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Top 25 Films of 2016

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 1, 2017 by bookofdread

Unlike many who posit best of lists at the end of the year, I assume no objectivity, and these aren’t the BEST films of the year. These are my favorites, and all of them are films I think are worth returning to in the future. The Witch is on last years list, and I haven’t seen Scorsese’s Silence yet, or I’m sure it would make this list. Some of the titles haven’t been released yet. Nevertheless, these were my 25 favorite films of 2016.

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25. Battledream Chronicle – Alain Bidard

A sweeping, thrilling animated sci-fi epic, anchored by two strong female characters make the first ever feature film from Martinique a unique creature to behold. Bidard’s visual sense brings hand drawn animation into the twenty-first century, and I cannot wait to see what he does next.

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24. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – Gareth Edwards

Rogue One really thrilled me with visual panache and iconography. The Michael Giachinno score was suitably spectacular and I had a grand time in the Star Wars sandbox. (I liked it much more than The Force Awakens.)

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23. Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice (The Director’s Cut) – Zack Snyder

It wasn’t until after I saw the actual cut of the film did I see what Snyder was up to re-making The Last Temptation of Christ with super-heroes. He throws together the biggest of DC’s universe shaking events with aplomb, and most of it not only sticks, it thrills. Best of all, Wonder Woman and her kick ass theme light my smile every time they appear.

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22. When Black Birds Fly – Jimmy ScreamerClauz

More than any film I saw this year, When Black Birds Fly felt very transgressive. It’s shocking, political, blasphemous, crude, and nihilistic. Yet, the entire enterprise gives one hope for art. The whole picture is framed as a piece of propaganda for a strange future church. More than anything, it reminded me of Eraserhead in its conflagration of suburban “Heaven” and the hellish world of color on the other side of the wall. Not for the faint of heart. This film will offend you.

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21. The Autopsy Of Jane Doe – Andre Ovredal

A brilliant narrative device and a pair (trio?) of stellar performances made this morgue tale one of the most frightening stories of the year. After seeing this film, a cat toy with a bell in it scared the shit out of me.

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20. Blood Father – Jean-Francois Richet

Mel Gibson returns to form in this hugely entertaining blood feast. We need more like this.

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19. Scherzo Diabolico – Adrian Garcia Bogliano

Bogliano returns with his blackest film yet, a comedy. With each precise musical cue and turn of the screw I kept asking myself, “Am I supposed to be laughing at this?”

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18. Terror 5 – Sebastian Rotstein and Federico Rotstein

Terror 5 is the rare horror omnibus that adds up to more than the sum of its parts. Each segment is strong on their own, but added together it reaches kind of political Fulci-esque climax that hit me in the feels. I was ready to rage against the machine as the dead take the city.

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17. Split – M. Night Shyamalan

I can’t say anything about this film, because you haven’t seen it yet, but James McAvoy gives a performance for the ages, and Anya Taylor-Joy also turns in stellar work in Shyamalan’s best film in over a decade.

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16. Last Girl Standing – Benjamin R. Moody

The cleverest American film of the year kept me guessing until I was rooting for the story to go where it did. A fine script and taut editing make Last Girl Standing sharp as The Hunter’s knife.

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15. American Honey – Andrea Arnold

This riveting look at youth in Middle America left me breathless. The cinematic equivalent of getting in a van and going, wind in your hair, music up loud.

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14. The Neon Demon – Nicholas Winding-Refn

The Neon Demon is an intoxicating cocktail of images and music that DEMANDS to be seen on the big screen. I felt like I was going to fall into the screen.

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13. Everybody Wants Some!! – Richard Linklater

As only a mild fan of Linklater I was very surprised when he turned out what happens to be my favorite of his films. Everybody Wants Some is both specific and general in the anecdotes it uses to show formative days for these baseball players. Revisiting the weekend before college was a real fucking treat.

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12. Hail, Caesar! – Joel and Ethan Coen

It was a good year for films with exclamation points in the title. Hail, Caesar is a fine throwback film, a classic film about a classic era, and stupendously funny. No film this year can claim such an electrifying ensemble.

