Saturday, 31 December 2011

Done & Incomplete: 101 Films to See

Last bow to tie for 2011 is checking in on my 101 Films to See (Part 2!) list. I actually didn't complete this one, which makes me pretty sad. I did my first 101 Films I Can't Believe I Haven't See in tandem with my 101 Things in 1001 Days, and oddly at that point I was very adamant about not committing to another 101 in 1001 until I had tried it, and then ... I did another film 101 in 1001!

I think my initial instinct was spot on as the second time round I didn't have as much excitement over the challenge, plus the films tended to be less known and/or less available which I thought would be a fun challenge but made for a lesser chance of success.

I did manage to get through 70 of the 101 titles, and I did some shifting after trying a few films that were 'must-see's' on so many lists, but I had no actual interest in due to context or content. That was some really good learning, that I really do know my own tastes and interests for film and as wide as they may be, I'm not willing to watch films I don't actually want to see. The other thing that changed during the time of the challenge was I started reviewing DVDs, which literally took the timeslot of when I would watch the films on my 101.

I did make it through a fair number of the films, and the ones that are left mostly remain as ones I want to see and I did see many great films. So to end on a high(er) note, I'd like to say I'm really happy to have seen the following:

Films that I really do think that film fans just have to see: Day for Night, Eraserhead, Belle et la Bete, The Passion of Joan of Arc, Persona, Yi Yi, Eraserhead and Farewell My Concubine.

Great horror films that I'm thrilled I saw: Dracula (1931), The Ghost and Mrs Muir, (technically supernatural/fantasy...but good enough!), Godzilla / Gojira, House of Wax (1953), Onibaba and The Thing from Another World.

And a film with a cult following that I didn't really expect to enjoy but ended up loving was The Boondock Saints.

The best experience seeing a film was watching a 35MM print of The Brood at The Bloor as a part of a curated series by Edgar Wright, who was in attendance at the screening along with actor Art Hindle. That was pretty freaking amazing.

I'm really not a fan of not completing things and would have strongly preferred to have watched all the films but I am happy to have made it though the 71 and continued to expand my film horizons.

Metacritic Top Lists 2011

Last list before the New Year, the Metacritic check in! And they must have changed their site format because previously I got 200 results and now I find 99 per search! Bizarre! Only 3 titles cracked their all time reviewed list (and only one of those came out here in Toront: My Perestroika), but there are lost of interesting titles to peruse from their 2011 list including lots of documentaries. Man, now I have even more films to add to my to see list!

See also the IMDB Top 250 list at Dec 31, 2011.

2011 Movies on the Metacritic Top List as of Dec 31, 2011
39. We Were Here
44. A Separation
95. My Perestroika

Metacritics 100 Best Reviewed films from 2011 as of Dec 31, 2011
1. We Were Here
2. A Separation
3. My Perestroika
4. Poetry
5. The Artist
6. The Arbor
7. I Travel Because I Have to, I Come Back Because I Love You
8. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
9. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
10. Moneyball
11. The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu
12. 13 Assassins
13. Cave of Forgotten Dreams
14. Of Gods and Men
15. Children of Hiroshima
16. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
17. The Interrupters
18. City of Life and Death
19. Nostalgia for the Light
20. Take Shelter
21. The Tree of Life
22. Meek's Cutoff
23. Position Among the Stars
24. The Descendants
25. Project Nim
26. Hugo
27. Le Havre
28. Incendies
29. The Trip
30. Certified Copy
31. To Be Heard
32. Mysteries of Lisbon
33. The Inheritors
34. Beginners
35. Weekend
36. Kati with an I
37. Thunder Soul
38. Melancholia
39. Midnight in Paris
40. Tuesday, After Christmas
41. The Mill and the Cross
42. The Four Times (Le Quattro Volte)
43. Senna
44. Coriolanus
45. Drive
46. The Soft Skin (1969)
47. My Joy
48. Putty Hill
49. Foreign Parts
50. The Guard
51. The Yellow Sea
52. The Princess of Montpensier
53. Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness
54. Benda Bilili!
55. Bill Cunningham New York
56. Circo
57. Louder Than a Bomb
58. Beats Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest
59. El Sicario: Room 164
60. Rebirth
61. Jane Eyre
62. Buck
63. Inni
64. Martha Marcy May Marlene
65. World on a Wire (1973)
66. Margin Call
67. Bobby Fischer Against the World
68. A Dangerous Method
69. Submarine
70. Love Exposure
71. Rango
72. Silent Souls
73. Attack the Block
74. Win Win
75. Bridesmaids
76. Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame
77. The Muppets
78. Pariah
79. The Desert of Forbidden Art
80. Caterpillar
81. Point Blank
82. Scheherazade Tell Me a Story
83. Pina
84. The Woodmans
85. Tabloid
86. Into the Abyss
87. The Time That Remains
88. Winnie the Pooh
89. Higher Ground
90. Dark Days
91. How I Ended This Summer

