Ever since the first Texas Chainsaw Massacre back in 1974, there have been a certain type of subhorror slasher-family flicks that have since tried to match the bar 'o' evil that was raised by the original Leatherface Clan.
While Rob Zombies' creation of Captain Spaulding's kith & kin, IMO, doesn't quite match up to the legendary status of TCM, it's was still a worthy effort to the genre.
A family of rednecks that makes even Lucifer go "Damn.... these hillbillies are just plain downright evil.....!"
Okay, I'll admit, the story was boring, & the people looked stiff despite the motion capture technology.
But still, at the time of it's release, the visuals were really something to behold. For me, this was a major stepping stone that would eventually lead to some of the most high tech images we are seeng the screen today.
A cool psychological thriller that takes a journey into the psyche of a mind through the use of really creative, surreal & stunning visuals.
And when I say "creative, surreal & stunning visuals", contrary to what all of y'all might be thinkin', I am not referring to Jennifer Lopez's big ol' onion booty.
9 is a sci-fi movie that takes the high tech of it's visuals & combines them with the kind of original character designs that I always believed could be utilized more often with the whole CGI technology that is currently available at filmmakers' mouse-maneuvering fingertips.
However, the story, while not bad, still is not matching with the high level of creativity and of the look of this movie.
While I found this a great sci-fi flick to look at, at the same time, with it's lack of character developement & overblandness of it's plot premise, to some viewers, it can also come off as pretty forgettable.
It's place on this list is more of as an honorable mention & is based soley on it's style over substance.
I guess you could start by saying that if one could imagine the concept of a cyborg geisha that could transform into a wall-clinging half battletank in order to fight a multi-tiered pagoda that transforms into a giant daikaiju-style rubber-suited robot
if one could imagine fried shrimp being used as a deadly assassin's weapon
threw in every kind of Dali-esque type of violent asian outrageousness possible, then you might be able to capture a vague resemblance of a description for this movie.
I still have a hard time believing that I actually saw this film & that it wasn't part of some 'shroom-induced nightmare.
This movie showed us where the big-budget animated features were going not just commercially but artistlcally, also. And even tho you can notice some clunkiness to some of the computer-generated areas & the way there were fitted into the story (especially compared to today's films), the drawn parts are of the highest quality (for it's time) &, for me, still come off as quite visually impressive.
One of those moments that I'll always remember being in the theatre & just being totally visually amazed by what was on the screen.
I just recently got around to watching this on DVD. I didn't think it was too bad.
But if the idea of the vampires was a little more like vampires than it was like sun-fearing zombies, I think I'd be able to muster up more to say 'bout this so-called legend. And maybe then, I'd have put this movie up higher on the list.
So for right now, there is one thing that I can definitely say was cool about this flick: Near the beginning of the movie, there was a scene that featured billboard that featured a Batman/ Superman World's Finest insignia. And as a comicbook nerd, I found that to be pretty kick-ass.
Now don't quote me on this,
but there was a rumour going around at the time that this guy's remains were fined a citation by park officials.
For breaking the forest rule that states "Do not feed the bears".
Zombies who speak German. Well, not actually speak.....
growl is more like it. But still, whatever noise you can hear rumbling from outta their rotworm-infested mouths, it's definitely Deutschland.
Actually, to be honest, while I liked this film, when it comes to the zombie genre, I still found to be somewhat underwhelming. However I decided to still include it on this list just because any time anyone makes an honest effort to create a quality zombie flick with it's own unique twist, it's always a good thing.
Besides, as just a stand alone foreign fright flick, it has enough to shamble on it's own.
Damn! Lookit all those freakin' mutants!
The students of Prof. Charles Xavier's School Of Gifted Youngsters return, more grander, more powerful & more "mutantly" varied. Considering that this is a movie that needs to handle as many characters as it does, each one with an already firmly established background in the pages of the comicbook universe, it's amazing that they were able pull this project off to the extent that they did. As an example of what happens when a qualified director is allowed more freedom & more money than in the initial film. For this sequel, X definitely seems to mark the spot.
While not comparable to the first two, this final installment of the Rocky franchise is still a nice closing chapter to the saga of the Italian Stallion.
For me personally, it was great to see that Sly could come up with a story that not only brings back the integrity to a character who starred in two my favorite films from the 70's, but also, in a manner that helps to wash out the bad taste left over from the horrible sequels of the 80's.
