Friday, November 22, 2013

THE TEN BEST MOVIES OF 2012!!! (Sorry for the,- [frustrated sigh, muttered under breath] sonab***h. (Really frustrated scoff)] Sorry about the, dammit, 11-month delay. (Man, I need to start getting paid for this.) OH, AND THE TEN WORST FILMS TOO.

Well, again sorry for the lateness of this. I was hoping it'd relatively on time, even for me, but I seem to never get around to watching every major or important film anymore until deep into the year and the leaves start turning colors. As of today, I've seen 215 films from 2012, and the first thing I have to open with is that, this was NOT a good year for films. Now, of course, this is a ridiculous and completely subjective thing to say. That's like saying a particular year was a bad year for painting or books or something, we're not even going to be able to fully analyze this for years to come, and when people say things like this, they're not talking about every film of that year. They're narrowing this down to the very top of the year, and you know... if you base 1976 on a film like "Gus", then it was a really shitty year, and you forget about "Rocky," and "Network" and "All the President's Men" and etc. etc. But, Harvey Weinstein came out during the Oscar season and said that 2012, was the best year for films since 1939, a very bold statement considering highly-regarded in this bizarre conversation that year is. And a lot of others people have been agreeing and making this claim too, I see it all over the FB chat rooms, and they're all wrong! I know how subjective this, but by absolutely no standard do I consider this a good year for films. It's not that there were a lot of bad movies, there weren't, in fact, I gave a positive review to every single Best Picture nominee this year, that's only second time in the last five years I've done that, so there were a lot of good films, but there weren't a lot of great ones or even special ones. The past two years I've been doing this blog, and creating my annual Top Ten list, I seriously considered about 30 or 40 films each year, on whether they could or should make my Top Ten List. This year, it wasn't 20 seriously, probably more like 15, and I was struggling to fill this list. Other years there were some really good movies out, where even the second tier and third tier and fourth tier films, were not only memorable, they were very good, and easily could, in others years, like this one, made my Top Ten list. I think that's why the Oscars were so goofy this year, and I don't think they made any really awful choices either, I think they were just struggling with a bad year to figure out what to honor, and they did the best they could, and they made some reasonable choices, but this was a year of good, and not a year of great.

EXCEPT, for DOCUMENTARIES! Something that was completely overlooked in 2012, in the midst of Affleck not getting nominated, and all the great film hyperbole was that this was an incredible year for documentaries. Last year, when I gave out my OYL Awards, for 2011, I had ten documentary nominees, which was the limit, and I hadn't seen "Pina" yet, at the time, and it would've been nominated. This year, 3 documentaries made my Top Ten, I've never had that many before, and honest-to-God, I could've had about 5 or 6, there's about a dozen docs in my Top 50 from this year, I will have ten Best Documentary nominees at my awards this year, I easily could've had 15 or 20. And they were all kinds too; this is one of the very best years for documentaries I've ever seen.

Alright, well, we're counting down from TEN to ONE, at long last and wait, and while, yes, there's a few movies I have to get to, so this subject to change, but with a very high amount of confidence, here's my list of the Top Ten of 2012!


#10. Wreck-It Ralph

Wreck It Ralph Movie 1920x1080 pixel Hd Wallpaper

As I mentioned before, I struggled more than ever to come up with ten films for this list, and as I thought and rethought carefully about my list, and tried a few different films in a few different places, for different reasons, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I can't leave off "Wreck-It Ralph". Not only was it the best animated film of the year, this was truly a film that not only showed me things I never saw before, but a lot of things I never thought I'd see, and you don't need to be a big fan of video games to truly appreciate that the film was made by people who were, and truly cared about getting it right.

From my original review:
When you realize just what they've done, it becomes clear that "Wreck-It Ralph" is some kind of mini-miracle. I never was what some would consider a video game junkie as a kid, or even now....  That said though, I couldn't believe it when King Koopa, Sonic the Hedgehog, Pac-Man, and QBert, were all in the same movie.... From the moment the characters made their appearance, in their retro video game animation styles, I was sold, and knew I was in for something quite unique. Apparently, just like our toys in "Toy Story," when an arcade, if you can ever find one anymore (I do miss cool arcades, wish Scandia was still open, I think I held the record on "Clutch Hitter" on that.) , is closed for the night, the characters from all those beloved games come to life, and have lives of their own. They have fun, they go get drunk at Tapper, but for the bad guys, it's a little depressing. There's a Bad Anonymous group held by one of the "Pac-Man" villains every night. (I want to say Blinky, but I get confused on the "Pac-Man" character names.) Wreck-It Ralph (John C. Reilly) is a classic video game bad guy. Very classic, his game, "Fix-It Felix Jr", where he smashes and wrecks a high-rise condominium while, Felix, (Jack McBrayer) fixes it with his father's magic hammer. Ralph is tired of being the bad guy who gets thrown off the roof and living in the dump while Felix keeps medals. Desperate after wrecking a party he wasn't invited too, he leaves his game and goes through the Game Station Central, and decides to jump games, in order to play a good guy and win a medal. A very risky move considering that, people have noted that, if you did in another game, you die forever, and potentially lead to the death of both games... He  then finds himself in a candy-influenced go-kart game called "Sugar Rush", where he meets a glitch named Vanellope (Sarah Silverman) A glitch in video game lingo, and btw I didn't know this either, is when a character is programmed into a game at one point, but isn't used in the final product, instead of going back into the program and digging the character out, it much easier for a programming to just leave the character in, but not use them, or have them unconnected to the actual gameplay. This is even done, when whole levels or sections or minigames for instance, are left unfinished or abandoned, they just leave them on the program. Vanellope wants to be a racer however, and with Ralph, she gets a shot, but having a glitch become apart of the game, can be devastating to the game,....  I love the care and imagination put into "Wreck-It Ralph". This is a film made by people who absolutely love video games, and not just playing them, every aspect of them. The design, the creativity, the history of them, how they, like animation, has evolved over-the-years, and how they have become more complicated. There's many kind of animation used in "Wreck-It Ralph", all of them done amazingly well, especially the inventive design of the candy-inspired Sugar Rush world, it's really inspiring. There's a lot of in jokes, some I caught others I didn't, but they weren't as pressing or obvious as they've been in recent animated films. Strangely, I think the key to the film was good characters, which can be rare enough in an animated film sometimes, but in the world of video games, they can really be rare, but here they really thought them through well. I don't quite know how high I'd rank "Wreck-It Ralph" in the recent animation canon, but I can't stress enough, just how much fun, it is....

