Archive for the Lists Category

Crash! Landen’s Best 10 Films of 2016

Posted in A Few Old, Short Words, Lists with tags , , , , , , , on January 1, 2017 by Crash! Landen

Having seen fewer films than I normally see in a year, I had some difficulty coming up with 10 films ‘worthy’ of a ‘Best of’ List. Much happened in 2016, I suppose, that limited my movie outings. There are a few much hyped movies that I have not yet seen (such as Embrace of the Serpent, Hacksaw Ridge, the new Bourne movie and Notes on Blindness amongst others) that I will see in the near future that probably will have me rewriting this to some degree. I can’t see them all (and I try to avoid dome of them anyway).

You might notice some of the films on this list were originally released in 2015, but as I always say, I build my list on when movies are released in my part of the world. And some of these like The Revenant  feel like they are 2015 movies even though they were not viewed by the general public until January of 2016, because they won 2015 awards. Not my problem. As always, the hardest part of the list was from  6 to 10, but here they all are.

the-neon-demon

#10 The Neon Demon I have liked most of Director Refn’s work ; his largely minimalist art house films framed with stark violent visuals. This  is his most bare-boned film that I’ve seen and is one of those films that makes you question what you just saw. Some have called this a horror film (there is that bit of cannibalism… and regurgitating eyeballs and….), but I think its more satire/social commentary than outright horror. It’s definitely not supposed to be taken literally.

8room

#9 Room A good-hearted film  with disturbing subject matter. It may be a little fairy tale-ish given the reality of victims of this sort of crime, but… I liked it for the most part.

thefamilyfang

#8 The Family Fang A very odd little indie low budget movie. I didn’t like it the first time I saw it, but 3 more viewings later… It’s humorous in a dark sort of way about children and the parents that they’re stuck with, recovering from a damaging childhood…Or something like that.

8anthropoid

#7 Anthropoid Just a claustrophobic account of the attempt to assassinate  Reinhard Heydrich (central architect of The Final Solution) by Czech agents in their Nazi occupied homeland during World War II. This really captures the feeling of what it probably feels like to engage in a real and necessary suicide mission (as opposed to the lip service of the film that made my Worst 10 list). It’s not a feel good film in any shape or form, but it is very well made and captures a tone that I think few movies  have.

6bfg

#6 The BFG Just liked it. Had a weak third act, but he title character is unique in hismuttered  warblings. It is a children’s book come to life, so I guess it doesn’t matter that everything doesn’t entirely make sense. Spielberg works as well with kids as any director as he does here with the adorable Ruby Barnhill as Sophie. Visually brilliant, there are some awesome set pieces from Spielberg’s depiction of London after midnight to the BFG’s home to the Dream Country past Giant Country. A great kids’ film as is the next one on my list…

4finding_dory

#5 Finding Dory Took me a while to see the follow up to Finding Nemo, but it was worth it. Pixar wins again. Doesn’t quite deliver the level of laughs, nor reduce one to quivering blubbers (as many other Pixar films do), but still a solid movie about finding one’s home.

5hailcaesar

#4 Hail, Caesar! One of the Coen Brothers’ lighter, flimsier films, but still a lot of fun. Some critics stated that this was proof that the Coens hate Hollywood, but would that it were so simple (trippingly), I think it proves the opposite showing quite a bit of nostalgia for the way films used to be made  strung together with Josh Brolin’s Christ-figure Eddie Mannix, washing away the sins of those under studio contract. Chuckled all the way through this.

3theniceguys

#3 The Nice Guys Laughed all the way through this one. Very much in tone with the director’s first film Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, but maybe a lot funnier. For me, anyway. Neat to see Kim Bassinger Russell Crowe  in another film, too (LA Confidential being that other one). I hope there’s a sequel.

2therevenant

#2 The Revenant Got DiCraprio his Oscar for portraying a guy having a really bad time of things and his quest for revenge. Ended how I thought it HAD to end to make this a truly great film in its own way. but, I remember flicks like The Outlaw Josie Wales made an entirely different statement on the question of revenge and they’re not wrong, either I guess. Tom Hardy probably  should have gotten some awards for his role, also, but all of the cast did a top notch job, surest sign of a good director.

1sonofsaul

#1 Son Of Saul did some things that I have not seen onscreen. It follows the central character Saul, a Hungarian Jew,  through roughly a day in his life as a Sonderkommando (see the movie for an explanation) in the the chaos of Auschwitz death camp run by the Nazis. The thing that really sets it apart from any film that I can remember is the way that it’s shot, remaining mostly in closeup after the opening shot where a soft spoken Géza Röhrig (portraying Saul) walks into focus from the blurred  forest landscape. It’s amazing the number of subtle emotions that Röhrig  gets across while keeping an extreme stoicism. The ending kept me thinking about the film for days afterwards. What’s strange, is that what I just said about the theme of revenge in The Revenant and the film’s statement of resolution was viable just as the opposite was true in other films such as The Outlaw Josey Wales… whereas here in Son Of Saul, the point of the film is entirely contradictory to my feelings on its ultimate statement if that makes any sense. i don’t think I can say anymore without talking about the ending, but in any case, even if I don’t agree with the point being made entirely, it’s still my #1 movie of 2016 (of the films from 2016 that I’ve seen thus far).

10 Cloverfield Lane * 13 Hours * A Hologram For The King * Anomalisa * Anthropoid * Arrival * Backtrack * Batman vs Superman: DOJ * The BFG * Bloodfather * Cafe Society * Captain America;Civil War * Captain Fantastic * Cell * Central Intelligence * Coming Through The Rye * The Confirmation * Criminal * Dad’s Army * The Darkness * Deadpool * Demolition * Doctor Strange * Don’t Breathe * The Driftless Area * Eye In The Sky * Everybody Wants Some!! * The Family Fang * Fathers & Daughters * The Fifth Wave * Finding Dory * Genius * The Girl On The Train * Green Room * Hail, Caesar! * Hell or High Water * The Huntsman: Winter’s War * I Am Not A Serial Killer * Into The Forest * Intruders * I Saw The Light * The Jungle Book * The Lobster * Midnight Special * Miss Peregrine’s Home For peculiar Children * Mojave * Money Monster * The Neon Demon * The Nice Guys * The Revenant * Room * The Shallows * Star Trek: Beyond * Star Wars:Rogue One * Son Of Saul * Suicide Squad * Sully * Synchronicity * Term Life * X-Men: Apocalypse * Zoolander #2

Crash! Landen’s Worst 10 Films of 2016

Posted in Lists with tags , , , , on January 1, 2017 by Crash! Landen

Hello!

