15.2.16

best of '15

Another year, another holler.

This year was a fun year as I went to the opening night of TIFF and saw more Atlantic Film Festival flicks than previous years. I think it was a good year for movies, as there were more original movies that were very good.

Here are the introductory stats for this year's list:

  • 52 movies seen (that were released in 2015)
    • (43 in '14, 60 in '13, 58 in '12, 44 in '11, 57 in '10, 43 in '09, 40 in '08, 32 in '07, 55 in '06 and 53 in '05)
  • 10 of these were ranked 5/5
  • Notable omissions (didn't see for whatever reason)
    • Joy
    • Beasts of No Nation
    • Amy
    • The Revenant
    • Bridge of Spies
    • Son of Saul
    • The End of the Tour
I will start with my honourable mentions:

  • Steve Jobs
    • I liked this movie and style a lot as I usually do with Danny Boyle, but the movie just left me wanting a little more.
  • Carol
    • This was well-acted and very beautiful, but I found it a little boring and predictable. It's a great movie and I respect that, but I wasn't blown away.
  • Inside Out
    • This was probably the best kids movie I've seen in a long time. It made me feel every emotion, which is very fitting. This was the hardest movie to leave out of the Top 10.
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens
    • The joy this movie gave me is indescribable. 
  • Other great flicks:
    • Creed
    • Sicario
    • Straight Outta Compton
    • Dope
Onto the Top 10 - I will encourage you to use the link here (and the image below) as these will lead to descriptions and trailers of each movie on the list.

oh yeah, top 10
all the hits
I considered not ranking the top 10 this year, but I had to because Spotlight was such a clear number 1 to me.

Biggest Surprise: 4 way tie - Spring, Tangerine, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and It Follows.

For old time's sake, here's the typed list:

10. It Follows
9. What We Do in the Shadows
8. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
7. Ex Machina
6. The Big Short
5. Tangerine
4. Spring
3. Room
2. Mad Max
1. Spotlight

15.3.15

best of '14

This is my 11th year doing my "best of the year" post and it wasn't my finest year in terms quantity of movies seen. However, I think I have a good selection and I think my top 10 is solid. 

This is a simple list. I'm not the Academy, nor am I the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. I am but a man who enjoys watching movies. I'm still not sure if this is a "favourites" or a "best" list, but I would say it's somewhere in between, which is why I provide explanations. 

I rate every movie I see out of 5. I'm not sure how relevant this is. I may change my rating system next year. 

Here is my criteria:
  1. I need to have watched the entire movie.
    (I fell asleep during The Comedy)
  2. The movie needed to be released in theatres (or on demand) during the 2014 calendar year.

Total Movies Seen: 43
(60 in '13, 58 in '12, 44 in '11, 57 in '10, 43 in '09, 40 in '08, 32 in '07, 55 in '06 and 53 in '05)

# of Movies I Gave 5/5; 8


Notable Movies Not Seen; 

  • Birdman
  • American Sniper
  • The Babadook
  • The Lego Movie
  • The Theory of Everything
  • Selma
  • Big Hero 6
  • How To Train Your Dragon 2
My 10 best movies of 2014;

10. The Guest
9. Foxcatcher

8. Insterstellar
7. Obvious Child
6. Guardians of the Galaxy
5. Grand Budapest Hotel
4. Gone Girl
3. Boyhood
2. Nightcrawler
1. Whiplash


Honourable Mention (a.k.a. Movies I loved, but didn't make the Top 10)

John Wick
Snowpiercer
Edge of Tomorrow
List Overview
Let's start from the bottom, like Drake

The Guest was crazy. I wanted to see this movie because it was playing at the Atlantic Film Festival. Then I saw this amazing and hilarious clip.  This was like a cool, old school B movie with a big twist at the end. It was a great movie and one I would recommend to anyone looking for a fun and highly entertaining movie experience. 

Foxcatcher was just a very good film and one of the best one's I've seen recently that is based on a true story. I wish I knew about the story of these American wrestling brothers before hand. If I did know then maybe I wouldn't have liked it so much. However, the acting was excellent and the tone and cinematography was excellent. Steve Carrell was great, as was Mark Ruffalo. 

