Friday, May 6, 2011

THOR, and/or a perfect example of why I started this stupid blog.

I like Thor. A lot. He is a really interesting character and over the years his mythology (real-ish) has become fused with Marvel's (fake-ish). Lots of weight goes along with him, God, King, Hero, Human-ish. Often it seems that writers can't decide on how to deal with him exactly, however he is near and dear to people's hearts. Except it seems for the people at Marvel Studios.

There I said it.

I am not a writer and don't pretend to be, all of that will become clear when you keep reading this spoiler ridden musing on the motion picture THOR. But I did start this blog to have some kind of outlet for all of my frustrations in the small hope that someone important might read it and listen so that the movies that I want to see will get made. Here are the bullet points in sloppy prose of my feelings about THOR.
 To reiterate SPOILERS AHEAD.

The trailer was terrible and gave me pause for concern about the movie. I was right.

Kenneth Branagh is a good director sometimes. Sometimes he is not. He should not have been put in charge of this movie. He does not have a particularly interesting style, and if he is not totally invested in the material it suffers. This seems to me to be a time when Hollywood called up an established director and asked him to do a big budget movie the likes of which he had not done before. An effects driven movie when he wanted to do more of a character piece and was being told by producers and studio heads how to design the movie. Too many cooks. I also feel like Branagh wasn't invested.

Two people wrote the story, three DIFFERENT people wrote the screenplay. Go to IMDB and look at their credits. See if you can figure out what in their past would give you confidence that they could write a good THOR movie. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt that they, all five of them... were big Thor fans. Probably not though. Also, seeing as how Silver Surfer was such a big critical and box office success its good they got that guy.

The movie started great, with simple mystery, a little humor and some good simple action. Then we go back in time to the year 932 C.G.I. There is narration and quick glossing over of exposition with a bad CGI battle that seems like less than. We then focus on Asgard which is flat and double sided and awesome looking. Until we see the pipe organ palace that sets off all the alarm bells in my head. The design seems too easy. All of it. There is very little attention to detail. Everything is smooth and basicly geometric which is fine, but WETA (God bless them) set a standard which we must adhere too, particularly for the big budgeted franchise movies. All the costumes look like fancy versions of store bought halloween costumes. A friend of mine wrote a great article about Thor's costume over the years in the comics. Here is the link:   There is also background about the character and the comics. Clearly The Ultimates influenced the design of Asgard. This is a shame. I would liked to have seen some more Norse and Celtic and pure badass Viking influences. Bryan Singer addressed the page to screen costumes of superheroes in the first XMEN brilliantly. Just because it works on the page doesn't mean it works on film. Although Loki looked so much better than I thought he would. Part of that is because Loki was amazing.

Tom Hiddleston seems to have come out of obscurity to his first step to a huge career. He was the most talented and interesting actor onscreen. Subtle, Nuanced and with a great character arc.

Natalie Portman was the second best. Playing her reality as well as the heightened situation. She was adorable and understated.

Chris Hemsworth was also great. He reminded me of Ledger, a lot. He had gravitas and charm.

Hopkins was 50% disappointing. He seems to be doing that a lot in his old age. The Other 50 was extremely powerful.

A big shout out to Kat Dennings, she elicited the first true audience reaction. Honest Laughter.

Colm Feore was wasted as the Frost Giant.
They sucked. The were boring. If you are going to design a creature as though it was from Star Trek, go ahead and don't do much of it in CGI. If you are going to go to the time of creating somethin in a computer make it good. I didn't get anything from their culture or biology that was interesting or intimidating.

Same goes for the Warriors Three and Sif. Who are they? Why should I care about them? If I missed the on sentence about their background in the film and had never read a comic I wouldn't know anything about them. ZERO character development.

When Thor gets banished to Earth, the movie becomes great. A small desert town is the background for this God's first trip to Earth. Humor and chaos ensue and the gravity of his situation sinks in.  This is the best part of the movie. Stan Lee's cameo is his best yet, reference's to the comic are great. The Donald Blake bit is superb. 

Clark Gregg and all the S.H.I.E.L.D. stuff is spot on with what we've come to expect and hits on par. They do love their Acuras and Burger King though.

