Movies You Should Watch Because I Said So : Best of the Best, Lesser Known Gems, and Bizarre Underrated Gold (Part 1)

The long title says it all. This is basically going to be an ever expanding list of films you need to see whether they won an Oscar or have been seen by only five people. Everything included. Just straight recommendations based off what I find to be interesting and watchable. Let’s start.

 

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Easy Rider (1969)

The road movie that started all road movies. Started the American New Wave of film making and is also just fun to watch. The campfire scene with Jack Nicholson is one of my favorites.

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Harold and Maude (1971)

Seriously just one of  the best movies ever made. Harold seeks attention by staging suicide and generally being obsessed with death. Maude loves life so much that every day is an adventure. Wacky and fucking hilarious with a damn fine soundtrack.

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One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)

Absolute classic film starring one of the best actors of all time and a villain that truly makes your blood boil. So many great scenes. I can’t believe Brad Dourif didn’t become a gigantic star after this.

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Almost Famous (1996) Available on Netflix

Essential hangout movie. You could literally put this on at any point and the movie and I’d sit an watch it. It’s the first thing I think of when I hear Tiny Dancer by Elton John. Also, Kate Hudson.

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Battleship Potemkin (1925)

One of the most famous silent films of all time. The Odessa stairs sequence is historical. Pretty bloody and action filled given the year it was made. Also relatively short compared to some of the epics being made during the 20’s.

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Come and See (1985)

Absolutely haunting film about Russia’s role in WWII. The main kid actor here goes through an ordeal that would have landed filmmakers today in jail. You can literally see his face become hollow and empty as the film goes on. Beats the shit out of you and never lets up. Crazy film.

MIDNIGHT COWBOY, Jon Voight, Dustin Hoffman, 1969.

Midnight Cowboy (1969)

One of the best acting displays of all time from Dustin Hoffman. Film has heart even though it’s technically a rated X film. Hey, also won best picture too. I’M WALKIN’ HERE.

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Rushmore (1998)

You’ll probably see nearly every Wes Anderson film on this list. Schwartzman is perfectly cast as Fischer and Bill Murray hams it up the only way he knows how. I also think the scottish kid is one of the most underrated supporting characters in Wes Anderson films. Nobody talks about him.

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Blood Simple (1985) Available on Amazon Watch Instantly

Early Coen brothers film that has SUCH A KICKASS ENDING. Great underseen noir film.

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Deliverance (1972) Available on Netflix

Jokes aside, this is a great film. Everybody will remember it for the “squeal like a pig” scene but it’s really a great example of primal instinct and the will to survive. Jon Voight is a badass.

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Memento (2000)

I think people forget how visionary Christopher Nolan was/is. The Dark Knight Rises and Interstellar had serious flaws but his earlier work really proved how unique his mind really is. This film is a work of intricately sculpted art.

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Night of the Hunter (1955)

I’ve talked about this film extensively. It’s one of my favorite films of all time and to me, the most well filmed black and white ever. Charles Laughton could have given us magic but was cut down by inept critics. Now all we have is this masterpiece. What a loss to filmmaking.

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Straw Dogs (1971)

You’re going to notice a theme. I really love Dustin Hoffman. Like, a lot. This film is one that doesn’t get seen often by modern audiences due to its, well, horrific nature. Not for the faint of heart. This film really accelerated the home invasion films of the 80s.

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Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)

John Carpenter gem that takes a back seat to The Thing (For good reason albeit) but is still fucking badass and entertaining. Spawned a shit remake but the original has so much more going for it.

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Cache (2005)

My favorite Michael Haneke film and therefore one of my favorite films of all time. The minimalist approach that has made Haneke famous is in full force here as we get long lingering shots that only pump up the mystery and dread of what is already a creepy as plot. Unsettling.

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Das Boot

Makes you seriously wonder how they were able to film such intense and faced paced scenes while filming in such tight spaces. Epic game of cat and mouse that looks great on the directors cut blue ray that came out a few years ago. They don’t make submarine movies often, but when they do they always pale in comparison to this.

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Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang (2005)

Ahhh that glorious time right before Iron Man where Robert Downey Jr. was still kind of not a big deal. To me, this may be the best buddy cop movie of all time. Perfect chemistry between RDJ and Val Kilmer. I always wished for a sequel but in a way we kind of got that with The Nice Guys coming out this year. That’s another film that needs to be seen by the way.

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Play Misty For Me (1971)

Vastly underrated Clint Eastwood film about a crazy bitch who really really digs listening to Clint play late night sex songs on the radio. It’s actually the first film that Eastwood directed and it shows a bit what the film is very tense and full of WOAH THIS BITCH PSYCHO moments.

