Top Ten of 2011

I put this list off for quite some time, intent on catching up with all the movies that had come out this year. It wasn’t a spectacular year for film, but there were ten movies that stood above the other mediocre outings and hold a place in my heart. Here are those movies.

10. THE MUPPETS

An irresistible and charming movie that cemented a smile onto my face and  had me skipping out of the theater with glee, The Muppets was one of my favorite movie-going experiences of the year. It had been 12 years since the last Muppet movie, and their return to the big screen resulted in the most charming, lighthearted family movie of the year.

9. TAKE SHELTER

I caught up with Take Shelter later than most did, but it left a lasting impression on me nevertheless. Michael Shannon stars as Curtis, a man plagued by apocalyptic visions. He feels it is his responsibility as a husband, a father, and a man to protect his family from looming danger, despite the fact that everyone believes he is losing his mind. Take Shelter culminates in a chilling finale and is a movie that will stay with me for quite some time.

8. WARRIOR

I didn’t initially expect Warrior to make this list, but by the time the film reached its halfway point I was glued to my seat. Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton light up the screen and have believable chemistry as two estranged brothers, with Nick Nolte turning in a rousing performance as their ex-alcoholic father. The ending of the film will have you on the edge of your seat. It is a movie not to be missed.

7. THE TREE OF LIFE

The most talked about and analyzed film of the year, Terence Malick’s Tree of Life has produced about every possible reaction from glowing praise to raging hate. I found to be one of the most intriguing films of the year. The film has its flaws, but I found its philosophical musings hard to resist. Malick, who holds a degree in philosophy from Harvard, examines the meaning of life from its origins to our time on this earth to what happens after we die. It is a film unlike any other, and one that I will continue to visit and glean new meanings from for years to come.

6. DRIVE

I wasn’t familiar with Nicolas Winding Refn before his latest film this year, but after seeing Drive I am eager to catch up with the remainder of his filmography. Ryan Gosling gives a subdued performance in Refn’s solidly directed outing that recalls films from the 70s, my personal favorite decade. Gosling plays a man simply known as Driver. We don’t know much about his past. We can only judge him by his actions. The film’s style is mesmerizing, making up for the simple story. It’s a masterfully made genre peice, and evidences a great director in the making.

5. THE HELP

Racism is a theme that has been explored countless times in movie after movie. What makes The Help stand out is its characters, brought to life by enchanting performances by every cast member. No matter how pivotal their role in the film, every character leaves a lasting impression on the viewer. Another aspect that makes this film so unique is that all of its characters are women. For a movie that made over $200 million worldwide, that’s saying a lot. Some of the best movies are those that can elicit every emotion from you, and The Help does just that. You’ll be laughing one minute and then crying the next.

4. SHAME

One of the most intense character studies ever put to film, Shame also showcases the year’s best performance. Michael Fassbender is quickly joining the ranks of other greats character actors like Robert DeNiro and Daniel Day Lewis. Fassbender plays Brandon Sullivan, a successful individual struggling with a crippling sex addiction. The film has some content that may be hard to stomach, but those who can sit through this piece of cutting-edge movie-making will be rewarded with a compelling character study of a man struggling to keep his life together.

3. MONEYBALL

Bennet Miller directed both Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill to Oscar nominations in the widely acclaimed baseball drama Moneyball, a film that is about so much more than baseball. It is about a man coming to grips with who he is, trying to do something with his life. It is a film about taking chances, going with what your gut tells you when everyone else tells you that you’re crazy. Bennet Miller made more than a simple sports drama. He gave us a wonderful testament to human spirit.

2. 50/50

I revisited 50/50 last night and was struck by the thematic importance of human relationships to the story. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Adam, who is diagnosed with a rare form of spinal cancer. The film examines the ways in which Adam’s cancer effects his relationships with his parents, his girlfriend, and his best friend. It is in the hardest circumstances that our true colors show. 50/50 masterfully maintains the balance between comedy and drama, and never overdoses on either. It is a wonderful film about friendship that I will cherish for years to come.

1. HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART 2

Ten years have passsed and we’ve finally reached the end. I was a Potter fan from the start, and will continue to be one until the day I die. It may sound silly to you. Allow me to explain this somewhat unorthodox choice for the best movie of the year. Harry Potter’s adventures defined my childhood, and I was caught up in the magic of J.K. Rowling’s world. I attended midnight releases for both the books and the movies, dressed up in costumes, and hung posters in my room. Harry, Ron, Hermoine were very real and dear to me, their adventures epic. The finale to the Harry Potter franchise was a very emotional experience for me. My childhood was truly at an end. However, on a cinematic level it is also one of the most exciting fantasy adventures I have ever seen. The adventures may be over, but my love for these stories will never die. Mischief managed.

5 Worst Movies of 2011

I was wise enough to avoid films like Jack and Jill and Bucky Larson, but there were still a healthy handful of films that didn’t make the cut. I haven’t walked out of a movie in a while, but these five movies tested my strength.

5. The Sitter

I laughed twice in this movie. Once was because I found a joke slightly funny and felt obligated to laugh. The second time was a laugh of joy that the movie was over and I could leave. The Sitter is a boring, sometimes offensive adventure into joyless territory. As a big fan of Jonah Hill, I was sorely disappointed.

My review.

4. Columbiana

Columbiana is a ridiculously over-the-top action flick that totally lost my interest 15 minutes in. In a scene that had everyone in my showing snickering, a young girl promises her uncle that she will go to school in exchange for training to become an assassin. The action sequences are barely entertaining and a ridiculous script can’t make up for a sexy leading lady.

3. Battle: Los Angeles

If I had a penny for every time this movie entertained me, I’d be broke.

2. Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Point of advice to future screenwriters: don’t fall in love with your first draft. If Michael Bay had employed such a philosophy with Dark of the Moon, maybe we would have had a more engaging first half that was devoid of painfully unfunny performances by John Malkovich, Ken Jeong, and Frances McDormand. Instead, we get an uneventful movie where the actions scenes would have been more impressive had the rest of the movie not been so uninspired.

My review. 

1. Your Highness

The second film of David Gordon Green’s to appear on this list, Your Highness is one of the worst films I’ve seen in a very, very long time. I’m all for crude humor, but only if its funny. There isn’t a single moment in this movie that even comes close to well-executed humor. There aren’t enough negative adjectives to describe this movie. Just steer clear of it.

The Best Movie Moments of 2011

2011 wasn’t really a great year for movies as a whole, but it had a lot of great movie moments. After painful deliberation, I finally managed to narrow down my 25 favorite moments of the year. Share yours with us!

25. The Line Dancing Scene from “Footloose”

As a fan of the original 1984 Footloose and a skeptic of remakes, I wasn’t expecting much from the modernization of the Kevin Bacon cult classic. Thanks to Craig Brewer’s solid direction, I was pleasantly surprised with the retelling of a big city boy in a small town. Best of all, it included an important Southern tradition that was oddly missing from the original: line dancing! The scene where Ren and his friends drive to the big city will have you tapping your feet and resisting the urge to dance!

24. The Fan Camera in “Paranormal Activity 3”

The setup for the Paranormal Activity movies is so basic even a child could make these movies. Set up a camera in a fixed position and wait for scary things to happen. In the third installment of the hit franchise, directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman of Catfish fame reinvented the rules and allowed the camera to move. This time around, the camera is mounted on top of a fan, giving us a bigger view of the things that go “bump” in the night. This apparatus also gives birth to some of the more heart-pounding moments in the franchise to date.

23. Colin Farrell in “Horrible Bosses”

When I set out to make this list, I knew that Horrible Bosses would find a spot here but I didn’t know for what moment. For my money, this movie was the best comedy this year. Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, and Jason Sudekis made a great comedic trio and Jennifer Aniston and Kevin Spacey were both delightfully evil in their own way. However, it was Colin Farrell is his curiously short amount of screen time that made me laugh the most. Farrell has done comedy in movies like In Bruges before and I hope that he continues to do more roles like this.

22. The Climax to “Crazy Stupid Love”

The moment in Crazy, Stupid, Love where all the plot lines intersect is staged so well. I personally didn’t see the twist coming, but even if I had the comedy in the scene is executed so well by the actors that it is impossible not to enjoy the scene.

21. Tom Hiddleson in “Thor”

Tom Hiddleson was a relatively unknown actor until his big burst onto the scene this year, starring in three of the year’s biggest movies. He had some small parts in War Horse  and Midnight in Paris, but it was his role as the villainous Loki in Thor that caught everyone’s attention. Loki isn’t just someone who wants to take over the world and rule. He is the God of Mischief, the man with a plan, an outcast looking to find his place and fulfill his longing for acceptance. Hiddleson’s striking screen presence and pitch-perfect performance made Loki the most compelling, three-dimensional Marvel villain since Doc Ock.