I really can't stress the fun part enough regarding "Wreck-It Ralph," this is the most enjoyable and purely entertaining film on my list, and I mean that in the most insouciant and carefree, childlike form of fun. The bright color, the multiple worlds they created, it's so bright and so bright, you can't help but like it. And you know, for a video game culture that we're in, we've been trying to adapt video games to film for years, or even using video game structure, for other art forms even, like the recent "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World", was the big experiment with film doing that, a big failed experiment I think, and it was after this movie that I realized, they've been doing all wrong, you don't take a video game and adapt it to a film, you start with film structure, and then place it, in a video game world. Also, I think we are coming to the end of the golden age of animation, but this wasn't a bad year for animation, I gave 5 STARS to multiple animated films, a lot of people I know, don't think "Brave" deserved the Oscar, I obviously don't either, but that was a good film too, but this one, not only was the fun, the most inventive, this was the one, where I thought, "I can't believe they pulled this off and got it made!"; I think it was in development, since the '80s, this film took like 25 years to finally get made from the original concept, and it feels like they were working at it everyday of those until they made sure they'd gotten it right, and that they weren't just waiting for the technology to catch up. This was worked on, on the script level, on the production design level, on everything. Really a special film.

#9. Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God

Documentarian Alex Gibney, is one of the absolute best in his field, making quality, investigatory and informative documentaries for years. His prominence began in '05 with the great documentary "Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room", and he won an Oscar for his film "Taxi to the Dark Side", but I think an argument can be made that "Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God", could be his best, as the documentary details the first time when a pedophile priest in America was openly accused of pedophilia and it proceeds to investigating the history and procedure of Vatican inaction, and oftentimes, Vatican acceptance of pedophilia from the priests, that led to this worldwide epidemic.

From my original review:
There's a lot that can be taken out of "Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God", but the main thing I must say that I got out of it is that no religion should have any reason whatsoever to hide what they're doing. I learned some startling things about the Vatican in this film. Like the first noted case in the Vatican archives of sexual abuse from a priest to a minor dates back to the 4th Century....

...I'm gonna pause, and just say that the movie's particularly powerful, and frankly, it's hard for me to even write this review, because it's so disturbing. Murphy's actions were brought to the attention of Archbishop Cousins of Milwaukee, as well as two other Milwaukee archbishops. Nothing happened. The adult minors started going to the police, but they couldn't do anything, for lack of evidence and a statute of limitations had run out. They took the matter into their own hands, and started passing out flyers, proclaiming Rev. Murphy a pedophile, and passing them out at churches and posting them around town. This started getting attention, but still, when Murphy finally left the St. John's school, it was because of failing health, and the accusations of abuse, were edited out of the Milwaukee newspaper's report of the story. He would continue to molest and assault for years afterwards. This is part one of the story, the second involves the process through which these claims and cases make their way up through the Vatican, and the actions they themselves take, or didn't in most cases....The clear issue is that the system of the Catholic Church and the Vatican is that it's first goal is to protect the invisibility of the church, and of the order of priests, and not the victims of their crimes. It's an outdated and unrealistic system, and as it's become clear that this abuse wasn't relegated to America, somebody has to explain to the Church that their shield of invincibility is no longer acknowledged.... "Mea Maxima Culpa..." will frighten and make you mad, and frankly you'll be discouraged and some might be disenfranchised. Why? The movie is mostly, a detailing of facts, mixed with interviews, and some guest voiceovers for the mute deaf victims of Rev. Murphy, who are currently working on suing the Vatican.... 

...And I stand by that opening, no church should have any reason not to have complete transparency. To see "Mea Maxima Culpa..." is to understand why this message and demand needs to be repeated.

You know, there've been other documentaries and investigatory news stories about the Catholic Church in recent years, but the way Alex Gibney, puts this together, it's startling. The interviews with the now-grown up victims of Rev. Murphy, who were the first people to start naming and passing out flyers, at anybody who was a pedophile, they basically inspired Megan's Law, and the fact that they were deaf, makes these speeches more powerful. When I think back on it, and I saw it recently, it's still fresh in my mind, but the movie this film actually remind me of is the "Red Riding Trilogy" about the corruption in Yorkshire that led to the Yorkshire Ripper's reign of terror lasting over a decade, and how the real sadness about corruption in power is that, is people not doing there jobs, and creating a system they're simply incapable of doing them, even if they wanted to, they were stopped at every corner, and the disturbing thing is that's very much constructed in this manner. This film, was originally on the Oscar shortlist for the Documentary Oscar, it wasn't nominated, but then it found it's way onto TV, on HBO I believe and it won three Emmys, and Alex Gibney, his worst documentaries are more interesting than most good documentaries, and he directs so many of them like three or four a year sometimes, it's hard to keep with him sometimes, this is a great documentary from him. More people should see it, more Catholics should see it too. 

#8. Django Unchained

Quentin Tarantino's latest, "Django Uncahined" is #8, and I don't think anyone's surprised to find the film on my list, but Some might be a little surprised that I'm ranking "Django Unchained" so low on my Top Ten list, and while I certainly rank it as one of the best films of the year, I'll admit, this wasn't what I consider Tarantino's best or most inspiring work, but what it is, is a great film by a great filmmaker.

