Saturday, 24 December 2011

Greg Klymkiw's 10 Best and 10 Worst of 2011 - Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF 2011) and the Toronto After Dark Film Festivals (TADFF 2011) unveiled a vast majority of the terrific movies on my Best Lists for Toronto Audiences. It's a Great Town for Movies!

2011 was, overall, a pretty decent year for movies.

Interestingly, living in Toronto, Canada afforded me the opportunity to see many terrific pictures for the very first time at two phenomenal world-class local film festivals. A grand total of 6 movies on my Ten Best List and another 6 movies on my Best Runners-Up List were all first seen at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF 2011).

If, as I suggest later in this piece that you blend my Ten Best with my runners-up and look at the them as my Top 25 movies of 2011, a grand total of 12 of these films played at TIFF. Adding 2 more films on both of those lists that played at the TIFF Bell Lightbox as regular first-run engagements, TIFF yielded the first Toronto screenings of 14 out of 25 films on lists comprising what I felt were the best of the year.

Two of my acting accolades (Louis Negin and Tara Lynne Barr) graced films in TIFF, while two additional movies NOT officially in the following lists (“Shame” and “The Descendants”), are still acknowledged (with caveats) as to their quality. With these additional nods, the stats are even more impressive.

It seems a year doesn't go by at TIFF that I'm not blown away by the selections in the "Midnight Madness" series as programmed by Colin Geddes. The 2010 edition featured a whole whack of movies I loved – most notably “Stake Land” and John Carpenter’s “The Ward”. This year, three films that made my Top 25 and one acting accolade came from NON-Midnight-Madness films programmed by the irascible Geddes. At his introductions to these pictures he would amusingly suggest that the TIFF powers-that-be let him out of his "cage" to occasionally slide a few pictures into the "normal" programs. The three superb films in the 2011 Geddes programming canon are, for me; proof positive that he needs to be “let out of his cage” more often. TIFF could use a bit more subversion anyway.

As someone famous SHOULD have said, “A lil’ subversion never hurt no one no how.”

Another interesting statistic is just how many great movies I first saw at the wonderful Toronto After Dark Film Festival (TADFF) in 2011. Two movies on my Ten Best List and three pictures on my list of runners-up for the best yields 5 movies on my Top 25 of 2011 which first played at a tiny, independent, fan-based-and-operated genre festival in Toronto. As a lover of genre pictures and good old down home subversion and perversion, the Toronto After Dark Film Festival is perhaps the one place I feel very much at home. The audiences are especially a blast here and contribute to my steadfast belief that ALL movies made with a large format scope MUST be seen in real movie theatres with real people.

What this proves to me is that in spite of hating the fact that I am forced for much of the year to live in the city of Toronto, there are no other places in Canada where I am going to consistently see product I love on big screens long before many other places get them (if they get them at all). I've often dumped on Toronto as a city, using the late, great Canadian literary icon Scott Symons' apt description of it as a city of "Smugly Fucklings".

This has not changed. I still detest the city's weird pole-up-the-assedness, but at the same time, I do believe a lot of the power brokers in the city's coteries of smugly Fucklings do NOT want to be seen as uncool (in spite of the spire of the CN Tower jamming up their sphincters). This dichotomy has created a place to see great cinema.

Go figure.

And yes, some of the worst on my lists appeared at the aforementioned film festivals. 6 out of 25 stinkers on my lists played TIFF and TADFF, but that’s small potatoes compared to the great stuff I saw at both.

Most impressive.

Here then are my picks...

(in alphabetical order)

I had to see Carnage again to experience everything I missed the first time. It's the funniest movie of the year, so be prepared to laugh so hard that you too will need to see it a second time. Then, you'll probably want to see it a third time - just because it's so terrific. Based on Yasmina Reza's award-winning play "God of Carnage", the author could not have asked for a better director than the great Roman Polanski to guide its four characters through a mud-swamped, mustard-gas-infused battlefield of nasty sniping - not in Beirut, mind you, but within the upscale luxury of a lovely New York apartment. Two relatively affluent 40-something couples meet over coffee and cobbler to discuss, in a civilized manner, the fisticuffs which broke out between their respective pre-teen sons. The conversation zig-zags between several topics, all related in some fashion to the initial offending action. However, once the coffee and cobbler is abandoned in favour of a bottle of scotch, the relative restraint gives way to a no-holds-barred, rock-em-sock-em, to-the-death cage match of verbal assaults and, much to everyone's surprise, an uncorking of everything that's wrong with both marriages.

