Tuesday, January 24, 2012

10 Movies From 2011 Everyone Should See

10 Movies From 2011 Everyone Should See...:
Or, How I Learned To Stop Bitching For Two Hours 
At A Time And Love Some Bombs

Its been awhile sense I've done one of my many lists that mojo mocks me about out of jealousy that he can't seem to formulate a list, or those guest reviews he's been saying he'll do sense 2009, but in any event,it really has been awhile, and sense I decided to forgo all the work that would be doing a best and worst list for last year, I felt it would be best, and more fun, to just share with you all, 10 films I rather enjoyed from the past year, this isn't by any means my best and worst list, just a list of 10 films I truly enjoyed and feel the need to share with you all, plus, well, its obvious i gotta blog more lol

In any event, here we go...

10. Cars 2

Now first off, I want to state, I am not saying this from the stance of a pixar fan, yes, I do enjoy most of the movies they've made, but I'm not one of those of the belief that "pixar can not falter" it is possible for them to do so, and they have afew times, seriously, how many Bugs Life or movies about that cooking rat have they made? That being said, I will also admit that I could see alot of what people were saying was wrong about this film, that its plot moves in strange confusing ways, that its too Mater focused leaving Lightening McQueen, and the rest of the cast in the background mostly, and that the world wide gran prix really isn't much more then a mcguffin, and all the rest of the complaints that have plagued this film sense it came out. And though I can see where alot of the complaints came from, and yes, they are all valid points, and I can see why someone would complain and say this movie is bad for any of them. But the thing is, no matter how much I tried to hate this movie, with all of its faults, with my hate of Larry the Cable Guy, the sadness that George Carlin was dead, but yet his character Filmore the bus plays a big role in the film, and so many more reasons I could have to hate this film, I just can't do it. I just can not hate Cars 2 no matter how many holes in the plot I try and drive Mac the Truck through, there is just something about it that makes you love it, even though its blatantly flawed on many levels, you can try all you want, but it just won't happen, you can try all day long to find just enough wrong with this film to banish it to the realm of bad movies that should be forgotten, but everytime you try, you remember just as many good things they snuck in, as there is bad. Its very annoying that way, but it also makes a film thats worth sitting down and having a nice all ages friendly laugh for 2 hours. And make no mistake, even though it will frustrate you cuz you can't find enough flaws to hate it, you will infact laugh yourself silly at the idea of a popemobile instead a popemobile.

9. Super 8

I remember reading the write up for this film, and I remember getting so very excited about it, just the concept got me worked up, and as long time readers will remember, I couldn't stop raving about this film when I reviewed it over the summer. Oh sure there have been tons of kids help an alien phone home then watch as it leaves for parts unknown out there in the universe, and many will argue that to them there are better, and that its just Cloverfield in the 1979s with kids instead of 20something douchebags and not as much first person views through the camera, and people can debate that all they want till the world ends, and honestly, i don't care, I love this film. I love that its kind of Cloverfield meets The Explorers, I love it almost as much as the fact that as you read this, 40 people just googled "the explorers" to see what I'm talking about. See, I understand that no matter what, people gonna hate, and I respect their right to do so, but the thing is, they don't see what this film really is, its a love letter to back when children's movies weren't made of complete suck and fail, to back when it was ok to have afew harsh words and some not too violent but still scary violence, and terror that was actually terrifying. If you didn't like Super 8 the first time around, give it another shot, but this time, look at it though the same eyes you'd watch The Goonies or The Last Starfighter or Time Bandits, or one of those beloved classics, and I think you will be greatly surprised by how different it looks to you when you do.

