the 'CIA love in' finale (which is incredibly bland by the way), and the most striking elements of the film - the scenes of suspence/tension - which are derived specifically from representations of Iranians as angry moblike Other. The implicit dynamic over all this stuff, the celebration of American freedom over Iranian tyranny, is dodgy as fuck, considering the baggage/current relationship between the 2 countries.

If you want a more striking and humanistic criticism of Iran government/society, one that does not rely on images of menacing muslims for suspence, watch Iranian cinema instead. Such as 'About Elly'. Saw that recently. It wasn't bad. Its better that this film and it had a far more effective criticism of Iran within it.

Argo on the other hand is irresponsible, made all the worse by the praise/reaction to it by the American press, as if it is a conscientious view of the subject. This and the popularity/acceptance of Zero Dark Thirty as similarly liberal (rather than as a deeply right wing ideology wrapped up in vaguely liberal veneer --[the dishonesty of it]--) is cause for concern me thinks, for the American frame of mind.

I expected a more conscientous pov from the co-writer of this script:
The Town 2010,  R)
The Town
A cliched thing, thats executed pretty well, but not well enough to transcend said cliche, and certainly not well enough to justify the positive critical reaction its been getting.

Renner gives a good turn.
People touting Affleck as a new great/talented director may have a point, but this is his second full length movie. If he really is as good as people say, wouldn't he be making films that were genuinely good rather than 'promising' by now.

Im not one of those guys that thinks Heat is the be all and end all (I think it has its flaws) but to compare this to Mann's film... yunno... Heat this is certainly not.
Now you might be reading that and thinking - 'well ok, he was expecting Heat, no wonder he gave it a low rating' - but really, the comparisons to Heat is not the problem. It being hamstrung by cliche is the problem.

In the end you are occasionally thrilled by the adequacy of the production, but a sense of boredom is on the periphery - you are going through the motions as a watcher. You don't really care.
If memory serves me, I preferred Gone Baby Gone.
Moonrise Kingdom 2012,  PG-13)
Moonrise Kingdom
I found Moonrise Kingdom to be an irritating experience.

The film is full to the gills with affectations that are meant to be meaningful 'in a quirky way'. But in truth (-a phrase I am hesitant to say-) the film is empty.

I'm worried that people are praising this film (which in my head reads as 'i'm worried that general people are so deluded in their film tastes that they think M K is not just a good film, but one of the best films of the year.')


With regard to Wes Anderson's previous work, I think Adam Buxton's criticism still applies:

The film is highly sophisticated on a technical level, but it showcases an empty style, a hollow/'witty' posturing of the bourgeois variety.
Unfortunately it appears to be the case that such stylish empty things have increasingly become the potent thing, the cool thing to like (It made the Sight and Sound' best films of 2012' list, along with the feckin hugely overrated Holy Motors. *sigh*)

I will conclude with the following rant
(Well actually to call the following a rant would perhaps be highly disingenuous as a rant suggests total lack of control in its manifestation which a bit of writing rarely is. Its more semi rantish, an undisciplined ramble of prejudice, a fed up cry for sanity of what I perceive as the madness around me. Like other social networking output, it is unreadable. While containing relevant points under the drek, this rant may also negate a bigger picture involving the writer.):

(Please read in enthusiastic screaming loud voice.)

WHATS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE! Have all your brains been fried by a commodified aesthetic?! DO YEE HAVE SOULS OR HAVE THEY BEEN EMPTIED!?

(yes sheep baaaaa I said it you're making me talk like Alex Jones you're making me be like this:
Well fucking done to you!)

I strongly suspect that people who support this film are people who embrace 'hipsterish' inclinations, who use this film as a fashion statement of their own 'artistic' tastes, a fashion statement to showcase THE APPEARANCE that they like 'arty things' (STYLISH = ARTY IN YOUR FUUCKING BRAINS. A SINGLE MAN IS ARTY IN YOUR FUCKING BRAINS.) To showcase that yee have depth. To these people I say YOU ARE FOOLING NO ONE, EXCEPT OTHER 'CONSUMED WITH HOW THEY ARE PERCIEVED' HIPSTER PEOPLE.

Judging solely from the liking of this film (And fucking Holy Motors, jesus) you may know a moving/human film if it bit you in the ass, but you also exhibit a worrying degree of self obsession (perhaps encouraged by a commodified worldview) more interested in appearances/veneer than anything else, to the point where you are actually willing to celebrate the appearance of art (for the sake of some percieved social/cultural capital) just as much as you are willing to celebrate actual art. ! I mean SWEET JESUS.

And THE MOST FRUSTRATING THING IS, due to a understandable desperate desire to remain sane within all this morally (yes, morally) dubious decision making, you have become utterly convinced within yourself that this twisted untrue appreciation mentioned above is actually a real appreciation, a 'i'm really being moved when watching this trendy sophisticated hollow bourgeois thing.'

Yes you, YOU! i'M NOT TALKING ABOUT ANYBODY ELSE, i'M NOT TALKING ABOUT MYSELF (no no definitely not), I'm talking to you!
What hole have you dug yourself in to!

I look at the best films list of the year and I think the world is fucked. As one oddball to the rest of yee, I want to ask the following - Has your very Being been brainwashed by some stratum or other of the corporate sanctioned hipster demographic/'reality'/value system, to the extent that they don't know what meaningful cinema is anymore?

