Ip Man (2008)
This is a fictionalized account of Ip Man, a martial arts master who trained Bruce Lee (and many others). The first half is a whole lot of fun featuring plenty of martial arts hijinks in a largely pre-industrial Chinese town. Then the Japanese invasion of WWII happens, and the film takes a decidedly serious turn. Ip Man and his fellow countrymen struggle to get enough food to feed themselves while still maintaining their honor in occupied territory. Ip Man is fascinating to watch, both in moments of quiet dignity and when he is laying down some martial arts smack-down.
Birdemic: Shock and Terror (2010)
How is it that a movie can be as inept as this one is in every single aspect possible? The acting is flat, the dialog is clunky at best, the sound is worse than most student films, and the effects are less convincing than the grasshoppers-on-a-postcard shots from Beginning of the End. The story is the illegitimate child of The Birds and An Inconvenient Truth as birds attack a small town for no reason while the main characters spew environmental propaganda. And for some reason, all the birds explode when they run into things. I have a hard time coming up with the worst scene in the movie. It could be the one where our heroes defend themselves from hovering CG birds by randomly waving around coat hangers. It could be the one where the protagonist extolls the benefits of solar panels (or as he calls them, “sorpaos”). It might be the scene where our heroes walk out of a screening of An Inconvenient Truth and one of them says, “That was a really good movie. I’m going to buy a hybrid now.” But my vote probably has to go to all the scenes devoted to either parking or cautiously pulling into traffic. No other film I have seen has devoted so much time to these two activities that are marginally more entertaining than watching paint dry.
Coming up next: The best of the best and the worst of the worst.