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2008 in review

Posted: Thu Jan 01, 2009 11:56 am
by Remo D
Okay, friends... this will "eventually" hit my blog, but this is for YOU first and foremost!

Well, here we go again. The genre year 2008 was one of the most disappointing and frustrating ever--yet another year that caused me to seriously consider retirement. As you know, that didn't last... but my "completist" days are irrevocably over. For the most part, the films I liked got little or no theatrical play, and those that did promptly nose-dived--while the few success stories were either completely unworthy... or weren't even horror films. So I can either give you a page-length breakdown of the theatrical year, or I can "cheat" by invoking the titles that came straight to me on DVD (as well as various titles technically from 2007 but making their Stateside bow in 2008). And as I like to fully indulge myself with the annual recap, here comes the full-length version...


Though I was put off by the obnoxious "teaser" ad campaign (which didn't even give you a title, let alone a look at the monster), CLOVERFIELD succeeded quite nicely by not being about the monster after all. A "first person" look at a Godzilla-type invasion, the film provided a fresh perspective and held my attention throughout--nor did it disappoint when the beast finally got his closeup...

Perhaps it was the lingering aftertaste of THE VILLAGE (never did see LADY IN THE WATER) that made THE HAPPENING seem that much better to me, but I also appreciated the intensity of the self-inflicted violence and the "all the way back to FROGS" eco-horror theme, here served up with a completely intangible menace. Yeah, we're running from the wind--but there's no game plan, no steps to ensure survival and no way to fight back. Works for me.

THE ORPHANAGE was a fine Spanish import--branded with the name of Guillermo del Toro, but far more effective than your typical "Wes Craven Presents" offering. While in the end it was more sad than frightening, this one pulled no punches when it came to in-your-face, out-of-nowhere shock moments, all the same.

And speaking of Guillermo del Toro? You really can't call the HELLBOY films "horror," but you certainly can't ignore them, either. And HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY blew its predecessor away with wonderful characters, fantastic creatures and imagery, and humor that the movie took the trouble to actually earn. More on comics and superheroes later, though.

Okay, everyone said the book was better. And I'll catch up to it. Nevertheless, THE RUINS delivered seriously adult shocks, another imaginatively-handled menace, and the sort of horror I was craving in the PG-13 swamp. So of course it bombed. Next time you hear someone complain about the over-abundance of watered-down genre fare, ask them if they did anything to support this one, okay?

MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN caught two or three lucky viewers in theatres, but came to most of us for free on demand--at least it was letterboxed! So thanks for nothing, Lionsgate--and thank you, Lionsgate. I guess. This one really deserved a major release, as it's the best Clive Barker-derived movie since HELLRAISER itself--stark, uncompromising, skillfully stretched out from its short-story origins... oh, and gory as all Hades.

A nice long break between entries and the addition of Asian flavor (not to mention Jet Li!) revived my flagging interest in a certain summer franchise... THE MUMMY: TOMB OF THE DRAGON EMPEROR was just as full of fun and void of profundity as I wanted it to be.

Not strictly "horror" but marking the return of Stuart Gordon to the big screen (if you were super lucky) was the grisly black comedy (in more than one sense!) STUCK. The true-life incident that inspired the film was even more horrifying (the unlucky homeless man impaled on the reckless woman's windshield really did die slowly and unaided), but Gordon and company took the concept and truly ran with it.

Dario Argento also hit two or three theatre screens, but I had to wait for MOTHER OF TEARS to come to DVD. Dammit. You know who got to see it on the big screen? My old buddy Mick La Salle of the San Francisco Chronicle, who delivered the clueless rantings of someone who had never seen an Argento film in his life and had no intention of doing so ever again. He had no business being assigned that review, but he got it anyway (where was Peter Hartlaub when we needed him?). Hell, I invited Mick himself to join us at the MANOR to present an Argento film for Halloween, but it took two tries to get his casual dismissal. Why, oh why do people who loathe graphic horror insist on reviewing it? Oh, Mick did like one so-called horror film in 2008. But more on that later. As the conclusion of the SUSPIRIA/INFERNO trilogy, MOTHER OF TEARS: THE THIRD MOTHER was as deliriously plotless as ever, but Argento hasn't gone for the gusto (and guts) this vividly in what seems like forever. Incoherence mixes with sheer chutzpah and brilliance... and even another homicidal monkey just for us!!!

