Rundown of the Films of 2012

Here is a brief rundown of the films of 2012.  I am sure I have missed some, and will have some homework to do in the near future.  I will be knocking out Amour tomorrow (maybe it can alter the list?), so that I will have seen every Best Picture nominee for this year (and every year back to the early 60′s).  As for depth, 2012 was a was a relatively weak year for movies.  There were a hand full of great films, some pretty good ones, a bunch of mediocrity and a few massive disappointments.

The Top Ten Films of 2012

1. The Grey

1. The Grey

2. Django Unchained

2. Django Unchained

3. Argo

3. Argo

4. Perks of Being a Wallflower

4. Perks of Being a Wallflower

5. Dark Knight Rises

5. Dark Knight Rises

6. The Raid: Redemption

6. The Raid: Redemption

7. Lincoln

7. Lincoln

 

 

 

 

8. Dredd

8. Dredd

9. Zero Dark Thirty

9. Zero Dark Thirty

10. The Avengers

10. The Avengers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Grey slightly edges out Django Unchained for my pick as the best film of 2012.  Argo and Perks of Being of a Wallflower are a solid third and fourth, both are really amazing films (the top 4 of the year are rock solid, great films).  The Dark Knight Rises was a tiny bit of a let down, because of all of the plot holes, but it was still very entertaining.  The Raid: Redemption is a surprisingly incredible action film from Asia.  It breaks the typical mold of being high on action, and low on plot and acting.  Its exciting and enthralling from beginning to end.  Lincoln and Zero Dark Thirty are very good historical pieces.  Dredd is a kick-ass adventure with no bullshit.  It is way better than it has any business being.  The Avengers squeaks in at #10, because it is a pretty fun super hero movie, and because it was pretty mediocre year.

 

 

The Next Tier – The Nice Films of the Year

11. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (It had its moments, but it often dragged and added nothing new to the franchise.)

12. Skyfall (Everyone loved this one but me.  I liked it, but maybe I went expecting something on par with Goldfinger or From Russia with Love.  Not even close.)

13. Silver Linings Playbook (The first 2/3 of this film is great.  Too bad it “jumps the shark” near the end with a ridiculous tangent that weakens what would have easily been a top 10 film.  Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper are excellent.)

14. Seven Psychopaths (The first half is very sharp, but the second half grinds to a dead stop.)

15. Life of Pi (Beautiful and sometimes interesting.  Too bad it continues to be beat the viewer over the head with religion.  It is extremely tiresome.)

16. Ted (Pretty funny.  The Flash Gordon, coke party is a thing of beauty.  Weak ending.)

17. The Master (Great **** performances in a movie that made no sense.)

18. Chronicle (Far better than I had expected.  Kinda slipped towards the end.)

19. Moonrise Kingdom (The two children are pretty awesome, but the adults add nothing to the film.  I think that Wes Anderson’s quirkiness has run its course.)

20. Paranorman (A nice, spooky time for the kiddies.)

The Mediocre Films

The Hunger Games, Looper, The Brave, Cabin in the Woods, God Bless America, The Bourne Legacy, Haywire, Killer Joe, Beasts of Southern Wilds, Salmon Fishing in Yemen

The Who Cares Films

The Expendables 2, Taken 2, 21 Jump Street, Bernie, Goon, The Amazing Spider Man

The Crap I Sadly Watched Last Year :(

Les Miserables (Noise torture.  Looked fine, could have been something if you took out the singing.)

Lockout (Ugh.  Poor Guy Pearce.)

Snow White and the Huntsman (I went in expecting mediocrity.  I came out bored to tears.  It really was a dull experience.)

The Watch (Not funny in the least bit.)

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (How did this happen?  At least Nic gave us a few chuckles.)

Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning (It certainly was interesting non-sense.  Avoid if you have epilepsy.)

The Dictator (Awful in every way. Note to Sasha: the joke is done!!)

The Worst Excuse for a Movie of 2012

The worst of the year!!

The worst of the year!!

 

Prometheus – How can the film that I would have bet would have been #1 at the end of the year, turn out to be the absolute worst piece of garbage of 2012?  It is a two hour kick in the crotch for Alien fans.  Even if it had nothing to do with the Alien universe, it would be awful.  It is the sloppiest piece of science fiction film making since Battlefield Earth (at least BE had the decency to be hilarious).  From the start it is an adventure in absurd plot holes and terrible science.  The story completely makes zero sense.  It is scene after scene of stupidity.  I will give Michael Fassbender props for being pretty cool, but that is all I can say that is positive.  Ridley Scott is one of the greatest directors of all-time, but it appears he has run out of gas.  That makes me sad.  What a low chapter in the Alien saga.  I cannot believe that I would rather rewatch the light bulb hating, crap-fest known as AVP: Requim, than watch Prometheus again. 

 

 

 

 

February 24, 2013admin No Comments »
FILED UNDER :BEST OF THE YEAR LISTS , LISTS

Total Film’s 50 Most Disappointing Films of All-Time

 

Not a disappointment! Pay attention people!

Totalfilm.com just listed their picks of the 50 most disappointing films of all-time.  Here they are, check them out when you get a chance.  They did a pretty good job on this list.  The vast majority of the movies listed are true disappointments: a plethora of weak sequels, prequels and reboots (Ghostbusters 2, Prometheus, Phantom Menace, Indy 4, X-Men 3, Godfather III and many more), a few let downs of the highest order that on paper should have been something (The Lovely Bones, The Lady in the Water, Alexander), and a few entries that I could not imagine would be disappointing because the other films in the series sucked (Shrek 3, Sex in the City 2).  As always, they did make a few mistakes with their selections.

They picked Miami Vice as one of the disappointments.  I do get tired of seeing this movie getting dissed.  It is a damn good, gritty, Michael Mann classic that most people missed.  I think most people were disappointed because its much different, and much better, than the original, T.V. series.  Its not a goofy fashion show.  Troy is also an underrated, often maligned film that made their list.  Its a big, fun popcorn movie.  Its not as grand and thought provoking as it should have been (plus they changed way too much from The Iliad), but its still an entertaining ride.  Eric Bana and Brad Pitt play off each other quite well.

 

Indy 4

Now this is a a true disappointment.

For some reason Kill Bill: Volume 2 and Quantum of Solace are on the list.  It is true that they are not as good as the films that came directly before them, but they are both damn good, highly entertaining movies.  I think that Total Film got a bit carried away by classifying them each as being one of the most disappointing films of all-time.  They also got a bit carried away by placing The Golden Compass on the list.  I agree that it was a let down, but not so much that it deserves a spot on the list of the worst.  I still hold out hope for the release of a longer cut of the film that would make it a much better film that actually makes sense.  It happened with Kingdom of Heaven:)

Eyes Wide Shut also made the cut.  Somebody lied to Total Film on this one.  Eyes Wide Shut is an excellent masterpiece, a fitting finale for one of the greatest directors of our time, and any time, Stanley Kubrick.  I guess the only disappointment is that its not as good as A Clockwork Orange, The Shining or Dr. Strangelove.

 They got most of the truest disappointments, but forgot a few.  More American Graffiti, The Matrix, District 9, The Life Aquatic, Young Adult, and all of the George Romero movies after Creepshow (except for Land of the Dead).

August 26, 2012admin No Comments »
FILED UNDER :Uncategorized

PROMETHEUS (2012)

 

Prometheus (2012)

PROMETHEUS (2012) Directed by Ridley Scott *

Going into this summer movie season, I would have easily bet that Prometheus would have been my pick for the best summer blockbuster of 2012, even ahead of The Dark Knight Rises or The Avengers.  The thought of a Ridley Scott directed, big budget prequal to Alien sounds like a great idea.  The basic plot of flying across the galaxy trying to find an alien super race that may have created mankind sounds like a great idea.  Well, sometimes good ideas are poorly developed and flatly executed.

