RELAUNCH, also The Top Five Films Since We Stopped Posting On This Here Blog

15 Oct

Here we are.  It’s been almost a year since anything was posted here.  Honestly, we had pretty much given up on it.  We’re both busy, have jobs, things we like to do.  But eventually we reached a conclusion.  We both love film.  It’s always going to be a hugely important part of both of our lives.  And this is something fairly simple we can do to share that.

So, here we are.  We are back with a slightly different looking site.  We have several new writers on board (check out the About page!).  We have some new subjects we’re going to be covering.  You’ll probably get to read about more television and written materials than you used to.  But we promise it will be wonderful.

This just seemed appropriate.

In preparing for this day, we asked what the best way to relaunch the site would be.  And the answer was fairly obvious.  A Top Five List.  These are not reviews, just ramblings.  But they are our favorite films since almost a year ago.  So, without further ado, here are The Top Five Films Since We Stopped Posting On This Here Blog.

Hit the break to read on…

David’s List

5.  The Avengers

I was very hopeful, and very nervous going into The Avengers.  All of the Marvel films leading up to it had been wonderful (for the most part).  In Joss Whedon, it had a director that was almost handpicked by fans.  I mean this movie had A LOT to live up to.  No other superhero film has ever come anywhere near to attempting what this did.  Six superheroes, together in one film.  And that’s not even counting Nick Fury.

But they pulled it off!  Not only did they pull it off, they did it with flying colors.  I walked into the theater excited and very nervous.  But during the first scene I started to smile, and that never stopped.  It had action, comedy, great special effects, and (perhaps most difficultly) perfect chemistry between all of the actors.  It was just what I wanted it to be.

4.  Prometheus

OK, I know this may be a controversial choice.  I’ve talked to a lot of people that hated this film.  And even more people have told me how indifferent they were to it.  Strangely, I did not feel that way at all.  I absolutely loved it.

I can understand every criticism I have heard.  The scientists are not very good at their job.  Some of the main characters that you should be worried about are not very likeable.  And there’s really quite a bit of the story that requires a lot of assumptions and forgiveness to make any sense out of.  I understand all of that.  And none of it phased me.  At all.

I loved this movie.  I was finally back in Ridley Scott’s science fiction universe.  It may not hold up quite as well as it used to, but I’m just happy to be back.  Everything is beautiful and mysterious.  Everyone has a hidden agenda.  And you know that what you just watched has universe-changing effects, even if you’re not sure what they are.  For me, that was glorious.

3.  The Artist

I was grinning through this entire movie.  It had all of the magic that classic Hollywood had (a la Singin’ in the Rain), and, shockingly, it didn’t lose any of it being a silent film in the modern era.  This was not a movie that a lot of people were expecting.  It certainly wasn’t on my radar.

But it charmed its way into my heart, and did the same to pretty much everyone that saw it.  Jean Dujardin, John Goodman, Bérénice Bejo, and Uggie (the dog) all proved what incredible actors they really are.  If you can hold a modern audience’s attention for 100 minutes without speaking at all, you are very good at your job.

My favorite part was the scene where it shows a film audience in the 1920s watching a silent movie and gasping and laughing to everything that happens on screen, because that’s exactly what happened in the theater where I was watching it.  We all reacted together, just like audiences used to.  And it was pretty awesome.

2.  The Dark Knight Rises

I had been waiting on this one for a very long time.  I always knew it was going to be the summer of Batman.  Even with The Avengers and everything else that came out this summer, it was always going to belong to Bruce Wayne.  And it did.  There was a shooting the opening night (ironic since guns are the one thing Batman has always despised more than anything else), and that definitely hurt the opening weekend, and the soul of the entire country.

But this was still an incredibly powerful film that managed to wrap up THE trilogy of this generation perfectly.  I walked out of the theater completely satisfied, which is very hard to pull off with a trilogy.  Christopher Nolan has the incredible gift of helping you forget that you are watching actors play characters.  They completely become those characters in his films.  I was very worried about Anne Hathaway as Catwoman, and to be honest I was worried about Heath Ledger as Joker when I first heard about it.  But both times, I completely forgot who the actors were five minutes into the movie.  The Dark Knight Rises is all of the things I love about going to the movies.

1.  Beasts of the Southern Wild

This was another film that surprised me.  I can usually predict that I will love superhero and hard science fiction films.  Not to say that I love all of them, but I can usually make an educated guess about them before I walk in.  Everything else is a toss up.  I probably don’t have as many preconceived ideas.  And I certainly don’t have many preconceived ideas about young, single parent, children in backwoods Louisiana.

Beasts of the Southern Wild is a magical and haunting story about a little girl whose entire world starts to fall apart around her.  But while a lot of films would be about the child having to grow up and face the reality of the situation, here we have an honest look through a child’s eyes.  Mythology is real.  And only be dealing with these magical and uncontrollable forces can life ever go on.  The best way to see the world is through the eyes of a child.  I believe that is the truth, and I have never seen it shown in a more beautiful way.  I’m not going to say anything else, except that you should see it if you haven’t already.