Nothing terrible special happens. Thats the big problem. Hawkeye is introduced and it is really cool. I wish I hadn't known about it before hand.

The movie is bland and heartless at points. It seems generic to a point. And why was Rene Russo in it? Did she get bored? They final battle was great; Thor rests his hammer on Loki' which is awesome, and destroy's the rainbow bridge, leaving the woman he loves forever in doing so. Odin shows up there is a heartfelt moment, Thor wants to save his brother, but he generically falls into the green screen and it looks like crap just like all other movies. 

Basic Denouement.
The score was also Kirkland Brand.

The sound was great, I don't know why but I really really liked it.

One thing that bugged me was how easy Thor's magic was. We never really learned where it came form or why. I get the whole Magic and science as one thing. It makes sense when packaging this to the masses and it does explain some of the design elements, but I would like to know the history of it. Thor is less impressive as an alien than as a God. I don't like the idea of their being no magic in this universe, particularly if they are going to do do a Strange film.

I do want to say that whoever designed the Rainbow Bridge is a genius. There was a huge chance that it would look very Mario Kart. It did not. It looked like a digital bridge that was made with magic. WHich I am assuming thats what they were going for. 

In closing, I liked seeing the tree of the universe during the credits.
The little post credit teaser thing was a huge disappointment. It was lame and did not get me excited or geared up for what was coming next.

I think Thor will be more interesting in the dynamic of The Avengers rather than this Asgard. He was more interesting on Earth as a fish out of water than in his element. He will be a good foil for Steve, Tony, hopefully Bruce and the rest of the gang. I'm excited to see his dialogue with Fury. 

I wish Favreau would return for Iron Man 3. X-Men 3 wasn't very good and I think it's because the director changed. So often we get a third movie that isn't up to par with the previous installments. (we are all thinking about it but I won't way which one in particular is the worst offender. But it was a waste. I would like for the rest of what Marvel has planned to not be.

Punisher War Zone was atrocious. This is the only time I am going to get an opportunity to say it because I refuse to spend any more time on it.

Captain America looks like a better film. The cast is just as good if not better and if it is as good as Jumanji it will be great.  The fact that it isn't coming out Fourth of July weekend is ludicrous. Who in their right mind would rather see Transformers than Captain AMERICA that weekend?

This is long and has gotten off topic. So in closing:
Dear Marvel and Marvel Studios,

You are new to this game. Look at how DC went down the toilet and now Chris Nolan is revamping their whole line. Wonder Woman might not happen, (I sort of hope not), and you have been getting some shit reviews. Don't let Wolverine happen again. Get some people who know what they are doing to be in charge of everything, and don't worry about money because that turns things into the lowest common denominator. People will see your movies no matter what, make them so people want to see them over and over again.

Thank you.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Adjustment Bureau

This movie caught me by surprise. I went to the theatre and had missed Rango. The Adjustment Bureau was playing, I like Damon and Slattery and conspiracies so I gave it a shot.

Here is what I expected:
Damon is running for Senate, some government conspiracy is behind him getting elected to office ala Manchurian Candidate, when he goes off the grid the shit gets real. Based on the trailer I expected it to be shot well and look good.

Here is What I got:
A love story. A really good love story that had a supernatural conspiracy as the backdrop. Also it was shot very well and looked very clean, slow pans added to the otherworldlyness of the story. No one acted poorly, some of it was one note but it worked. Emily Blunt who hasn't been memorable in the other two movies I've seen her in was near flawless, playing her character to a T.
What I took away from the story was that nothing can stop true love, even if you want something to stop it, it won't happen. I don't usually walk away with that, in general its, "ahh thats nice they love each other."

The whole spiritual, God and Angels thing threw me for a loop, but they acknowledged that it was a strange concept and didn't dwell on it and then let it go. That was great. It didn't overshadow anything.
It dawned on me that I wanted to know if everything worked out in the end. Then I thought about it and realized it was perfect that it was open ended. I knew that all their dreams would come true.

