Gawd, it's like a horrible virus. The 'meh' films this year aren't disappearing; they're multiplying.
You know when folks ask you how you feel about a movie and you can't even think of a word to describe it--not because you're so struck by its beauty but because it really is that unremarkable? Yeah, that's where I'm at with too many movies this year. These are the most recent ones I've seen that I am filing under 'meh':
SPOTLIGHT: While I'm a little fatigued at this point with so many films dealing with molestation in the Catholic church, I would be up for one in which that wasn't the most interesting thing about it. The main characters, all journalists at a Boston newspaper, uncover a major story linking the Catholic church child molestation and basically spend the whole movie trying to bust it wide open. Trouble is, it's already as wide open as it will ever be at the beginning of the movie, and no real breakthroughs occur throughout the film--just a whole lot of interviews with victims and reporter frustrations. It's just so generic to watch. No one from the cast--not Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, or Mark Ruffalo--can save this.
THE DANISH GIRL: It's a fine movie, but put it this way: the trailer is basically the entire story. That said, you're not going to find any revelations when you see it. Not even character development. However, Alicia Vikander's performance (as the devoted wife of Eddie Redmayne's Einer/Lili, known as one of the first transgender pioneers), which is every bit as tender as so many critics have been raving, is worth the price of admission. The cinematography is also breathtaking, but once the movie gets to the ending credits, I'm just like "ok."
CAROL: As much as I adore Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara is the best thing about this movie about a young store clerk and an older married woman who find themselves in love with each other in 1950s New York. Again, the photography is gorgeous and the actresses' chemistry is palpable. But Mara's haunting performance is the only intriguing thing about the film. I find myself not caring about either of these two characters, and often questioned their own desire. It left me very cold and unbothered.
LEGEND: Listen, our guy Tom Hardy put in WERK this year. He's fantastic in Mad Max: Fury Road and The Revenant and is convincingly bats**t crazy in Legend (though the film itself is very middle of the road). As I was watching it, I kept thinking of the 1993 Lifetime movie Love, Honor & Obey: The Last Mafia Marriage (you know, back when Lifetime was good). Only because it seems like a neverending saga following a crazy mobster (two of them actually, twins played by Hardy) and his blindly devoted wife (Emily Browning, in her most intriguing role to date). I know it's based on a true story, but this narrative just seems so done to death.