You know folks, I’ve been watching all kinds of movies for ages. Dramas, comedies, romances(ugh..but sometimes you gotta go where your date wants to go), family films, etc…But for me there really is just one genre I pay attention to & that is horror, with a generous dollop of sci-fi on the side. But although I’ve seen literally hundreds of horror films in 2010, I can’t really think of 10 genuinely great ones. I’ve seen some pretty good ones & a whole dump truck full of bad ones. I had to wait until today to actually see one last movie I wanted to see so I could see if it was worthy of entry in any list I post. I’m not necessarily a big fan of lists but I do read them on occasion to see whether I agree or disagree with some of the choices made. I do get curious as to whether I agree or disagree with other pundits (“Whip my hair” one of the top singles of the year? Really…..?)
That being said, I decided to list a top 10 list of films that I genuinely loved. Unfortunately, not all of them are horror films. Anybody got a problem with that? I don’t think it would be fair to make a list comprised completely of horror films if I didn’t absolutely loved them all. Liking them a lot doesn’t count in my book. I know this is horrornews,net for a reason & I may be bucking a trend here but I didn’t see 10 legitimately great horror films this year so I’m including some films that fall out of the genre. By the way, I want to use this line to apologize to my ever so cool editor. I know I have other assignments to get to & I am working on all of them. I just wanted to get this column off before the end of the year. It’s been on my mind for awhile & I have to get it off of my chest. And with that being said, off to number…..
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10/”How To Train Your Dragon” – Yup, it’s a cartoon. But it f*cking rocked my socks off! I saw it three(!) times I loved it so much. It looked just as amazing in 2D as in 3D which is even more impressive. An engaging story, great voice acting & absolutely stunning action set pieces (this bitch ROCKED in IMAX 3D) makes this my number 10 best movie of the year. And it had dragons in it…dragons are scary right?
9/”Paranormal Activity 2″ – Ok, here’s my first horror movie. It makes the list for two big reasons, it’s one of the rare sequels that’s actually as good as the original & ties into the original in a very well thought out way. The second reason is because while it is essentially the same movie, it cost $3 million dollars as opposed to the original which cost $11,000 (I think). That is f*cking terrifying! Where did the other $2,989,000 go? That’s f*cking horrifying if you ask me…
8/”Iron Man 2″ – I know this isn’t horror either but it does exactly what a sequel is supposed to do. It expands on everything the first one began two years ago and it did it well. Robert Downey Jr was born to play the role of Tony Stark & the supporting cast is as strong as ever. Mickey Roarke didn’t have as many scenes as I would’ve liked & the final showdown between Iron Man & Whiplash was a bit underwhelming but overall the film was exciting & worthy of inclusion on my list.
7/”Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale” – An absolutely bonkers tale of the true nature of Santa Claus & why we ought to be nice & not naughty in the least. This Finnish flick is f*cking fabulously funny & frightening at the same time (6 F’s in one sentence…hah)! It combines a traditional X-mas film with “John Carpenter’s The Thing” & “Night Of The Living Dead” & maybe even a bit of “The Ransom For Red Chief” just a bit. And as disparate those elements may sound, they blend together in a wonderful melange of laughs & just enough gore to make me smile from ear to ear.
6/”Let Me In” – Director Matt “Cloverfield” Reeves took a big chance in attempting to remake what is probably the best vampire film ever made (Let The Right One In). Why try to remake near perfection just to satisfy an English speaking audience? We can watch the original with subtitles & still catch all of the subtleties within it. We can still be shocked by the sudden bouts of bloodletting the original springs upon us & we can still feel genuine pathos for both the young boy & his blood drinking friend. So why remake it? Well, he did and lo and behold he made a pretty good movie that hews pretty closely to the original. Actually….very closely. There are a few omissions that I won’t spoil, all of you should have seen this one anyway. But it is a fine film that weaves as near an identical spell as the original does. Well worth your time.
5/”Resident Evil: Afterlife” - Ok, back to the red stuff. I figured that this fourth (!) entry in the series would be a letdown from the very interesting cliffhanger we were left with at the end of “Extinction”. But bedknobs & broomsticks! This f*cker picks up exactly where the last one left off & did it with action &Â infected people aplenty! Milla Jovovich is just as invested in the character of Alice as she was in the first “Resident Evil”. And apparently Paul W.S. Anderson can only direct “Resident Evil” films. The film never slows down &Â is extremely satisfying in all aspects. All that and lots of blood too! It just got released to dvd/blu this week &Â if you haven’t seen it as of yet…now is the time to catch up. It even leaves us with a surprise halfway through the end credits. Great movie!
4/”Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World” - Literally a game changing movie. I have never seen a film like this one & neither has anyone else, no matter what they say. Edgar “Shaun Of The Dead” Wright’s combination of love story, action film & video game is a hyper kinetic delight. There are things done in this film (on a cinematic level) that I’ve never seen attempted let alone achieved in film. It moves at such a breakneck clip that it might actually be hard to keep up with it at certain points. Unfortunately the film was just way ahead of it’s time & did poorly at the box office but it is an amazing film nevertheless &Â it deserved a much better fate.