Metacritic Top Reviewed Films All Time as of December 31, 2011
1. Balthazar (re-release)
2. Lawrence of Arabia (re-release)
3. The Wizard of Oz (1939)
4. The Godfather
5. The Leopard (re-release)
6. The Conformist (re-release)
7. Sweet Smell of Success (re-release)
8. Fanny and Alexander (re-release)
9. Superman II
10. Seven Samurai (re-release)
11. Shoah (1985)
12. The Night of the Hunter (re-release)
13. Army of Shadows
14. Pépé le Moko (re-release)
15. Pan's Labyrinth
16. Metropolis (re-release)
17. Rififi (re-release)
18. 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days
19. The Adventures of Robin Hood (re-release)
20. The Producers (re-release)
21. Days of Being Wild (re-release)
22. The French Connection (re-release)
23. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
24. Ratatouille
25. Modern Times (re-release)
26. The Social Network
27. A Hard Day's Night (re-release)
28. Days of Heaven (re-release)
29. The Manchurian Candidate
30. Spirited Away
31. E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (re-release)
32. Pulp Fiction
33. Killer of Sheep
34. The Hurt Locker
35. Sita Sings the Blues
36. WALL-E
37. The Battle of Algiers (re-release)
38. Sideways
39. We Were Here *2011 Film
40. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
41. Carlos
42. The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie
43. Reversal of Fortune
44. A Separation *2011 Film
45. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
46. Schindler's List
47. Taxi Driver (re-release)
48. La Dolce Vita (re-release)
49. Frantic
50. Amadeus
51. Yi yi: A One and a Two...
52. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
53. The Class
54. Raging Bull
55. 35 Shots of Rum
56. Umberto D (re-release)
57. Masculine Feminine (re-release)
58. There Will Be Blood
59. Beauty and the Beast (re-release)
60. Toy Story
61. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
62. Werckmeister Harmonies
63. Toy Story 3
64. Moolaadé
65. The Fast Runner (Atanarjuat)
66. Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope
67. Le cercle rouge (re-release)
68. The Triplets of Belleville
69. The Queen
70. Repulsion (re-release)
71. Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion
72. Children of Tokyo
73. Beau travail
74. Do the Right Thing
75. Waltz with Bashir
76. Secrets & Lies
77. Patton
78. No Country for Old Men
79. Raiders of the Lost Ark
80. After Hours
81. The Crying Game
82. Ran (re-release)
83. Saving Private Ryan
84. A Prophet
85. Winter's Bone
86. L.A. Confidential
87. Bloody Sunday
88. Apocalypse Now
89. My Voyage to Italy
90. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (re-release)
91. La commune (Paris, 1871)
92. Solaris (re-release)
93. The Sweet Hereafter
94. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (re-release)
95. My Perestroika *2011 Film
96. Topsy-Turvy
97. Being John Malkovich
98. Before Sunset
99. The Incredibles

IMDB Top 250 in 2011

Every year on the last day of the year I do a check in on the IMDb Top 250 List, to see how many new of the year have been added. This year we only had 5, and to compare you can see 2010 with 7 titles and 2009 had 6 titles. It's noted that its calculated from regular voters, which is interesting as IMDB list often feels like it has more fandom picks over highly acclaimed and exceptional films, but this year I would say it feels like it's here those two meet. I also like to check in on this list as it's a dynamic one that ebbs and flows over time, so having a snapshot of what the year was like, at the end of the year, is something like I like to see. Speaking of seeing it appears I will have to see A Separation at some point as it is appearing all these year-end lists! Hopefully it will come out in Toronto in 2012.

See also the Metacritic Best Reviewed Films at Dec 31, 2011.

2011 additions to the IMDb Top 250:
108. A Separation (2011)
146. Warrior (2011)
193. Drive (2011)
195. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)
201. Hugo (2011/II)

IMDb Top 250 (as of December 31, 2011)
1. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
2. The Godfather (1972)
3. The Godfather: Part II (1974)
4. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
5. Pulp Fiction (1994)
6. 12 Angry Men (1957)
7. Schindler's List (1993)
8. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
9. The Dark Knight (2008)
10. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
11. Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
12. Inception (2010)
13. Fight Club (1999)
14. Seven Samurai (1954)
15. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
16. Goodfellas (1990)
17. Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)
18. City of God (2002)
19. Casablanca (1942)
20. Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
21. The Matrix (1999)
22. Rear Window (1954)
23. Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
24. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
25. The Usual Suspects (1995)
26. Psycho (1960)
27. Se7en (1995)
28. Forrest Gump (1994)
29. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
30. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
31. Memento (2000)
32. Leon: The Professional (1994)
33. Sunset Blvd. (1950)
34. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
35. Apocalypse Now (1979)
36. American History X (1998)
37. North by Northwest (1959)
38. Citizen Kane (1941)
39. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
40. American Beauty (1999)
41. Toy Story 3 (2010)
42. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
43. Taxi Driver (1976)
44. Alien (1979)
45. Spirited Away (2001)
46. City Lights (1931)
47. Vertigo (1958)
48. The Shining (1980)
49. Paths of Glory (1957)
50. Amélie (2001)
51. The Pianist (2002)
52. M (1931)
53. WALL·E (2008)
54. The Departed (2006)
55. Double Indemnity (1944)
56. The Lives of Others (2006)
57. A Clockwork Orange (1971)
58. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
59. Aliens (1986)
60. Modern Times (1936)
61. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
62. Life Is Beautiful (1997)
63. Requiem for a Dream (2000)
64. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
65. Back to the Future (1985)
66. Das Boot (1981)
67. Reservoir Dogs (1992)
68. The Third Man (1949)
69. The Prestige (2006)
70. L.A. Confidential (1997)
71. Chinatown (1974)
72. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
73. The Green Mile (1999)
74. Cinema Paradiso (1988)
75. The Great Dictator (1940)
76. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1974)
77. Once Upon a Time in America (1984)
78. Rashômon (1950)
79. Gladiator (2000)
80. Raging Bull (1980)
81. Amadeus (1984)
82. Full Metal Jacket (1987)
83. Some Like It Hot (1959)
84. Singin' in the Rain (1952)
85. All About Eve (1950)
86. Bicycle Thieves (1948)
87. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
88. Braveheart (1995)
89. Pan's Labyrinth (2006)
90. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
91. Metropolis (1927)
92. Oldboy (2003)
93. The Apartment (1960)
94. Unforgiven (1992)
95. Downfall (2004)
96. Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983)
97. The Sting (1973)
98. Inglourious Basterds (2009)
99. Princess Mononoke (1997)
100. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
101. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
102. The Elephant Man (1980)
103. Up (2009)
104. On the Waterfront (1954)
105. Die Hard (1988)
106. Gran Torino (2008)
107. The Maltese Falcon (1941)
108. A Separation (2011)
109. The Seventh Seal (1957)
110. The Great Escape (1963)
111. Rebecca (1940)
112. The Lion King (1994)
113. Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
114. Batman Begins (2005)
115. Yojimbo (1961)
116. Sin City (2005)
117. For a Few Dollars More (1965)
118. The General (1926)
119. Heat (1995)
120. Witness for the Prosecution (1957)
121. Blade Runner (1982)
122. Fargo (1996)
123. Snatch. (2000)
124. Ran (1985)
125. Black Swan (2010)
126. Wild Strawberries (1957)
127. Jaws (1975)
128. Hotel Rwanda (2004)
129. The King's Speech (2010)
130. Touch of Evil (1958)
131. No Country for Old Men (2007)
132. Toy Story (1995)
133. The Big Lebowski (1998)
134. The Deer Hunter (1978)
135. The Wizard of Oz (1939)
136. Cool Hand Luke (1967)
137. The Sixth Sense (1999)
138. It Happened One Night (1934)
139. Strangers on a Train (1951)
140. Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)
141. Annie Hall (1977)
142. Scarface (1983)
143. Ikiru (1952)
144. Platoon (1986)
145. High Noon (1952)
146. Warrior (2011)
147. Donnie Darko (2001)
148. Into the Wild (2007)
149. Trainspotting (1996)
150. The Gold Rush (1925)
151. The Kid (1921)
152. Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
153. The Wages of Fear (1953)
154. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
155. The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
156. Million Dollar Baby (2004)
157. Notorious (1946)
158. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)
159. Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927)
160. Gone with the Wind (1939)
161. There Will Be Blood (2007)
162. The Secret in Their Eyes (2009)
163. The Thing (1982)
164. Amores perros (2000)
165. Groundhog Day (1993)
166. Casino (1995)
167. Life of Brian (1979)
168. Ben-Hur (1959)
169. Finding Nemo (2003)
170. The Terminator (1984)
171. The Big Sleep (1946)
172. Les diaboliques (1955)
173. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
174. The Graduate (1967)
175. My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
176. How to Train Your Dragon (2010)
177. Stand by Me (1986)
178. District 9 (2009)
179. V for Vendetta (2006)
180. Twelve Monkeys (1995)
181. Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
182. The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
183. The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
184. Good Will Hunting (1997)
185. Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)
186. Network (1976)
187. Gandhi (1982)
188. The Night of the Hunter (1955)
189. The 400 Blows (1959)
190. Mary and Max (2009)
191. The Battle of Algiers (1966)
192. The Wrestler (2008)
193. Drive (2011)
194. 8½ (1963)
195. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)
196. The Princess Bride (1987)
197. Dial M for Murder (1954)
198. The Killing (1956)
199. Persona (1966)
200. Ratatouille (2007)
201. Hugo (2011/II)
202. The Hustler (1961)
203. La Strada (1954)
204. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
205. The Exorcist (1973)
206. The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)
207. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007)
208. Fanny and Alexander (1982)
209. Star Trek (2009)
210. The Wild Bunch (1969)
211. Avatar (2009)
212. Howl's Moving Castle (2004)
213. Stalag 17 (1953)
214. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
215. Barry Lyndon (1975)
216. Rocky (1976)
217. Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)
218. Sherlock Jr. (1924)
219. The Truman Show (1998)
220. All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
221. Nights of Cabiria (1957)
222. Infernal Affairs (2002)
223. Mystic River (2003)
224. Let the Right One In (2008)
225. Roman Holiday (1953)
226. Festen (1998)
227. Rosemary's Baby (1968)
228. Elite Squad: The Enemy Within (2010)
229. In Bruges (2008)
230. Magnolia (1999)
231. The Incredibles (2004)
232. Rope (1948)
233. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
234. Big Fish (2003)
235. A Beautiful Mind (2001)
236. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)
237. Manhattan (1979)
238. Harakiri (1962)
239. Ip Man (2008)
240. Ed Wood (1994)
241. Tokyo Story (1953)
242. Stalker (1979)
243. Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004)
244. Monsters, Inc. (2001)
245. Beauty and the Beast (1991)
246. Shutter Island (2010)
247. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984)
248. Three Colours: Red (1994)
249. Nosferatu (1922)
250. Castle in the Sky (1986)

