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RochPikey’s Top Non-2012 Movies I Saw In 2012

With all the movies I saw that were released this past year I probably saw just as many for the first time that were released in previous years.  Another blogger, PGCooper, did a post listing his top 20 non-2012 films he saw in 2012 and I absolutely loved the idea of that.  Click here to see his original post and here is a rundown of the top movies I saw in 2012 for the first time that were not released in 2012.

bronson_movie_poster_charles_tom_hardy(20)        Bronson (2008)

It takes a really good actor to play a character that is beyond out of their mind and make you want to learn more about them.  I always think of Brad Pitt in Snatch, Kalifornia, and 12 Monkeys.  Now I can add to the list Tom Hardy as Charles Bronson the world’s most famous and brutal prisoner.  Bronson was straight mad.  He just loved to fight and talked to himself about crazy philosophies.  They showed him give monologues in a theater full of people or sometimes it would be empty but it was all in his head.  Plus he would strip naked and grease himself up before he would fight the prison guards or police.  The story itself is a little muddle because I never quite understood why he was the vicious brute he was and does not see to really have a point.  But man does Tom Hardy give a great performance you just have to see to believe.

oldboy_movie_poster_chan_wook_park(19)        Oldboy (2003)

Plain and simple, Oldboy is a mind fuck.  I try to avoid profanity on my blog but there is just no other way to describe this movie.  A man, Oh Dae-Su, was held captive in a room for 15 years seeks answers for his imprisonment and what he finds may make him wish he never looked.  Dae-Su goes through the ultimate attitude adjustment.  In the beginning of the movie he is a care free jerk that chose to get drunk instead of go to his daughter’s birthday party.  While imprisoned and in search of his captor’s identity you see he is a hardened and numb to pain both physical and emotional.  It was just masterful story telling.  All the gathering of clues and character development was unique.  Even if you walk out of this movie a little disturbed you will not regret seeing it because it is a movie you will talk about forever.

i_saw_the_devil_movie_poster(18)        I Saw The Devil (2010)

Much like Oldboy, I Saw The Devil is pretty troubling and a mind bender.  A well respected cop, Kim Soo-hyeon, ignores the limits of the law as he tracks down and torments than man who murdered his pregnant wife.  Going into this movie I expected most of the film to be about his search for the killer so I was shocked at how soon he found him and confronted him.  But Soo-hyeon lets him go just to find him again committing another unspeakable act and beat the snot out of him.  This goes on until the killer figures it out and makes the cop regret not killing him when he had the chance.  I Saw The Devil is unlike any revenge movie I have seen.

 (17)        Take Shelter (2011)

Good apocalyptic movies are a dime a dozen.  Take Shelter is a different apocalyptic movie because it about a blue collar worker that has visions of a coming storm and cannot decide if he should build a shelter for his family or if he is starting to suffer from the same mental illness as his mother.  Michael Shannon is fantastic in this movie as a man who tries to keep his inner turmoil from affecting his everyday life but it shows when he least expects it and has great chemistry with Jessica Chastain who plays his wife.  Director/writer Jeff Nichols’ story builds the tension all the while you are left wondering is he really seeing signs or is he simply losing his grip on reality.

 foolproof_movie_ryan_reynolds(16)        Foolproof (2003)

This is one of those before they were stars movies that you have to check out simply to see a now famous celebrity in their early stages.  Foolproof is a small Canadian action/comedy starring Ryan Reynolds just after he appeared in Van Wilder.  This movie is just plain fun.  It’s about three friends that spend their free time planning the ultimate heist on of the friends’ place of employment but a wrench is thrown in the mix when a selfish mobster catches wind of the heist and wants a piece of the action.  I am sure the heist plan is not plausible but it was cool to see the preparation and how they planned to execute the heist because after all these guys are amateurs that have never done it before that makes it an exciting watch.  Being amateurs things do not always go to plan providing a lot of humorous moments during the planning and execution of the heist.  Foolproof is a fun turn your brain off for a laugh and some action kind of movie much like one of the Rush Hour movies.

48_hrs_hours_movie(15)        48 Hrs. (1982)

I cannot believe I just got around to seeing this movie.  48 Hrs is the feature film debut of Eddie Murphy and probably my favorite movie I have seen him in, with Shrek in a close second.  If you look on the IMDb page for this movie, it is listed as an action movie first but 48 Hrs is damn funny.  The dialogue between Nolte and Murphy was classic banter.  Then when the two final decide to put their fighting gloves on to hash out some differences it is great.  Each one hits their hay-maker and delivers a good punch-line to match (pun intended).  Also after watching it I slightly less appreciate the show White Collar which has the same premise of a criminal let out of jail to aid a veteran cop catch criminals.  48 Hrs is a lot more exciting and legitimate laughs to make it compete with any full fledge comedy.

escape_from_new_york_john_carpenter(14)        Escape From New York (1981)

One name makes this movie classic, Snake Plissken.  Kurt Russell makes him one of the most badass characters of movies set “in the future.”  The eye patch, snake tattoo on his chest, and a smart ass attitude make Snake Plissken certainly memorable.  John Carpenter, who was one of the best directors of the 70s and 80s in my opinion, creates one of the creepiest future states of New York City with the flamboyant get ups of the criminals residing in it and their ruthless aggression.  It was just a fun premise that has been done over and over since with Alien 3 and last year with Lookout.

grosse_pointe_blank_cusack_driver_aykroyd(13)        Grosse Pointe Blank (1997)

John Cusack movies always seem to have the same wit/humor.  For some it works and others is does not (War Inc.).  Grosse Pointe Blank definitely works.  Cusack plays a professional assassin/hitman that always gets his man who under the advice of his assistant decides to take a job that lines up with his ten year high school reunion where he reunites with and old high school.  This comedic take on the assassin business makes it look like any other legitimate business practice.  You got the professional/business owner, his assistant/secretary that handles all the debit and credits to keep the business in check, contracts on jobs, competition with other assassins, an assassin’s union, and avoiding trouble with government officials.  Minnie Driver, Alan Arkin, and Dan Aykroyd bring their own style of humor to Grosse Pointe Blank for a well round comedy experience.

jackie_brown_tarantino_jackson_grier(12)        Jackie Brown (1997)

This Quentin Tarantino film does not seem to get as much love as his other movies when it is probably one of my favorites of his.  Tarantino is known best for his characters and to me Jackie Brown has the best casting for these characters.  I do not mean the best collection of actors I mean that the actor were the best possible choices to play the characters.  No one but Pam Grier could have played Jackie Brown a woman caught between an arms dealer and the police.  Grier also had great onscreen chemistry with Robert Forster who is her co-conspirator in getting out of this jam alive.  Samuel L. Jackson and Robert DeNiro share some amazing scenes together because they are perfect as their characters.  Jackson as the greedy arms dealer that will do anything to protect himself is great especially in the “get in the trunk” scene with Chris Tucker; such a funny scene.  He brings in the fresh out of prison Louis Gara (Robert DeNiro) that is beyond impulsive and number to his actions make the Jackie Brown funny and intense.  Last but not least I like Michael Keaton as Ray Nicolette, one of the police officers.  A fairly simple role to play but if you watch his solo good cop/bad cop interrogation scene there are very subtle things he does with his body language and mannerisms that other actors would have missed or over exaggerated.

basic_instinct_stone_douglas_thriller(11)        Basic Instinct (1992)

Not going to lie this is one of the sexiest movies I have ever seen on top of being a great thriller.  I mean yeah there is the infamous interrogation scene with the no underwear shot but Sharon Stone is alluring the whole damn movie.  Michael Douglas as the detective is his usual cunning character but even he has the wool pulled over his eyes as his primary suspect seduces him.  The investigation itself is interesting with the evidence they gather from the gruesome crime scenes your attention never strays from the movie.  Finally now I can talk with people about a movie seemingly everyone has seen.

freaks_movie_1932_circus(10)        Freaks (1932)