8. Rubber

Now, this might surprise alot of people, and to be honest, I am shocked bit myself I enjoyed this wonderful direct to dvd film, because often with films that never see release outside of a film festival no matter how obscure, or get no theater release at all, tend to be lazy and sloppy and really really bad, but thankfully this film proved that wrong. I love when what starts out as a hunt for a film that is gonna be so bad I have to laugh at it, becomes something I truly and wholeheartedly enjoy so much more then I ever believed that I would. It takes alot for a film to surprise me, and though you might not believe it, Rubber truly did just that. I remember finding it simply because me and afew friends were scavenging netflix for something we could all agree on watching, when the description left us all dead in our tracks and just in so much awe we had to see it. For those of you that don't know what Rubber is, its a surrealist comedy horror set in the area outside of Lancaster California where a discarded tire named Robert The Tire becomes self aware and decides he wants to explore the world, as he rolls around discovering life, he also discovers he can take life, not just by rolling over it, but he can explode things with his mind, he discovers at this point that he really loves to take life, and embarks on a killing spree. Its just crazy with its complete surreality and out of left field nature that makes you just wanna keep watching it, its falls somewhere between comedy brilliance on the level of the great Andy Kaufman and one of those high end arthouse films where afterwards you find yourself wondering for weeks, what the naked girl was doing in the field by the windmill with that donkey and the ronin mask and the bag of yukon gold potatoes, because the film never tells you, and you really wanna know cuz its keeping you up at night with confusion. So if you've never seen or heard of this film, and you want something thats just so out there that you just need to see it to believe it, or that you love lovingly made spoofs of the classic grindhouse genres. or are a believer in Wings Hauser's acting ability, give this a shot, because its so crazy you just gotta see it.

7. The Beaver

Now, before you all go off and get offended or mad here, hear me out, I feel The Beaver got a raw deal, it suffered from what i call "Powder Syndrome", meaning just before the film's release, someone involved with its production, in this case, its star Mel Gibson, did something horrible to turn the people against them and ruin their public image just before the film was to see screens. I call this Powder Syndrome because its alot like in 1995 when the brilliant film Powder was released, and completely ruined all the critical and movie going buzz Powder had gotten, and most theaters that would have shown it, refusing too, and thus the film would fade into the background and be forgotten till long after the scandal it was at the center of was forgotten, and then it would be cheered for the triumph it was. I mention this because The Beaver is another case of that instance. If you are among the many who didn't bother with this movie that, before Mel Gibson told the world he hated jews or whatever he did this time that he's done 10 times before, had a TON of ocscar award buzz as well as critical buzz like you wouldn't believe, then seriously give it a try now, and if it helps, just don't think of Mel Gibson as Mel Gibson, think of him as an aussie character actor playing a depressed man who has a mental breakdown because he can't handle life, somehow discovers through a puppet beaver that changes his life in ways he never knew were possible. Its truly a brilliant movie about how we view the mentally unstable and how life is so much harder then we all ever thought. And if you can't get past the fact its Mel Gibson, remember this, everyone hated Mickey Rourke till he played what was basically himself in The Wrestler, maybe this should be Mel's answer to that? Seriously if you haven't checked it out, you really should, if for nothing else, to see Jodie Foster argue with a beaver puppet, and all the metaphorical stuff that can mean.

6. Restless

The first thing that struck me about this little known but often buzzed about film was the fact that it was, in a sense, the closest thing we'd get to a proper remake of Harold and Maude, oh sure they could make an outright remake, where Harold is an emokid or a goth and Maude is played by some smoking hot cougar, because thats how it works in modern hollywood, but that would just not work for people who don't like being shit on by an industry who doesn't listen to them. Something akin to the way Restless works will infact be the closest we will ever get, and for me, thats just fine. Sure its abit odd, a creepy morbidly obsessed 19 year old who attends the funerals of people he's never met and is friends with the ghost of a kamikaze pilot, and then he meets this girl who does the same thing, but she's doing it for another reason, but the end result is the same, this is basically a modern retelling of Harold and Maude, which I rather enjoy. I also rather like the fact it stars Mia Wasikowka, who you all might know as Alice in the recent beautiful but flawed beyond belief Tim Burton take on Alice In Wonderland, and who I'll always remember as Lilya in Suburban Mayhem, because, well honestly, I'm a sucker for people who swear and act trashy in aussie movies lol