The Best Films of 2011 & The Films I Enjoyed The Most in 2011

When 2011 I started writing a memoir like fashion about the films I saw and each month I would tally up the films in terms of which I thought were the best, and which films I most enjoyed. They had very different results from the get go, and I've long been a supporter of acknowledging and embracing films you enjoy, even if they aren't perfect, or 'important' or meaningful or touchstones, revolutionary, etc. Those are all great marks in film, but how much YOU enjoy a film is important too. The reverse logic held up because one of the early theatrical releases of 2011 was the brilliant yet brutal Incendies, and as much as I can acknowledge it as a formidable film, I got zero enjoyment from watching it. So, in an effort to acknowledge and support both the films I think are formidable as well as the ones that warmed my heard and made me light up, I'm writing 2 lists the year; and here are in my opinion The Best Films of 2011 (I saw 100/400 released) and the Most Enjoyable Films (to me) of 2011:

Movie Moxie's The Best Films of 2011:

These are the films that I think are hands-down brilliant films on all levels.

1. Drive (2011)
2. TrollHunter / Trolljegeren
3. The Tree of Life
4. Small Town Murder Songs
5. The Guard (2011)
6. Four Lions
7. Melancholia
8. Incendies
9. In a Better World / Hævnen
10. Beginners
11. Jane Eyre (2011)
12. Meet Monica Velour
13. Pina
14. One Day (2011)
15. Thor
16. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
17. Beautiful Boy
18. Familiar Ground / En Terrain Connus
19. Another Earth
20. The Adjustment Bureau

Movie Moxie's Films I Most Enjoyed in 2011:

These are the films that made me laugh, smile, cry and giggle. They are the films where I felt that the film was speaking directly to me, and I wanted to hear what it had to say.

1. Drive (2011)
2. Soul Surfer
3. TrollHunter / Trolljegeren
4. The Adjustment Bureau
5. The Tree of Life
6. The Guard (2011)
7. Thor
8. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
9. Fast Five
10. The Three Musketeers (2011)
11. Jane Eyre (2011)
12. Small Town Murder Songs
13. I Am Number Four
14. Super 8
15. Country Strong
16. Another Earth
17. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn: Part 1
18. Kung Fu Panda 2
19. One Day (2011)
20. Melancholia

Special shout out to both Rubber and Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls, which would have made both my lists but I saw them prior to 2011 therefore they don't meet my own parameters!

I'll be writing more about the particular films and their impact in a separate post about my movie memories of the year.

Friday, 30 December 2011

Film Fan Fridays for Friday December 30, 2011

Hello Film Fans and Fanatics!

Welcome to Film Fan Fridays for Friday December 30, 2011!

We have a bit of an oddity this week in Toronto with film, likely the rarest thing when it comes to film and that is a week with no new release. Not one! But, the happy flip side to that is that we know all the films that came out and this year that is 400 titles, which is a huge jump from last years 353 titles. Out of those 400 titles, we had 63 Canadian Films (up from 50 in 2010), 37 films released in 3D (also up from 25 in 2010) and 1 re-release. Every once in a while I think of trying to see *all* of the films that come out, and what a feat that would be ...400 films in 365 day! But I'm pretty happy with this years results, as I've seen 100 of those 400 and hoping to catch at least 2 more over the weekend.

