Saturday, January 1, 2011

Cinemasochism: A Year in the Life of a Video Junkie


It was certainly a "fruitful" year for this Video Junkie.  My total number of viewings was 362 films, way up from last year's total of 286.  In true VJ form, the selections ran the gamut from classics to stuff you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy (ah, maybe you would).  We have no prejudices here at VJ...well, except for musicals.  Damn, you unrealistic singing people.  So 2010 was a success in that I saw not a single musical.  So here is a quick rundown of what I saw and conquered over this past year of 2010, the year we DIDN'T make contact by the way (damn, you cinema for warping my expectations).


First film seen in 2010: BAD GIRL'S DORMITORY (1986)
Last film seen in 2010: TALHOTBLOND (2009)
Films seen in theaters: 11 (my new all-time low after 13 last year)

Oldest film seen: METROPOLIS (1927)
Newest film seen: THE FIGHTER (2010)

Video Junkie Moment of the Year:

-Our sprawling coverage of all things Indiana Jones rip-offs!

Video Junkie "What were we thinking?" Moment of the Year:
-
-Our sprawling coverage of all things Indiana Jones rip-offs!

Best film seen theatrically: TOY STORY 3 - yeah, call me cliche-man but Pixar scored again with the best theatrical feature I saw this year.  While not as good as last year's UP, this again showed that you can make a "children's" film that doesn't pander just to kids who want to see cute CGI characters.


Worst film seen theatrically: THE EXPENDABLES - ah, what a dilemma Mr. Stallone has put me in.  I've supported the man through thick and thin, yet he pulls this one one me.  Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed this film, but it is a huge example of "whatcouldabeen" in terms of filmmaking.  Let me get this straight: you assemble an amazing cast of action heroes of years gone by to go all "old school" (his own words) but then decide to muck it up by shooting it all in the horrific "new school" (my words) style of shakey-cam?  Just look at the fight between Jet Li vs. Dolph Lundgren as the perfect example.  C'mon, son. 
  
Biggest surprise in 2010: SPLICE - I'm not sure why I was so surprised by this as I have enjoyed all of Vincenzo Natali's work.  I think what took me off guard is just how psychologically dark the film is.  Forget the "this is SPECIES" marketing campaign, this had nothing in common with that sci-fi-action flick.  If you can get past some cringe inducing dialog (Polly: "When did you start becoming so scared?", Brody: "When did you stop becoming a scientist?"), you will find one twisted ass movie that gets into Cronenbergian levels of craziness.  That this got a wide release onto unwitting audiences is one of 2010's greatest pleasures.  Naturally, it bombed.
Biggest disappointment in 2010: NINJA - Isaac Florentine is a director we've been singing the praises of at VJ for nearly a decade.  The man knows how to shoot action better than anyone in big budget Hollyweird and that is why we love him.  So imagine our excitement when we hear he is re-teaming with his DeNiro, Scott Adkins, for a film about ninjas!  HOLY CRAP!  Well, stop right there pal because Florentine had a major career hiccup with this film by trying to emulate the style of big budget action dreck.  From the crash zooms and morph transitions to the phoney CGI blood, it is all wrong.  Thankfully, he did return in fine form with the broom obsessed UNDISPUTED III, which carried the apt REDEMPTION subtitle.  We hope you've learned your lesson Isaac.   




Theatrical viewings:
-THE WOLFMAN
-BROOKLYN'S FINEST
-THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO
-SPLICE
-TOY STORY 3
-INCEPTION
-THE SHOCK DOCTRINE
-THE EXPENDABLES
-THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE
-THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET'S NEST
-THE FIGHTER

Most in one month:
October: 36
Least in one month:
December: 11

Films watched more than once:
-555 (2 times)
-DAWN OF THE DEAD (2 times)
-NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (2 times)

Directors most watched (individual films):
-Tobe Hooper (19) - a huge undertaking where I try to see everything the man has made! Check the reviews.
-Terrence Fisher (6)
-Freddie Francis (4)
-Val Guest (4)
-Alan Gibson (3)
-Arizal (3)

Best films that I saw for the first time in 2010:
-CALL ME MIKE
-THE CALL OF CTHULHU
-POSSESSION
-AMERICAN DREAM (doc)
-TALHOTBLOND (doc)
-MURDER ON A SUNDAY MORNING (doc)
-WHEELS OF TERROR
-NOTHING UNDERNEATH
-QUATERMASS XPERIMENT
-QUATERMASS II

Worst films that I saw for the first time in 2010:
-555
-TALES OF AN ANCIENT EMPIRE (Pyuuuuuuuuun!)
-DEATH ROW DINER
-GIALLO
-PUPPET MASTER: AXIS OF EVIL
-LOCKED DOWN
-THE BOX
-HUMAN CENTIPEDE

Moments of Clarity:

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