20. The Soundtrack in “Hanna”

The soundtrack to Hanna is this year’s TRON: Legacy. The movie is a thoroughly entertaining experience that wouldn’t be as effective without its original. It’s the best soundtrack of the year, and makes the high-octane action sequences exponentially more entertaining. In fact, I’m listening to it now. And it’s making everything I do epic.

19.  Hugh Jackman’s Cameo in “X-Men: First Class”

Did they just use the f-word in a PG-13 comic book movie? Classic.

18. Ending to “Melancholia” 

The ending to Lars von Trier’s apocalyptic drama is one of the most masterfully executed and unforgettable endings I have ever seen. We know from the opening prologue to the film that the world will indeed end. Even so, the closing moments of the film where the planet Melancholia collides with Earth are incredibly moving. It rendered me speechless.

17. Max von Sydow in “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”

In a movie with an unlikable protagonist and a story that is extremely manipulative, one aspect of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close stood out and almost made the film worth sitting through. Veteran actor Max von Sydow delivers a flawless performance as  The Renter, a man who does not speak and communicates instead through handwritten notes. It is hard to make such a character convincing, but Sydow makes it seem effortless, earning him a well-deserved Oscar nomination.

16. Sacha Baron Cohen in “Hugo”

There are many things to love about Hugo, from its love letter to silent film to its art direction to its spectacular use of 3D. It was hard to just pick one, but I settled on Sacha Baron Cohen. A marvelous character actor, Cohen throws himself into the role of the Station Inspector, a man who takes his job extremely seriously. He damaged his leg in the war and considers himself better off alone, except of course for his trusty Doberman Pincer. It’s his best performance. Second only to Borat, of course.

15. The Ending to “War Horse”

There’s so much going in the emotional closing moments of War Horse, and all without a single line of dialogue. Set to John Williams fabulous score, this ending is pure Spielberg magic.

14. The Tracking Shot in “The Adventures of Tintin”

Speaking of Spielberg magic, The Adventures of Tintin has been a pet project of the prolific director since 1983. The movie consists of one great action sequence followed immediately by another. The most memorable scene in the film is a three-minute chase scene all done in one take where Captain Haddock and Tintin race through the streets of a village to catch the next clue on their path to buried treasure. It’s a wonder to behold and left me with my mouth agape.

13. The Ending to “Fast Five”

It was a good year for action films, and Fast Five was one of the big ones. Easily the best of the franchise, the film gets rid of the racing aspect that made the previous films a drag and turned it into a heist movie. The final action scene is so far-fetched you can’t help but love it. The climax of the film has the characters breaking into a police station and stealing a vault using their cars, dragging it through the city with police in pursuit. Blockbuster movie-making at its finest.

12. “Life’s A Happy Song” – “The Muppets”

I love a good dance number, and the opening to The Muppets put a smile on may face that stayed there for the rest of the film.

11. “The Case” – Super 8

There were a healthy handful of movies this year that celebrated the magic of film, but the way that Super 8 did so was so wonderful. On the surface, the film is a simple alien movie. A heavy subplot of the film, though, is a group of kids filming a zombie movie. Throughout the film, we watch with joy as the children film their low-budget zombie movie. The best part? Getting to see the completed work at the end of the movie.

10. Minny’s Pie – “The Help”

If you’ve seen the movie, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, you’re really missing out.

9. The Championship Fight – “Warrior”

Two estranged brothers fight each other for the MMA championship, unleashing all the anger they have. In the end they reconcile, and in tearful embraces exit the ring in an incredibly moving sequence set to “About Today” by The National. So good.

8. Michael Fassbender in “Shame”

In one of the most talked about performances of the year, Michael Fassbender proves himself a force to be reckoned with. In Steve McQueen’s Shame, he plays a man unable to connect with anyone on an emotional level. His addiction is sex. He is more often than not silent and introverted. However, his face and mannerisms tell us what he is really thinking. It is without a doubt the best performance of 2011.

