December 31, 2012

Erica's Best of 2012

This was a very difficult one for me...I honestly keep changing the rankings....

1- Frankenweenie
2- Ted
3- Robot & Frank
4- Killer Joe
5- The Dark Knight Rises
6- The Five Year Engagement
7- Django Unchained
8- Argo
9- Dark Shadows
10- Dark Horse
11- Seven Psychopaths
12- Jeff Who Lives at Home
13- Wanderlust
14- Safety Not Guaranteed
15- ParaNorman

Honorable Mention:  2 Days in New York, Fantastic Fear of Everything, The Inbetweeners Movie, Compliance, Not Fade Away, Liberal Arts, Perks of Being a Wallflower, Silver Linings Playbook  

Mike's Best of 2012

1. Zero Dark Thirty
2. Killer Joe
3. Cloud Atlas
4. The Master
5. The Perks of Being a Wallflower
6. Safety Not Guaranteed
7. The Silver Linings Playbook
8. Argo
9. The Dark Knight Rises
10. Frankenweenie
11. Robot & Frank
12. Take This Waltz
13. Jeff Who Lives At Home
14. Beasts of the Southern Wild
15. Django Unchained
16. Arbitrage
17. Prometheus
18. Ted
19. A Late Quartet
20. The Loneliest Planet

Honorable mention: It aired as a 3-part special in the UK but is being released as a feature in the US in 2013, so I didn't include 56 Up, the latest in the outstanding Seven Up series. Aside from that, I also really liked: 21 Jump Street, Amour, Compliance, Dark Horse, A Fantastic Fear of Everything, The Five-Year Engagement, The Impossible, Killing Them Softly, Lincoln, Moonrise Kingdom, Not Fade Away, On the Road, ParaNorman, Promised Land, Red Hook Summer, and Wanderlust. And there were segments in Holy Motors that I absolutely loved, but then there were some parts that I didn't, so that one didn't make my top 20 either.

Erica's Worst of 2012

Erica: Wow I had a lot of movies to choose from this year for my 'worst of 2012' list.

Below are my top 10 followed by some additional ones that were bad, but not bad enough to make the list.

1- Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie
2- Rock of Ages
3- That's My Boy
4- This Must Be the Place
5- The Dictator
6- Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter
7- A Late Quartet
8- Hotel Transylvania
9- Bernie
10- Parental Guidance

(Dis)honorable Mention: Hitchcock, Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Guilt Trip, Save the Date, Bachelorette, Frankie Goes Boom,  I could go on for days...

Mike's Worst of 2012

Mike: I usually know which movies to skip, and I skip most of the ones that don't interest me or that I just know I won't like. But there are times (too many) that curiosity gets the best of me, and I watch something that I know is absolute crap. Or there are times when I watch something and expect it to be good and it's just a terrible disappointment. These are the films that I really didn't like in 2012, ranked from Worst (1) to Still Really Bad (10).

1. The Intouchables
2. Rock of Ages
3. Frankie Go Boom
4. Red Tails
5. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
6. Piranha 3DD
7. Tim & Eric's Billion Dollar Movie
8. Save the Date
9. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
10. Wrath of the Titans

I also disliked: Battleship, Goon, Hotel Transylvania, Hysteria, Mansome, People Like Us, This Must Be the Place, Total Recall, and The Watch.

December 25, 2012

Rust and Bone - Landmark Sunshine

Mike: Rust and Bone is a ridiculous movie in which ridiculous things happen. It's silly in the absolute randomness of obstacles presented to the main characters. You meet a girl whose legs get bitten off by a killer whale and then manages a street fighter. More random obstacles present the two main characters throughout the film. But there's something in the sheer melodrama that makes it hard to look away and not enjoy it. Marion Cotillard is getting Oscar buzz, but I think any half-decent actress would have done just as well with such and overly dramatic part. This is an old-fashioned drama that we grew out of as we left the 1980s, and while I enjoyed it, it's absolutely ridiculous and silly. I must give props for a pair of scenes that use a Katy Perry song. You hear it early in the movie as Cotillard is about to have her legs bitten off, but when it recurs much later in the film, it's a genuinely moving moment, and perhaps the one thing that the movie really gets right.