From my original review:
For the first half of "Django Unchained", Tarantino proved he could make a Western. In the second half of the film, he proves that he can make a Tarantino film. I'm personally apprehensive towards "Django..." on one hand, it's clearly a masterful film, by a master filmmaker, but on the other hand, it doesn't have quite the insouciant feel of Tarantino's best work. With "... Basterds" for instance, his first foray into Tarantino-izing history, there was a gleefulness in which he was rewriting the history books, a joy, if you will, not just in watching the movie, but in making the movie. This movie, doesn't have some of those trademarks. No movie theatre, no importance on shoes, it's almost like Tarantino has grown up and decided to just make that spaghetti western, or in this case, a spaghetti, southern, I guess.... What the film has that I love, is wonderful acting and writing, a great creative tale, some daringness in its setting, and despite the fact, the movie's a little early in terms of, when exactly dynamite was invented, it has some cool things, being blown up! It's 1858, in the South, and Django, (Jamie Foxx) is a former runaway slave, who suddenly finds his freedom at the hands of a German dentist-turned-bounty hunter, Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz). He needs him to identify the Brittle Boys, Big John, Little Raj, andd Ellis, (M.C. Gainey, Cooper Huckabee, and Doc Duhame, respectively) who had tortured him long ago, after he and his wife, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), who was raised in Germany believe it or not, and speaks fluent German, tried to escape.... After Django and Schultz, take them out, they strike up a deal to teach Django to be a bounty hunter, and after the snowfall, they'll go find Broomhilda, who they find out, was sold to Candieland, the harshest plantation in all the South, run by the eccentric and cruel Calvin Candie. (Leonardo DiCaprio, one of his best roles) Their objective, to buy Broomhilda, and grant her her freedom, so that Django and Hildy can go off up north together, and to do this, they come up with a scheme involving buying one of Candie's Mandingo fighters as a misdirection. What ends up happening, is a bloodbath; I don't think I'm giving anything away by saying that, it's practically an inevitability, and, it should be. The ending is gratifying, but the performances are what's out-of-this-world. Jamie Foxx's role is in a deceptively difficult, and I already wrote his name in my Annual A.M.P.A.S. memo, but, and I don't want to hint at anything here, but there's an amazing performance, by Samuel L. Jackson; I'm not gonna give away his part, but it's a great comic performance,.... It's over-the-top, but it's perfectly over-the-top, and Jackson-, I swear, Jackson, Dicaprio and Waltz, if all three of those names got Supporting Actor Oscar nominations, I wouldn't be shocked; this may be, the best overall acting, ensemble, of all Tarantino's films, and that's saying something, and I know you can say that about any of his films, but these are some really good memorable characters, and some great performances here. The skill, and the talent levels are off the charts, even the songs are great, and Tarantino, uses original songs for the first time ever to tell this story, a good choice. I appreciate that Tarantino is trying to expand his horizons and challenge himself as a director, but this time, I think it took something away from my personal enjoyment of his work....

My review as I look back on it, and it was a five-star review, and I stand by everything I wrote, is really of a lot of high-level criticism. For anybody else, "Django Unchained," would be there greatest accomplish, the film their known by. I think you can argue that this might be Tarantino's 5th or 6th best film. That said, boy is it a great film. It's entertaining, it's stylized, it's a lot of fun, and it's filled with exceptional performances. Waltz deserved and won his Oscar, but even more than having great performances, Tarantino has a way of creating great characters that we want to see onscreen, and actors want to play. You can tell, these actors are having fun in these roles, and that's not an insult. It so hard to create characters and parts that actors and audiences can truly have fun with, and still create a world, where not only do these characters make sense and are believable, and also work well on screen. He is one of our greatest screenwriters, one of our greatest filmmakers, and he's making some of the best and most imaginative films right now.

#7. The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The film that effected me the most personally and emotionally from 2012 was "The Perks of Being a Wallflower". It's rare enough to see and find a good movie about high school, but this one wasn't just good; it got it absolutely right. This is the probably the high school movie I would point to and say that, "this" is what high school is like. Even some of the best John Hughes film, I have a hard time saying that with. Certain episodes of "My So-Called Life" came somewhat close, but as I've been going through some of the emotions of a (Yikes!) ten-year reunion and reconnecting with many from my high school class in recent months, the more I realize who special a film like this can be, as a time capsule, as well as guide for future generations. (God, that sounded corny, ugh!)

From my original review:
I think the difference between a wallflower, and whatever-the-hell-I-was in high school is that, a wallflower goes to parties and things, when invited (or not) whereas I refused to go. I never read Stephen Chbowsky's book, but I had long heard of it. It's been placed in the modern canon, on the same shelf as J.D. Sallinger's "Catcher in the Rye" and Sylvia Plath's "The Bell Jar", and now I'm thinking that I missed something having skipped over "The Perks of Being a Wallflower". It's one of those films where you're either gonna have an emotional connection to it, or you're not gonna have any real connection to it. You probably were one of the jocks in high school, who beat up kids like Charlie (Lucas Lerman), or possibly the girl in Advanced English who sat next to him, and called him a faggot everyday. Charlie's had some troubles. He takes medication for it, and writes to a mysterious "Friend" once in a while to discuss his situation, as he counts down, literally all the days left in high school, starting with day one. He's not popular, and when he's not sitting alone at a lunchtable, he lies up against the wall at whatever dance it is. That is, until he meets Patrick (Ezra Miller), the only Senior in his shop class, He's quirky and eccentric, and gets in trouble for making fun of the teacher, but he isn't mean, and Charlie spots that, correctly. At a football game, he goes to talk to him, and gets introduced to Sam (Emma Watson). At first, they're so nice and close, Charlie confuses them for a couple, but they're actually half-siblings, and they take a liking to Charlie. They go out to eat, and they take him to parties, where there's Buddhist goths and a rich jean thief, and brownies, and occasionally other drugs. Patrick we learn is gay, and is having a secret affair with Brad (Johnny Simmons) the school's star football player. Sam, is dating a kid in college named Craig (Reece Thompson) who's an obnoxious photographer, but Charlie has a crush on her, and she knows he does too, although so does, the bossy Buddhist Goth, Mary Elizabeth (Mae Whitman). All these elements would make good or even, interesting high school stories in of themselves, actually, the film doesn't focus on the soap opera and the triviality of hormones and emotions, it deals with the inner pains and struggles, those that aren't obvious, but are carried around them, like heavy shoulders. Charlie started seeing images and had to go to the hospital after his Aunt Helen (Melanie Lynskey) died on his birthday, which happens to be Christmas Eve. His older sister Candace's (Nina Dobrev) relationship with Ponytail Derek (Nicholas Braun) is abusive, and she's hiding it from everybody, but Charlie knows, and he remember the abusive relationships Aunt Helen was in all her life. Sam had a very rough freshman year, on top of a father who allowed her to be sexual abused. Still, there's dances, and parties, and drugs, and impromptu performance at "The Rocky Horror Picture Show", and relationships starting and ending, and crushes and a surprisingly aware and generous English teacher (Paul Rudd) who always has a new book for Charlie to read....  There are some greats shots here, especially through the Fort Pitt tunnel in Pittsburgh, where the film was shot, and took place. It's unusually well-acted. Ezra Miller, in particular is becoming one of my favorites actors with this part,.... All three major roles actually, very complicated teenager roles, especially strong. "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" is strikingly believable as a high school film, as a coming-of-age film, and even the parts that didn't seem as realistic to me about high school, I didn't mind so much. They might not have struck a cord with me, but they feel like they'd strike a cord with friends I knew....There were a lot of things that sucked about high school, and this film gets them right, but more importantly, they get the things that didn't suck right. The parts that were fun and transcendent and life-affirming, as kids have untold stress and pressures that they refuse to talk to their parents about. Well, if you want my recommendation, here it is, this is a movie that makes me want to read the book, and I haven't said that since the original "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo", and now I'm looking the book up at my library. Maybe I should've read this one in high school. 

