Sunday, December 2, 2012

Movie List 2012: October



Hocus Pocus

3 dorky kids accidentally bring a family of witches back to life. Now they have to prevent the witches from stealing the life force of the town's children or risk them gaining immortality.

Genre: Halloween

It's extremely hard to explain why I love this movie so much, but I do. In fact I would go as far as saying that it is a perfect movie.

By perfect movie, I'm not saying it's better than Citizen Kane or whatever. I'm saying that it is a perfect testament to its genre. You will not find a better kid-friendly Halloween movie than Hocus Pocus.

Now I know some people out there will chalk up my love of this movie to nostalgia and perhaps they have a point. But I'm pretty sure it goes deeper than that. The movie straddles so many divides. It's this perfect blend of cheesy and heartfelt, of This-is-ridiculous funny and This-is-really-clever funny, of cliche and original, of television special and movie. Its portrayal of the lighthearted side of darkness is everything Halloween is about for kids.


The Thing

A shape-changing, infectious life form infiltrates a research station in the Antarctic. The scientists there desperately try to kill it while also trying to figure out if the people around them are really what they appear.

Genre: Horror

John Carpenter's The Thing is my 2nd favorite horror movie of all time. It's brilliant. It has all the elements I love in my horror movies; it's got physical effects, it's got a lot of slow and tense scenes that really milk the anxiety out of you, and it's full of memorable moments. And you know what? It just gives me the heebie jeebies. I mean serial killers, ghosts, demons, whatever; none of them hold a candle to this thing. It's like the embodiment of the phrase "What the f*** is that!?"

Plus Kurt Russell is the star and he is amazing!

PLUS he has the greatest hat in cinematic history. It is a hat of legends.


Sherlock Holmes

An action-oriented interpretation of Sherlock Holmes in which the consulting detective and Watson try to bring an occult murderer to justice.

Genre: Action/Comedy

My reason for rewatching this one requires some explanation. You see, I saw the pilot to the American  show Elementary which is a remake of the British TV show Sherlock.

And I hated it.

Not only did I hate it, I hated everything about it. And most of all I hated the fact that it was trying SO hard to be Sherlock (which, by the way, is an absolutely brilliant adaptation of Sherlock Holmes). Any unique elements it had were obvious attempts to distance itself far enough from Sherlock so that they don't get sued. And the only thing worse than doing an adaptation of a book without any unique vision or interpretation to offer, is to do an adaptation of an adaptation of a book without having any unique vision or interpretation to offer.

And all this annoyance, made me start thinking about other versions of Sherlock Holmes, which inevitably lead me to Guy Ritchie's version. And as I compared it to Elementary I found myself defending it: despite the fact that I'm not a fan.

And after watching it again, I've gotta say, despite its many, many faults; and its terribly misguided interpretation, Ritchie clearly had a vision of the source material. He may of decided to emphasize a lot of the wrong things, but gosh-darn-it the man had a vision. And because of that the film works. Overall I'm not a fan, but I do respect what its done. And that's the big difference right there.

So yeah. If you try to view it the same way you'd view the source material, you'll find this movie is terrible. They make Sherlock Holmes ridiculous and silly in the name of comedy, and they make him rely on fighting prowess to get himself out of the many ill thought out situations he finds himself in. Which, decidedly, isn't Sherlock Holmes at all. But if you take it for what it is and don't take it too seriously, cut off from the source, then its a pretty fun movie. It's got some really cool actions scenes, the Watson-Holmes dynamic is pretty wonderful, and the whole thing is pretty funny.


An aging tennis player is competing in his last tournament before he gives up on professional tennis. But when he meets a young tennis star he's given a reason to give it everything he's got.

Genre: Sports movie that's not really about sports

Wimbledon is one of my most favorite movies. And like a lot of my favorite movies it's hard to describe why. For instance if one were to compare it to Moneyball (another sports movie that's not really about sports) one would find that Moneyball is the vastly better movie. The writing is better, the acting is better, the cinematography is better. And yet none of that matters because I just like Wimbledon more. I relate to it more, it's easier to watch, it stays with me more, and it's a collection of genres which makes it easy to watch in multiple circumstances.

I don't know. Like any movie like this I could go on and on about why I like it, but I don't really see the point. I'm super biased and pretending to review it as if I'm not would just be silly.


A supervillain accidentally destroys his nemesis and being without an equal leaves him feeling incomplete. However, when he attempts to create a new nemesis things go horribly wrong and he's forced into the role of hero in order to save the city.

Genre: Goofy animated kids' movie

Oh, my goodness. This is another one of those movies that I kept hearing really good things about. And once again, I've gotta say: HIGHLY OVERRATED.

I mean, really. It isn't bad or anything, but it's not amazing. I'm kind of just barely saying that it's even good here. It's just doofy. I love a lot of Will Ferell movies, but I'll be the first one to say that a ton of them are crap. There's this whole genre based around the formula of Will Ferrell Is A Silly [NOUN]: Will Ferrell is a silly basketball player, Will Ferell is a silly figure skater, Will Ferrell is a silly racecar driver, anchorman, elf, super villain; you see what I'm saying here? Whether or not movies in this subgenre work or not largely depends on two things: if the plot actually has legs of its own or if it's riding completely on his back, and if his costars can give as good as they get.

I guess the plot here has some legs, I mean they're super cliche legs, but still. The main problem is that there is absolutely no one supporting Ferrell out there. I mean sure you've got Tina Fey, Jonah Hill, David Cross, and Brad Pitt, but they're given such impossibly bland characters that they've got nothing to work with. I mean, normally I love all those people, but in this movie they're all terrible and bland, bland, bland. I take that back. I actually really enjoyed the Will Ferrell/Brad Pitt dynamic, but it's absent from the vast majority of the movie.

If you really love Will Ferrell movies maybe you'll like this one, but I wouldn't go in expecting too much.


The crew of an early morning radio station start to get increasingly strange reports coming in from the surrounding areas. A horrifying infection is sweeping through the town, not through any normal means, but through language.

Genre: Linguistic Zombie Movie

I watched this one because Joey Comeau listed it on his Halloween list of "Some Good Rape-free Horror Movies" list and Joey Comeau has absolutely amazing taste.

I've gotta say this is one of the greatest horror movies I've seen in quite some time.

Admittedly it definitely isn't for everyone, but it certainly has my number. There's all this atmospheric horror, and all these moments where the scary parts aren't the things that are happening on screen, but the things they're conjuring in your mind. Add in the first unique take on zombies since "Hey, what if they were fast?" and you've got me hook-line-and-sinker.

It's atmospheric, it's intriguing, it's got great characters, and it's definitely unique. I don't know what else you could want. Also don't watch the trailer for this movie. The trailer is terrible. I loved this movie, but if I had seen the trailer before I had seen the movie I would have written it off. It's a just plain terrible trailer.

Linguistic Zombie Movie. If you need to hear anything more than that then maybe this one isn't for you.