From the beginning, it is clearly evident that Prometheus was going to disappoint.  The tone of the film is very flat, it is extremely dull and the worst aspect is that the script is very messy.  In the first thirty minutes of the film there are four moments of idiocy that set the tone for a sloppy story.  From the moment Noomi Repace’s character (Dr. Shaw), a doctor and scientist, says “It’s what I believe.” in response to a scientific inquiry from another scientist, you know things are going to go down hill, and that this scientific mission will be less than believable.  Believability in a sci-fi film is not always paramount, but when a company spends over a trillion dollars on a scientific mission of such monumental importance, you would think that there would be some order to the exploration.  The concept of a handful of half-assed, astronaut scientists that rush into an alien structure with no caution, and do things that a first grade science student would know is moronic is not believable at all!  The other moments that set the sloppy tone are bit of spoilers, so I will not mention them, but they are pretty clear to anyone paying attention.  If believability and the poor execution of the scientific method were the film’s only problems, then you could still have an entertaining film.   Sadly, those are only the beginning of Prometheus’ problem.

The cast of the film looked excellent on paper, but failed to work well together on the screen.  Everyone in this movie looked extremely disinterested, except for Michael Fassbender.  He was really solid as David, the ship’s android translator.  Fassbender sense of curiosity brought life to the only strong character in the movie.  Idris Elba had solid moments as the ship’s captain, but he looked like he was anticipating his next lunch break through out most of the film.  I can tell Noomi Repace (Dr. Shaw) gave it a good effort for such a poorly written and confusing character, but she comes off as lost in most scenes (especially the surgery scene – its laughably bad).  Charlize Theron sleepwalks from scene to scene.  The least inspired performance of the film is that of Logan Marshall-Green, as the scientist boyfriend of Dr. Shaw.  He looks, and acts, like a poor man’s Tom Hardy that the studio found under a boardwalk on the Jersey shore.  The way he says “baby”, and the number of times he says it, becomes comical.  A poor casting choice on par with the choice of “Professor” Janet Jackson in the terrible Nutty Professor sequel.

Prometheus is sadly, just a very boring movie.  All the shiny spacesuits, and cool looking alien architecture cannot masque that the movie is just a mind numbing experience of disappointment.  Sometimes a great pedigree can make a failure harder to tolerate.  Such a good idea for a movie from a once great director.  With a heavy heart and tears in my eyes I must say it looks like Ridley Scott may be done.  :( I hold out little hope for the Blade Runner sequel he is working on at the moment.  I guess everyone eventually runs out of gas as they get older.  Prometheus is truly a deflating experience, a true flat tire of a film.

June 8, 2012admin No Comments »
FILED UNDER :REVIEWS

The Film Champion Awards for 2011

The Film Champion Awards for 2011

Here are my selections for the best of cinema in 2011 in each category.  This year the Academy did a very poor job with its nominations.  That is a shame, because last year they did such a great job.  Let me set them strait. (I wrote and posted this before the Oscars, but for some reason it disappeared.  So I am re-posting it.)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Berenice Bejo - The Artist

Cate Blanchett - Hanna

Jessica Chastain - Take Shelter

Anna Kendrick - 50/50

Shailiene Woodley - The Descendants *WINNER*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is often the thinnest category each year, but this year there were five good performances that are worthy of a nomination.  Actually, Jessica Chastain could have grabbed multiple nominations in this category with her great work in The Tree of Life and The Help.  She was by far the best thing about The Help.  My pick for the best supporting actress of the year is Shailene Woodley.  She was sadly robbed of an Oscar nomination.  What a joke.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Kevin Bacon - X-Men: First Class

Kenneth Branagh - My Week with Marilyn

Albert Brooks - Drive *WINNER*

Christopher Plummer - Beginners

Nick Nolte - Warrior

John C. Reilly - Cedar Rapids

Andy Serkis - Rise of the Planet of the Apes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had to cheat on this one.  This is almost always the strongest and most competitive category.  Five nominees would just not cut it this year.  All seven performances are stellar, but Brooks gave the best of the bunch as the villain in Drive.  Its another crime that he was not nominated for an Oscar.  I understand that Plummer will win the “lifetime achievement” Oscar for Beginners, but how in the hell was Brooks not even nominated?

BEST ACTRESS

Elle Fanning - Super 8

Rooney Mara - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Saoirse Ronan - Hanna

Tilda Swinton - We Need to Talk about Kevin

Michelle Williams - My Weekend with Marilyn *WINNER*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another category that is usually quite thin in quality.  Well, this year is no exception (perhaps its even worse than usual).  There were some good performances, but the field is not deep.  I could barely come up with five nominees.  Hollywood really needs to create more quality roles for women.  Viola Davis will probably win the Oscar this year, but its a real mystery why she will win.  Her role is a supporting role in The Help.  She just stands there looking sad until the end of the film, where she breaks out a poignant, overly melodramatic, Oscar speech.  Michelle Williams is by far the real winner here.  She is amazing as Marilyn Monroe in My Week with Marilyn.

BEST ACTOR

George Clooney - The Descendants

Jean Dujardin - The Artist

Tom Hardy - Warrior

Joseph Gordon-Levitt - 50/50

Michael Shannon - Take Shelter *WINNER*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An excellent year for the Best Actor race.  I did not want to cheat twice, so I had to dis great performances by Ryan Gosling (Drive), Brad Pitt (The Tree of Life), Michael Fassbender (X-Men: First Class), Ewan McGregor (Beginners), Mel Gibson (The Beaver) and Joel Edgerton (Warrior). George Clooney will probably win the Oscar, and he is defiantly deserving, but I really wish Michael Shannon would get the credit he deserves for his role in Take Shelter.  But hey, the Academy decided that Shannon was not even deserving of a god damn nomination!  Criminal.

BEST DIRECTOR

Michel Hazanavicius - The Artist

Terrence Malick - The Tree of Life

Jeff Nichols - Take Shelter

Alexander Payne - The Descendants *WINNER*

Nicolas Winding Refn - Drive

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A very solid year for director.  All five of this year’s nominees did an incredible job making unique films that will not be soon forgotten.  I really hope that Alexander Payne wins the Oscar, because he absolutely deserves it for The Descendants, and for his under appreciated career.  Michel Hazanavicius will probably win, but I will not have a problem with that.  Gavin O’Connor could have easily made the top 5 for directing Warrior.  I apologize to him for putting him in sixth place.

 

BEST PICTURE

The Artist

The Descendants *WINNER*

Drive

50/50

Hanna

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Take Shelter

 

 

 

 

 

 

13 Assassins

Warrior

X-Men: First Class

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are my selections for the 10 best pictures of 2011.  A good overall year for quality movies, but 2011 did lack the high numbers of masterpieces of the past few years.  The Descendants narrowly edges out Take Shelter for the top prize.  The Artist will win the Oscar, which is fine, but I would rather see The Descendants take home the top prize from the Academy.

May 13, 2012admin No Comments »
FILED UNDER :BEST OF THE YEAR LISTS , LISTS

Best Picture Nominees 1964 – 2011

Here is a list of every Best Picture nominee from 1964 to current day, ranked in order of quality.  I finally got to knock out the 1972 Swedish film, The Emigrants (aka The New Land), so the list is complete for the last 48 years of Best Picture nominees.  One day I hope to see every nominated film as far back as possible.  Many of the oldest pictures are lost, or not available on readily viewable formats. 