Back when I was a kid, I was sent to a Jesus camp for one summer.
I even earned a badge for being able to whistle thru my stigmatas.
Jesus Camp is the kind of documentary whose real life depictions of children having their evolving mindsets encrypted with teachings of the extreme religious right can seem more horrifying & disturbing than the fictional tales of movies like Paranormal Activity or The Exorcist.
This is a movie that, for me at least, could probably qualify more as a theological courtroom drama than a straight-up possession film.
Still, I recommend it for the scenes depicting the character of Emily Rose, as her body terrifyingly writhes & convulses with the inner-struggles that usually result whenever a dispirited devil decides to take residence within one's soul. IMO, those scenes were enough to raise a goosebump or two onto the flesh of any typical horror-hardened scare-flick fan.
A tribute to all those 50's black & white sci-fi horrors flicks, but now in cool 3-D-like computer graphics. And in full color.
The graphics are absolutely top-notch,but some of the sheen has been lost due to the fact that they're also something that I'm sure viewers are pretty much starting to become accustomed to by now. And teen-agers today, let alone the more targeted little kid audience, will barely, if at all, get any of the connections to Attack Of The 50 Foot Woman, Black Lagoon & the like.
Now don't get me wrong. I think that this film comes off as entertaining enough, but to some, it may feel like it came out a fews years too late.
Spidey finds himself in need of a costume change to reflect his new attitude.
And instead, he gets a wardrobe malfunction in the form of a venomous life-form from the stars.
Another movie that tends to get alot knocks from critics & fans alike, yet not enough to dissuade my fat comicbook nerdy ass from liking it (although, I will admit that Spidey 3 doesn't match the quality of Sam Raimi's two previous webslinging efforts).
Okay, we all know by know that hell hath no fury like that of a woman scorned.
So how can you tell whether a woman is truly in love with you or if she's just a remarkably incessant psychopath?
Well, if her infatuation is based on love, true love,
then she is after your heart.
If her infatuation is based on murderous madness,
then, she is after your heart, your lungs, your limbs, etc.
The fact that this movie is has been promoted as a horror film,
makes it easy to guess which category May fits into.
Art School Confidential first appeared in the #7 issue of the Dan Clowes comicbook series Eightball, as a four page short story that was, of course, expanded to fit the length of the movie.
To be honest, I normally wouldn't give a thumbs-up to a film who's clunkiness in it's plot seems to distract from it's distinctive premise, but I think that this industry needs more Clowes-based comicbook based movies. IMO, these kinds of films really do provide a nice refreshing break from the standard "same ol' same ol'" cinematic fare that have numbingly dominated theatres screens for several years.
I guess that they're kinda like the Junior Mints of the world of cinema.
A film by the comedy team of Simon Pegg & Nick Frost, the same duo responsible for what is, for my money, the best zom-com ever, Shaun Of The Dead. This time, they take on the world of the buddy-cop genre.
Hot Fuzz in neither as funny, engaging or as groundbreaking as Shaun,
but still, there was enough of the typical high balance of comedy & chemistry between the two stars to make this action comedy a commendable effort.
At least, compared to other comedies that came out that same year.
I've always had a soft spot for any film adaptations of the Charles Dickens classic featuring the most famous of all Christmas curmudgeons. It's an affection that began with me as a kid with the old 1938 black & white version, which played every year on our family TV set.
So when Robert Zemeckis' 09 version on the series came along, I had my reservations about it (as I do with any modern retellings of the classics).
But after I watched it,
the energy of the cool angle- shots & sense of frenetic movements really made this quite an enjoyable ride.
And the fact that this one was more in line with the original book adaptation, made me appreciate this updated effort even more. For my money, it gave the story a more darker edge & a fear factor that may not be suitable for younger audiences, but adds an extra bit of spice for the more mature & educated viewer. Y'know....
Not that much in plot or originality, but there's enough in the fun & crazy fight scenes of this film to help solidify Jason Statham's role as an action film badd-ass.
Or to put it simply,
a cool high octane idea, with a cool high octane character & cool high octane action.
Ergo cool high octane movie.
The Transporter may not be the type of film that will change cinema history, but it does fall deeply into the realm of satisfifying "popcorn entertainment".
So grab a bucketful & enjoy the ride.
