Even though 2012 was a stellar year at the movies, there were more than enough clunkers. "That's My Boy" inspired yet more savage reviews for Adam Sandler. "One for the Money" registered with no one, although it did ring up yet another turkey for Katherine Heigl. And "John Carter" failed to send anyone into orbit, except for critics who tore into it like a dog's chew toy.
Even more crushing than those DOA duds were movies that should have been so much better. Here then are my five big disappointments of 2012.
1. "To Rome With Love": Sure, Rome sparkles in Woody Allen's latest travelogue comedy. But my iPhone shots of the romantic city are worth more than the thousand rotely uttered words in Allen's irritating
2. "Hyde Park on Hudson": There's a lot of false talk about hot dogs in this feeble bit of flimsy revolving around a randy FDR and his distant cousin Daisy. Bill Murray is fine as the president in question, but poor Laura Linney is made to look like a frump. This slim sliver of re-imagined history -- the royal visit to America by the stuttering King George VI ("The King's Speech") and his wife -- is distractingly preoccupied with FDR's sex life and is about as
3. "Cloud Atlas": Some books should never get translated onto the screen. Such is the case with David Mitchell's multicharacter masterpiece about deeds that are passed, good and bad, forward through history. Tom Tykwer and the Wachowski sibling endeavor has high ambitions, but the result is an unruly mess -- albeit one that's visually beautiful. It's also long and unintentionally goofy. Of the cast, Ben Whishaw is the real stand out, while Halle Berry continues her overacting streak.
4. "Dark Shadows": Sometimes it works best when friends table their working partnership and just meet up for dinner now and then. Consider, Tim Burton and Johnny Depp. Back in their heyday, they wielded the Midas touch -- "Edward Scissorhands," "Sweeney Todd" -- but now they're churning out tinny, assembly-line products such as "Alice in Wonderland" and this year's reworking of the classic vampire TV sudser. It's all in vain, so stop it, you two, stop it right now.
5. "Brave": As usual, Pixar's animation is magnificent, even spectacular. It's the weakly constructed narrative -- about a young female archer and princess bucking tradition and helping to save mom -- that swerves