December 23, 2012

The Loneliest Planet - IFC Center

Mike: This one was almost completely off my radar. I'd heard a bit about it, but only became interested when I saw it pop up on year-end top 10 lists. I had a day off from work so I went to see this one morning. I'm glad I did. It's an unconventional film that gets uncomfortably real as we follow a young couple and their tour guide through the countryside of Georgia (the country, not the state). Most of the film is dedicated to simply getting to know this couple, seeing how they react to their guide and take in the experience. I can imagine this being extremely annoying and boring to many, but I was able to bear with it and I'm glad I did. There's a bit of a twist along the way - not in the traditional sense, but it kind of changes direction at a certain point - the poignancy and challenge of which I found to be very rewarding for the 90 minute travelogue that preceded it.

December 21, 2012

Hitchcock - AMC Kips Bay 14

Mike: This is one of two competing films about Alfred Hitchcock that came out this year. The earlier one, The Girl, debuted on HBO a couple months ago and focused on the making of The Birds and Marnie. This one's just about Psycho. Both films were mildly interesting. Neither of these films were necessary. And both films present Hitchcock as a mysterious, impenetrable character. The make-up is impressive, but under the layers we don't get a good sense of who the guy was. In Hitchcock, we get a bit more of an understanding of the guy than in The Girl. If anything, we get a better understanding of the woman behind the man, in this one played by Helen Mirren.

Erica: I was sitting through this movie, just like through The Girl wondering when it was going to be over. Being a Hitchcock fan, I was looking forward to this movie and was highly disappointed. While I think this was better than the HBO movie that aired earlier in the year,  that does not mean by any means, was this a good movie. Helen Mirren did a great job as Hitchcock's wife and the almost unrecognizable Anthony Hopkins did a good job as the man himself. That is where the good parts of this movie end...for a Hitchcock, I feel like you may be disappointed with this movie.

December 20, 2012

Stand Up Guys - Elinor Bunim Monroe Film Center

Mike: For whatever reason, this is getting an Academy qualifying run for one week before opening sometime next year. Aside from a Bon Jovi song, it hasn't got  a chance. Stand Up Guys has some killer ingredients - Christopher Walken, Al Pacino and Alan Arkin - and a potent concept. But with all of that going for it, it just never pops off the screen. There are some humorous moments here and there, but overall it's a snooze to sit through. Pacino and Walken each play the annoying caricatures of themselves that we've all been tired of for years, and while Arkin's character has some genuine poignant moments, he's in and out pretty quickly. Don't get me started on the script, which plagiarizes Office Space and They Live (I'm sure there's more) presumably under the guise of homage.
Maybe I'm too harsh. It's not awful, but with so much else out there, this is one you can pass over.

Erica: I will not be as harsh as Mike, however this isn't a 'run out and see this movie the day it opens' movie. I feel like this movie has been made about a dozen or so times before. I also feel the actors have played these roles over and over again in their massive film careers so there is nothing special about this movie. For me, Stand Up Guys does not stand out. The actors are good, the performances are fine, but the wow factor is just not there.... 

December 19, 2012

Hotel Transylvania - AMC Loews Lincoln Square

 Mike: So you've got a funny cast of voices, a talented animation director, a funny writer, a cool concept with great potential... and you end up with Hotel Transylvania, a piece of shit that kids without taste who laugh at anything will love and adults will cringe through. Actually, almost everyone at the theater - adults included - seemed to be enjoying themselves. Even the adult sitting next to me, who will share her reaction below. So maybe it's just me who isn't enamored with continuous fart jokes and Sandler-sentimentality.

Erica: I have no idea what Mike is talking about....I was suffering through the entire movie. The concept was really cool and I was looking forward to this movie and was very disappointed. The second half was worse than the first half. Kids ate this movie up...I am not sure why. This movie is a piece of garbage that should not have gotten made.

December 16, 2012

Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 2- UA Court Street 12

Mike: I had an afternoon off so I went to see this by myself. I raced my bike to the theater and was about 10 minutes late. Then someone who couldn't make up their mind was in front of me in line, and I was certain that I'd miss the first few minutes of the movie. Turned out not to be the case. I ran up the 5 million escalators and into the auditorium to find that a trailer was still playing. Amazing! But then another played. And another. And a few more. I guess they started the movie very, very late.
I'm embarrassed to admit that I've seen all of the Twilight movies now. I rented the first one out of curiosity. I like to have my finger on the pulse of what's going on, what kids are into nowadays. As expected, it sucked. Then I watched the next one in an airplane - I think I was flying from Africa and had a long, long plane ride, so I figured I'd watch the second one to kill some time, and because I had seen pretty much everything else already. For the third one, I was on a plane from Europe. I didn't like any of them, but I was (again) curious to see what Bill Condon would do with the franchise and bought a ticket to Breaking Dawn Part 1. No surprise, I didn't care for it. And with just one left, I wanted to see what happened and how the story ended. And while it didn't make up for the previous four films, Breaking Dawn Part 2 was by far the best and most entertaining film of the series. I actually liked it!

