Friday, December 31, 2010

Eimer’s Top 10 Worst Films of 2010

No need to write an intro paragraph to this entry. You get the gist.

PLEASE NOTE: I didn't attach any IMDB info on this one because, frankly, this an announcement to the masses to save your money - and your time.

Consider yourself warned:

The Last Exorcism (2010)
Lots of potential, but basically a flat fart in the end. It's THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT with a possessed kid instead of a witch. You have your film crew. You have your main character talking to the camera. You have your cinematographer. Blah. Blah. Blah. I read about the 'crazy' ending. But, it's all bogus. The whole movie is a sham to get little teenybopper girls to the theaters and scream into their boyfriends arms. In this case, you'll be screaming - for your money back and your 87 minutes back. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.

Leaves of Grass (2009)
Meh. If you're into acting performances, the only reason to check out this film is to see Ed Norton play indentical twins from the opposite ends of the spectrum (a' la Cage in ADAPTATION). I had high hopes for this film from Actor/Director/Writer Tim Blake Nelson. But this film just didn't know what it wanted to be. A black comedy? A drama? A crime thriller. In my opinion, with so many great comedic actors (including Dreyfuss), he should have stuck the comedy route.

Date Night (2010)
Oh man. This movie was bad. Once again Hollywood insults the intelligence of couples who are seemingly too timid and too stupid to handle the big city simply because they live in the suburbs. But that's not my biggest gripe. It's sad watching Carell and Fey try to deliver unfunny lines through a seemingly unfunny script. I feel for them. It's a pity, because I had high hopes for this film that wanted to be everything (i.e. comedy, action-adventure, drama and romance), but instead turned into 88 minutes of nothing. Skip this. You've been warned.

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010)
Meh. I'm not sure what I was expecting from this film, but it definitely wasn't this. I figured out what was going to happen in the end about 15 minutes into the film. Speaking of the ending, it was a big block of Hollywood cheese. Why not make it true to Gordon Gecko's character instead of trying to accomodate the American masses who desire a happy ending of their films? A brief cameo from original WALL STREET actor Charlie Sheen reminded me of what was so great about the original film, and not so great about this film. Oliver Stone sold out and should be very ashamed of this end product.

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (2009)
Meh. Interesting concept: to have a different Bad Lieutenant movie for each major city directed by a different director. However, this one falls flat. Nic Cage isn't bad enough. Plus, he sort of transforms into a drunken, buzzed-up Jimmy Stewart for the second-half of the film. I was expecting more from Werner Herzog. Plus, what the heck is Val Kilmer doing nowadays? He's been reduced to a supporting character role.

The Human Centipede: First Sequence (2009) 
Whoa Nelly! Watching this movie is like running a horrific half-marathon...with your eyes. 95% of the people that read this review will be turned off by this movie. Its torture horror at its finest (or worst). If you think youre in the other 5% group, then check er out. I don't think I'll ever watch this mess of a movie again. It's an interesting idea, but the director didn't really didnt think his creation through in how the centipede would actually obtain nourishment. If you watch the movie, youll see what I mean. Scratch that, don't watch it.

Bronson (2008)
To be brutally honest (no pun intended), I wasn't feeling this film at all. I wanted to, especially after reading the positive critical reviews. I really, really wanted to like this movie. But, in the back of my mind, I felt that this movie had been made before. Then I remembered Eric Bana's acting debut CHOPPER, which tells the same type of story as this flick, but is ten times better. I understand this was on a lot of top 10 lists and all that jazz. But I just felt this movie was all retread.

Jennifer's Body (2009)
Cliche. Cliche. Cliche. Blech. Just like Rob Zombie's HALLOWEEN, plenty of bark, but no bite. Even cutey-pie Megan Fox and a snarky script by Oscar-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody (Juno) can't pull this horror movie demon/dracula/zombie high-school murder retread out of the 2-star dumpster. Rent Sam Raimi's DRAG ME TO HELL instead. It's a far superior film compared to this piece of poo. Next.