While not quite the picture of utter perfection pitched to us by the critics, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN was a beautifully-handled "coming of age" thriller that invoked the "V-word" without neglecting its function as horror (we'll get to the other V-film later). Make no mistake, you'll get thoroughly caught up in the real-life struggles of the young, bullied protagonist as he learns to face up to reality with the help of a very special friend... but you're also in for a genuine bloodbath. Don't miss this--and don't wait for the remake, either.

Home video served up several titles that belonged on the big screen in place of what ultimately landed there. TRAILER PARK OF TERROR made good use of the overused "redneck horror" theme, featuring above-average writing and acting to go with the bounty of over-the-top zombie gore. For a film that starts off by deliberately invoking TWO THOUSAND MANIACS, it more than lives up to the Lewis standard.

JACK BROOKS: MONSTER SLAYER, while less technically overwhelming (the payoff creature gave me an Empire Pictures rush like you wouldn't believe) offered enjoyable characters, a successful "anger management" theme and a meaty role for Robert Englund which amounted to much more than "hey, look, it's Robert Englund!"

Also enjoyable were a pair of independent thrillers specifically submitted for my review and (hopefully) endorsement on Myspace: there was SAVAGE HARVEST 2, a thoroughly detailed and aggressively gory follow-up to a successful EVIL DEAD-inspired original, invoking American Indian magic and lethal animal spirits; and arriving just in time for the holidays was a delightful Christmas romp known as TWO FRONT TEETH (homicidal elves, warrior nuns known as the "Silent Knights," and a duel between "Clausferatu" and the man himself!).

After frustrating the hell out of me with URBAN LEGEND and (especially) VALENTINE--uninspired "retread" horror from a director who obviously had skills well above that level, Jamie Blanks finally went all out with STORM WARNING... it's one of the nastiest "family from hell" movies ever, but it rises above better-known Australian efforts such as WOLF CREEK by giving its protagonists an actual fighting chance against the terrorizers. Think about that.

And while I wasn't supposed to see it (the remake people know what's good for me, apparently), REC blew down the doors with one of the very best invocations of the faux documentary format yet (one of them, not the only one...)--a "siege" thriller with terrific intensity and an unforgettable final ten minutes. REC belonged on the big screen... but only in Spain, apparently. Instead? Again, we'll get to that a bit later.

I was resigned to waiting for DVD for what turned out to be my top choice of the year, as well. But somebody smiled on me at almost the last minute--less than one month before the disc came out, George A. Romero's DIARY OF THE DEAD snuck into one theatre for one week. Now, I know that this choice will be a bone of contention amongst some of you. That's fine. Some of us liked it, some of us didn't. But please don't think that I'm championing it out of blind "Romero denial" and crediting it with qualities it doesn't possess "just because." If I were that prone to critical myopia, I would have handed it to LAND OF THE DEAD a few years ago--after all, I had waited twenty years for a new Romero "Dead" film at that point. No--the truth is that I was far more impressed with DIARY as a modern reinvention of the trail that Romero himself first blazed. Sequels, remakes, ripoffs, tributes (oh, I have yet to see Steve Miner's so-called DAY remake, if you're wondering)--I've been immersed, as have we all. But only DIARY succeeded on the "everything old is new again" level: I was fully absorbed in Romero's interpretation of just how we'd react if it all started now.


On the one hand, DOOMSDAY was a shamelessly derivative ROAD WARRIOR/ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK 80s rehash from a director who had proven he could do so much better. On the other hand, DOOMSDAY was a shamelessly derivative ROAD WARRIOR/ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK 80s rehash from a director who had proven he could do so much better--but decided to let me have that 80s rush on the big screen again. So there you go.

After avoiding the rush of Asian horror remakes (and we're still not done), I stumbled into MIRRORS mistaking it for an original. Nevertheless, it started off tremendously, with superb art direction and some nasty shocks. Sadly, though, it held true to its inspiration and degenerated into yet another lame RINGU ripoff (still liked that ending, though).

QUARANTINE? Hey, it was "technically" just as good as REC and no doubt freaked a good number of patrons out. But how much credit can you give someone for the gift of utter mimicry?