To those of wondering, I haven't actually read the book yet. People should note that me wanting to read something, can be a very big step sometimes. (Also, there was like a 50-person waitlist for it too. [Shrugs]) I still do wanna read the book, but the film's director, Stephen Chbowsky, was the one who wrote the novel. That's normally not a good idea to have the novelist be the director, but it works here, and you know, this is probably about the tone and the mood, and capturing a moment, more than a particular plot, but that said, there's a lot of good stories and characters, kinda at the periphery of the film, with every character. It is very clear, that everybody in the film, is going through some shit. Some of it's in the past, some of it's still going on, some of it, you can see coming a mile away, and that's the real secret to why this is such a good film. If this is just, a bunch of teenagers going through normal teenager shit, this wouldn't be a good movie; this is about really well-written characters, who happen to be teenagers. Smart teenagers at that, too, another thing that's refreshing and you don't see enough of in film.

#6. Rust and Bone

My number 6 choice is the highest-ranked foreign-language film on my list and it's "Rust and Bone", from French director Jacques Audiard, he made "A Prophet" a couple years ago that also made a lot of Ten Best lists; this is his best film so far. It tells a very complex story of two unlikable people who situations lead them to be with each other. There's ways to describe the details of the movie, in a way to make this film seem like an inspiring tale of people overcoming odds, and in some ways it can, but you haven't seen this film with these characters before, and the real key is that they're two characters overcoming there own faults.

From my original review:
Perhaps the most emotionally powerful film I've seen this year, "Rust and Bone" could easily have been called "Water and Ice", as those motifs are used quite often in ways that determine the course of events for the main two characters. The first guy we meet is Alain (Matthias Schoenhaerts, you might remember him from last year's "Bullhead"), as him and his son Sam, (Armand Verdure) are traveling by train down to Cannes to meet up and live with his sister and her husband. He's a former boxer who wants to became an MMA fighter, but is right now splitting time between doing security/bouncing for a club while also installing surveillance cameras around town. He meets Stephanie (Marion Cotillard) at the club, she's just been punched by the latest guy she turned down, and Alain takes her home after he bruised up his hand beating him up. She lives with a nondescript boyfriend who's petty and jealous. She works at a water park training killer whales, when ones of the whales causes the stage to collapse. She wakes up in a hospital, having lost both of her legs. Surprisingly, I'm not tempted to keep discussing the events in the film as this doesn't become a simple tale of love and lost, but of two highly unlovable characters, who struggle through their own demons separately, coming together, for love or sex, although there's plenty of both particularly the latter, but most likely because neither one of them has anybody else in their lives. Sex to them, isn't passionate, it's a necessity; a way for each of them to feel they're alive, while both are in situations they're really not strong enough, at the moment to handle. I watched "Rust and Bone" twice, before writing about it, the first time through, I wasn't completely sure what I was watching. I knew it was good, but I way trying to figure out how good, as it doesn't have the normal plot arcs I was looking for. Oh they're there, but definitely not in the light or the way we expect, and when they come, they're far more traumatic then we would hope for. It might take a second viewing to recognize some of the details that go into the film. I mentioned water and ice, but there's subtle storytelling tricks as well, many we don't see offhand, because we've gotten so encrusted with the characters, and the fact that their journey isn't typical, has made us more intrigued. Cotillard and Schoenhaerts, give two spectacular performances, and if Cotillard's the one who got most of the acclaim and attention, it's because her character's slightly deeper and more complex, and not because Schoenhaerts's performance is lacking. The movie has a lot of turns and twists, many of them aren't feel good, despite some of the beauty and amazement....  It's not enjoyable in the way that most films about characters overcoming dramatic personal obstacles are, but in a way, that makes it feel more realistic and unpredictable.

When I say, this film isn't enjoyable, don't let that stop you. This is a tough film to watch, but it is realistic, unpredictable and messy, just like real life. And you know, these two people get together in the movie, they don't get together necessarily because they're in love, or they're looking for love; they essentially, because both of them are in need of somebody being there, so that they don't completely fuck up, there already fucked-up lives. And I'm still, not saying that, in this overcoming of obstacles, and "Chariots of Fire" music in the background, these are two people, who are not only capable of screwing up there lives and others, they're capable of really, fucking their own lives, in ways that, only the most damaged of people would self-inflict on themselves, consciously. Cotillard and Schoenhaerts, really do give, the most underrated performances of year, in hindsight, I'm a little befuddled that, especially that Cotillard didn't get an Oscar nomination, it's her best performance so far, unbelievable. I said I watched it twice, and I did, and I'd watch it again right now, and the more you watch it, the better the film gets; the movie is very quiet and very subtle in just how well-written it is, and the more times you see the movie, the clearer it becomes. This is an expert-class script worth analyzing, and the more you peel away from it, the more there is to the film.  

#5. Cloud Atlas

Probably the most controversial choice on my list, and I can already hear a few people writing down their rebuttals for when this get posted on FB groups. I'll admit myself, that "Cloud Atlas" was probably the film I had the hardest time ranking. In many ways it has to be on here, it's too ambitious and spectacular a film to ignore. It's polarizing, it's enigmatic, in some ways it's completely indescribable and indecipherable, but it's not a puzzle that's meant to be solve, it's a completely unique filmgoing experience, in the year, where the best filmgoing experiences, often made for the best films. 