Every  year I try to come up with the Best and Worst 10 films that I have seen in the past year, which has become increasingly more difficult given that I’m far more selective than I once was. Why watch a sequel to  a film that I didn’t like (Independence Day 2, for instance) or watch a film by a filmmaker that consistently grinds out cinematic vomit (I’ll regret that comment later…)? I’m finding, though, that even  with perspicacious selection skills, that it is far easier to find celluloid grunge than it is to discover something worthwhile. Making a film that resides in the lower tier of the quality scale, at least for me, appears to be the norm, not the exception. Having to come up with 5 great films was difficult. Making this list, the WORST list was… Well, I could have probably catalogued the Bottom 50 for the year easier than I came up with my Top 10. It almost sounds like I hate movies, doesn’t it, but that’s not true. I feel you just have to sift through an awful lot of crap to find the hidden gem. These are not one of those….

10central_intelligence

#10 Central Intelligence… For me, the best part of the film was the tagline on the poster. It’s a comedy, though, so what you find funny and what I find funny may be completely different. I thought it was dumbed down, sort of repulsive in some parts and was definitely was not in the target audience.

9the_darkness_poster

#9 The Darkness… Derivative of quite a few better horror flicks; mainly Poltergeist, predictable and just stupid. I thought it might be interesting given that Kevin Bacon was in it, but I was so wrong. SO, so wrong.

8intotheforest

#8 Into The Forest… Probably should be lower on my list. It’s like they started out to make one of those ‘breakdown of society/apocalyptic’ films and just lost interest, turning it into some sort of a rape survival with really questionable logic and a complete lack of conflict, but that’s just me…

7criminalposter

#7 Criminal…Apparently, one film about a guy being downloaded into another guy’s body was not enough for Ryan Reynolds (see 2015’s Self/Less). This was the weaker of the two to be kind. It’s amazing that the cast consists of Kevin Costner, Ryan Reynolds, Gal Gadot, Tommy Lee Jones and Gary Oldman (in his most abrasive role ever;he shouts the entire film… almost literally every sentence), but is as uninteresting a ‘thriller’ as I’ve seen in quite some time. Hopefully all of these people will be in good films again in the future.

6backtrack

#6 Backtrack… Technically a 2015 release, but didn’t open in my area until 2016, hence it being on the 2016 list. Adrien Brody has been in a few of these  SyFy Channel style ghost stories lately. All of them have been forgettable with twists taken from better more well know films or with twists that are so apparent from the start that you really can’t call them twists. The movie proves that Sam Neill just loves collecting a paycheck (as do we all).

5captainfantastic

#5 Captain Fantastic was not fantastic. I like Viggo, he takes on interesting roles. I guess you can give him that, the premise was interesting: a father raising 6 kids as multi-lingual, historian, math genius, scientist survivalists. Contradicts itself repeatedly, scolding society while ultimately engaging in the same.sins. Has a hypocritical moral arrogance about it that I just didn’t care for. It’s hard to get behind a film where the director is constantly putting matters of opinion and idealogical beliefs as fact, especially when some of those facts are so wrong that they could even be considered offensive.

3suicidesquad

#4 Suicide Squad… I’ve never really been a fan of the government controlled supervillain team from DC comics. It never made much sense to me logically, even if I liked the comics that they first appeared in together (Legends, the 1980s DC Comics  limited series). But the filmmakers maybe should have looked at that series to try to understand how to make a coherent story. If you combine Joel Schumacher Batman & Robin garish neon colored visuals with typical Frank Miller ‘grim and gritty’ comic book tone, I think this is what you would get. For me, not a good combination.  There is (mindless) action in this, so at there was something going on onscreen as opposed to Miller’s film The Spirit, where absolutely nothing happened for most of the running time. Much of the film is spent on introducing each and every one of its 79 characters to their own classic rock/oldie tune cranked up so loud that at times it’s difficult to hear any of the poorly written dialogue that the actors are delivering. The plot as far as I could tell, was the team being put together to stop one of its team members. No, really… I did manage to stay awake for the entire movie, which is more than I can say for #3 (and others) on my list.

3colonia

#3 The Colony… Could. Not. Get. Through. It. I tried on 2 occasions. Stopped at almost the same point about a half hour in.  Maybe there was an important story there, but I couldn’t get past the pretentious stilted acting(and I mean everyone onscreen… or Hermione as a stewardess. I think with a little more effort they might have made a good comedy out of this… I’ll never know.

2mojave

#2 Mojave… Another good example that it’s usually the director that makes the film, not the actors. Garrett Hedlund made an appearance in the Coen Brothers film Inside Llewyn Davis (with co-star Oscar Isaac playing the titular character). That’s one of my favorite movies of the last few years and I highly suggest seeing it if you have not. this might be Oscar Isaac’s worst film by some distance. Mark Wahlberg turns up in a cameo, bit why he wanted to make an appearance in this  is baffling as I doubt Isaac will be highlighting this in his acting resume. It’s completely forgettable and  there’s never any reason given to like either of the two main characters who are supposed to be carrying  a movie.

1everybodywantssome

#1 Everybody Wants Some!! Sigh… Did Linklater HAVE to soil a great Van Halen song (from Women & Children First) by using it as his title for his crap film? Based on his films I’m guessing he listened to a lot of Gary Numan and Pat Benatar… Never been a big fan of writer/director Richard Linklater, even if I’ve occasionally liked some of his movies. Way too pretentious for my tastes. It’s amazing that here he combines ‘obnoxious jock’ behavior with pretension, which makes for a whole host of characters, each defined by one cliched trait, that are extremely hard to listen to or more importantly hard to empathize with. If you can’t find anything likable about a character, even if that character is an anti-hero (or possibly a villain in a lead role), then it’s going to be hard to stay with that film. As with The Colony, I found that I would rather be spending my time with something a little more appealing, like slamming doors on my fingers. Maybe it’s just me, though. There are people that actually liked the film Dazed And Confused (to which this is the “spiritual sequel” to that one as the poster purports) which is unfathomable to me, but as film critic Mark Kermode commonly states “There are other opinions available.” Now to make the list for my Best 10 of 2016…

10 Cloverfield Lane * 13 Hours * A Hologram For The King * Anomalisa * Anthropoid * Arrival * Backtrack * Batman vs Superman: DOJ * The BFG * Bloodfather * Cafe Society * Captain America;Civil War * Captain Fantastic * Cell * Central Intelligence * Coming Through The Rye * The Confirmation * Criminal * Dad’s Army * The Darkness * Deadpool * Demolition * Doctor Strange * Don’t Breathe * The Driftless Area * Eye In The Sky * Everybody Wants Some!! * The Family Fang * Fathers & Daughters * The Fifth Wave * Finding Dory * Genius * The Girl On The Train * Green Room * Hail, Caesar! * Hell or High Water * The Huntsman: Winter’s War * I Am Not A Serial Killer * Into The Forest * Intruders * I Saw The Light * The Jungle Book * The Lobster * Midnight Special * Miss Peregrine’s Home For peculiar Children * Mojave * Money Monster * The Neon Demon * The Nice Guys * The Revenant * Room * The Shallows * Star Trek: Beyond * Star Wars:Rogue One * Son Of Saul * Suicide Squad * Sully * Synchronicity * Term Life * X-Men: Apocalypse * Zoolander #2