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11. Be My Cat: A Film For Anne – Adrian Tofei

This Romanian found footage film is some kind of marvel. Starring, written by and directed by Tofei, Be My Cat is based on a one-man show he created called “Monster”. The film, a strange slasher by way of portfolio piece to Anne Hathaway, is a new kind of brilliant. I was unnerved, but hooted and howled in laughter at his sick little film.

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10. The Shallows – Jaume Collet-Serra

I love the “aquatic terror” genre, so I was already in the bag for this to begin with. I wasn’t ready for it to be a masterpiece of the genre. We are all running from this metaphorical shark at one point or another and circumstance wont free us, only our belief in our self, and a little faith.

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9. Eyes Of My Mother – Nicholas Pesce

Along with The Driller Killer, Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Henry: Portrait of A Serial Killer, Eyes Of My Mother, attempts to create empathy and deconstruct psychotic behavior. It is a beautiful chilling portrait, the best horror film of the year.

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8. The Handmaiden – Chan-Wook Park

The hottest film I have ever seen. Erotic and sleazy, refined and crude, The Handmaiden has it all ways and then some. Bells have never sounded so heavenly.

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7. Elle – Paul Verhoeven

The world’s greatest provocateur hasn’t lost his touch. Elle’s constantly shifting moral perspective makes it a work of the highest sophistication, and Isabelle Huppert gives an all-timer of a performance.

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6. The Nice Guys – Shane Black

Shane Black has been distilling the buddy comedy for decades now, and The Nice Guys might be the purest batch of the bunch. Exhilarating and hilarious Black is the best Hollywood has to offer at this type of entertainment.

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5. Hacksaw Ridge – Mel Gibson

Another violent film about faith, Hacksaw Ridge is moving filmmaking. Gibson’s hand is so strong here; we see that we are losing filmmakers like him. There aren’t many who have so strong a voice and the tools to use it. Welcome back, Mel.

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4. The Hunt For The Wilderpeople – Taika Waititi

What a life affirming film. There’s nothing like it. I really can’t compare it to anything. It reminds you to take life by the balls and have a laugh with it. I left this movie absolutely on a cloud.

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3. Colossal – Nacho Vigalando

How does this movie even exist? The premise is so crazy that it would take a razor sharp mind like Vigalando’s to make it work. And work it does. It delivers that kind of magic Spielberg would produce on the regular in the eighties. Everything is note perfect, including the on the nose subtext. Vigalando is one of the best filmmakers in the world.

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2. La La Land – Damien Chazelle

I’m no cynic. This film was like a drug. I loved the songs and the use of imagery together. It was a film I felt more than I watched and I was drunk in it for two hours. I feel it’s a new classic, which while borrowing from the past lends newness to the genre.

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1. Nova Seed – Nick DiLiberto

I cannot say enough how much I love Nova Seed. Completely written directed and animated by DiLiberto, Nova Seed is as close to peering into a single imagination as can be. A throwback to early 80’s adult animated classics; Nova Seed exists in a genre the last entry of which may have been Don Bluth’s Titan A.E. I saw Nova Seed twice during Fantastic Fest, and I cannot recommend it highly enough. See this film!

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Top films of 2015

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on December 21, 2016 by bookofdread

Top 20 films of 2015

20. Curtain – Hernri Jarron-Maccrae

I loved this little demon tale. Like an early Clive Barker story, Curtain executes deft world building then drops the characters in the drain.

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19. Maps To The Stars – David Cronenberg

Cronenberg’s first film shot in Hollywood is also his cruelest. Julianne Moore was never better.

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18. Baskin – Can Evrenol

Like a Lucio Fulci film directed by Clive Barker, this pitch black Verhovian satire will leave you seething at the bloodshed and licking your lips for more.

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17. Embers – Claire Carre

A heady sci-fi trip in which people have lost their long term memory leaves us with some of the most heart wrenching cinema of the year.

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16. Follow – Owen Egerton

To anyone who has ever had a love one threaten to leave you behind, Follow is a literate psychologically sound thriller that backs up your psycho exes most horrible promises.

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15. High Rise – Ben Wheatley

Hillarious and dark, years ago this spot would have belonged to Cronenberg, but Wheatley has become our preeminent satirist. Loads of psychedelic fun.

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14. Bone Tomahawk – Craig S. Zahler

Kurt Russell leads a stellar cast in this rare western horror. More like this please.

