Sunday, April 10, 2016

It Would Have Been Her Happiest Day

This Friday, my niece was born. I received the message via text, with a picture attached. I cried. I was so overcome with happiness, I couldn't contain it. Later that day, I finally spoke to my brother and he told me all was well. He is not close enough for me to see this wonderful addition and with the way we've all become robots to technology, I've not even spoken to my sister-in-law yet. Everything has been through our phones, but very few voices have been heard and I am anxious to hear her coos and giggles, cries and sighs. It will, I imagine, melt my heart.

Yesterday, I had a different feeling and it shook me; physically. I knew it was coming, but I wasn't ready for how it came upon me. Someone mentioned their parents "not being ready to be grandparents" yet and I laughed, told them they have time and went down to make myself some lunch. As I sat in the kitchen, I thought about my brother and his wife, staring in wonder at the life they created and the sadness came over me. That very moment, would have been the greatest day of her my mother's life. Better than her wedding, the birth of my brother and I (both adopted, so she couldn't give us that guilt trip) and anything else. My brother's graduation from college is what kept her alive as long as she was. I'm still convinced of this. The thought of her picking this little girl up and never ever wanting to put her down, made me quite sad. I felt dizzy, couldn't eat and decided to lay down.

I think about how my grandmothers, for all their faults, loved my brother and I so completely and unconditionally. No matter how much we took their presence, or presents, for granted, they loved us more the next time they saw us. My mother wouldn't have been able to hide this. Anything this child needed, my mother would have given her and without ever thinking of the sacrifices. Much like she gave to my brother and I, despite pain, both physical and emotional, she'd have done anything for this child. I'm not one who believes she is looking down or has a hand in the future, but I just hope, that one day, I am in a position, to give this child a fraction of the love she would have received from my mother. I wish I could do everything with even a hint of the love my mother did things with. It won't ever be the same, but for her, for both of them, I'll try.

Friday, April 1, 2016

March 2016 Movies

  1. Room - Cliche driven, poorly written script can't be saved by wonderful acting. 
  2. Bedevilled - Korean drama/horror works in many ways, but that ending really bothered me.
  3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier - shockingly bad, after solid first film. 
  4. The Trial - Welles' adaptation of Kafka novel as metaphor for Nazi Germany. Perkins shines.
  5. Last Shift - Underrated horror flick, with very solid performance by star and unnerving tension.
  6. Indigenous - Panama Jungle meets The Descent. Yep! Aside from good looking women, a dud.
  7. Criminal Minds: Season 9 - Repetitive, but character development and chemistry is its charm.
  8. Macbeth - Poorly adapted script and too much scenery, makes play lose all play quality.
  9. Crimson Peak - First complete letdown from Del Toro. One of the worst movies I've ever seen.
  10. Hannibal Buress: Comedy Camisado - Very slow start, but the last 20 minutes is hilarious. 
  11. The Tribe - Sign subtitles. One of the most bizarre films ever. Troubling.
  12. Up - Emotionally charged for Pixar film, but the guts of it were lacking. 
  13. Memories of the Sword - Typical plot in genre, but stunningly beautiful final 30 minutes.
  14. Black Mass - Depp's best role since Fear and Loathing, adds to strong cast delivering.
  15. The Big Short - One of the finest adapted screenplays ever. Funny, brilliant and true - scary.
  16. Dead Friend (The Ghost) - Korean horror lacks rhythm. The frenetic ending doesn't work.
  17. Carol - Todd Haynes directs Blanchett and Mara to near perfection. Subtle power!
  18. Trumbo - Couldn't finish. Arguably one of the worst movies I've ever seen. Cranston is awful.
  19. Avalanche Sharks - Absolutely idiotic, but some truly funny lines, especially towards the end. 
  20. Floating Weeds - Ozu remakes his own and excels in using color to bring it to life.
  21. He Never Died - Henry Rollins as Cain. Sounds interesting and it is, for about 15 minutes.
  22. Twenty-Four Eyes - Japanese tale of teacher's effect on children and theirs on her. Powerful.
  23. Spotlight - Oscar winner delivers, but few too many soft touches, where I wanted more. 
  24. Black House - Korean horror takes over an hour to deliver any chills. Waste of time.
  25. Captive - Mara and Oyelowo do their best, but they are working with a thin plan. Fails!
  26. Stranger By The Lake - French erotic thriller, with lots of gay sex and very little plot. Dud!
  27. Suffragette - Starts solidly, but falls apart. No passion from female director and writer.
  28. Circle - Clever horror/thriller takes serious look at prejudice, with possibly bigger implications.
  29. The Hateful Eight - Tarantino's worst movie to date and a complete clunker. Zero good to say.
  30. Legend - Tom Hardy plays dual role as the Kray Brothers. Needed more Browning and mum.
  31. Cowspiracy - Solid, frustrating documentary that looks at the food industries scary power.
Top Three: Twenty-Four Eyes, The Big Short, Carol
Bottom Three: Crimson Peak, The Hateful Eight, Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Biggest Surprise: Black Mass
Biggest Letdown: TIE - Crimson Peak and The Hateful Eight