From my original review: 
Well, I can throw out the film criticism textbooks and structure guides for this one. Forget describing "Cloud Atlas", or even criticizing it. Hell, I'm pretty damn familiar with most of the stars of this film, but, hell, half the time I couldn't even identify the actors in the scene, as many are hiding behind some controversial, but outstanding makeup that the Academy should be ashamed for ignoring, and frankly, even looking on is of little help since Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugh Grant, Hugo Weaving Doone Bae, Jim Strugess, Jim Broadbent, James D'Arcy, Susan Sarandon, Ben Whitshaw, Keith David, David Gyasi, and what seems like damn near everybody else, play multiple characters, over multiple time periods and locations, in multiple races, genders, ages, species...- It was fun for about, a little under thirty minutes trying spot who's playing who, but with all six stories being told simultaneously, all of which are a different genre by the way, that frankly, as I start watching this film a second time, now two days late to return to the Redbox across the street, I'm convinced that the only way to watch the movie, is to simply stop trying to consider, analyze, theorize, and all other -izes, and just sit back, and let yourself become engrossed with the film, and after that... still don't bother doing any of that. Some enigmas are meant to stay that way, and that's why enigmas are so intriguing. Oh I'm sure that there's some kind of answer to a the puzzle that is "Cloud Atlas", and they sure leave us plenty of clues along the way, but it is incorrect to try and search for a solution to "Cloud Atlas". However, without any really good  clear-cut explanations of it's existence, and no truly adequate way of describing the plots or the players, and clear cut explanation with any absolute sense of certainty, of what "Cloud Atlas" is, I guess the best thing to do would be to actually, do what I just said not to, and pontificate on what it all means. Or, at least hypothesize about some of the clues they give us and some of the common themes and at least attempt give you, the reader, some sense of...- something. For instance, there's clearly, I guess the word would be, reincarnation, but it's more like, multiple lives and how we are connected, in some manor to all the former lives we've lived. Many characters share birthmarks for instance, and when two characters played by two people, meet at a different time period, there's a sense of familiarity between them, as though once upon a time, they had a connection, and that deep inner connection is an intricate sign of trust, but with no explanation of how or why they feel this way. At times they even see images of their past lives, and feel as though they're living them all over again, or at that very moment. I'll leave the quantum physics theories on "Cloud Atlas" to the theoretical physicists, and I probably should find some experts on the Tibetan Book of the Dead on their thoughts on the multiple lives aspects of the film. That said, the movie is much more than that. In that sense, possibly the most intriguing part of "Cloud Atlas," is not just the stories themselves, but the choices the characters choose, and the differences between them, or the similarities. And a curious thing about the stories, in that none of them actually feel naturalistic; they're all heightened like movies in fact. In fact, consider the tales themselves, a sci-fi story of replicant-like creatures rising up against society, a comedic farce about an old publisher who tries to escape the nursing home his brother conned him into turning signing up for, a '70s era investigate journalist having her life threatened as she uncovers a major oil industry scam, the ambitious classical musician who earns his way into his mentor's home, with an attempt of adapting his own talents and stealing the aging idol's works, a friendship formed between a Southern lawyer and a stowaway former slave, on a ship in the South Pacific, and a tribal tale of mystical visitors with secrets, who help save a dying civilization, as rival, cannibalistic rival tribes are bearing down for battle. They aren't just stories with connection threads, they're also classic film and literature archetypes. The stories themselves aren't that new, if that's probably the point, and the fact that despite the differing genres, that they're structured quite similarly, it's easy to presume, that they're either parodying or paying homage to the art of cinema's and literature's past. Not an unusual theme for the Wachowski's who love exploring many of these themes in their best films.... I could discuss "Cloud Atlas" all day, to incredible detail, as you can plainly see, there's no shortage of things to discuss, yet, this seems like a shallow and forced exercise to do so. The secret to "Cloud Atlas" maybe that it's a movie disguised as a literary analysis that we all feel the need to make while watching it, and afterwards, but simply put, no matter how we may feel or interpret, "Cloud Atlas" might just simply exist, and because it exists, we should just be happy it does, because with it's existence, that means that we can enjoy it.

I recently just got, a very shitty version of cable TV, it only has, like up to 18 channels, it doesn't even have TNT, but it has HBO, and they play "Cloud Atlas", seemingly all the time, and something I've noticed is that, it's a movie, put on at any time, put on for a little bit, go do something else or watch something else for a bit, come back to later, and still manage to simply enjoy the experience of watching it, at any random point and time, and there's only a few films that can really truly do that, and few films are ambitious enough and have the funding to get his done. It was written and directed by Andy & Lana Wachowski and Tom Tyker, they each adapted and directed three of the segments separately, and they told the actors to not worry about where you are in the story, but worry about where you are emotionally in the film, because that's gonna be the constant throughout the film, the emotional journey you're on. I think is a good prototype for what we really all look for in great movies. We look to see things we hadn't seen before, done in ways we hadn't seen, that are entertaining and intellectual stimulating, but they're also great film-viewing experiences. You don't sit down and watch "Cloud Atlas", you sit and lit "Cloud Atlas" envelope you, take you on a ride and a journey, and anytime you want, like a roller coaster through time, you can go on the ride again. You can do that through multiple lives too, maybe that's what the movie's about? (Shrugs) Maybe? That's what enjoyable about it; there's nothing set in stone, you can think it's about one thing one day, and then think it means something else, entirely the next-, some things can't be explained, they're just enigmas, and that's why we like them, and "Cloud Atlas" is a wonderful enigma. 

#4. How to Survive a Plague 

There's no easy transition here, from "Cloud Atlas" to my number 4 film, "How to Survive a Plague", the outstanding documentary made mostly out of old footage documenting the beginning and rise of the AIDS academic, and the fight and struggles of the gay community, and groups like ActUp and eventually TAG, and the tactics they used to get noticed, and eventually get AIDS medicine and medications out on the marketplace. In this era, it's easy to simply dismiss AIDS and HIV, as diseases that aren't the death sentences they once were, and in fact science seems to be closer to a cure than ever, but this is movie that shows us the very beginnings of the fight for survival. 