7. The Opening to “Drive”

In suspenseful opening scenes to Drive, we watch as Ryan Gosling carefully calculates his every move, evading cops, parking his car, walking away without getting caught. There’s no fast editing here, no explosions, no heart-pounding music. It’s nothing like we saw in Fast Five, and yet its still one of the best chase sequences ever filmed.

6. The Origin of the Universe  – “The Tree of Life”

In what has to be the most analyzed and discussed film of the year, director Terence Malick examines life from its origins to the day we die and searches for the meaning of it all. The most memorable scene of the film ponders the origin of the universe, from the first rays of light all the way to the dinosaurs. It is a jaw-dropping sequence that is both beautiful and thought-provoking. This movie will stay with me forever.

5. Scott Hatteberg Hits a Home Run – “Moneyball”

“How can you not be romantic about baseball?”

4. The Pool Scene – “The Descendants”

What would you do if you found out your mother was going to die? The most memorable moment in Alexander Payne’s The Descendants is, like many other moments on this list, dialogue-free. Upon learning her mother’s fate, Alexandra (played to perfection by Shailene Woodley) dives under the water of her pool. The camera follows her as she cries under the water, and we feel her pain. It’s a wonderfully executed sequence.

3. The Burz Khalifa Sequence – “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol”

If there was ever a definitive reason to see a movie in IMAX, this is it. The latest Mission: Impossible installment is easily the best of the series. Under solid direction by Brad Bird, the film gives us back-to-back memorable action sequences. The most talked about one is, of course, the Burz Khalifa sequence. Doing his own stunt work, Tom Cruise scales the tallest building in the world and leaps from window to window. It’s the best action sequence of the year, and the IMAX footage puts you right there next to Ethan Hunt.

2. Adam’s Surgery – 50/50

The reason that 50/50 is so effective on an emotional level is that you don’t expect it to hit you so hard. The moment where Adam (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) realizes that he might not wake up from his surgery is so emotional and moving it turns you into a teary-eyed mess. 50/50 is by far one of the best films of the year, a triumph on every level. It’s a crime this film didn’t get more recognition this awards season.

1. The Battle for Hogwarts – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

After ten years of waiting it finally happened. Bellatrix and Mrs. Weasley. Voldemort versus Potter. Neville versus Nagini. Sacrifices made and lives lost. The Battle for Hogwarts was brought to the screen so well. This die-hard Potter fanatic couldn’t have asked for more.

Joseph’s Most Anticipated Films of 2012

As much as I would like to post my top 10 films of 2011, that list would have recently featured Crazy, Stupid Love, which is indicative of how many 2011 films I need to catch up on. But that doesn’t stop me from looking forward to 2012…

 10. Coogan’s Trade

 

I’m not familiar with the material, but any film that puts Brad Pitt and Richard Jenkins on-screen together is a film that I want to see. It’s also written/directed by Andrew Dominik, who previously directed Chopper and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.

9. Looper

Rian Johnson (Brick, The Brothers Bloom) writes/directs a film about time-travel starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis. If that isn’t enough to get you on board for this film, Collider reports that Shane Caruth worked alongside Johnson on the time-travel mechanics. Caruth wrote/directed the small-budget 2004 film Primer, which is one of the best time-travel films out there; watch it.

8. Untitled Terrence Malick Project

I would watch a Terrence Malick film about paint drying. Watching Ben Affleck act is a close second. Known on IMDb as “Untitled Terrence Malick Project”, this film stars Ben Affleck and Rachel McAdams in,  “A romantic drama centered on a man who reconnects with a woman from his hometown after his marriage to a European woman falls apart.” I may have my doubts on the casting, but Terrence Malick and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki know how to make  a beautiful film together.

7. Lincoln

Daniel Day Lewis leads an impressive cast in Steven Spielberg’s film about Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War. Lewis is joined by Sally Fields (Mary Lincoln), Tommy Lee Jones (Thaddeus Stevens), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Robert Lincoln), David Strathairn, John Hawkes, Hal Holbrook, Jackie Earle Haley, and Michael Stuhlbarg. 2013 Oscars, anyone?

6. Django Unchained

The above image says it all.

5. The Avengers


I’ve been looking forward to this one ever since Samuel Jackson’s first appearance at the end of Iron Man. (My poor wife is now tired of my “Where’s Samuel Jackson?” joke after every movie we watch in the theater. But let’s be honest; Kirsten Wiig and Tintin would be awesome Avengers.) With Joss “Can I kill off a main character?” Whedon at the helm, I think this is going to be a fun, bantering, character-driven superhero film.

