Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Top 10 Best & Worst Movies of 2011

If I could sum up last year, 2011 was definitely the year of obscure/artsy films. In case you need a little refresher course, check out Genrocks video recap here.

Every year I have a difficult time narrowing down my "best of the best" list - there's always an abundance.
This time proved more daunting than usual due to the lack of great movies to choose from. There were a few I'm sad I missed though - My Week with Marilyn, Ides of March, Beginners and We Bought a Zoo. However, compiling my "Worst of the Worst" list wasn't difficult at all. There's always tons of those (can't believe how many awful movies I saw). Without further ado, I present my Top Ten Best & Worst Movies of 2011.


Worst of the Worst

Dishonorable Mentions:
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Horrible Bosses
The Change-Up


10. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1
Even though I enjoyed this movie (hey, I'm a fan of the books), I still thought it was hokey storytelling, cheesy and (as always) it had the signature brand of stiff and awful acting.


9. Red Riding Hood
“Oh, Grandma, what a big, bad movie this one is.” If you thought the Twilight movies were bad, this gothic, teenaged-melodrama love triangle is worse.



8. Captain America: The First Avenger
Blah. Blah. Blah. Here’s a movie that could have been First-Class, instead it was BORE-Class. Feels like it was made in a rush ONLY so they can make The Avengers.



7.
The Mechanic
If you are about to go over a ledge of a roaring waterfall and someone tosses you a line and shouts, "I'll tow you to shore, but then we have to watch The Mechanic," take the plunge. And I don't want to hear about how you can't swim either.


6.
Abduction
One of the most idiotic and cliche-ridden movies ever. It’s The Bourne Identity for underage simpletons. Cheesy mixed in with a lot of bad acting.




5. Just Go with It
Yeah, Just Don’t. The movie seemed to exist solely so Sandler and his friends could go on a free trip to Hawaii at our expense. Not only will you feel frustrated by watching this mistake of a movie, but it just lacks funny.



4.
The Green Hornet
It bored many people to tears with its attempt at a tongue-in-cheek blockbuster. HUGE epic fail. If you’re longing for a super hero movie, save your time and your money and watch The Dark Knight instead.



3.
Shark Night 3D
It tried to capture the magic of last year’s Piranha. Only this one was horrible with NO redeeming qualities. Don't eat the American teens! Actually, who cares. Watch Jaws instead.


2.
Prom
If you are ever sucked up into an alien spacecraft, and the extraterrestrials offer you a choice between getting probed with their instruments or watching Prom then fine, OK, option B, but still...

And the #1 WORST movie of 2011 goes to...


1.
Beastly
This is an awful and completely ridiculous modern take on Beauty and the Beast. This movie had some of the worst clumsy dialogue ever, the whole concept was even clumsier. It tries to cram magic and social media into the same half-baked world, and it never even approaches convincing. (rolls eyes)




Best of the Best


Honorable Mentions:

Limitless
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Super 8


10. Soul Surfer
This little one arm surfer girl made me cry. I know this pick may be a little cheesy and out of left field, but I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. It’s inspirational, touching and makes you feel good about life in general and reminds you that anything's possible.



9. Rise of the Planet of the Apes
What looked to be the most unnecessary film of last summer turned out to be a surprising hit, thanks in part to the remarkable performance of Andy Serkis as Caesar and cool old-school storytelling.


8.
Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol

Who knew the fourth installment of the series would be the best one yet. This is one terrific thriller that holds some of the best action sequences around. It’s kind of like action poetry.





7. Moneyball
The film makes a great deal of sense. It's a great film about American business. This is a pretty sympathetic view of what it takes to run a large business organization. Intriguing storytelling mixed with great acting!



6.
Midnight in Paris

This Romantic comedy is a fabulous day-dream. Not only is it funny and charming, but it’s surprising touching, and profound. Even if you’re not a fan of Woody Allen you’ll fall in love with this film for sure.



5. The Help
It's funny, touching and incredibly humane – so don't be ashamed to turn on the waterworks if you feel like it. And don't be surprised if Viola Davis walks away with a golden statuette for her performance.