Although there are no knew releases to look at, it is the time of year to check in and look back, I've been doing just that and on the latest Movie Moxie Podcast I did a check in on how my Most Anticipated List of 2011 Films faired when all was said and done, as well as reviewing recent releases of Pina and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. And I've been busy listing with writing about New Faces and Ones to Watch from 2011 & Favourite Trailers of 2011. There will be more lists to come, including my favourite films and moments of 2011.


Have a great weekend!

Shannon

Friday December 30, 2011 Releases

No releases

**please note this list of releases reflects first run film released in Toronto, Ontario, Canada as of December 30, 2011**

Movie Moxie Podcast 56: Pina, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

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As we near to the very end of the year of 2011 it's time to see review a few more releases of the year including Pina and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy as well as checking in to see how the films on my Most Anticipated Films of the Year faired now that the year has mostly played out. I also caught up with more on my owned/unseen list and chat DVD releases of the week.







0:00 - 2:00 Intro
2:00 - 10:30 Pina + Lightbox Tangent
10:30 - 15:00 Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
15:00 - 19:30 Owned/Unseen Update: Moonlight & Open Hearts
19:30 - 44:45 Checking in on my 2011 Most Anticipated Films
44:45 - 49:30 DVD Releases for December 27, 2011 include review of Apollo 18
49:30 - 50:25 Outro

Show Notes

Movie Moxie Podcast - A 100% spoiler-free film review podcast
You can also subscribe to the Movie Moxie Podcast here:
Subscribe through iTunes here.

I'll be back with a new podcast next Friday checking in on a few more titles and lists from 2011. Until then - have a Happy New Year!

Thursday, 29 December 2011

New Faces & Ones to Watch From 2011

After watching 283 films in 2011, I've heard thousands of lines delivered, seen hundreds of performances and many of them were memorable from not only new faces but also familiar ones as well. But then there were actors that were more than memorable. Actors who not only lit up the screen but whose performances made me literally sit up a bit straighter and take notice. Who made my eyes widen and heart pound; who made me laugh and made me cry. People who made me search the credit list at the end of the film (yes, I always stay and read them!) to see who they were, so I could tell people to watch for them. They are coming...here they are!

The 2011 Movie Moxie's New Faces & Ones to Watch From 2011



Order is chronological according to when I saw them in film during 2011

New Faces

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Elle Fanning stars in Sofia Coppola’s SOMEWHERE, an Alliance Films' release. Photo Credit Merrick Morton

Elle Fanning
Although the first film I saw here in was Somewhere, a beautifully naturalistic film where she plays the daughter of a movie star (played by Stephen Dorff) and she does a great job. But what really blew me away was her performance in Super 8, as ‘the girl’ among a gaggle of guys who recruit her into being in their film. Her performance in Super 8 transforms the pitch of the entire film, escalating it to from a nostalgic-set high-entertainment movie to an actually accessible-feeling reality. And it’s science fiction. It’s amazing.
Upcoming: Vivaldi, Bomb

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Lucas Till
I won’t hide that X-Men: First Class did not go over well with me, but if nothing else it brought us a formidable performance from Lucas Till as Havoc, and wow, the combination of emotional rawness and contained weight of energy displayed was amazing, especially for such a young actor. After seeing him also in VS (2011) which has its World Premiere at Toronto After Dark Film Festival 2011 I can say that he is most definitely one to watch.
See now: cover video of Someone Like You directed by VS’ director Jason Trost
Upcoming: Park Chan-wook’s Stoker


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Rafe Spall
This is literally for his performance as Ian in One Day (2011), which honestly from reading the book I completely glazed over without a second though. He completely brought Ian to life and created the most funny not-funny character I’ve seen, with very little charm and too much wit and a great, big heart. I can’t wait to see more of his work. He also played William Shakespeare in Anonymous which I have yet to see! If his name looks familiar, you have a keen eye and likely are familiar with his father Timothy Spall of Wake Wood & The Harry Potter Series.
Upcoming: Prometheus (Alien prequel)

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Juno Temple in KABOOM. Courtesy of eOne Films.

Juno Temple
A new to me actor, Juno Temple I first saw in Kaboom where she plays London, the aggressive new friend to protagonist Smith (Thomas Dekker) in this bizarre, off-beat college comedy that’s not like any other college comedy you’ve ever seen. She also played the young Queen in The Three Musketeers, which was such a different and almost innocent role, and it was exciting to see a nice range from such a young actor. She was also the lead in Dirty Girl (which I haven't seen yet), so she had quite the year!
Upcoming: The Dark Knight Rises

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Dustin Ingram in Meet Monica Velour

Dustin Ingram
Another new-to-me person is Dustin Ingram, who plays the porn-star obsessed Tobe from Meet Monica Velour and manages to do so with a beautiful innocence in a very not innocent setting. Although the film title feels otherwise, he’s the protagonist and we watch his coming of age story unfold as he attempts to meet the woman who encompasses his fandom world. He was also in Paranormal Activity 3 as a friend of the family – I had to look it up, even though his tall stature should have given him away!
Upcoming: The Prop Is the Girl

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Jesse Moss
I saw Jesse Moss is two completely different roles this year, tonally and contextually although technically both times as a student. The first was as Jason Moss in the very disturbing film Dear Mr. Gacy, where he plays a student who tries to seduce a serial killer and honestly the film was so disturbing I didn’t end up reviewing it. But then when I saw him as the ‘dumb college student’ Chad in Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, I knew that this was it, that he’s really got it as he stole the every scene he was in. Which is a feat, as that film is hilarious.
Upcoming: Vikingdom, 13 Eerie

Ones to Keep Watching

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Garrett Hedlund
Where you’ve seen him before: TRON: Legacy & Friday Night Lights
In 2011: Country Strong. In my notes on Country Strong I wrote he will ‘melt the hearts of millions’. And I really think he will. He's got it. A great actor.
Upcoming: live action version of Akira

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Aaron Poole (left) with Peter Stormare in Small Town Murder Songs