The title may suggest this movie is horror but it is damn far from it.  Back in 1932 when it came out it may have been considered it but it focuses around life in the circus with unique individuals some call “deformed.”  But there is nothing horrific about this movie other than the crime which it focuses around a beautiful woman that is suspect of marrying the ring leader simply to murder him to get his inheritance.  The scene where they are all at the dinner table and the beautiful woman obviously has a little too much to drink is gut wrenching scene that even today I am taken back by what is said.

planes_train_automobiles_martin_candy(9)          Planes, Trains, & Automobiles (1987)

Many thought it was a travesty that it took me this long to finally watch Planes, Trains, & Automobiles.  Now that I have it is the funniest movie I have ever seen Steve Martin do.  Not the funniest John Candy movie however, that belongs to Uncle Buck.  Anyway, I used to travel a lot and this movie sums up every form of travel and shows how they all can go wrong.   Steven Martin goes throw the travel experience from hell and utters some words I would never have believed he ever said if I did not see/hear it for myself.  Click here for the clip of Steve Martin saying what every traveler has wanted to say at least once to people in customer service.

wild_things_movie_twist(8)          Wild Things (1998)

There is nothing more than gratifying when the end of a movie has a good twist that you did not see coming.  With Wild Things you have no chance of guessing the final twist simply because there are twists from start to finish.  It stars Kevin Bacon, Matt Dillon, Neve Campbell, and Denise Richards but for the purpose of this post it is pointless to explain what exactly their role is in this movie just know the back stabbing and changing secret agenda changes are not over until the credits roll.  Also I generally like anything Kevin Bacon is in.  Oh and I almost forgot Bill Murray makes a few appearances of comic relief as a lawyer which segues to my next movie…

man_who_knew_too_little_murray_spy(7)          The Man Who Knew Too Little (1997)

I give a lot of credit to improve and the people that do it… well.  In The Man Who Knew Too Little Bill Murray plays Wallace a small town blockbuster owner who goes to England to visit his brother who is busy entertaining guests so he set Wallace up on a improve stage act but never gets there and is mistaken for a spy to spoil a villainous plot.  I may not have quite done the premise justice but trust me when I say this movie is hysterical.  Murray treats every obstacle that comes his way as if it is all rigged in his favor despite the fact it is a real and dangerous position he is in.  I really like Bill Murray’s movies and for as little known this movie is, it may be one of my favorites of his.

a_fish_called_wanda_cleese_jamie_lee_curtis_kline_palin(6)          A Fish Called Wanda (1988)

You know when a band breaks up it is always interesting to see which ones end up making it either solo or in another band?  Well I am sure people thought the same thing when the men from Monty Python began doing their own things.  Well A Fish Called Wanda features two of the men from Monty Python, John Cleese and Michael Palin, and it definitely has their charm and wit.  Kevin Kline is also hysterical in this movie which kind of boarders the twists of Wild Things where you do not know where the story is going and who is on whose side.  Side-note, I knew after True Lies that Jamie Lee Curtis was attractive but after A Fish Called Wanda she was damn sexy.  She plays such an innocent character in most of her movies and her she is flat out deviously seductive.

creature_from_black_lagoon_poster(5)          Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954)

There should really be an asterisk next to this I have caught bits and pieces of this one before but finally got to see it from start to finish.  All you can say is that this one is a classic.  Despite the primitive design of the creature it still hold up today as cool and creepy.  It also may catch some flak for being politically incorrect with how constantly helpless Julie Adams’ character was and needed constant aid from the men on the exploration.  I get that but that is what was typical of movies back in the 40s and 50s.  Creature From The Black Lagoon is a truly icon cinematic creature that has spawned and inspired many imitations.  I have heard rumors about some writers wanting to remake it but I really hope they do not.

starman_movie_carpenter_bridges(4)            Starman (1984)

As I said earlier with Escape From New York John Carpenter owned the 70s and 80s as a director.  Starman may be one of his best as he crafts a story about an alien that takes the form of a woman’s deceased husband so she can take him from Wisconsin to Arizona with government agents hot on their trail.  As the alien that is learning to be human, Jeff Bridges earned his first Oscar nomination for a leading role and he is great.  Since he did not know much of the English language he did most of his communicating through facial expressions and man can he do a lot of it.  Also in case you were not in love with Karen Allen after Raiders of the Lost Ark you surely will after Starman.

sleuth_1972_movie_olivier_caine(3)          Sleuth (1972)

Michael Caine and Laurence Olivier play the ultimate game of wits that you would not want to be on the losing end of.  Olivier plays a very rich games and theater enthusiast that invites the man, Caine, having an affair with his wife to his mansion and challenges him to a game that puts his life at stake.  There is superb acting on both sides since they are predominately the only actors on screen. There are so many great things to mention about the story but for those of you reading this that have not seen it I do not want to spoil anything.  Just trust me that Sleuth is very engaging with the power struggle between these two intelligent movie titans.

win_win_movie_giamatti_cannavale_comedy(2)          Win Win (2011)

Paul Giamatti always picks good scripts it seems.   He rarely gets the credit he deserves and Win Win is a great example.  He plays a lawyer whose practice is suffering until he takes on being the legal guardian of a client with an ailing mind that cannot support himself.  Soon after become the guardian his client’s troubled grandson shows up and eventually joins the wrestling team the lawyer voluntarily coaches until question arise regarding the lawyer intentions for becoming his client’s guardian.  A majority of the comedy comes from the supporting character played by Bobby Cannavale and Jeffery Tambor.  They stole a lot of scenes especially when the two would battle each other to sit next to Giamatti during matches.  Most of all though, this movie is about facing adversity and it gives the best advice for it “Whatever the fuck it takes.”

girl_with_the_dragon_tattoo_rapace_oplev_2009(1)          The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2009)

Lisabeth Salander easily ranks as one of the greatest heroines to grace the screen of pages of a book.  There is a lot of depth to her character that has built up from the hellish childhood she had that you desperately want to reach out and give her a hug but she would never allow it because she cannot trust anyone.  Noomi Rapace just embodied Salander in this Swedish film directed by Niels Arden Oplev.  But she really is not the entire focus of the book/movie but how she aids journalist Mikael Blomkvist in a 40 year old missing persons case that reveals a link to sinister murders that had been dismissed years ago.  Hands down this is one of the best mysteries I have seen brought to screen with the most unlikely combo of characters working together to solve it.  I cannot praise this movie enough.  David Finch’s film is great too and so is Rooney Mara’s take on Salander but something about Oplev and Rapace’s version just feels more natural to me.

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RochPikey’s Most Anticipated Movies for 2013

After a stellar year in film in 2012 it is hard to believe 2013 could be as good if not better.  As of right now most of the trailers that are available are for movie being released in the first half of the year so it is really difficult to judge what movies I am most looking forward to some there is a mix of movies with and without trailers.  For the most part my ranking have are based on premise, individuals involved in the movie, and if they have a trailer that will undoubtedly have an influence.