Honorable Mentions:

The Cabin in the Woods

The Muppets

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

The Descendants

John Carter

The Master

Lara’s List

5.  Bernie

I had the pleasure of seeing this film premier at SXSW, with Jack Black, Matthew McConaughey, and director Richard Linklater in attendance. Now, there are times when having the director and actors at a film cause the audience to overreact—suddenly the jokes are much funnier, the sad parts are more dramatic, and the violent bits are the most exciting thing from any movie ever—but in this instance, every laugh, every tear, and every cheer was completely merited. Bernie is a comedic telling of a true crime story, in which Bernie, a kind, church-going undertaker in east Texas befriends and takes care of a crotchety widow, Marjorie Nugent, whom he eventually kills in a moment of fury. Tiptoeing the line between reality and fiction, the dark comedy is peppered with hilarious interviews with “real townspeople” (some of which was scripted, most townspeople were actors), who have an undying devotion to Bernie, as well as the perfect amount of Texan charm. Bernie is unique in the fact that not only do you laugh hysterically amidst the murder of a real woman, but you find yourself rooting for the man who killed her! After the film, Linklater asked the audience to raise their hands if they believed the real Bernie Tiede deserved life in prison—in a packed, two story theater, about ten people timidly raised their hands. The sway in almost an entire audience’s morality was due in part to Shirley MacLaine’s impeccable portrayal of the cantankerous, malicious old bat, but the credit must be mostly attributed to Jack Black’s performance as the effeminate Southern sweetheart—his best acting to date.

4.  Hugo / The Adventures of Tintin

Okay, so I know this is cheating, but I’ve decided it is perfectly fine for me to lump these movies together. The reason is three-fold:

  1. They are both children’s movies based off of something I utterly love
  2. Directed by two of the best ever
  3. I saw them within a week of each other—and, though totally dissimilar style and story, I’m now having a hard time differentiating my love levels.

Here are some specifics that I mostly remember: Tintin was everything I could have hoped for, living up to the comics that I grew up with, as well as the adventures Spielberg used to make. It was so much fun, and though the 3D wasn’t really necessary, it made the whole experience akin to riding a rollercoaster at Disneyland (AND THAT IS A GOOD THING). Hugo was beautiful, with gorgeous cinematography and acting. The 3D was essential during the scenes within the clock tower and those showing Georges Méliés film process. Though wiping away tears beneath 3D glasses is not an occurrence I’m used to.

3.  The Dark Knight Rises

Bizarrely enough, I didn’t even see this film until two weeks ago. I anticipated this film more than any other, for a solid, somewhat agonizing four years, and then farted around for 2 and a half months after its release. The human brain, huh? Anyhow, my nonsensical waiting may have actually been a good thing, for it allowed for me a chance to (unwillingly) hear people’s opinions on the film and lower my expectations accordingly. Some loathed it, others loved it, but overall I heard that it didn’t touch The Dark Knight—it was never going to sans Heath Ledger—but it solidly closed the trilogy. With that established, I was given the chance to be pleasantly surprised by The Dark Knight Rises. Of course, the execution of the film was crisp and perfect, in true Christopher Nolan style—I had no doubts about that. But I also absolutely loved the ensemble cast, including Anne Hathaway, whom I was not at all excited about playing my beloved Selina Kyle. However, Hathaway brought an entirely new angle to the character, and about five minutes in my apprehensions fell to the wayside. I’ve heard others complain that Batman himself was impeded by the multitude of characters, but I thought there was a lot more Bruce Wayne than in the previous chapter of the saga. No, we don’t get to see him in the mask very often, but I’m okay with a scene or two less of Christian Bale growly dog voice, thank you. Perhaps it’s the freshness of seeing it, but to me this was the perfect ending to one of the best trilogies in film history. Take that, Batman Forever.

2.  The Muppets

The most fun. Jason Segel, Amy Adams and Muppets—what more could a person ask for? Really. I think that pretty much says it all. I doubt anything will ever make me happier.

1.  Black Pond

This movie was by far the biggest surprise. Almost every movie on this list is here because it lived up to everything I had hoped. Not this one. I knew nothing about it—and that’s probably why it made its way to the top slot. I saw it totally by happenstance when screening films for Quality Control for South By Southwest this spring, and was completely blown away. Black Pond is an independent, British mockumentary that tells the story of a family who are all accused of murder when a strange man dies at their dinner table. Hilarity ensues. I don’t want to delve into it much more, to preserve your viewing experience When You DO See It, but it is one of the funniest, yet most poignant films I’ve seen in years. Do yourself a favor and avoid the trailer, which, for whatever reason, portrays the film as a drama, and see this film if and when it is made available to you. Why? Because it’s my favorite movie of the past year! If that’s not enough, then nothing ever will be.

Honorable Mentions:

The Master

The Artist



The Cabin in the Woods

Moonrise Kingdom


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