4.
Bridesmaids

Director Paul Feig + hilarious Kristen Wigg headlining an amazing cast of ladies = last year’s BEST comedy and one of the best comedies in a long time.


3. Hugo
The most charming 3D adventure of last year belongs to a young boy named Hugo. This is the first real children's film by Martin Scorsese, and one of his finest films yet. If you love movies and the history of film, I guarantee you’ll fall in love.


2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
It's a film that did the seemingly impossible. The eighth film of the series ends up being the best of the series and a truly great film in every respect. It definitely ended with a bang. I’m just sad it’s finally over.

And the #1 BEST movie of the year goes to...

1. Drive
From its gripping getaway opening scene to its ambiguous dramatic ending, Drive packs a powerful punch. Yes, it’s definitely gory and violent (in parts), but it has some of the best acting, directing, and editing that you’ll be completely mesmerized from beginning to end. This film is definitely a work of art and Ryan Gosling is truly magnificent!


There you have it, folks. The floor is now yours... What movies made your best and worst list of 2011?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Trailer

Source: Youtube

It's time to return to Middle Earth once again. The first full trailer for Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first part of The Hobbit adaptation, has arrived. Apparently it will be playing in front of Tintin. For Lord of the Rings fans, like myself, this is everything you could imagine. Martin Freeman stars as Bilbo, along with Ian McKellen as Gandalf, Andy Serkis as Gollum, and many more. Take a look and Enjoy!



The Hobbit is once again directed by Peter Jackson in two separate segments. It's set in Middle-earth 60 years before Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, which Jackson and his filmmaking team brought to the big screen in a trilogy ten years ago. The Hobbit films, with screenplays by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Guillermo del Toro and Peter Jackson, will be shot consecutively in digital 3D using the latest camera technology. The Hobbit follows the journey of Bilbo Baggins, played by Martin Freeman, who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor, which was long ago conquered by the dragon Smaug. This epic film arrives in theaters in 3D on December 14, 2012.

You in??

Monday, December 19, 2011

Young Adult Review

What can be said about Young Adult other than it's this year's feel bad dark comedy. Directed by Jason Reitman and written by Diablo Cody, whose two previous films (Juno and Jennifer’s Body) both centered around teenagers. In a way, this one is also about adolescence. This movie stars Charlize Theron, one of the best actors working today, as Mavis, a character we thoroughly dislike. She's a 37 year old who still views the world as if she were still 17, when she always got her way, when her beauty made everyone fawn over her, and when she was queen of her small town.

Mavis is not a likable person. You’ll find yourself both laughing at her and with her, as you observe her incredible desperation to win back her old flame, Buddy (
Patrick Wilson). She is a woman who doesn’t have the best plan, nor does she even get it, but it’s intriguing to watch her carry out her ridiculous plan to the bitter end, with all the peaks and the valleys of her often embarrassing journey, which contains some serious and shocking, (some) funny and tragic moments.

There's definitely an underlining theme of attitude in the film, which was thought provoking - how we perceive the world and deal with the hand dealt is ultimately up to us.
Young Adult had some great performances. I'm a big fan of both Theron and Wilson. Over all it was a well put together film. I will say, though, it was a little more depressing than I had anticipated, but I'm glad I saw it.
RATING: C

What did you think of it?

The Dark Knight Rises Trailer

Source: Apple


Warner Brothers has debuted the second official trailer for Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises, starring Christian Bale as Batman and Tom Hardy as the man who breaks the Bat, villain Bane, the one with the mask and Anne Hathaway as Catwoman (I'm not too thrilled about her in that role, but we'll see). Apparently this debuted in theaters over the weekend, and it's finally out in full-on HD thanks to Apple. This looks truly phenomenal! Take a look.


Eight years after The Dark Knight, the terrorist leader Bane arrives in Gotham City, pushing it and its police force to the limits, forcing its former hero Batman to resurface after taking the fall for Harvey Dent.

