BEST FILM OF THE YEAR
THE LOOK OF SILENCE
Director/Writer: Ana Lily Amirpour
Staring: Sheila Vand, Arash Marandi, Marshall Manesh
Cinematography: Lyle Vincent
Here’s how this film got me into the theater. It sported gorgeous black and white photography, was filmed in Farsi, and was a vampire art-house flick. Behind it was the apparently unstoppable hype machine powered by Vice Films (and Kino Lorber, usually a distributor worth watching) who promoted the picture beyond its actual appeal, in part with a dishonestly paced trailer. The ingredients sounded amazing. It was the perfect bait.
But there’s simply no there there. The marketed hallmarks that made it seem different turn out to mean nothing. Read more
“The Raid 2: Berandal” does everything better than its predecessor, “The Raid Redemption”…
Except for what “Raid Redemption” did best.
To start, this is a very good movie. It’s more expansive, more artfully directed, more ambitious and more scripted than its predecessor. The music and mood and style is just as good as before and in many instances better. In every way Director/writer/co-editor/action choreographer and all around Welshman Gareth Evans has grown as a filmmaker, or at the very least, has moved into a position where he can now show off several directorial talents that the first “Raid” didn’t allow for. With his newfound success he has been afforded the joy of juicing up his monster international martial arts franchise. But in doing so he has left behind, either intentionally or through oversight, the very engine that made the first “Raid” sing so loudly.
“The cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be.” – Carl Sagan
So I’m watching COSMOS by buying each episode individually as they come out on VUDU. I like the idea of paying for this. I like the idea of supporting each and every episode. Making sure that my money goes towards it in the most direct way possible. As I went to watch the second episode last night I noticed something irritating in the shows description paragraph on the episode menu screen, which I assume was written by some lackey at FOX. It said, essentially, that the episode was about how life “possibly” came to be on earth. “Possibly”, it said. Read more
A lot of my friends took the “31 horror movies in October” challenge. Binging on horror flicks all month sounds like total bliss to me, but with a work trip to New York at the end of October and me being behind on my scripts, there was just no way I could’ve pulled it off. Still, I wanted to make sure that I spent some of the Halloween season sitting around and ingesting loads of horror, so I decided to watch as many as I possibly could and justify it all with this meandering blogpost that would go largely unread.
My first mission, priority one, was to watch one film from every decade since the relative birth of horror cinema. By most accounts the first real “feature-length” horror film is The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari filmed in 1919, released in 1920 (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Starring John Barrymore came out a few months later and so is recognized only as the first American horror film), but as far back as the late 19th century there were films that featured macabre elements and many short films were dedicated to adapting famous horror literature. So I split the difference and chose 1900 as my year, meaning the minimum mission requirement was to get 12 horror movies under my belt, way more doable than 31. After that mission was complete I just kept watching horror films at random until it was time to cobble together this post.
My process for deciding what I watched was pretty haphazard. For the most part whatever the first thing that Netflix recommended based on the algorithm data I’ve built there over the years was what got played. The earliest decades had to be googled. I ended up getting gleefully stuck on the silent horror films and watched more of them than my exercise warranted. Something about those first, quiet monsters really spoke to me. They are so theatrical and minimal and the actors really gave their all to them.
I had only one other rule about what I would or would not watch. If I’d seen the movie in the last ten years then I had to find something else. If it had been longer than ten years, it was fair game for reevaluation.
So there you go. Here’s my best attempt at seeing as many horror movies as I possible could this October. As with all the bullshit that makes it onto my journal page, this whole post is more for me than it is for you, I obsesses on stuff like this. I can only hope someone out there will dig it too.
The films are listed in the order in which I saw them, NOT from “best” to “worst”.