4. The Master


Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix star in P.T. Anderson’s latest film about, “The relationship between a charismatic intellectual known as “the Master” whose faith-based organization begins to catch on in America, and a young drifter who becomes his right-hand man”, set in the 1950s. (IMDb) I’ve been hearing about this film for a while now, and am really excited about it. I’m not sure if it will be released in 2012 or 2013, so don’t hesitate to correct me on this. If it’s a 2013 release, maybe Tom Tywker’s Cloud Atlas will be placed at number ten.

3. Brave


Brave is the latest film from Pixar Animation Studios, and it looks incredible. I have my doubts from watching the preview for the film, but I’ve learned over the years that Pixar trailers tend to undersell their films. I like that it’s an original fairy tale, and that they’ve casted Emma Thompson as the Queen.

2. The Hobbit


I’ve been wanting to see this film (live-action, mind you…) since I first read the book. And while I’m a fan of Peter Jackson and his version of Lord of the Rings, I was really excited about Guilermo del Toro directing it. I’m curious if any of his vision will make it into the final film. On a technical level, The Hobbit is being filmed in 3-D at 48 frames-per-second, twice what films are normally filmed at; I’m excited to see how it ends up looking.

1. The Dark Knight Rises


Choosing The Dark Knight Rises over The Hobbit was a tough decision. I ended up with Christopher Nolan’s latest (lastest) in the series because it’s not a story that I’m familiar with, having not ready many comic books. (Although if I had to pick my favorite trailer of the year, it would be The Hobbit). The trailer for The Dark Knight Rises succeeds in selling the film while not spelling out what it’s about. I think a trip to the Whitaker Center IMAX in Harrisburg might be in order for this one.

Honorable Mentions: Untitled Kathryn Bigelow Project, Cloud Atlas, Moonrise Kingdom, Dark Shadows, The Cabin in the Woods

What films are YOU looking forward to the most this year?

Oscar Nomination Predictions

The 2012 Oscar nominations will be formally announced tomorrow, and these are my predictions for the films that will be nominated. This year I’m only predicting the main categories.

Best Picture
The Artist
The Help
Hugo
The Descendants
Midnight in Paris
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
War Horse

Best Director
Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist)
Alexander Payne (The Descendants)
Woody Allen (Midnight in Paris)
Martin Scorsese (Hugo)
Terrence Malick (Tree of Life)

Best Actor
George Clooney (The Descendants)
Jean Dujardin (The Artist)
Leonardo DiCaprio (J. Edgar)
Brad Pitt (Moneyball)
Michael Fassbender (Shame)

Best Actress
Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady)
Viola Davis (The Help)
Michelle Williams (My Week with Marilyn)
Tilda Swinton (We Need to Talk About Kevin)
Glenn Close (Albert Nobbs)

Best Supporting Actor
Kenneth Branagh (My Week with Marilyn)
Albert Brooks (Drive)
Nick Nolte (Warrior)
Christopher Plummer (Beginners)
Patton Oswalt (Young Adult)

Best Supporting Actress
Bernice Bejo (The Artist)
Octavia Spencer (The Help)
Shaileen Woodley (The Descendants)
Jessica Chastain (The Help)
Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids)

Adapted Screenplay
The Descendants
The Help
Moneyball
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
The Ides of March

Original Screenplay
The Artist
50/50
Midnight in Paris
Bridesmaids
Win, Win

The Oscar nominations will be announced at 8:30 ET.

Golden Globes Predictions

 

For better or worse, Ricky Gervais returns tomorrow evening to host the 2012 Golden Globes Awards. The night is bound to have memorable moments as well as some painful ones. Remember Brendan Gleeson last year? Or that awkward moment during Natalie Portman’s speech? Then again, how could you forget when Jim Carrey won for The Truman Show? Or when Martin Scorsese accepeted the Cecil B. DeMille Award?

You can find a full list of nominations here, but we’ll only be focusing on the Film-centric awards due to the fact that we’re not as well-versed in the television nominations. Let us know who you think will win!

