Wednesday, December 31, 2014
Monday, December 29, 2014
This year more then any other I've seen more films that have become all time favorites. The list is a real mix of genres. Horror. Action. Drama. Western. Comedy. They're all represented this year. Just like past lists I'm only focusing on films I saw for the first time in 2014. They also have to have been released before this year. So here are my favorite films that I watched for the first time this year.
10) V/H/S (2012) and V/H/S/2 (2013)
Kind a cheat including both but I loved them equally. See I'm a sucker for found footage horror films. I'm also a sucker for horror anthologies. I'll watch watch them whether good or bad. Both V/H/S and V/H/S/2 are a bit uneven, some segments, especially in the first one drag. But overall they're a fun, freaky haunted house attraction.
9) Lionheart (1990)
Van Damage baby! I grew up on cheesy action films, so I have a soft spot for old JCVD. Lionheart is a more human action film for the time period. Van Damme starts street fighting to earn money so he can get to his mortally wounded brother. The fight choreography by Frank Dux, who JCVD played in Bloodsport is brutal realistic looking. The dramatic aspect of the films works almost as well as the action. It never comes across cheesy like it could have.
8) Entrance (2012)
I guess you could call the film experimental horror. You could say it's boring, weird, creepy or slow. At first the repetition of our main character's daily life was a bit boring, the pace a bit slow. But as the odd occurrences slowly crept into her life the creepy factor grew. It gradually builds to a brutal last half with an ending that stays with you after the credits roll.
7) Video Violence (1987) and Video Violence 2 (1987)
I've gone from hating SOV horror films to loving them in the last ten years. The Video Violence films follow the over the top gore filled adventures of Howard & Eli. If you love crazy satire, the bygone era of video stores and no-budget gore, you'll love these films.
6) Stake Land (2010)
A cross between a western and a zombie film, but with animal like vampires in place of Zombies. It's a refreshing take on the post-apocalypse film. It shows the survivors banding together in small almost old west type of communities and forming new family units with strangers. The world created in the film feel lived in and believable. If I wasn't already in love with Danielle Harris I would be after seeing her performance here. The only negative for me here was the narration felt unneeded.
5) Torture Chamber (2013)
Not many horror films creep me out or scare me anymore. The world is a scary enough place. BUT there's one type of horror film that still creeps me out, films with demonic possession. Possession films have always really been creepy to me for some reason. Torture Chamber has a creepy demon kid with a great mask. The locations where beautiful. They lent a very Gothic feel to the story. The sound design brought back memories of horror films of the 70's and 80's. Especially Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The structure too reminded me of Chainsaw, Having an almost waking nightmare feel to it.
4) The Horseman (2008)
A brutal revenge film from down under. The fact that the man getting revenge is an average everyday guy and not some ex-super solider like in most films of this genre gave it a believable feel. The fact that he's often in over his head as he tries to punish the people involved in his daughters death is exactly what it would be like for you or me, unless your Liam Neeson.
3) Ride the High Country (1962)
"All I want is to enter my house justified."
Over the last few years I've become a bit of a Sam Peckinpah junkie. I remember seeing The Getaway and The Osterman Weekend growing up. I manily knew that his films where violent and featured a lot of slow motion. Often his films where about honorable loners trying to stay true to their beliefs in a brutal world. Ride the High Country is the perfect representation of Peckinpah's ideals. It also may be one of the best westerns ever filmed.
2) Black Swan (2010)
Amazing nightmarish masterpiece. Like an insane marriage of David Cronenberg and Dario Argento films, I've always liked Natalie Portman as an actress and here she's at her best. As great as she is here it's Mila Kunis who steals every scene she;s in. A dark look at what somebody will do to achieve their dream and the toll it takes on them.
1) Byzantium (2012)
"I am Eleanor Webb. I throw my story to the wind, and never will I tell it more. Another one begins."
Byzantium isn't the most traditional of vampire films, it's a fresh, innovative take on bloodsuckers.. I loved the way vampires where "created" here. The film has a gritty, stark, neon look to it Watching the film I fell in love with Saoirse Ronan. She plays the character of Eleanor as someone you can sympathize with but who is also very alien due to her undead status, the vampires here are not your boo I'm immortal type that we get so much. They have problems but they don't sit around crying that they're vampires. Defiantly not Twilight.
An interesting little ghost story starring Abigail Breslin. Directed by Vincenzo Natali who made both Cube and Splice. It gets bonus points for using The Killing Jar by Siouxsie and the Banshees.
Upside Down (2012)
Visually beautiful but flawed fairy-tale masquerading as a science fiction movie.
The Far Country (1954)
Jimmy Stewart and Anthony Mann teamed to make a wonderful classic western.
A gorgeous, lyrical movie about two people's journey through a alien filled land.
Dead End (1937)
Humphrey Bogart steals a powerful slice of life crime film.
Day of the Dead 2: Contagium (2005)
Zombie Massacre (2013)
Dr. Jekyll's Dungeon of Death (1979)
Summer Love (2006)
The Vampire Conspiracy (2005)
Trapped by Television (1936)