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

February 2016 Movies

  1. Nurse (3-D) - Aside from scantily clad beauties, this is a sad attempt at sexploitation.
  2. Flu - Korean thriller about avian flu. Forty minutes of editing could have made this a gem. 
  3. Last Year At Marienbad - Artsy puzzler with no payoff. Thankfully, it's much richer than that.
  4. Rome, Open City - Rossellini's war film has highs and lows, but the end to both parts. Wow!
  5. Wake In Fright - Cult classic that doesn't live up to the rep. Pleasance is brilliant, but that's it. 
  6. Hard To Be A God - Epic, but is it great. Hardest movie you'll ever judge. Gruesome and bold. 
  7. Days of Heaven - Malick's stunning look at life and love on the run. Style trumps substance.
  8. The Visit - Shamalyan's dud, never works on any level other than humorous rapping, 
  9. Persepolis - Animated coming of age story works well, despite some serious lags.
  10. Tokyo Chorus - 1931 silent Ozu, works common tale into something special. Poignant 10x.
  11. Ip Man - Wonderful action and solid acting, lift this above most of it's kind. 
  12. The Tale Of The Princess Kaguya - Frustrating dialogue and overly long. Don't see the allure.
  13. The Coed And The Zombie Stoner - Yes, the film lives up to it's name. Watched in FF.
  14. The Walk - Possibly the worst acting I've ever seen in a major film. Gordon-Levitt is awful.
  15. Come Drink With Me - Classic Shaw Brothers, starts strong, but fades. Solid leads.
  16. Gummo - Harmony Korine's odd tale of small town America. Odd isn't the word, but it works.
  17. Tsotsi - South African gang member inadvertently steals baby. Moving and powerful. 
  18. The Krays (re-watched) - Still holds up, but much more style than substance. Whitelaw is A+.
  19. Lawless - Superb cast plays it low key. Incredible first hour gives way to lackluster second.
  20. Hiroshima Mon Amour - Complex beyond description, yet so simple in its beauty. Masterpiece
  21. 99 Homes - Despite a great director, cast and plot, the film fails on every level. Awful.
  22. Straight Outta Compton - N.W.A. biopic is much better than expected, with stellar Cube. 
  23. Hellicon - Nice looking B-horror, makes you want to like it, but last 30 minutes it falls apart.
  24. A Touch Of Sin - I don't understand the accolades. Aside from one vignette, very boring.
  25. About Elly - My third Farhadi film. Absolutely wonderful, as simple story unfolds into chaos.
  26. Tokyo Gore Police - Dreadful, but I can see the allure. Surprisingly tame, despite title.
  27. The Martian - Pleasant surprise. Hollywood, but without the silly subplots. Simple and funny.
  28. Entertainment - Epically bad. Comedy's version of Frank fails every which way.
  29. Beasts of No Nation - Despite some potholes, incredible leads, with Abraham Attah shining.
  30. Backcountry - Cocky urban campers meet black bear. Hooray bear!
  31. Somers Town - Shane Meadows look at two kids liking same girl. Cute, but no depth.
  32. Black Coal, Thin Ice - Korean crime thriller starts off strong and completely loses its way. 
  33. The Nightmare - Documentary? A complete nightmare and not in a good way.
  34. Cries and Whispers - Bergman's colors are mesmerizing, but this one is so dark. So complex.
Top Three: Hiroshima Mon Amour, Tsotsi, Rome, Open City. 
Bottom Three: The Coed and the Zombie Stoner, Entertainment, Nurse 3-D.
Biggest Surprise: The Martian
Biggest Letdown: 99 Homes

Monday, February 1, 2016

January 2016 Movies

I'm adding a little change, with my top three movies, bottom three, biggest surprise, biggest letdown.
  1. Joyeux Noel - A beautiful true story, hurt by over-dramatization. Still works on some levels.
  2. A Pigeon Sat On a Branch Reflecting About Its Existence - Dreadful in every way.
  3. Cracks - Aside from a lovely to look at cast, the movie fails to deliver, Eva Green though.
  4. Monster - Korean crime thriller fails, due to too many undeveloped characters.
  5. Making a Murderer - Poorly done, but makes its point. About 8 hours too long.
  6. Sicario - Del Toro is the real gem, but Blunt takes nothing and makes magic. Great film!
  7. Silenced - Korean film about real life horror at school for the deaf. Well done, but horrifying.
  8. Experimenter - Silly biopic about Milgram's obedience testing. Stumbles from start to finish.
  9. Pay The Ghost - Nic Cage horror flick. Works, for about an hour, but then unravels horribly.
  10. Unfriended - Might actually be worse than The Gallows and Willow Creek. Awful!
  11. Slow West - Good, not great, but fine acting make this "foreign" western a fun ride.
  12. Me And Earl And The Dying Girl - Napoleon Dynamite meets Terms of Endearment. Solid!
  13. Sheitan - Sexy women, creepy atmosphere and Vincent Cassel can't make up for lack of story.
  14. When Animals Dream - Shockingly good, beautifully shot Danish horror film. Overly subtle.
  15. Early Spring - Ozu's look at infidelity. My least favorite so far, but Ikebe shines as wife.
  16. The Kids Are Alright - Wonderful, up until the final twenty minutes and then unravels.
  17. Far From The Madding Crowd - Wonderful cast can't save a poorly constructed adaptation.
  18. Learning to Drive - Good not great. Simple. Clarkson is great as always, but script is lacking.
  19. World of Tomorrow - Oscar nominated short. Take time to let this one sink in, it's fabulous. 
  20. Cub - Belgian horror borrows from many classics, but has an air of originality. Well done.
  21. Sharknado 3 - Awful in every way. This series has finally jumped the, no, just no.
  22. The Blind Swordsman; Zatoichi - First Takeshi Kitano movie I've ever hated. So dull. 
  23. Le Samourai - Stylish noir, limits acting and is all about aesthetics. Inspired, but dull...Classic?
  24. The Assassin - Pretty to look at, but a complete bore. Could have easily been 30 minutes long.
  25. True Detective Season 2 - The writing is so bad, you forget the decent performances.
  26. Far From Heaven - Haynes' visual feast is hurt by Quaid's sleepwalking, despite stellar Moore.