Crash! Landen’s Best 10 Films of 2015

Posted in A Few Old, Short Words, Lists with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 2, 2016 by Crash! Landen

As always, these are the top 10 films that I’ve seen from 2015. They are not necessarily my favorites as much as those that I think were the best made and most successful at what they were trying to do. The release date thing… I only recognize the release date in my area. If it was made in 2014, but didn’t make it to theaters/streaming services/DVD releases until 2015, then I consider it a 2015 film. I have not seen everything, of course. Among films that I have not seen are Ridley Scott’s The Martian or Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight (which should be rectified shortly). So the list may change when I get around to it. I don’t think this was a great year at the movies, but it wasn’t difficult to come up with 10 that I liked. Heeere they are.

ANtman

10. Antman The last couple of spots are always the hardest to fill since there are a number of movies that I think could go here. Number 10 was between this and Ex Machina. Both are fairly predictable and I think Ex Machina should have been less so. Antman was far more enjoyable, though, so I gave it the tenth spot, if only to prove that I don’t hate every Marvel movie.

ExMAchina

If you haven’t seen Ex Machina, though, it’s worth seeing (as is Alicia Vikander in the film… did that sound creepy?).

itFollows

9. It Follows This was a low budget (slightly subversive) horror flick with something going on right below the surface and is definitely best if you know nothing about it (I had not seen the trailer). Starts off a little shaky and somewhere towards the end it starts to unravel a little, but it collects itself with the final shot. It has a fairly original premise (which I won’t give away) and was a film that I didn’t really know where the story was going. I applaud the effort even if I may or may not have had to sleep with the light on  for DAYS after seeing it.

spectre

8. Spectre Daniel Craig’s last outing as 007(?) maybe didn’t live up to Casino Royal or Skyfall, but it was still pretty good. Like Skyfall, though, you can’t really think about the details, you just have to go with it.

MapsToTheStars

7. Maps To The Stars David Cronenberg’s films can be either  be memorably brilliant or outrageously bad; ‘Maps’ falls on the better end of the quality spectrum being essentially a satire about some of the Hollywood populace. Mia Wasikowska is great in everything (as she was in Crimson Peak which didn’t make the cut). She’s as quietly warped as Julianne Moore’s character is outwardly off-balance in the story and the pay off between the two towards the end is fairly shocking. Maps made me laugh pretty consistently in a low key sort of way. It’s typical Icy Croneberg.

TheWalk

6. The Walk Not in the same ballpark in quality and not nearly as inspirational as the 2008 documentary ‘Man On Wire’ about the same subject matter, but still a great film. It’s one of the few occasions where I would say that if you did not see the film in IMAX 3D, then it probably… no definitely will not have the same impact. I would hope this at least wins some FX awards.

MAdMAx

5. Mad Max: Fury Road No Mel, but George Miller’s still running the show, so I knew there wouldn’t be a letdown.  The funny thing is that Miller probably could have just dropped Max altogether, since the film was more about Furiosa than Max, but probably for me, the best action flick of the year. The first meeting between Furiosa and Max (chained to and carrying one of the ‘Warboys’) was as entertaining as any of the high octane car chases. I would like to see the storyboards on that one.

TheGift

4. The Gift This one came out of nowhere. I’ve always thought Jason Bateman was better than he gets credit for. I think I saw this right after I had seen ‘Bad Words’ (2013), where Bateman played a misanthropic 40 year old spelling bee contestant (which I highly recommend). That one was a comedy, where Bateman has made his career. The Gift is definitely not a comedy  and it’s another I can’t say too much (if anything) without spoiling it. It has kind of a M. Night Shamalamadingdong movie twist, but it’s not one where there is a game changing moment. You just think you’re watching one film and it ends up in a completely different place and point of view. And it’s kind of a nasty little tale when you get down to it with a creepy ending.

Shaun

3. Shaun The Sheep Yes, the first of two animated films on my list. Everything that I have ever seen by Aardman, a company  that makes very clever stop motion animated films and shorts, has been nothing short of brilliant. They are as good at what they do as Pixar is at what they do and they are no stranger to my Top 10 lists. ‘Shaun’ is a complete pantomime. There is no dialogue in the entire film, it’s the ultimate example of Hitchcock’s “Show the audience, don’t tell the audience” theory in action. There seems to be literally a sight gag/joke every 2 seconds of the film.

AGirlWalksHome

2. A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night Billed (at least by British Film Critic Mark Kermode) as the first black and white Iranian Vampire Western (filmed in America), you would probably think ‘A Girl’ sounds like a horrible idea of a film. In that case you would be wrong. A film is lucky to create a single image or scene that is worth remembering; this movie has several of those. Arash Marandi is both cool and shleppy at the same time, just listlessly matriculating his way through life. Sheila Vand is absolutely mesmerizing. They both have individual scenes that are not only brilliant, but seem destined to be iconic, Together they have several ‘Meet Cutes’ /scenes of the kind that may stay with me until I die, like the montage in the museum from ‘Ferris Beuhller’s Day Off’ that ends with Cameron staring into the painting ‘Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte’ by Georges Seurat with the Smiths’  (covered by The Dream Academy, I think) “Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want”  playing in the background… PAuse to admire that last sentence…. Aaannnd: Continue… Definitely worth seeing if you have the patience for subtitles.

And with the top film, I have to note that I found it odd that for the first time ever, my top film is the same as that of the aforementioned Mark Kermode. I’m a regular listener of ‘Wittertainment’ (Hello to Jason Isaacs), not only because it’s a show about films (and Kermode’s film reviews), but contributor Kermode and host Simon Mayo are genuinely enjoyable to listen to… But, I almost never agree with him on just about every movie that gets a run down on their show, so it was a little surprising to me that I not only agreed with him on the TOP Film of 2015, but the Top Two films. Not saying that legitimizes my opinion in any way (it might do the opposite actually, given that Kermode clings to the belief that the Greatest Film of All Time is The Excorcist). But, anyway, my #1 of 2015 is another animated flick:

 

InsideOut

#1 Inside Out I never, ever, EVER thought that I would like this film enough to make it #1, but with a dearth of ‘Great Films’ this year (or maybe I just haven’t seen ’em yet), Pixar has yet again delivered a story that I just cannot deny my top spot to. I don’t think it’s Pixar’s best effort by any stretch, but it’s still really good. Pixar seems to have a special talent for illustrating in a very simple (yet ingenious) way moments of emotional resonance or memories (as in what the title dish tastes like to the critic in Ratatouille or the depiction of Carl’s memories of his deceased wife in 2009’s Up. Hell, I need to stop typing about it, I might start blubbering right now. They have that effect on you if you actually involve yourself with their films.