Friday, March 4, 2011

He used to be cool: Tim Burton

I have been trying to focus on something to write about. Oscar weekend came and went. I didn't really care, Anne Hathaway was hot and Melissa Leo said fuck. beyond that I was pretty apathetic. I saw most of the Best Picture Nominees and my favorites were Inception and Black Swan. i thought they were really and truly unique and breathtaking. Toy Story 3 made me cry twice, which is a feat because I didn't really bug out about that whole Old Yeller getting shot thing when I was 6. oops Spoiler Alert!!! And I was not impressed by the king's speech enough to give it a Best Picture statue. It just didn't do it for me. Social Network was Really fucking good. Really fucking good. But needless to say nothing out of the ordinary happened in it. I think I lean more towards the fantasy/fiction side of movies. Anyway... I didn't really want to get into that because I don't have much more to say than has already been said, and don't feel too passionately about it anyway. However, I do have one thing that I do feel passionately about, and hopefully it will lead to a new article every once in awhile. Tim Burton used to be cool. Now he isn't and he just won two Oscars (I know it wasn't him but still). Many people used to be cool and now are not. M Night, and Lucas are the biggest offenders, and I hear about them all the time on the internets. However, I don't hear about Burton. Perhaps I am not on the Hot Topic message boards enough to be exposed to it, but I feel Like there I would hear about how great he is anyway.
So, here we go....

Tim Burton used to be cool. Groundbreaking visuals, unique stories and characters, subtle approaches to grandiose ideas, and grandiose ideas to subtle ideas.

Tim Burton is now lame. More of the same visuals, old rehashed stories and trite characters. Grandiose for grandiose sake.

Below is an abbreviated filmography that I stole directly from which I will go ahead and say is one of the most useful websites out there. Nightmare, isn't in there because he didn't direct it, but it was  93 and he did write and produce.

2003Big Fish
1994Ed Wood
1984Frankenweenie (short) 

Now it just so happens that my favorite Burton films are his first four major studio productions. PeeWee, Beetle Juice, Batman, Scissorhands. I don't much care for Returns, and then I like Ed Wood and Mars Attacks and Nightmare. This is when it starts going to hell.

The hilarity and dark twisted humor and vision that he has, the otherworldly images that seem to fit in perfectly to the story (in my opinion best exemplified in his first four) get lost. New technology is available and he can do whatever he wants and has to think less, sound like anyone else we know? After Mars Attacks he does one original movie. And THAT was Corpse Bride. Big Fish doesn't count because it was a novel first. And all of them are remakes that were done better decades before. Now, in his first four, he did do Batman. But he redefined it, and that is only a quarter.

Sleepy Hollow, Planet of the Apes, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, Sweeny Todd, Alice in Wonderland. All better before. That sucks, If you are going to redo something do it better or not at all.
They are just bland and unimaginative. It seems as though he has hired a team that understands his visual style and they create everything for him and he just is along for the ride. I'm having trouble, but I can't really think of a unique scene in any of these films that defined or redefined, or was breathtaking. True I didn't finish Alice but I doubt there was anything cool in the last hour.

I feel like I need to do a much bigger article than I had originally intended to get my point across.

Basically, he is recycling and rehashing his own ideas and those of others and that is a shame, because he has some wonderfully unique movies under his belt. Sit and watch Beetle Juice and Edward Scissorhands then Watch Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Alice in Wonderland. Crazy different in quality.


Dear Tim Burton,
Think of something that you have always wanted to do.
Give yourself a limited budget.
Don't hire anyone you have ever worked with before.

Try these simple rules and see if you can't come up with an innovative and inspired film again.

To bring everything back to the original rant: Alice did not deserve it's two Oscars. Black Swan (which wasn't nominated) should have received art direction. And anything else deserved costume design (I say True Grit).

I am not saying anything flat out but during my limited internet research I came across these interesting facts.