Top Three: Sicario, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, World of Tomorrow
Bottom Three: A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting About Its Existence, Unfriended, Sharknado 3
Biggest Surprise: When Animals Dream
Biggest Letdown: True Detective Season 2

Friday, January 8, 2016

Free Writing - Take 100

Very rarely, do I write from my phone. Then again, today, or should I say yesterday, wasn't your typical day. I've been certain things for certain people, but not on this day. I was not the person one turned to, the one who shared a mutual admiration with. I was not the older brother, the funny one, the first to know. I was nothing, to anyone and as I stood at the base of a semi-frozen waterfall, I realized my insignificance. I realize that this one would move on and that one would simply find someone else to share with. I realized I'm not the pillar of strength, the guide or the one with sage advice. I left the crashing sounds of the water, emerged onto the street and as I hobbled home, even the thoughts of home wore me down. I stepped slowly, wishing to dash, but physically hindered. I cake across across a schoolyard, laughter bellowing, then turned and walked. The only thoughts, about how all that I want is slowly becoming as realistic as stopping that water from rushing down. As I made the final turn, key in the door, I was greeted by a familiar face, never once feeling any more alone. The day barely half over and I had nobody to share it with. Not a single moment.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Movies of 2015

  1. I, Frankenstein - Better than anticipated and Yvonne Strahovski
  2. Room 237 - Silly, aside from the obvious observations - war, genocide, labyrinth
  3. The Outlaw (Korean) - Garbled mess with some worth ideas, but fails on each.
  4. Deliver Us From Evil - Great lead up to a disappointing final 20 minutes
  5. Ida - The best movie of the year, if not the last few
  6. Venom - Awful horror with a good cast
  7. Barricade - Will from Will & Grace sucks in this supernatural nightmare.
  8. Calvary - Incredible film by the people who made The Guard
  9. Samurai Rebellion - Mifune. Slow start, but wow what a finish.
  10. H.H. Holmes: America's First Serial Killer - Documentary - Crap!
  11. Neverlake - Extraordinary take on Frankenstein.
  12. Blood Valley: Seed's Revenge - One of the worst movies ever made.
  13. Knuckle - Documentary about Pikey clans and their ongoing feud. Good, but sad.
  14. Only Lovers Left Alive - Jarmusch delivers the 3rd greatest vampire movie ever made.
  15. Fright Night (1985) - Re-watched. Sans Chris Sarandon, a truly horrible film.
  16. Lust of the Dead - Japanese social commentary that uses tons of rape and zombies. UGH!
  17. Donner Pass - Silly teens go to a ski house. Myth attacks them, or something. ZZZ
  18. Knights of Badassdom - Dopey title, but funny horror film about LARPs and spirits.
  19. Zombies: When the Dead Walk - Awful 45 minute documentary. Truly awful. 
  20. As Above, So Below - No reason it's found footage and plagues it throughout. Meh!
  21. Contracted - Sleaze. No socially redeeming qualities at all. Truly despicable. 
  22. A Company Man - Decent Korean crime thriller, but lacks anything special. 
  23. Frank - Quirky film that barely works. Is it about Twitter or a guy with a big head?
  24. Dredd - No Stallone, but equally as silly, with the exception of lovely Olivia Thirlby.
  25. Lady Ninja Kaede 2 - Technicolor dildo, sex spells and a ninja nun who's horny. WTF?
  26. Timecrimes - Carefully done time travel movie with huge holes nobody seems to care about.
  27. The Den - Solid internet based horror with jumps, blood, violence and cute lead. 
  28. OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies - Jean Dujardin, Berenice Bejo. James Bond meets Naked Gun.
  29. We Are The Best - Teen girls keep punk rock alive in 1982 Sweden. Amazingly beautiful!
  30. Solomon Kane - Silly CGI filled crusade. Potential, but fades quickly and continues on. 
  31. Tromeo & Juliet - Troma films are a guilty pleasure and specific taste, this one was A+
  32. The Zero Theorem - Gilliams delivers with stunning performances by all.
  33. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari - Re-watched. Still hold's up, but pales in comparison to Nosferatu.
  34. The Town That Hated Sundown - Remake or Sequel? Solid start, but completely fizzles.
  35. Boyhood - Long-winded tale of growing up with a very misogynistic angle.  
  36. Filth - Scottish film with James McAvoy as bad cop. Heavy, but not the Bad Lieutenant.
  37. Trance - Great cast flounders in another Danny Boyle debacle, but words.
  38. Odd Thomas - Yelchin and my new bae Addison Timlin shine in Koontz adaptation. 
  39. Detention - Cross between Easy A, Scream & Hot Tub Time Machine. Good fun!
  40. Fighting Express Trilogy - I'm counting this as one, because I watched it in FF. Awful.
  41. Under the Skin - eerily though provoking with Oscar worthy performance by Johannson. 
  42. Killer Mermaid - aside from a tiny bikini and shorts, this one is as bad as it gets.
  43. Gone Girl - Wonderful acting can't help poor script and silly premise. Ending is a mess. 
  44. Virunga - Documentary on the preservation of Congo's Mountain Gorilla's and so much more.
  45. Thale - Noregian fairytale with slow beginning and cheesy ending, but solid guts. 
  46. Enemy - Simplistic tale of infidelity, made out to be much more complex than it is. 
  47. Friday the 13th: Final Chapter - Re-Watched. Silly fun. Forgot how lame 80's horror is.
  48. Wicked Little Things - Surprisingly strong cast carries this above par. Simple, yet effective.
  49. ABC's of Death 2 - Pretty awful sans four scenes. J, S, T, X. 
  50. The Man From Nowhere - Korean action masterpiece. It's what taken wished it had been. 
  51. White Bird in a Blizzard - Great cast in one of the worst movies ever made. Ridiculous ending.
  52. Hellraiser - Re-watched. Wonderfully creepy, but hilarious at times, especially Higgins.
  53. Dazed and Confused - Re-watched. Still probably the best Linklater film. Timely and timeless.
  54. Starry Eyes - Could have been a modern day Repulsion, but goes the demonic route. Meh!
  55. White Zombie - Poor Bela. First Zombie film ever is true to mystique, but lacks decent story. 