I have to admit that coming into the film I did not want to like it largely because I had heard critics such as Mark Kermode going on and on about it (and right now, my words of going  into a film without being predisposed to a particular opinion before you actually see the film are AGAIN coming back on me as they did in that last post). When I did finally see it, I thought it was typical Pixar; clear story, a few chuckles, some great ideas, amazing visuals, etc… Yawn… I liked it, but I did not understand the ‘rave’ reviews… Until Bing Bong. Once Bing Bong made an appearance everything changed and strangely the film seemed to step up from an enjoyable film to a classic one. And of course, they provided at least one more moment where I was blubbering over a cartoon character… BASTARDS! And as clever as the film was, I think it reached another height with the credits (which I won’t spoil for anyone).

And there it is. I know….”NO STAR WARS?! Have you SEEN it yet?” Yep. Seen it. Girl empowerment film. Looked great.”But it had light sabres! And stormtroo–!” Yep. Got it. Not on my list. “But–!” Not on my Worst List either. That’s good, right? Anyway…

My annual lists may change in the near future if I see something better (or worse) and remember to update my lists. Won’t change to add The Force Awakens, though. “Wha—?! What’s WRONG with you?! It’s STAR Wa—!” Thanks for reading.

Crash! Landen’s Worst 10 Films of 2015

Posted in A Few Old, Short Words, Lists with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 1, 2016 by Crash! Landen

Coff! Kaff! Hack! Koff! It’s been a while… And boy is this blog dusty… SO dusty in fact it’s not working properly. I’ll see what I can do, but if it’s beyond repair, then it’s beyond repair…

Okay, Im back! Seems to be working a little better after making some space. The sign over the door still isn’t working, but I’ll get to that.

I saw a lot of CRAP this past year. I did my best to avoid the biggest bombs, but finding actual “good” movies was a supremely difficult task for me this year, which is why I’m first starting with my annual list of celluoid radioactive waste. This is the absolute bottom of the barrel when it comes to my cinematic viewing choices. Keep in my mind, these are my opinions so I cannot be wrong. It’s my list. The only criteria I have is that I have seen the film* and that I was so aggravated by it that I felt the need to put the film in question onto this list. So without further adieu… Here is my look back at 2015’s cinematic nether-regions (at least with the films that I’ve seen. There are probably far worse films, but like I said; I avoided them for the most part*).

avengers-Age-of-Ultron-poster

10. Avengers: Age Of Ultron “What?! A Marvel film on the list?! What?!” Yes! I’l admit I laughed throughout, but the humor was largely there to attempt to cover up all of the film’s fallacies. I’ll admit when it comes to subject matter that has been engrained as part of my childhood that I may not be the most objective of viewers, but, I do try to be. I try not to be that fan that overreacts to any detail leaked online 2 years before the film’s release. I remember when pictures of Heath Ledger were ‘leaked’ and the nerd populace had a collective stroke at the outrage that Christopher Nolan was perpetrating upon them, only to crown the director as a genius auteur and the actor’s performance as award-worthy after the film was released. I was not one of those people. When James Spader was announced as Ultron, one of my all time favorite Avengers villains, I gave it a chance. I have never cared for the actor, but I had not yet seen the film. Of course I was disappointed, though (hence the #10 spot). Again, having read various comics featuring Ultron growing up, I had a perception of how the character should be like in general. What I remembered was Ultron as a raving psychotic machine who ended EVERY sentence with an exclamation point. Spader plays a lackluster lounge singer that specializes in boring the audience with monologues and the WORST part.. and really, I should have known this from the casting of Spader (but, again, I gave it a chance until actually seeing it), but just as with Zack Snyder’s version of Watchman’s Dr. Manhattan, this director chose to not give the villainous automaton a modulated voice. Sounds like a stupid criticism, right(?), but if you don’t get the villain right, first and foremost, in a superhero/action flick then you’re not going to get the movie right. That’s not the only misstep for the film, though. Besides the mis-castings (there were others) the storyline was tedious and never mounted any suspense. Being a nerd, I was also annoyed at some of the things that a nerd would be annoyed at, like the whole hammer lifting gag and SUDDEN SPOILER ALERT having the VISION being the one that can also lift the Mjolnir. Yes, I was out of my mind on that one and not just because they gave no reason as to why the Vison, an android, is worthy other than he lifts the hammer. So he (it) is more worthy than Captain America (which makes me wonder why Steve Rogers would not be more worthy than Thor himself since they have portrayed him as an arrogant buffoon in all of the Marvel films). Anyway… Not, the worst film I’ve ever seen, but not deserving of making 18 billion dollars on its first weekend (which is what it made, right?).

Wyrmwood_A4_Poster

9. Wyrmwood Not much to say. I hate putting low/no budget films on my ‘Worst’ lists, but this movie was deserving. It was as obnoxious as it was poorly written, but I guess I shouldn’t expect much from a film about zombies and a girl that develops telekinetic zombie controlling powers from an apocalyptic mad scientist.

BKH_31_5_Promo_4C_3F.indd

8. Blackhat Couldn’t get through it. Wasn’t this Michael Mann. He films are generally far too angstily (is that a word?) melodramatic for my tastes. Chris Hemsworth playing a hacker even more arrogantly than he plays Thor probably doesn’t help matters, but the director does nothing to make anyone care about any of the proceedings (anyone meaning me). The film reminds me of that turd from the 90s Hackers, starring Johnny Lee Miller and Angelina Jolie. Jolie was insanely hot in that film. Did that slip out? Anyway… The film just bored the hell out of me and was that sort of  film where the filmmakers approach real world technology like they’re making a 1950s B-movie.

paper-towns-movie-poster-1024x768

7. Paper Towns Oh God. This one should probably be lower on the list. I can’t really put this one into words other than saying that the characters were so annoying that I needed to either punch them all in the face or have some punch me in the face. Repeatedly. It’s a film where the film builds Cara Delavigne’s character up into a legendary (yet irritating) figure and in the denouement tell you, the viewer, that it’s WRONG to think of someone that way. “SO wrong. Noone’s mythic. We’re all the same looking to figure things out for ourselves.” BASH!… And I couldn’t get through most of it. Probably not the target audience, anyway…

jurassic-world-poster05

6. Jurassic World In the original Jurassic Park I learned that a T-Rex can run up to 35 mph. In Jurassic World I learned that Bryce Howard can outrun a T-Rex… In high heels. And apparently after being set up as an idiot when it comes to “the great outdoors”, she becomes a din-expert and probably saw the original film, like the rest of us since she just came up with this idea with a flare and used it in exactly the same way as Sam Neil used it. Is that meta? I hate meta. This movie also spent WAY too much time reminding everyone what a great flick that original Spielberg film was, instead of trying to make a great film. I KNOW! ” But, Crash!, this made 3 zillion dollars in its opening weekend! How do explain that?” People are idiots! That’s how I explain it! PLEASE NOTE: I was there in the theater on the film’s opening night. Draw your own conclusions on that one.