The Academy has a very strong, overall record of having great nominees for Best Picture.  Sometimes they might be a bit off, but they usually select solid films, with an occasional mediocre flick that slips by.  Sadly, they have been known to make some huge blunders, and I am here to call them on those mistakes (and to praise them for the majority of excellent films they have selected).  This year is bit of a mixed bag, with many of the best films not nominated (Warrior, Drive, Take Shelter, 50/50, etc.). 

Let me know what you think.  Did I over praise any of the masterpieces?  What about the small list of Oscar nominated turds at the end of the list?  At least there are only a few of them that tarnish the Academy’s reputation.  Its a wonder how anyone got tricked into supporting those dreadful films. 

The Best Picture Nominees from 1964-2011

**** Masterpieces

All The President’s Men (1976)

Amadeus (1984)

American Beauty (1999)

American Graffiti (1973)

Apocalypse Now (1979)

The Artist (2011)

As Good As It Gets (1997)

The Aviator (2004)

Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

Braveheart (1995)

Breaking Away (1979)

Brokeback Mountain (2005)

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

A Clockwork Orange (1971)

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

Deliverance (1972)

The Departed (2006)

The Deer Hunter (1978)

The Descendants (2011)

Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

Dr. Strangelove (1964)

Dr. Zhivago (1965)

Elizabeth (1998)

E.T. (1982)

The Exorcist (1973)

Fargo (1996)

Forrest Gump (1994)

Gangs of New York (2002)

Gladiator (2000)

The Godfather (1972)

The Godfather, Part II (1974)

Goodfellas (1990)

Good Will Hunting (1997)

The Graduate (1967)

Hope and Glory (1987)

The Hurt Locker (2009)

Inception (2010)

In The Bedroom (2001)

Jaws (1975)

JFK (1991)

The King’s Speech (2010)

L.A. Confidential (1997)

The Last Picture Show (1971)

Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)

The Lion in Winter (1968)

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)

Lost In Translation (2003)

A Man for All Seasons (1966)

Mary Poppins (1964)

M*A*S*H (1970)

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003)

Midnight Cowboy (1969)

Million Dollar Baby (2004)

Moulin Rouge (2001)

My Fair Lady (1964)

Nashville (1975)

Network (1976)

No Country For Old Men (2007)

One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)

127 Hours (2010)

On Golden Pond (1981)

Ordinary People (1980)

Patton (1970)

Platoon (1986)

Pulp Fiction (1994)

Raging Bull (1980)

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Rocky (1976)

Saving Private Ryan (1998)

Schindler’s List (1993)

Shakespeare in Love (1998)

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

Sideways (2004)

The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

The Social Network (2010)

Star Wars (1977)

Taxi Driver (1976)

Terms of Endearment (1983)

There Will Be Blood (2007)

The Thin Red Line (1998)

Tootsie (1982)

Toy Story 3 (2010)

True Grit (2010)

Unforgiven (1992)

Up (2009)

Winter’s Bone (2010)

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)

Z (1969)

***1/2 Awesome

Alfie (1966)

Apollo 13 (1995)

Avatar (2009)

Beauty and the Beast (1991)

Becket (1964)

Black Swan (2010)

Born on the Fourth of July (1989)

Bugsy (1991)

Coal Miner’s Daughter (1980)

Coming Home (1978)

Cries and Whispers [Viskningar och Rop]  (1973)

The Crying Game (1992)

Dances with Wolves (1990)

Dead Poets Society (1989)

The English Patient (1996)

A Few Good Men (1992)

Field of Dreams (1989)

The Fighter (2010)

The Fugitive (1993)

The Full Monty (1997)

Gandhi (1982)

The Goodbye Girl (1977)

The Green Mile (1999)

The Insider (1999)

In the Heat of the Night (1967)

In the Name of the Father (1993)

Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985)

Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)

Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

Michael Clayton (2007)

Midnight Express (1978)

Milk (2008)

Missing (1982)

Mississippi Burning (1988)

My Left Foot (1989)

Mystic River (2003)

Oliver! (1968)

Out of Africa (1985)

The Postman [Il Postino] (1995)

Precious (2009)

Quiz Show (1994)

Romeo and Juliet (1968)

The Sixth Sense (1999)

Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

A Soldier’s Story (1984)

The Sting (1973)

Tender Mercies (1983)

Traffic (2000)

Up in the Air (2009)

The Verdict (1982)

Witness (1985)

Working Girl (1988)

 

*** Good

Anne of a Thousand Days (1969)

Annie Hall (1977)

Babe (1995)

Babel (2006)

A Beautiful Mind (2001)

Bound For Glory (1976)

Broadcast News (1987)

Capote (2005)

Chariots of Fire (1981)

Children of a Lesser God (1986)

The Cider House Rules (1999)

The Elephant Man (1980)

The Emigrants [Utvandrarna] (1972)

Erin Brockovich (2000)

Fatal Attraction (1987)

Fiddler on the Roof (1971)

Five Easy Pieces (1970)

Frost/Nixon (2008)

Funny Girl (1968)

Good Night and Good Luck (2005)

Heaven Can Wait (1978)

The Last Emperor (1987)

Lenny (1974)

Life Is Beautiful (1998)

Midnight in Paris (2011)

The Mission (1986)

Moonstruck (1987)

Norma Rae (1979)

The Pianist (2002)

The Piano (1993)

The Queen (2006)

Rain Man (1988)

Seabuscuit (2003)

Sense and Sensibility (1995)

Sound of Music (1965)

The Tree of Life (2011)

War Horse (2011)

Zorba the Greek (1964)

 

**1/2 Alright (a bit better than mediocre)

The Accidental Tourist (1988)

Barry Lyndon (1975)

The Big Chill (1983)

The Conversation (1974)

Dangerous Liaisons (1988)

An Education (2009)

Finding Neverland (2004)

Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)

The French Connection (1971)

Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)

Hello, Dolly! (1969)

The Help (2011)

The Hours (2002)

Howard’s End (1992)

Hugo (2011)

Inglorious Basterds (2009)

Julia (1977)

Juno (2007)

The Killing Fields (1984)

Nicholas and Alexandra (1971)

Passage to India (1984)

Ray (2004)

The Remains of the Day (1993)

The Right Stuff (1983)

A Room with a View (1986)

The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming (1966)

The Sand Pebbles (1966)

Shine (1996)

Sounder (1972)

A Thousand Clowns (1965)

Titanic (1997)

A Touch of Class (1973)

 

** Who Cares (nothing terrible, just non-events)

Airport (1970)

All That Jazz (1978)

Atlantic City (1981)

Atonement (2007)

Awakenings (1990)* I have not watched this one in a while, so I may revisit it soon

The Blind Side (2009)

Chicago (2002)

Chinatown (1974)

Chocolat (2000)

Darling (1965)

District 9 (2009)

Doctor Dolittle (1967)

The Dresser (1983)

Driving Miss Daisy (1989)

The Godfather, Part III (1990)

Gosford Park (2001)

Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner? (1967)

Moneyball (2011)

Munich (2005)

Places in the Heart (1984)

The Prince of Tides (1991)

Prizzi’s Honor (1985)

Rachel Rachel (1968)

Reds (1981)

Scent of a Woman (1992)

Secrets and Lies (1996)

Tess (1980)

The Towering Inferno (1974)

The Turning Point (1977)

An Unmarried Woman (1978)

*1/2 or less – the God-Awful or tortuously boring (SHAME ON YOU, ACADEMY!!!)