A Perfect Getaway (2009)
The more I think about this movie, the more I'm positive I'm not going to remember it in two years. Heck, even two months. Great cinematography. But that's about it. Everyone will swoon over the twist ending. But it's more of a twist middle. The rest of the movie is all Scooby Doo or should I say Scooby Pooh. (ha! I'm funny) Timothy Olyphant acts like a poor-man's Bill Paxton. I'm also convinced the other actors signed on the dotted line for an excuse to film a movie in Hawaii. I loved Twohy's PITCH BLACK, but none of his movies since have cut the mustard for me. Like I said, meh. But, hey, at least there's some hints of nudity to keep you entertained. I said hints.

The Box (2009)
Meh. I think the whole idea of Richard Matheson's short story was the fact that the reader wasn't sure why the box and the button was happening to this specific couple. In the film version, Director/Writer Richard Kelly leaves no stone unturned in telling us his thoughts on The Box and the mysterious man. To be honest, I'm pretty sure I didn't want to know. Matheson's story is, arguably, one of the finest horror short stories ever written. Kelly bastardizes this chilling story into a SOUTHLAND TALES-type conspiracy theory that threatens the very fabric of our existence. Too much information in this overblown, overhyped movie. Which begs the questions, is Kelly a one-hit wonder?

Next Monday: Eimer's Best Reads of 2010.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Eimer's 11 Best Films of 2010

Well, another year, another gaggle of films to decipher and ruminate upon.

Below are my 11 favorite films that I viewed in 2010.

As you all know, I don't go to the theater that often, so I missed the biggies including The Black Swan, The Social Network, True Grit and other critical darlings such as The King's Speech, Hereafter and The Fighter.

That's why most of these films are available on DVD, HBO and On Demand. And, due to my extensive Netflix DVD queue, some of these weren't even released in 2010.

Now, with that disclaimer, I give to you my 11 favorite films of 2010 (in no particular order):

What a fun, entertaining super-hero film. A bit gory for the younger lads. But, this is a truly refreshing take on the boring super-hero franchise that's exploding in Hollywood. Director Matthew Vaugn puts together a fun, faithful adaptation of Mark Millar and John Romita Jr's graphic novel of the same name. Check ' er out in all it's gory glory.

Look, I know the dream thing has been done before (i.e. DREAMSCAPE, NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, BRAINSTORM, STRANGE DAYS, etc), but man, was I ever impresssed with this movie. The Nolan brothers created a fantastic, creative film that makes you think one day, two weeks, a year after you watch it. It's these type of creative movies that gets me pumped up about the future of the movie industry. This may not be the Best Movie of the Year, but it should be commended for it's brashness, creativity, special effects intricate plot - not to mention fantastic ending. Check 'er out!

Time Crimes
I'm a fan of creative, thought-provoking time travel movies such as TIME BANDITS, BACK TO THE FUTURE, 12 MONKEYS and PRIMER. TIME CRIMES is another great movie to add to the list. Rather than focusing on a big spectacle of a film, Director Nacho Vigalondo uses his modest budget to create an intimate, thought-provoking look into the intricacies and eventual pitfalls of time travel - with only four actors! I'll admit I was a little hesitant and dubious when I read the critical praise and positive reviews. But this film exceeded expectations. NOTE: If you rent this DVD, choose the Spanish-language version with English subtitles. I'm not a big fan of Dubbed English. Check 'er out.

The Kids Are All Right
Great story, plot, screenplay and direction. However, it's the acting that makes this film stand apart from a lot of the crap out there today. Watching Annette Bening, Julienne Moore and Mark Ruffalo ply their trade is worth the rental alone. Writer/Director Lisa Cholodenko has created a very original film about a very unique family. Highly recommended.

Toy Story 3
Fresh new story to make this one of the best trilogies of all time. Great story. Great direction. Fantastic animation and art direction. Phenomenal flick. However, take the kids with a small warning, this is the darkest of the three. However, that's probably why I enjoyed it so much. Also, this is the only movie of 2010 that I almost cried. I said almost.

Fantastic Mr. Fox
I'll admit, I was a bit wary at the beginning of this film. The animation didn't look click for some reason. However, in less than five minutes, I completely fell in love with this film. This movie is vintage Wes Anderson in animation form with his cast of regulars lending their voices. Great, witty script by Anderson, Baumbach and - of course - Roald Dahl truly adds that special touch to the film that hurdles it over the three-star quagmire. Possibly after a couple viewings, it may sneak into a five-star film. Just a wonderful animated film that's on-par with anything Pixar or Disney has ever created.