GrizzlyMazePoster

5. The Grizzly Maze Wow. Let’s look at the cast… Thomas Jane. Scott Glenn.Adam Beach. All really great actors. The lovely and talented Piper Perabo. I’ll watch her in just about anything. And, uh… Jame s Marsden… Um, yeah, well… But how the hell did ALL of these actors get roped into this pile of Grizzly poop? Just a horribly written film that makes those exploitational low budget horror films (like Grizzly) look like Oscar— nay— legitimate films.

electric-796x1024

4. Electric Slide Looked cool. Shot well. All style, no substance. Skipped over story to get to ‘the cool’.

Cop-Car-poster-600x889

3. Cop Car Kevin Bacon’s worst film where he plays a murderous sheriff that has his police vehicle stolen by two potty mouthed kids played by two horrible child actors… I have to remind myself of what I always say about actors (especially child actors)… Always blame the director (and editor), because they’re they ones that are really responsible for an actor’s performance. Or to blame, as is the case here.

keanu-reeves-lorenza-izzo-ana-de-armas-knock-knock-poster-04

2. Knock Knock Knew nothing about this one other than it starred Keanu Reeves. Most critics will decry Reeves wooden acting style, but he generally comes off as a fairly likable dude onscreen and that can go a long way, even if his films are never that good (with some exceptions). But, I gave this one a shot… Then, the credits rolled and the Lion’s Gate logo appeared. Aw, crap! Then Eli Roth’s name appeared as director. F*ck. Do I need to say more? He wrote it, too. I KNOW. I know. I’m contradicting what I said earlier about giving a film  a shot until it actually unfolds before me. But… It’s Eli Roth… I tried. I really did try. I might’ve made it a half hour in until I could no longer tolerate the lead character’s stupidity necessary for an Eli Roth film to work… Did I say that? None of his films work. Not really… Anyway… The acting was horrible (maybe Reeves’ worst acting ever and remember; I like Keanu), the characters abrasive, the film goes exactly where you think it will. And that it’s shot in one house for the entire film doesn’t help it from looking televisual. Just another spiteful, cynical little film made by a guy blatantly ripping off the films that he admires while not fully understanding why those (better-made) films work. Maybe, he’ll make a ‘good’ film one day, but I doubt it.

fantastic-four-poster-2015

1.  Fant4stic* Okay, I’m going to contradict myself again. I’ve talked about being open to a film until I’ve actually seen it, from the tenth spot all the way down to my number two (which is what this film inspires every time I think about it… Number Two), but as with the Avengers, the source material means too much to me to be objective. And when I say ‘source material’, I don’t mean the current offering from Marvel comics. I discovered Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in a big box owned by my babysitter (which is a fairly long time ago in people years) and that was probably why I have been a lifelong comics collector. That initial exposure to Stan and Jack gave way to the likes of Roy Thomas, Rich Buckler, Joe Sinnott and Big Bad John Byrne doing their stints on the Fantastic Four… So, I almost feel like one of those Harry Potter fans feel like when the film they’re watching isn’t following every letter that was written by the author… Almost… I can certainly understand their ire. But, I digress, what am I trying to say? Josh Trank, after his success with Chronicle, an extremely overrated film (at least to me), was set to the task of resetting the Fantastic Four franchise. He does so, by thumbing his nose… no, he just gave the middle finger to longtime fans with a legion of changes to the story and the characters to where the film looks more like an attempt at yet another superhero team than an actual re-imangining of the FF. That might’ve worked if it were, but it is not. It’s the Fantastic Four. And it’s not a good sign when all during the filming, there are stories, legitimate or not, of Trank pitching tantrums and nearly coming to blows with his actors and producers and even less of a good sign when he’s tweeting how bad the film is and how it might’ve wound up had he gotten his way (he also quit/got fired from  helming one of the next Star Wars films because of Fan4stic… allegedly). Then there’s the less than 10% rating on Rottentomatoes.com… which brings me to my second bit of hypocrisy involving Fant4stic: I’ve only seen the trailer…. …. …. …. …. …. Yup. Have not seen it, nor will I. The trailer alone was enough for me to put it in the top … er, bottom spot. And yes, I did see Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It didn’t make it onto the list.

I will post my Best of 2015 shortly (meaning maybe tomorrow).

Crash! Landen’s Best 10 Films Of 2013

Posted in A Few Old, Short Words, Lists with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 1, 2014 by Crash! Landen

I haven’t see all of the big films of 2013… Movies like ‘Twelve Years A Slave’ or ‘American Hustle’ could very well make it onto the list. I just have to see them first. There are a few films that almost made it into my top 10 like ‘Mud’ (the indie film starring Matthew McConaughey that faltered slightly in the last 10 minutes) or  ‘The Way, Way Back’ (a light comedy that won me over when I had every intention of hating it). Overall, the list was a pretty easy one to make this year from my pool of watched films.. I didn’t feel like there was an abundance of great films out there, anyway, being somewhat of a ‘down’ year as far as quality was concerned. But, here’s my list that I came up with. Most have links to a review of each film, save for a few.

Elysium01

10) Elysium Neill Blomkamp’s second film; another successful science fiction film that’s probably a little more of a pure ‘popcorn’ movie than his previous outing.

the-great-gatsby-poster-1

9) The Great Gatsby I think it was the last line or two of the film that won me over, but I’m not sure. I think I wanted to hate this one, but it turned out to be better than I thought it would be.

TheLoneRanger45

8) The Lone Ranger  I AM sure of what won me over with this one: the William Tell Overture. Should have done better at the box office than it did. i blame the trailers and marketing.

only-god-forgives-poster-gosling-595x907

7) Only God Forgives Not quite as good as Refn’s ‘Drive’, but still a great film. Much like ‘Drive’, you’ll probably either love this or despise it. Scenes of bloody violence, disembowelments and the severing of limbs are followed up with strange Asian Karaoke. Even more stripped down to its bare bones than his previous film, this one can only be described as abstract; any more so and he would have to just flash color blotches onscreen without actors. The criminal underworld seems to be Refn’s playground of choice, but there is a purpose.. An underlying morality.  I was not a fan of Ryan Gosling until ‘Drive’, but it appears that he takes more chances in the roles he chooses than any other actor out there at the moment.

