The early year blues have not ended yet, as new "films" Red Riding Hood and Battle Los Angeles oh so dismally prove.
Catherine Hardwicke is a criminally underrated auteur, who took her inspiration from the lusty teen angst of Larry Clark and ran with it, shaping her own strong vision about the moral dilemmas of growing up. Thirteen, Lords of Dogtown, The Nativity Story and Twilight were all fascinating mash-ups of private obsession and pop culture. Red Riding Hood, her newest, was a promising idea which proves to be her worst film, if not the most wretched film of the year(so far). She lazily envisions a legendary fairy tale into a pathetically messy bid for mainstream glory, ala Twilight. Yet Twilight was smart in its style and substance, manifesting its director's preoccupations into a pop culture phenomenon. Red Riding Hood, on the other hand, is a wreck from the get go, wasting a talented cast and stranding them in a wasteland of terrible costumes, inane dialogue, mediocre music, tepid pacing and cheesy CGI. Here's hoping her next outing is truer to who she is as an artist.
Jonathan Liebesman, on the other hand, has proven himself to be a supremely uninspired director, with the mediocre Darkness Falls and abysmal Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning. Now, with a little more studio backing, he has created the entirely mediocre Battle Los Angeles, which in the hands of a Spielberg or Bay or even Abrams could have been great or at least fun , and leaves us with a typical aliens invade the Earth action programmer, channeling Independence Day and War of the Worlds with none of their suspense or insight. It's pretty much what you'd expect, not even so bad it's good, but the masses eating it up with a grin anyway. Aaron Eckhart, Ramon Rodriguez and Michael Pena are deserving of a much better movie, and aside from them, the best thing about this monstrosity is Brian Tyler's riveting score and the state of the art visual effects.