3/”The Last Exorcism” - If you read my original review upon this film’s initial release, you’ll see that I wasn’t all that crazy about it. I was wrong. I watched it again recently in the dank comfort of my mausoleum & I was terrified. It plays so much better in a dark bedroom all by yourself. I think I said in my original review that a film like this couldn’t be scary & rated PG-13. Again…wrong. Every aspect of the film hits the nail right on the head. And every performance in the film is effective to a fault. The forthcoming dvd/blu package is filled with just the right amount of extras that actually serve a purpose. There is an extra featuring the tale of an actual exorcism that had The Saint saying a prayer to someone else. The dvd actually asks that you say the prayer before you watch that particular extra! Is it hype? I don’t know…but I do know that after watching it a second time I realized that there is greatness in this film. Plus it scared the sh*t out of me. Nothing more needs to be said.
2/”Black Swan” - This is the film I mentioned in the beginning of this column as being the one I wanted to see before I could actually finish writing this and I’m glad I waited to see it. Darren Aronofsky is a genius in my mind. “Pi”, “Requiem For A Dream”, “The Wrestler” &Â my personal favorite of his “The Fountain” were all worthy of being on “Best Of” lists upon their initial release (Can you imagine what his “Batman” would have been)? But “Black Swan” is his magnum opus up til now in his career. The tale of a mentally tortured ballerina (Natalie Portman) & her perceived (or is it)? notion of an evil doppelganger following her around & her fellow dancers jealousy of her success is executed the way I would imagine Kubrick would film it. Hate me if you will but I still don’t think “The Shining” is all that scary of a movie & as a matter of fact, rather boring. Nicholson kicked ass though. But as I watched “Black Swan” all I could think was that Aronofsky was channeling Kubrick, intentionally or not. Either way, the film is a mad miasma of psychological terror, fear of one’s own sexuality, fear of becoming an adult in a sense. Portman is a lock for a “Best Actress” nom as is Aronofsky for direction. Mila Kunis should get a “Best Supporting” nom as well. She oozes sexuality through her pores as soon as she enters the film & just gets sexier as the film continues. Portman’s rapid descent into madness (I say rapid because she seems to be a bit off as the movie begins) is extremely unnerving & the last 20 minutes of the film should be shown in film schools all over the world to demonstrate how horror, self loathing & sexuality can come together in such an overwhelmingly adroit manner. It’s the best film Kubrick never made & would be my number one if not for….
1/”Bereavement” - I said it before & I’ll say it again. “Bereavement” sets the new standard for psycho films. As crazy as Portman is in “Black Swan”, she ain’t a psycho. “Bereavement” features a TRUE psycho in the character of Graham Sutter as played by Brett Rickaby. The film is nearly relentless in it’s attempt to make it’s audience uncomfortable & it achieves this goal most admirably. All of the performances are first rate & in a better world director Stevan Mena would be listening to his name as a “Best Director” nominee at next year’s Oscar show. But that’s not going to happen so the best I can do is tell you that this film stands tall on it’s own and in the pantheon of psycho killer films it stands above all others. And I’m including “Halloween”, “Friday The 13th”, “Last House On The Left” & the original “Psycho”. It’s that good & the best I’ve seen this year.
A couple of extra categories I should mention:
Biggest Disappointments - “A Nightmare On Elm Street”, it should have been so much more & “Tron: Legacy”, which I had been waiting for for 2 years & was completely nonplussed by it.
Best Performance by an actress - Natalie Portman in “Black Swan”. Wow is all I can say. Motherf*cking wow…
Best Performance by an actor – Brett Rickaby in “Bereavement”. I met him in person & I was still unnerved by him just being himself.
I don’t want to linger on worst performances but I will mention all of the actors who were involved with the 2 worst films I’ve seen this year…”Contagio” & “Blood Of The Beast”. I can’t begin to complain enough about these two films so I won’t but I will say that if you run by them. Just run the other way. There is nothing worth mentioning besides the fact that all of the acting sucked & both of the films are textbook examples of people with a camera & some friends that decided to get together & “Make a movie”! In the case of “Contagio”, they made it in 2 days & chose to trumpet this “Achievement” as if it made their movie any better…it didn’t. And as to “Blood Of The Beast”, well if you’re going to tell the last 15 minutes of your movie in silent movie fashion (along with titlecards)! because you think it’s “different” or “arty”, dudes you were dead wrong. Your movie sucks the big one! Don’t try and make a “message” movie if you don’t have any f*cking idea what the message is you f*cking idiots.
Am I being too harsh? Fuck that noise…I’m The Black Saint & I say what I mean and I mean what I say. Let the arrows fly if you disagree with me. My acolytes are waiting……