Cabaret (1972)

The Color Purple (1985)

Crash (2005)

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (2011)

Ghost (1990)

Jerry McGuire (1996)

The Kids Are Alright (2010)

Love Story (1970)

The Reader (2008)

A Serious Man (2009)

Ship of Fools (1965)

 

February 26, 2012admin No Comments »
FILED UNDER :LISTS , OSCAR WATCH

The Best Films of 2011

The Top 20 Films of 2011

2011 was a bit of a let down in the world cinema.  2010 was a much stronger year.  9 of the 10 Best Picture nominees were great films (only the god-awful, mixed morality tale The Kids are Alright missed the quality mark).  This year’s Best Picture field is pretty thin.  Two masterpieces (The Artist and The Descendants), three excellent films (Warhorse, Midnight in Paris and The Tree of Life), three mediocre disappointments (Hugo, Moneyball and The Help) and one god-awful, eye-gouger (Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close).  Not a solid list of films that will vie for Hollywood’s top honor.  I guess we got spoiled last year.  The Academy missed a lot of great work.  Take Shelter, 50/50, Hanna, Drive, Warrior and Rise of the Planet of the Apes all would have been excellent and worthy nominees. But alas, mediocrity prevails this year among the Academy Award nominations.  Guess I will have to show them how it should be done. Here are my selections for the 20 best films of 2011.  

What were your favorite films of 2011?  Did I miss any (there are always a few that I see too late to add to the list)?  Anything too low or too high?  Let me know.  My apologies to The Muppets.  It was #21.  Sorry Kermit.

The Guard

 20. The Guard Directed by John Michael McDonagh

Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle make quite a hilarious team in The Guard.  The film plays out like a typical mismatched buddy cop film, but the dialogue is much sharper than others in the often worn out genre.  Gleeson gives the strongest performance in the film by far.  He is absolutely hilarious.  After seeing this film, and the witty dark comedy In Bruges, I hope to see him do more comedies in the future. 

 

 

Tucker & Dale vs. Evil

19.  Tucker & Dale vs. Evil Directed by Eli Craig

A rare successful attempt at mixing horror and comedy.  A bloody, gory, hilarious and clever film about a couple of good old boys from West Virginia that have to fend off a group of preppy college kids.  Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine both kick a lot of ass as the besieged hillbillies.  An excellent and unique film that should not be missed by anyone interested in this genre (but its not for the squeamish).

 

Thor

18. Thor Directed by Kenneth Branagh

Surprisingly good super hero entertainment from renowned Shakespearean director Kenneth Branagh.  Chris Hemsworth makes a star making turn as the Norse god.  By no means perfect or as good as the first two Spider Man films, its still a very good, and most importantly, a fun entry into the Marvel film mythos.  Lets keep our fingers crossed for The Avengers.

 

 

The Myth of the American Sleepover

17. The Myth of the American Sleepover Directed by David Robert Mitchell

The Myth of the American Sleepover is an excellent and understated film that sadly flew in way under the radar of most cinema goers in 2011 (at least it was in Christy Lemire’s top 5 of the year).  Its a lot like an American Graffiti for this current faceless and lost generation (by no means as exciting, but that is kind of the point).  It was a big gamble for David Robert Mitchell to direct a film about teenagers at the same pace of a Tarkovskiy film, but it really works. This film is the exact opposite of the putrid American Pie films, and its many clones. Also, look how awesome that poster is. :)

Midnight in Paris

16. Midnight in Paris Directed by Woody Allen

I usually do not care about Woody Allen films.  I think he is one of the most overrated directors of all-time (up there with, but not as over-hyped as Polanski and Godard).  Allen has always been a talented writer, but his acting is borderline tortuous. Thankfully, Woody Allen does not appear in Midnight in Paris.  Somehow, this film turned out to be a witty and well acted comedy.  Perhaps the multitude of history and literary references made Midnight in Paris more interesting than the typical Allen fare.  Owen Wilson is surprisingly charming as the film’s lead.

Cedar Rapids

15. Cedar Rapids Directed by Miguel Arteta

Cedar Rapids is a very raunchy comedy that never strays too far from its innocent heart.  It is excellent at balancing over the top hilarity with touching moments. Ed Helms plays the honest and clueless fish out of water extremely well.  John C. Riley steals the show as the over the top, over compensating fellow salesman that Helms is warned to avoid on his business trip to the “big city” of Cedar Rapids.  Sadly, this film flopped at the box office.  Make sure you catch this one. 

The Tree of Life

14. The Tree of Life Directed by Terrence Malick

Well this was an interesting film.  Malick has always been a unique director to say the least.  Audiences fled screenings of The Tree of Life in droves, enough so that theaters began putting up “no refund” signs to warn people of what they were getting into.  The film begins with a long, avant-garde, opening sequence that basically encompasses the entirety of the creation of the Earth.   What that has to do with anything, or the rest of the film, is anyone’s guess.  It looks amazing and is often awe inspiring, but it does not really ad to the story, but we can let it slide and chalk it up to artistic expression.  Once the meat of the film begins, it unfolds as an amazing story of three young kids and their parents in 1950′s Texas.  The story is deep and flows at a beautiful pace.  Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain are great as the parents of the three children.  Why is it then that the film is only #14 on the list?  Unfortunately, it has a really poor and seemingly meaningless ending headed by a completely lost Sean Penn.  I have no idea what he is supposed to be doing in this film.  He looks miserable, as if he was strung out on some mind altering drug.  The film’s finale is way too hookey for someone as great as Malick.  Even with the lame ending, its still a great film. 

Beginners

13. Beginners Directed by Mike Mills

A touching, thoughtful, little film that most people missed in 2011.  Ewan McGregor plays a sullen man that has recently lost his father to cancer, and meets a beautiful actress (Inglorious Basterds‘ Melanie Laurent) that changes his outlook on life.  Shortly before his father’s death, he (played in flashbacks by the probable Oscar winner for Best Supporting Actor, Christopher Plummer) came out of the closet and embraces the fact that he has been gay.  The movie flows extremely well between his relationship with his father and his new girlfriend.  A very insightful, and often honestly romantic film.  Too bad other films that tackle romance and love fail so miserably.  Damn you Katherine Heigl.  Damn you Sandra Bullock. 

 

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

12. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Directed by David Fincher

David Fincher is without a doubt the best director of this era.  With the only the exception of his first film, the unpleasant let down of Alien 3, he never disappoints.  Although The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is nowhere near as good as Fincher’s masterpieces Seven, The Social Network or Fight Club, it is an excellent film that does not disappoint.  Fincher is the perfect director to handle such a dark mystery story.  Rooney Mara, Stellan Skarsgard and Daniel Craig are all quite good.  Trent Reznor’s score matches the film perfectly.  Much better than the Swedish film that was released in 2009. 

The Beaver

11. The Beaver Directed by Jodie Foster

Its unfortunate that Mel Gibson is crazy and says a lot stupid things.  His incredible talent gets over shadowed by his inability to avoid doing dumb crap.  The Beaver suffered greatly from Mel’s bad public image and its highly unusual subject matter, and that is a damn shame.  It is a wonderful and enlightening film about a desperate man that has lost his family’s respect and the will to live.  After finding a discarded beaver puppet,  he begins to speak through the puppet, and finds a new lease on life.  It sounds like an unfilmable premise, but Jodie Foster pulls it off with amazing heart.  Gibson gives one the best performances of his stellar career.  Anton Yelchin (Star Trek) and Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone) are excellent in supporting roles.  Make sure you give this one a chance. 