Snitch_Poster_dwayne_the_rock_johnson_ric_roman_waugh(20)        Snitch

Dwayne Johnson is steadily becoming a really action hero.  Initial film appearances in The Mummy Returns and The Rundown were good but his recent roles in Fast Five and Faster show that he should be taken more seriously than just a wrestler turned actor.  Snitch has an interesting premise of a father going undercover for the DEA to prove his son’s innocence in an alleged drug deal.  But the real reason I am excited for this movie is because of its director, Ric Roman Waugh, who directed a great film called Felon.  Click here for the trailer and here for the IMDb page.

elysium_matt_damon_bald_team_america(19)        Elysium

This is the much anticipated follow up movie from Neill Blomkamp who did District 9District 9 was one of my favorite movies of 2009 and Elysium seems to be of the same sci-fi/action genre.  It is set far in the future in year 2159, where two classes (the very rich and the very poor) duke it out and the poor are lead by Max (Matt Damon) fighting for equality for the poor class.  What a liberal themed movie for a very liberal Matt Damon.  Earlier photos look like there is some great action and a very bald Matt Damon.  Click here for the IMDb page.

this_is_the_end_comedy_movie_poster_funny_actors(18)        This Is The End

Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Jonah Hill, James Franco, Craig Robinson, Danny McBride and more modern day comic favorites for audiences are all in this one… playing themselves?  Well I am sure their portrayals of themselves are kind of a satire but still great.  This Is The End is about said actors trying to survive apocalyptic conditions in James Franco’s humble abode.  I was not sure about this one initially but after the trailer this looks incredibly funny.  I thought Franco would be a one hit wonder with comedies after Pineapple Express but this looks awesome.  Click here for the uncensored trailed and here for the IMDb page.

 starbuck_movie_french_foreign_poster(17)       Starbuck

Starbuck is a French film that looks to be one of the top comedy/dramas of the year.  It about a man who upon finding out his girlfriend it pregnant that he is also the father to 142 other people as a result of artificial insemination.  What follows are lawsuits and a man trying to connect with all the children he did not know he had.  The premise is both funny and sad which is why I am drawn to wanting to see it.  The trailer makes it look like a lot of situational humor as he finds his “children” living their lives and the very real emotions that go along with it.  Here is the trailer and here is the IMDb page.

maniac_movie_poster_elijah_wood_killer_clip(16)        Maniac

Elijah Wood may be the lease intimidating or scary actor I have seen on screen even in Sin City.  So when I heard he would be playing a serial killer in the Maniac remake I just laughed.  But as pictures and trailers came out I bought more and more into it.  Earlier this week they also released the first 6 (six) minutes of Maniac on YouTube and holy crap does it look good.  It is shot in first person point of view from Wood’s character’s perspective which makes it eerie like early slasher films from the 70s and 80s.  While on the topic of the 70s and 80s it features a title track that feels right out of that era much like Drive.  I definitely got to check this one out.  Click here for the first 6 minutes of Maniac and here for the IMDb page.

machete_kills_movie_poster_danny_trejo_robert_rodriguez_lady_gaga_mel_gibson(15)        Machete Kills

Machete was the of the most fun theater experiences I have ever had.  Robert Rodriguez knows how to make a movie that entertains with great action and a good story all while mocking itself.  It is Danny Trejo’s best leading roll and I dare say Steven Segal’s best movie ever as the villain.  But Rodriguez has managed to top Segal by casting Mel Gibson as the bad guy and Charlie Sheen as the US President. WOW!  Plus as a straight guy I will watch any movie that has Jessica Alba, Michelle Rodriguez, Amber Heard, Vanessa Hudgens, Sofia Vergara, Lady Gaga, and a much grown up Alex Vega.  This will be a guy’s guy movie.  Here is an interview with Gibson about Machete Kills and here is the IMDb page

the_iceman_movie_michael_shannon(14)        The Iceman

Michael Shannon is officially joining my list of actor that the general public does not know but should along with Tom Hardy and Ben Foster.  I cannot believe he did not get a nomination for Take Shelter and was the best part of Premium Rush.  In The Iceman he plays a man that does hits for mobs until he starts to make those decisions for himself.  Shannon is rocking some serious bad guy facial hair in this one and the classic mobster wet look.  It also stars James Franco, Chris Evans, Robert Davi, Winona Ryder, Stephen Dorff and Ray Liotta.  The trailer looks legit and here is the IMDb page.

pacific_rim_movie_guillermo_del_toro_monsters_alien_robots(13)        Pacific Rim

Guillermo del Toro might get my vote as the most imaginative director in the movie business.  I know a lot of his movies come from pre-existing material but he always puts his own signature on a lot of the elements.  Best example being his creature designs.  Pan’s Labirynth has some of the coolest looking creatures and I love what he did with the Hellboy movies.  The first one is one of my top five comic book based movies.  Pacific Rim does what sci-fi fans have dreamed about, pinning giant robots controlled by humans against monstrous aliens.  Check out the cool trailer here and the IMDb page here.

john_dies_at_the_end_movie_poster_drugs(12)        John Dies At The End

If when this movie comes out and people complain about reviews spoiling ending I will be sad for the human race.  The title flat out saying how the movie should end and if it does not end that way I will claim false advertising (kidding).  Title aside John Dies At The End sounds crazy with drugs from another world that mutate people after a psychological trip that is really a trip.  It stars Chase Williamson, Rob Mayes, and Paul Giamatti who pick really good scripts.  Plus the trailer really suggests that this movie will be a blast to watch.  Click here for the trailer and here for the IMDb page.

insidious_chapter_2_movie_james_wan(11)        Insidious Chapter 2

This is the sequel to 2010’s Insidious which was one of the most chilling PG-13 horror movie experiences I have ever had in a theater.  The music made my hair stand on end and there were some legit jump scares.  Many who did not like it found it to be a rip off of Poltergeist and I completely see their argument.  These same critics must also admit that the sequel that followed Poltergeist was utter garbage compared to its predecessor.  I believe that if Insidious Chapter 2 comes out and delivers that same experience as the first movie, those critics can shove their complaints up their asses.  I do not know too much about the plot of the sequel but look forward to it none the less.  Click here for the IMDb page.

star_trek_into_darkness_benedict_cumberbatch(10)        Star Trek Into Darkness

Poke holes in the time travel of J.J. Abraham’s Star Trek and how it impacts the franchise all you want, that movie was shockingly good.  I have always preferred Star Trek to Star Wars by a slight margin but this movie extended that gap with how fun it was.  Great casting especially Karl Urban and Simon Pegg made the movie now add the screen presence of Benedict Cumberbatch as the villain to make Star Trek Into Darkness sound potentially epic.  Cumberbatch was hands down the best thing about Tinker Tailer Soldier Spy (at least I thought so) and if rumors are true that he is Khan… look out.  Click here for the trailer and here for the IMDb page.

warm_bodies_zombie_romance_comedy(9)          Warm Bodies

I have come to realize that horror comedies are one of my favorite genres after seeing movies like Shaun of the Dead, Tucker & Dales Vs. Evil, Zombieland, and Behind the Mask:  The Rise of Leslie Vernon.  Thrown in a love story that is more in the forefront of the movie rather than a side plot and you have Warm Bodies.  A zombie that falls in love with a girl works to become less dead and more human.  This seems like a new take on the zombie genre which needs some variety.  I admittedly am not a fan of traditional zombie movies which is why I could care less about Brad Pitt’s World War Z.  Click here for the trailer and here for the IMDb page

oblivion_tom_cruise(8)          Oblivion

There are a lot of scif/action/thrillers coming out next year but this one takes the cake for me.  The main reason for that is there is still a lot of mystery what exactly it is about.  It stars Tom cruise as the last man on a desolate earth as a repairmen for drone when mysterious pods land containing what appear to be human beings.  At least that is what I gathered from the trailer.  It looks like a complex thriller which I am a big fan of since they really do a great job of showing a lot in the trailer but it is difficult to piece together what is going on.  Plus one of the writers is writing the new Star Wars movie so Oblivion could be a good indicator about how that will turn out.  Here is the trailer and here is the IMDb page.

the_worlds_end_edgar_wright_simon_pegg_nick_frost_comedy(7)          The World’s End

Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost are back together after Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz for The World’s End.  The premise on the IMDb is: “Five friends who reunite in an attempt to top their epic pub crawl from 20 years earlier unwittingly become humankind’s only hope for survival.”  The key word in that premise is unwittingly.  There is no question that Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz are some of the wittiest comedy of the last decade.  I do not think I need to say more, I just love British comedies.  Here is the IMDb page.

ripd_movie_ryan_reynolds_jeff_bridges_kevin_bacon(6)          R.I.P.D.