5.  Red State

As a means to prove that he can do more then just his New Jersey movies, after his attempt at a buddy film "Cop Out" failed, Kevin Smith, nerd turned cult director turned comic book writer turned guy involved with the tv show Reaper, turned director out to prove his worth, decided to write what could be one of the most fucked up horror movies made in the last 20 years. Red State is a horror movie in the sense that real life possibilities can scare the hell out of you. Basically, its what happens when bible belt beliefs become not only fanatically insane, but as crazy as they are, they're also just as well armed, and also believe they're above all law except for god, and that they can get away with murder as long as they believe its in his name. The film will touch on all things we know of as hated by republicans; homosexuality, marijuana and other drugs, belief that all races and creeds are equal, all the things that set off the red staters. All the things they spend their lives hating and trying to destroy, in this film, the massive cult like church and its leader who are the main baddies, try to destroy, right to the bitter end. This film might not be for everyone, and thats fine, but, the fact it was created by a guy who is known for his comedy and is one half of Jay and Silent Bob, will blow your damn mind out the back of your head. I know horror isn't for everyone, but, god damn is this movie something to see, even if its just once, you gotta check it out.

4.  Attack The Block

This might be the most argued over film on this entire list. Some will tell you its a brilliant fresh take on the whole alien invasion film genre, that was much needed in a world where we'd have to suffer though such recent shit as Skyline and other half assed films that made no sense, and others will tell you its totally shit and nothing more then glorifying lower class life in the estates of south London. The people who believe its total shit are ofcourse completely wrong, but chances are they're fans of Manchester United, so no one really cares what they think anyway. Attack The Block, for those that haven't seen it, is a british alien invasion action film, where after accidentally killing a small alien, a group of teenagers from a south london estate (thats like a housing project to us outside the uk), along with a young doctor they cross paths with, have to fend off an alien invasion of these eye-less wolf like creatures with glowing teeth and drool, only thing is, as I'm sure you're all aware, its not as easy to get guns and explosives as it is here in the united states, an american teenager would just go grab some machine guns and explosives at the first sign of an alien that doesn't look like its trying to phone home, kids in the UK don't have that option, so they have to use what they can procure from around the area to help them in their fight, baseball bats, frying pans (frying pans right? who knew?), fireworks, swords and machetes. This movie plays out like what could be the greatest video game in years, and is just so very fun. Its got so much appeal, the music, the concept, and the fact if this were made here in america, it would star some rappers who can't act for shit and would suck beyond belief. So if you want some nice no brain needed fun, or you wanna have a nice new take on the classic alien invasion story, or just like to see teenagers hitting things with baseball bats, then if you've not seen this you really should, its just so fun.

3. The Muppets

Yeah like this is a surprise to anyone right? lol Its never been a secret that I am huge muppets fan, being such a fan of Jim Henson I had no choice but to be honestly. And though some said there were many flaws in this comeback film, I don't care. See, for those that will get the reference, this film is to The Muppets, what Scooby Doo On Zombie Island is to Scooby Doo, which for those who don't get that reference means its a realistic modernized take that brings new life into a long lived franchise by giving it new ground to build on, as well as bringing new fans, but also staying true to its core material, in both cases, it brought some serious and dramatic elements to a comedic powerhouse that was nothing but comedy for over 40 years. Its a tricky and slippery slope they were playing on, but thankfully for them it worked out beautifully. They use the term "the film we've been waiting for" around alot, but honestly, with all its hilarity and cuteness and goofball antics, as well as getting literally every single muppet ever created in on the act even if for just a moment, this film was such a joy and delight that I am happily waiting for the next one to come along and make my life awesome by means of puppetry again.