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Wild At Heart (1990)

Probably the most underseen and underrated David Lynch film. I had a ball with this. It has crazy violence, Nicolas Cage acting like a nutcase like always, and Willem Dafoe being super creepy which is something because Willem Dafoe is already super creepy.

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Death Race 2000 (1975)

This movie is goddamn ridiculous. For those of you wondering, and I’m sure you are, yes, that is a picnic layed out with a fake baby packed with dynamite with a speeding race car heading towards it because running over pedestrians during this crazy race gets you more points. Those burgers look great by the way. David Carradine and Sylvester Stallone are in this and the cars are just so 70s. Seriously a camp classic.

 

PART TWO COMING SOON

 

 

 

 

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What I’ve Been Watching

It’s bee a while since my last review. I honestly haven’t seen anything in a theater since It Follows, reasons being that I haven’t found a single thing worth paying money near me. I’m patiently waiting for Ex Machina to come out. In the mean time, I’ll try to keep this thing fresh by writing a bit on what I’ve been watching over the last three weeks. Full reviews will start coming soon.

Tracks
Directed By John Curran

Tells the story of Robyn Davidson, a woman who walks across the Australian desert with her four camels and dog. Really atmospheric. For a movie about walking, the film was able to keep my attention for the entire run length. This can attributed to both the wonderful cinematography and the powerful performance by Mia Wasikowska. I’ve enjoyed her in pretty much everything she’s ever done and films like this only go to prove she’s one of the best young actresses working today. The film was heartbreaking as well as inspiring. It’s on Netflix and well worth it.

Noah
Directed By Darren Aronofsky

I’m not really sure why I didn’t watch this in theaters. I’ve never really been attracted to biblical films, but I’ve enjoyed Aronofsky’s last two films in Black Swan and The Wrestler. I guess the world’s oldest disaster story gave off a lot of “2012” vibes, so I decided to skip it until it released on some sort of streaming service. Netflix has answered that call. The film ended up being pretty entertaining. Sure the plot and themes were heavy handed and clumsily communicated. Sure it managed to piss everybody off. It also utilized some pretty awesome special effects and was able to draw out some great performances from Crowe, Connolly, and Watson. Most of the film was shot with CGI, which is something that I can only fully enjoy every once in a while, I enjoyed it. It’s worth the watch.

Rosewater
Directed By Jon Stewart

I’ve always been a Daily Show/Jon Stewart fan. His first film behind the camera ended up being pretty forgettable. I didn’t understand why they used Gael Garcia Bernal to play an Iranian reporter. I felt they could have been a lot more realistic with the portrayal of what was going on in Iran during the time of the elections. It wasn’t bad, but it didn’t wow me at all. If you have the chance, check out the documentary Burma VJ for a real look at what documenting a tyrannical regime is really like. I did however enjoy the Fort Lee joke. Although, since I’ve lived here, I have not once seen these pleasure palaces.

Game of Thrones Season 5

Two episodes in, nobody has died yet. I don’t know if that is awesome or bad. Is that weird? I don’t want anybody to die, but I also love the fact that the show does what it pleases. We’re seeing a lot of different things with Tyrion in hiding, Jon Snow becoming more of a leader, and Dany losing hold of her power. Everything seems to be setting up for a serious season of shock and awe. I love this show.

House of Cards Season 1

What can I say? I’m late to the party. I just finished season one and I’m kicking myself for not jumping on this show earlier. Yes, I know Kevin Spacey is great in this. That’s not why I love the show. The secondary characters are all fantastic. The way these characters along with the entire show is written, gives me hope for Netflix Original content. Orange is the New Black and Bloodlines are also quality television, but this show may be the patriarch. Can’t wait to start the next season.

The Netflix List : Overlooked Films and Hidden Gems (TV Included)

I’m going to assume that about 95% of the people who read film articles online have some sort of streaming service in their homes. I’d say the most common service would be Netflix. How could it not? I think standard streaming service is what, eight bucks a month? That’s still one of the best things you can buy. I plan to cut my cable bill in half in two weeks by getting rid of cable TV. Why? It’s not needed anymore. If I want to watch a certain show I can always just stream it on my own but most services like Hulu or Amazon have day after television streaming. There’s just no need for cable anymore. With that luxury however comes one burning question.

What the fuck am I going to watch?

With thousands of titles at your fingertips, the frustrating dilemma of having too many options comes up. It happens to me all the time. I have like 400 titles in my queue and some nights I can’t pick one out of the bunch. I’ve also run into the problem where some streaming services don’t give you access to every single title. They give you genres and about 50 titles to choose from and that’s it. This list is designed to help make you aware of some of the hidden films and television shows that you otherwise can’t find browsing your Netflix app.