Premise is pretty sweet, a murdered cop joins a supernatural police force called the Rest in Peace Department (RIPD) and seek out his murderer.  Sounds cool but what makes me really excited are the actors involved.  Mary-Louise Parker and Ryan Reynolds are good but I have always wanted to see Kevin Bacon and Jeff Bridges in a movie together.  I know that sounds like an odd combo but those two I just really enjoy on screen so to finally see them together has me pumped.  Random side-note too, Mike O’Malley is in it and I loved him in CBS’ Yes, Dear as Jimmy Hughes.  Not too much is out yet about this one so all I got is the IMDb page.

odd_thomas_movie_dean_koontz_stormy(5)          Odd Thomas

No one is talking about the Odd Thomas movie and I am okay with that.  Odd Thomas is based off a Dean Koontz novel about a young man that has a sixth sense to talk to the dead that must use his gift to prevent a hold tragedy from taking place.  I know it does not sound too original but it is an interesting story about an interesting character.  Odd Thomas is a short order cook by day and a paranormal detective by night.  He is going to be played by Anton Yelchin (perfect choice), his love interest Stormy Llewellyn will be played by Addison Timlin, Willem DaFoe is chief of police Wyatt Porter, Patton Oswalt as his friend/mentor Ozzie, and Shuler Hensley as the mysterious Fungus Man/Bob Robertson.  It is a great book that will hopefully be a great movie.  Here is the IMDb page.

the_conjuring_movie_warrens_vera(4)          The Conjuring

James Wan may be the best horror movie director in recent years.  Saw and Insidious must be in the list of top ten horror movies of the last decade and in interviews you can see his passion for the genre.  That aside this is about the original paranormal investigators Ed and Larraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) who investigated many paranormal events including the events that inspired The Amityville Horror.  Wan has voice his excitement for this movie and doing the Warrens justice especially after he personally met with Lorraine Warren.  I ranked this one ahead of Insidious Chapter 2 is primarily because sequels are rarely are better than the first movie and The Conjuring is its own movie.

dead_man_down_colin_farrell_niels_arden_oplev(3)          Dead Man Down

Niels Arden Oplev’s The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo in 2009 is the superior movie adaptation of the novel in my opinion even if it is only by a slight margin.  Naturally when I heard he would be working once again with Noomi Rapace I immediately got pumped up for it.  Then I heard it had Colin Farrell and Terrence Howard who are two major screen presences.  Finally I saw the trailer and this movie looks amazing.  It has looks stylish with these vibrant colors and appears to be a taut thriller.  Noomi Rapace I think will nail the damsel in distress that is has a vengeful agenda that deviously black mails Colin Farrell’s character.  Plus I think she is gorgeous.  And ever since seeing In Bruges if Colin Farrell does a movie I will see it.  That movie proved the quality actor he can be if given the right role and in Dead Man Down his character Victor seems to be in the same desperate position.  Here is the trailer and here is the IMDb page.

a_good_day_to_die_hard_bruce_willis_jai_courtney(2)          A Good Day To Die Hard

Bruce Willis gets may vote as the greatest action movie star of all time because in addition to kicking ass the guy can actually act too.  His action stardom began when he took on the role of John McClane in John McTiernan’s Die Hard and even though sequels seem to depreciate as they come out, Live Free or Die Hard was still a good movie.  This time around we get to see what his other offspring, Jack McClane is up to taking on Russian villain once again but these Russian have nuclear weapons.  This New York cop keeps getting bigger and bigger cases.  By the way, his son Jack is played by Jai Courntey who was the best part of Jack Reacher as one of the henchman for the lead villain.  Click here for the trailer and here for the IMDb page.

stoker_movie_poster_chan_wook_park(1)          Stoker

Oldboy may be the most original and thought provoking movies I have ever seen.  The ending should go down as one of the most insane endings ever.  I was grossed out, disturbed, and “oh man… that sucks!”  It is not a movie I can watch over and over but I am glad I saw it.  Oldboy’s director Chan-wook Park is also directing Stoker which I am hoping will have the same feel of eerie revenge.  Nicole Kidman looks to be taking on a character that is darker than any character I have ever seen her play before.  Mia Wasikowska, as pretty as she is, looks creepy and cold as India Stoker that will hopefully be a defining role for her.  Gives off a female Dexter vibe mixed with Javier Bardem’s character Anton Chigurh from No Country For Old Men.  I mean that as a compliment of course.  Here is the trailer and here is the IMDb page.

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RochPikey’s Top 10 Movies of 2012

top_movies_of_2012_bestUntil I started putting my list together, I never realized how good of a year in movies 2012 was.  All the genres were well represented with dramas, comedies, action, sci-fi, animation, and even westerns.  At the beginning of the year I remember my most anticipated list of movies some of which met expectations others did not.  But undoubtedly you got to love when a movie you were not expecting to like blows you away and there were plenty of those this year as well.

Here are my top 10 movies of the year along with some notable mentions at the end.

10.          Robot & Frank

One of the best kept secrets of the year.  Next to no one I talk to about movies has seen it and that is a shame!  This was easily one of the more touching and relatable movies of the year for me.  If you read my review for this then you know I love how Frank develops this relationship with the robot much like my grandmother grew to love her satellite TV after refusing to get one for years.  The way the robot does what he needs to do to help Franks ailing memory even if it means breaking the law was fantastic.  Please if you get an opportunity to check out Robot & Frank, do it.

9.            Talaash

This was an enriching movie experience all around for me.  It is one of the few movies from India I have seen that does not fit under the Bollywood label.  It is a very intriguing and well done story with very developed characters that come to life due to phenomenal performances from Aamir Khan and Rani Mukerji (Mukherjee).  It’s mystery has many twists and turns so when the movie ends I did not see the final twist coming.  Great thriller that I would recommend to anyone especially if after seeing great foreign films like Oldboy, I Saw The Devil, and Trollhunter you are looking for something new (like I was).  Click here for my full review of Talaash.

8.            Skyfall

What a comeback for the franchise… again.  Casino Royale give the franchise a fresh take after (in my opinion) the worst James Bond movie ever, Die Another Day.  Then Quantum of Solace came and took the wind out of the sail of the franchise again.  Knowing this Daniel Craig flexed some of Hollywood muscle to recruit Sam Mendes to helm this most recent installment and it was great.  Mendes gave unimaginable depth to a character that we had already seen in 22 other movies along with fun Bond action with a villain played devilishly by Javier Bardem.  It features the best cinematography of all the Bonds making it one of the top of the year.  Click here for my full review.

7.            Prometheus

Many die hard fanboys of the original Alien found this movie to be a sin but I could not disagree more.  Visually it is one of Ridley Scott’s best movies and it does a great job about raising questions about our existence without proposing answers like some filmmakers may be tempted to do.  Also I think people despised the fact that it was not the direct prequel they were hoping for even thought there was a hint of “xenomorph DNA” (as Scott puts it) in the final moments of the movie.  A lot of people put blame on Damon Lindelof but I cannot help but wonder if they had dismissed that this was in anyway a prequel would people still ridicule Prometheus?  I will never know.  Even though I did not like Prometheus as much as Alien or Aliens it was still one of the best sci-fi, action films of the year.  Click here for my full review.

6.            The Perks of Being a Wildflower

It has long been a question of mine my more authors do not write/direct movies that are made based on their novels/stories.  After author Stephen Chbosky did just that with The Perks of Being a Wildflower I am convinced that movies that were based off books that sucked could have been better had to author be more in control.  It was masterfully put together for a great story with characters you really cared about.  Logan Lerman proved his ability to play a leading role, Emma Watson showed her acting range beyond her part in the Harry Potter films, and Ezra Miller shows once again that he is destine for big things in the future.  Click here for my full review.

5.            Dredd

I have no clue why this movie bombed in the box office.  Granted to trailer seems cheesy but what superhero movie trailer doesn’t?  Dredd is hands down the most underappreciated movie of the year instead of underrated.  It is the best movie no one went to see which is sad because everyone I know who saw it really liked it.  The action and effects in Dredd was sensational considering I am not usually a fan of 3D but it was well utilized in this movie.  Karl Urban was the perfect choice to play Judge Dredd, Olivia Thirlby was great as Anderson, and Lena Headey removes any doubt about having a female villain in a comic book based movie – Headey was chilling as times as Ma-Ma.  Hopefully Dredd gets the follow it deserves once it his shelves on DVD and Blu-Ray in order to earn a sequel.

