Annapolis Accusing this lamebrained Navy recruitment flick of shamelessly ripping off movies like An Officer and a Gentleman and Top Gun isn't quite fair, if for no other reason than that Annapolis rips off so many other films that harping on its lack of originality is akin to getting riled over dog dooky because it smells bad. James Franco stars as a blue-collar rebel without a clue who somehow manages to get into the Naval Academy at Annapolis. There he is greeted by a rainbow coalition of stock characters, including a ranking officer/love interest in the form of Jordana Brewster, and a tough-as-nails commanding officer determined to see our hero fail, played as a cross between Louis Gossett Jr. in An Officer and a Gentleman and Mr. T's Clubber Lang in Rocky III. Did I mention the boxing subplot or the out-of-shape roommate who's not cutting the mustard? These two elements alone provide enough endless clichés to boggle the mind.
The Matador The only thing worse than a bad movie is a good movie gone wrong. If you don't know what I'm talking about, you could watch The Matador—which I am not advising you to do—because this is an example of a good movie that fails to live up to its potential. Pierce Brosnan stars as Julian Noble, a cold-blooded hitman rapidly losing his edge. During a night of hard drinking down in Mexico, Julian "befriends" Danny Wright (Greg Kinnear), a businessman who in his own way has also lost his edge. The two men form an odd friendship and, eventually, a shaky alliance that forces Danny into Julian's world of moral ambiguity, where they must depend on each other for their mutual survival. Writer-director Richard Shepard takes a solid premise and never manages fully to deliver the goods. Yes, the film works at times as a dark comedy, and the performances are solid, but the film drags and seems to wander aimlessly, delivering a cinematic experience that is ultimately empty and forgettable.