X-Men: First Class

10. X-Men: First Class Directed by Matthew Vaughn

Thankfully, the X-Men franchise has been saved by Matthew Vaughn and Michael Fassbender.  X-Men 3 was so terrible it looked like the series was done (Brett Ratner, you can go to Hell).  Who would have thought a prequel set in the 1960′s would save the franchise, and would be so entertaining?   Michael Fassbender delivers an amazing, star making performance as a young Magneto.  Kevin Bacon makes a great comeback to realm of relevant cinema as the film’s villain, Sebastian Shaw.  By far the best comic book film of 2011. 

 

13 Assassins

9.  13 Assassins [Jusan-nin shikaku] Directed by Takashi Miike

The world needs more films like this.  Exciting, action packed, thought provoking, worthwhile Asian cinema has been a rarity since the days of Kurosawa.  In recent years, so much of Asian cinema has been mindless action flicks and awful horror mind-melters.  13 Assassins bucks the trend by being an incredible film that delivers as much action and it does story and heart.  Its the best film of the Asian, action genre since Battle Royale and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Hanna

8. Hanna Directed by Joe Wright

Too bad this film came out so early in 2011.  It seems to have been forgotten by most film-goers.  Hanna is an awesome, unique entry in the action film genre.  Think The Bourne Identity with a teenage girl has the star.  Sounds like a weird premise, but it works because Saoirse Ronan is such an incredible talent.  She seems poised to battle it out with Jennifer Lawrence to see who will be the best actress of her generation. 

50/50

7. 50/50 Directed by Jonathan Levine

A comedy about a young man that is diagnosed with cancer?  That must have been one hell of a pitch that got this film green lit.  Thank goodness that pitch worked, because 50/50 is one amazing film that will stay with you long after you leave the theater.  Joseph Gordan-Levitt is perfect as the young man given a 50/50 chance to live after finding out he has cancer.  Levitt continues to give great performance after performance (500 Days of Summer, The Lookout, Inception, Brick).  Who would have thought that the little kid from Third Rock From the Sun would become one the most talented actors working today.  Seth Rogan really stands out as Levitt’s best friend.  Rogan has always been funny, but his films have usually been mediocre.  Its nice to see him shine in a great, well written film.  Anna Kendrick is also quite good as Levitt’s young, inexperienced therapist.  50/50 is as funny as it is touching.

Drive

6.  Drive Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn

Nicolas Winding Refn’s follow up to his incredible, underrated masterpiece, Valhalla Rising, is an amazing, cinematic experience the likes of which you may never see again.  Drive is a completely unique film in almost every way.  Its visually stunning.  Every little detail is worth noticing.  The outstanding score and soundtrack sound like an homage to an 80′s Michael Mann film.  Its so unusual, that somehow it fits the film perfectly. Ryan Gosling and Albert Brooks give some of the best performances of 2011.  Brooks was absolutely screwed out of an Oscar nomination.  I cannot fathom how that happened.  Brooks is a cherished Hollywood legend that has never won an Oscar.  That is usually all you need to get a Best Supporting Actor nod.  Guess not this year.  Jonah Hill sneaks in for his fat and nervous performance in the boring, overrated Moneyball.  Lame. :( 

Warrior

5. Warrior Directed by Gavin O’Connor

This movie was sold in commercials and in its trailer as an overly commercial MMA version of Rocky or Miracle, an almost Disney-like story of family triumph. The trailer and commercials were totally misleading. This is not a family fun time movie.  Perhaps that is why it was a box office flop.  Its so much more than a basic brother vs. brother story.  This film has a very dark, and very real, unflinching heart.  Family is important in this film, but it never comes off as phoney or melodramatic like most films about family members at odds.  Thomas Hardy, Joel Edgerton and Nick Nolte are absolutely incredible as the fighting brothers, and their long ago discarded father.  I am somebody that does not give a rat’s ass about MMA, but this film makes it actually interesting.  That is one hell of an accomplishment. 

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

4. Rise of the Planet of the Apes Directed by Rupert Wyatt

This was an absolutely dead franchise that had no signs of life whatsoever.  Miraculously, Rise of the Planet of the Apes single handedly breathed life back into this once proud franchise.  I find it hard to believe that someone gave a young, unknown filmmaker (Rupert Wyatt) $100 million dollars to make an ape film, but I am glad they did.  Andy Serkis steals the show as Caesar, the intelligently enhanced ape that revolts against the humans that abuse his fellow simians.  Serkis is truly an underrated actor (he should have got an Oscar nomination for this film).  His CGI work must be more difficult than that of the typical actor.  Guess Hollywood will never appreciate him. :(

Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a fascinating and thrilling film that reveals the early aspects of the back story of how apes will become the dominate form of life on Earth in the later Ape films.  An excellent combination of story, character and action that should keep anyone that watches it entertained. 

The Artist

The Artist

3. The Artist Directed by Michel Hazanavicius

I never thought I would see a new silent film in my lifetime, let alone one as great as The Artist.  Its a true wonder that a film like this was allowed to be made by a major studio in this day and age.  With all of the mind-raping garbage being produced in this era, its encouraging to see something creative and wondrous come out of Hollywood.  The Artist is defiantly a welcomed gem.  It is a charming tale about a bygone era that is legendary to, and beloved by, many a lover of classic cinema (perhaps that is why it is getting so much award love).  If you are unfamiliar with the often glorious history of film this one will not be for you (and shame on you – you have some homework to do).  Most people cringe at the sight of a black & white film, especially a silent one.  Do not be afraid.  Give this one a chance.  Jean Dujardin, Uggie (the dog sidekick) and Berenice Bejo will make you smile and temporarily make you forget about the rotten state of the world. :)  Its a rare film where you actually are rooting for the people in the film to succeed.

Take Shelter

2. Take Shelter Directed by Jeff Nichols

This one was real close to being the best film of the year.  I really hate placing in the second spot, because Take Shelter is an amazing, unforgettable masterpiece.  Michael Shannon (who you will see soon as Zod in the next Superman film) gives the best performance of the year as a father & husband that begins to have horrible visions that begin to threaten his family’s safety, and possibly his own sanity.  The film masterfully shifts between his disturbing nightmares and the reality of his life.  The most prevalent vision that haunts him is that of an oncoming storm for which he must prepare his family to survive, but they may not be able to survive what he must do to protect them from something that might not be real.  Take Shelter is an incredible film that is perfectly paced.  It never falters. Its an insightful look into mental illness and its effects on family (the exact opposite of the truly putrid Melancholia).  If a full investigation is launched, there may be extended jail time for the Academy members that screwed Michael Shannon out of a Best Actor nomination. 

The Descendants

1. The Descendants Directed by Alexander Payne

Alexander Payne does not make enough movies, but when he does, he is no stranger to my best films of the year list.  Election, About Schmidt and Sideways are amazing films that were made under his talented direction.  With The Descendants, Payne has made the best film of his career, and the most outstanding film of 2011 (just barely edges out Take Shelter). Its a poignant film about a man that has a lot on his plate.  He is intrusted by his family to make a decision about the future of land they have owned for generations. That land is going to be defaulted back to the people of Hawaii in the near future, unless they sell it off relatively soon (should he allow them to make a huge profit, or do the right thing and let the people have it back?).  While dealing with that, his wife is critically injured in an accident. He must gather his two daughters and inform their family and friends that his wife will soon die.  To make things more complicated, he finds out she had been cheating on him.  Payne has always been a gifted writer, but he really out does himself here.  This story has so much going on, and yet it never loses focus of the captivating characters or the fascinating journey the family goes through. 

George Clooney should be a shoe-in for the Best Actor Oscar (I really wish he was going up against Michael Shannon, but the Academy peed in my Kool Aid on that one) for his incredible performance as the troubled father.  Shailene Woodley is wonderful as his oldest daughter.  Its an absolute crime that she was not given an Oscar nomination for great work, especially with the weak field in the Best Supporting Actress category this year.  Its also nice to see Robert Forster in action again.  He has several excellent and hilarious moments in the film. 