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13. Ant-Man – Peyton Reed

Marvel keeps the stakes small and the laughs big. Micro photography shows us the inside of a dirty bathtub like never before.

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12. Crimson Peak – Guillermo Del Toro

GDT makes a cautionary tale about beautiful liars aimed at tween hearts. As beautiful a Hammer film as anyone could wish to make, Crimson Peak is another gorgeous Del Toro experience.

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11. Furious 7 – James Wan

James Wan’s Road Warrior.

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10. Beasts Of No Nation – Cary Fukanaga

A tour de force by Idris Elba cements this beast of a film.

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9. T. I. M. – Rolf Van Eijk

The most Spielbergian film on this list and this list actually features a film by Spielberg. T.I.M. is maybe the best boy and his robot film ever.

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8. Bridge Of Spies – Steven Spielberg

Spielberg shows the USA the moral high ground we should maintain as a nation.

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7. Love – Gaspar Noe

The Maggot Brain scene alone is mind blowing. Nearly the sexiest film I’ve ever seen.

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6. Tikkun – Avishai Sivan

Indescribable. Like an Israeli Lynch film, Tikkun will leave you changed on the other side. A film about holding on loosely to your faith without letting go.

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5. Tangerine – Sean Baker

I never had more fun hanging out with characters this year. Special credit to James Ransone who is becoming the best unknown in the biz.

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4. Sicario – Denis Villenueve

As scary as this film is, the real thing is worse.

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3. The Witch – Robert Eggars

Best horror film of the decade.

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2. Mad Max: Fury Road – George Miller

Miller shows he is one of the greatest filmmakers alive with a work that advances everything from gender roles to the filmic language.

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1. The Hateful Eight – Quentin Tarantino

Tarantino explores Americas bloody embarrassing history in this Agatha Christie by way of John Carpenter western.

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My Top Films Of 2014

Posted in Uncategorized on January 2, 2015 by bookofdread

No apologies. I haven’t seen everything. Here goes.

25. John Wick

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John Wick is a fully realized action world with kick-ass characters and great stunts. Plus, who doesn’t love Keanu, the guy is a damn treasure.

24. Noah

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Darren Aronofsky pushed all his chips in on this psychedelic bible trip. Is it what they teach in Sunday school? No, but, it was an amazingly realized original vision. I loved it.

23. Cheap Thrills

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“It’s been cool partying with you Craig…” Never has the sentence “I’d do anything for my family.”, seemed quite as sick as after seeing this film.

22. In Order Of Disappearance

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Snowy poetry and the goofiest villain of the year. This film made me laugh the most as I watched it’s tragedy unfold.

21. Automata

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The most moving film about robots I’ve yet seen.

20. Open Windows

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Your computer and telephone are watching you and there is nothing you can do about it.

19. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

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The most adult and morally grey film Marvel has made, which makes it all the more badass that Cap is on the side of what’s right instead of toeing the party line.

18. Freefall

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This film breaks all the narrative rules and instead shows you sights you never imagined. Never.

17. The Tribe

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This film keeps you out but has you looking as close as possible. Also, absolutely the best ending of the year.

16. Late Phases

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Late Phases is the kind of meditation on masculinity and what it means to grow old that rarely surfaces anymore. Think of it as 10 to Midnight, with werewolves.

15. Tusk

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Tusk is everything a movie should be. Funny, authentic, romantic, silly, gory and strange. I’ll never hear that Kleenex box drumbeat from “Tusk” the same again.

14. The Raid 2

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This movie is too long and convoluted but rises to this spot on the merit of its final hour. The action pieces in this film are the best the world has to offer.

13. Snowpiercer

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The back of the train working with the front of the train to keep us all in line is a potent symbol and I’m glad there is a film, (starring Captain America, no less!), that gives words to this struggle.

12. Gone Girl

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Did for marriage what Jaws did for swimming in the ocean.

11. The Zero Theorem

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Does it mean anything if it all means nothing? Also, best use of Radiohead in any film ever.

10. Nightcrawler

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Lou Bloom scares me. That’s why he’s real. He’s looking back at you in the mirror right now, knowing you could do a little better for yourself if only you were more motivated.