Aaron Poole
Where you’ve seen him before: This Beautiful City
In 2011: Small Town Murder Songs and wow, I had to triple check that he was the same person in the two films because the performances were both so transformative. He’s a truly great actor. I quite loved his understated performance as a small town cop in Small Town Murder Songs alongside Peter Stormare. I had a chance to talk to him about the film, you can see my interview with Aaron Poole here.
Currently on the TV series 'King'

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Kat Dennings in DAYDREAM NATION. Courtesy of eOne Films

Kat Dennings
Where you’ve seen her before: Defendor
In 2011: Daydream Nation and Thor. This actually was a bit of a retrospective notation as she’s the protagonist in Daydream Nation and easily carries the film, an amazing feat from a young actor especially alongside the company of Josh Lucas and Andie MacDowell.
Upcoming: Renee (2012), Lives of the Saints

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Chris Hemsworth
Where you’ve seen him before: as Kirk’s Dad in the 2009 Star Trek
In 2011: Thor. I don’t really know much more to say about him, he’s fantastic. Won me over in about 5 seconds in Star Trek and continues to impress in the title role of Thor showcasing a character that has a much greater range and arch than I anticipated, and does so believably at every turn from humorous to oh so very human.
Upcoming: Snow White and the Huntsman and The Avengers

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Olivia Colman (right) with Tryannosaur director Paddy Considine

Olivia Colman
Where you’ve seen her before: Hot Fuzz (female police office)
In 2011 (Festival Screening): Tyrannosaur. Powerful and challenging film that’s a directorial debut from Paddy Considine and she stars alongside 2 of my always must-see actors: Peter Mullan and Eddie Marsan, and after seeing this she easily is added to my must-see actor lists. A challenging, emotional film full of human drama and she’s fascinating in it.
Upcoming: The Iron Lady

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Left: ANTON YELCHIN stars in THE BEAVER. Photo Ken Regan Courtesy of eOne Films / Right: Anton Yelchin in Fright Night

Anton Yelchin
Where you’ve seen him before: Star Trek, Terminator Salvation
In 2011: Fright Night & The Beaver; and he’s getting this for The Beaver which was one of the harder films to watch this year as it focuses on mental illness / stability but getting through it did mean I finally got to see Anton Yelchin in a non-reprisal role. I’ve had my eye on his work for a while and although I was impressed before, the characters in Star Trek, Terminator: Salvation & Fright Night were all established characters and/or remakes so I didn’t feel like it was enough to say YES, he can do it. Now I feel confident in saying YES, he can do it. Great actor.
Upcoming: The Winter Queen, Star Trek Sequel

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Michael Eklund
Where you’ve seen him before: ‘Intelligence’, Walk All Over Me, Hunt to Kill
In 2011 (Festival Screening): The Divide, which technically is a 2012 film but I'm sneaking him in here because he is absolutely formidable in the film. I've been impressed with him since catching up with the show 'Intelligence' on DVD last summer, and he's also in Hunt to Kill and guest stars on many shows. Every time I watch him in something I want to watch it again, because you can feel the layers to the characters are deep and rich and I always want to see more. He is a truly great actor and this feels like a great launching point, I’ve already heard tons of well-deserved acclaim for his performance in The Divide and anticipate hearing more, and seeing much more in the future.
Upcoming: Errors of the Human Body; plus The Divide hits Toronto theatres January 2012.

And the Awesome & Ubiquitous Award for being EVERYWHERE Goes To

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Ryan Gosling
As if people didn’t love him enough from The Notebook or were floored by his performance in Half Nelson, but in 2011 we saw more and more sides of Ryan Gosling. An amazing performance in one half of the trying relationship in the relationship drama Blue Valentine (and yes, I count that as 2011) to the formidable performance in Drive, we also got to see him ‘like he’s photoshopped’, Crazy, Stupid, Love.
Upcoming: Gangster Squad, Lawless

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Mrs. O'Brien (Jessica Chastain) and her boys, in THE TREE OF LIFE Courtesy of eOne Films / Jessica Chastain stars in THE DEBT, an Alliance Films release. Photo credit Laurie Sparham

Jessica Chastian
With prominent roles in 4 films from 2011 (The Tree of Life, The Debt, The Help and Take Shelter), she takes the cake this year for being everywhere. Plus with the diversity of the films themselves means she was seen by different people from different taste groups whether it be art house lovers watching her as the 50’s mother in The Tree of Life to the book to film adaptation of The Help to the post apocalyptic drama of Take Shelter, she literally was every-when-where.
Upcoming: Coriolanus

That's who impressed me. Who did you have your eye on in 2011?

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Apollo 18 (DVD Review)

DVD Review of the science fiction conspiracy theory film Apollo 18
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Image Courtesy of Alliance Films
Legal Line Package Design: © 2011 Starz Media LLC. All Rights Reserved. © 2011 Mirsand Limited. All Rights Reserved. Distributed exclusively in Canada by Alliance Films. All Rights Reserved.

Dir: Gonzalo Lopéz-Gallego (King of the Hill / El Rey de la montaña)
Cast: Warren Christie, Lloyd Owen, Ryan Robbins
USA/Canada, 2011

Reason to see: Whether it is scifi or conspiracy film I was curious from the first trailer

It's been a while since we've seen a good conspiracy film, or any conspiracy film but with Apollo 18 we get back in the groove of the what ifs? and could it be? and what did happen? questions as it combines a conspiracy film with found footage feel and takes on a science fiction angle, or to be more precise a historical setting of the science fact. Put all of that together and I was definitely intrigued at the possibilities of where it may go.

The viewer gets place as an observer in the edited footage of a secret mission of Apollo 18 to the moon, so secret that the astronauts couldn’t tell anyone what they were doing which gives them a tried and true unsung hero appeal. The film even shifts vibes from an almost documentary character, or subject, set up reeling us in as viewers into the lives of the astronauts and we slip into watching, caring and listening to them more so than wondering what they are doing going to the moon.

Apollo 18 certainly takes on a few challenges being both a found footage and a conspiracy film, both are style I often enjoy especially when paired with science fiction. As a found footage/ cinéma vérité film I think it works as one of the challenges of this style is the viewer can be stumped by who edited it, but this is thankfully dealt with so it's not a question but rather an answer sitting at the back of your mind. As a conspiracy film though, id didn't quite get me as much as I was very familiar with one of the actors Warren Christie who plays Ben Anderson and I watched all summer on the show 'Alphas', and he's great in that and great in Apollo 18 but it broke the mystique of the 'could this be real?', because I knew it couldn't.