  56. Only God Forgives - Winding Refn and Gosling miss, but Scott Thomas is Razzie material. 
  57. Crazy Eights - Cast of up and comers (if it was 1990) can't help this horrid film.
  58. Omnivores - Wonderful Spanish horror, with a fatal flaw keeping it from brilliance.
  59. Solaris - Tarkovsky crawls us through this simple look at human's ruining humanity. 
  60. Open Grave - Silly plot that never takes hold due to horrible acting and script.
  61. The Hours (parts, reason behind it) - Incredible performances with standouts Moore and Harris
  62. Whiplash - I'm in a minuscule minority, but one of the worst movies I've ever seen. 
  63. Annabelle - Ten times better than The Conjuring. Thrilling and even has a few legit scares.
  64. Cronos - Del Toro's first is a beautiful take on a classic. Aurora is the standout.
  65. Honeymoon - Atrocious acting, silly plot and not a single boo!
  66. Finding Vivian Maier - Uneven, but wonderful doc on the secret life of brilliant photographer.
  67. Foxcatcher - 90% fictional tale, ruins a fascinating true story. Awful acting or negligible?
  68. Ravenous - Silly horror flick, but elevated by the incredible Robert Carlyle.
  69. The Judge - Predictable and filled with Hollywood cliche, but stellar cast make it enjoyable.
  70. The House of the Devil - homage to 70's/80's is typical Ti West yawn fest. Nothing happens!
  71. The Grand Budapest Hotel - Wonderfully quirky Wes Anderson does it again. Stellar Fiennes.
  72. Nightcrawler - Brilliant idea falls flat with unlikable characters and implausible second half.
  73. Dracula Untold - Solid, fun start, derails into CGI mess with awful ending. Gadon - yowza!
  74. Confession of Murder - Scattered mess of a film ends up destroying great start and concept.
  75. The Station Agent - Dinklage, Cannavale, Clarkson and Williams deliver an A+ story.
  76. Clerks 2 - Re-watched. So much of it is better than the first, but in the end, nowhere near.
  77. Rosewater - Stewart's let down and he gives in to his own detractor's stereotypes and snubs.
  78. Kumare - Powerful documentary about fake guru, who helps, despite his deceitful premise. 
  79. The Scribbler - Typical graphic novel come to life. Starts great, unravels into a true mess.
  80. Session 9 - Incredible for 85 minutes. Unfortunately it has a 95 minute running time. 
  81. Sushi Girl - Awful B-Movie studded Reservoir Dogs knock off. Cortney Palm though, wow!
  82. Fury - Solid cast, especially LaBoeuf, make up for poor script. Much better than expected.
  83. Fading Gigolo - Turturro stars and directs Allen and Paradis brilliantly in NYC. Paradis(e)!
  84. Berberian Sound Studio - I'm still not sure if this is just one big in-joke. Brilliant or Mess?
  85. Birdman - Near nauseating visuals and sound, add nothing to boring take of hurt egos.
  86. Her - Brilliant! 10/10 Spike Jonze just puts perfect scene after perfect scene. Johannson's voice!
  87. The Equalizer - Fuqua proves again he's not a very talented director and worse story teller.
  88. The Theory of Everything - Marsh's inability to gravitate towards TV movie a good cast.
  89. V/H/S Viral - My new selection for worst film ever made. Four shaky vignettes - not a movie.
  90. The Imitation Game - A near perfect film. Script, acting and music are amazing. Cumberbatch!
  91. The Drop - Littered with mistakes and red herrings, the film tries for depth the story lacks.
  92. Next Door - Awful Norwegian film with overused premise and awful giveaways.
  93. Killers - Every action plot cliche and gimmick ever, all in one movie. Absolutely ridiculous.
  94. Tiny: A Story about Small Living - Psychobabble aside, great insight into the movement.
  95. Zapped! - Re-watched - Early 80's teen hijinks flick with the Charles in Charge crew.
  96. WolfCop - Shockingly, one of the best B-movies I've seen in a long long time.
  97. Kill The Messenger - Superbly cast and Renner shines, but the last 20 minutes is dreadful.
  98. Godfather II - Re-watched. Top 25 all-time, but those final 45 minutes are magic.
  99. Mama - Re-watched. One of the best horror films of the last decade. Chastain controls it.
  100. The Lunchbox - Amazingly beautiful story, never overstepping its boundaries.
  101. Maniac (1980) - For the budget, still one of the best slasher films ever made. Creepy!
  102. Sherlock (Season 1) - Each episode starts so well, but becomes tedious and silly.
  103. Interstellar - Typical Chris Nolan hype machine. Not 1/100th as complex as advertised.
  104. The Babadook - Nothing new and over-hyped, but it works if you can tolerate the child. 
  105. Sherlock (Season 2) - Better than the first and escalates, but Ep. 1 has Lara Pulver, sigh!
  106. Dogtooth - A bizarre look at obedience, paternal dominance on the danger of naivety.
  107. The Man with the Iron Fists 2 - Not as good as #1, but the music, scenery and action is fun.
  108. Black Sunday - Bava's "classic" is downright awful and boring. Nicely shot, but that is all.
  109. Wing Chun - Martial Arts/Rom-Com (yes really) with Michelle Yeoh. Incredible!
  110. Housebound - New Zealand Horror-Comedy that deliver on every level. 
  111. Bring Me the Head of Machine Gun Girl - Sexy El Mariachi style movie with GTA theme.
  112. A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night - Awful attempt at artsy vampire tales, forgets story.
  113. Ferngully: The Last Rainforest - Cute animated tail with global message. Kids will love it.
  114. Lucy - Besson Sci-Fi with Scarjo carrying the whole thing. Fun, but downright silly.
  115. Particle Fever - Higgs particle exploration. For true physicists and science geeks only.
  116. Boy - New Zealand coming of age story, reminiscent of Napolean Dynamite, but much better.
  117. A Most Wanted Man - Miscast spy thriller. Uneven, but Rachel McAdams shines.
  118. My Bloody Valentine (1981) - Cult classic is terrible and not horror in any way.
  119. Patton Oswalt: Tragedy Plus Comedy Equals Time - Inconsistent, but some is hilarious.
  120. Sherlock (Season 3) - Very few shows get better every episode. Oh and Yasmine Akram!
  121. Big Hero 6 - Wonderful Disney Animation, Touching story, great characters and music!
  122. Nightmares in Red, White & Blue - Politically motivated horror history. Dreadful!
  123. Moonrise Kingdom - Wes Anderson at his best. Honesty meets youth. Possibly his best. 
