Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Delayed Movies of May

It's the 5th of June already and I haven't posted my list of movies that I watched in May.  The reason for my tardiness is that I had a horrible bout of Gastroenteritis and then fortunately that went away just in the nick of time for a weekend of camping out in the miserable English weather for my stag-do!  It is the Queen's Jubilee here which means I have two extra days of recovery.  God Save the Queen!

Normally I split my monthly post into two seperate lists of the worst films and the best films of the month.  But due to starting season 4 of Dexter, I only got through fourteen films in May.  Without further ado, here is my ranking:

14. Anneliese: The Exorcist Tapes (Jude Gerard Prest, 2011)

Found footage style fake documentary about a possessed girl in 70s Germany.  Documentary crew and medical team spend 16 days with priests investigating what is behind the young girl’s ‘fits’.

Fuck all to like about this film.  Unoriginal, ugly, boring and not even remotely scary.  Tries to steal every great moment from The Exorcist and fails to make a single one work:  Girl pisses on floor.  Spider walks down stairs.  Forces priest into sexual act.  Makes bed shake.  All captured by the cameras of the crew present at the exorcism.  None of it works.  Absolutely dreadful.  Appalling accents, acting and staging.  One of the worst films I’ve ever seen.  I can’t even write proper sentences about it.

13. Kicking and Screaming (Jesse Dylan, 2005)

The one where Will Ferrell coaches a kids' soccer team.  Loved it anytime Ferrell is let off the leash, especially on coffee.  Much better than Ferrell’s basketball movie Semi-Pro and probably equal with Blades of Glory, but no competition with Talladega Nights.

12. American Reunion (Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg, 2012)

While it’s great to see the guys again, the brief cameos from the rest of the crowd and most of all, Jim’s Dad and Stifler’s Mum getting high together, the script is lazy and misogynistic and just not that funny.

11. Flash Point (Wilson Yip, 2007)

This is totally worth while watching for the final fight scene.  The rest is pretty formulaic and unmemorable.  Just standard cop action thriller stuff.  But when the guns get emptied and the hero and villain have only their hands and feet to fight with, this is exceptional stuff!

10. Faster (George Tillman Jr., 2011)

This had pretty close to fascinating characters for an action flick.  However there is a bit of a lack of decent action considering the title and the set up.  Fails to get the pulse racing but spends plenty of time introducing a bunch of quite weird and definitely interesting characters.

9. The Ref (Ted Demme, 1994)

Denis Leary is a bit subdued here but it’s unsurprising considering the cast of characters he is surrounded by.  Criminal on the run takes dysfunctional family hostage and chaos ensues.  Pretty forgettable unfortunately since I'd been kind of waiting to see this ever since it first came out in '94.

8. Fright Night (Craig Gillespie, 2011)

Fun take on vampires with very likeable turns from Colin Farell, David Tenant and Anton Yelchin.  It’s not scary, just mildly entertaining. 

7. Avengers Assemble (Joss Whedon, 2012)

Marvel’s Avengers team up to take out Loki and his army before they enslave the Earth.

The iconic characters get dressed up for a spectacular but hardly pulse pounding action climax.  Ruffalo steals the show as the latest incarnation of Bruce Banner.  It’s all a bit silly and slow to start and lacking in any sense of tension as we all know all these characters will survive and how the film will end.  Oh except one character that I personally couldn’t care less about.

6. Following (Christopher Nolan, 1999)

Christopher Nolan’s feature debut about a man who likes to follow people and becomes embroiled with a thief.

It is a pleasure to see lots of Nolan’s trademarks in their embryonic phase;  a mysterious thief called Cobb, a non-linear, confusing but rewarding narrative puzzle and a Batman symbol on a character’s door.  On the other hand, it did have a bit of dodgy acting though.

5. TrollHunter (Andre Ovredal, 2011)

Documentary team find out there is much more than just bears that need hunting in Norway.

Finally a found footage movie that’s not shit!  The camera operators aren’t completely hopeless so the cinematography is actually quite nice in places.  Great end and a unique original story well told with some cool special effects and use of night vision.  The titular troll hunter is an interesting anti-hero with a bit of depth to the character.  It’s more comedy than horror but unfortunately it’s not remotely scary and it’s not that funny.

4. The Ice Storm (Ang Lee, 1997)

 This 70s set family drama revolves around sex, desire, sadness and shame.  A fantastic ensemble get some interesting if not overly memorable characters to dig into but it all takes a little turn for the melodramatic come the end.  Still, it’s very well acted and has some brilliantly awkward moments.

3. Crazy Heart (Scott Cooper, 2009)

This tale of a country and western singer living life at the bottom of a bottle is worth catching for a heartbreaking and brilliant performance from Jeff Bridges alone.  Maggie Gyllenhaal also excels as the love interest in a simple, straight forward but perfectly acted piece of character-driven cinema.

2. Into the Abyss (Werner Herzog, 2012)

Documentary on death row that explores the crime, the victims’ families and the killers themselves.  I loved Herzog’s voice, accent and deeply odd questioning of his subjects.  Despite Herzog proclaiming at the start that he is anti-death penalty, this is not at all preachy and completely leaves the viewer able to make up their own mind.

