Thursday, January 20, 2011

Most Anticipated

As many of you can see, I am a big fan of lists. This time of year I'm usually perusing film sites for upcoming releases. All the "Must See" lists for 2011 have been pretty lukewarm. Honestly, I could care less about whatever "comic book to film" installment is coming out this year. I have no interest in most sequels and I'm officially boycotting the new Batman film (Ann Hathaway as Catwoman is a joke). It's nice to know that several of my "Most Anticipated Films for 2010" will probably be nominated for Oscars next week. By the way, I'm backing Colin Firth 100% for Best Actor in THE KING'S SPEECH.

Like I said, 2011 looks like it will be a great year for film. I cannot wait for PIRANHA 3DD, BIUTIFUL, SOMEWHERE, and HUMAN CENTIPEDE- FULL SEQUENCE. Here's a few other films I am looking forward to:

"A sci-fi story centered on the sexual awakening of a group of college students."

This is the newest film from director Greg Araki. To tell you the truth, I wasn't that big of a fan of DOOM GENERATION, but I did enjoy MYSTERIOUS SKIN. MYSTERIOUS SKIN was also the film that made me realize Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a decent actor (he did do some stuff between 3rd Rock From the Sun and INCEPTION). I'm curious to see what kind of nightmare Araki has conjured up now.

"When her child goes missing, a mother looks to unravel the legend of the Tall Man, an entity who allegedly abducts children."
Horror is my favorite genre hands down and as I've said before, the French are really making waves in the horror world. You might remember director Pascal Laugier from his previous film MARTYRS. Many people referred to that film as "torture porn." I really hate that term because I feel like people are quick to slap a label on something they cannot understand. I am interested to see how Laugier's art will translate to English with American actors.

"The story centers on Veronika, a woman in her mid twenties who appears to have everything: good looks, good job and a great life ahead of her. Yet she decides to end her own life."
Wow, I've been hearing about this film since 2008 and it's still not yet released. Supposedly there is a November 2011 US release, we'll see. The film is based on a novel by Paulo Coelho that takes place in Slovenia. The film stars Sarah Michelle Geller as Veronika. I just hope it doesn't disappoint all those Buffy super fans (myself included).

"It's the story of a woman who is slowly going blind whilst at the same time trying to uncover the mysterious death of her twin sister."
I really think Guillermo del Toro is hit or miss. People always rave about PANS LABYRINTH, but I really think THE DEVIL'S BACKBONE was a far superior film. He produced this Spanish film directed by Guillem Morales. Spain has been consistently producing great horror films so I'm excited to see this one.

"A young girl sent to live with her father and his new girlfriend discovers creatures in her new home who want to claim her as one of their own."

This is actually written by del Toro. It is a remake by a fairly new director. Most people have never heard of the original television movie. It does star Katie Holmes whom we can all agree sucks. However, it also star Guy Pierce who is an outstanding actor. We'll see how it goes.

"Follows veteran police officer Dave Brown, the last of the renegade cops, as he struggles to take care of his family, and fights for his own survival."

This is based on a story by a favorite author of mine, James Ellroy. You may be familiar with The Black Dahlia and LA Confidential. Steve Buscemi and Woody Harrelson both star. Director Oren Moverman recently did THE MESSENGER which earned Harrelson his second Oscar nomination. Hopefully this will be better than the film adaptation of THE BLACK DAHLIA, no disrespect to Brian De Palma.

"A female forensic psychiatrist discovers that all of one of her patient's multiple personalities are murder victims. She will have to find out what's happening before her time is finished."
I'm not a huge fan of Stephen King's writing, but I do enjoy his films. I've heard this is a pretty good adaptation of one of books. Jonathan Rhys Meyers (who I absolutely love) and Julianne Moore both star.

"Set in a medieval village that is haunted by a werewolf, a young girl falls for an orphaned woodcutter, much to her family's displeasure."

First off, I am very hesitant to watch anything remotely related to TWILIGHT. Director Catherine Hardwicke also did the first TWILIGHT movie as well as THIRTEEN. My favorite actor of all time, Gary Oldman stars in this reboot. I'll pretty much watch anything he is in, including THE FIFTH ELEMENT. Virginia Madsen and Lukas Haas also star.

"Two sisters find their relationship challenged as a nearby planet threatens to collide into the Earth."

Chaos still reigns. My Lars Von Trier obsession grows daily! What would possess Charlotte Gainsbourg to work with this insane genius again? Maybe she's just as crazy as he is. Supposedly, each morning while filming DANCER IN THE DARK, Bjork would say, "Mr. Von Trier, I despise you," and spat at him. Von Trier recently made a comment about how his films will have no more happy endings. I never realized he made any happy films! Kirsten Dunst stars in this film and I question her qualifications. She recently defended Von Trier saying, "There's poetry in the way he tortures women." For her sake, I hope she's right.