Sound of Noise

Fun little film from Sweden about anarchists who terrorize their city with music. Unique film that while being a bit surreal, manages to keep the gimmick fresh with new “movements”.

It’s Such a Beautiful Day

Remember that cartoon that you showed your friends ten years ago? It was a Don Hertzfeld cartoon where stick figures did bizarre things? “My spoon is too big!” Yeah, he’s back with a new film and it’s much of the same. Strangely funny and completely Hertzfeld.

The Fall (TV Series)

This one may not be so hidden now that Jamie Dornan became everybody’s favorite woman abuser. I hated the last ten minutes of the second season but the whole series intrigued me because we know from day one who the killer of these women are. The POV switch from our killer to our detective was well done and features some nice direction.Plus, Scully is in it. YAY SCULLY!

Whitewash

Cool little film about a man who kills a guy driving his snow plow drunk and just decides “Whelp, I guess I’m living in the woods now”. Quiet and funny. Also boasts one of the best final lines ever.

We Are What We Are

I’ve been championing this film since I saw it two years ago. It’s about a strict religious father raising his two daughters in a town that has had multiple missing people over the years. It’s one of my favorite horror films and it doesn’t utilize barely any jump scares. That’s how you know it’s good. The performances are amazing. The ending is amazing. The direction is amazing. I love it.

Top of the Lake (TV Series)

Excellent police drama with Elizabeth Moss from Mad Men and Peter Mullan from British stuff that is awesome. Lots of small town secrets and lots of beautiful shots constructed by Jane Campion. I usually never here anybody talking about this.

Gimmie The Loot

I love this film. Nothing really happens. It’s just the day in the life of two friends in New York City. The two actors are fantastic although they are pretty much unknown. Great for a day in bed while it’s raining. I love hangout movies.

Gasland

Yeah, that’s a guy lighting his water on fire. This documentary attacks fracking companies who drill for natural gas, poisoning the ground and water supply of nearly a quart of the country in the process. A bit bias, but still eye opening.

Let The Fire Burn

One of the most compelling documentaries I’ve ever seen. Tells the story of the standoff between the Philadelphia police department and the MOVE movement, a group of African American people who basically live off the grid, but in the middle of Philly. It’s something that I’ve never even heard about until I saw the film. I don’t think the authorities wanted this story to be told.

Code Unknown

Little know Michael Haneke film that weaves three stories together. Like all Haneke films, it is bleak, slow, and completely unapologetic. The scene with Julliete Binoche on the subway is tense.

The Hunter

Great thriller involving the always amazing Willem Dafoe. The film boasts some serious landscape photography and some brutally realistic scenes. Hell, I’ll watch just about anything with Willem Dafoe and this one features him in nearly every scene.

Poetry

Honestly one of the most heartbreaking films I’ve ever seen. Jeong-hie Yun gives a once in a decade performance as an elderly woman on the verge of Alzheimer’s who unwillingly gets involved in a situation with her grandson, a situation that involves a crime. I was speechless after seeing it.

Exam

I love films set in one location. This one is tense and mysterious and is set all in one room. The subjects are there for a job interview and must take a test in order to show what skills they have. Here is the premise…

“There is one question before you, and one answer is required. If you try to communicate with myself or the guard, you will be disqualified. If you spoil your paper, intentionally or accidentally, you will be disqualified. If you choose to leave this room for any reason, you will be disqualified. Any questions?”

It’s neat.

Kill List

Easily one of my favorite thriller/horror films of the last ten years. It’s a brutal, brutal film. The violence only gets crazier and crazier and it culminates with one of the scariest and jaw dropping endings I’ve ever seen. Come here little bunny, it’s going to get cold. I’m taking your coat off your back..

Swimming With Sharks

Classic Kevin Spacey being a dick. I think the guys who made Horrible Bosses saw this movie and wanted the exact same character. Great film that doesn’t get enough recognition about a guy who has had enough of his douche boss.

Better Off Ted (TV Series)

Vastly overlooked series that got cancelled after two seasons. Fans of Arrested Development and Scrubs should like this one. Portia DeRossie basically plays Lindsey Bluth in this so you really can’t go wrong.

Super

Remember that little superhero movie last summer called Guardians of the Galaxy? The guy that directed it, James Gunn, also directed this little movie that came out the same year as Kick-Ass and is a thousand times better. It takes the makeshift superhero motif and really fucks with it.

Get Low

You can’t go wrong with Robert Duvall and Bill Murray. I love this movie. Tells the story of a backwoods loner who plans his own funeral and also plans to attend it, alive.

Below

I like submarine movies. I like ghost movies. This is a submarine ghost movie. Darren Aronofsky actually helped write this thing and it shows. Some of the story is actually very unsettling and we get to see Bruce Greenwood be awesome. Definitely not going to be liked by everybody but I think it’s fun.