DANIEL’S PICKS

Drama: The Descendants
Actress (Drama): 
Viola Davis
Actor (Drama): 
George Clooney
Comedy/Musical:
The Artist
Actress (Comedy/ Musical): 
Kristin Wiig
Actor (Comedy/Musical): 
Jean Dujardin
Animated Feature: 
The Adventures of Tintin
Foreign Film: 
A Seperation
Supporting Actress: 
Octavia Spencer
Supporting Actor: 
Christopher Plummer
Director: 
Michel Hazanavicius
Screenplay: 
Midnight in Pairs
Original Score: 
The Artist
Original Song: 
“The Living Proof”

JOSEPH’S PICKS

Drama: The Help
Actress (Drama): 
Viola Davis
Actor (Drama): 
George Clooney
Comedy/Musical
The Artist
Actress (Comedy/ Musical): 
Michelle Williams
Actor (Comedy/Musical): 
Jean Dujardin
Animated Feature: 
The Adventures of Tintin
Foreign Film: 
A Separation
Supporting Actress: 
Octavia Spencer
Supporting Actor: 
Christopher Plummer
Director: 
Michel Hazanavicius
Screenplay: 
Moneyball
Original Score: 
The Artist
Original Song: 
“Lay Your Head Down”

Top 5 Steven Spielberg Films

This was without question the hardest list Joseph and I have ever had to assemble. Steven Spielberg is truly a man that needs no introduction, having directed countless films that have implanted themselves deep into our culture. Almost every one of his films are iconic in one way or another.

With War Horse and The Adventures of TinTin in theaters, we take a look back at what Spielberg films we love the most. Naturally, your lists will be different. Please feel free to share!

 

DANIEL’S FAVORITES

5. Close Encounters of the Third Kind

 What a film. Everything about this movie draws me in, from Richard Dreyfuss’s performance to John Williams’s entrancing soundtrack. It’s a unique film that like all other Spielberg’s films captures not only our imaginations but our hearts as well.

4. E.T. 

The first time I saw this movie as a child, I bawled my eyes out when I thought E.T. was dead. It was the first time I had ever cried in a movie, but it wouldn’t be the last. Spielberg’s follow-up to E.T. has a contagious feeling of magic. You come to love E.T. just like the children do. It is a wonderful adventure for any age.

3. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

I appreciate that Raiders of the Lost Ark was the first film to feature Indiana Jones. I applaud that it the most financially successful and critically acclaimed of all the Jones adventures. However, in terms of sheer entertainment, I’d take Last Crusade any day of the week. The introduction of Sean Connery into the franchise as Indy’s father provides for one of the most unexpectedly delightful partnerships to ever grace the silver screen. It’s a great ride.

2. Jaws

The first summer blockbuster and model for those to come, Jaws is pure entertainment. It’s still just as suspenseful for me today as it was back when I saw the film for the first time. The performances by Roy Schneider, Robert Shaw, and Richard Dreyfuss are top-knotch, and John Williams’s immortal score is the icing on the cake. A true masterpiece.

1. Saving Private Ryan

Easily one of my favorite war movies of all time, Saving Private Ryan holds a special place in my heart. It was probably the first R-rated movie I ever watched as a child, during a time where we would dress up in camo and play war in the backyard. As I’v grown older in years, the movie  effects me in a different way. Tom Hanks gives a heck of a performance, as does the rest of a magnificent ensemble cast. My love for this movie grows over the years, and will continue to do so. It is at times a hard movie to stomach, but remains for me an incredibly moving experience.

 

JOSEPH’S FAVORITES

5. Munich


My wife won’t be pleased that Jurassic Park isn’t on this list (and almost made it), but she hasn’t seen Munich yet. With a running time close to three hours, it’s a hard film to get through, but is definitely worth the effort. The performances were good, especially from Eric Bana and Ciaran Hinds. It’s a large story that will keep you thinking after the credits roll.

4. Catch Me if You Can


My first interaction with Frank Abagnale’s story was reading about it in the newspaper; it just begged to be made into a feature-length film. Like most films in the genre, it treads a fine line between who the audience should root for. Do we want Frank to succeed in his pursuits, or do we want Carl to catch up with him? Spielberg succeeds in presenting the glamor, while at the same time undercutting it with harsher realities and consequences for Frank’s actions.

3. Schindler’s List


I watched Schindler’s List for the first time this year. It quickly became one of my favorite Spielberg films, and also one that I will probably not be watching again any time soon. It’s a great, exhausting film, with wonderful performances from Neeson and Fiennes. The quasi-documentary style and the black-and-white imagery really capture the emotion of the people and the landscape.