The Dark Knight Rises is once again directed by Oscar nominated British filmmaker Christopher Nolan, of Following, Memento, Insomnia, Batman Begins, The Prestige, The Dark Knight and Inception.. The script was co-written by Christopher & Jonathan Nolan (The Prestige, The Dark Knight), from a story by Chris Nolan & David S. Goyer (of Batman Begins, The Dark Knight). This movie hits regular theater and IMAX everywhere July 20th, 2012.

You down?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Year in Review: Filmography 2011

Source: YouTube


I'm a huge fan of these movie montages, especially ones edited by
Genrocks. I featured his work last year (to view click here). And even though I was a little more impressed with his work in 2010, this montage is still a stunning and well crafted piece of work with great highlights from films like Limitless, Moneyball, The Rum Diary, Bridesmaids, and many more. Have a look see!



Genrocks put together a collection of films that were either produced or distributed in 2011 for what he calls, "A 230-film retrospective that celebrates this year's movies and their amazing capacity to transport us through the boundaries of space, time, and identity." It's really quite an all-encompassing look at the past year on the big screen. See the entire list of films and music used in the video right here.

What were some of your favorite films of 2011... so far?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Top 10 Most Iconic Film Scores

Photobucket

Behind most classic films there is an unforgettable score, and in most cases many of these films contain music that's even more iconic than the films themselves. A score is written specifically to accompany a film, by the original film’s composer(s). And ever since the beginning of contemporary film making music has been used to accentuate the most famous movie scenes. I have compiled a list of the most famous films scores of all time. These are melodies that everyone will recognize. Without further ado I give you my Top 10 Most Iconic Film Scores. Enjoy!


10.Gone with the Wind (1939)
Gone With the Wind is one of the most famous scores in film history. It is the highest and most immediate representation of music of Hollywood's pre-World War II Golden Age. Composer Max Steiner's beautiful melody will definitely sweep you away.



9.Indiana Jones (1981)
Take a college professor, give him a whip and a hat and you've got a movie icon. Set the entire thing to a sweeping, rolling, upbeat theme and you've got a legend. This theme, composed by John Williams, was so iconic throughout the Indiana Jones series and holds up just as well today if not better. A brilliant theme for a brilliant film.




8. Psycho (1960)
Bernard Herrmann collaborated with Hitchcock on a number of his movies, but few have matched the quality of his work here. He created a score that Hitchcock admitted provided thirty-three percent of the film's effect, and happens to be one of the greatest horror scores of all time.



7.
James Bond (1962)
Monty Norman composed his signature work with the main theme to James Bond. This widely known iconic film score introduces us to one of the most iconic spies of all time. The theme uses a surf rock style guitar riff. At the time of the first film's release, surf rock was all the craze.



6. The Magnificent Seven (1960)
The first time I heard this music, as a little girl, it was to the Tyson chicken commercial. Little did I know it was actually the theme music to a classic western. Elmer Bernstein's Academy Award nominated score includes one of the most recognizable pieces in film music history, the up-beat, rousing Magnificent Seven theme is a stellar example of a classic Hollywood score.



5. Superman (1978)
Composed by John Williams, Superman's theme is arguably one of the most instantly recognizable and iconic pieces of music of all time. The music is extremely patriotic in sound and energy. It had to fly just like the main character and Williams delivered on every level.




4. Chariots of Fire (1981)
On the film's soundtrack this piece is called "Titles" because of its use in the movie's opening titles sequence, but it widely became known as "Chariots of Fire". Written and recorded by Veangelis, his amazingly iconic film score has since been recorded and covered by numerous performers, and to this day is used in various television programs and sporting events.




Director Stanley Kubrick does something incredible with the first two and a half minutes of his masterpiece, 2001: A Space Odyssey. He gives us a black screen – no text, no images – accompanied by the dynamically growing sound composed by Richard Strauss. This music is definitely iconic for sure.




2. Jaws(1975)
Simplicity was the key to John Williams two note theme that increases in intensity to mirror the approaching shark's heartbeat as it prepares for attack. The theme is a stroke of genius. It's just as haunting as it is unforgettable.