9. Under The Skin

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An interstellar predator learns the human condition. It’s like the inverse of Springbreakers. Instead of humans growing cold and murderous the cold and murderous grow human.

It’s the Iron Giant of evil bitch films.

8. Let Us Prey

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A Carpenteresque police thriller that keeps it coming until the final second. Violent and mean, this film is hard and as cool as they come.

7. Enemy

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Second best ending of the year, and second and third best Jake Gyllenhaal performances. This is a film I’ll watch again and again.

6. Cold In July

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Don’t show this to your basic bitch girlfriend. This is a film about men, bad men, and the worst men. Riveting.

5. All Cheerleaders Die

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Nearly as cool as a teen horror comedy can be, this film is bloody, and sexy and so much fun.

4. Tokyo Tribe

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Better than you ever dreamed a Japanese rap musical about warring gangs would ever be by a power of one thousand. This film left me feeling so happy I cannot explain!

3. The Guest

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The Concept. The Soundtrack. Dan “muthafuckin'” Stevens.

2. Guardians Of The Galaxy

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“Oh Boo Hoo! Everybody has got dead people! It’s no excuse!” This film is great precisely because it is a film in which a crew of self-interested crooks learn to give a crap about something other than themselves. And it’s a high concept fantasy with a pop soundtrack. Pulp Fiction in space.

1. The Tale Of Princess Kaguya

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It took Isao Takahata eight years to adapt a fable hundreds of years old that tells the story of a princess who races through life at an accelerated speed. The effect is one of the most mesmerizing experiences I’ve ever had with a film. This film truly carried me through a spectrum of emotions and set me safely and happily on my feet again after we were through flying. A masterpiece, and in contention for the greatest animated film ever made.

Looking forward to many more great films in 2015!

My Top 20 Films of 2013

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on January 4, 2014 by bookofdread

Here it is. These are my favorite films of the year, not the best. Films that either got my blood up or made me feel queasy or happy or feel something at all. These are films I feel should be seen in a cinema and with others. I loved all of these movies, and though there were a few films I missed this year, I can’t imagine many would have cracked this list, (Unseen Coens film aside…). So, without further interruption…

 

20. This Is The End – Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg

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This film surprised me by being a full on horror comedy. I love that. Also, between this and Wolf of Wall Street, I think Jonah Hill must be just awful. I love him.

 

19. Oz: The Great And Powerful – Sam Raimi

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This film is a hell of a theatrical experience in 3D and includes one of the most ingeniously satisfying non-violent resolutions I have ever seen in a film. The subtext about the perceived threats of our superiors is rich and carefully realized. This film is much more than a children’s film. It builds upon and honors Baum’s work and the Judy Garland classic. I loved it.

 

18. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – Francis Lawrence

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This is a handsome film with a silly plot and a very sexy Jennifer Lawrence. Hey if they want to make Rage Against The Machine movies for teen girls that are this good a powerful, (mostly thanks Lawrence’s steadfast direction and Jennifer Lawrence being that rare talent that exists waaaaaaay above the material), I’ll keep watching em’!

 

17. Thor: The Dark World  – Alan Taylor

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This is the last title on the list with a colon in its name. This is the best Star Wars film I’ve seen since Return of the Jedi. Also, don’t you just fucking LOVE Tom Hiddleston?

 

16. Sightseers – Ben Wheatley

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If you don’t think this film is hilarious, don’t talk to me.

 

15. Why Don’t You Play In Hell? – Sion Sono

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If you love making films, then you love playing in hell, and this film is a love letter to you.

 

14. Frances Ha – Noah Baumbach

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I want to have my own place someday. This seemingly small victory is a major triumph in the hands of Gerwig and Baumbach. Frances is a hero for saving herself and I fucking love it.

 

13. Upstream Color – Shane Carruth

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Oblique and beautiful, like David Lynch speaking through a Terrence Malick film.

 

12. Riddick – David Twohy

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I love that Diesel owns his own superhero and that he and Twohy are making sci-fi Conan movies. More please.

 

11. Kiss Of The Damned – Xan Cassavetes

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This is how you do sexy vampires. Also, could you find more beautiful women than the women in this film? Amazing.

 

10. Gravity – Alfonso Cuaron

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Too scary or it would be higher on the list.