As a science fiction/horror film, Apollo 18 completely got me. I didn't know what was going to happen, or even what could happen. Because of the (edited) found format you know you won't go too long with nothing going on (like Paranormal Activity 2), but I never felt like I was waiting for something to happen. There was always something interesting drawing me to the film be it the visuals, the story, the characters or the sound; it kept be in and kept me more on edge than I expected. It had scary moments, it was surprizing and it was creepy to boot. I am, however, not to surprized that the film may not have been received well south of the border considering alternative history of this era can step on pretty firmly on the toes in terms of patriotism, but it didn't faze me.

As it is a conspiracy film I don't want to say too much about it, but if you enjoy either science fiction or horror I would say this one is well worth a look. I enjoyed it much more than I expected and I look forward to seeing it again.

DVD Extras:
  • Feature Commentary with director Gonzalo Lopéz-Gallego and editor Patrick Lussier, deleted scenes, alternate scenes & alternate ending.
Apollo 18 is available on DVD as of December 27, 2011. Check it out over at Amazon.ca & Amazon.com

Shannon's Overall View:
I enjoyed it a lot
I'll watch it again
I'd recommend it to fans science fiction and/or conspiracy films

Return to Film Reviews or see more DVD Reviews

© Shannon Ridler, 2011

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Favourite Trailers from 2011

I have oodles of lists I want to share of 2011 but I think the one with the most surprizing results is my favourite trailers. I think most trailers too much of the films they are showcasing, but there are ones that can give us a taste and leave us wanting more, or ones that tell their own story possibly better than the film itself. Lets look at the trailers that wowed.

Shannon the Movie Moxie's Favourite Trailers of 2011:



Battle: Los Angeles
I love this trailer, in part because it doesn't feel like it shows too much and also because of it's use of music and sound. I also love how it gives that sense of overwhelm and awe.


The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1

I'm a fan of the Saga and using this trailer as a way to 'invite' the fans & viewers to the wedding was very sweet.


We Bought a Zoo
I almost gave this one a miss because knowing the title diminishing the experience of watching the trailer from a reveal point of view, but watching it for the first time was one of the best trailer moments I had this year.


Transformers: Dark of the Moon
I know, I know - I didn't expect the Transformers three-quel to appear on any of my lists other than 'I'm not surprized I didn't see it' list, but credit shall be given where it's due and this trailer deserves it for uniquely telling an interesting story in it of itself. And than it suckered us because it was a transformers film.


Pina
I could watch this one over and over again for it's beauty and for the dance. Expressive, intense, gorgeous.


Fun Trailer Notations of 2011:
  • Trailers most viewed in the theatre: Both Priest and Cowboys vs Aliens were played in front of 5 times! I saw theatrically in 2011.Priest played with The Roommate, The Eagle, Battle Los Angeles, Sucker Punch & Hobo with a Shotgun and Cowboys vs Aliens played with Sanctum, Fast Five, Thor, Super 8 & True Legend.
  • Number of films with zero trailers: Just 1 - War of the Arrows was the only film I saw this year with no trailers.
  • Unknown Trailers - both The Help & Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 showed trailers that I either: a) couldn't figure out what the film was or b) couldn't read my handwriting after (1 occurrence of each)
  • Trailers I'm retrospectively glad I didn't see because of spoilers: The Tree of Life and Drive
  • With the completion of the Harry Potter series, which I never watched any trailers for as I didn't want to be spoiled by any content, I feel now that I don't have to panic while sitting in the theatre waiting to see what's next. There will likely be more trailers I avoid, but few with the intensity of that series.
  • Special notation to the trailer for upcoming 2012 film The Hunger Games. It's too spoiler to post but dang it made me cry. Here is a link to it and only watch it if you've read the book!
What were your trailers from 2011?

DVD Releases for December 27, 2011

Time to take a look at a selection of DVD releases for Tuesday December 27, 2011!

  • Apollo 18 (DVD Review) Conspiracy feel science fiction flick that I've been aching to see.
  • The First Grader Inspiring biopic following an 84 year-old Kenyan man who enrols in first grade.
  • Final Destination 5 I think after 5 films I'm literally out of jokes about this happenstance/cursed/unbelievable/inescapable horror series.
  • Zombie Apocalypse (2011) This SyFy original starring Stars Ving Rames & Taryn Manning was only on this fall, exciting to see it his DVD so soon!
  • Moby Dick I was tempted to check out this one as it stars Charlie Cox, William Hurt, Ethan Hawke, Gillian Anderson, Donald Sutherland & Eddie Marsan. That's one hell of a cast!
  • Primeval Volume 3 One day I'll catch up with this British dinosaur TV series, it looks like a hell of a lot of fun.
  • The Amityville Haunting Scare in the New Year with this Asylum release focused on the infamous Amityville house.
  • Pool Boys One way to beat the winter blues is to have fun in the sun instead. THis comedy looks like that's what it's going for, stars Matthew Lillard, Rachelle Lefevre & Tom Arnold.
  • Buck Highly acclaimed documentary on horse whisperer Buck Brannaman.
  • Borgias: The First Season With a tagline of "The Original Crime Family" you know it's not your everyday period drama!
  • In the Name of the King 2: Two World I'm very surprized to see a sequel to this, but perhaps that is Uwe Boll most underrated skill - he still can always surprize us! Stars Dolph Lundgren & Natassia Malthe directed by none other than Uwe Boll (In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale).
  • Only the Lonely (Repackaged) I know this classic John Candy is quite a fave so it's great to see it come to DVD again. Also stars Maureen O'Hara, & Ally Sheedy.
Titles on Amazon.ca(Canada):


Titles on Amazon.com (US):

Friday, 23 December 2011

Film Fan Fridays for Friday December 23, 2011

Hello Film Fans and Fanatics!

Welcome to Film Fan Fridays for Friday December 23, 2011!

As we near to the end of the year one of the things I've been thinking a lot about is the 2011 Movie Moxie Book to Film Club, which I've really enjoyed and we've read and seen a lot of great and fun films. It was so much fun that I have decided to do it all again and I'm looking at titles for 2012 and if you'd like to have a chance to take a look at titles for consideration as well as share any you'd like to be included you can vote here.