"A look at how the intense relationship between Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud gives birth to psychoanalysis."

What can be said about mastermind David Cronenberg that hasn't already been said. Viggo Mortensen as Sigmund Freud is almost too perfect. This film should be very interesting; Cronenberg never disappoints!

"Based on Thierry Jonquet's novel "Mygale", this revenge tale tells the story of a plastic surgeon on the hunt for the men who raped his daughter."

The latest film from celebrated Spanish director Pedro Almodovar. I really like BAD EDUCATION and his most recent BROKEN EMBRACES. I definitely look forward to this one.

"Paul Kemp is a freelance journalist who finds himself at a critical turning point in his life while writing for a run-down newspaper in the Caribbean."

I feel like I've been waiting forever to see this film released and this is the one I am looking forward to the most. I love the book and I have no doubt Johnny Depp will do Paul Kemp justice and make Hunter S. Thompson proud. Depp was extraordinary in FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS. I'm just so excited to see it.

What are you guys looking forward to?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Best Films of 2010

Alright, so the dust has settled on 2010 and now that I'm back from vacation, I had plenty of time to mull over my favorite films from last year. I felt like 2010 was a decent year for cinema. There were several really amazing films that came out and I'm more than sure they will be greatly rewarded come Oscar time. With that said, I'm gonna leave out BLACK SWAN, TRUE GRIT, THE FIGHTER, INCEPTION, THE SOCIAL NETWORK, and THE KING'S SPEECH. I look forward to some very promising films in 2011(stay tuned for my Most Anticipated List). I came up with some films that may have flown under the radar this year.
Here goes:


Sure this movie was completely over the top, silly, and absurd but it was also incredibly fun. I had nearly given up on John Cusack (the last decade has been grim for Lloyd Dobler), but this movie reminded me that he is still a great comedic actor. How many of you dream about going back to the 80s? For the most part, I myself have already been living in another decade. I'm not Internet savvy, I watch reruns of ALF, and listen to Rick Springfield records.

Some people really slammed this film. I thought it was pretty good. I really enjoyed the film adaptations of GONE BABY GONE and MYSTIC RIVER which were originally books by the same author who wrote SHUTTER ISLAND (Dennis Lehane). Say what you will about Leo, but the Leo/Scorsese collaboration has worked consistently. I don't really buy all those people who called it predictable. I just love how beautifully this film was shot.

This documentary surprised me and it made me feel a little uneasy. It started out addressing an age old urban legend and turned into an investigation of a convicted murderer. It begs the question: Is the boogeyman a real person?

I could care less whether or not Mr. Brainwash was real or fake. I am not well versed in graffiti art or art in general. I don't know a lot about Banksy either but I do admire his message. It's really interesting to see something that one man created to be the antithesis of capitalism and corporate greed being eaten up by the very people he opposes. Is it ironic that Christina Aguilera has a Banksy piece? This doc also shows how easily people are influenced by pop culture.

I've raved enough in previous posts about this little gem.

I think everyone knew the minute they saw the trailer for MACHETE during GRINDHOUSE that it was going to be badass! Hometown hero Robert Rodriguez pulled no stops with this outrageous piece. It was released at the perfect time when immigration rights became a hot topic. Ironically, the De Niro character closely resembles our very own Governor Rick Perry. I absolutely loved this film and I'm not just saying that because it was shot in Austin.

Again, another campy ridiculous film that makes no apologies for itself. Out of the two Eli Roth produced films of 2010, this was far superior. This film is filled with great kills and great boobs! At the midnight screening, Eli Roth recounted a story of how he was convinced he got eye herps from motor-boating some tits during the filming.

Some of my favorite horror films are Korean. I especially love MEMORIES OF MURDER and THE HOST, both films directed by Bong Joon-ho. So when I heard about MOTHER, I knew I was in for something unimaginable. This film has a really quirky/dark sense of humor that resonates in his other films. I promise the ending will not disappoint.

This film won Best Foreign Picture for Argentina at The 2009 Academy Awards, but it wasn't released in the US until 2010. I had seen THE WHITE RIBBON already and like many others was convinced it would win The Oscar. THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES surprised us all, but not nearly as much as the ending surprised me. This film is truly astonishing!

I am a Polanski superfan so I may be a bit biased. This was his first major film since THE PIANIST, so I anxiously anticipated it. Due to legal woes, the completion of this film was put on hold, but it was well worth the wait. The cast is great and the Tony Blair references are very tongue in cheek. What I love most about this film is the Hitchcock vibe it exudes.

Note: This list excludes Takashi Miike's 13 ASSASSINS because it has yet to be released in the US.