Interstellar intrigued me. I didn't find it too confusing, but any time-travel movie can get a little convoluted. This was just a beautiful film experience and I'll leave it at that. I had very high hopes and it was good. I just don't think I would have enjoyed it as much if I didn't see it in 70mm IMAX. 

Obvious Child is a treat. It was a simple premise in a nicely contained plot and it is beautifully constrained about a girl. I really loved it. It's not quite a rom-com but more just a story about a funny, young girl. Incredible acting also. This probably wins the "feels the most realistic" award. 

Guardians of the Galaxy surpassed my expectations. This was just a fun movie with a great cast and was very well directed.  

The Grand Budapest Hotel was a Wes Anderson movie. However, I think the style may be getting a bit tired for me. I LOVED Moonrise Kingdom and most other movies and the acting and directing are great, as always. This was great, but just kind of "par for the course" for West. Still a great movie though. 

Gone Girl was probably the most shocking movie I saw all year. I had no idea what was happening all year and this was my top movie of the year for most of the year. If I read the book I may not have ranked it so highly, but this was well acted and just such an amazing thriller. It felt like one of those throwback 90s thrillers but modernized and way better. 

Boyhood is just an incredible feat. I think the acting was very good and I just recognize that the film is an achievement. It did feel spaced out, but I think it did a great job of just telling this story from the boy's perspective. Great stuff as always from Ethan Hawke, too.  

Nightcrawler features Creepy Jake. Creepy Jake is great. The cinematography was beautiful and the story kept you guessing. This felt like it was based on a novel, but it was all original. The dialogue and interactions were all really good. Excellent flick. 

Whiplash may have been one of the most intense movies I have ever seen. I think I was on the edge of my seat the entire time and I was just all in for the entire movie. I don't think I've ever been that sucked into a movie. I  felt like I was in the movie and was feeling the emotions that Miles Teller was displaying or feeling. Incredible acting from the two leads and the writer/director made this movie based on his own life. That is very intense and there's a lot of emotions in this movie. 

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Biggest Surprise; TIE - Obvious Child and The Guest


Obvious Child Trailer >>
The Guest Trailer >>

Thanks for reading!

22.1.14

best of '13

This is my 10th year doing my "best of the year" post and in celebration of that I saw 60 movies released in 2013, the most I've ever watched in a year.

This is a simple list. I'm not the Academy, nor am I the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. I am but a man who enjoys watching movies. I'm still not sure if this is a "favourites" or a "best" list, but I would say it's somewhere in between, which is why I provide explanations. 

I rate every movie I see out of 5. I'm not sure how relevant this is. I may change my rating system next year. 

Here is my criteria for 
  1. I need to have watched the entire movie.
    (I fell asleep during The Comedy)
  2. The movie needed to be released in theatres (or on demand) during the 2013 calendar year.

Total Movies Seen: 60
(58 in '12, 44 in '11, 57 in '10, 43 in '09, 40 in '08, 32 in '07, 55 in '06 and 53 in '05)

# of Movies I Gave 5/5; 19


Notable Movies Not Seen; 

  • Dallas Buyers Club
  • Philomena
  • August: Osage County
  • The Butler
  • Captain Phillips
  • The Butler
My 10 best movies of 2013;

10. The Place Beyond The Pines
9. 12 Years A Slave

8. Gravity
7. The Spectacular Now
6. The Wolf of Wall Street
5. Upstream Color
4. Her
3. Short Term 12
2. The Dirties
1. Before Midnight


Honourable Mention (a.k.a. Movies I loved, but didn't make the Top 10)

Star Trek Into Darkness
Man of Steel
The World's End
Don Jon
Rush
Fruitvale Station
Drinking Buddies

American Hustle
List Overview
Let's start from the bottom, like Drake

The Place Beyond the Pines was such an underrated movie. It's final act is so divisive that it took me a few weeks to come around to the movie. The movie doesn't really have any heroes, but it feels very honest and deals with what we're willing to do for family. 

12 Years A Slave was just a very good film. The actors were on point, along with the costumes, settings and everything else. It was just too perfect for me. A technical achievement across the board, it's a great movie.

Gravity didn't even feel like a movie to me. The movie is just an experience. It was arguably the most engaging movie I've ever seen in theatres. It's not really about the acting or the plot at all, it was just a treat to watch. 