From Ed Wood to Planet of the Apes Tim was involved with Lisa Marie. Then From Planet of the Apes to present day he has been with Helena Bonham Carter.
Both of them were in Planet so that must have been awkward, but the point being it seems that when he isn't getting any he makes better movies.
Helena almost seems to be better when she is not in your movies. Same thing goes for Depp, well at least now anyways.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Black Swan


This is the Scariest movie in the last five years. This is also a great reminder about why not to date dancers. Using visual slight of hand Darren Arronofsky takes on a journey through the downward spiral that is a performer's obsession to become perfect. Natalie, Barbara, Mila and Vincent deliver extremely well thought out performances, well crafted and detail oriented characters that always keep us on our toes about what their true motivations and endgames will be. Also, Winona did a wonderfully sublime job as an aging prima ballerina. If this is the kind of work she will be doing rather than Spock's mom I support a comeback.
I'll tell you why everyone is going apeshit about Natalie's performance, its not because she prepped to be a dancer it's because she lost Natalie along the way. She became the character rather than an actress. She allowed the audience to sympathize and feel for here and want to follow along, and then took us down a path where we began to cheer and jeer for here, we want her succeed and then we are disgusted by how she does it. 

In the hands of a less skilled director this would have been chaos and heavy handed. His usage of black and white and then select pieces of color, particularly light pink, adds something to the background but in such a way that isn't an obvious device. The same story goes with his use of special effects. There is just enough to achieve the desired effect but it doesn't go overboard. In fact, often it is cut off before you can even see what is going on. The edits at times can be quite quick only giving you a glimpse into Nina's psychosis. Or long and drawn out creating a tempo that keeps the audience always an arm lengths away. Reeling us in and then letting us swim away and back and forth until we can easily predict what is to come next. The trick is once we predict correctly, the rules change and something unexpected happens.

Never before have I seen what is going on inside a character's head described so well visually. Perhaps I am forgetting something, but I don't think so.

My 5 favorite parts:
Nina discovering her mother asleep in the same room while she is masturbating. Terrifying.

The physical transformation, particularly the legs and feather, into a swan.

Barbara Hershey.

The window into what a performer and performances is like, a very real depiction of both.

The score. Dear God Clint Mansell is awesome.

The reason this movie didn't get a perfect score is due to the following reasons:
Nina describe her performance as perfect. Thing is she muffed the lift in the first act and fell and hurt her knee. So it was almost perfect. Maybe I am a bigger cynic than I thought but that really bugged me. I mean she cried about it and stabbed herself because of that one mistake, so.....almost perfect.

At times the grainy-ness of the picture took away, but they were few and far between and hard to avoid.

I didn't feel like Lily's story was resolved.

There were no jokes, I needed a little bit of relief from the drama. Lily got close but it wasn't lighthearted.

It was hard for me to take the scene outside the concert hall seriously, because that is where Bill Murray spins in Ghostbusters.

Okay that last one was bullshit: but see how humor helped break up the rest of the review...

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Human Centipede: First Sequence

I give it a 65%. (Spoilers follow)

It delivered exactly what it promised. Three people are conjoined anus to mouth to create a siamese triplet connected through their gastronomical tract.
Well its almost what it promises; three people mean 12 limbs which isn't exactly a centipede but you get the point.

It fits in its genre and I like the direction and 90% of the acting. I love the way it is shot and enjoy the subtitles.

Two dumb American girls are touring Europe there car gets a flat and they go looking for help. But rather than walk down the road they go into the woods to find help. There is my first problem. I don't feel sorry for them because they are idiots. The main lady in Hostel 2 is a badass and so I cheer for her.

They knock on a door and a man who is clearly a bad dude, there isn't even an attempt at suspense to make it feel like they are safe, answers and asks questions that are super suspicious. The girls go in and are drugged. They wake up in a hospital setting and are told the plan to conjoin them.

The first girl escapes (notice How I am not using their names because I don't know them) and acts like an idiot when trying to escape, and then there is a really good scene in a pool. I won't ruin it for you. But needless to say she doesn't escape because she sucks. Then we get the operation.

It is gruesome and gut wrenching although I am sure to very medically accurate.

The next 30-40 minutes is about life as a human centipede.

Then it gets a little cool and there is a police investigation, the centipede fights back and attempts escape up some stairs (which is handled really well, both directorially and by the creature itself), and then there is a final show down and its gruesome and terrible.

I didn't really like it.

The way the movie is shot reminds me of TEETH which is a much better "what if.. movie" but technically the film is very clean and has a very specific style which I really like. It was simply laking in depth. The camera work feigned it a little bit but not enough.

For example I never got to find out why creating this centipede was necessary. What is up with this doctor and what is his motivation? Obviously I care about these characters to the point that I don't want them to be in this situation but I don't have any personal connection to them. Very little development.