4.            Les Miserables

The main advantage this movie has over the play is that it shows a more coherent story.  During the play there is not much about the set that aids in telling the story while Hooper’s film features some incredible sets that piece the songs together better than the play does.  Even though the songs are not sang with the precision as the stage actors, they are sung with powerful emotion that it is hard not to get teary eyed as parts.  All actors involved were phenomenal including Russell Crowe who a lot of critics are giving a hard time.  As a fan of the play I see no reason why other fans of the play would not enjoy this movie.  Click here for my full review.

3.            The Dark Knight Rises

I know I am in the minority here but I thought The Dark Knight Rises was the best of the Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy.  Plot wholes aside (because every blockbuster has them) the story was just an epic conclusion.  For a near three hour long movie it crams a lot into it and never feels dragged out or slow.  Tom Hardy as Bane was the ideal villain with superior strength and brains to match which is why I liked him more than the joker.  Plus something that seems to be getting swept aside is that it is emotional.  Nolan managed to make you emotionally connected to the idea of Batman and what he meant to Gotham as a symbol not just someone going where the law could not.  I legitimately got choked up when Alfred had to tell Bruce that he had to leave and could not watch Wayne destroy himself.  Even the finally moments of the city realizing how important Batman was to Gotham as he took the bomb to the horizon was just fantastic.  And the Bane chant just ruled.  Click here for my full review.

2.            Safety Not Guaranteed

Safety Not Guaranteed may be one of the best independent movies of the decade in my opinion.  I normally am not a fan of romantic comedies but this one has heart without reaching point where you roll your eyes because of the ooey gooey-ness.  That is the result of quality writing.  Just the idea of the movie alone is great.  Journalists responding to a personal ad for someone to time travel with.  How could that not be funny?  The source of a lot of the humor is from great and natural dialogue that makes you think this is what people in that situation would.  The banter is the exact kind of banter I have with my friends which is why the characters in this movie work so well.  Click here for my full review.

1.            Looper

Let me just say I know my number 1 & 2 movies this year were time travel film but I really am not that into time travel movies these two were just that good to me.  Rian Johnson has crafted the most original time travel movies of all time with action, comedy and drama.  The best thing about it is that on two separate occasions in Looper two different characters say not to dwell on the laws of time travel because it’ll “fry your brain.”  That is possibly one of the cleverest ways to cover your tracks if there are any holes in the story.  Are there holes?  Sure, but who really cares.  Now I generally like most movies with Bruce Willis but I loved this film because it really highlights what he brings to the table as an actor.  Willis brings intensity to the action and story while adding drama and emotion when necessary as an older Joe trying to ensure his realty happens.  Joseph Gordon-Levitt nails all the mannerisms of a younger Willis but also portrays this younger version of Joe as a desperate, violent junkie which goes on to mature into Willis’ Joe.  There is a lot to Looper that it tough to get in to without spoiling anything.  Click here for my full review.


Notable mentions:  Safe, Life of Pi, Lawless, The Avengers, Cabin in the Woods, ParaNorman, Chronicle, The Grey, Killer Joe

Movies I did not see but I wanted to that could make the list:  Deadfall, The Raid:  Redemption, Silver Linings Playbook, and The Hobbit

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Personal Ranking of the James Bond Films (Including Skyfall)

Skyfall has been a major success both in the box office and critically.  If there were any doubts about Daniel Craig as James Bond, they have surely been laid to rest thanks to some brilliant writing.  How does Skyfall stack up to the preceding 22 Bond movies?  That depends on who you ask but here is how I would rank them from the ones I revisit least often to my favorites of the franchise.  (For the record I like all of them but with 23 movies to choose from you cannot help but play favorites.)

23.     Die Another Day

I was only twelve years old when this movie came out and was the first Bond movie I ever caught on the big screen.  At the time thought this movie was great but now as an adult I realized it has such a ridiculous all the technology is in this movie:  people making over their identity including their DNA, invisible cars, lasers from the sky, para-surfing (yeah guess that’s a thing), and more lasers.  It makes a real joke of the franchise with the beyond silly action.  Brosnan was said to have been upset that they were not bringing him back but I do not think they chose another actor because of Brosnan’s performance but they needed a fresh start meaning a fresh Bond.  I did love John Cleese as Q for the record, a replacement that nearly matches the original quartermaster.

22.     You Only Live Twice

Despite having the top villain performance from Donald Pleasance as Blofeld, I felt so dissatisfied with this installment.  I have always thought of Sean Connery’s Bond as the Bond that always wore a suit and confronted his enemies head on.  Then we see him here undergoing surgery to appear “oriental” to solidify his cover for maybe ten minutes of the movie then back to normal.  I did not see the point of him doing that.  Then I found the ninja assault at the end uneventful and not ninja-like except for the star disc thrown at Blofeld’s hand at the end.

21.     Quantum Of Solace

Starting with the obvious, all other James Bond movies flirt with or surpass the two hour mark and Quantum of Solace wraps up at around the hour-forty mark.  And it was not short due to a lack of action.  That means there was not much time spent on developing a plot that goes somewhere.  Not to say there was not a plot but revenge movies need a little something more to keep you interested but maybe I am being too harsh considering they made this during the writer’s strike.  And finally the villain was not menacing to say the least.  He was more of a whiner to be frank.  We knew Casino Royale would have been tough to follow but they could have done a little better.

 20.     Octopussy

This one had all the criteria to be a great Bond movie of gadgets, beautiful Bond girls, big intimidating henchman, fun chase scenes, and humor…. but something just does not feel right about it.  I am not going to cop out behind what other suggest of Roger Moore really showing his age because it is not necessarily about what Bond looks like but how the character is portrayed or treated.  I think I did not care for it much because (kind of like the final scenes of the movie) it was like watching a circus act, a mish-mosh of creative ideas thrown together with no coherency.  Plus Moore disguised as a clown is just an insult to the James Bond character.

19.     The World Is Not Enough

This was full of potential.  I mean they had a villain that cannot feel pain and they did not take complete advantage of it.  What I am getting at is there could have been a much better ending fight scene between Renard and Bond so I felt ultimately let down.  The beginning features one of the best action scenes of the franchise but sadly deflates a lot of the action that follows.  And as other blogs have mentioned Denis Richards is that bad in this movie but I also found Sophie Marceau overrated especially with how often she would wink at the fact that she was involved with the devious plot before the big reveal.  Plus I think I get a little sad with Desmond Llewelyn’s exit when watching this.

 18.     Diamonds Are Forever

Even at the 18th spot on my list, this is better than where a lot of other blogs have placed Diamonds Are Forever.  Blofeld is put to shame but I want the throw this out there:  if they had given him a different name he would have been a somewhat more tolerable villain but instead when you see and hear Blofeld’s name you kind of cringe while thinking ‘this is not Blofeld.’  I thought Mr. Kidd and Mr. Wint were possibly some of the best henchman of the franchise and not for the homophobic reasons a lot of people think but because of how effortlessly effective they were at taking out targets… except for Sean Connery.  By the way, this is not the Connery-Bond we are used to seeing.  He comes off as more light hearted which opens the door for Roger Moore.

17.     A View To A Kill

Another film I have higher than most other bloggers, but it is low for a lot of the same reasons.  As pretty as Tanya Roberts is she easily gets the nod for most annoying and least helpful Bond girl that was in constant need of being saved.  The action scenes were fun like most other Moore films.  The one that comes to my mind is Bond driving in just the front half of a car.  Then you have Christopher Walken who nailed his role as Zorn even if his scheme was simple and not one that necessarily required Bond’s involvement – he did not really benefit England by stopping Zorn.