  124. Goodfellas - Must admit, while still decent, it hasn't stood the test of time. Seems very choppy.
  125. High and Low - Kurosawa! Underrated and one of the best movies I've ever seen. 
  126. Force Majeure - Truly awful. Basic premise beaten to death, cliche resolution and then...ugh!
  127. No Tears for the Dead - Korean action that I turned off. Awful from start to finish. 
  128. Life Itself - Documentary of Roger Ebert misses the mark on almost every level imaginable. 
  129. The Hunter - Dafoe is unbelievable, as in not able to believe in this muddled mess.
  130. Alps - Oh lord! The writer/director of Dogtooth examines communication in an odd way.
  131. Predator - Still holds up. Don't watch too carefully, but still an all-time great creature feature.
  132. Selma - Impeccable direction, with one of the strongest starts I've ever seen. Oscar Snubbed!
  133. A Most Violent Year - How not to make a movie. It simply lacked everything.
  134. End Day - Silly, but very short Doomsday scenario film. Completely fails!
  135. Preservation - Standard, lost in woods tale, which teaches us to always turn our backs.
  136. Park Ave: Money, Power and the American Dream - Terrifying doc on wealth in politics
  137. Top Five - Chris Rock writes, directs and stars in a deliciously funny story about fame.
  138. Found - Wonderful horror concept is crushed by limited vision and budget.
  139. Cropsey - Pretty good take on how urban legends can resemble real life crimes or not.
  140. Wild - Reese Witherspoon is brilliant. A gritty, dark film about self exploration.
  141. Doin' It In The Park - Street basketball and its subculture. Fun if you lived in it.
  142. These Last Hours - Australian end of the world flick, works on almost every level. 
  143. Cube - Overrated cult classic, which suffers from wooden acting and absolutely no tension.
  144. [REC] 4 - Worlds better than #3 and solid finish to a very well done series. 
  145. La Haine - Visually striking and eerily current 1995 French drama. Us vs Them in B&W.
  146. Scum - Brutal drama examining youth penal system in UK. Ray Winstone's first role is solid.
  147. Still Alice - Is the title ironic? Wooden characters, even Moore, sinks this Oscar winner.
  148. Banshee Chapter - Irritating camerawork, but good acting and scares. That end though, ugh!
  149. The Mirror - Tarkovsky's visual and mental masterpiece. Indescribable in every way. 
  150. Zombeavers - Absolutely hilarious. One of the best horror/comedies I've seen in a while.
  151. The Killer - I realize it kills my cinephile cred, but this is my favorite movie of all-time.
  152. Andrei Rublev - Tarkovsky's take on Russian religion and leadership. Epic, but boring.
  153. Locke - Hardy in a car is about as exciting as it sounds, but he tries mightily to save it. 
  154. Primer - Not nearly as complex as claimed. Low budget, filled with errors, but almost works.
  155. Fruitvale Station - Story of Oscar Grant's death, carefully told and absolutely gut-wrenching.
  156. Assault on Precinct 13 - Re-watched - So underrated. One of my favorite low budget films.
  157. The Blue Room - French crime drama about affair turned bad. Starts strong, then fades.
  158. Europa Report - Almost astonishing how little happens in this space exploration story. Dud!
  159. The Rover - Beautifully styled, competently acted drama, can't save it from awful plot.
  160. Inherent Vice - PTA let me down again, second time in a row. Brolin and Belladona lone stars.
  161. Ivan's Childhood - Tarkovsky's first is a visual masterpiece with brilliant lead performance.
  162. Grabbers - Horror-Com about creatures who attack Irish Island, but their weakness is alcohol!
  163. Warrior - Hardy and Edgerton are sensational as brothers fighting for very different reasons.
  164. Oldboy (Original) - Re-watched. Still one of the greatest films ever made.
  165. John Wick - One of those movies which may be so bad that it's good. Hint: It's not.
  166. Afflicted - Found footage road trip turned vampire tale. If you don't mind the fatal flaw it's fun.
  167. Borgman - Danish psychological "horror" looks at class systems with a devilish twist.
  168. Tokyo Story- Ozu. Family. Simplicity. Brilliance in every facet of film making imaginable.
  169. Hot Girls Wanted - Disgusting, exploitative doc about amateur porn. Praised by Sundance???
  170. Army of Darkness - Campbell is great in over-the-top third part of silly horror trilogy
  171. Wadjda - First female directed Saudi film is beautiful, with incredible acting by young lead.
  172. Willow Creek - Easily one of the 2 or 3 worst movies I've ever watched.
  173. Man with a Movie Camera - Considered one of the greatest of all-time, but the music???
  174. American Sniper - If FOX was in charge of military recruitment videos, this would be it.
  175. The Past - Flawed, but superbly made drama of three lives, hindered from moving on.
  176. Leviathan - Brutally slow Russian tale,  ruined by its simplistic, monotone nature.
  177. Kill, Baby...Kill - Bava's masterpiece is atmospheric, but the acting takes away so much.
  178. The Sunset Limited - Cormac McCarthy's disheveled play, misses on every mark.
  179. Timbuktu - Weak subplots, subtitle alignment and flow, kills beautiful moments. 
  180. The Guest - Awful script, plot and acting equal an all-time worst nominee.
  181. Late Phases - Pulls no punches. Goes from start to finish with just a fun, well acted story.
  182. Deep Blue Sea - Re-watched - One of my ultimate guilty pleasures.
  183. Mother - Korean award winner didn't do it for me. All been done before and better. 
  184. A Separation - Iranian masterpiece. One of the most perfect films ever made. 
  185. The Rules of the Game - Renoir's acclaimed masterpiece inspired the craft, but not this viewer.
  186. The Machine - Much better than anticipated look at AI v Humans, from multiple angles.
  187. Trouble Every Day - Poor attempt at artsy look at cannibalism. Gallo is painful to watch.
  188. Mr. Turner - For once, the word pretentious fits. Art film about artist made for artists.
  189. A Trip to the Moon - 1902 short, which plays almost like a cartoon. 
  190. Into The Woods - Blunt, Kendrick, Streep and Huttlestone are brilliant. A gem musical.
  191. The Search for General Tso - Witty, great music and sincere homage to Chinese Americans.