The two girls that we have been with from the beginning are the middle and the end so we don't get to hear what either of them have to say because their mouths are sewn shut, and the front piece is this Japanese guy that doesn't speak english and I don't care about.

Its just a weird movie that has no point. I mean really no point. Maybe its me but I just shut down and wasn't even really grossed out by it after a while because I just didn't care, it became nothing except a little obscure movie that now I can talk about having seen.

The Doctor says that he doesn't like human beings and likes dogs. He also treats the centipede like a dog. this movie would have been better if that was the way it went, he tried to turn a man into a dog. I think that would be more grotesque and more realistic thusly more scary.

The Descent 2 is a bogus Sequel.

I feel that after speaking about how great The Descent is I should talk about how bad The Descent 2 is. This seems to be a theme for horror films....alas.

Toy Story one two and three were all superb.

But then again Woody never went into the "hood".

So remember everything that was good about The Descent? Now do that all over again but not as well more rushed and less creative with boring characters.

I don't have much to say except that the highlight of the film was when a crawler shat into a hole. Thats right poop was the best part of the movie. It was simply uncreative and 2 dimensional. Was it that they rushed it into production or that they just didn't care because they just wanted some money...?

There is a novel of the same name, which I have not read, but it is apparently about several stories that interlock in different locations and delves into the idea of these creatures and how their culture works. Why can't we have that? instead we are stuck with a story that takes place 5 minutes after the first one ends. Sometimes this is cool. Instead we are stuck with the exact same formula as the first one with less impressive visuals and thats about it. A stereotypical southern cop and some cave experts go down into the caves to investigate what happened in the first one. The design of the crawlers changed a little for no reason.

Now if this had taken place in a new cave with new characters a new creature design would be cool. But they look different and the timeline is like a few days later. Explain that to me.

I don't care about these characters and I don't feel involved in their plight. Partially because many of the tricks used for scares in the first one are recycled.

28 Weeks Later was a great sequel and we will talk about it later, but the reason it was great is because it was a true sequel, an extension of the first story, new scares new characters and new locations helping to create an expanded universe.

Things are just recycled and rehashed as is the case with most sequels, they just find new horrific deaths for people. This is a shame. When you look at how 28 Weeks Later and Scream 2-3 and Hostel 2 and all of the Aliens and The Evil Dead and Army of Darkness and all of the Of The Deads can do it, its a shame when others can't. Friday the 13th part might actually be the best not my favorite but it creates a new character / villain and is superior as a standalone than the first one.

There we go. I just figured it out. ALL SEQUELS should stand alone without the previous ones. They should be their own movie and can have all the inside jokes you want and must play well with the first one but should be their own movie.

Dishonorable Mention: Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows - Bogus movie but they did not try and capitalize off of the same tricks in the first one, they made their own movie and it was a great sequel except for the fact that it wasn't very good.

I am watching Human Centipede right now. Expect a mention about it soon.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Talia al Ghul

Well now it seems like Talia is a role that Nolan is looking to cast in The Dark Knight Rises. I hate this idea because it never crossed my mind and it is a great idea. I love it when things bookend and become full circle. However the story line that I wanted to see with Catwoman I do believe will happen with Talia. So Just a different character. It is such an obviously well thought out quality choice that it proves that Nolan is the man to be in charge of the series. I could not be more excited for this.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Stupid DVD Editions

This is a short one.

Special Editions and Unrated Editions and Director's Cut Editions drive me up the wall.
I just wrote about The Descent and how I don't really like one of the endings. I saw one in the theatre and I saw a different one after I bought the DVD. Silly comedies have UR8TD Versions that have 4 extra seconds of boobs. Uncensored horror films have more gore and usually more boobs. Often times Director's cuts don't have anything to do with the director's vision or anything its just the original cut before a few changes were made to get it the rating they wanted.

This is all well and good. They exist to make more money and I got that. All I want is the option to watch both versions. Thank you Alien Quadrilogy. Thank You for giving me the ability to compare and contrast and having written and video intros to explain what happened and why.