16.     Tomorrow Never Dies

Communications as an enemy and world threat is a plausible thing especially now with the power of social media.  But it was not that exciting to me.  Staging “attacks” to pin countries at war with each other, you would think the countries would do better research than to simply listen to the headlines of some newspapers.  Jonathon Pryce was great in the role but came off laughable at times along with the rest of the movie.  What most bothered me was Michelle Yeoh’s character.  Every time she was about to shoot her gun or run she would grunt, “yahh!”  Pryce’s character even mocks it at one point which was great.

15.     Live & Let Die

Roger Moore’s debut as Bond definitely brought new light on the Bond everyone had become familiar with and made him more comedic.  There are plenty of quality laughs as intended but it is kept in check with the needed espionage feel.  The theme by Paul McCartney is iconic as well as the credits.  Not sure how I felt about the villain of Mr. Big and his voodoo cover though.  The boat chase scene after the alligator hopping was a cheap way of getting Bond out of a sticky situation.  Unlike others I was a fan of the southern, blue-collar Sheriff Pepper.

14.     The Man With The Golden Gun

First off, the sheriff was back which was good to me.  And I liked the idea of the premise about a highly precise assassin that ultimately goes toe-to-toe with Bond.  Christopher Lee is a great as Scaramanga even if the action bits leading up to it are rather forgettable.  My main quarrel was with the beginning when we are shown the model of Bond in Scaramanga’s practice labyrinth.  Did Scaramanga know from the beginning that Bond would come after him?  It just kind of bothered me when I watched it.

13.     Moonraker

As much as everyone likes pegging Moonraker as the least realistic of the Bond films to me that does not make it any less fun.  They also want to point out the “mistreatment” of Jaws.  I must say Jaws is the best part of this movie because of three scenes.  First scene is the one in the alley where Jaws gets taken away from Bond by the partiers in the parade and he ends up going along with it by dancing.  Second, I love the fight on top of the lift.  Then finally, the scene when Bond points out that Jaws does not fit Drax’s mold for his “Arian” race that he plans to create.  That brings me to my main complaint, Drax was one of the weakest villains to me.  He shoots skeet, quail, of turkeys.  Big whoop.  One bullet in the stomach and he pretty much willingly walks into space.

12.     On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

It is unfortunate the Lazenby did not have the option to put his own spin of the character, instead he was told to play Bond the way Connery did.  But maybe that was better than how Lazenby would have if he had the choice.  This is a very well done story and the plot is one of the best of the franchise.  So what is the main draw back? It is starved of excitement.  There a good ski chase but there are such long stretches of no action that at times it is hard to stay focused, especially with the dreadful Sir Hilary cover.  Plus it has the one element that subsequent Bond films must keep in mind.  It is the one where Bond became a married man and widower in the same day.

11.     From Russia With Love

My positives and negatives for this one are along the lines of #12 on my list.  It has a well developed plot and easily the most plausible of the espionage genre about foreign spies working together but not really – if that makes sense.  Plus Robert Shaw and Sean Connery’s fight scene is hands down the best hand-to-hand fight scenes of that generation of cinema and probably of the franchise.  Sad to admit though, there is a share of slow parts.  As much as it pains me as a guy to say this, the fight scene between the two gypsy girls was lame.  I get it was part of the culture Bond was visiting but it was plain dumb, almost as dumb as the threat of being run over by an airborne plain.

10.     The Living Daylights

A much underrated film in the eye of the public.  Timothy Dalton did not have the cinematic draw that Connery and Moore did so movie goers were not as friendly to Dalton even though he was arguably the Bond that most closely acts as the character in Ian Fleming’s original novels.  The Living Daylights has one of the more memorable scenes chase that starts in the Aston Martin then ends in the cello case.  It also has a great Bond girl, Maryam d’Abo as Kara Milvoy.  She starts out as this innocent musician caught up in something bad because of a friend but then she morphs into a little more of a fighter.  Then you have the trademark of a Dalton-Bond film of turning enemies on themselves.

9.       The Spy Who Loved Me

What is most memorable about this movie is that Moore’s Bond has met his perfect opposite gender match with the clever Barbara Bach.  Just when Bond thinks he has seduced her, turns out she has seduced him for the benefit of her spy agency.  It also introduces the unstoppable Jaws, this silver grinned monster even wrestles and takes a bite out of an actual shark – legendary character.  Another major plus is how well choreographed the battle at the end was.  Last but certainly not least this movie has the best theme song of the franchise because honestly “nobody does it better” than James Bond.

8.       Skyfall

Skyfall welcomes Daniel Craig into the luxuries of what all the other Bonds had:  technology and humor.  The introduction of Q was a must for this movie and was done successful by making the technology he has to offer Bond more in line with the times by focusing more on computers/networks than on weaponry.  That combined with Craig’s cold and tough as nails reinvention of Bond makes this one of the top films of the franchise alone.  Next throw in a villain that used to be an agent with expert computer knowledge and vengeance on the brain you get a top-notch thriller.  Click here for my full review.

7.       Dr. No

There is no arguing with the movie that set the standard for Bond movies to come.  After this movie there is no other way for this character to introduce himself than to say “Bond.  James Bond.”  A beautiful Bond girl in Ursula Andres as Honey Ryder and Bond delivers the perfect line for the situation when questioned if he was looking for shells:  “No.  I’m just looking.”  Even though there are plenty of lines like this in the movie it never feels silly and maintains the serious tone.  Dr. No, the villain, I memorable not just because he was in the first film but because of his mechanical hands that was the result of his own mistakes.  You got to love a villain with a gimmick in a Bond movie.

6.       For Your Eyes Only

I know I will catch flack for not only putting this one in my top ten but ahead of Moore’s most popular film The Spy Who Loved Me.  The main draw for me is that Moore’s light-hearted and playful humor is there but is tame.  Kristatos is one of the more underrated villains in my opinion because of all the Bond movies he is one villain that comes as a surprise.  This we discover after we are initially lead to believe Topol is the villain.  Guess we should have known because how could Tevye from Fiddler On The Roof be a bad guy?  Inconceivable.  Plus I appreciated seeing Bond pull out some MacGyver moves with his shoe laces to help him climb back up the rope at the end of the movie.  That proved that Bond can be resourceful to get out of a mess without the use of a gadget that just happens to be perfect for the situation.

5.       Licence To Kill

I think this will be the biggest shock to most people reading my list.  As much as I love witty remarks, I prefer a Bond that is darker and more hard edged especially when he is seeking vengeance.  Quantum Of Solace could have taken a lesson from Licence to Kill on how to do a Bond movie where he is seeking revenge against orders.  The main reason I am such a fan of this installment is because of how realistically Bond takes out his enemy.  Now let me explain.  I know the action and explosions are not realistic but what I am referring to is the method.  He takes out who he can on his own but he also plants a lot of seeds that turns Sanchez on his own henchman.  Speak of Sanchez, Robert Davi nails this performance of a high rolling drug cartel leader that hides his profits in stocks and bonds.  To top it off we have the two Bond girls of Licence To Kill:  Talisa Soto as Lupe Lamora and Cary Lowell as Pam Bouvier.  The latter Bond girl I will go on record as saying she is my favorite of the franchise.  Not only is Lowell/Bouvier gorgeous but she a fighter and an expert army pilot that aids Bond in the end of the movie.  What I think hurt this movie most was the unnecessary “R” rating it got from the MPAA which may have kept potential viewers away.

4.       Casino Royale

This was a complete reinvention of James Bond back to his roots which needed to be done after the ridiculous joke of a Bond movie that was Die Another Day.  Daniel Craig brought Bond back to his hard-nosed, ruthless roots.  This is the one James Bond novel I have read and was shocked to see how closely the movie followed the novel.  They changed the card game which was fine because I had no clue what cards he needed or why.  But anyway, Daniel Craig does not meet the physical description but definitely nailed the demeanor of a killer agent with no restraints for his personal well being.  Eva Green was the perfect Vesper and made her mark in Bond girl history by being nearly as much a fit as to Bond just as Bach’s character was in The Spy Who Loved Me.  Plus after the science fiction bummer that was Die Another Day, this features a more grounded experience.  Casino Royale’s first twenty minutes alone is some of the most exciting action I have seen in any movie.  Only thing missing was some of those classic little gadgets (poison cure injection hardly counts) and you have a great Bond movie.