1. Star Wars (1977)
Duh, I know it's an obvious choice, but when it comes to the most iconic film scores this masterpiece takes the cake. Though the entire series has a great soundtrack (“Imperial March” and “Duel of the Fates”), Episode IV: A New Hope is where it all started. Aside from the aforementioned main theme, the film carries within it a musical motif that John Williams manages to spin to fit just about any mood. Brilliant!


Now that you’ve read and heard my picks for most iconic film scores, what film scores to you find iconic and why?

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Cabin in the Woods Trailer

Source: Firstshowing

"This isn't right, we should split up."
Lionsgate has finally debuted their first trailer for The Cabin in the Woods, the long-lost horror film created by Drew Goddard & Joss Whedon that was originally shot in early 2009. The cast of the doomed kids in this movie includes Chris Hemsworth, Jesse Williams, Kristen Connolly, Anna Hutchison and stoner Fran Kranz. I've been hearing about this horror flick for a while now. For some reason it was shelved until recently. I'm a huge fan of horror movies! The good, the bad and the ugly, it doesn't matter. I love 'em all. Although, when it comes to this genre, it seems there are more bad than good. I have to say, though, this looks pretty awesome. Let's hope the film lives up to its trailer. Enter now!

A group of five friends going on a quiet cabin retreat scratch the surface of something so massive and horrific that they can only begin to fathom what might possibly be going on just as time quickly runs out.

The Cabin in the Woods is the feature directorial debut of Drew Goddard, screenwriter of Cloverfield and Robopocalypse, as well as work on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", "Alias" and "Lost" for J.J. Abrams. This movie hits theaters on April 13, 2012.

I'm so in! Are you?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Films of Tim Burton


I love Tim Burton films! His stories are like no others. Whether it's about a man with scissors for hands, alien invasion or a man dressed as a bat, Burton's films are filled with unique and iconic characters and striking visuals that make his films unforgettable. I've decided to showcase one of the many Kees van Dijkhuizen mash-ups. He's done a great job showcasing Tim Burton's work. His finer films like Beetlejuice, Ed Wood, Edward Scissorhands, Batman, Big Fish and more are on display with the Planet of the Apes remake even appearing. Check out the video below. Enjoy!



He seems to have succeeded magnificently in presenting the work of Burton as a director. Danny Elfman's music is a nice touch as well. While there are so many to choose from, my favorite Burton film's would have to be Edward Scissorhands and Batman. What are some of your favorite Burton movies?...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Hugo Review

In his first family/holiday film, Martin Scorsese has created a charming and enchanting winner with Hugo. A movie for grown-up film buffs, but one children can fully enjoy, so long as they don't mind a brief history lesson in the world of cinema.

This beautiful story takes place in Paris in 1931. Hugo (Asa Butterfield - who will win your heart) is an orphan who lives in the train station, stealing food to survive, repairing the station’s clocks (a family tradition) and hiding from the cruel station master (Sacha Baron Cohen).

There are two things that fascinate Hugo. One is the puzzle of this broken automaton, the mechanical man, he inherited from his watchmaker father (Jude Law). The other is the mysterious station's toy merchant, George (Ben Kingsley).

One day, George catches Hugo trying to steal from him and takes the boy's fathers journal for payment. Eventually, Hugo becomes friends with George's goddaughter, Isabelle (Chloë Grace Moretz) and together the pair try to solve the riddle of the robot, a quest that takes them in directions they never imagined.

Scorsese is actually paying tribute to a very real character here, the groundbreaking early film fantasist Georges Méliès. He captures the sheer amazement of audiences who are seeing movies for the first time and the wild sense of playful invention that film let loose in early years. Truly that would have been remarkable time to be a part of.

