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Added by robertstackvoice on 29 Nov 2011 05:49
826 Views 5 Comments

Side B

I write this list as I always find a good number of films in a year that I love, but just don't quite make it onto a BEST list for whatever reason. Typically because there's simply better movies to go on those lists. However these well done genre pictures tend of have a way of coming back at you later and reminding you how fun or funny or just generally cool they were.

So I'm putting up my ten favorite sort of... silver medal winners, cult, pulp fair and lesser seen flicks that (I feel like) are worth taking a look at. Many of which are DVD and streaming right now. Enjoy.
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I was strangely impressed with Kevin Smith (yeah THAT Kevin Smith) hopping far out of his element and making a surprisingly talky, sometimes trashy religious horror picture. The real gems within the whole piece though are from it's three highly seasoned performers. Michael Parks ('Kill Bill') as the cult leader, Melissa Leo ('The Fighter') as one of his faithful followers and John Goodman as a hard nosed ATF agent sent in to start dealing with a mess that goes just shy of Waco propositions.

Smith directs around the level I saw him at with 'Clerks II' and 'Zack and Miri Makes A Porno'. Aware of movement, pacing, tone and getting strong as can be performances out of as many people as he could. Now-- this isn't to say it's a straight horror picture. It's about 80% talking which is a bit more engrossing than the violence (which is cheap, but surprisingly well done). Smith's screenplay is fresher than one might expect and comes from a more methodical place then we've seen come from out of him.
There's never a GREAT moment in 'The Guard'. That's the flaw. But there's also never a bad one. Consistently funny and vibrant with a darker streak than it might let on.

One reviewer said it best by saying 'its the perfect summer movie.' And it completely is. It's light on complexity, but always fun to watch and not your usual buddy cop movie.
Letting artistic directors play around in genre filmmaking is always cool to watch. Even when it doesn't work out to perfection, it's just fun to see them play. Joe Wright ('Atonement', 'Pride & Prejudice') does a of hell of a job of livening up an atypical chase thriller with some great performances (Cate Blanchett is probably one of my favorite villains of the year), well done action sequences (ie. Eric Bana's underground fight scene & many of the frenetic escape scenes) and environments that are displayed more for beauty than blowing up.

Also the Chemical Brothers soundtrack was fucking killer.
What began as a fake trailer for a contest with the movie 'Grindhouse' has become a pretty hefty cult movie success. Rightfully so if you ask me. Truly 'Hobo with a Shotgun' is a get what-ya-pay-for kind of flick. Incredibly violent, nasty, funny and exciting as all hell.

It's a throwback to the late 70s-- early 80s line of rough and crazy street pictures. It's like Walter Hill movies on meth. I love it.
Produced by Alexander Payne ('Sideways', 'The Descendants'), 'Cedar Rapids' is a slightly forgettable, but very, very funny and sweet comedy about insurance salesmen. Ed Helms does a great job headlining, but there are a number of scene stealing moments from John C. Reliey and others.
The opening to this film is fan-fucking-tastic. The kind of action sequences that belong on the big screen, but are forced to settle for Netflix and Redbox in the U.S.. Right now Donnie Yen is one of the major talents in the martial arts film world. 'IP Man' was a fantastically fun watch and 'Legend of the Fist' only ups his status as great modern action star.
J.J. Abrams 'little picture' about kids, aliens, making movies, getting over loss and the thrill of getting into perilous situations with your best friends. Truly there are a number of cool as shit things about 'Super 8'. It's flaw comes with some heavy handed aspects in the finale.

But beyond that it's a proper homage to Spielberg's older work, it works as a smarter depiction of children in situations and its wonderful to experience on the big screen in all it's gander.
I think I love Woody Allen the most when he steps out of his comfort zone and into something very him, but also fantastical. 'Midnight in Paris' is lovely looking and feeling time travel dramedy about a man attempting to find his place in time. Whether its his own time or another remains to be seen.

Allen shoots modern Paris with splendor and at times invokes images of great old French cinema. A bit long in the tooth, but quirky, witty and original.
This is one of those that's great and just doesn't have a good fit on the end of the year list. I also think in time people will discover how great a picture it is. Michelle Williams turns in another great performance and director Kelly Reichardt ('Wendy and Lucy') composes some of the most beautiful and haunting imagery of the barren west I've seen in recent years.
This gets my CULT award of 2011. Which basically means this is the movie I want my friends to experience much in the way were shared 'Black Dynamite', 'Spaced', 'Shaun of the Dead' and 'Walk Hard'.

How 'Attack the Block' works is its a little bit 'The Warriors', a little bit goofy ass sci-fi invasion movie and A LOT of British hoods and their humor. What makes it so fun to watch is rather than simply emulating all the ridiculous stuff from the movies these guys love, they just do em' straight. I mean shit, these kids have one liners! Great one liners.

The aliens are... different. I'll just say if you're tired of the same sort of reptilian looking aliens we've been seeing lately, then no worries.

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