Trollhunter

Easily the best found footage film I’ve seen. Don’t read anything about this. Just watch it. It sounds stupid, I know. Trust me, it’s not. TRRROOOOOOOOOOLLLLL!!!!

Super Trailmix and 2015 Film Preview

You may have noticed a very reduced rate in Trailmixes. There is a reason for that. I have come to loathe trailers. I don’t watch them anymore. The television shows I watch are 95% on Netflix or Hulu. I’m cutting the fucking cords. Coincidentally, my film going experiences have actually gotten better. No stale jokes. No known plot twists. No expectations. It’s a much better experience. I do however like to look forward to what is going to be coming out in the next year. I’ll ad some trailers in here where I can but for the most part it’ll be a list of what I’m eager to see this year. Have fun.

I’m not going to sort these by release date because some of them don’t have one yet. I’ll just bunch them together. You’ll be fine.

Star Wars : The Force Awakens

Directed By – JJ Abrams
Starring – Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fischer, Mark Hammill, Gwendoline Christie, Adam Driver, and Andy Serkis

Uhhh, yeah, how could this not be the first movie that pops into my head. Sure the prequels were utter failures. Sure I hated Star Trek Into Darkness. I didn’t hate Star Trek though. I also loved Super 8. I love that there is a new cast mixed with our old friends. The trailer, which is only a tease, looks like a film that will mixed practical effects with special effects. This is a good sign. I’m excited for it. I’m not going to watch the full trailer whenever it gets released. The anticipation of what it could look like is enough to get me excited.

Releases December 18th, 2015

Inside Out

Directed By – Pete Doctor
Starring – Diane Lane, Kyle MacLachlan, Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, and Phyllis Smith

ORIGINAL PIXAR MOVIE! YES! Yeah, I know, Brave was original and disappointing. This however is being directed by the man that gave us Up and Monster’s Inc. This is a very good sign. The voice talent is new and intriguing. I’m a sucker for anything Bill Hader. Hopefully this puts Pixar back on the map for top notch animated films.

Releases June 19th, 2015

Midnight Special

Directed By – Jeff Nichols
Starring – Kirsten Dunst, Adam Driver, Michael Shannon, and Joel Edgerton

A thriller/sci-fi film about a father and son who go o the run after learning the son has special powers, directed by the man who brought us Mud and Take Shelter. Both those films were huge successes in my eyes, especially Take Shelter. That film still haunts my dreams. This was hopefully supposed to be ready last year but has been pushed to the end of this year. Should be great per usual.

Releases November 25th, 2015

Knight of Cups

Directed By – Terrence Malick
Starring – Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Natalie Portman, Imogen Poots, Antonio Banderas, Wes Bentley, Brian Dennehy, and the voice of Ben Kingsley

Terrence Malick makes the best trailers. They’re always so grandiose as if you’re about to see something that will change the way you view the universe. Actually, I think that’s what Malick always aims for. He wants you to think differently after seeing every one of his films. The guy is amazing and surprisingly underrated. You never really hear his name brought up with the great filmmakers working today. It’s a shame. In this film it looks like he’s trying to make a psychological Wolf of Wall Street. Who knows, maybe he’ll tell us the story of Jesus in the middle of it. He does that sometimes. Looks wonderful.

Releases December 11th, 2015

Mad Max : Fury Road

Directed By – George Miller
Starring – Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, and Nicholas Hoult

Well, this looks completely bonkers. If anybody else was at the helm of this I wouldn’t be as excited but since Miller is back to direct this, the remake seal of death cannot be slapped on and I have more promise for it. Whatever happens, it’s going to be a wild fucking ride. Seeing Tom Hardy in anything is worth the price of admission really. What’s to lose?

Releases May 15th, 2015

Tomorrowland

Directed By – Brad Bird
Starring – George Clooney, Britt Robertson, Hugh Laurie, Kathryn Hahn, and Judy Greer

The trailer is neat. Okay, I have a very big problem with this film. It’s co-written by Damon Lindelof. Look up my Star Trek review and you’ll see why I have a problem with anything he touches. The dude is just too clever and complex for his own good. He has great ideas but can never seem to carry them out for more than an hour before the whole thing explodes into confetti. I’ll take this trailer with a grain of salt. Still, the trailer is really neat.