Today I'll be sharing films that come out today as well te holiday releases for today as well as on Christmas Day December 25, 2011. I've never been to the movie theatre on Christmas, although I know for many it's a yearly tradition as it's one of the few place that is open when most of the city slumbers and turkeys-out.

For today, Friday December 23, 2011 we have 4 films to choose from and pretty much an even split of limited to wide releases. The limited releases include 3D dance documentary Pina which I can't wait to see and Roman Polanski's latest Carnage. In wide release we have Bollywood sequel Don 2 (in 3D!), plus Cameron Crowe's We Bought a Zoo starring Matt Damon as a single dad who... you guessed it... buys a zoo. I really want to see that one too, the trailer almost made me cry.

If you are trekking out to the theatre on Christmas Day you have three films to choose from including the limited release of book to film adaptation of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and the wide releases of Stephen Speilberg's War Horse and out resident horror release of The Darkest Hour with the awesome tagline of 'Survive the Holidays' (and it's in 3D). Actually, it's one of the several 3D releases this week including Don 2, Pina and The Darkest Hour which is a wild set of films to have a 3D commonality: A Bollywood sequel, a dance documentary and a horror flick.

Have a great holiday weekend!

Shannon

Friday December 23, 2011 Releases

Carnage
Dir: Roman Polanski (The Ghost Writer, The Pianist, Rosemary's Baby)
Cast: Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz, John C. Reilly
France/Germany/Poland/Spain
Limited Release
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer

Don 2
Dir: Farhan Akhtar (Don, Lakshya)
Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Boman Irani, Lara Dutta
India
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer

Pina
Writer/Dir: Wim Wenders (Wings of Desire, Bueno Vista Social Club)
Documentary featuring the work of choreographer Pina Bausch
Germany/France/UK
Limited Release
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer

We Bought a Zoo
Dir: Cameron Crowe (Almost Famous, Singles, Say Anything...)
Cast: Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson, Thomas Haden Church, Patrick Fugit, Elle Fanning, John Michael Higgins
USA
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer

Sunday December 25, 2011 Releases

The Darkest Hour
Dir: Chris Gorak (Right at Your Door)
Cast: Emile Hirsch, Olivia Thirlby, Max Minghella, Rachael Taylor
USA
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Dir: Stephen Daldry (The Reader, The Hours, Billy Elliot)
Cast: Thomas Horn, Sandra Bullock, Max von Sydow, Viola Davis, John Goodman, Jeffrey Wright, Tom Hanks
USA
Limited Release
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer

War Horse
Dir: Steven Spielberg (The Adventures of TinTin, Catch Me If You Can, Jurassic Park)
Cast: Jeremy Irvine, Emily Watson, David Thewlis, Peter Mullan, Niels Arestrup, Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Cumberbatch, Toby Kebbell
USA
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer

**please note this list of releases reflects first run film released in Toronto, Ontario, Canada as of December 25, 2011**

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Movie Moxie Podcast 55: Hugo, Dragonslayer & New Faces and Ones to Watch from 2011

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This week on the Movie Moxie podcast Shannon has spoiler free reviews of recent releases Hugo and Dragonslayer, looks at 2 weeks of DVD releases for films available just before the holidays and gives some shout out love with her 2011 New Faces & Ones to Watch List*.






Time Coding:
0:00 - 4:10 Intro
4:10 - 12:35 Hugo
12:35 - 15:45 Dragonslayer
15:45 - 25:05 DVD Releases Dec 13 & 20, 2011
25:05 - 39:33 Movie Moxie List of New Faces & Ones to Watch from 2011
39:33 - 42:33 Outro

Show Notes:
Movie Moxie Podcast - A 100% spoiler-free film review podcast
You can also subscribe to the Movie Moxie Podcast here:
Subscribe through iTunes here.

*And Yes, I will do a write up of the New Faces & Ones to Watch from 2011 but I'm going to give myself a little holiday over the... holidays. Look for it soon :)

I'll be back next week when I hopefully catch up with the last set of 2011 titles that are still on my to see list and possible give a glean into my first marathon of 2012. Until then - Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Fright Night (2011) Review 2-Disc BluRay Combo Pack with BluRay & DVD

DVD/BluRay Review of the coming of age vampire horror comedy Fright Night starring Anton Yelchin, Colin Farrell, Imogen Poots and David Tennant
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Dir: Craig Gillespie (Lars and the Real Girl, Mr. Woodcock)
Cast: Anton Yelchin, Colin Farrell, Imogen Poots, David Tennant, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Toni Collette
USA/UK, 2011

Reason to see: Vampire Films are pretty much always a go, plus the casting is awesome

Going into Fright Night (2011) I was hyped to see a vampire film, but not having seen the original I didn't have much more than that to go on other than hesitation as recent track record for horror remakes have not been. Low and behold, I am happy I took the plunge and dived in as the film is fabulous! It has a great story, charismatic characters and an insightful look at power dynamics and relationships. All of that set in outside-Vegas suburbia, giving it a prime opportunity to play into high school insecurity drama and lots of beautiful people.

The film follows Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin of Star Trek, Terminator Salvation & The Beaver) who is a pretty average guy for all intents and purposes, but gets trapped in between social crowds of his new girlfriend Amy (Imogen Poots) and trying to avoid his old geek friends including Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse of Kick-Ass), who suspects neighbour Jerry (Colin Farrell of In Bruges, Triage) of being a vampire. I was honestly already sold at the 'possible vampire neighbour Jerry', but as an added bonus we get a complex dynamics of social groups, awkwardness and power dynamics on many levels. I loved the power play in the film which is present at all times, especially between Charley and Jerry, the tense yet subtle negotiation as well as dancing around predator behaviour at every step.

The cast really makes the film a cut above. Anton Yelchin & Colin Farrell play off each other very well in creating the power struggle between their characters, which is something I didn't expect but also adds a great coming of age quality to it. We've actually seen several male coming of age stories in film this year with Stake Land & Bellflower, but those both lost me somewhere and Fright Night kept me in at every moment. Perhaps it's the comedic elements, and considering it's written by 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' veteran Marti Noxon was the magic touch as that show always finessed that beautiful balance between horror, comedy and pop culture. Another huge highlight of the film is David Tennant (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, 'Doctor Who') as Vegas illusionist Peter Vincent, whose performance alone is worth seeing the film as he's over the top in all the right ridiculous ways. I also loved that even though it has lots of comedy in it, it still is a true horror film where horrific things happen. I was literally shocked several times during the film, which isn't an easy feat, and they were all true to story or character moments - no pop scare or no cheap shots, but all truly great moments.