 

9. Computer Chess – Andrew Bujalski

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The swinger scene. “You can stay, or not stay.” This film is like a fucking time machine.

 

8. Only God Forgives – Nicholas Winding Refn

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It’s crazy how overrated I found Drive and how underrated I find this film. Kristen Scott-Thomas is THE reason to love this film. She’s my favorite screen villain this year.

 

7. Blue Jasmine – Woody Allen

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Wow, Cate Blanchett. Just Wow. Woody’s still got game.

 

6. The Conjuring – James Wan

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This is the true coming of age as a filmmaker for Mr. Wan. The Conjuring is his first GREAT film and it evokes classic horror films without aping anything visually. This film is maybe the most old-school film on my list that’s exactly why it’s as high as it is. This is like watching a film of another era. Best zero body count horror film since Poltergeist.

 

5. Pacific Rim – Guillermo Del Toro

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What is it with Mexican directors and showing us things never seen before in a cinema? Between this and Gravity the language of film has been heavily revised in the last year. Now lets see a movie with both kinds of visuals in the same film.

 

4. Iron Man Three – Shane Black

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Is this a pro drone or anti-drone film? You decide.

 

3. Stoker – Chan Wook-Park

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Holy Shit this is the most beautiful film of the year. Stoker sports a stellar story, incredible performances and absolutely riveting cinematography, editing and music. This film cast a spell over me from which I did not want to wake.

 

2. The Wolf Of Wall Street – Martin Scorsese

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How do you even make this fucking movie? A condemnation of the evils of greed that let’s it’s Lex Luthor’s off light, just like the really real world. Get ‘em Marty.

 

1. The World’s End – Edgar Wright

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This film is Mr. Wright and Mr. Pegg’s MASTERPIECE. The shading of character and dialogue and plot and editing are so confident, so forward thinking, so sophisticated that most viewers were bowled over by it. The film is even funnier in subsequent viewings because you know we get to tell the network to fuck off. Everyone gets what he or she deserves. The film is pro robot and anti-hive. It’s an amazing work of science fiction, which will grow better with age like fine wine and John Carpenter films. That this genius is now making a Marvel film about Ant-Man is insane to me and I can’t wait to see what that looks like.

 

It’s been a great year. I’ll Have a list up soon of my most anticipated films of 2014!

 

My Most Anticipated Films of 2013

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on January 7, 2013 by bookofdread

 

Here’s a list of my most anticipated films of 2013. I was going to rank them but found that impossible, so here they are in alphabetical order. I included an image where possible!

 

All Cheerleaders Die – Lucky McKee

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Lucky is the best US horror filmmaker so I’m excited to see this high-school horror show.

 

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues – Adam McKay

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The most beautiful rainbow. Do me on it!

 

Anomalisa

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Charlie Kaufman’s screen nightmares must be seen to be believed.

 

The Conjuring   – James Wan

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Haunted farmhouse, whatever, I like James Wan.

 

Das Missen Masaker – Michael Steiner

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A Swiss Beauty pageant slasher from the director of Sennentuntschi – Curse of the Alps.

 

Djinn – Tobe Hooper

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Uncle Tobe makes an Arabian horror film.

 

Elysium – Neil Bloamkamp

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District 9 is 9 kinds of brilliant, so I’m sure this will be too.

 

Evil Dead – Fede Alvarez

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The trailer is the best trailer ever.

 

Gravity – Alfonso Cuaron

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George Clooney in space, this time with Alfonso Cuaron!

 

Hatchet III – BJ McDonnell

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Will they ever catch that pesky Victor Crowley?

 

Her – Spike Jonze

Falling in love with your operating system can be bittersweet.

 

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – Peter Jackson

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I liked the new one.

 

Inside Llewyn Davis – Joel and Ethan Coen

Coen Bros don’t make bad films.

 

Insidious 2 – James Wan

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I liked the first one.

 

Iron Man 3 – Shane Black

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Iron Man Unchained.

 

Kick Ass 2 – Jeff Wadlow

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I liked the first one.

 

Kon-Tiki – Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg

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This is going to be like Life Of Pi, but made by Vikings.

 

Machete Kills – Robert Rodriguez

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I’m actually super stoked about this. I waited forever to see the first one and loved it.

