A Town Called Panic (2009)
This is a movie that is very difficult to describe. It is a stop-motion animated film with cheap plastic toys as the main characters. Cowboy, Indian, and Horse are roommates. Horse's birthday is tomorrow and Cowboy and Indian are bound and determined to get him the perfect gift. What follows is a madcap romp featuring a mountain of bricks, fishmen, a tunnel to the center of the earth, and a gigantic robotic penguin. The film was endearing as I watched it, yet became more and more awesome the more I thought about it afterwards.
Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1925)
While the 1959 film is the definitive version of the story, there is still plenty of good stuff here in the silent one. There is some early Technicolor for film history buffs, a thrilling sea battle, and a heart wrenching scene where Ben-Hur's mother, diseased with leprosy, comes across the sleeping form of her son. Unable to touch him because she is unclean, she tearfully hugs and caresses his shadow, the only part of him she can touch.
The Last Airbender (2010)
This is a gorgeous movie. The production design is amazing, the effects are stellar, and the action sequences are thrilling and inventive (and some of the best depictions of using magic I have seen on screen). And then there is the script. It is a mess. It jumps all over the place, full of clunky dialog and free of interesting characters. Most of the exposition is presented in painful speeches although most of the time there is never any clear reason why anyone is doing anything. This film should get Oscar nominations for art direction and visual effects, and a Razzie nomination for worst screenplay.
Knight and Day (2010)
Tom Cruise was fun and Cameron Diaz was cute, but the body count was far too high for me to really get behind these two characters. (And it also didn’t help that the maguffin in the movie looks an awful lot like the atomic battery I used in a student film ten years ago.)
Never Too Young to Die (1986)
This is epic 80s cheese. It has cliched power ballads over the opening and closing credits, over the top villains, laughable dialog, absurd action sequences, and stars John Stamos as a gymnast. And yet, the worse it gets, the more fun it is to watch.