Director: John Lasseter
Tagline: It’s all about to kick off!
Summary: Animated film. Roo (Will Smith), a wisecracking mule from New Mexico, gets sick of bearing his master’s lamp, hat, crate, etc, and sets off across the desert to pursue his dream of becoming a systems analyst. Along the way, he meets a horse and a donkey (Ted Danson and George Wendt, respectively) who convince him to develop a group representing beasts of burden. Children may be put off by the second act, a perhaps misguided joke-free look at the development
and legislation of a trade union, told through the medium of bees.
How bad? Upon its release, New Mexico governor Bill Richardson puts a bounty on John Lasseter’s head.
Director: Paul Greengrass
Tagline: It’s always the one you least suspect.
Summary: This techno-thriller sees FBI special agent David Forbes
(Robert Downey Jr) trying to foil the machinations of a psychopath, ‘Capricorn’ (Matt Damon), who has hacked into a biometric database containing the descriptions, photographs and details of everyone in Los Angeles. Each hour Capricorn will kill one LA citizen, and Forbes has just five guesses to narrow down the potential targets. The New York Times describes it as, ‘High in concept, octane and budget but decidedly low in intelligence,’ and mocks one scene in which three thousand men with ginger beards are rounded up into a makeshift internment camp for their own safety, only for the victim to turn out to be a bearded woman from a local carnival.
How bad? Ironically, Paul Greengrass ends up wearing a fake ginger beard and glasses in an attempt to hide out from legions of furious boardgame fans.
Hungry, Hungry Hippos
Director: Ron Underwood
Tagline: Jack Wiseman has bitten off more than he can chew. Unfortunately, so have they.
Summary: Some 18 years after Tremors made his film career, and six years after The Adventures Of Pluto Nash killed it, Ron Underwood tries to regain his fame with this latest entry in the ‘a big version of something starts eating people’ genre. After barrels of neon-coloured radioactive gunk are accidentally spilled into the hippo enclosure at a local zoo, four of the – now mutated, vicious and brightly coloured – beasts rampage through New York. Only maverick scientist Jack Wiseman (David Duchovny) – who lost both his wife and his legs to rogue hippos 10 years ago – and tough-but-feminine police officer Karen Bolt (Anna Paquin) can stop them.
How bad? Halfway through the preview screening, movie critic Roger Ebert begins inhaling popcorn in an effort to end the pain.
Director: James Wan
Tagline: Love hurts.
Summary: Saw director James Wan continues the tortureporn genre with this gruesome medical thriller. Brendan Finn (Colin Farrell) wakes up to find
bomb implanted in his nose that will go off if he feels too much pain. However, it will also go off if his surgeon girlfriend (Jessica Alba) refuses commands from a shadowy figure to remove various organs, bones and – inexplicably – a bread basket from Finn’s body. Meanwhile, a detective (Morgan Freeman, who’s pushing his luck these days, frankly) investigates Finn’s disappearance.
How bad? The collective agony felt by the test group leaves fifteen LA psychics in critical condition.
Snakes And Ladders
Director: Michael Bay
Tagline: Sometimes the only way is down.
Summary: Wisecracking detective Jayvon Snakes (Chris Rock) is paired up with straight-laced partner Nathaniel Ladders (Kiefer Sutherland, still trying to shake off the husky-voiced albatross of Jack Bauer) during a high-profile drugs investigation that will take them from the mean streets of LA to a full-scale war in the jungles of Cambodia (which were actually entirely burned down by Bay for a credit-sequence skit). The film’s one highlight is the climactic multi-tiered chase sequence in a combined ladder/slide factory that, according to the press release, ‘Combines the creative slapstick of Buster Keaton with over 700 pounds of real nitro-glycerine.’
How bad? The corpse of critic Gene Siskel begins revolving at such a speed that he is quickly hooked up to a generator to provide the world with an unlimited source of energy.
Unbelievably, here are three good game-to-fame adaptations.
Tim Curry and Christopher Lloyd headline this fun comic murder-mystery based on the boardgame Cluedo. The film has three endings, fitting in with the open-ended nature of the game.
Now 50 minutes of people talking about Scrabble might not sound like much, but this is an engaging – if slight – documentary about the Scrabble world championships.
Quite how the producers turned the dislocation-chancing party game into a film about tornados we’re not sure. Still, it’s all good fun, innit?