The Road
Dark, bleak, depressing and horrific - but it's a damn good movie just the same. Director John Hillcoat once again knocks a movie out of the ballpark. And cintematographer Javier Aguirresarobe is dead on. Exactly what I pictured when I read McCarthy's book (three times!) As the book states, this movie defines what it means to be a father. However, this movie isn't for everyone. Some people watch movies to escape the drudgery of life. The Road forces you to face your humanity and, possibly, pull yourself up and fight for one more day. One of my favorite books of all time. Pretty damn good movie too.

Shutter Island
I'm not sure where all the haters were coming from with this movie (could it have been the side plot about the children?), but I thought this was not only a great Scorcese film, but a great film...period. Great acting, directing (of course!), editing by long-time Scorcese editor Thelma Shoonmaker and plot by Dennis Lehane's suspenseful novel. Lest I forget fantastic cinematography by veteran shooter Robert Richardson (KILL BILL, BASTERDS and WALL STREET). The final scene prior to credits adds another dimension that wasn't present in Lehane's book. Let the head scratching begin. Check 'er out.

Fantastic documentary. If this doesn't wake you up about humanity and what's going to happen when we run out of oil, I'm not sure what will. Take a break from your bubble-gum comedies, vampire dramas and sci shoot-em ups and watch this film. As the front of the DVD states...Superb. Riveting. Mesmerizing. And very frightening.

The Ghost Writer
Polanski does it again. Great political thriller that is both entertaining, easy to understand and surprisingly fun! Reminded me of a Kubrick film. Great acting all around, too. Kim Catrell does a good job in an non-SEX AND THE CITY role - with all her clothes on, too! Ewan, Pierce and the rest of the cast come together to make a splendid film with a fantastic ending. Check er' out.

Winter's Bone
Fantastic film. Great directing cinematography, acting and story. In a way, this movie reminded my of Capatin Willard searching for Colonel Kurtz in APOCALYPSE NOW. But, it's a truly unique film that gives an unflinching look at poverty, deadbeat dads, drug abuse and family. Jennifer Lawrence carries this film on her shoulders as Ree Dolly. Just like 2009's under-the-radar breakout film THE HURT LOCKER, this film is not to be missed.

Well, there you have it. I'm sure it would have changed had I seen The Social Network, The Black Swan, and the other above mentioned films. But these were my personal best of 2010. Hopefully this will motivate you to check some of these flicks out that you may not have seen.

Tomorrow: The 10 Worst Movies I viewed in 2010.

Monday: The 10 Best Books I read in 2010.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The most wonderful time of the year?

So, on my way to work, battling breezy snowdrifts and snowflakes the size of extra large Frosted Flakes, I was thinking about Christmas.

Then I started thinking about Holidays. Then I started thinking about the best holiday.

Then I started thinking about my mom.

Last week, we were talking about holidays and she said, "Seems weird don't it?"

"What," I asked my mom.


"Never thought about it," I said.

"Well, it's just funny that everyone in the entire United States bought into this, this, this weird holiday where you buy a turkey, bake it and eat it on a specific day."

After thinking about it, I said, "Yeah, that is weird."

"What if we just told them to fuck off," my mom blurted out.


"The people that create these stupid holidays."

I found myself nodding to my mom in agreement, like she was delivering a sermon to hundreds of thousands of listeners at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC.

"Yeah," I screamed.

You know, mom is right. Holidays are weird. But, just like pooping on the toilet or eating lunch or watching TV or riding a bike - a lot of things humans do are pretty weird.

But, after mulling over the different holidays and thinking about which holiday is the best, I may have to go with two options - Fourth of July and Memorial Day.

Memorial Day kicks off the great weather in Ohio. Memorial Day is the official crack of the gun to start the race of warmness to Northeast Ohio. Plus, you know damn well you're going to be drunk at least one of the three vacation days.

Fourth of July is awesome for a number reasons. First, it's right smack dab in the middle of summer, lots of parties, lots of drinking, lots of friendly get togethers and people blowing the shit out of stuff.
Also, it's two days before my birthday, and on the opposite side of the spectrum on the calendar than Christmas.

Not sure that consitutes a good holiday. But, there's very little that needs to be done to enjoy these two great holidays.

Except for copious amounts of drinking.