CaptainPhillips1

6) Captain Phillips A great film where the best performance in the film comes as a bit of a surprise.

TheHobbit

5) The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug I would consider it a bit of a letdown, yet it still makes my top 5.

Gravity-2013-Movie-Poster

4) Gravity The visuals, at least how I saw them – in IMAX 3D, made up for  astory that borrowed a lot from more serious science fiction (and historical) films.

SAVINGMRBANKSPoster

3) Saving Mr. Banks A great film about two artists that got past childhood trauma through their art I think.

3135_F_PLACEBEYOND THE PINES 70x100 op 50%  2.indd

2) The Place Beyond The Pines A movie that may have been a little predictable, but was ambitious in what it was trying to say. It was interesting how the baton was passed early on in the film between two of the bigger players in the story 9and it’s one of those poetically epic stories). I think this is easily the best film that Bradley Cooper has been a part of (at least of the ones that I’ve seen). All of the characters  in the story are flawed in some way. There are some things that you know are coming, but are so well executed that it was hard not to feel uneasy or downright uncomfortable watching how some of the events unfold (as one motorcycle chase in particular). I think it was better the second time I viewed it.

PacificRimPosterIMAXSmall

1) Pacific Rim I know what you’re thinking… “What? Giant robots and monsters hitting one another? that’s your movie of the year? Yes. Yes, it is. The detailing of this film is just extraordinary. You can tell Guillermo Del Toro was really enjoying  himself making this movie. As I’ve said before, I don’t know how much this film cost, but it looked like it cost a billion dollars and unlike a lot of other big budget FX films, every dollar appeared to be onscreen. Has some lulls in the middle, but this is by far the best film of its kind. you know, the kind of film that features giant robots hitting giant monsters. i loved every single frickin’ minute of it. Should have been the biggest box office film of the year, but sometimes people like to watch crap instead of good films that they’re unfamiliar with… But that’s just one man’s opinion.

Happy New Year, Folks!

Crash! Landen’s Worst 10 Movies Of 2013

Posted in A Few Old, Short Words, Lists with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 1, 2014 by Crash! Landen

It’s time for me revisit the movies of 2013, no matter how much I don not want to do that. I always come up with 2 lists at the end of the year, one for the Best Films of the year and this one, the one reserved for the movies that drained more life out of me than any others. The last few years, I  have been avoiding the ones that I KNEW were going to be awful or at least those that I knew that I was going to be less than inclined to like. This year I purposely avoided films like ‘Kick Ass 2’, ‘Texas Chainsaw 3D’, ‘Grown Ups 2’ or anything featuring Mark Kermode’s arch-nemesis: Danny Dyer. I didn’t like… no hated…  the original films that these movies were spawned from so there was no reason to believe that there would be anything other than diminishing returns.  I also avoided movies such as the Google sponsored ‘The Internship’2’, ‘Movie 43’ or anything with Michael Cera in it. I don’t think you have to actually eat a live cockroach to know that it’s not going to be appealing. If you liked any of those that I mentioned, I’ll just have to take your word for it. I’m not taking a bite.

Lucky for me, though, there was more than enough films out there that I was willing to take a chance on that either fooled me or helped to realize my worst fears.

PRG_31_5_Promo_4C_4F.indd

Bumped) The Purge A  movie with a proposterous premise where the writer had no idea what he/she was trying to say and ends up promoting violence as the best form of self defense. Then there’s the precocious goth genius that understands robotics, but not life but is still smarter and more moral than his parents… And then there is the homeless man with the golden heart that disappears into the 2 story house for two thirds of the film until the writer calls for the ‘plot twist’. I almost wanted to slip The Mortal Instruments onto my list at #10, but the more Lion’s Gate films on the list, the merrier. (And I’ve already bumped this one, so I guess it didn’t quite mke my top 10, either.)

NYC Underground

10)NYC Underground I don’t like to pick on the ‘little guy’, but this film (that I swear that I accidentally watched… I SWEAR…) deserved to be here. The stiff, hambone ‘actors’  are only outdone by the abrasive low end hip hop soundtrack and the fan fic level script.

kinopoisk.ru

9)Violet & Daisy One of those where you can’t trust the release date. Filmed years ago, was finally released probably to make a buck off of the death of James Gandolfini (he’s in it). Has the same sort of problems that ‘Kick Ass’ had. On one hand it wants to create a Hello Kitty World of Mafia Hit-girl cartoon characters that are standing in for Travolta and Jackson in Pulp Fiction and then asks the viewer to take it more seriously than the director/writer has for 90% of the film. Made by an apparent Tarantino sycophant that loves the lyrics, but doesn’t understand what the song means… If that makes any sense.

Stuck-in-Love-Poster

8)Stuck in Love  (One of those movies that has people in it that I really like… And I looooooove Jennifer Connelly… but presents a bland story filled with so many abhorrent players that it made it nigh impossible to watch without getting angry and giving me Extreme Rolling Eyes Syndrome.  The characters are pretentious, if not just downright annoying with their smarmy praise for one another’s writings. The namedropping of authors was also abominable. It used to be Kerouac that was the torch to be carried by pretentious self aggrandizing pseudo intellectuals. Now it appears to be Vonnegut. On a side note I just realized that Lily Collins, who plays the most obnoxiously self important person in the film was also in The Mortal Instruments, another crap film that narrowly missed my list.

BLACK-ROCK-poster

7)Black Rock Can stories that offer up would be rapists and murderers still be chick flicks? This movie answers that question.

Um

6) Generation Um (SPOILERS ALERT! IF YOU DON’T WANT THIS FILM SPOILED, READ NO FURTHER). Redbox has become something like a game of Russian Roulette. I knew nothing about this one; I didn’t even read the synopsis. I do that sometimes, because I figure the less I know about a film, the better. No preconceptions. It’s a good thing, too, since this one’s synopsis gave away the film’s big twist. Too bad the twist was that Reeves plays a pimp and that the two women pondering their places in the universe in navel gazing fashion are streetwalkers. And if I say my next joke, I’m going to get in a lot of trouble, so I’ll move on…

Amour-poster

So sweet… He suffocates her with a pillow.