As a comicbook nerd, it's really cool for me that more of these types of movies are being made with more attention to the quality, visually & "creatively".
I found this one a much more cohesive origin story than Marvel's major player, Spiderman's first go-at-it. The problem with the first film of any superhero flick is to be able to show enough of a detailed origin while still leaving enough room in the film for a transition of the character learning to deal with his/her powers & then some kind climatic confrontation with some sort of antagonist figure. I found this movie to be much better paced than other initial efforts of Marvel properties like the Hulk or Spiderman, with a much more naturalness to the characters, as evidenced by Downey Jr's humor & the comfortable chemistry between he, Gweneth Paltrow & Terence Howard.
For me, The Room is the epitome of acting so SO bad, that it actually swings around to being not just good, but unforgettably classic.
It's a piece of cinematic crap-art that has been playing in theatres since it's initial release in 2003 and is still going. And the main reason for that is b'cuz it has developed a reputation as an audience-participating event.
It is now standard for movie-goers to quote or yell out responses to specific scenes,
or to even throw plastic spoons at the screen whenever a certain prop makes an appearance.
You will even spot a football being tossed back & forth from one side of the theatre to the other during certain intervals.
In other words,
it's the straight person's answer to the Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Take E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial,
make Elliot more ethnic & change him into a girl,
then take E.T. himself and make him alot more bad-@ss, but still cute,
& then transform the whole thing into a cartoon,
& there you go.
You've got this movie.
A high school teenager finds himself to be invisible to all the other kids in school. And not just cuz of his lack of personality.
The boy's a ghost, & thus begins a tale of redemption from beyond the "other side".
The Invisible (or Den Osynlige, in it's original Swedish title) is yet another fine example of a "foreign" film that got kinda ignored here in the States b'cuz Hollywood decided to produce an inferior remake instead.
Gotta love those formula flicks, huh?
For me, the nineties was the golden era of independent film. It seemed like that was the decade that indies really began breaking out of the self-restrictive arthouse theatres & making their way to more available venues.
So when the new millennium started, I was even more excited about the future for non-mainstream cinema.
Even though Beautiful Creatures came off more like a watered down version of Bound, it's jagged edge story still shone enough to make me hopeful of where this style of filmmaking was going.
In the end, the 00's fell short compared to the previous decade, not to mention that it seems to be even worse during the second decade of the millennium, but that's a story for another forum.
BC maybe didn't live to the high quality of previous indies, but the mixture of dark humour & quirky shock in it's premise still served as a spark of non-conventionality in a world of ever-increasing bloated big-budgetry.
A tale of romance & time travel that was hopefully successful enough to warrent a whole series of follow-up sequels ( The Time Traveler's Kids, The Time Traveler's In-Laws, The Time Traveler's Mistress, The Time Traveler's Drunk Uncle, The Time-Traveler's Pet Retriever, The Time Traveler's Guy He Knows To Get High End Jewelry Below Manufacturer's Cost, The Time Traveler's Four People Who Lead Him To Kevin Bacon Under Six Degrees......
well....I'm sure you get the picture).
To be honest, for me, the story in Cars really isn't the strongest I've seen in these type of movies, the characters, while a worthy effort, aren't the most memorable, and just the very concept of a universe of cars "running" around by their own "ignition" and with the ability to talk doesn't lend itself very well as a consistent idea in believability, no matter how much suspension I try to apply into my sense of belief.
However, I'm still including this film onto this list of favorites on the basis that the visuals on this thing are pretty damn insane.
The reflecting light off of the hulls of the shiny race-cars is eyecatchingly reflective, the realism in may of the backgrounds shots are incredibly affecting, the just the sheer amount of detail in everything is amazing (consistency in the color-schemes keep it from getting too distracting like in Speed Racer).
After watching Cars, it truly boggles the mind of where computer graphics will be in twenty, or even in just ten years from now.
In the snowy small town of Pontypool, there's something in the air colder than the winter chill.
Something that's transforming all the townspeople into the walking dead.
A different take on the zombie genre, that for me personally stretches a bit thin in terms of believeabilty (even with the buffer of suspended belief), but still, the efforts in it's unique approach (along with Stephen McHattie's strong camera presence) was enough to warrent a place on this list.