2. E.T. (The Extra Terrestrial)


The last time I watched E.T. was on an old VHS tape that had horrible lines running through it and a nasty green tint. It was still incredible to watch. I really appreciate the balance between childhood and the process of growing up in this film. The images continue to take my breath away, and John William’s score (as always) is a perfect complement to the film.

1. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade


As much as I love Raiders of the Lost Ark, this is the Indiana Jones adventure that sticks with me the most. Sean Connery is brilliantly cast in a role that doesn’t seem like it would fit in his filmography, but does. Spielberg knows how to film action scenes, and this film is no exception. (I have chosen wisely)

Win a “Transformers 3” Poster

Before Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, the highest grossing film of the year was Michael Bay’s blockbuster Transformers: The Dark Side of the Moon. I wasn’t a fan, but the sequel to 2009’s highest grossing movie ended up making over $1 billion worldwide. I guess  some people liked it.

I have a poster for the movie taking space in my room and I know many of our readers would love to get their hands on it. IN TEN WORDS OR LESS, leave us your review of the movie in the comments section below. The person with the best review wins the poster!

The deadline to enter will be Sunday, December 18 at 12:01 AM, CST.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sitter Review

The Sitter
Directed by: David Gordon Green
Written by: Brian Gatewood & Alessandro Tanaka
Starring: Jonah Hill / Ari Graynor / Sam Rockwell

I laughed three times during The Sitter. The first two times were on account of the fact that I genuinely found something funny. The third time was a laugh of joy, a celebration that the movie was over and I could finally leave.

Directed by David Gordon Green, who was also responsible for the cinematic sewage that was Your Highness, The Sitter stars Jonah Hill as Noah Griffith, a wonderful individual living at home with his mother on account of the fact that he is suspended from college. He spends his spare time trying to sleep with Marisa (Ari Granyor), a girl up the street who has no likable qualities whatsoever. Noah agrees to babysit three children, but a dilemma rises when Marisa promises to sleep with him in the event that she brings her some cocaine from a psychotic drug dealer named Karl (Sam Rockwell). What could possibly go wrong?

Naturally, everything goes wrong, and Noah is not the only one to blame. The children with which he has been entrusted are a recipe for disaster. There’s Slater, a heavily medicated young boy struggling with the idea that he might be gay. Then there’s Blithe, an adorable little girl who spends her day endlessly applying makeup and preparing to be the next Paris Hilton.  Lastly, there’s Rodrigo. When he’s not trying to run away from home, he’s either taking things that don’t belong to him or blowing up toilets.

There’s almost nothing in this movie to enjoy. The kids’ antics aren’t funny, Noah’s decisions make no sense, and there’s nobody likable in the movie at all. The script is so flat and bereft of life I’m positive the movie we were given was based off a first draft. How can we expect Jonah Hill to breathe life into this movie when he doesn’t even look like he wants to be there?

The Sitter does have its moments though, albeit you can count them on one hand. Sam Rockwell is fun to watch in his eccentric role as a drug dealer. He isn’t given much to work with, but he makes the most of it. There’s also a funny moment with Jonah Hill and a bouncer at a club, but you can catch that in the trailer.

David Gordon Green needs to take a break from comedy. Between this and Your Highness I don’t know how much more I can take. Bring on Sherlock Holmes and Mission:Impossible. Now that’s entertainment.

CONTEST: Win a “Descendants” Poster

Christmas is just around the corner, and we’re in a giving mood! How’d you like to win a Descendants poster?

Thanks to its increasing box office success, Alexander Payne’s The Descendants is expanding to 876 theaters nationwide. Not only is this movie one of the year’s best, it also features what could possibly be the best performance of George Clooney’s career.

But what is Clooney’s best performance? Perhaps his Oscar-winning role in Syriana? His big screen debut in From Dusk Till Dawn? Or maybe you’re a fan of his unique portrayal of an assassin in last year’s The American. In the comments section below, tell us in 100 words or less what you believe is George Clooney’s best performance! The person with the most convincing argument will win a poster for the film.

If you need some help, or something to get the wheels turning, check out Kris Tapley’s list of Clooney’s best performances over at InContention.

The Deadline to enter is Wednesday, Dec. 14 at midnight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not a fan of the poster? Don’t worry. We have a lot of awesome posters we’ll be giving away this holiday season. Like this one.