Oh, and remember what I said about STORM WARNING? Subtract that from THE STRANGERS, which did a fine job of ratcheting up tension but couldn't overcome the utter, predictable hopelessness of its "siege" setup. I'd avoided this because I assumed it was a remake of THEM (ILS), a French thriller which came highly recommended but which frankly left me flat. Okay, it wasn't a remake, and they're still doing a remake, but this was more than close enough (though it was actually better in my book).

The experimental thriller THE SIGNAL was exactly the mixed bag you'd expect from three directors jumping in on the same story (which, frankly, owed a lot to Stephen King's novel CELL to begin with). I was happy with the traditional opening material involving the spreading madness; intrigued by the bizarre injection of character humor in the middle section; and ultimately annoyed by the realization that one couldn't count on any single element of the film to achieve any sort of resolution. Nah, that didn't really happen. Nah, he wasn't really dead. Nah, he only imagined that. Is it over yet? Can I count on THAT, at least???

While I wasn't always boiling over with enthusiasm, I essentially stuck up for the SAW films for the way they always managed to come up with twisted, maddening, compelling storylines to go with the undeniably effective torture/gore traps. It took SAW 5 to finally fall short in this crucial department. It was still moderately effective, and I'll still check out the alleged finale, but this time the element of surprise eluded me completely.

And TWILIGHT gets a mention as the "other" vampire film of the year simply because it's a genre phenomenon whether we acknowledge it or not. Horror it ain't--stick with LET THE RIGHT ONE IN for that. But at the very least it's watchable and likable, and when it comes to honesty and worthiness, it's still miles ahead of a certain other PG-13 horror hit...

Home video brought me FRONTIER(S), and I frankly expected more for a film that was "too extreme" for Horrorfest, which was allegedly about "too extreme" in the first place. More "family from hell," but in a unique (for the field) setting, far more politically-charged and still loaded with what you'd demand from such a film.

I kinda sorta liked BOOGEYMAN 2 (nothing to do with Ulli Lommel or even the "other" BOOGEYMAN that it allegedly sequelizes) as an agreeable invocation of the "phobia death" movies from the 80s. WHITE NOISE 2 was as similarly removed from its inspiration and unapologetically mean-spirited... but it was better than the unfocused Michael Keaton effort, and it's at least a bit encouraging that a director as skilled as Patrick Lussier is handling the MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3D remake...

Crispin Glover was fine as THE WIZARD OF GORE when he was actually on-screen, but this thoroughly unpleasant and unnecessarily convoluted "remake" was simply (and simple-mindedly) obsessed with the theme of hurting women... in a way that the Lewis original (for all the onscreen mutilation) was definitely not.

And the watered-down CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST rehash WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE is the perfect film to show your friends who can't handle the real thing--technically proficient, occasionally shocking, and utterly devoid of confrontational elements of any description.


Not much here--not much at all! But you can thank my "unseen" list for that, no doubt. I skipped ONE MISSED CALL, THE EYE, SHUTTER, the FUNNY GAMES remake (if you've seen the original, who the hell needs it?), BLINDNESS and THE HAUNTING OF MOLLY HARTLEY... most, if not all, of which would reportedly earn cellar honors here.

But I did see BAGHEAD. And I'll say it again. You've heard the expression "Don't piss in my ear and tell me it's raining?" That's exactly what you're doing when you tell me BAGHEAD somehow qualifies as a horror film, "mumblecore" or not. Look. If I were dying for a quirky independent production about quirky, clueless independent filmmakers, then perhaps there's some amusement value here. However, the attempts to invoke actual "horror" elements were see-through and laughable in a way they probably weren't meant to be. I have to assume that we were actually supposed to endure some genuine suspense at certain moments. It never happened. Oh, but remember when I told you that Mick La Salle did like one so-called horror film in 2008? Yep. This is one of his Ten Best Films of the year. So there you have it. Mick La Salle's definition of a quality horror movie? One in which ABSOLUTELY NOTHING HAPPENS.

Twenty years was too long to wait for the DTV anticlimax that was RETURN TO SLEEPAWAY CAMP, which deprived viewers of the very Angela they'd been waiting for, swapping her out (for the most part) for one of the most insufferable bully/victim composites ever to pollute the screen. Just throwing that in there. Now back to the theatres.