My original review: 
26 different names appear under the "In Memoriam" credits for "How to Survive a Plague", and those are just the names of the ones that were known. No telling how many people in the movie are now dead, but it's safe to just presume most of them are. One of the most important and best films of the year is "How to Survive a Plague", the Oscar-nominated documentary which still has a 100% on the meter, is a piece of history, that needs to be known. I hate calling things that happened during a good portion of my lifetime history, but even I had forgotten names like Bob Rafksy, who singlehandedly made AIDS a national debate subject during the '92 elections, ironically, by being shot down by Bill Clinton, who was just a little bit smarter and more knowing about what was happening than he thought. Sprung together from loads of documentary footage, taken at the time by the protesters and activists, the film chronicles, the fight of organizations like ActUp, and other groups that fought, literally and figuratively to get AIDS medicines out on the market, as the body counts in the eighties and nineties, continued to rise. It seems so simple to say it now, "They're living a lot longer with HIV these days," or "Look at Magic Johnson," he's still alive," but it's just not that simple. Hundreds of medications were considered, the U.S. government was dragging it's feet, and to my surprise, there was far more anger directed at Bush for continually cutting funding on AIDS research, and the FDA for taking their time, decisions the community fought against that turned out to be mistakes that they made sure not to make again, when in the mid-nineties drugs that actually worked unlike AZT or DDI, which they managed to get on the market, became widely available. Inside ActUp, dissention was as common as death, and they eventually split into a splinter group, TAG, which used different tactics than placing giant condoms around Jesse Helms's house. It details news reports, rare footage of meetings to gives us a definitive history of the battle for AIDS treatments. Would it have been found earlier? It might have been, but there's an uneasiness among the survivors. "I still can't get my head around planning for the future," one of them says. I wish I wrote more names down like Larry Kramer who are as responsible for the way the world is today as Patient Zero is for making the world what it was then. "How to Survive a Plague" is one of the best films of the year. Not just documentaries, films. I still remember those old videos in health classes they showed us on AIDS, when we still had to be convinced that AIDS wasn't just a disease for homosexuals. Thankfully, I can now say that, "How to Survive a Plague" shouldn't be shown in health classes, it should be shown in history classes. (Note: As of the date of publishing, HBO has begun the process of turning the film into a miniseries. Good, the more we know, the better!)

After going over my review, obviously I decided to just re-post my entire review here for "How to Survive a Plague", 'cause I think I described the film about as well as I could before. I mean, if documenting is the recording of events, this film is essentially the history of the AIDS epidemic. If there were video cameras around in the Revolutionary War times, "How to Survive a Plague" would be equivalent to getting actual footage from inside the Second Continental Congress. We learn about it, we kinda know about, there's a few survivors out there who can still talk about it a bit, but we know the arc of the history, we don't get these incredible details, the inside footage of how the plague of our time, took over the country, and how the people who suffered, organized and fought, for their lives, literally. It's true sometimes, the shit we put up with, and how little we protest the wrongs in this country, myself included, and even when we protest- There's a difference between showing up and holding a sign and protesting, and the true desperation of people who need help and need change now! It's overwhelming, but there might not be a more "everybody-must-watch" film from this year. 

#3. Moonrise Kingdom

My number three choice is Wes Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom", his charmingly quirky tale of two pre-teen runaways as they try make a life together, and escape the pressures of childhood to fall in love. This is one of his very best films, but the real reason I'm ranking this film so high, on top of it being the funniest film of the year, and a great use of Anderson's absurdist approach to filmmaking, but he manages to get correct the tone and joy of really good classic children's literature, the kinda kid stories that kids who read a lot are constantly reading, which are very much apart of the aesthetic of the film, he even creates a bunch of different beloved books one of the characters carries around with her, as they go on this journey. 

From my original review: 
Describing what happens in Wes Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom," will take some time. It'll sound like a seemingly random series of characters and quirks that don't have much relation to each other, but as you're watching the film, every single one of them not only seems natural, but completely necessary. This film takes place off the coast of New England, in the mid-'60s, only because I think it's an appropriate time for Anderson to use some of the pop music he likes. The time period doesn't matter, though, not in a Wes Anderson film. They take place, anywhere, and wherever he wants them too, and rewrites the rules as he sees fit. There's a few things that he always has: funny insert shots, often with words elaborating on something, that play similar to title cards in silent films, he has wide-angle dolly shots, that seems to move horizontally and vertically through the movie, showcasing the lays of the land, usually the indoor layouts, and he has numerous exacting details in all facets of art and set design.... I've seen some of his scripts, much of the set, costumes and art design is meticulously written out. That's the other thing that will always make his movies watchable, even his bad films, he puts so much detail into every scene of his movies, sometimes, every shot, that there's always something new to look at.... We're told in three days, a storm is coming. At the Khaki Scouts camp, Scout Master Ward (Edward Norton), awakes to find one of his scouts, missing. The scout, a 12-year-old orphan, Sam (Jared Gilman) left a note announcing his resignation and cut a hole in his tent, which he hid behind a poster and escaped into the night. (The "Shawshank Redemption" reference, has to be intentional) Ward notifies the Island Police, which consists only of Captain Sharp (Bruce Willis), who hires the scouts and rounds up the others on the island, to begin searching. He has been having an affair with Laura Bishop (Frances McDormand), who, like her husband Walt (Bill Murray) is a highly-successful lawyer. So succesful, that their house is so big, she carries around a megaphone to call up to her kids. Her oldest kid, Suzy (Kara Heywood) who, like Sam, has a history of being difficult and troublesome, runs away, and meets Sam, who's been her penpal for a year. They're off to run away through the woods, and live together I guess. With his excellant scout skills, and her juvenile novels and her brother's record player, and her tendency to get violent with left-handed scissors, for awhile, they're pretty good at outrunning the adults, and the former scouts who never liked Sam to begin with. The other scouts talk like they're in a foxhole, or in "The Dirty Dozen," most of the time. The adults, talk like a Wes Anderson film, I guess, as do Sam and Suzy, who come about as close to remaking "The Blue Lagoon," as I think it's possible to get to in Wes Anderson world. "Moonrise Kingdom," is a strange mix. It's story feels like a children's lit book, complete with kids going on an amazing adventure and clueless adults who try to act reasonably, similar to the ones that Suzy reads, which goes naturally with Anderson's sensabilities, which always seemed both surreal and big, similar to how a child sees the world....

I mention the classic children's literature stuff, because that is just really difficult to replicate on film, and get the mood and feeling that you imagine the film is, when you're reading it. You can go down the list, especially with live actions, they all seem to be a little disappointing, if they're able to be made at all. Now, he doesn't adapt that film from one of those stories but him and co-writer Roman Coppola, (Yes, of those Coppolas, he's Sofia's brother) they instead, seemed to create a movie that just threw in, everything that is enjoyable and fun about some of the best of those books, and I guess Anderson's sensibilities as a director and storyteller, just really match well with this kind of storytelling, and getting the sensibilities of the two kids in the movie, who, are that rare age, where they're right on the cusp of puberty, but are still wide-eyed about the world and think that anything can still happen. It's a completely unpredictable film from one scene to the next, it's also just bizarre and funnier the more you watch it. I've seen this film about three or four times now, and I like showing it to people, who haven't seen it, or aren't used to Wes Anderson's work, they all seem to like it, they all laugh get a kick out of it. Even with all the Wes Andersonisms that populate the film, this works as really good film without it, in a genre motif that's really hard to replicate on film, and it's done about as well as I've seen here. 