Thank you Van Wilder of all things for giving me the option to choose between the two and having a nice menu change, seriously check it out its brilliant, to differentiate between the two. But that has lead to all of the National Lampoon straight to DVD releases being Unrated as though they were ever rated to begin with, yes they are unrated but come on.

I would like the Lord of the Rings special editions to have that option. I am told in the booklet what is new and what is theatrical but it would be nice to see them back to back in order to compare and contrast. Yes, I am that guy.

The Richard Donner cut of Superman II is cool, because it shows an entire different movie, and is billed as such.

Most Special Editions just have a few extras, the only ones that I am guaranteed to appreciate are the Criterion Collection ones. Good Job Criterion.

Also, Some of those special editions that come in fancy cases and have some kind of souvenir in them are the exact same disc and nothing really special. At least change the graphic on the disc and a little bit of the features, or do you just have a bunch lying around and you want to get rid of them so you repackaged them?

Also, Also, Shout Factory is kind of a cool company.

The Descent of Monster Movies

Part 2 of my Horror Movie breakdown thing.

Monster movies are rough. What constitutes a monster you ask?

a legendary animal combining features of animal and human form or having the forms of various animals in combination, as a centaur, griffin, or sphinx.
any creature so ugly or monstrous as to frighten people.
any animal or human grotesquely deviating from the normal shape, behavior, or character.
a person who excites horror by wickedness, cruelty, etc.
any animal or thing huge in size.
an animal or plant of abnormal form or structure, as from marked malformation or the absence of certain parts or organs.
a grossly anomalous fetus or infant, esp. one that is not viable.
anything unnatural or monstrous.

That is what the internet has to say. So I am going to go with that.
In regards to monster movies I want to go with the idea that the monster is the central Antagonist, if the monster is the Protagonist it is generally a character piece and isn't really a horror film. This is another good example of how lines get blurred and the genres cross. I mean there are man made monsters, magic monsters, space monsters, and just monsters so again this is hard to really do correctly but I am going to give it a shot.

11. Mimic -
I saw this movie once when I was a kid and it scared me. So it gets honorable mention. Mira Sorvino creates a new kind of cockroach thing to help create a cure for this disease that is killing a bunch of children, then it gets released into the city sewers and evolves like 1000 time faster than expected and starts killing people. It generates limbs that when put together over it's face it looks like a human and its also really tall. This is a good example of a man made monster, science comes back to haunt us and is part of our downfall etc. etc. etc.

10.Tremors -
Campy. Awesome. I love Bacon and this is classic Bacon. There is a good amount of mystery as to what the monsters look like for part of the movie and as to what is going on, I also like that it takes place in a small town. Its really scary to think that you can't touch the ground. Don't get off the bed because the monsters will get you, don't step on the red tiles at the mall because they are lava. Its a base primal fear for some reason.

9. Hammer Films-
I would be remiss if I didn't include these, but I am going to lump them together. I have a problem with Movies that are dated and don't work anymore being anything other than classics. Its hard for me to accept something as the "best of" if I don't enjoy watching it anymore. Also most of them have the Monsters as the main characters not the baddies. Dracula is a little of both but The Wolfman and Frankenstein (Particularly Frankenstein) focus on misunderstood monsters. The Creature movies less so. HOWEVER, they did set the ground work for every monster movie, for better or worse, that followed.

8. Gremlins-
Those little guys were fucking brutal. I mean they really fucked things up. Now I think of this movie primarily as a comedy but it does get scary and its very rare that you get a posse of monsters rather than just one. I think that is what I like. That is why I like Zombies the fact that there is more than one, they can help each other out in wrecking havoc. Gizmo is cute and he helps out too. THere is a nice little romance in there too.

7. It-
This movie is best example of what I hate about Stephen King. He has an idea. It is really scary. There is some human drama in there. And then it turns out to just be some big monster that doesn't have anything to do with anything.
Pennywise = Scary and helped many of my friends believe that clowns are actually scary, this movie made that fear trendy.
Giant Spider that can only be killed with a piece of silver from a sling shot = dumb.
Anyway, Pennywise is definitely a monster and is definitely scary.

