Saturday, January 1, 2011

Cinemasochism: A Year in the Life of a Video Junkie

It may not seem like it, but clearly I am not as anal as some of my friends. What kind of video junkie keeps a list of the movies they watch? That would be like an Italian writing a family cookbook. Inconceivable!

My year was, as usual, a mix of low-rent lunacy and mainstream piffle. I watch the piffle because some times I get jaded. Burned out. I no longer fully appreciate the brilliance of Arizal or Earl Owensby. I need a palette cleanser, a NINJA ASSASSIN (2010) to slap me in the face with turgid mediocrity and a deficit of inspiration, bringing me back to my senses. Actually I lied. I always fully appreciate the brilliance of Arizal and Owensby.

First film seen in 2010:
SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE CASE OF THE SILK STOCKING (2004)
Sure Rupert Everett isn’t my first casting choice for playing Mycroft’s brother, but hey, it beats the shit out of Robert Downey Jr, right? The only way you could find this movie well-made and faithful to the source material is if you had just watched Asylum’s SHERLOCK HOLMES (2009) which featured a flying mechanical dragon piloted by Jack the Ripper. CASE OF THE SILK STOCKING has its moments, but over all, it's a pretty ludicrous potboiler that would have probably been more successful as a pulpy period serial killer film if they had ditched the Sherlock Holmes connection.

Last film seen in 2010:
BLACK CHRISTMAS (2006)
As far as horror movie remakes go, this is above average, but that’s like saying that Five Guys makes an awesome burger. It’s only true if all you’ve ever had was McDonald’s brown, frozen chemical pucks. (How many metaphors am I up to? I lost count). I’ll give it points for delivering a late '80s-esque, gory-ass, slasher flick that doesn’t decide to take the ever popular Gus Van Zant route and make a paint-by-numbers remake. It’s also well shot, has no comic relief (other than the perversity of the backstory), and features some very respectable sleaze. On the down side? You can’t go 10 minutes without someone using a damn cell phone. Also the acting is pretty blah, the characters are boring and if you are going to have a horror movie in a sorority house, is it too much to ask for maybe a pillow-fight or something?

Films seen in theaters:
I don’t remember, but I don’t think I even broke double digits. Pretty sad, I know.


Newest film seen: THE EXPENDABLES (2010)

Video Junkie Moment of the Year:
- As much as I loved our WEEK OF BLIND VENGEANCE, I have to agree with Will, our completely excessive and uncalled for coverage of INDIANA JONES knock-offs was a blast. It even led to my brother, who has been known to dress up as the fedora-domed whip-cracker for Halloween, receiving some very odd and obscure Indy-themed Christmas gifts this year.

Video Junkie "What were we thinking?" Moment of the Year:
- Deciding to tackle a second blog. Seemed like a good idea at the time.

Best film seen theatrically:
Uhhhh… man, that’s like trying to figure out which hurts more; getting hit with a hammer or a bat. Yeah, I guess I’d have to say the hammer. Batter up! I guess I’d have to say BOOK OF ELI. Certainly not the second coming (so to speak), but I’m ranking it over INCEPTION just because ELI was a post apocalyptic ZATOICHI remake. Nothing I saw in the theater this year blew me away.

Worst film seen theatrically:
PIRANHA 3D. No question. No point in wasting space on this here, read the review. Complete and total crap. On a stick.

Biggest surprise in 2010:
SOLOMON KANE. I was not expecting it to be anywhere near as good as it was. The trailers made it look like something that Dwayne Johnson would have starred in cir. 2002 and Michael J. Bassett has a track record of taking a great idea, setting it up nicely and letting it unwind without any surprises. Granted KANE has its fair share of issues, but it’s stunningly shot and hugely entertaining.

Biggest disappointment in 2010:
I would totally say Isaac Florentine’s NINJA which not only featured some horrible action scenes, but spent most of the movie dwelling on tedious dialogue sequences that added nothing to the non-existant plot or the paper-thin clichés called characters. I would say that, but I don’t want to copy Will! Nope, I’m going with THE EXPENDABLES. I was actually buying into the hype surrounding this movie. Ok, maybe not buying into the hype so much as just excited as hell to see Gary Daniels in the same freakin’ movie with Dolph Lungren, Eric Roberts, Jet Li and Mickey Rourke! Then what did they give Gary to do? Nothin’ but lean up against a wall and get punched by Steve Austin. Oh man, the hell with you Sly. Just as bad, Sly blows the dream bout of Lungren vs. Li. The idea of Li playing Lungren’s height against him is great, but the execution was terrible. And after Lungren’s big death scene, they are going to bring him back alive and suddenly a good guy at the end? Ugh. Lots of really bad CGI (wtf was with that castle explosion at the end? I’ve seen better digital effects on the SyFy channel), lots of wasted talent, and way too much Jason “I never turn down a paycheck” Statham. That said, I'll probably get sucked in to watching the sequel when it hits next summer. Dammit.

Ok, so maybe I'll start a list. You can look for it, same time, next year.

Moments of Clarity:

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