2. Super

You know, at first glance, Super looks like nothing more then a lower budget version of Kick Ass, where in the main character gets tired of all the crime in the world and decides to fight back superhero styley, and along the bloody way becomes a folk hero beyond all knowledge. Super, though similar in the fact the lead dons a superheroing suit and fights crime, is nothing at all like Kick Ass, in Super, our lead has gone completely insane before he decides to become a superhero, using it as a way to deal with the anger and rage and confusion inside him from the horrible events of his life that led to him becoming a hero, he calls himself The Crimson Bolt and becomes more and more unhinged as the film goes, eventually gaining a sidekick Boltie, a slutty dressed girl who's even crazier then he is, which makes him more insane, and more violent, its kind of crazy, and honestly if it wasn't for the fact its a dark comedy take on the whole real world superhero thing, hidden inside the decent into insanity of the average every man, this movie wouldn't be worth anything outside of some WTF factor. But still, i can't stop watching it, its just so wrong that its so funny at the same time. So if you haven't seen it, you really should.

1. Another Earth

In science fiction its not uncommon to find stories about the idea there is another earth out there just on the other side of the sun where we can't see it, its been around for almost a hundred years in some form or another, most comic book fans will jump to marvel's "counter earth" and DC's many different earths, all of which had to be condensed into one to stop confusing people. And in the grand design of such ideas, comes one of the most common stories we all ponder when thinking of another earth out there, if our counterpart made the same mistakes we did, or if their life turned out completely different then ours did. That is the basis for this story, the story of Rhoda Williams, a young brilliant girl who seems to have the world ready to bow at her feet, until one night, she isn't paying attention to where she's going, and causes a fatal accident, which turns her life upside down, from there its a story of regret and atonement, the whole while we hear news reports of the discovery of a second earth, and everyone starts to wonder what its like, what the people are like, what the differences are, if they're just like us, things like that. And in the end, not only is there an answer to that question, but we're left wondering just how different they are deep down, and we also are left wondering if Rhoda will actually forgive herself for all the accidental bad she's done. Its an incredible film that mostly went over looked last year, if you haven't seen it, you really should, its just brilliant.

So thats my list, again, I'm stating this isn't a 10 Best list, just a list of 10 films I feel are worth watching that came out last year, some of which were big hits, some of which went rather unnoticed and overlooked by most, but still i rather liked them. So if you haven't given them a look, please do so.



Wednesday, January 11, 2012


"The key to happyness is, to do exactly what you want with out worrying what happens"
- Homer Simpson, Sage of the modern age.

At first look, SLiDE (yes, spelled that way) would seem to be just another of those "teenagers behaving badly" dramas, probably falling somewhere between Degrassi: The Next Generation and Skins, and though I can see how many would bring themselves to that idea, I seem to find something more too it, maybe its a secret love for shows of this nature, or maybe I just watched 10 Things I Hate About You and The Breakfast Club to much as a teenager, I don't really know. Either way, I find myself strangely addicted to this series and the inner workings of a group of friends that you really wouldn't think would be friends if not for how they all came together, which, unlike most shows of this nature, actually makes sense and could actually happen, after all, the clique that writes things into sports fields with fire together, stay together. Atleast thats how it happened for me and my friends in high school anyway.

All joking aside, SLiDE is the story of five unlikely friends; Ed Newman, Tammy Lane, Scarlett Carlyle, Eva Lee and Luke Gallagher, they were all sort of tossed together by the means of what happened on Ed's 17th birthday, a night that sort of became a local legend around their high school in Brisbane Australia, and creating a bond between the five of them, given how they all came together that night, as you would expect from that night on they became friends, all with their deep inner dynamic and tensions, as you would expect to be the bread and butter of a show like this. However unlike most shows that randomly toss cast members together for whatever reason, you can see from the start there are alot of things bubbling under the surface with all of them from the very beginning, which really makes me pretty happy really, I hate when a show like this doesn't have its plans already made out before hand and they just wing it, thats how you end up with shitty american teen dramas that no one but emokids want to watch... ok well emokids and women in their 40s that are alone and need something to chickwank too.