3.       Goldfinger

Most consider Goldfinger the quintessential James Bond movie because of all the iconic images and sayings associated with it:  the dead woman smothered in gold paint, a competitive round of golf, Bond’s fight with Oddjob with his blade-brimmed top hat, legendary Bond girl named Pussy Galore, Auric Goldfinger saying “No, Mr. Bond.  I expect you to die.”  The list is endless really.  Something else noteworthy is that this was the first instance of a GPS in a car.  Granted it is fictional but it is fun to toy with the idea that the James bond gadgets have inspired some real life technology of the future.

2.       Goldeneye

Brosnan’s first film as Bond and hands down his best as his take on a Bond that is cool, calm, and witty with a near blank expression that says a lot about what he is thinking.  The main reason I prefer this movie over most of the rest is the fact that is a battle between two double-O agents is a trust test about whether Bond really is the best of the best in the British secret service.  I mean we have seen him work/compete with spies from of countries but never against one that was trained like he was.  Agent 006/Alec Trevelyan was also a friend of Bond’s which adds another depth of drama after Bond leaves him for dead.  Goldeneye’s conclusion of these two slugging it out on the satellite is one of my favorite fight scenes of the franchise; only second to Connery vs Shaw in From Russia With Love.  Throw in a Bond girl that is also a great henchwoman, Xenia Onatopp, who is a brilliant character.  Knowing Bond’s weakness for sex, Onatopp manages to make a near sexual encounter painfully terrifying for Bond making it a joy to watch on screen.  What this all suggest is the amount of time that was spent writing Goldeneye.  The jokes are original and are delivered perfectly by Brosnan.

1.       Thunderball

For a movie made in 1965 Thunderball is an action movie far ahead of its time.  First off the opening sequences feature Bond sparring with a cross dressing spy and an escape by jet pack.  That is right a jet pack.  Then cue the music of Tom Jones singing the theme of Thunderball.  I have no clue what the song is about but the last note Jones hits is plain epic.  Thunderball also set a Bond film high of three women that he sleeps with and one of which he has sex with at the bottom of the ocean.  Not in submarine or an underwater liar, it was in the water amongst the sand, coral, and fish.  That is legendary to me.  Plus Domino was one of the most beautiful Bond girls of the franchise.  For those of you that are fans of the Austin Powers films, you can thank Largo for being the inspiration for No. 2, eye-patch and all.  The last thing worth mentioning is the underwater battle between Largo’s men and the British officers.  In a documentary on Thunderball, they said they did not want to limit themselves when filming it so they shot every possible  fight scenario they could think of and hope to assemble something coherent.  Now some get bogged down in the duration of the fight and that there seemed like a lot more people dying than there were initially in the water but I cannot help admiring what was accomplished.  They filmed this in 1965 and it appears better than some of the underwater fights we see today.

So there is my list.  It is one that not many people will agree with but one that I will stand by.  Feel free to post comments of criticisms if you want.  I am always open to hear other bloggers’ opinions.  Sorry if this was too long.  This was a long and daunting task so I hope you all enjoy looking through it.

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Friday The 13th Movie Marathon On Friday The 13th

This is a tradition of mine for as long as I can remember.  Before the days of DVD’s I remember popping in different VHS tapes with the horror classics recorded on them from when Joe Bob Briggs hosted a Monstervision that featured I think five of the Friday the 13th films.  I was probably about around the age of ten but this was not my initial exposure to the franchise that came a few years earlier when I caught the eighth installment on television and could not turn away from it.  I remember being curious about what the previous seven had to offer but being like eight years old I could not get near any of these movies in their true form so when this marathon came around I was all over it.  Thus every year since I have tried to watch as many Friday the 13th films I can on any give Friday the 13th.  If you are still stuck on what Monstervision was here is a TV spot for it:

If you need a refresher on any of these Friday The 13th/Jason Voorhees movies click on any of the links below.  I am not embedding the videos in because this post would be ridiculously long.

Okay, set let the ranking begin from the worst to my favorite of the franchise. (And warning if you have not seen all of the movies this will contain SPOILERS.)

12.)    Jason Goes to Hell

This movie was such a disgrace.  I feel like they tried to answer a question that no matter what answer you gave it was not going to leave a good taste in the mouth of any Friday The 13th fan.  That question of course is “How the hell does Jason Voorhees keep coming back stronger than the last movie?”  I thing most fans would have been just fine accepting that he is a zombie!  But they had to venture almost into the science fiction realm with this demon worm thing going from person to person and when Jason comes back you stab him with this special knife it will sent him to hell.  No this could have been a cool movie if it were to have had nothing to do with this franchise.  If they applied this idea to a whole different zombie serial killer it could have been good but they should have left Jason out of it.   2/10

11.)     Jason X

As if the Jason Goes to Hell was not sci-fi/fantasy enough for you these filmmakers wanted to toss the machete wielding Jason Voorhees into out space in a distant future where human like androids with no nipples and little micro bugs that patch up wounds and dead flesh.  Again, they tried to understand how he kept coming back to life but just decided to have a little fun with the setting and in a way it kind of was fun.  But it was so poorly scripted and acted that it never really got interesting.  Like the previous movie on this list I applaud the idea but it just does not work with the franchise.   4/10

10.)     Friday the 13th Part 5:  A New Beginning

I think it is pretty obvious that Paramount could not leave the cash cow franchise alone after the fourth film.  So they decided to follow the successful fourth film with this piece of garbage.  The scares and kills go well with the franchise but it all ended up being a scam!  Jason was not even in this movie, I mean I know he was not in the original film but the reason for all the sequels was that he was the one kills Camp Crystal Lake’s visitors.  Plus all the paranoia of the film’s lead character gets flat out annoying at times.  The rest of the films after this are ones that I can watch more regularly.   4/10

9.)     Freddy Vs. Jason

I know this is not an official Friday the 13th film but because of the fact that Jason Voorhees appears in it, I am including it.  This could have been something great!  I mean it definitely gives fans what they wanted, a classic show down in both killers’ worlds each.  The way in which they brought the two slasher legends together was the best part of this film.  But that is where the pros just about end really.  The cast was mostly annoying except for Brendan Fletcher as Mark one of the two in the asylum.  He was hysterical and the only really rounded character to me.  All the rest I could not wait to see if Jason or Freddy were going to get them and just left me wanting more.   5/10

8.)     Friday the 13th (2009 Remake)

A question I have been asking myself a lot lately “Why are they remaking that?”  I stand behind the idea that it the original movie was good there is no need to update it or remake it.  This is a pretty good example.  It pretty much sums up movies 1-3 which I thought was pretty cool but at the same time does nothing different which helps and hurts it.  It helps because Jason is a runner again instead of a slow walking but somehow still manages to show up everywhere zombie!  At the same time if there is nothing different you wonder why they had to remake it.  Also it bordered on being too funny that it almost mocked itself and kind of takes you out of the tense part of the movies.  This was a better remake than say Michael Bay’s A Nightmare On Elm Street or Rob Zombie’s abominable Halloween7/10

7.)    Friday the 13th Part 2

This film marked the debut of the camp-party pooper Jason Voorhees.  This installment has a lot to be praised for.  I definitely is creepy and makes you rethink wanting to be a camp counselor.  The thought of a deranged man seeking revenge for his mother’s death reason enough to be creeped out but that it is a guy with a pitchfork and a potato sack over his head with only eye hole really makes you wonder not only what he is capable of but also what lies underneath that sack that he only needs one eye hole?  Plus the film’s star, Amy Steel was actually really good in my opinion or at least way above par when compared to most other performances in this genre.  Plus who could forget some of the final scene and the classic line of “Jason, mother is talking to you!”   7/10