Not only was this movie fun and endearing, but it holds underlining themes of imagination and fate. But for all the issues it tackles throughout the films 127 minutes, it never forgets to be enjoyable. Mostly, though, this beautiful story is a film about wonder. Hugo was also shot in 3-D, which I found completely appropriate. I absolutely adored this movie! I left the theater with smiles. Hugo is pure movie magic.
RATING: A-
Thoughts?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Mirror Mirror Trailer (A Snow White Film)

Source: Yahoo

"I definitely have a happily ever after thing going on!"
Um, not really. Relativity has just released their first trailer for Tarsem Singh's Mirror, Mirror. It's a "sickeningly kiddie" take on Snow White, and you need to see it just to see what I mean. In this rendition, Lily Collins stars as the fair Snow White, Julia Roberts as the Evil Queen (really?), and Armie Hammer as the Prince. This comical take on the fairytale looks the exact opposite of The Huntsman. It's bright and cheery with over-the-top costumes and set designs. It's an animated story come to life, complete with Nathan Lane and seven silly little dwarfs. It could be cute... for the kiddies, but overall I say "just pass." Anyway, have a look-see.
Mirror Mirror is directed by visionary Indian filmmaker Tarsem Singh, of The Cell, The Fall and Immortals previously, which just opened. I'm definitely a fan of his work, but I'm not sure about this one. The screenplay was written by Jacob Grimm & Wilhelm Grimm (Machine Gun Preacher) based on the original story by the Brothers Grimm. This movie hits theaters on March 16, 2012. Well before Snow White And The Huntsman arrives in June. So the question is, which Snow White will be the fairest of them all at the box office?...

Thoughts on this?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Snow White And The Huntsman Trailer

Source: Apple

"Bring me your heart my dear, dear Snow White."

Universal has finally debuted their first intense trailer for Snow White and the Huntsman, directed by Rupert Sanders, and starring Kristen Stewart as the fairest of them all (really?). Chris Hemsworth stars as the Huntsman, who of course looks badass, and the beautiful Charlize Theron as the Evil Queen. I was extremely apprehensive not to mention annoyed when they cast Kristen (can't act) Stewart as Snow White, but after seeing this trailer all my anger vanished. This dark and twisted take on the Snow White fairytale looks amazing! Theron and Hemsworth were perfectly cast. Other case members include: Ian McShane, Ray Winstone, Toby Jones, Eddie Marsan, Bob Hoskins and Lily Cole. I'm honestly impressed, this looks unlike anything I was expecting, and pretty damn cool, especially that mirror part. WOW! You'll definitely want check this out!



You can also download the new
Snow White and the Huntsman trailer in High Def on Apple.

In this epic action-adventure Snow White and the Huntsman, Kristen Stewart plays the only person in the land fairer than the evil queen (Charlize Theron), (hard to believe, b/c Theron is gorgeous, but whatever), who is out to destroy her. But what the wicked ruler never imagined is that the young woman threatening her reign has been training in the art of war with a huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) who was dispatched to kill her. Sam Claflin (On Stranger Tides) joins the cast as the prince long enchanted by Snow White's beauty and power. This movie arrives in theaters on Just 1, 2012.

What do you think?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

30 Minutes or Less Review

Although not as funny as 2009's Zombieland, director Ruben Fleischer follows it up with a not quite as brilliant, but still funny, action-spoof comedy, 30 Minutes or Less.

The plot: Nick
(Jesse Eisenberg - love, love, love him!) is a pizza delivery guy with no ambition and headed nowhere with his life and his lone friend, Chet (Aziz Ansari), barely wants anything to do with him. Dwayne (Danny McBride) is even worse off. He plots with his friend Travis (Nick Swardson) to kill his own father (Fred Ward) in order to get a $2 million inheritance. But first he needs money to hire a hit-man, so he and his partner strap a bomb to the pizza guy and tell him to rob a bank - or he'll blow up.
Is it hard to believe that two morons like Dwayne and Travis could conjure up such an ingenious plan? Of course, it is. But we are not here to be informed, we are here to be entertained, and 30 Minutes or Less delivers as Nick talks Chet into helping him with his predicament. The charm of this movie resides in the comedic moments that come about during the execution of the scheme. The way the two prepare for the robbery is perhaps the best part of the movie. The little comments and jokes exchanged during the film were hit and miss with some of them being extraordinarily funny.

Gradually, we come to realize that the would-be criminal mastermind played by McBride is not someone to really laugh at. He is sick, twisted and evil. Perhaps the filmmakers think he is sick, twisted, evil and funny. But no.