What is wrong with the world! Can't yee see how empty and irritating this is!?

Its films like this that make me wonder what factors influence my perception of a film*, what factors in me and in the film makes me think its a good one.

*(and my perception of things in general.)

I am worried I am deluded and everyone else is not. In relation to this particular subject. For starters.
Skyfall 2012,  PG-13)
The awkward reboot continues...
Hugo 2011,  PG)
Berberian Sound Studio 2013,  Unrated)
Berberian Sound Studio
Toby Jones is great,
the rest of the film is veneer. A depthless veneer of over-fetishised sounds.
Le Scaphandre et le Papillon (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) 2007,  PG-13)
Le Scaphandre et le Papillon (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly)
Could not connect with this one. Despite all the praise, I couldn't help but think it was a tad over rated. And I like Tom Waits and everything!

Let me see. what is the problem...
I didn't really care about the character of Jean-Dominique Bauby as presented in the film. I didn't care about his father either. It was so bloody solemn as well. Maybe its because i'm Irish or something but I don't know a bit of f**king humour in the darkest hour wouldn't go astray. I mean humour not to relieve a sense of depression (depression is fine when you care) but to relieve the f**king boredom.##

Feels like this is designed for the indie elite to clap and admire (with Tom waits and everything!), but i don't know, how brilliant can it be when you come out of all this artistic pretence feeling incredibly bored, witness to (what felt like) a rather lifeless experience, even though the facts of the true story tell you that it obviously wasn't!

I think this points to the films ultimate failing.
Its visual flourishes felt like a hollow shell.
I just couldn't care. Its all fašade.

##Which is exactly what Bauby feels at certain times, although I doubt the director wanted us to empathise with this character in such a way!
The Artist 2011,  PG-13)
Looper 2012,  R)
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World 2010,  PG-13)
The Raid: Redemption 2012,  R)
Animal Kingdom 2010,  R)
Animal Kingdom
Watch Snowtown instead.
Dogtooth (Kynodontas) 2010,  R)
Dogtooth (Kynodontas)
A novel set up that is not explored too well. It is watchable.
Cache (Hidden) 2005,  R)
Cache (Hidden)
Besides the scenes involving the older Majid I found this to be an underwhelming film. This is perhaps due to the hype, I don't know.

I found it a bit cold and while I may need a second viewing to feel more confident in what I am about to say, I think some of the shooting style, while having an intent, was a bit empty and in turn pretentious (not the most pretentious I've seen mind, but still not really powerful in the way its lingering distant style would want you to think.)
Overall I think I could see what it was saying but it didn't really have my interest, besides the scenes involving the older Majid (especially one specific scene which i'm sure you will recognize when you see it. Its shot very well. For me it is the one true sign of greatness of the director in the whole film, but hey, I might be wrong/deluded.)
Harold and Maude 1971,  PG)
Requiem for a Dream 2000,  R)
Requiem for a Dream
Warning: this review is pretty one note. For those not bothered to read the whole thing, here's the synopsis:
Too much style, not enough character.

I think this film is overrated. Although it is an awful lot better then Aronofsky's next film, the Fountain.

The films reliance on style causes problems, especially in the first act, when we are introduced to split screen and various other stylistic devices for (what feels like) no other reason then to impress the audience. Their use in these areas are shallow and pointless, they did nothing to progess any element of the story. (I think if Aronofsky had laid off at the beginning and let the stylistic devices build up as the addictions took hold, it could have been a much better film.)

The film appears to be situated in an 'immediate now' of sorts, fuelled by a narrative drive that is preoccupied with the visual descent of the characters rather then the characters themselves.

Certain sections do manage to blend both style and character in a way that provides the appearance of depth, such as the effective, often claustrophobic conveyance of setting and the conviction of the cast in portraying their characters. Sara Goldfarb's/Burstyn's addiction to diet pills is visualized in a way that manages to exhibit her loneliness, her anxieties, and hence some of the reasons she began taking pills in the first place.

However, we do not learn anything about the younger characters. They are presented as handsome blank canvases, as empty caricature, sketches of 'the vibrancy of youth.'

Despite the cast's efforts to inject some rounded humanity, this flatness is emphasized further by a predictable narrative. You are well aware from the beginning that things are going to spiral down the murky drainpipe of dated anti-drug finger wagging (its format taken from the 1968 novel of the same name.)

This old fashioned design the story is caged within, damages the integrity of a film that is clearly striving for some kind of modern respectability through its imaginative camerawork, whiplash editing and a score mixing pretty cinematic orchestration with urgent trendiness.

It would be unfair to assume that to create a relevant film within this format would be impossible. Indeed, it would be hard to imagine a film about addiction without dramatizing the inevitable cycle of self destruction that goes along with it. But unlike films such as Trainspotting, Requiem fails to capitalize on its involving sheen by providing the viewer something beyond the horrifically hypnotic images of escapism gone awry.

The 'majesty' of Aronofsky's visual technique drowns out any major possibility of character development and fails to create a sense of human depth for the viewer to bite into.
Without the substance supplied by a detailed focus on character, all we are left with is a somewhat hollow albeit impressive exercise in visual invention.
We Need to Talk About Kevin 2012,  R)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 2011,  PG-13)
Winter's Bone 2010,  R)
Searching for Sugar Man 2012,  PG-13)
Amour 2012,  PG-13)
Pan's Labyrinth 2006,  R)

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