Releases May 22nd, 2015

The Hateful 8

Directed By – Quentin Tarantino
Starring – Channing Tatum, Walter Goggins, Tim Roth, Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Bruce Dern, Demian Bichir, Michael Madsen, Zoe Bell, and Kurt Fucking Russell

The thoughts I have reserved for Quentin Tarantino go like this…I like he’s an asshole. I think he’s so far up his own asshole that he has become and asshole himself. Like some sort of asshole metamorphosis. Besides that, I also think he’s a fantastic filmmaker. Inglorious Basterds is one of my favorite films of all time alongside Reservoir Dogs. Pulp Fiction gets an ungodly amount of praise but it’s still a bitchin’ film. Quentin just needs to wash the taste of my mouth that he left with the final 25 minutes of Django Unchained. I hated the end so much that I still haven’t rewatched it even though the first two hours were amazing. This film takes place in the West in the post-civil war Wyoming. Finally, he makes a western. It should be a show nonetheless.

Releases November 13th, 2015

Maps to the Stars

Directed By – David Cronenberg
Starring – Julianne Moore, Robert Pattinson, Mia Wasikowska, John Cusack, and Olivia Williams

Looks like David Cronenberg is finally having a go at a David Lynch film. You’re most likely not going to see any bio-horror like his earlier films or his violent realism like in Eastern Promises and A History of Violence. This looks like a straight psychological thriller. The difference is that Cronenberg is behind the camera. I seriously can’t wait for this one. Julianne Moore is on a roll lately and Robby Pattinson wow’d the shit out of me in The Rover. I wanna see what he does next.

Releases February 27th, 2015

The Sea of Trees

Directed By – Gus Van Sant
Starring – Matthew McConaughey, Naomi Watts, Ken Watanabe, and Katie Aselton

Based off of the real Aokigahara Forest in Japan, a forest where hundreds of people go to commit suicide every year, Gus Van Sant gives us a hopefully suspensful and deep film about the value of life. Vice Magazine did a story on The Aokigahara Forest and ever since then I’ve been fascinated. It’s a beautiful forest where people go to die. Fascinating stuff. The fact that Matthew McConaughey is in it is also a big plus.

No Release Date Yet

What We Do in the Shadows

Directed By – Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi
Starring – Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi, Jonathan Brugh, Cori Gonzalez-Macuer, Stuart Rutherford, and Ben Fransham

This has actually already been released mostly everywhere but the US so I’m adding this because I’ve anted to see it so bad and we still have two weeks to go. Looks hilarious and a welcome back to funny after Flight of the Concords ended so damn long ago. Looks silly as hell.

Releases February 13th, 2015

Jurassic World

Directed By – Colin Trevorrow
Starring – Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Judy Greer, Vincent D’Onofrio, and Jake Johnson

Ahhh, sequels/remakes. They’re never as great as you think they’d be are they? Well, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was fantastic, but that was an anomaly. This one has promise though. First off, it stars Chris Pratt. I love this guy. He’s always hilarious and and always seems to be involved with successful films and shows. The other good sign is that Colin Trevorrow is directing the film. His first film, Safety Not Guaranteed, was a pleasant surprise with a sci fi twist. Hopefully this will surprise me as well.

Releases June 15th, 2015

Ex Machina

Directed By – Alex Garland
Starring – Alicia Vikander, Domhnall Gleeson, and Oscar Isaac

The writer of 28 Days/Weeks Later and Sunshine is behind the camera for this sci-fi story about artificial intelligence. The whole trailer gave off a very creepy vibe to me. Oscar Isaac is co-starring which is a great reason to see this one.

Releases April 10th, 2015

Crimson Peak

Directed By – Guillermo del Toro
Starring – Jessica Chastain, Charlie Hunnam, Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska, and Doug Jones

Haunted House love triangle from Guillermo del Toro? Sign me up please. I actually enjoyed Pacific Rim but I’m glad Del Toro is getting back to his creepy roots. It’s been a while.

Releases October 16th, 2015

The Look of Silence

Directed By – Joshua Oppenheimer

You mean to tell me that there is going to be a follow up to one of the best movies of 2013? Yeah, I’m excited. The Act of Killing was robbed of an Oscar and if this film is anything like it, I’m going to be floored. I urge you guys to see Act of Killing before seeing this. It’s a masterpiece of documentary film making.

Releases July, 2015

Spectre

Directed By – Sam Mendes
Starring – Daniel Craig, Ralph Fiennes, Monica Bellucci, Dave Bautista, Christoph Waltz, Léa Seydoux, Naomi Harris, and Ben Whishaw

I love Sam Mendes. I think that Skyfall is the best looking James Bond film and one of the best films of the series. I’m sad that Judi Dench is no longer involved with the franchise but honestly, it was time. This should be nothing short of awesome. Dave Bautista? We’ll see. Christoph Waltz? Oh, hell yeah.

Releases November 6th, 2015

In the Heart of the Sea

Directed By – Ron Howard
Starring – Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy, Ben Whishaw, Tom Holland, and Brendan Gleeson

The loved Rush. I thought that Hemsworth was fantastic and can be a fucking star if he isn’t one already. The fact that Howard is now tackling Moby Dick, which to my knowledge hasn’t been done successfully yet, is awesome. Plus, I love boats. This should be fun.