Take a classic cartoon about a bunch a large robots from outer space that change into a bunch a cool vehicles that raised the testosterone level to the point that little boys became little "guys",
mix in a healthy batch of modern day hard driving live action peppered in with a few swear words & gritty gun play,
and top it all off with the absolutely & ridiculously hot Megan Fox,
and there you have it.
A summer super-mega-blockbuster incorporating all the things that can easily make the males of our species grunt with ultimate ball-quivering delight.
(However, I will say that, no matter how enjoyable this Transformers movie was, it's no excuse for the horrific monstrosity that is it's sequel.)
Originally planned to be called "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner", until they found out that that title had already been taken.
A Thanksgiving family get-together gets interrupted by big-eyed visitors from, well, y'know by now where this is going.
I think that this film is an allegory of what happened to the Native Americans after they had the Pilgrims (i.e. White man) over for a turkey dinner. The McPherson family is supposed to represent the Natives & the aliens, the white man.
But I'm not sure.
I may have just made that up for this post.
I've never been a big fan of the 007 series, but Casino Royale really took me off guard as a quality action flick (in fact, my fave action flick of that year). And though, this one isn't on par to Casino (choppy action sequences, looser story) it's high energy & emphasis on characterizations between Bond & "M" were enough to still keep this installment entertaining to the eyes of this non-Bond fan.
The escapist fantasy of innocence that baseball tends to provide kids comes colliding with the realism of crushed spirits that tends to come with adulthood.
Oh, but with humor.
Not to mention with Billy Bob Thornton doing what he does best and bringing the kind of booze-guzzling bite that's makes it easier for us grown-ups to have to sit through a little league game.
I remember going to see this documentary the same weekend that I saw Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle.
Which, when you think about it, since this is a story of one man's expedition to reveal the ugly truth (a truth that we all probably already knew, but didn't want to admit to) about the fast food world of burgers & fries,
this probably makes the perfect companion piece to Harold & Kumar's road trip quest for artery clogging convenience food.
I'm not usually a fan of Broadway musicals, particularly those that have been adaption for the silverscreen.
The fact that this movie is on the list shows that every once in a while, one does come out that ends up sticking in my hair.
check out Christopher Walken & John Travolta in this movie.....
Last time these two "guys" starred in the same flick, it was in Pulp Fiction.
It appears that, since then,
they've gone a long way, baby.
For me, "Curse Of The Were-Rabbit" is typical in the Wallace & Gromit series from Aardman Studios.
Stop-motion animation with a British flavor, that doesn't try to whack you over the head with it's look, humor or more importantly, with any kind of "universal life-lesson".
While it's distinction from other animated films is much more subtle and evenly consistent, the overall result of The Were-Rabbit left me not so much with the kind of roaring laughter that other animated features try to shoot for, but more with a satisfying smile that was firmly set in place from beginning to end.
I know that alot of people panned this flick, but I found myself really liking this big screen adaptation of The Man Without Fear.
Now while I don't think it was the greatest superhero movie ever made (& watching Matt Damon's fighting scenes in the Bourne Identity series makes me think his look would've fit the Matt Murdock persona alot better that Affleck) but for me, it captured pretty well the feeling of the comicbook. Daredevil is a not a movie that I'll probably be recommending to any fellow comicbook aficiandos, but personally, I was very well entertained by it.
One of my fave flicks from the mid 80's was a film called Legend, starring Tom Cruise, Mia Sera & most importantly, Tim Curry, as Lord Darkness, one of the coolest (and by this point in time, one the most iconic) appearances of a demon lord ever captured on film.
Flash forward to the mid 2000's, & here is the silver screen adaptation of Hellboy, the comicbook creation of artist extraordinaire Mike Mignola.
Another crimson-skinned, muscled bound demon but with a much more devil-may-care attitude who could easily pass off as the slacker son of the aforementioned Darkness Lord of Legend fame.
My intro in the world of wizarding world was not with this film, but with the Prisoner Of Azkaban movie. After being pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed a story of magicks, monsters & mystic mysteries that I originally assumed was geared just towards a tweener audience, I
decided to check the rest of the series that had been released up to that time.
And while this first chapter isn't as tightly molded in it's story as it's follow ups, as part of the whole of the Harry Potter film series,
The Sorcerer(Philosopher's) Stone still has more than enough to be enjoyed even by those of us whose adolescence would require a lot of twists on the ol' time-turner pendant.