5) Amour As soon as I saw Michael Hanake’s name appear in the opening credits, I worked out how the entire film. And here is another SPOILER ALERT… I’M SPOILING THIS ONE AS A SERVICE TO MANKIND. This, I think, won the Best Foreign Film category (or whatever PC name they call it now) at the Academy Awards last year. What? Why is it on my list for this year? Because it only saw a wide release here in the US  in 2013. They have their rules. I have mine. Anyway, I’ve never liked any of Hanake’s films that I have had the misfortune to come across. They’re cynical, humorless and generally have a shock moment or two that I always see coming a mile away. With what I knew about this film (an elderly woman falls ill and her husband is forced to take care of her), I figured the ‘Love’ title was going to mean that at some point there would be a mercy killing by the husband. The story is framed by Hanake as if there are times when murder is a wonderful release. Sorry, Michael Hanake. You are an idiot, not the genius artiste that you probably think you are. I don’t share your worldview. Please stop making pretentious crap films. Not saying, this wasn’t professionally made or acted, but you make movies that clearly have a disdain for the audience watching them. No one goes to the movies to watch joyless geek shows. Or maybe I should just become more adept at avoiding them.

hansel-gretel-poster

4)Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters Only got about a half hour in before I realized that the filmmakers and actors were not even going to ACT like they were giving even a half-arsed effort. As brain dead as studio films come… Probably was sold as one of those high concept pitches, but no one had any ideas to support the one note concept. I assume most of the crew working on this were hacks, since I know some of them worked on my choice for my #1 film.

ManOfSteel

3) Man Of Steel I cannot write about this one without getting extremely upset other than to say that Superman does not kill people. If you write a story with Superman killing people then you should not be writing Superman. It’s like if you wrote Kermit the Frog as a rapist. If you need the reason why, then it can never be explained to you because you are an idiot and probably an A-hole. Or you’re Zack Snyder.

twixt-movie-poster

2) Twixt Another film released from Limbo that should never have been released. it probably would have been a better idea for everyone involved to have just burned all of the evidence of it ever existing. The crazy thing about this one (and why  a low budget stinker like this is so high on my list) is that the director of this film is one Francis Ford Coppola. You know, that guy that directed those Godfather movies… And Appocalypse Now… granted I think everything he’s ever done is grossly overrated other than Godfather II, but still. Some people (not including me) think the Godfather is the greatest film of all time. That he could have directed a film ABOUT A WRITER no less, that is this lifeless… This horrible… This low budget… This… Well, I can’t fathom it. But, the film does feature a weird onscreen reunion of sorts of Val Kilmer and his ex-wife Joanne Whalley. Doesn’t save the movie by any means, though.

atlantic-rim-poster

1) Atlantic Rim a.k.a. Attack from Beneath As I just mentioned, I usually do not like to put lower budget films  on my list this high. It’s the big studio failures that should be at the top.. or bottom… of the heap of the Worst… But, this one earns every bad thing said about it. It just might be the worst film that I’ve ever seen that was actually packaged and sold SOMEWHERE. It is almost impossible to watch, stringing loosely related ‘plot lines’ incomprehensibly placed together in random order. It has a ‘knock off’ script (if you want to call it that since it may never have been fully written as one), daring to call itself a ‘mockumentary’ when it is nothing more than a rip off money grab. The company (The Asylum) that produced this absolute turd has a history of knocking off blockbusters before they are released in hopes of tricking unaware (and stupid) people into renting/buying their film thinking that it’s the actual big budgeted film. The actors, some of them with well known faces even,  are atrocious; nay embarrassingly horrid. The sour film crew that shot this film  would be best served if it was said that they “didn’t even try”, but that would probably be a false statement. This just might be their best effort. Even by low budget standards this is a reeking mess… And if ever there was a time when my objectivity is questioned when it comes to reviewing a film, then look no further than this one.  It was filmed here in Pensacola and yes… I am in it.

Crash! Landen’s Top 10 Films of 2012

Posted in A Few Old, Short Words, Lists with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 1, 2013 by Crash! Landen

I didn’t see all of the films that I wanted to see in 2012, but I saw just about all of the ‘big ones’. The only one I can think of that I wanted to see  (and didn’t) was the ‘Les Miserables’ film… you know, the musical… Maybe I’ll see it before it leaves theaters. There are still many of the smaller films that I haven’t seen. My 2012 list will reflect that.

Some 2012 movies that didn’t quite make the list: Seeking A Friend For The End Of the World (the happiest of the recent barrage of apocalyptical films), Safety Not Guaranteed (one of those navel gazing, quirky indie dramedies), The Hunger Games (the better than I thought it would be Battle Royale  ripoff) and John Carter (of Mars…a big movie that wasn’t the box office success that maybe it should have been).

avengersposter

(Bumped) The Avengers (Or more accurately: Marvel’s The Avengers… Worst title ever… They added the ‘Marvel’s’ because they couldn’t get the rights to the name from the British television show/movie. That’s appropriate since I’m betting the TV show at least influenced the naming of the comic book in the first place. Why they didn’t just name it ‘The Mighty Avengers’ probably was along the same stupid decision making as not adding the (of Mars) to John Carter. Anyway, despite not being a fan of Joss Whedon, Marvel’s The Avengers managed to entertain. This was yet another Marvel film that appeared to be written while they were filming. In fact, they camouflaged a wet paper flimsy plot with large doses of humor and lots of shiny FX. It was eager to please audiences and it did in a big way. After revising my list for 2012, it slipped out of the Top 10. Still a lot of fun, though. Remember, these aren’t my favorites, but a list of the films that are the ‘best’. Two different things entirely.)

TheBourneLegacy

(Bumped… Was on my Top 10 for a few hours. Then, I saw Dredd.)

The Bourne Legacy (Not a reboot, but somewhat of a passing of the torch for the franchise. I’m betting Jason Bourne  somehow ends up in the sixth installment, if not in the next, but this indicated that the series will be fine without him. I didn’t care for the sci-fi aspect introduced into the ‘canon’, but I’m warming up to it.