Releases December 11th, 2015

Other titles with minimal information provided…

Sicario – Director Denis Villeneuve (Incendies, Enemy, Prisoners) tells the tale of a FBI aent trying to catch a drug cartel leader. Stars Emily Blunt, Jon Bernthal, and Josh Brolin.

The Lobster – This is the synopsis. “A love story set in a dystopian near future where single people are arrested and transferred to a creepy hotel. There they are obliged to find a matching mate in 45 days. If they fail, they are transformed into an animal and released into the woods.” Director Yorgos Lanthimos, wrote made the batshit insane Dogtooth, comes back probably even weirder. I can’t wait.

The Revenant – Alejandro González Iñárritu, fresh off the success of Birdman, directs Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, and the “now in everything cool” Domhnall Gleeson, in a revenge film set in the 1820s frontier. Yeah, that’s fucking awesome. I can’t wait. Official release is January of next year but it will most likely be shown sooner.

2014 Year End Review : The Best Films, Scenes, Characters, and Moments from 2014

With the help of our good friend Mr. Bandito Cocklespoot, I hereby raise my glass to the year 2014. The year saw North Korea getting bad at poop jokes, missing airplanes, Google fiber, a bunch of assholes called ISIS, riots in Missouri, the landing of a freakin space probe on a freakin comet, the passing of beloved actors such as Robin Williams and Phillip Seymour Hoffman, the death of 35mm film as we used to know it, and of course, an incredible year in film. What I’m going to try to do is go over my year in film and try to highlight the good, the great, the horrible, and the disappointing. I’m not doing a top ten. Listing films in some sort of order takes away from the magic. To say that one film was better than the other like that is difficult and unnecessary. Does number five really make a difference between number seven? Nah. I have my favorites of course, and I’ll be grouping them together. You’ll see how it works.

To be noted. The following films have yet to be seen. Until I start getting paid for this I’m going to obviously miss a bunch. So, please keep my discussions in mind while know that I have not yet seen the following…

Inherent Vice, Foxcatcher, Selma, Ida, Force Majeure, Dear White People, Venus in Fur, Tusk, The Guest, Skeleton Twins, I Origins, Calvary, The Dog, Obvious Child, Zero Theorem, Cold in July, A Most Wanted Man, Neighbors, Borgman, They Came Together, Hunger Games Mockingjay, The 3rd Hobbit movie, Noah, Captain America Winter Soldier, Winter Sleep, or The Amazing Spiderman 2

Let’s do this.

Worst Films of 2014
Let’s get these turds out of the way first. I hate staining an article with crap at the end.

Non Stop

This wins my vote for “worst 2nd half” in film this year. The set up was great. It was creative and original with the usage of this mysterious texter. Then, everything went batshit. I stopped caring about everybody. That’s not good when the whole film exists to create tension. Didn’t care at all.

The Monuments Men

How can a film with so many great people in it be so damn boring. Seriously one of the dullest and inane movies in a long time. I was disappointed in you George. Half the movie was a long old man joke and the rest was an attempt at trying to get me to give a shit. Snoozefest.

Robocop

Worst film of the year for me. I was astonished by how bad it was. There was no real violence in the film. Abbie Cornish was god awful. It felt like the whole thing was done in a weekend. Everything about the production was horrible. Not to mention having to deal with Samuel L. Jackson yelling at me every 20 minutes. I hated it. In fact, it’s the only film that I truly hated every single minute of.

Most “What the Fuck” Films of the Year
These films left me scratching my head in both confusion and wonder.

The Congress

A film wherein Robin Wright agrees to have her body scanned in order for the movie company to use her likeness in films for years to come. In order to do this, she must agree to never act in another film again, or even perform on stage. The company owns her image. So yeah, that’s a crazy concept. What gets crazier is after all this is said and done the whole film goes animated and takes a trip down loony tunes lane. I have seriously zero idea what the whole 2nd half of the film meant. No idea. It was a strange experience in where I didn’t dislike what I was seeing, but wasn’t grasped by it due to complete bewilderment. It’s going to take a few more viewings, even I even do so, to take this all in.

Under the Skin

This film is kind of a masterpiece. There is literally nothing like it whatsoever. It’s dark, brooking, completely mysterious. It’s the exploration of what it means to be human by a being that is most certainly not. We don’t know what this thing, played by Scarlett Johansson is, but we’re intrigued to find out. This being prowls the streets of Scotland looking for prey in the form of horny dudes. She lures them like a venus flytrap. There is so much going on in this film that I had to watch it three times in 24 hours to get close to a conclusion and I still don’t really get it. The score is haunting. The performance by ScarJo is surprisingly good. The imagery is incredible. It’s not my film of the year, but it certainly is the film I’m most perplexed by.