I can't call BAGHEAD the worst horror film of the year, as by and large it was more concerned with other things, some of which actually worked. Unfortunately, the state-of-the-art horror hit (unless you count TWILIGHT, which I don't) continues to define the demographics. And as long as we're going to shun THE RUINS, squelch DIARY OF THE DEAD, remake REC instead of releasing it, etc., you can count on utterly worthless pap such as PROM NIGHT to represent you. Enjoy.

Also unseen by me, with NO pre-judgement pronounced (no Netflix here--I'm kept more than busy with various review discs): EDEN LAKE, FEAR(S) OF THE DARK, INSIDE, various GHOSTHOUSE DVD releases, LOST BOYS: THE TRIBE, MY NAME IS BRUCE, OTTO, PATHOLOGY, POULTRYGEIST, REPO! THE GENETIC OPERA, ROGUE, SHROOMS, TEETH, TIMECRIMES, X-FILES: I WANT TO BELIEVE, UNTRACEABLE, ZOMBIE STRIPPERS, THE SPIRIT, doubtless others.


Huge superhero/comic-book year, dominated, as we all know, by THE DARK KNIGHT. Yes, it really was that good, and Heath Ledger would win that Oscar even if it weren't posthumous. IRON MAN was another tremendously entertaining adaptation, with Robert Downey Jr. owning the role of Tony Stark (and don't even get me started on the hysterical TROPIC THUNDER). THE INCREDIBLE HULK was decent fun, but I'm the weirdo who liked the Ang Lee version better. The predictable farce SUPERHERO MOVIE had its moments--and even a pretty good villain--but essentially fell flat. But it was the criminally-underappreciated PUNISHER: WAR ZONE that rewrote the rules and painted the screen red in a way we never thought Marvel would dare--great work from the cast and an approach that put most so-called "horror" to utter shame this year. Oh, and you're telling me the director was a woman?? Well, Lexi Alexander knows more about "macho" action than most guys lately!!!

Okay--except for Sylvester Stallone. RAMBO was a wonderful Valentine treat for my wife--and yes, I suppose it was even gorier than the PUNISHER film. But it didn't have Jigsaw and LBJ, did it?

THE FORBIDDEN KINGDOM worked quite nicely as the first (and far too belated) teaming of Jackie Chan and Jet Li--and it helped that you could take the whole family to the thoughtful fantasy.

INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL? Hail, hail, the gang's all here. Indy acted his age very effectively, thank you very much, and I enjoyed the ride even as I knew it couldn't measure up to the original thrills.

I thought for sure that I'd hate GET SMART. Simply because I'm a devoted fan of the original series and the best Don Adams impersonator who ever lived, case closed. And considering the "quality" of most vintage TV series turned movies? Dread, dread, dread... But what a surprise--Steve Carell did a wonderful job paying tribute to Adams without resorting to mere imitation, the attitude and approach of the new movie respected the original, and the end result was equally entertaining as action and comedy.

As for the "other" would-be-summer-blockbuster? Well, the race scenes themselves were breathtaking and visionary--but who thought that a SPEED RACER storyline could sustain itself for over two hours... and more importantly, who on EARTH thought that the SPEED RACER cultists would turn out to the tune of over $300 million???? If this doesn't put an end to the excess of MATRIX shenanigans, then nothing will.

Didn't see IN THE NAME OF THE KING. Thought THE BANK JOB was one of the best Jason Statham vehicles yet. But speaking of vehicles? DEATH RACE had utterly nothing going for it if you think of it as an actual remake of the wonderful DEATH RACE 2000, but it ultimately won me over on its own terms ("Release the Dreadnaught!") and at least it didn't look like a video game!

Almost forgot QUANTUM OF SOLACE... then again, that's probably because I frequently forgot I was watching an actual James Bond film as I sat through it! I quite like Daniel Craig in the role, but a comparison between this and his take on CASINO ROYALE proves that you still need some solid IAN FLEMING to back Bond up. A decent action film, but the least Bond-like Bond film I've ever seen.