#2. Samsara

Number two on my list, probably has been seen the least of any of my choices, it's "Samsara", the sprawling meditative, beautiful documentary by Ron Fricke, that's an epic mosaic of,- well, damn near everything. Earth, people, nature, civilization, etc.

From my original review: 
"Samsara" is the kind of movie I enjoy putting on and watching as I'm falling asleep. That is not an insult, far from it, it's one of the best films of the year, a transcendent, meditative and beautiful experience. Shot in 25 countries over the last five years on 70mm camera, there's no plot or story;  yet in some ways, it's filmmaking at its purest form, the combining of images editing together. Describing the film, would basically be describing the images, one by one, and that's not really gonna help you guys to completely understand, but a couple of the images I recalled most were the sandpainters that opened and closed the movie, along with Indonesian dancers, and numerous other images, but the sandpainters stuck in my head. If you've never seen it, it's what it sound like, people who use different colored grains of sand to create beautiful paintings, on tables. It's a time-consuming and painstaking process that takes weeks or months to finish one painting, and then, when they've completed it, the sand is soon wiped away. I read this, in terms of the film, as that we are all grains of sand, on this planet, and that while we can be placed together in an effort for a common goal, like working in a chicken factory for instance, one of the many other images in the film, and more particularly nauseating ones, we still are only here for a short amount of time. "Samsara" has a few different meanings in Eastern religions, in Buddhism, it's the coming into experience of mortal creatures, the process of achieving nirvana, while in Hinduism, it's the endless series of births, deaths and rebirths, both of which are good descriptions of the film, but I prefer the Sanskrit origin of the word, which is simply, "Running together". The film, is nothing more than the running together of these numerous, seemingly random images, mixed with music. Sometimes, the images are sped up, usually when there are a lot of people to show the ways the constant traffic and busyness of people, but many times, the camera seems to slow down and focus, and let's just remain in awe of the natural wonder and beauty of the world. The soundtrack feels like one of those Mood piece compilation albums that are meant to calm us down so much that there's usually a warning label on the CD case, telling us not to listen to the album while driving....This stunning and awe-inspiring experience is the second film directed by Jeff Fricke, a man who's made a career out of simply photographing the world and turning the random images into film. His last feature film was twenty years ago, "Baraka" which I'm definitely gonna try to seek out, is also just a collection of random images.... This is his way of documenting the world, this fiercely rich, vibrant, beautiful world, that we are all mere grains of sand upon.

You know, I have a confession to make regarding my review, I said would seek out "Baraka", his previous film, the fact is, I had already seen "Baraka" years earlier, and put it out of my mind. Don't get me wrong, it's a good film as well, but that film was-eh, very tunnel-visioned in how it mainly focused on religious ceremonies around the world, and while much of it was intriguing, I didn't find it, nearly as good or as interesting as "Samsara", mainly because it so focused, while "Samsara", seems to evoke so much more. "Samsara," belongs in the same category as something like "The Tree of Life" or "Life in a Day" the great documentary that made my Ten Best List last year which, just showed things happening all over the world on a particular day. This movie was shot, over five years, in over 25 countries, five continents, the statistics get more mind-boggling, and there's no narrow focus, it's just shooting things that are memorable and amazing to see about all over the planet, and btw, the photography is stunning, every image is spectacular, this film had the under-appreciated cinematography, especially for a documentary, and placing them together, in way that mesmerizes us, and keeps us pinned to the images, one after another, after another.... It isn't randomly placing images either. Each images follows the next for a specific reason, and continues us on this trance-like meditation. There's no other film that's quite like it, very unique movie.

and now, my choice, for the BEST FILM of 2011!

#1 Life of Pi

There'd been years where I've thought for awhile about my number one choice, for this year, I thought for about, 1/2 a millisecond. There really is no other choice here for number one, the best film of 2012 is Ang Lee's "Life of Pi". It was the biggest cinematic achievement of the year; it broke the most new ground of the year in visual effects, the use of 3-D, incredible cinematography, and was easily the toughest to make, so tough, the novel was for decades deemed unfilmable, and even Ang Lee backed out of the project a couple times in it's long development, but this is the most awe-inspiring cinematic experience of the year.

From my original review:
A writer who is never named (Rafe Spall), is interviewing a man in his living room in his Canada home. He's written one novel, but his second failed to get published, but he's been told that the man he is interviewing, a man named Pi, (Irrfan Khan), he has a story that claims "Will make you believe in God." You couldn't come up with a more loftier expectation, in a movie, maybe ever. Now, I have not read the famous Yann Martel novel...  which was until considered by most, and rightly so unfilmable, but I had only heard the broad outline in the story, and heard from many people who hate 3-D, telling me to go see this movie in the theaters  and in 3-D. When somebody who doesn't like 3-D, is telling you to go see it in 3-D, you should go see it. I'm one of those people who hates it, and I'm telling everybody now, go see "Life of Pi," in 3-D! Pi, who's actual name is Piscine, the French word for swimming pool, but eventually got shortened to Pi in middle school (1st-timer Suraj Sharma), grew up in his father's Santosh's (Adil Hussain) zoo. He spent most of his childhood looking over the animals. It's then that the ship sinks, during an amazing thunderstorm, that eventually ends up with Pi, living on a lifeboat with a Bengal Tiger named Richard Parker, and how he survived for hundreds of days on this amazing adventure. The animals in this movie, look real, and sometimes they are, other times they're CGI, and I'll be damned if I could tell the difference. There's a crucial opening scene that showed just how vicious that tiger is, when a young Pi (Gautum Belur) gets caught trying to feed Richard Parker, and his father makes him watch Richard Parker devour a live goat. The journey they go on, I don't want to reveal all the details, you gotta experience it, and you got see it, and I can't see the 3-D. Ang Lee, has shown once again, he is the ultimate chameleon, you never know what film he's gonna do next, but here, he tells an unbelievable story, and uses every trick in the book to do so. After that amazing shipwreck sequence, with the 3-D, my mouth did not close for ten minutes after that scene. That is one of the most amazing sequences I've ever in cinema, and I'm not being facetious. It's truly one of those rare moments, in film, where I'm not judging, I'm not analyzing, I'm not comparing it to other films, I'm just thinking "How the hell did they do that?!"...  it's a special story, that you're gonna love. It's the kind of fable, that you're not gonna be able to put on film, unless it's spectacular. The tale of a teenager and a Bengal Tiger, stuck in the middle of the Ocean, it'll only work on film, a medium that presents the truth, if it was this spectacular. The more Ang Lee films I see, the more I realize, I should never, ever doubt any of his ideas, and also, young Suraj Sharma, this is gonna be an acting performance that people, are gonna forget a bit, but realize, that he is basically acting by himself, for most of this movie, it is an impressive job of keeping us interested in this film. I don't know if "Life of Pi," made me believe in God, but boy, Ang Lee sure can tell an amazing story.