Enemy

I love Denis Villeneuve. His film “Incendies” is one of my all time favorites. “Prisoner” was an incredible mystery/character study on the reaches of human anger and revenge. His most recent film however is a bit more puzzling. Boasting a tour de force performance by Jake Gyllenhaal in which he plays two different characters who look exactly the same, Enemy has probably the most confusing ending I’ve seen in a while. It’s an ending that is left totally up for discussion and argument. It’s also a jarring and sometimes strangely hypnotic. I haven’t rewatched this yet, but I feel like I should.

Best Blockbuster/”Popcorn Flick”
Films that are meant to be seen with a large, fun audience which is a mirror image of the film itself

Guardians of the Galaxy

I just rewatched this the other night. It’s just as enjoyable as the first time I saw it. I’m not really into the whole super hero film thing, but this movie just kicks so much ass. It’s probably the most fun I’ve had in a theater in a long time. There really wasn’t too much wrong with it actually. Chris Pratt is a bonafide star and the supporting cast made me crack up so hard throughout the whole film. Groot and Dave Bautista just stole every scene. The effects and action scenes were incredible to see and there was plenty of intense/emotional scenes to back up the humor. I can’t wait for the sequel.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

If I were to do a top five, this would be in it. I just rewatched this today and can honestly say it may be the best action film I’ve seen in years. Andy Serkis was amazing as Caesar and deserves some goddamn award recognition. Matt Reeves knocked it out of the park with the action scenes. One in particular involving a 360 tank shot is one of my favorite scenes of the year. Koba, the films main villain, is upstaged only by JK Simmons in terms of pure villainry. I loved how layered he was as a villain, making the audience both hate and sympathize with him. I just love this film so much. Brutally shot. Wonderfully acted by both ape and human. Takes your breath away at some points. It’s almost a perfect action film.

Edge of Tomorrow

Yeah, this was awesome. Take Groundhog Day and The Matrix and combine them into one of the best sci-fi films of the last three years. Tom Cruise is still insanely watchable and Emily Blunt has sprouted into quite the action woman. I loved how Cruise took a role that didn’t involve him automatically being a badass. He has to learn to do it. Just like Bill Murray, it took him a long time to do so. The films ending could have been a little less predictable but overall it was a wild ride and a serious reassurance that Tom Cruise can still carry an action film. It’s also surprisingly funny.

The Lego Movie

This is probably the funniest movie this year and may be the funniest of the last five years. I was belly laughing in the theater. I went in not expecting much, but left with the biggest smile on my face. The last act of the film was a bit too heavy handed for me but I can totally see how it would inspire children to be themselves. Morgan Freeman cracked me up and the way they animated it was fascinating. Spaceship!!

So Close
Films that were very close to making my best of list. They were in discussion but just missed the cut. Think of them as a 5-10 on a top 10 list.

The Rover

This was the hardest not to put in the winners circle. There was just so much I loved about it. The grit. The brutal nature of nearly every human being in the film. The ending, oh man the ending. I think I may be the only one who found the ending both unique and incredibly powerful. For all the violence, it’s a quiet film. David Michod tells the story with patience and it paid off for me at the end. Robert Pattinson also gives his career best performance in role that almost makes him unrecognizable. This one is not getting talked about much, but I honestly thought it was fantastic.

Gone Girl

Definitely one of the best theater experiences I’ve had in years. I was completely locked in from start to finish. I knew nothing of the plot or premise besides the fact that Ben Affleck lost his wife. What ended up transpiring was a complete trance like state where my mouth gaped open, I forgot to breathe, and I muttered insults at characters on the screen under my breathe. Rosamund Pike was captivating as Amy and Ben Affleck may have turned in his best performance of his career. The film just goes to show you that David Fincher is a top three director working today. Also, that Neil Patrick Harris scene oh my god.

The Babadook

I just saw this last week. It’s the best horror film of the last five years and the scariest thing I’ve seen all year. Essie Davis is a powerhouse and while I wanted to murder him at times, Noah Wiseman gives a worthy child performance. Jennifer Kent layered so many different themes under the surface. It was a joy to discuss what all the symbolism meant at the end of the film. It was unsettling, gave me anxiety, and flat out scared the shit out of me.

Snowpiercer

I loved this film. The video game like side scroll adventure worked wonders for me. Each train car was like a different world and the dark humor constantly popping up had me smiling throughout. Bong Joon Ho came out on top of his other contemporaries as the best director from South Korea. Tilda Swinton was hysterical and stole almost every scene. She may be my favorite actress working today. The schoolhouse scene. The blind hatchet new years scene. Everything about this was just whacked out fun. Be a shoe!