  192. True Detective (Season 1) - The finest acted cable series I've ever watched. Top Notch.
  193. Ju-on 2 - Awful sequel to now classic Japanese horror film. Solid start, but then repetitive.
  194. Sunrise - Murnau's 1927 silent was the end of an era, but might be the greatest of them all.
  195. Mad Ron's Prevues from Hell - A collection of 47 horror trailers, some classics. Dud!
  196. Maggie - Arnold in dull Zombie flick with Little Miss Sunshine, fails on every level.
  197. Ex Machina - Simple minded, refurbished AI movie model. save your time, see The Machine.
  198. The Salt of the Earth - Should have been titled, famous for trivializing other's plight.
  199. The Damned - No surprised, but solid little horror flick, with very attractive everything.
  200. It Follows - Overly hyped horror, that fails when the main plot point becomes irrelevant.
  201. Summer with Monika - Early Bergman is beautifully simple, sad, predictable. Not his best.
  202. Penguins of Madagscar - Great kids movie, but lacks deep meaning and enough adult humor.
  203. Lost River - Gosling's writing/directorial debut misses bar it set and plummets to the depths.
  204. Spirit of the Beehive - I'm withholding judgement. Beautiful, but I'm too distracted.
  205. The Passion of Joan of Arc - Brilliant, bold and powerful. Falconetti is mesmerizing. 
  206. Aguirre, Hand of God - Overly long, but lush tale. Kinski is over-the-top, but effective.
  207. Freaks - Browning circus tale is exploitative, but a wonderful tale with unforgettable finale.
  208. Au Hasard Balthazar - Didn't click for me, as the parable of Marie seems misguided.
  209. Evidence - Horrible found footage, "hi-tech" thriller/horror with 1/2 a twist ending.
  210. Night of the Living Dead - Rewatched the original. One of the best ever. Says so much!
  211. Jinn - Interesting idea ruined by pretty much every aspect of bad film making. 
  212. White God - A simple powerful message about life, nature and an answer staring us in the face.
  213. The Wicker Man (1973) - Hilarious and campy, then I found out it wasn't supposed to be. 
  214. The Calling - Wonderful cast can't save it from it's own predictability. It ain't Fargo!
  215. Wet Hot American Summer - Great cast, spot on camp camp exaggeration and Molly Shannon!
  216. Cannibal Holocaust - Went in with extremely low expectations and they weren't met.
  217. Wyrmwood - Wonderful twist for the genre, but wasted by too much humor and lack of plot.
  218. The Lion In Winter - Re-watched this epic. Brilliant writing, acting and still a top 10 film.
  219. Ghostquake - Yes, it's as bad as it sounds, but it's so bad it's almost funny.
  220. 500 (Days of Summer) - Dreadful! Should have been titled Girls Are C***s!
  221. Kingsman: The Secret Service - Silly good fun, great action, ultra-violent and great cast.
  222. Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp - Funny, great finish, but movie tops it. 
  223. Blade Runner - Re-watched - Horrible in every sense, but aesthetics. Allure is built on myth.
  224. Bigfoot Reflections - 45 minute doc, which starts off silly, but ends with a real message. 
  225. What We Do In Shadows - Comedy Mockumentary about Vampires - Absolutely fantastic!
  226. Late Spring - A perfect film in every sense, but the punch is softer than Tokyo Story. Ozu!!!
  227. The Gunman - As bad and cliche filled as an action thriller can get. Awful in every way. 
  228. Dark Water (2002) - Great tension, but the payoff is so subtle and predictable, it felt flat. 
  229. Blue Ruin - Incredible, low-budget revenge film. Scant dialogue adds importance to action.
  230. Colin Quinn: Unconstitutional - Hilarious take on founding fathers and our favorite document.
  231. In The Mood For Love - Visually dazzling, but I dare you not to fall in love with the leads.
  232. How I Ended This Summer - Old v New Russia. Simple metaphor; more simple film. A bore.
  233. Creep - Found footage mess, straddles being good, but completely loses it at the end. 
  234. Kwaidan - Beautifully told ghost stories, hurt only by snail's pace and weak last chapter.
  235. Eugene Mirman: Vegan On His Way To The Complain Store - Uneven, but often hilarious.
  236. CitizenFour - Snowden doc is intense and powerful. Important as it is well done. 
  237. Early Summer - Osu's middle film from his Noriko trilogy. At times, whimsical, but solid.
  238. Children of Men - Typical, flawed dystopian tale, held together by constant movement.
  239. L'Avventura - Fellini v Antonioni, the battle for who can say less continues.
  240. A Nightmare on Elm Street - Re-watched - Thank You, Wes Craven. R.I.P. 
  241. Metropolitan - Whit Stillman's lead choice, dooms a wonderful, quirky script.
  242. Child 44 - Terrific acting and attention to detail trump predictable plot. Hardy excels.
  243. Bonnie and Clyde - Arthur Penn's direction is top ten level. A masterpiece.
  244. Clouds of Sils Maria - Truth and fiction blur, but secondary characters tear down solid plot. 
  245. Obvious Child - Hilarious at times look at unwanted pregnancy, relationships and career.
  246. The Innocents - Atmospheric ghost story, hurt by too much bump in the night.
  247. The Monitor - A chilling thriller, with a bit of a ghost story to boot. Rapace is outstanding!
  248. Pulse - Acclaimed Japanese horror film, doesn't stand the test of time at all. Horribly boring.
  249. Barry Lyndon - Finally! Beautiful. Epic. Long. But a feast like no other. I need a moment.
  250. Strangerland - Abysmal is the only word to describe. Joseph Fiennes is simply the worst!
  251. The Sacrament - Ti West has no feel for tension and this Jonestown take lacks any of it.
  252. Babette's Feast - Beautifully layered story, with about as good a final half as you'll find.
  253. Contempt - Godard's big budget mess. The epitome of convoluted. Awful in every way.
  254. Mad Max Fury Road - Easily one of the 25 worst movies and misogynistic films ever made.
  255. The Turin Horse - I'm speechless. I still haven't grasped the enormity of this film.
  256. While We're Young - After Frances Ha, I expect enormous things from Noah, this wasn't it.
  257. Life After Beth - Great Cast simply can't muster enough to make up for absolutely no script.
  258. Dark Was The Night - Acting, tension and likable characters make this a fun one.