Carre Blanc
Harking back to the great 70s science-fiction film classics, Jean-Baptiste Léonetti’s debut feature Carré blanc is easily one of the finest dystopian visions of the future to be etched upon celluloid since that time. The tale is, on its surface and as in many great movies, a simple one. Philippe and Marie grew up together in a state orphanage and are now married. They live in a stark, often silent corporate world bereft of any vibrant colour and emotion. Philippe is a most valued lackey of the state – he is an interrogator-cum-indoctrinator. Marie is withdrawing deeper and deeper into a cocoon as the love she once felt for Philippe is transforming into indifference. In this world, though, hatred is as much a luxury as love. Tangible feelings and simple foibles are punished with torture and death. Indifference, it would seem, is the goal. It ensures complete subservience to the dominant forces. Love, however, is ultimately the force the New World Order is helpless to fight and it is at the core of this story. If Philippe and Marie can somehow rediscover that bond, there might yet be hope – for them, and the world. It is this aspect of the story that always keeps the movie floating above a mere exercise in style and makes it an instant classic of science fiction. First screened at Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF 2011)

The Deep Blue Sea
Terence Davies might well be one of the most important living British filmmakers. Working in a classical style with indelible compositions, creating a rhythm through little, no or very slow camera moves and infusing his work with a humanity seldom rivalled, Davies recognizes the importance of cinema as poetry – or rather, using the poetry of cinema to create narrative that is truly experiential. Here we feel and experience the tragic tale of Hester (Weisz), who leaves her much older, though loving husband, the respected judge Sir William (Simon Russell) when she meets the handsome, charming Freddie (Tom Hiddlestone), a former RAF pilot who allows her the joys of sex for the first time in her life. Alas, Freddie’s a bit of a rake and soon tires of domesticity, and Hester is driven to seriously contemplating suicide. Sir William wishes desperately to have her back. The eternal dilemma is that Freddie doesn’t love Hester as much as she’d like, nor does Hester feel as much love for Sir William as he does for her. The triangle is played out with Davies’s trademark style and a welcome return to pubs thick with smoke and filled with songs sung by its inebriated denizens. Reminiscent of Distant Voices, Still Lives, the songs here are not so much a counterpoint to the drudgery of the characters’ lives as something indicative of an overwhelming malaise born out of repression and class. First screened at Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF 2011)

Father's Day
This is the astounding feature film (the second completed feature this year) from the brilliant Winnipeg filmmaking collective Astron-6 (Adam Brooks, Jeremy Gillespie, Matthew Kennedy, Conor Sweeney and Steven Kosanski) who have joined forces with the legendary Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz of Troma Entertainment to generate a film that is the ultimate evil bastard child sprung from the loins of a daisy chain twixt Guy Maddin, John Paizs, early David Cronenberg, Herschel Gordon Lewis and Abel Ferrara's The Driller Killer. Father's Day is a triumph! It happily combines the effects of asbestos-tinged drinking water in Winnipeg with the Bukkake splatter of the coolest artistic influences imaginable and yields one of the most original films of 2011. First screened at Toronto After Dark Film Festival (TADFF 2011).

God Bless America
A beleaguered 40-something schlub and a sexy teenage girl become a veritable Bonnie and Clyde – fighting for the rights of Liberals and anyone else who might be sick and tired of the mess America is in. God Bless America is one of the best black comedies I’ve seen in ages. Clinically insane and/or brilliant director Bobcat Goldthwait makes movies with a sledge hammer, but it's a mighty trusty sledge hammer. Some might take issue with the way he lets his central characters rant nastily and hilariously - well beyond the acceptability of dramatic necessity - but I have to admit it is what makes his work as a filmmaker so unique. He creates a world that exists within his own frame of reference which, at the same time, reflects aspects and perspectives that hang from contemporary society like exposed, jangled nerves. With God Bless America, Goldthwait delivers a movie for the ages – one that exposes the worst of America and delivers a satisfying Final Solution to the problem of stupidity and ignorance. The pace, insanity and barrage of delightfully tasteless jokes spew from him with a vengeance, but they're not only funny, he uses them to create a movie that challenge the worst elements of the Status Quo. It's a movie that fights fire with fire. Or rather, with a handgun. It’s the American Way! First screened at Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF 2011)