See you in 2012.  We are off to a great start with The Grey. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February 3, 2012admin No Comments »
FILED UNDER :BEST OF THE YEAR LISTS , LISTS

2011 Oscar Nominations

 

Here are the Oscar nominations for the year in film in 2011.  Once again the Academy threw out a few curve balls to keep everyone on their toes, and they ignored some deserving work as usual. 

 

The nominees are . . .

Best Picture

  • The Artist
  • The Descendants
  • Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
  • The Help
  • Hugo
  • Midnight in Paris
  • Moneyball
  • The Tree of Life
  • War Horse

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close?  WTF?  That film was destroyed by critics and informed movie goers.  I guess a small percentage of people fell for its ham-fisted emotionalism.  It looks like something you would see played in the Hallmark Hall of Fame collection.  Replace Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock and Max Von Sydow with Greg Evigan,  Meredith Baxter Birney and Wilfred Brimley and you get there. Last year we had 9 great nominees, with only one clunker (the absolutely laughable The Kids are Alright).  This year we get 2 masterpieces (The Descendants and The Artist) that are at least the frontrunners. 3 really good films (Midnight in Paris, The Tree of Life and War Horse), 3 overrated and highly mediocre films (The Help, Hugo and Moneyball) and one silly tearjerker (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close).   Great films like Take Shelter, Drive, Beginners, Warrior, and Rise of the Planet of the Apes could have easily and deservedly been nominated.  Shame on you Academy.  The only saving grace is that the two frontrunners are two great masterpieces. 

Best Director

  • Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
  • Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
  • Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life
  • Alexander Payne, The Descendants 
  • Martin Scorsese, Hugo

It would have been nice to see Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive) or Jeff Nichols (Take Shelter) make into this field instead of Scorsese and Allen.  Scorsese is one of the greatest of all-time, but Hugo was pretty boring.  I hope Alexander Payne wins this one. 

Best Actor

  • Demian Bachir, A Better Life
  • George Clooney, The Descendants
  • Jean Dujardin, The Artist
  • Gary Oldman, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
  • Brad Pitt, Moneyball

Well, Demian Bachir certainly came from out of nowhere.  He was on almost nobody’s Oscar predictions list.  Most people had Leonardo DiCaprio sneaking into the field.  However, J. Edgar was not a beloved film, so that hurt him.  Its nice to see Gary Oldman finally score a nomination.  What an amazing career he has had thus far, with this being his FIRST nomination!  I think Clooney has already wrapped this one up, but Dujardin could snatch it away.  Either would be fine by me.  That said, Michael Shannon gave the best performance of the year this year in Tale Shelter.  Not even a nomination for him?  More shame upon the Academy. 

Best Actress

  • Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs
  • Viola Davis, The Help
  • Rooney Mara, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  • Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
  • Michelle Williams, My Week with Marilyn

Rooney Mara’s nomination was a bit of a pleasant surprise here.  The race will be between Davis, Streep and Williams.  It looked like Streep would get that third Oscar she has been craving as of late, but The Iron Lady has not been well received by most critics.  Davis is the frontrunner, but I do not know why.  She is a supporting role, and she just stand there through out the entire film and looks sad until the end, where she gives a big speech that is pure Oscar bait.  Williams should win for her excellent performance as Marilyn Monroe, but the film is not very good.  I would have liked to have seen Saoirse Ronan get a nomination for Hanna

Best Supporting Actor

  • Kenneth Branagh, My Week with Marilyn
  • Jonah Hill, Moneyball
  • Christopher Plummer, Beginners
  • Nick Nolte, Warrior
  • Max Von Sydow, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Where in the blue, monkey hell is Albert Brooks (Drive)?  This is the biggest travesty among the Oscar snubs this year.  He meets all the usual criteria of this category.  He is a beloved, long over due, old fart that has never won an Oscar before.  Look at everyone but Hill in this category.  They all meet the requirement. :( Jonah Hill does not do anything in Moneyball.  Really, he does nothing.  Another glaring error in this category is the omission of Andy Serkis (Rise of the Planet of the Apes).  God damn the Academy for ignoring his work.  BTW, Plummer has already won this one.  Book it. I would like to see Nolte or Branagh pull an upset, because they were both magnificent.  John C. Riley also was overlooked for his great performance in Cedar Rapids

Best Supporting Actress

  • Berenice Bejo, The Artist
  • Jessica Chastain, The Help
  • Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids
  • Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs
  • Octavia Spencer, The Help

Shailene Woodley’s omission here is another massive error by the Academy.  Her performance in The Descendants was incredible, one of the year’s best.  :( Looks like Spencer has this one won.  Apparently, being black and sassy in a film is the new way to win an Oscar in Hollywood.  She is kind of funny in the film, but its not an award worthy performance.  It would be nice to see Chastain take home the award because of her break out year, in which she was great in multiple films (Take Shelter, The Tree of Life and The Help).

January 24, 2012admin No Comments »
FILED UNDER :NEWS , OSCAR WATCH

The 10 Worst Films of 2011

The 10 Worst Films of 2011

Every year the world of cinema spews forth many cinematic abortions.  Luckily I have developed the good sense to detect those films before setting foot in the cinema, and avoid them at all cost.  This list will not cover the obvious crap-fests of the year.  It would be too easy to to list films like Jack and Jill, Bucky Larson or the Zookeeper.  Films like that have no merit, so what is the point wasting time discussing them.  This list will name the top 10 worst of the year that had some potential in one way or another.  Perhaps they had a competent or talented director, an interesting subject matter, or should have been something, yet somehow they failed miserably.  Those films that were a true disappointment are the ones that make the top ten worst of the year list.

I skipped the following 2011 poisonous releases for obvious reasons: Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, Big Mama’s House 3, Breaking Dawn, Bucky Larson, The Change Up, Footloose, Glee, Jack and Jill, Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, New Year’s Eve, The Zookeeper, or whatever crap Tyler Perry inflicted upon the world. 

Updated (1/25):  I am obligated to see every Best Picture Oscar nominee. I have seen all of them all the way back through the mid-60′s (except for The Emigrants – which is not on DVD & I cannot find a VHS copy), with the hopes of knocking them all out one day.  Even the films from the 20′s.  So when the Academy nominated Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, I had to go see it.  I avoided it because it looked like a mind numbing, sappy, want-to-be tear-jerker of a film.  Well, I underestimated it.  It was far worse than I could have imagined.  I owe it an apology for leaving it off the Top 10 Worst List, so I will not let it take its rightful place atop this list. 