Overall it's a great vampire film, horror film and coming of age film and it's got a great sense of humour as sensational performances. Fright Night (2011) will definitely be one of my faves of 2011.

DVD Extras:
  • Bloopers (3 minutes) includes practical goofs & mishaps, flubbed lines, extended reaction shots and lots of brilliant & awkward moments.
  • Squid Man – Extended & Uncut (2 Scenes, 3 minutes) Awesome footage home video style of the superhero/role-playing of Adventures of Squid Man, Kid Comeback and Gladiator Boy full on with practical effects and creative editing.
  • Kid Cudi Music Video (uncensored version) “No One Believes Me” (5 minutes) movie tie in video set in the tone and setting of the film.
BluRay Extras
All DVD extras of Bloopers, Kid Cudi Music Video (uncensored version) “No One Believes Me” and Squid Man – Extended & Uncut (noted above) plus:
  • Peter Vincent: Swim Inside My Mind
  • The Official “How to Make a Funny Vampire Movie” Guide
  • Frightful Facts & Terrifying Trivia
  • 5 Deleted Scenes with intros by Director Craig Gillepsie (Ride to School; Neighborly; Once A Freak, Always A Freak; Midori & Kerosene; and Back at the Penthouse)
Fright Night (2011) is available on DVD as of December 13, 2011. Check it out over at Amazon.ca & Amazon.com

Shannon's Overall View:
I loved it
I'll watch it again, repeatedly
I highly recommend it to vampire film fans and horror comedy fans

See also: Fright Night Review on the Movie Moxie Podcast, All 2011 Films Reviewed, All Film Reviews and DVD Reviews

© Shannon Ridler, 2011

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Saint / Sint (DVD Review)

DVD review of the Dutch supernatural holiday horror film Saint/Sint featuring a less-than-nice Saint Nicholas

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Image Courtesy of eOne Films

Writer/Dir: Dick Maas (Do Not Disturb, The Lift, Amsterdamned)
Cast: Huub Stapel, Egbert Jan Weeber, Caro Lenssen, Escha Tanihatu, Madelief Blanken, Bert Luppes
The Netherlands, 2010

Reason to see: Holiday horror - one of the most bizarre subgenres out there, which makes it all the more fun!

I was cautiously curious to enter the world of Saint/Sint, a Dutch horror/comedy that pitches Saint Nick as the villain in a twisted take on a holiday tradition. I watched the trailer many times before deciding if I wanted to take the plunge and watch the film and it was really hard to decide because it had all the ear marks of what could have been a bad horror film (young cast, bizarre/ridiculous and possible one-note concept with lore laid out in the trailer, plus I'd never heard of it), but I kept thinking that maybe, just maybe there would be something there worth watching. And there was. In fact it was all worth watching as I enjoyed every minute of it.

Holiday horror is a wild subgenre that just screams at you that it's stepping on all toes, literally and figuratively. In Saint/Sint we are working with the story of a evil and murderous St. Niklas who appears when there is a full moon on December 5th and goes on a vengeful rampage. And when I say St. Niklas, they actually are going with a Saint (played by Huub Stapel), so that will miff off any religious folks (who probably aren't up for holiday horror) and it's an equal opportunity killer so that will press even more buttons. But I think that it going for pushing buttons is a good thing, because that is where so much of the beauty of the film lies - it's over the top horror in terms many levels from visual with buckets of blood as well as concept as no one is safe. That was part of what I loved about the film was that it was across the board even in it's brutal take on things, it makes you realize that even with horror there are some places that films generally don't go...but with Saint/Sint they do. It easily lives up to the claim in The Making Of which introduces the film as the 'most controversial Dutch movie of the year'.

The film also favours some tried and true storytelling for horror including following a set of partying young folk of Frank (Egbert Jan Weeber), Sophie (Escha Tanihatu) & Natasha (Madelief Blanken) threading through holidays festivities, friendships and relationship drama as well as varying beliefs in celebrating the holiday season. We also have the stringent old timer police officer Goert (Bert Luppes) who files the dual role of resident expert and/or overzealous fool. I like how they give just enough of the characters that you can ease into their stories comfortably and then knocks it out of the park when it comes to the zaniness of the idea of the vengeful St. Niklaus full on with epic music, wild chase sequences and horrific encounters all with the backdrop of beautiful, wintery Amsterdam. It's a wild and wonderful horror film and it a fantastic holiday pick for horror fans and Scrooges alike.

DVD Extras:
  • The Making Of Sint (22 minutes) Impressive making of with lots of behind the scenes, extensive film clips and interviews with writer/director Dick Maas, special make up effects Erik & Rob Hillenbrink, stunt coordinators Willem de Beukelaer & Marco Maas, special Harrie Wiessenhaan, second unit Rolf Dekens, director of photography Guido van Gennep, visual effects supervisor Kasper Oerlemans and actors Egbert Jan Weeber, Huub Stapel, Escha Tanihatu & Bert Luppes on the premise of the film, where the idea came from of making a horror film about Saint Nicholas, playing with ideas that people are very familiarity with, the bloody nature of the film, the casting of the late-teen characters, the combination of horror and comedy, the setting & filming in Amsterdam, on the vengeance factor of the characters of Saint, the effects/make up, their characters, plus a time lapse make up for Saint Nicholas and a whole section on the effects from with behind the scenes and interviews with on the creating the effects lots of blood splattering, behind the scenes on the stunt works with wire work, cars, green screens, weather creation, creating the directors vision into reality, how much the actors did of their stunts, animated storyboard and process behind a unique chase scene, behind the scenes with second unit, the process of transferring green screen footage to finished film footage. In Dutch with optional English or French subtitles.
Saint/Sint is available on DVD as of December 20, 2011. Check it out over at Amazon.ca & Amazon.com

Shannon's Overall View:
I enjoyed it, a lot
I'll watch it again
I'd strongly recommend for fans of over the top horror fans and horror comedy fans

Return to Film Reviews or see more DVD Reviews

© Shannon Ridler, 2011

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Huub Stapel in SAINT. Image Courtesy of eOne Films.
All content on Movie Moxie is written by Shannon Ridler, © 2006 - 2012