 

Man Of Steel – Zack Snyder

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Let’s see if they don’t fuck this up.

 

Maps To The Stars – David Cronenberg

Cronenberg.

 

Nymphomaniac – Lars Von Trier

No simulated sex.

 

Once Upon A Time In Shanghai – Ching-Po Wong

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From the director of Revenge: A Love Story.

 

Only God Forgives – Nicholas Winding Refn

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I want to see Gosling’s pretty face all fucked up.

 

Open Windows – Nacho Vigalando

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Sure to be mind blowing, that’s what Nacho does.

 

Oz: The Great And Powerful – Sam Raimi

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I like all of Sam’s movies, this should be no different.

 

Pain and Gain – Michael Bay

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Don’t make fun of me, it looks funny.

 

Pacific Rim – Guillermo Del Toro

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#1 most badass thing I can’t wait to see.

 

Riddick – David Twohy

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I like the first two.

 

The Sacrament – Ti West

Ti West rocks my world. Bring it Ti.

 

Sin City 2: A Dame To Kill For – Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller

I like the first one.

 

Snowpiercer – Bong Joon-Ho

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From the director of the Host.

 

Star Trek Into Darkness – JJ Abrams

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Ooooooooh, spoooooky.

 

Thor: The Dark World – Alan Taylor

Thor is cool.

 

The Wolf Of Wall Street – Martin Scorsese

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Finally, the real gangsters get their day in a Scorsese film. Give ‘em what for Marty!

 

The Wolverine – James Mangold

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C’mon, It’s going to be good.

 

The World’s End – Edgar Wright

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Edgar m’n f’n Wright.

 

The Zero Theorem – Terry Gilliam

Terry Gilliam plus Christoph Waltz.

 

Cool Stuff!

 

My most viewed posts of 2012

Posted in Uncategorized on January 3, 2013 by bookofdread

Here is a list of the most viewed posts! Thanks for reading!

11. Flesh + Blood

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This one is a rager with more inappropriate behavior than most films, plus Jennifer Jason Leigh.

https://bookofdread.wordpress.com/2012/10/30/flesh-blood-paul-verhoeven-1985/

10. The Dark Knight Rises

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Hey, Batman is popular.

https://bookofdread.wordpress.com/2012/09/02/the-dark-knight-rises-christopher-nolan-2012/

9. Four Of The Apocalypse

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So happy that so many people are reading one of my Fulci articles!

https://bookofdread.wordpress.com/2012/11/11/the-four-of-the-apocalypse-lucio-fulci-1975/

8. The Exorcist II:The Heretic

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This is maybe my favorite of my essays.

https://bookofdread.wordpress.com/2012/11/06/the-exorcist-ii-the-heretic-john-boorman-1977/

7. Sorceress

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For a left handed article, this one didn’t end up too bad did it?

https://bookofdread.wordpress.com/2012/09/03/sorceress-jack-hill-1982/

6. Ms. 45

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Nuns with guns.

https://bookofdread.wordpress.com/2012/09/14/ms-45-abel-ferrara-1981/

5. American Mary

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Love those Soska sisters.

https://bookofdread.wordpress.com/2012/10/09/american-mary-jen-and-sylvia-soska-2012/

4. A History Of Violence

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Writing about Cronenberg is tough. Glad some folks found this article of interest.

https://bookofdread.wordpress.com/2012/09/08/a-history-of-violence-david-cronenberg-2005/

3. Fantastic Planet

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Yay! I’ll be writing more animation articles soon! 

https://bookofdread.wordpress.com/2012/11/06/fantastic-planet-rene-laloux-1973/

2. Holy Motors

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Best film of 2012 my good people.

https://bookofdread.wordpress.com/2012/10/09/holy-motors-leos-carax-2012/

1. Prince Of Darkness

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The 25th anniversary of this classic made it my most viewed article! 

https://bookofdread.wordpress.com/2012/10/09/prince-of-darkness-john-carpenter-1987/

Thanks for reading!

My Top 20 Films Of 2012

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on December 29, 2012 by bookofdread

I love these types of lists, so here you go. Last year I made a top 15 and the last five were maybes. This year I intend on revisiting all 20 of these films plenty!