6.)     Friday the 13th

This is the movie that started it all.  This movie is iconic for so many reasons.  It introduced us to so many stereotypes that fuelled so many sequels and encouraged many imitations.  Most films or franchises have a theme song that ties all the films together.  Halloween has that eerie piano theme, the Nightmare films have that xylophone chime, and Saw has that big unravel, techno-esque song at the conclusion of its films from Charlie Clouser.  The Friday the 13th films have a sound that CH-CH-CH-AH-AH-AH that is enough to make the hair on your neck stand up because you know you are in for a jump scene.  Plus who could forget Betsy Palmer’s performance as Mrs. Voorhees.  Even though her time on screen is very limited (much like Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs) she still owns the movie.   8/10

5.)     Friday the 13th Part 7:  New Blood

This one and the next I know will shock a lot of horror fans but they just seem to strike something with me.  I thought the idea of Jason going up against of someone with telepathic powers was pretty cool and really leveled the playing field for a change.  Normally it is see Jason and run for a lot of characters but this one she was actually able to combat him, slow him down, and have him hanging from a rope for a change.  I also feel this one had the most cringe inducing screams ever from one of its minor characters, Maddy.  If you have seen it you know what I mean.  8/10

4.)     Friday the 13th Part 8:  Jason Takes Manhattan

As I said earlier this was the first film of the franchise that I saw so naturally that may affect my rating of it.  Something about the slimey zombie look suited Jason for this movie.  There are holes up the wahzoo in this one as far as consistency with the legend and the ending that makes absolutely no sense even though I think I knew what they were going for.  But like I indicated earlier the change of scenery is never a bad thing.  I kind of like the isolated in a boat with an unstoppable killing machine roaming the decks.  Plus I cannot help but laugh everytime I see the scene were when Jason gets threatened by the punks all he does flash them a look at his face and they freak out and run.  Love that scene.  I give it a biased 8/10.  (The music for the video below was subbed in for a joke but does not negatively impact it.)

3.)     Friday the 13th Part 6:  Jason Lives

Earlier I mentioned the five movie marathon hosted by Joe Bob Briggs on Monstervision, well this was the final movie of the marathon and the only clip I could find on YouTube from that marathon.  This was my favorite of the zombie era Jason films simple because it involved the person who killed him in the first place, Tommy Jarvis.  The humor was great for this kind of movie.  It had the light hearted business team playing paintball in the woods, the RV scenario was hysterical, the camp counselors and kids not really wanting to be there and the list goes on but none of it was over the top like in the remake.  Last but not least let us not forget the awesome song Alice Cooper wrote especially for this movie.  Below is the clip from the Monstervision marathon and Alice Cooper’s video for “The Man Behind The Mask.”

2.)     Friday the 13th Part 4:  The Final Chapter

Debatably the most respected of The Friday the 13th franchise next to the original, the fourth installment featured a lot of early appearances for actors to be known for greater things later, mainly just Crispin Glover and Corey Feldmen.  In a way the remake in 2009 most closely resembles this film but falls short in every respect.  The group of sex-crazed friends in the movie felt more authentic and really I guess likeable.  I mean watching Crispin Glover do his geek dance was easily one of the best dance scenes of any movie and you really hoped it would end up getting him laid so then when he does I remember when friend and I were watching it we all cheered for him.  Sign of a great character in a horror movie even if he not a major character and dies short after.  And how could you forget the machete beat down Jason got at the end of this one.  Damn.  Remember I did warn you about spoilers.  9/10

1.)       Friday the 13th Part 3

This one barely beats out The Final Chapter for my all time favorite Friday the 13th film.  It is the film where Jason first dawns the infamous hockey mask and is displayed as a tall and power force to be reckoned with.  Honestly, that might be the only thing it has over its successor because the two films are quite similar in kills and thrills even though it lack that “star power” if that is what you want to call what Glover and Feldman did for Part 4.  The 3D is as cheesy as 1980’s 3D can be but that almost gives it character.   9/10

So there it is.  My favorite Friday the 13th/Jason Voorhees films after re-watching them all this weekend.  This is by far the longest post I have ever done so I you managed to make it all the way through I applaud you and thank you for reading it all!

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Scream TV Series Heading to MTV?

Consider yourself a fan of the horror franchise Scream or at least a fan of the original?  Then this news will either excite or dismay you, MTV executives are working on bringing Ghostface to your screen on a weekly basis.  This is an interesting development for many reasons both potentially positive and negative.  I personally am a huge fan of the franchise but I am torn about if I should be excited or be concerned.

I will start with the positives.  It would be cool to see a season long development of who is Ghostface as appose to an hour and a half long movie.  And to be honest that is where my excitement ends because there are a lot of question marks about who would be involved.  There are three essential names in all of the Scream films, Wes Craven, Kevin Williamson, and Neve Campbell.  Not knowing much about any of these individuals I would guess Craven and Campbell will not be among the credits.  Williamson I am still uncertain about because writers can be very versatile.

The negatives are pretty obvious.  All revolving around the fact that the show will be on MTV!  The channel’s programs revolve around their reality television like Jersey Shore which audiences love or love to hate.  Last night also debuted there TV take on Teen Wolf which is receiving mixed reviews.  But to me I think it all comes down to if Kevin Williamson is involved with the creative development of the show.    He knows the flow of the series and he said in interviews leading up to the release of Scream 4 that he had plans for sequels should the fourth film perform in the box office, which it sadly did not.  So if they could transcend Williamson’s ideas for each sequel into a season think could have great potential.

But I am always interested in other people’s thoughts on the subject so feel free to comment!

Consulted Source:

Anderton, Ethan.  “MTV Turning SCREAM Franchise into a TV Servies.” Date Posted:  June 4, 2012.

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Random Movie of the Week: Terri

(I do not own this photo)

Very few movies reflect the truth of high school experiences.  A lot of people see movies like American Pie, Superbad, Project X, or The Girl Next Door even and think, “Is that what high school is like in other places in the country?”  Well this high school comedy/drama paints a pretty true picture much like the way The Breakfast Club did.  I am not saying that Terri is similar, just that the story and characters feel real by saying and doing things typical of any high school student.

Terri follows a tall, overweight loner (Jacob Wysocki) that is missing excitement in his life once he starts taking care of his uncle who is suffering from some form of dementia.  Terri begins to wear his lack of enthusiasm for his life by dressing in nothing but pajamas which catches the attention of the high school principal (John C. Reilly).  In working with the principal Terri becomes acquainted with some schoolmates that he did not expect to interact with.  Need more information or want to put a face to the names, here is the trailer:

This drama-comedy is more towards the drama side but does have its share of dry comedy.  Being an independent film, the way the movie is shot is very raw.  What I mean is its use of silence due to lack of dialogue or background music, in my opinion, helps it by making it feel real.  When we walk through everyday life there is no background or theme music so why should these sorts of movies?  When I say there is a lack of dialogue I do not mean there is not any but the dialogue feels very authentic for the characters and situations.

The two performances to make note of in this film are from Jacob Wysocki and John C. Reilly.  Now I am not sure how old Wysocki actually is but he looks like he could still be in high school.  If you think back to the kids in high school that fit his physical description they act just like he does in this movie!  He is very reserved and has resentment towards authority such as the gym teacher (great scene by the way) and when he meets with the principal, John C. Reilly.  Reilly plays the role to perfection.  Principal Fitzgerald reminded me a lot of the guidance counselors of at my high school and how I thought they would be behind closed doors.  They come off as sort of tough in front of others but when they work with “disruptive” students I could see them being very buddy-buddy and try to establish a connection using a formula they use for all their other students.  It essentially shows that they do not treat other students like they are unique which I have always thought.

Overall, I give it a 7/10 because I feel the meaning of the film kind of fades towards the end of the movie.  Again it is a very dry comedy which is not everyone’s cup of tea.

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