The Ward

10. The Ward Directed by John Carpenter

The eternally sad decline of the once great John Carpenter is reaffirmed.  Has it really been 25 years since he has made a good movie?  Carpenter was once a true visionary of film.  A unique master that just ran out of gas.  The man that, before 1987, gave the world great films like Halloween, The Thing, Escape from New York,  Starman and Big Trouble in Little China, afterwards gave the world clunkers such as In the Mouth of Madness, Ghosts of Mars and Escape from L.A. The Ward is not god-awful, its just nothing.  Its basically a non-event as a movie.  Generally that is common in movies and nothing worth pointing out.  However, in this case it just points out another chapter in decline of a once great film maker.  :(

 

 

Red State

9. Red State Directed by Kevin Smith

Kevin Smith is another once great director that has entered into a state of terrible film making.  Red State is much better than last year’s worst picture, Cop Out (also directed by Kevin Smith), but that is not saying much.  Red State is ambitious, and for that I will give Kevin Smith credit.  It really tries to be something, sadly it just comes up flat.  Its an interesting idea that is never really developed.  It just drags along without nothing much happening.  Not even a prolonged gun fight could pep this one up into something interesting.  The only saving grace of this film would have been an excellent stopping point that was bypassed for a boring, rambling and pointless ending.  Those that saw the movie will all know where it should have ended.  I hate to say it, but I would much rather hear about Walt Flanagan’s dog than to watch Kevin Smith go down this boring path.  :(

 

Young Adult

8. Young Adult Directed by Jason Reitman

Wow!  Three bad films in a row on this list by three good directors.  What is the world coming to?  This is a deplorable story of an even more unlikable person.  Many critics have praised the movie for being so full of venom, but it just renders it pointless.  There is no character growth, no lessons learned, nothing really happens except for the main character’s realization that her awfulness is acceptable.  This would be excusable if the film was interesting or entertaining.  It is nether.  It just wallows in the filth of its own nastiness.  At least Patton Oswalt was cool as the only person of interest in the entire film.  My original review is here. :(

 

Meloncholia

7. Meloncholia Directed by Lars von Trier

Another critical darling that has appeared on many top ten best lists.  Too bad they put it on the wrong top ten list.  Meloncholia is an often visually beautiful film on the surface.  However, if you look deep inside it is completely unpleasantly hollow story about a depressed woman.  Her character, or illness, is not examined in any way.  Instead the film concentrates on her random, infantile behavior on her wedding day for about an hour.  Then for the second hour it focuses on her shittiness, and oh by-the-way a planet is about to smash into the Earth, but that is not important.  Lars von Trier has a lot of technical skill, too bad he fucking hastes cinema and movie goers all around the world.  Here is my original review that says everything that needs to be said. :(

 

 

Green Lantern

6.  Green Lantern Directed by Martin Campbell

Yikes!  Another talented director, Martin Campbell (Casino Royale, Goldeneye) makes an appearance of the year’s worst films.  Green Lantern is a big budget failure of the highest order.  Nothing about this film works.  Bad casting (Reynolds and Sarsgaard are laughable), bed effects (where the hell did the $200 million dollars go?), bad writing (no intentional laughs and tons of poor attempts to be poignant), etc.  It has it all, or lacks it all.  Here is my original review.  I hope that DC can break its poor streak of non-Batman features. :(

 

 

Conan the Barbarian

5. Conan the Barbarian Directed by Marcus Nispel

Full disclosure, I am huge fan of the original Conan the Barbarian.  That said, I did not expect much from this remake.  At best I hoped it would be a fun action pick, at worst I thought it would be boring.  Well I was wrong.  It was was not boring, it was extremely boring.  Not a good attribute for an action film.  Its hard to fathom that someone could make a movie about Conan that is so utterly  lifeless. Here is my original review. :(

 

 

Hobo with a Shotgun

4. Hobo with a Shotgun Directed by Jason Eisener

Hobo with a Shotgun is a completely childish and tasteless endeavor that tries to disguise itself as a campy romp that continually winks at its own crapiness in some odd attempt to justify itself as a real movie.  The problem is that its crapiness is not entertaining.  Its a gross-out fest that is just mindless and unpleasant.  Many people saw this film as a fun, ultra-violent joke.  Trust me, there is nothing fun about this movie.  Its often pathetic.  Seeing the once talented Rutger Hauer whore himself in this movie made me want to cry.  I wonder why these films are so popular among so many people?  :(

 

 

Your Highness

3. Your Highness Directed by David Gordon Green

Dim-witted assery on the lowest level.  If you like to hear someone say fuck a lot, and watch people stumble through the long abandoned sets from Krull,  congratulations here is the film for you.  If that does not sound appealing, avoid this unfunny, uninspired waste of two hours.  Note to Danny McBride: your humor is fine in small doses, but you cannot carry a film. :(

 

 

In the Name of the King II: Two Worlds

2. In the Name of the King: Two Worlds Directed by Uwe Boll

Why in the hell did I watch another Uwe Boll film?  The first In the Name of the King was often funny (in a MST3K way), and this one has Dolph Lundgren and a dragon in it!  Son of a bitch, I got screwed by Uwe Boll again.  Never again!  Not that I was expecting anything beyond a few chuckles, this film was the dullest film I have ever seen.  It makes zero sense and moves at a snail’s pace.  Boll seems to miss the fact that this is a crappy action film made for people with no sense of what a good movie is.  He sparsely sprinkles in stupid fight scenes amid a sea of mindless and drawn out dialogue.  Its hard to imagine why people continue giving Uwe Boll money to rape the world of cinema.  Sadly I think I figured it out.  When I was at my local Family Video store yesterday, I noticed that they had 15 copies of this movies to rent.  13 of them were rented out on a Tuesday!  :(

 

Sucker Punch

1A. Sucker Punch Directed by Zack Snyder

Sucker Punch has been harshly panned by most critics and fan boys alike.  Almost nobody seems to like it (it has a few defenders, but they almost exclusively discuss its visual merit), so I was not too keen to watch it.  The only reasons I decided to watch it was that its trailer made it look like an interesting and pretty train wreck, and to be honest, Zack Snyder has made some cool movies in the past (300, Watchmen).  I had no idea what kind of eye rape I was in for when I sat down to watch Sucker Punch.  Two hours of the most asinine, ridiculous, and pointless film making left me paralyzed and dazed because of what I saw.  It is not an understatement to say that Sucker Punch is one of the absolute worst misfires (and films in general) in the history of cinema.    It is hard to believe that during the filming of this movie that nobody approached Zack Snyder to let him know how much a dim bulb his film was going to be.  Not one producer, grip, actor, caterer, script supervisor or effects specialist spoke up to Snyder?

The whole film seems like an experiment of what would happen if you gave a twelve year old boy $80 million dollars and a fancy camera.  Everything about the experiment turned out wrong.  Each performance in the movie is like that of a crying corpse (everyone has a blank face full of tears).  The main villain, played by Drive’s Oscar Isaac, is one of the worst in cinematic history. He has mastered the skill of annoyance and over acting at (least he is not a corpse).  The “plot” of the film is so mind-numbingly bad it starts out laughable, but quickly become pathetic.  It comes off as a joke version of Inception with hot chicks, swords, robots, goblins and dragons.  The entire film plays like a bad video game.  I often reached for my PS3 controller while watching it.  I admit there are some pretty CGI moments in the film, but they are so ridiculously idiotic they negate any technical merit that may have had.  I know they are fantasy sequences, but they still make absolutely no sense even within the context of the story.  The worst part of the film is its awful soundtrack (besides its use of Bjork’s Army of Me).  It is full of awful covers of classic songs.  The worst song has a guy rapping over classic Queen songs.  I almost deafened myself during that scene.  All in all, this film is a lobotomy of a movie.  :(

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

1B. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close Directed by Stephen Daldry

God damn you Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Science for nominating this film for Best Picture.  Its common for them to occasionally nominate a few mediocre films for Best Picture, but its rare that they nominate something as truly awful as Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close.  This film conjures up images of The Reader, Ship of Fools, Gentleman’s Agreement and Ghost in my head.  Those are thoughts that nobody should have to endure more than once, and if you are not an extreme cinephile you should never endure them.