After a soldier returns from his military duty, he learns that three years earlier, a small gang of drug dealers had bullied his younger. Now, if this situation ended here, then it still would've made for a tale about a vet's vicious quest for vengeance that is fueled by the power of brotherly love. But add to the fact that the younger brother suffers from a mental disability, (not to mention that the script of this movie hints that the older soldier sibling also might not be in the best of health upstairs), now you've got a story that you know will end really bad for the bad guys. In short, those dope-pushers have pushed their last dope. For each of them are now running on borrowed time. Each of them are now running in dead man's shoes.
(Y'know, after penning that last sentence, I'm wondering if maybe I should look into perhaps getting a job writing movie poster blurbs or somethin'....)
A crocydile has become large enough & clever enough that it has decided to go all rogue an' shit.
Soon, on the fresh waters of the Northern Territory, a small group of river riding tourists find themselves trapped on a island of mud, and thent errorized by this carnivorous, cravenous, clever killer croc.
Will Smith in yet another big-budget, fast-paced, action-packed, science fiction movie. But this time, without the inept script of Independence Day or the goofy weightlessness of Men In Black.
And, of course, with alot more robots.
Back when the world of cinema was still in it's infancy, how could a director make a film about a vampire at a time when the first CGI special effects won't make an appearance for yet another 70 years?
Instead of an actor, hire a real-life vampire for the lead role.
*Insert your own "Hollywood-is-nuthin'-but-a-buncha-bloodsuckers-anyway" type of wisecracking analogy here*
The dead have come back to life. But this time, they're not out for blood, brains or body parts. They just want to live amongst the living.
Thus begins the process of re-integration and healing.
But if anyone thinks that people can just go on to the other side, and then just come right back, they're wrong. Dead wrong.
Oh, okay, maybe that makes this movie sound a bit more cryptic than it really is, but still,
the message of "you just can't go home again" still applies.
Le Revenants/They Came Back is definitely whay you'd call an unconventional take on the zombie genre.
For me, I found the story of Forgetting Sarah Marshall was stronger than an earlier Apatow film from this year, The Pineapple Express, but, IMO, the laughs weren't as constant or consistant. However, even though this wasn't not in the range of Super-Bad, Knocked Up or especially 40 Year Old Virgin,
if Apatow was able to keep his moves over-all at this level, I'd still go see 'em.
I was a late comer to the Harry Potter series. It took the movies Prisoner Of Azkaban & The Goblet Of Fire to convert me into becoming a PotHead.
After those films, I decided to give these earlier chapters of the Wizarding World a chance.
Because these first films were targeted towards a younger demographic, the stories didn't grab me as the later, darker stories. Still, I still enjoyed 'em for the colorful enthusiasm and youthful energy they take towards the initial arcane adventures of Harry & Co..
First let me start off by saying that, for me, this particular anime movie displays alot of the same drawbacks that I find in most manga movies as far as the somewhat distant emotional appeal of the characters that has a tendency to be part of this genre. However, the action sequences in SOTS are definitely some of the best I've seen in 2D animated form. Very smooth & successfully executed in a manner that make 'em flow with a visual energy that the viewer can follow without any confusion of what just happened (as is the case with many of today's action films, animated or not).
Also, I like how this film shows that manga stories are starting to evolve in a manner where even the secondary characters are not just throwaway characters simply to be used as target practice.
Not to mention that despite their fleeting screentime, the abundantly numerous & beautifully "painted" backgrounds were obviously not meant to be targeted to the trash bin afterward.
Overall, a visual treat that effectively displays the direction that the artform that is this medium should be moving.
Even though I agree with the general consensus that this is the better flick, I'm not surprised that this movie only fared as well at the box office as the Ang Lee's.
The Hulk always seemed to me to be a superheroic Frankenstein's monster (or maybe a more diminutive King Kong?). Therefore, it's theme has been basically the same as we've seen many times before, with no real difference in respect to a unique emotional angle. In both versions, the effort to be able to create a character that the audience could connect to never was successfully established. Or at least, established to a degree that could hold that audience during the inevitable "battle-royale". Personally, I was able to crossover a bit more just because as a comicbook nerd, I already had a nostalgic connection to this character (the Incredible Hulk was one of my favorite comicbooks as a kid). But as everyone knows, a comicbook geek is not very representative of the every-man.
My Favorite Flix from the first ten years (2000 - 2009) of the new mill.