There's a reason that Ang Lee won the Oscar this year, over Spielberg, and over Ben Affleck, who wasn't nominated, this was really the cinematic achievement of the year, and if you knew enough to see it in 3-D,- you know, even when I've liked 3-D, I'm never blown away by it; this was the movie that blew me away. This is a truly amazing piece of film, that really took and needed every filmmaking tool in our arsenal to pull off. From the script on up, you get something wrong with this movie, the whole thing will go to pot. That's why this film has to be number one. And clearly number one, this the great film of 2012! You could argue a few others might be great, but still, there's "great" and there's and "great, special", this one blows the rest of the great ones out of the water, no pun intended.

Well, that's the list for this year, and I suggest you all agree with me, 'cause it'll mean you're wrong if you don't. But seriously folks, while I do think, this year, has been seriously overrated, as a whole, in terms of it's greatness, there was a lot of good movies, certainly more-than-enough good and very good movies that are more-than-worth your time, so here's a alphabetical list of those movies and their directors, that are also worth watching:

2 Days in New York-Julie Delpy
21 Jump Street-Phil Lord & Chris Miller
Amour-Michael Haneke
Argo-Ben Affleck
Barrymore-Erik Canuel
Beasts of the Southern Wild-Benh Zeitlin
Being Flynn-Paul Weitz
Compliance-Craig Zobel
The Dark Knight Rises-Christopher Nolan
Detachment-Tony Kaye
End of Watch-David Ayer
Fat Kid Rules the World-Matthew Lillard
Holy Motors-Leos Carax
The Impossible-J.A. Bayona
The Kid with a Bike-Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne
Killer Joe-William Friedkin
Kon-Tiki-Joachim Ronning & Espen Sandberg
Les Miserables-Tom Hooper
Lincoln-Steven Spielberg
The Master-Paul Thomas Anderson
Neighboring Sounds-Kleber Mendonca Filho
No-Pablo Larrain
Oslo, August 31-Joachim Trier
ParaNorman-Chris Butler and Sam Fell
Safety Not Guaranteed-Colin Trevorrow
The Secret World of Arrietty-Hiromasa Yonebayashi
The Sessions-Ben Lewin
Silver Linings Playbook-David O. Russell
A Simple Life-Ann Hui
Skyfall-Sam Mendes
Sound of Noise-Ola Simonsson & Johannes Stjarne Nilsson
Stand Up Guys-Fisher Stevens
Take This Waltz-Sarah Polley
Ted-Seth MacFarland
This Must Be the Place-Paolo Sorrentino
The Trouble with the Truth-Jim Hemphill
Zero Dark Thirty-Kathryn Bigelow

5 Broken Cameras-Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi
Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry-Alison Klaymon
Ballplayer: Pelotero-Ross Finkel, Trevor Martin and Jonathan Paley
Bully-Lee Hirsch
The Eyes of Thailand-Windy Borman
Hitler's Children-Chanoch Zeevi
The Imposter-Bart Layton
The Invisible War-Kirby Dick
Marley-Kevin MacDonald
Paul Williams: Still Alive-Stephen Kessler
The Queen of Versailles-Lauren Greenfield
Searching for Sugar Man-Malik Bendjelloul
They Call It Myanmar: Lifting the Curtain-Robert H. Lieberman
This is Not a Film-Mojtaba Mirtahmasb and Jafar Panahi
Wish Me Away-Bobbi Berleffi and Beverly Kopf

Well, it can't all be good however, and there were definitely some movies that, we frankly shouldn't remember in a good year, or in any year, but they wasted precious valuable time in our life, or at least mine, which is far more important. Since we're talking about the good, we're also gonna quickly talk about the bad, real quick. The TOP TEN WORST MOVIES of 2012! Let's kick it off, and through the end zone, I don't want to give these films any more time than I need to:

#10. Cosmopolis

Maybe David Cronenberg's worst film, takes place almost entirely in a taxicab in a future where Robert Pattinson's bad acting fills the entire screen. I'm amazed it's only tenth on my list.

#9. Little White Lies

"What? Our closest and dearest friend was in a life-threatening motorcycle accidents!" "Let's go to the beach for a 2 weeks vacation, Everyone!" What-the-fuck were they thinking with this one?

#8. John Carter

This might've been the best sci-fi film of 1953, but now, it was overblown, overbudget, unwatchable mess, and the special effects sucked!

#7. Twixt

Well, Francis Ford Coppola also made "Jack" once upon a time, so maybe this isn't his worst film, but here's the guy who made "The Godfather" making a movie that a first-year film student might've done.

#6. Roadie

Michael Cuesta's story of an Blue Oyster Cult roadie, returning to his hometown, and the movie is not nearly as good or interesting as I just made it sound.

#5. Rock of Ages

I gave this film, ZERO STARS, but that said, the reason it's not lower on this list, is that, at least it's so bad, that's it's worth sitting through it again, to show others, just how bad it is and watch their reactions when they realize you weren't kidding.

#4. Casa de Mi Padre

Will Ferrell's Spanish soap opera parody or homage, or whatever- all I know I didn't laugh once, maybe Will Ferrell's worst comedy yet.

#3. The Magic of Belle Isle

There's been some good directors who made bad movies this year, but hardly anybody mentioned this piece of crap by Rob Reiner, and they should've. I know he already made "North", but this was really bad too.

#2. Bel Ami

Robert Pattinson's second entry on this list, he's nowhere believable as a guy who can bed, Uma Thurman, Kristing Scott Thomas and Christina Ricci, at any time period, not that a better actor would've made it a good movie, but still, this one was bad and boring.

#1. Satellite of Love

You've probably never heard of this one; it didn't get a theatrical release except on the internet, consider yourselves blessed, 'cause I had to watch it at a film festival. I know the tickets were free because I judge for them occasionally, but they didn't ask me ahead of time to judge this one, and I still wanted my money back afterwards. 

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