The promotional material says the show is ment to focus around Ed and his trying to get Scarlett, a rich girl who's just moved to the city and is the daughter of his boss, to fall in love with him, or atleast sleep with him, but i find thats rather far off the mark. Its more the story of a journey of 5 kids (dubbed "the Slide 5" in media) who honestly have no real idea who they are or what they want to be in life, and follows them as they attempt to discover who they all are inside while still being able to live the carefree life of a teenager. Ofcourse they deal with the normal things one faces as a teenager, though drinking and drugs are pretty casually done, they don't focus on them all that much, which is good, you actually see more of the after effects then the actual effects, except for when its key to the story of the character who is under the influence of either or both, and ofcourse, as there is with teenagers, insane amounts of sexual tension with in the cast, oddly though, there is none among the cast and any of the expanded cast, infact outside of parents, who are ment to either be cool, annoying, or assholes, whenever the cast are in a scene with one of the other kids they deal with in school, infact whenever you see any of them with Phillipa you have the feeling they just wanna punch her in the face, with out spoilering it, you find out why as the show goes on.

Its hard to actually write a real review of a show like this, its not like most shows of its nature where you deal with a larger secondary cast that appears and interacts with the mains and have little stories of their own, but with SLiDE you don't really have that, you have the five kids, their parents and siblings when needed, and minimal interaction outside of the group, atleast on camera, they imply they've all got friends, but you never really see them interact for more then afew lines at most with anyone thats not important to the story of that episode or the over all story in general. Now to many this might seem annoying cuz you're gonna get nothing but important story the whole way through, but infact, I rather like this about it. Because it makes you actually feel for the characters, lets you get in their heads, and not just see them as the images of various teenage archetypes, you don't just look at Eva and think "oh she's the misunderstood graffiti artist" but never see her work or understand her need for it, in this, there is actually a whole episode dedicated to understanding it, you don't know know that Tammy's all by the book and down to earth, you see why she is, and what happens when she lets loose and doesn't go by the letter to everything, and how Scarlett has does horrible things to get her father's attention because its the only way he really shows her any attention, and Luke has alot of issues at home that he keeps to himself and isn't really sure how to deal with real attraction instead of just sleeping with girls for the sake of having sex. Or how honestly, Ed would be attracted to anything female, even concrete. All these little things that make them unique and different, you feel happy when they are happy, and sad when they're sad, and when they get punched in the gut, you get punched in the gut, thats a sign of a great show, and more so great writing, because anyone can write a teen aimed drama series, but not everyone can make one that can draw in people over the age of 18 and aren't developmentally stunted in some form or another.

Now as I said before, its hard to review a show like this, and really, on the surface its ment to be the aussie version of the UK hit turned USA flop Skins, but as I said it goes so much farther, and alot funnier, i mean alot funnier, the insults and one liners traded between the cast and the hilariously stupid shit they get themselves into will actually have you laughing outloud in some spots. And I do feel like I'm phoning this in because i can't really mention much of the plot of the series, mostly because there really isn't much to it, its just the day to day lives of 5 teenagers in BrizVegas trying to live as much as they can, while under the surface everything else is bubbling, their fears, their loves, their desires, their needs, all of it, and also, that some of the show's most endearing moments happen when they all let go of the angst and worry of teendom and actually act like little children, there is a delightful scene in the pilot at the end where they're dancing in sprinklers after writing a message to the teacher in charge of their saturday detention in fire on their sports field thats just brilliant, and the scenes with them and Tammy's little brother Charlie in the second episode are just endearingly awesome. So if you are a fan of shows like Skins or those teenage dramas they have here in America, or you are looking for a new spin on the genre, then give SLiDE a chance.

Or if you're still curious, here is a promo from before the show aired

I should also note that its a pain in the ass to find imagery from this show, so if the images i posted, which were awesome high rez images off the official webpage and twitter page, are gone, sadly, they were all i could find..