Didn’t love how it occasionally feels as though Herzog is deliberately and clearly pushing his subjects to provoke emotional responses.

1. This Film is Not Yet Rated (Kirby Dick, 2006)

This documentary on film censorship in America investigates the strange secrecy that surrounds the MPAA.  It explores the violence vs sex debate and whether the MPAA is actually homophobic and out-of-touch with public views.  It might go a little far in the investigative side of things, bordering on invasion of privacy but nevertheless it is an important and thoughtful documentary that made me very grateful to live in England where the BBFC are at least very open about their policy and decisions. 

What did you love/hate this month?  What do you think of any of these films?  Thanks for stopping by!


  1. I really enjoyed Tenant's performance in Fright Night it was hilarious! I want to watchc Ice Storm some day, I love Ang Lee's movies.

    1. Yeah me too! Great outfits too! Ice Storm is definitely worth a watch, especially if you're a fan of Lee.

  2. I have only seen a few of the films on your list. Into The Abyss is a good doc. But I agree with what you are saying about Herzog, he does sometimes seem to be pushing for a emotional response.

    Have you seen Dear Zachery? Great doc, with oodles of emotion... I cried like a girl.... well more than usual, as I am a BIG crier

    1. No I haven't but I've just put it on my Lovefilm list. Sounds very emotional! Looking forward to it, thanks Scott!

  3. Absolutely adore TrollHunter! One of my favourite films of last year. Definitely more comedy in it than I was expecting. Love those Norwegians and their sense of humour.

    1. It's an odd little film. Not as great as I'd hoped but still a lot of fun!

  4. I also really enjoyed The Ice Storm and Crazy Heart. Interesting to see This Film Is Not Yet Rated as your top choice. Netflix keeps recommending that one to me -- guess I should check it out!

    1. Definitely do Eric! Netflix must see inside your brain and know that you will like it! It's not the best doc ever but it's a very interesting subject!

  5. Hey I think you're excused because of the Jubilee! :D Man, I wish I could take part in all that festivities.

    I've been meaning to check out The Ice Storm, it sounds intriguing and I like some of the cast. Glad you saw Following, I actually watched that before Inception so Nolan is the only director whose ALL of the work I have seen. Yeah the acting is not brilliant surely, but I think he's chosen far better actors for his movies after that :D

  6. Yeah I imagine he was limited to who he could afford at the time. But they were reasonably good and helped a lot by a strong script! The Ice storm wasn't as good as I'd hoped but it's still a great little interesting movie.

  7. Gastrowhatsawhat is that caused by eating broken glass and nails? Well glad your feeling better regardless of the cause.

    Two extra days off... that almost makes me wish we had a Queen.

    The only film on your list that I have seen is the Avengers, I might want to check out that Into the Abyss only because it's Herzog and I like his crazy...

    1. Yeah this Queen stuff is doing pretty well, first a day off for some wedding and then 2 more for this jubilee thing! Makes them almost worth keeping! Into the Abyss is definitely worth a watch, especially if you like Herzog's mad ramblings!

  8. If Following was your cup of tea, do check the short by C Nolan DOODLEBUG (1997) (starring the same actor) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WhKt_CkXD0

    I have to admit I've probably seen The Ice Storm 3x, and while it is good, the characters really are rather unmemorable to me too.

    Glad you enjoyed Into the Abyss, a powerful, even scary, doc. As you did, I liked that it leaves the viewer able to make up their own mind.

    This Film is Not Yet Rated, I have heard of that doc before and forgotten about it again, your praise has convinced me to track that one down, thanks for the rec!

    Bergman is a no-show?

    1. Yeah thanks man I blogged about Doodlebug recently actually! No still no Bergman, my Lovefilm player has been playing up and I can't stream films on my laptop for some reason. Will definitely be getting through at least a couple this month!

      Hope you like This Film is Not Yet Rated!

  9. I think it's awesome that your #1 is This Film Is Not Yet Rated. I watched it back on Netflix a couple months ago and found it fascinating. Definitely interesting and insightful to learn more about the MPAA system. (Oh, and BTW - Netflix has a TON of documentaries if you're into that . . . oh wait, Netflix wasn't your thing, lol).

    I saw a ton of movies in May, but as for theater releases, I thought it was a disappointing month all in all. I personally loved The Avengers, and like you, thought American Reunion kind of fell flat.

    1. Yeah I do love documentaries quite often! I did notice Netflix had a lot I hadn't heard of and was intrigued by. But not enough to keep me with them!

      Yeah Avengers is good fun but I'm just not as in love with these characters as many others! American Reunion was a real shame.

  10. EXCELLENT choice for number 1. This Film is Not Yet Rated should be viewed by everyone, because it perfectly displays what a hinderance the MPAA is. Kirby Dick did a good job on that one. Looks like you watched some good flicks in May!

    1. Yep not got round to the Bergmans yet but I'm going to watch AT LEAST 1 or 2 this month! The two docs at the top had no competition here this month though I did really like Crazy Heart!


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