20. The Grey – Joe Carnahan

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Liam Neeson breaks your heart as he rages against the dying of the light. This film is nearly flawless, and the only reason in ranks so low for me is that viewing it is so draining I can’t really do it that often. That being said, Neeson and Carnahan team up for the best movie ever based on a tale Jack London never wrote.

19. Frankenweenie – Tim Burton

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Tim Burton makes his best and funniest film since Mars Attacks! I never would have thought that this would be the film to end is streak of bland but it rules in ways only a film made by Tim Burton can.

18. The Dark Knight Rises – Christopher Nolan

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A subversive pop-fantasy and an essay on class warfare, TDKR is a brilliant thought bomb exploded into the mass consciousness. While it never reaches the manic highs of The Dark Knight, Nolan effortlessly, (mostly), ties off his trilogy with grace and style.

17.Skyfall – Sam Mendes

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The most beautiful film of the year is also a riveting spy thriller loaded with amorality and intrigue. It’s just hard boiled enough to be Frank Miller’s 007 Returns.

16. Combat Girls – David Wnendt

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Combat Girls is a fierce drama about rich characters. Alina Levshin is a marvel.

15. Chronicle – Josh Trank

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Dane Dehaan is unchained. This film is fucking awesome.

14. Here Comes The Devil – Adrian Garcia Bogliano

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Second only to The Cabin in The Woods, Here comes the Devil is nearly the best horror film of the year. The plot kept me guessing till the end, and indulged many of the sicker corners of my mind while performing a high-wire act concerning the morality of the players. A classic.

13. Argo – Ben Affleck

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Cool and confident, Argo twists the plot until your wits are what Affleck wrings out. Thrilling.

12. The Raid – Gareth Evans

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One of the best action films ever made. The audible moans and cheers heard during screenings of this film made it a true audience experience, an adrenaline rush that pushes you for the entire runtime.

11. Life Of Pi – Ang Lee

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Ang Lee’s film is a surreal tone poem that makes bar raising use of the language of 3D cinema.

10. Antiviral – Brandon Cronenberg

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Bold, uncompromising and twisted, Antiviral is that type of cutting edge science fiction that sends you out of the theater afraid of the world as it mutates before you. Antiviral is a chilling debut from a stellar talent.

9. Cloud Atlas – Andy and Lana Wachoski and Tom Tykwer

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This is one of the most engaging films ever made. It’s a miracle it works, but if you let it, it does.

8. Killer Joe – William Friedkin

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The master’s teeth are sharp as ever. Friedkin delivers a sick knife to the gut that goes in so nice.

7. The Avengers – Joss Whedon

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I wanted to see this film since I was about four years old and watching it made me feel as though I was getting to see it as four year old, and that’s some kind of magic.

6. The Cabin In The Woods – Drew Goddard

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The common thread among horror films is now The Cabin In The Woods. In the pantheon of greatest horror comedies of all time, there are only three films: Ghostbusters, Sean Of The Dead, and now The Cabin In The Woods.

5. Moonrise Kingdom

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Avengers made me feel like a kid, Moonrise Kingdom made me angry I’d ever grown up. I bawled like child through the most romantic film of the year.

4. Cosmopolis – David Cronenberg

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Not subtle but prodding, Cronenberg preaches his weird message to whoever wants to listen. Too often it tends to be risk-taking cineastes, but if casting Robert Pattinson only got a few regular folks into his weird ass movie, it was worth it.

3. John Dies At The End – Don Coscarelli

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They Live for the new age. See it and hope they have the balls to make a sequel.

2. Django Unchained

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While Cronenberg preaches to the choir, Tarantino is out, front and center, crafting subversive blockbusters for the world to feast upon. Django Unchained is crafted on a level of such supreme sophistication, that film scholars will puzzle over it’s juxtaposition of American white cowboy myth and blaxploitation replacement symbols. DU not only changes the way we view slavery but the way we view the way slavery has thus far been depicted in film.

1. Holy Motors – Leos Carax

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Expect the unexpected from this surreal masterpiece. Carax crafts what could end up the best film of the decade, possibly one of the best films of all time? A slippery creature Holy Motors is, never revealing itself completely, it swims in and out of your mind, meaning everything at once.

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