6. Brotherhood of the Wolf -
I really like this movie but a lot of people hate on it. It starts great, There is a long mystery of who and or what the monster is, There is a nice gothic classic romantic tone to the whole thing. It is sincerely horrifying at times and drags on just the right amount for suspense to take hold.

5. Slither -
Oh man, This movie shouldn't be as good as it is. If you watch the trailer you assume that it is going to be stupid and a big budget B movie. Here is the thing is it is a low budget A movie. Michael Rooker is awesome and so is Elizabeth Banks. Nathan Fillion is perfect for the leading man, and I don't even care about the dumb space story. There are some truly grotesque moments that pull on heartstrings. Wonderful human interactions and again plays on base and primal fears. Slugs and Slime. People don't like slime. I mean who doesn't flip out when seaweed touches them. HP Lovecraft knew it. The other fear is being possessed by some creature or having something happen to you internally that alters how you look and what you feel. Think about tapeworms, gross.

4. Monsters Inc. -
The monsters are the protagonists. That is easy to overlook because they are also the villains. I like it when new worlds and mythos are created, particularly if they explain something that we already know and except but never explored. Pixar has some wonderful way of making me care, a lot, about all of there characters I am always drawn into their world and feel real danger and excitement for everyone involved.

3. The Host-
Another foreign film on this list. I wonder if that means anything.... Anyway, I didn't really want to see this but went to the theatre with a buddy of mine. Pleasantly surprised. So often what happens nowadays is that directors will use the Jaws format and we will see very little of the creature and then at the end there will be a reveal where we get to see it in its horrifying entirety. The problem is that isn't horrifying. It is either so detailed that we are curious about how it works, or we don't see enough of it and we want to know what it is and how it works, or we haven't been set up for it, or it is bad CGI and we don't believe it exists. The Host somehow does all of these things right. We see a lot of the creature, a lot of it, and maybe that is why it works. We see so much of it that we become desensitized to it and then learn to accept it. Also I like that it is about a family that just wants to be together and be happy. What a good group to fight off a monster.

2. Cloverfield -
This is a gem of a movie. One of the best 100 movies of all time along with #1 on this list. Godzilla and his pals are not on this list because they are not scary, they aren't horror films. Monsters yes, but not really scary. They are just so grandiose that I never get scared. Big wide shots show monsters battling and make them more like brawl movies with a bunch of destruction. And even as a four year old I didn't believe them.
Moving on, see the monster attack from street level, looking up not at. This makes the attack more relatable. We also spend like 20 minutes getting to know the characters intimately, their ins and outs and motivations outside of survival so we feel for them. The monster is just the backdrop for the human psyche under duress and is more of a catalyst than an antagonist. Also small bugs fall off of it and are scary as shit. We don't really get the full story of the attack, it is limited to what a small group of characters experience and that level of intimacy is what makes it horrifying. I love the view from a handheld, if you don't get motion sickness from it don't think of it as a gimmick but a wonderfully executed storytelling device that has only worked here and in Blair Witch.
Also, TJ Miller steals the movie.

1. The Descent -
To reiterate this is one of the greatest movies of all time. The crawlers are the most terrifying creatures to be created in a long time. So close to what humans would be without civilization. You just know that there is no way to stop them, they will keep coming faster and stronger than before. But the brilliant part of this story is that there are two things going on. Yes there are some crazy monsters attacking our heroines but they are also trapped in a cave. Claustrophobia. Everyone suffers from it at some point in time. Especially if it is in a strange place. They even list all of the problems that can occur from spelunking at the beginning. The lighting and camera work are spot on and add an air of uncertainty as to what is going to happen next.
I like how the cast is all ladies. I don't know why. Maybe because gender wars don't come into play and they are all fully capable of handling the situation...well sort of. But seriously who would be. It is brilliant in its simplicity. Characters want to get from point A to point B and there are monsters in their way. True there is some personal shit going down that gets in the way, but i don't really care about any of that. Although it doesn't ruin the movie, it does sort of ruin the ending. The theatrical ending I was here in the US was great. The unrated DVD, and I think the UK release ending is not as good. It is unnecessary and brings up an idea that was never touched throughout the rest of the film. Other than that the movie is perfect, and that is clearly something that is based on the, release money making dvd lost in translation type things that happen today.

Thats it for now.