And then there were a couple of comedies (besides the ruling-class TROPIC THUNDER) that tried to be "confrontational" in their own way... David Zucker's AN AMERICAN CAROL lambasted Michael Moore with good casting and some very funny scenes, but spent far too much time and venom trying to "get" the liberals, effectively shutting out what might have been a more appreciative audience than they bargained for. You really want some issues to chew on? Look no further than HAMLET 2 and imagine what would happen if they staged that show in your town...

Whew. For a year that distressed me to no end, I sure had plenty to ramble on about.

2009? We start off with a third UNDERWORLD movie (never did see the second one), a David Goyer film (after BLADE: TRINITY, you think I'll pay for another one?) and another Asian horror remake. Guess I won't be busy for a while. Well, except for that MY BLOODY VALENTINE remake. Goes against the grain, but it IS in 3-D. And I'm a sucker.

So until then? Let me know what YOU made of 2008!

All best,
Remo D.

Posted: Thu Jan 01, 2009 7:22 pm
by DylanDog
Great recap as always, Remo!

Here's my thoughts on a few things you didn't mention.

Probably the best of the ones you missed would be Eden Lake and Baby Blues. Both films get their shocks from putting children in extreme situations. Neither was wholly original outside of that, but I think Eden Lake was the better of the two.

Lost Boys 2 was not quite as bad as I expected it to be, but it's basically just more of the same and completely forgettable.

One that I thought was a pleasant surprise was the new X-Files movie. I think eschewing the old UFO mystery theme and replacing it with a much more personal examination of the main characters was a great idea. Unfortunately, only diehard fans saw it.

My Name Is Bruce could have been an interesting take on low budget bad movies if it wasn't one itself. I think seeing Bruce as the subject of an actual roast would have been much more enjoyable.

On the comedy front, Step Brothers was easily the better of this year Will Ferrel offerings. Semi-Pro had it's moments, but the plot was too familiar to provide much real interest.

The second Harold And Kumar was much like the first. If you liked one, you'll like the other.

Unmentioned in you super hero list was Hancock, which, unlike most people, I actually liked. In fact, I liked it A LOT. I'm not sure where the animosity towards it comes from. It seems to have a bit of everything...action, drama, comedy, romance and all the elements meshed quite well. I would credit it for being original too, but I think I read somewhere that it was ripped off from some comic book, whose name I don't know. Or at least it was done before in a comic. Regardless, I really enjoyed it. And hey.. it references the original Frankenstein, always a plus.

Another that I saw this year that went a bit unnoticed is the TV documentary "Thou Shalt Not: Sex, Sin and Censorship in Pre-Code Hollywood". I think anyone who enjoys old movies would enjoy it.

Posted: Thu Jan 01, 2009 8:59 pm
by Darth Tanner
Very good recap Remo (as always)! I pretty much gave up on the theater this year as well. Unless it was something I really want to go see, I passed in favor of the DVD. That along with some things going on in my personal life severly curtailed my movie-going experiences for 2008. Hard to believe I saw a grand total of five movies on the big screen this year....and the total number of new releases doesn't go much higher. And that short number hardly includes any genre offerings as there weren't any this year that I felt were worth wasting my time/money on. Following is the short list of 2008 movies I DID see.

Theatrical viewings:

DARK KNIGHT - Definitely my top pick for the year. Terrific in every sense of the word and certainly exceeded expectations. Heath Ledger was also better than I expected, but we'll just have to see how that Oscar buzz plays out in a few months. Christoper Nolan has done a great job with revamping the Batman franchise and I can't wait to see what he does with it next.

INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL - Another one that surpassed my expectations. Turned out to be every bit as exciting as the original films without being the bomb that I feared it might be. It was nice to see Harrison Ford back in top form and I hope we get a least one more INDY out of him before he retires.

IRON MAN - Didn't have much hope for this one initially and couldn't picture Robert Downey Jr. as a superhero. But I was completely won over in the end. Definitely right up there with the greater Marvel adaptations. I'll definitely be seeing the inevitable sequel.

RAMBO - Being a fan of the original movies, I was greatly looking forward to this one (even more so after seeing the trailers) and was not disappointed in the least. It's nice to see old Sly getting back to his roots and helped me forget some of the crappy films he has done in recent years. The unbelievable level of gore was also a surprise.