The Spectacular Now is a coming-of-age film about a boy finishing high-school. He's basically an alcoholic, and he's really popular, but he's growing up and dealing with issues. I've always liked these types of movies, but this one could be my favourite of all time. It seemed very realistic for this type of movie. The acting and cinematography had a big part of that. 

The Wolf of Wall Street was insane. It was like a roller-coaster ride. A 3-hour roller coaster ride. I would vote for Leonardo DiCaprio if I could vote for Best Actor. 

Upstream Color was a trip. A love story at heart, it deals with being connected in the emotional sense of the world. . This was the most original movie I've seen in a long time. 

Her was lovely. The setting was perfect, the acting was perfect and it felt like an honest representation of what could come to be with technology and love. Aside from falling in love with an OS, it feels like an honest representation of what men want in relationships and love. Amy Adams was really good in this, also.

Short Term 12 deals with some serious issues, but also has comedic moments. While you're watching this movie, I think you get a real sense of the day-to-day issues inside of this group home. It's extremely, extremely, extremely well acted movie for a group of young actors. 

The Dirties was disturbingly realistic, dealing with the disturbingly realistic subject of school shootings. This is a must see by anyone. It just feels too real. It's also a Canadian flick. It's like a movie inside of a movie. 

Before Midnight is as realistic as they come. If you're not familiar with this trilogy of movies, educate yourself. If you think two people talking for 90 minutes is boring, well, you're probably right, but this feels so authentic. The issues are real, the tension is real and I've never felt such an insightful perspective into relationships. It's a beautiful movie. 

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Biggest Surprise; The Dirties (check the trailer here >> )
I watched this movie on a whim, but it blew my socks off. 


Check here for the full list of movies I saw in 2013 >> 

Thanks for reading!

20.1.13

best of '12

Another year gone by and this was a pretty good movie year. There were better original movies than in the past, I believe. Even with Avengers, Bond and Dark Knight Rises as very good movies that were sequels, movies like Amazing Spiderman and Dredd brought fresh and fantastic reboots to previous film renditions. That's always a big complaint of mine; that there is no originality left in movies. That reason is why films like Looper and Moonrise Kingdom stand out so much to me. 

This is my 9th year doing my 'best of' and I will run through the criteria for this list;
  1. I need to have watched the entire movie.
    (I fell asleep during The Comedy)
  2. The movie needed to be released in theatres during the 2012 calendar year.
    (part of the reason for the delay of publishing this year was that Zero Dark Thirty came out here January 11, 2013)

Total Movies Seen; 58
(44 in '11, 57 in '10, 43 in '09, 40 in '08, 32 in '07, 55 in '06 and 53 in '05)

# of Movies I Gave 5/5; 14


Notable Movies Not Seen; 

  • Beasts of the Southern Wild
  • The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
  • Les Misérables
  • The Master
My 10 best movies of 2012;

10. Dredd
9.  Wreck-It Ralph
8.  Chronicle
7.  Jeff Who Lives at Home
6. Cosmopolis
5. Argo
4. End of Watch
3. Looper
2. Moonrise Kingdom
1. Zero Dark Thirty

Honourable Mention

Skyfall
Dark Knight Rises
Silver Linings Playbook
Django Unchained
Lincoln
The Amazing Spiderman

List Overview
This year I considered just putting out a 10 Best list and not ranking them, but I had to stay true to my original format. 
The most difficult part of this is taking the 14 movies I rated 5/5 through the year and refining the list to 10. There is one movie on the list that I gave a 4.5 and that's Chronicle. This movie was great and I can't remember why I gave it a 4.5, but there was so much to love that I had to put it in my Top 10. Maybe I just liked the kids getting super-powers, or that it's a found-footage film shot mostly in South Africa, but the movies is just plain cool and the acting is great. It just seemed very realistic. 

Jeff Who Lives at Home should have received a lot more attention than it did. The cast was amazing in this and it was all very believable. I just think a movie starring Ed Helms and Jason Segel should get some more buzz. It's sort of like Cedar Rapids in terms of pace, setting and story, which are all very good things.
Wreck-it Ralph was easily one of the best animated movies I have ever seen. The originality of the movie alone is worthy of being on this list, but it's really one of those animated movies that doesn't feel like it is targeted at kids.  