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close is the most ham-fisted, hokey, asinine film to come along since the Oscar thieving, Crash (it might even be worse).  It has no subtly what-so-ever.  It smashes its you in the face for 2+ hours with its often laughable attempts at sentimentality.  The story is an utterly moronic tale of an annoying kid looking for a lock that will fit a key he finds in his dead dad’s closet.  Oh, by the way, his dad died in the Twin Towers on 9/11.  His quest is filled with pointless encounters (well the point of each encounter is for you to whip out the Kleenex and feel sad and/or uplifted).  The film never lets up with scene after scene of in-your-face emotionality.  It fails so badly that its painful to watch, and not due to the connection with 9/11 subject matter (Paul Greengrass’ United 93 dealt with the 9/11 subject matter without blinking, and it worked perfectly).  The worst aspect of the film is the performance of its young star, Thomas Horn.  He is unbearable and annoying.  His voice is reminiscent of a banshee mixed with an injured harpy. I honestly felt sorry for him while I watched the movie.  The only positive was Max Von Sydow’s performance as the boy’s mute grandfather (that is a spoiler, but it could not be more obvious).  If only the rest of the cast were mute. . .

It saddens me that so many people are failing for this blubbering joke of a film.  Betsy Sharkey of the Los Angeles Times wrote that the film was a “handsomely polished, thoughtfully wrapped Hollywood production about the national tragedy of 9/11 that seems to have forever redefined words like unthinkable, unforgivable, catastrophic”.  She must have watched a different print that I did.  I think that Peter Howell of the Toronto Star got it right when he stated that “[the] film feels all wrong on every level, mistaking precociousness for perceptiveness and catastrophe for a cuddling session. It’s calculated as Oscar bait, but the bait is poisoned by opportunism and feigned sensitivity”.  Amen, brother! 

 

January 12, 2012admin 2 Comments »
FILED UNDER :BEST OF THE YEAR LISTS , LISTS

2012 Oscar Acting Predictions

The 2012 Oscar nominations will be released early in the morning on January 24th.  Who will get nominated?  Who will get snubbed?  This year’s contenders seem weaker than the last few years.  Most of the best films of 2011 are not being mentioned by the majority of Oscar predictors.  That said, there are a few great pictures in contention, and a few interesting stories to follow.  Here are my predictions for the nominations (not necessarily the most deserving films – my best of the year list will be released soon).

Best Actor Predictions:

George Clooney - The Descendants

Jean Dujardin - The Artist

Brad Pitt - Moneyball

Michael Fassbender - Shame

Leonardo Dicaprio - J. Edgar

 

Possible Contenders: Michael Shannon – Take Shelter, Gary Oldman – Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Woody Harrelson – Rampart, Ryan Gosling – Drive or The Ides of March

Probable Snubs: Michael Shannon – Take Shelter, Mel Gibson – The Beaver

Its a battle between the mega-stars, Clooney & Pitt, for the Oscar this year.  Dujardin may play spoiler if the Academy feels like being really different.  Michael Shannon is heads and shoulders above anyone else this year. Its shameful that he probably will not even gain a nomination.  :( Gosling should get real consideration for Drive, but it looks doubtful.  Oldman looked like a shoe-in until recently, but his buzz has faded.  Its unbelievable that he has never been nominated for an Oscar!  Criminal.

Best Actress Predictions:

Viola Davis - The Help

Michelle Williams - My Week with Marilyn

Meryl Streep - Iron Lady

Tilda Swinton - We Need to Talk About Kevin

Glenn Close - Albert Nobbs

 

 

 

Possible Contenders: Kirstin Dunst – Melcancholia, Rooney Mara – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Elizabeth Olsen – Martha Marcy May Marlene, Emma Stone – The Help, Charlize Theron – Young Adult

Another week field in this category.  The frontrunner, Davis, does almost nothing in The Help.  She stands around and watches everyone, only to perk up in the excessive melodramatic last quarter of the film. Streep will gain another nomination for Iron Lady (its the law), but the film is not getting good reviews so her odds of scoring that third Oscar look bleak.  Saoirse Ronan’s remarkable performance in Hanna will be criminally overlooked by the Academy.  Beyond that, a dull category.  I still need to see My Week with Marylin and We Need to Talk About Kevin.  Michelle Williams and Tilda Swinton are always good.  Here is hoping. :)

Best Supporting Actor Predictions:

Albert Brooks - Drive

Christopher Plummer - The Beginners

Kenneth Branagh - My Week with Marilyn

Max Von Sydow - Extremely Loud . . .

Jonah Hill - Moneyball

 

Possible Contenders: Nick Nolte – Warrior, Patton Oswalt – Young Adult, Ben Kingsley – Hugo, Andy Serkis – Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Viggo Mortensen – A Dangerous Method, John Hawkes – Martha Marcy May Marlene

Probable Snubs: Anton Yelchin – The Beaver, Andy Serkis – Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Two Hollywood favorites, Plummer & Brooks,  that have never won an Oscar will battle for the prize this year.  Branagh and Von Sydow look like probable nominees.  Both have done great work in cinema and have not been nominated in a long time, so they are due.  Jonah Hill might steal the fifth spot, but I do not understand why because he does not do much in Moneyball.  Andy Serkis highly deserves an nomination for his work in Rise of the Planet of the Apes.  However, the Academy has yet to get past the idea that what he does is not real acting.  Shame on them.  All in all, I hope Brooks wins this one. 

Best Supporting Actress Predictions:

Jessica Chastain - The Help

Octavia Spencer - The Help

Berenice Bejo - The Artist

Shailene Woodley - The Descendants

Melissa McCarthy - Bridesmaids

 

 

 

Possible Contenders:  Janet McTeer – Albert Nobbs, Vanessa Redgrave – Coriolanus, Jessica Chastain – Take Shelter, Jessica Chastain – The Tree of Life

Chastain and Spencer look to be the frontrunners for The Help.  Chastain might be reward for her break out year, in which she appeared in several films and gave some of the best performances of the year.  Sadly, if she wins, it will be for the wrong film.  Chastain gives the best performance in the mediocre film, but I would like for to be nominated for The Tree of Life or Take Shelter.  Spencer has a good shot to win, because the Academy loves sassy black women.  She is often funny in the film, but nowhere near good enough to deserve an Oscar (even in this usually weak category).  McCarthy is gaining some big buzz for her role in Bridesmaids.  Its rare for a comedic performance to gain a nomination, but it looks like she just may.  Too bad her performance, and the film itself, are so annoying.  I would like to see Woodley win for The Descendants.  She gives a surprisingly excellent and honest performance. 

 

January 4, 2012admin No Comments »
FILED UNDER :NEWS , OSCAR WATCH

2012 Oscar Best Director Predictions

The 2012 Oscar nominations will be released early in the morning on January 24th.  Who will get nominated?  Who will get snubbed?  This year’s contenders seem weaker than the last few years.  Most of the best films of 2011 are not being mentioned by the majority of Oscar predictors.  That said, there are a few great pictures in contention, and a few interesting stories to follow.  Here are my predictions for the nominations (not necessarily the most deserving films – my best of the year list will be released soon).

Best Director Predictions:

Alexander Payne - The Descendants

Michel Hazanavicius - The Artist

Martin Scorsese - Hugo

Woody Allen - Midnight in Paris

Terrence Malick - The Tree of Life

Possible contenders: Steven Spielberg – War Horse, David Fincher – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Stephen Daldry – Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, Bennett Miller – Moneyball

Greats that will probably be dissed by the Academy: Nicolas Winding Refn – Drive, Jeff Nichols – Take Shelter

Analysis: Looks like a two way race between the overdue Payne and the newcomer Hazanavicius, with the three legends as solid bets to be nominated (perhaps another legend, Spielberg, could slip into the field as well).  Nicolas Winding Refn should get recognition for his amazing work on Drive, but the movie is too cool for Oscar.  Jeff Nichols’ amazing work on Take Shelter has virtually, and sadly, been ignored by pre-Oscar predictors. 

January 4, 2012admin No Comments »
FILED UNDER :NEWS , OSCAR WATCH