QUANTUM OF SOLACE - I love all of the James Bond films (even the lesser ones to some extent) and really like the freshness that Daniel Craig has brought to the series. Sure this one was a tad too short and nothing like the previous Bond films, but I enjoyed it none the less (although CASINO ROYALE was slightly better).

Ones I caught up with on DVD:

CLOVERFIELD - Another great surprise that I'm glad to have caught up with. It's just too bad that Emmerich's GODZILLA redux couldn't achieve the same level of creativity as this one.

DAY OF THE DEAD '08 - Althought a DTV release, this still gets my pick for "worst of the year". A pointless remake in every sense of the word and an insult to Romero's original film. Don't even get me started on the bad casting (what were they thinking by casting Mena Suvari and Nick Cannon as army soldiers?!?) This is the type of movie that gives remakes a bad name and I'll take the original DAY (even with it's flaws) over this flop anytime.

HAROLD & KUMAR: ESCAPE FROM GUANTANAMO BAY - Actually liked this one a lot better than the first film. Crude humor at it's finest and highly recommended for those who like that thing.

SUPERHERO MOVIE - Not as good as the previously mentioned movie, but it still had it's moments. Good for at least one viewing if you're not looking for anything memorable.

UNTRACEABLE - Almost forgot that I also rented this one on my summer vacation. I have a soft spot for Diane Lane and this flick did have an interesting (although too familiar) story. In the end it was fairly decent and better than expected, but still nothing special and easy to forget once you've seen it. I still say it was better than FEARDOTCOM, which I thought was the worst movie of 2002.

So there you have 2008 viewings in a nutshell. I regret to say that I have yet to see CLONE WARS, VALKYRIE or DIARY OF THE DEAD but I hope to see them soon.

Looking ahead to 2009, were starting off with remakes of MY BLOODY VALENTINE and FRIDAY THE 13TH. I never saw the original MBV, but like Remo I'm a sucker for the 3-D. I'm also curious as to how the new F13 will pan out. Other titles I'm looking forward to: TRANSFORMERS 2, WOLVERINE, STAR TREK, WATCHMEN, TERMINATOR: SALVATION, FANBOYS, PUBLIC ENEMIES, LINCOLN. Maybe 2009 will give me a few more reasons to get out to the theater.

BTW Remo, I noticed that QUANTUM OF SOLACE was not in your recap. Please tell us that wasn't intentional:)

Posted: Fri Jan 02, 2009 6:39 am
by Remo D
Darth Tanner wrote:
BTW Remo, I noticed that QUANTUM OF SOLACE was not in your recap. Please tell us that wasn't intentional:)

Posted: Fri Jan 02, 2009 6:43 pm
by Remo D

Okay--no more edits, I promise. There's no more room left to add to the original post, which makes it officially the longest thing I've ever written for Mortado's! I added QUANTUM OF SOLACE, SPEED RACER and GET SMART.

Meantime, my old pal Mick is back in action with his list of the 10 worst films of 2008... let's see where we intersect...

Yep--GET SMART's on there. Now listen. I'M the GET SMART fan around here--he has contempt for not only the new movie but the original SHOW. Why? Because it's got "terrorists" in it, and they want to set off "bombs," and it's not "funny," wah wah wah, cry cry cry. Hey--you can agree or disagree with me all you want on horror films, but when it comes to all things GET SMART, I'm the expert, so you have to listen to me, okay? And I say the new movie is FUNNY.

What a surprise--MOTHER OF TEARS. "Well, I never saw the first two parts of the trilogy, I never knew who Dario Argento was before I saw this one, and I never want to see any of his other films, but somehow I'm qualified to review an Italian horror movie in extreme limited release. And it had icky violence in it and people got hurt and it happened to women and so I'm offended, wah wah wah, cry cry cry." Does this do it for you, or would you prefer to read a review from someone who actually had something resembling a relevant background... or failing that, a simple backBONE?