The Best of 2014
These are my films of the year. Behold them in all their glory. I will also provide a clear winner of number one film.

Only Lovers Left Alive

The quintessential hang out film of the year for me. It’s a film that took place entirely at night and didn’t really have anything going on in it. Adam and Eve are two vampires who have been in love for centuries. They get together after Adam, played by Tom Hiddleston, gets very sad and contemplates suicide. Tilda Swinton plays Eve and makes one of the coolest couple around. I could seriously listen to those two talk all day. I love how Jarmusch kept the basic vampire tropes in the film but used them as background information rather than driving the plot of the film. The soundtrack was incredible and the shots of a decaying Detroit are marvelous. I honestly couldn’t have enjoyed this more.

Boyhood

This is a three hour nostalgia film. The things that this kid goes through during the twelve year span the film covers hit right to the core. I played Oregon Trail and was curious about sex. I lied about girlfiends and rode my bike around town for hours. I got into pot and drinking and hid it from my parents. I got into deep thinking and felt outcasted. The fact that Richard Linklater had his actors grow up in front of our eyes in series of short cuts makes it all the more better. Even at three hours, I wish there were more, which is exactly what Patricia Arquette laments near the end of the film. Also, Ethan Hawke was fantastic. It’s a special film and one that will most likely live as one of it’s kind. That makes Boyhood a top film for me.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

The most delightful film of the year. Wes Anderson knocks it out of the park, again, with this film. His quirk and unique wit makes this not only hysterical, but ultimately one of the most beautiful films of the year. Ralph Fiennes may be my favorite character in film this year. He was absolutely hysterical in nearly every scene. I don’t think another actor could have done what he did. The supporting cast was also fantastic. Willem Dafoe and Adrien Brody had me in stitches. The symmetry in every shot is so Wes Anderson but wows me every time. It may be his best film to date.

Birdman

Probably the most polarizing film of the year. So much was packed into every orifice of this film. It was both exhausting and insanely entertaining. The film marks the triumphant return of Michael Keaton and the reassurance that Edward Norton is amazing at everything he does. It was hysterical, mesmerizing, and incredibly tragic. It also happens to be filmed to make it look like one long unbroken shot. That makes the film nerd in me jump for joy. If Lubezski doesn’t win for best cinematography I’ll call the cops. It would be a crime. The ending of the film wasn’t the best but the rest of the film was so good it didn’t matter. I loved it.

Whiplash

Yup. Film of the year for me. The wave of emotions I went through in the theater, twice, is unmatched. Every single minute of this film is captivating. JK Simmons gives probably the performance of the year as a drum instructor that takes his band to the limits of their talent in the most diabolical ways possible. Miles Teller gives a powerhouse performance that will go unnoticed but deserves serious recognition. The music is incredible and the ending to the film is one of the most FUCK YEAH moments I’ve ever experienced. It’s just a complete film. I don’t think it’ll get much more than a small nod at the Oscars, but no film this year affected me in such a way that Whiplash did. It’s a film about obsession, career goals, and how far somebody is willing to go to be the best. It was exactly my fucking tempo.

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Honorable Mentions!
Films I enjoyed that I couldn’t fit into a category.

The One I love
Blue Ruin
Nightcrawler
Oculus
The Wind Rises
Locke
Joe

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Favorite Scenes

– The attack on the human compound in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. 360 Tank shot.
– The ending to Whiplash
– The ski chase in Grand Budapest Hotel
– The bedroom scene with Rosamund Pike and Neil Patrick Harris in Gone Girl
– The last shot of The Immegrant
– The whole training segment in Edge of Tomorrow
– SPACESHIP! in The Lego Movie
– The end of The Rover
– Groot knocking the shit out of some henchmen in Guardians of the Galaxy and looking back at the camera and smiling.
– Matthew McConaughey looking at videos of his family over the years in Interstellar
– “That fucking faggot!” in The Grand Budapest Hotel
– Escape scene in X-Men Days of Future Past

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Performances of the Year

– Michael Keaton in Birdman
– Tilda Swinton in Snowpiercer
– JK Simmons and Miles Teller in Whiplash
– Ralph Fiennes in The Grand Budapest Hotel
– Jake Gyllenhaal in Nightcrawler
– Edward Norton in Birdman
– Ethan Hawke in Boyhood
– Tom Hiddleston in Only Lovers Left Alive
– Essie Davis in The Babadook
– Shia LaBouf in Fury
– Tom Hardy in Locke
– Andy Serkis in The Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

THAT’S IT! Thanks for reading and let’s have another fantastic year of film in 2015!