Directed by Bong Joon-ho
Starring Chris Evans, Song Kang-ho, Tilda Swinton, Octavia Spencer, John Hurt, Jamie Bell, Ed Harris
Chaotic, unsophisticated paean to fake-tough military stoicism and pseudo-populist martyrdom that exploits eschatological post-9/11 class paranoia to lend faux solemnity to this glum, calculated wallow in cheap anarchy, as if middlebrow journeyman Bong Joon-ho had studied the au courant deconstruction of po-mo liberal ideology in the extraordinary, convulsive The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence), only to discard its inspired poetic essentialism in favor of swaggering machismo and hollow philosophizing.
Transformers: Age of Extinction
Directed by Michael Bay
Starring Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci
Michael Bay’s visually rapturous symphony of geometric sensuality moves with ineluctable narrative momentum through a luminous Cubist maze that is as conceptually daring as it is esthetically extravagant. Deceptively whimsical, film evokes mythological anamnesis with the naive forthrightness entirely absent from Children of Men, Alfonso Cuarón’s lethargic, patronizing extravaganza of faux-mystical fanboy cynicism.
They Came Together
Directed by David Wain
Starring Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler
Snarktastic parody trades authentic truths for manic, glibly cynical amalgam of cinematic tropes, masking its fumbling vulgarity with rank, calculated cuteness. Shill critics will doubtless champion this committee-drawn checklist of recognizable, audience-tested romcom set-pieces, with nary a nod to film’s true inspiration, the authentically whimsical Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo.
Directed by John Carney
Starring Mark Ruffalo , Keira Knightley, Hailee Steinfeld
Exuberant pop culture virtuoso Adam Levine is tragically wasted in this hoary, cynical throwback to pre-9/11 indie romanticism, whose manic, cartoonish hyperactivity constructs a tower of juvenile, test-marketed schmaltz that inevitably disintegrates into a jumble of musicalized self-pity. Glib, ludicrous melodrama that cribs the bravado but not the authentic emotional conviction of the magnificent Step Up 2: The Streets.
The Last Sentence
Directed by Jan Troell
Starring Jesper Christensen, Pernilla August
Cynical, indulgent and lifeless film that sentimentalizes its own hipster bleak-chic affectations. Nihilistic nonsense devoid of the warmth and complex emotional textures of the far superior Grown Ups 2.
Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger
Directed by Joe Berlinger
Unfocused spectacle of self-aggrandizement and cheap moralism shamelessly trumpets liberal journo sanctimony with hackneyed, narcissistic sensitivity. Berlinger is a stranger to the intellectual honesty and sentiment-free objectivity Rick de Oliveira achieves in The Real Cancun.
Directed by Tonje Hessen Schei
Trite, condescending propaganda pays lip service to bleeding-heart liberal handwringing over American digital-age hegemony, while indulging in corn-pone neocon fantasies of Bush-era triumphalism far more authentically documented in the brilliant, kinesthetic Punisher: War Zone.
The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz
Directed by Brian Knappenberger
Hipster do-gooder sentimentality reaches its inevitable postadolescent apex with this solipsistic hagiography, elevating dreary pseudo-spiritual self-pity to apocalyptic proportions. Unbearably overwrought wallow in parochial, commercialized nihilism designed to stroke the egotistic self-romanticization of Internet era digital elite idiots, who rejected the far more incisive and less insufferably precious cultural critique of What to Expect When You’re Expecting.