But in all fairness, Mick found two horror (to a degree) films he liked even less. One was UNTRACEABLE, which I had no interest in seeing (not impressed with "serial killer du jour" movies). But the one I DID see was THE STRANGERS. And I must confess that I share his main reason for disliking it--the utter hopelessness of the scenario itself. Since you know the protagonists are doomed going in, the film IS rather pointless (though I did acknowledge that it was far better crafted than certain others of its ilk). But here we go anyway--and this one's an actual quote: "This is the kind of thing to make you worried about the culture at large, if such a thing as this could be called entertainment." All together now... "WAH WAH WAH, CRY CRY CRY."

Gotta wonder why he missed PROM NIGHT--he might actually have LOVED it... but since some characters are actually killed in it, it still might have been too much for him to handle. He can have BAGHEAD with his milk and cookies and pretend that his take on the genre actually means something.

For the record, the rest of his 10 Worst were MADE OF HONOR, VANTAGE POINT, DRILLBIT TAYLOR, PRIDE AND GLORY, ROCKNROLLA and AUSTRALIA at Number One. All unseen by me.

Okay--more thoughts on 2008, folks?

Posted: Sat Jan 03, 2009 3:04 pm
by Remo D
One last HEAVY sigh... one more movie I forgot and no more room to post it.

THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: PRINCE CASPIAN wasn't as good a movie as the first one. But that's simply because (with all respect to C.S. Lewis), it simply wasn't as good a BOOK as the first one. It's a lackluster follow-up, and the filmmakers did their best to beef it up with spectacle and humor (not to mention a return cameo by the White Witch).

Guys, you're NEVER going to make it through the NARNIA saga if you keep starting with THE LION, WITCH AND THE WARDROBE. Someone's got to be bold enough to do the stories in chronological order and finally give us THE MAGICIAN'S (freakin') NEPHEW!!!!

Posted: Sun Jan 04, 2009 3:35 pm
by Darth Tanner
Damn Remo! For somebody who almost gave up on 2008 you certainly said a lot more than I thought you would. But you still saw way more than I did, so I guess now I have some serious catching up to do based on your recommendations :) Reading your follow-up posts made me realize that I completely forgot about UNTRACEABLE (which is probably what I deserve for not keeping up with my viewing log) so I went back and edited it into my previous post above. That should be it but if I think of more 2008 films I saw I'll add them.

Reading your recent posts regarding Mr. LaSalle, I tempted to rent BAGHEAD at some point just to see what he defines as a "quality" horror film LOL.

Posted: Mon Jan 05, 2009 6:42 am
by Remo D
[quote="Darth Tanner"]Damn Remo! For somebody who almost gave up on 2008 you certainly said a lot more than I thought you would. QUOTE]

Surprised myself, too... but think about it. When it comes to "horror," how many did I actually see on the big screen? And of those, how many did I like? And of those, how many actually DID well and provided encouragement?

NOW let's talk despair...

And dammit--I forgot ANOTHER one. BURN AFTER READING was the perfect follow-up to NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN... as any attempt to "top" the Best Picture winner was bound to fall short, it was time for another freewheeling Coen Bros. comedy (with plenty of sarcastic bite and some genuinely startling moments). And did anybody think that Brad Pitt could be THAT hysterically funny???

Posted: Mon Jan 19, 2009 7:41 am
by Latte Thunder
I gotta tell ya. I had a really strange year. Aside from the Box Office hits that have made everybody's best of '08 list, I didn't see jack last year.

I loved The Dark Knight and Iron Man equal amounts for entirely different reasons.

Just about everything I saw in 2008 was on DVD since Cinema Suicide has been steadily soaking up my time and because of that, I saw a lot of DVD reissues of old movies like Severin's Jess Franco releases (a pair of flicks best left to die in VHS landfills)

I'm not sure if it counts because they movie was produced in 2006 and remains unreleased in the states, but I caught All The Boys Love Mandy Lane, which just about every horror movie site has been raving about. Where Bloody Disgusting and Dread Central can't shut up about it, I was grossly underwhelmed by its strictly by the numbers approach to the slasher game.

Diary of the Dead was supposed to be George Romero returning to form, rebooting his own mythology and recovering from Land of the Dead but I thought it sucked. I thought it sucked through and through. I suppose it meant well.

Red, the Jack Ketchum adaptation starring Brian Cox was top shelf revenge fare that almost wimps out in the end.

I watched more DVDs than that, but I think I handed out more bad reviews than good and most of the stuff I saw was from the 70's and 80's.