30 Minutes or Less is fast paced, action packed, and even downright hilarious at times. Unfortunately, it doesn't keep up the momentum it first starts off with. The humor becomes stale, the actors tend to get caught up in being silly rather than moving the story along, but 30 Minutes or Less is still fairly amusing and at least worth a rental in the long run.
RATING: C-

Thoughts?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Cameron Crowe's 'Pearl Jam Twenty' Doc

Source: Vulture


I love when two of my favorite things come together and make magic - Pearl Jam and movies. It's like Christmas! I was a huge PJ fan growing up, so this is definitely exciting news. This is the trailer I'm sure fans are waiting for - Cameron Crowe's Pearl Jam Twenty documentary. The film traces the 20 year history of Pearl Jam, packed with rare footage and new interviews. This brand new trailer comes straight from the official Pearl Jam Vimeo (via Vulture) and includes all kinds of stellar footage, like a wacky David Lynch interview, lots of old concerts, (lots of which I've actually been too), and much more. This looks fantastic!



Pearl Jam Twenty is directed by Cameron Crowe (of Say Anything, Singles, Jerry Maguire, Almost Famous, Vanilla Sky, Elizabethtown, We Bought a Zoo) chronicles the years leading up to the band's formation, the chaos that ensued soon after their rise to megastardom, their step back from center stage, and the creation of a trusted circle that would surround them – giving way to a work culture that would sustain them. Told in big themes and bold colors with blistering sound, the film is carved from over 1,200 hours of rarely seen and never-before seen footage spanning the band's career. PBS will be airing this documentary as part of their American Masters series on October 21, 2011 for free on cable TV. For more info on the premiere visit pbs.org.

Who's with me?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Amazing Spider-Man'Trailer

Source: Youtube


"We all have secrets"

I wasn't too thrilled at the idea of a Spiderman reboot, more importantly at the movie's title, but that all changed after I watched this trailer. This looks amazing! Sony Pictures just released their first trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man, starring the likes of Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker, our Spider-Man hero, as well as Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy, Rhys Ifans as Dr. Connors, Martin Sheen as Uncle Ben Parker, Sally Field as Aunt May and Denis Leary as George Stacy. This definitely looks a lot better than I imagined and it definitely has me excited to see the movie now. Even though that sequence at the end looks like a video game, the trailer as a whole is just incredible. Let's hope the movie is too. Take a look!


The Amazing Spider-Man is directed by Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer). Webb is directing this new reboot of Spider-Man from a screenplay co-written by Alvin Sargent (Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 2 & 3), Steve Kloves (Harry Potter movies) and James Vanderbilt (The Rundown, Zodiac, The Losers) in various iterations. Sony Pictures will be bringing this movie to theaters next summer - July 3rd, 2012.

Interested?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Horrible Bosses Review

I had pretty high hopes for this movie. It had an amazing cast and the trailer was undeniably hilarious, but when it came down to it, Horrible Bosses was just horribly mediocre at best. Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis are this film’s oppressed or otherwise abused workers. So after a few cocktails, the put-upon pals decide to murder their employers, using schemes both convoluted and unfunny.
Horrible Bosses is the latest and least entertaining in a line of R-rated comedies, including The Hangover 2, Bridesmaids and Bad Teacher. Most of the humor involves outrageously profane or sexually lewd language and behavior - heavy on the raunchy side rather than the witty. For a movie such as this, it’s imperative to have a good balance. A running joke involves the fact that Charlie Day’s character is a registered sex offender because he was once arrested drunkenly urinating in a playground in the middle of the night when no children were around.

The film lacked real depth and had little to no heart. It felt hollow and bleak. The lack of character development rendered an “I could care less what happens to these characters” attitude. But still, with a cast like this, it would be hard not to merit a few laughs, and as poorly paced as it was, it's still better than some. In conclusion, if there was nothing better on TV and you were stuck at home on a Saturday night, it would most definitely be worthy of your time.
RATING: D+




Anyone else agree?


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