  259. Cop Car - Possibly Bacon's worst role ever. The movie fails miserably. Thankfully short.
  260. 2046 - Kar Wai's follow up to In the Mood for Love. Doesn't work as well, but visual feast.
  261. The Only Son - Osu's story is devastating in its simplicity. 
  262. Going Clear - Scientology documentary seems to avoid all the real questions.
  263. Safe - Julianne Moore is great, the movie shows power, but DVD commentary is destructive.
  264. Dark Places - Gillian Flynn's novel comes to life and dies a slow, uneventful death. 
  265. A Propos De Nice - Vigo's silent impressive look at the good and bad of the beach community. 
  266. Tartis - Vigo's ten minute biopic on the swimmer. Genius and ground breaking.
  267. Zero for Conduct - Vigo's 40 minute kids behaving badly film. Good, not great.
  268. L'Atalante - Vigo's only feature is the classic tale of life and love. Perfect then and now.
  269. The Boy In The Striped Pajamas - Youthful innocence meets Holocaust. Very effective.
  270. Brave - Delightful Disney fluff, with an emotional finale.
  271. Insidious Chapter 3 - Awful and it may actually be the best of the trilogy.
  272. Tangerines - Estonian masterpiece. Simple, but amazing. One of 2015's Top 3 films.
  273. The Match Factory Girl - Strange, low key Finnish film with almost no dialogue. Well done. 
  274. Eyes Without A Face - Didn't do it for me, but I see how influential it was. Acting is awful.
  275. Anthony Jeselnik: Thoughts and Prayers - Easily one of the worst stand-up acts ever filmed.
  276. Pusher - Solid acting and frenetic pace make up for ho hum story. Plus, young Mads!
  277. White Dog - Cliche-filled, terribly acted 80's yarn about racism. Cute McNichol can't save it.
  278. Jug Face - Good story, solid lead and nice pace make up for lack of backstory and budget.
  279. Marjoe - Best doc Oscar is dated, but well done about child evangelist who comes clean.
  280. Pusher 2 - Solid Mads, but there is no real story until the final 20 minutes. 
  281. The Vatican Tapes - Awful, despite cute, convincing lead, but surprisingly strong ending.
  282. The Bicycle Thief - After all these years, I finally see it and I'm left baffled by its praise.
  283. Mommy - Xavier Dolan's unflinching look at so much more than just a mom and her son. 
  284. We Are Still Here - Silly horror film, with goofy ghost, ruins solid atmosphere.
  285. The Gift - A complete train wreck from start to finish, which is surprising with the stellar cast.
  286. Point Blank - Exciting, frenetic-paced French thriller that is rich as it is fun. 
  287. Le Havre - Kaurismaki's simple, nearly perfect tale of a lovable loser's altruism. 
  288. Ordet - Awe! The only word to describe my feeling. Emotions will run. Dreyer masterpiece.
  289. The Gallows - Possibly THE worst horror movie ever made. Possibly the worst movie, period.
  290. The House at the End of Time - Dull beginning, but then it turns into a truly magical film.
  291. Dead Man's Shoes - Considine is in this dark revenge tale, but I wanted a stronger message.
  292. A Story of Floating Weeds - Ozu's silent film didn't work for me, but preview of his brilliance.
  293. Day of Wrath - Dreyer's film looks wonderful and Movin is enchanting, but lacks fire.
  294. Fitzarraldo - Herzog's epic might strive to be too big, but it's impossible to ignore.
  295. Forks over Knives - Well done documentary on plant based diet, which sticks to it's claim only.
  296. The Stanford Prison Experiment - Gripping and intense, with not a single bad performance.
  297. Criminal Minds - Season 8 - The show has definitely jumped the shark, but like old characters.
  298. Ariel - Aki Kurismaki film about down and out drifter who dreams of a better life.
  299. Dead Within - What appears to be a metaphor for domestic abuse, turns out to be just silly.
  300. Shadows in Paradise - Kaurismaki's first of the proletariat trilogy is effective in its bareness.
  301. Chop Shop - Little indie, doesn't try to be anything more than it is. Queens locale is perfect.
  302. The Wolfpack - Disturbing exploitation film of kids who need real help and horribly done.
  303. Goodnight Mommy - Enormous letdown. Painfully predictable and cliche. So boring.
  304. Amy - If not for her incredible voice, this would have been a run-of-the-mill exploitation piece.
  305. The Cranes Are Flying - Russian masterpiece, with gorgeous star and cinematography.
  306. Jeanne Dielman - A look into the mundane existence of all of us, through one sad tale.
  307. Some Kind of Hate - Low budget horror, with a great idea, cute people, but fails miserably.
  308. Jurassic World - Cliche lines, product placement galore and every stereotype imaginable.
  309. Partisan - More powerful message than movie, but classic performance by Cassel.
  310. A Hard Day - Korean crime thriller is comical in it's use of cliche. Awful!
  311. Best of Enemies - Wonderful documentary on the 1968 Buckley Jr. - Vidal debates.
  312. Hannibal Season 3 - Absolute destruction of a great show. Awful, aside from some visuals.
  313. Inside Out - Pixar film about emotions, lulls you to sleep and then gut punches you with feels.
  314. There Was A Father - Ozu's somber look at father-son relationship. Feels like propaganda.
  315. Poltergeist (2015) - Very good acting and some key humor, can't salvage it.
  316. Let Us Prey - Absolutely brilliant beginning, but then relies on shoddy gore and imagery.
  317. The Skin I Live In - Good, but lesser Almodovar film. Gets too caught up in it's own trickery. 
  318. Dark Star: H.R. Giger's World - Easily one of the worst documentaries I've ever watched.
  319. Spring - Starts off brilliantly, then settles for predictable, cliche ending.
  320. The Mist - Typical King/Darabont collaboration...draw you in, then ending ruins entire film.
  321. Tangerine - Incredibly moving, hilariously funny day in the life of transgender prostitutes.
  322. New World - Highly overrated Korean mob film. Every cliche in the book and overly long.
  323. The Admiral: Roaring Currents - Epic! The last hours is as good as any war movie. 
  324. A Walk In The Woods - The book is so amazing, the movie never stood a chance. 
  325. Bone Tomahawk - Not only bad, but poorly made. Every technical aspect was horrid.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Free Writing - Take 99 - Au Revoir 2015