TheMAster

The Master (I’m a huge fan of Paul Thomas Anderson, so it’s probably surprising to some that I hated ‘There Will Be Blood’, which to me was a pointless film about an unlikable person that does wrong from beginning to end. I’ve liked everything else that I’ve seen from the director including this.  The Master is a little heavy on running time and Anderson uses symbolism like a blunt force tool, but this is a great movie. I’m going to watch it again, but I don’t think it will quite make my Top 10. If you’ve seen this, tell me if you can’t break the story’s theme down to a man who needs to get laid… Joaquin Pheonix really is a great actor.).

argo

Argo (Ben Affleck continues to prove he ‘s a better director than actor. He’s 3 for 3 now in my view. Argo is not quite as historically accurate as it purports to be, and they sidestep/ignore reality in order to be kind to Jimmy Carter, but Affleck manages to create high tension and make this a well told story. He maximizes suspense, but I have to wonder if maybe the hostage situation that was going on in Iran simultaneously that this group of bureaucrats manages to avoid… by abandoning Americans to look out for themselves… might have been glossed over too much. This was sort of like that movie La Vie En Rose, where the French manage to skip over World War II in a biography about a French singer that lived through that. Argo is still a great film, though, even if it lacks a little in historical honesty.)

looper

(Bumped) Looper (Although imperfect, this was an extremely entertaining sci-fi morality tale of sorts. If you stop and think about it too much it unravels to a large degree, so it’s a good idea just to go along with it. Bruce Willis’ character even says so much about midway into the film:”It doesn’t matter!” The movie does have a point and makes the most of its easily recognized symbolic elements to make that point. This isn’t the best  Bruce Willis time travel flick IMHO, but it’s still a a really good one.

Arbitrage

10) Arbitrage (I’ve never been a huge Richard Gere fan, but if he ever has a chance to win an Academy Award, it’s probably going to be with this movie. I usually have trouble with films that focus on a villain because they usually have nothing to say. Not so here, and really the character is not a villain so much as someone who is mightily flawed, makes some poor decisions, tries to justify in his own mind those poor decisions and ultimately  tries to avoid responsibility for his mistakes. Is that a villain?  Whatever the case, he manages to make the character likable and even a little sympathetic maybe. Hard thing to do.)

lesmisposter

9) Les Miserables (An apropos title if there ever was one. They sure were miserable. So miserable they went around singing about it and it really wasn’t all that bad. And misery has never looked as stunningly beautiful as it does here. I hope the cinematographer won some awards for this.)

Snow-White-And-The-Huntsman-Poster

8) Snow White And The Huntsman (Probably the biggest surprise on my list. It’s better  than it has a right to be for a big budget mainstream film about a well known fairy tale. It is a beautiful looking film as it should be given its nearly 200 million dollar budget. I’m DEFINITELY not a fan of those Twiglet films, but Kristen Stewart continues to prove that she’s a decent actress if you can get past the anti-Twiglet bias. She plays the fairest one of them all, and has to compete with a bevy of fair beauties in this, with Charlize Theron playing the Evil Queen antagonist. And Chris Hemsworth gives a better account of himself  as the Huntsman than he does as Thor, god of thunder (that’s my opinion, anyway). This story could have easily gone chick flick, but thankfully has more broad (no pun intended) appeal than that.)

prometheus0

7) Prometheus (Ridley Scott’s return to the genre that put him on the major film director map is flawed certainly, but in my mind was worth the long wait. Entertained while doing what sci fi does best: poses questions.)

DarkKnightRises Poster

6) The Dark Knight Rises (Sadly, the end of the series… supposedly.. for director Christopher Nolan and company, but a completion of a great trilogy. Very few ‘superhero’ films end up being about anything other than FX and fantasy, but Nolan managed to take Batman into the realm of real films. None of these are great superhero films, they’re just great films. Both sequels have built on the foundation of the original, but have what amounts to stand alone stories. I will acknowledge that TDKR is probably the least of the three, but is still satisfying as Nolan’s final chapter. I think you could do a film study class on each of these as to what works on film and the integration of all of the various parts of filmmaking that add up to the whole. Every part added another layer in how the story was approached, from the cinematography to the acting to the soundtrack. The next Bat-director will have big shoes to fill.)

Pirates

5) The Pirates! BAnd Of Misfits (Not on par with some of Aardman’s other work like Chicken Run, but still a fantastic animated feature. It takes repeated viewings to catch all of the jokes because Aardman really cares about the details. The backgrounds can sometimes be even more entertaining than what’s going on in front of the camera. Everyone always talks about the genius of Pixar, but pound for pound, Aardman matches up rather well. Hugh Grant is at the top of his game supplying the voice for the Pirate Captain. I would have to make note of the entire cast if I wanted to highlight the stand out performances. Just a great film that maybe deserved a little more recognition).

TheHobbit

4) The Hobbit Impressive from start to finish, even if it is a little baffling why Jackson feels the need to stretch the book’s material into three films. You don’t get the idea that it’s for profit’s sake, though, Jackson seems genuine about the art side of it. What’s onscreen backs that up. This was my first IMAX film in 3D and it was worth the money spent.)

BereniceMarlohe-SkyfallPoster

3)  Skyfall (Much like with Batman in recent years, James Bond has been reinvented with a little more substance than he’s had in the past. Sam Mendes takes the reins for this latest outing and delivered one of the best Bond films ever. As I said with TDKR, this isn’t just a great Bond film, it’s just a great film. And yes, I prefer the Bérénice Marlohe poster (above) to the Daniel Craig version.

dredd

2) Dredd (Is this too high for a box office bomb? How about for a comic book movie? Not in my humble opinion. It passes with bright shiny colors in slow motion on every level. A smart script. Great direction. Startling visuals. Interesting characters. A sardonic sense of humor. Cool action sequences. Revels in its rated R rating. And it’s all done on what would be considered a relatively small budget by today’s standards. A great film that didn’t find an audience… Yet.)
lifeofPi

1) Life Of Pi (My number one film and I still haven’t written a review for it…. Sigh. The best of stories say something about the human condition and Life of Pi tackles a wide variety of  issues while being intensely focused in what it’s saying. At the same time, it allows for a wide variety of interpretations. The film touches on tolerance, beliefs, spirituality, the importance of story and the very nature of man’s existence and his relationship with all other forms of life. If ever there was an instance to say that a film is  a ‘meditation’ on anything, it’s this one. Director Ang Lee has had  a career of excellence, and while I haven’t seen all of his films, every one that I have seen has not just been good, but  have easily made their way onto my ‘Best of’ Lists. Is this his best film? I don’t know, but it is profoundly spectacular. Solid story, acting and striking visuals. The use of CGI with live animals was near seamless. The sinking ship in the first act was as impressive of a disaster as I’ve seen on film, but leave it  to Ang Lee to frame as hauntingly beautiful as he does; the shot where the title character is suspended underwater in front of the ship’s lights, especially. It reminded me of  the ghostly underwater scenes in Night of The Hunter. I also think Irrfan Khan is deserving of at least a Best Supporting actor award. Khan plays the older Pi, recounting the story of survival on the open sea. He is understated, but deliberate in his mannerisms. When I made my Top 10, I was surprised that I kept moving this one to the top, but it was as affecting as any of the movies that I’ve seen this year. It deserves all of the acclaim that it gets.)

And that’s my list for 2012. I’m sure I’ll have to revise it as I see more films from the past year, but I think this was a good start. Comments?