Cosmopolis was a movie I almost hated after I watched it... but the more I thought about it, the better it became. This movie was so contained, so detailed and particular, that you couldn't do a character based movie any better. It's scope was small, but done to perfection. 

End of Watch was a powerhouse indie film and was definitely one of the best 'cop' movies I've ever watched. A lot of attention was paid to the characters and their bond, which worked so well for the style of the film. Also, the integration of the 'found footage' into the film was really cool. 

Looper and Moorise Kingdom were always battling for 1-2 until I saw Zero Dark Thirty. Looper was so original, cool and well-acted that it couldn't be denied. It was like Inception on a smaller scale (kinda). 4-7 is essentially a wash. They're all great movies and even Argo was a little better than I expected, but I didn't find them to be on the same level as my Top 3 (maybe even Top 4). There was nothing spectacular about Argo, aside from the great story and accuracy of which it was captured. Ben Affleck is just a cool, humble and honest dude. I genuinely believe he just wanted to share this story in an accurate way and he ended up with a great film.  Even that sentence would be enough to warrant The Impossible showing up here (which I did give 5/5). 

Zero Dark Thirty was such a show. It had everything except for sex. Which it didn't need. All the sex you needed was the Canaries dominating that house at the end of the movie. I can't say enough about how good it was, but when you take a 2hr47min movie and make it so perfect that you don't know how long it was, that's a thing of beauty. 
------
Biggest Surprise; Dredd (check the trailer here >> )
There was so much to love about this movie. It was tight a tight and compact story, with gritty visuals and on-point characters. Everything meshed together so well. 


2nd Biggest Surprise; Moonrise Kingdom (check the trailer here >>)
I admit I was getting sick of Wes Anderson movies, but this might be his best. The story was amazing, the characters were lovable and the story was just the perfect amount of quirky. This really held the top spot for a long time. 


Honourable Explanation; In short, Amazing Spiderman, Dark Knight Rises and Skyfall were GREAT movies. I just favour originality more than these 'blockbusters'. Lincoln was really great, but Daniel Day Lewis is probably the biggest part of that. He deserves all the Best Actor Awards.
Silver Linings Playbook was very good, but I think a little overrated. Same goes for Django. 


Check here for the full list of movies I saw in 2012 >> 

I think I need to have an explicit review for each movie I see in 2013. 

1love,

D

4.1.12

best of '11

Another year gone by. Another mad struggle at the end of December to see as many movies as possible.

This is my 8th year doing my 'best of' and I will run through the criteria for this list;

  1. I need to have watched the entire movie. (yeah, I fell asleep during 'The Greatest Movie Ever Sold', so it won't count) 
  2. The movie needed to be released in theatres during the 2011 calendar year. 

That's it. Sadly, I didn't get to see a few movies this year that I really wanted to ...

  • Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
  • Shame
  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
  • A Dangerous Method

but that's the problem with being a regular dude with a full time job, trying to creep on all these movies.

In total, I watched 44 movies that were released this year.
Not bad compared to previous years
(57 in '10, 43 in '09, 40 in '08, 32 in '07, 55 in '06 and 53 in '05).

Without further ado, the list.

10 Crazy, Stupid, Love
9 Attack the Block
8 Like Crazy
7 X-Men: First Class
6 Moneyball
5 Cedar Rapids
4 Margin Call
3 Super 8
2 Bellflower
1 Drive

Biggest Surprise; Bellflower (check the trailer here >> )

2nd Biggest Surprise; Margin Call (check the trailer here >>)

Honourable Mention; Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, Hobo With a Shotgun Contagion, Warrior, Paul, Hanna, Forks Over Knives

These are the most honourable mentions I've ever given out. Mission Impossible was exactly what it wanted to be, which is great. I actually really like the honesty of Crazy Stupid Love. It was well acted and the story was solid, so that's why it got the nod over the honourable mentions

Check here for the full list of movies I saw in 2011 >> 
Don't forget to check my Rotten Tomatoes/Flixster profile for all my ratings. However, I'll try and update this blog for everything in 2012. Oh yeah.

1love,

D