December 15, 2012

The Hobbit - AMC Loews Lincoln Square 13

Mike: We got to see this a few days early at a Warner Bros media screening. I was worried it might not be screened in the much-ballyhooed 48 frames per second frame rate, but someone eventually confirmed that it was. The first twenty minutes or so were very weird. I've heard people use 70s BBC and uncalibrated HDTV to describe the look and feel, and that's about right. But at the same time, it looks absolutely beautiful. The 3D images were dazzling. I was simultaneously impressed and frustrated, not knowing if I could take this for another 2 1/2 hours. But to my surprise, I got used to it very quickly. It didn't bother me, with some exceptions here and there.
It made Erica a bit nauseous and she left after about a half hour, but that's mostly because she'd never seen a Lord of the Rings movie before and had zero interest. She just wanted to get me into the screening and check out the HFR.
I love Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy, and while The Hobbit doesn't really live up to that, it's a good film and a lot of fun. But I couldn't help like feeling like I was watching something stretched out, not much unlike American Idol or some other reality show where fifteen minutes of actual content are stretched to fit a two hour time slot. It held my attention, but I wonder how it will go over with casual filmgoers.

December 02, 2012

Butter - VOD

Erica: We were being lazy and decided to rent Butter on video on demand. The concept of this movie is about people competing in a butter competition....why this needed a movie is beyond me. There is a pretty decent cast it's just to me, the movie was not that interesting. My theory though is this...I would rather watch a bad movie from the comfort of my home then watching it in the theater so that was good. I enjoy watching movies on demand because sometimes they are available the same time as in theaters or even before they are in theaters and it is usually between $5-10 and if both of us are watching that is certainly cheaper than going to the theater, even with discount passes. Back to the movie...Jennifer Garner annoys me so I was pretty much turned off from second one but I decided to give it a chance...she is not any less annoying in this movie than in any other movie (she may even be more annoying here if that is possible). Her deep dimples bother me and it is very hard for me to get past...

The only exciting storyline had nothing to do with the butter carving competition at all (surprise surprise) and more of the seemingly overly perfect family's personal lives.

I say if you want to watch Butter watch it from the comfort of your own home.

Mike: I say don't watch it at all. It's not a terrible movie, but there's a reason it got a VOD release. Butter has a bad case of VODitis - like most movies that go the VOD route, it's not very good and after watching it, you realize why distributors didn't think it was worth the marketing costs associated with a traditional theatrical release (tough to market) or a platform release (poor to middling reviews, no word of mouth). See it on an airplane or rent it, when you feel like you've already seen everything else.

December 01, 2012

Seven Psychopaths - AMC Empire 25

Erica: Last weekend, AMC had a deal buy one ticket for Seven Psychopaths, get one free. We definitely took advantage of this deal as we had wanted to see it anyway. Add seeing it before 12 noon and that makes it even cheaper. This movie was very good. The cast was great and the movie itself was very well done. The concept of the movie interested me from the start and did not disappoint. It is a very quirky movie that is entertaining and funny from the start. Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, and Woody Harrelson are great as the main cast members in this dark comedy from Martin McDonagh.

Mike: I'm a huge fan of Martin McDonagh's In Bruges, so Seven Psychopaths was a film I was really looking forward to. McDonagh, like his brother, who wrote and directed last year's The Guard, is a brilliant wordsmith of humorous dialogue while giving us deep, tragic characters. Seven Psychopaths doesn't quite live up to to In Bruges (or The Guard, for that matter). We get some interesting characters and performances, but there's a bit too much packed in there. Maybe Five Psychopaths would have been better? Despite the shortcomings, which also includes a stretch in the middle that kind of lags, Seven Psychopaths is funny and touching. A great film to watch on a rainy afternoon.