This blog has all but died. I still use it to keep track of movies, but that's about it. I've stopped the rants, stopped the open heart messages and stopped the insights, whether they were right or wrong. I'd like to start a new one, with a theme I stick to and maybe make some money doing it, but there is so little out there that isn't covered ad nauseam.

2015 was a horrid year for me and I don't believe tomorrow is a great rebirth. While I will always remember this year as one of the worst in my life, I did get a cat, who is my best friend. Who senses my pain and my pleasure. I "met" a friend, who gets me too. Quite possibly, on a level not to many have. While my chance at anything romantic with her isn't in the cards, a little piece of me will hold out hope, maybe for a day, maybe forever. Who knows? She tells me we don't know about the future, but I know, based on my past, we'll fade, our friendship and I'll be left with memories of something special, which I will cherish. Just like the person in 1997, who lifted me up and changed my life, in exchange for a single hug. That time, she wanted more, but I wasn't in the right place. This year also revealed I will be an uncle. I can't offer anything, but my love right now, but when I can, I will spoil that kid rotten, that I know.

So I bid adieu to this year and like the last few, you won't be missed. I'll hold tightly to the three good memories and let the rest fade away. Tomorrow won't change anything, but the last number on the calendar, but maybe that's the point. Maybe we need to stop looking at life in terms of days, weeks, months and years and simply a handful of moments we treasure, endure, escape or embrace and hopefully, when it all ends, we'll still have our wits to look back and smile.

Happy New Year.