i am a good person/i am a bad person
Ingrid Veninger might well be cinema’s only living equivalent to a whirling dervish. Like a dervish, she honours her Creator (cinema), her prophets (John Cassavetes, Mike Leigh and others of a very noble tradition), then whips her imaginary concoctions into a frenzy – literally living and breathing cinema – producing work from within herself, her devotion and life in all its joy and sadness. The movie marketplace is replete with father-son pictures, but mother-daughter relationships – in terms of numbers and quality – pale in comparison. This is a film that contributes admirably to this relatively rare tradition. While on the film festival circuit last year for her hit film Modra, Veninger's dervish whirled out a script about a filmmaker taking a trip to Europe to present her film on an identical tour. She cast herself as the filmmaker Ruby, and her own real-life daughter, talented young actress Hallie Switzer as daughter Sara. Ruby is a loveable scatterbrain. Her film is a crazed, seemingly political avant-garde celebration of – ahem – the penis. Sara is decidedly serious – in general, but especially on this trip – and Mom’s carefree spirit is driving her up the wall. Mom, not totally oblivious to this, is still intent on having a good time. While in the UK, it’s eventually decided that Sara will go to Paris on her own to visit with relatives and Ruby will forge on to a screening at the Arsenal Cinema in Berlin. As mother and daughter each face personal challenges, it also becomes glaringly apparent how much they need and love each other. i am a good person/i am a bad person is full of humour – gentle bits of human comedy and (surprisingly) full-on Bridesmaids-style blowjob and scatological knee-slappers. This doesn’t temper any of the sentiment or emotion, but in fact, enhances it. And unlike Bridesmaids, i am a good person/i am a bad person NEVER overstays its welcome. The picture is taut, trim, hypnotic and passionate. Kind of like a whirling dervish. First screened at Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF 2011)

What’s not to love? Blending Warner Brothers gangster styling of the 30s, film noir of the 40s and 50s, Greek tragedy, Sirk-like melodrama and odd dapplings of Samuel Beckett’s "Endgame" and Jean-Paul Sartre’s "No Exit" and genitals, it is, like all Maddin’s work, best designed to experience as a dream on film. The elements concocted in Keyhole to allow for full experiential mind-fucking involve the insanely named gangster Ulysses Pick (Jason Patric as you’ve never seen him before – playing straight, yet feeling like he belongs to another cinematic era), who drags his kids (one dead, but miraculously sprung to life, the other seemingly alive, but not remembered by his Dad) into a haunted house surrounded by guns-a-blazing. Keyhole is, without a doubt, one of the most perversely funny movies I’ve seen in ages and includes Maddin’s trademark visual tapestry of the most alternately gorgeous and insanely inspired kind. But as in all of Maddin’s work, beneath the surface of its mad inspiration lurks a melancholy and thematic richness. All the ghosts of the living and the dead (to paraphrase Joyce) populate the strange, magical and haunting world of Keyhole – a world most of us, whether we want to acknowledge it or not, live in. First screened at Technicolor Screening Room - World Premiere at Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF 2011)

Fusing a darkly comic domestic drama with an impending apocalypse, Lars Von Trier has created a bold and original work. There’s obviously the possibility that the movie works on a purely metaphorical level since the planet threatening Earth is called Melancholia and as such, this all might actually be one grand statement that the sickness of depression is what threatens to swallow everyone and everything whole. I prefer, however, to think the metaphor exists within the literal context of life on Earth being snuffed out. I suspect this is ultimately the case as Justine's character feels like a mouthpiece for von Trier himself - especially when she very matter-of-factly declares: “The Earth is evil. Life on Earth is evil.” As evil as it may be for von Trier, this evil has also yielded his genius and, most importantly, gives us an exquisitely beautiful, haunting and thought-provoking work of art. Maestro von Trier has also created images that shall never retreat from the memory banks of all who see his film. And for every image of heartbreaking beauty, von Trier counters it with something so indelibly appalling that he creates, once more, an important film exposing the dichotomous nature of life itself. It’s a great picture! First screened at Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF 2011)

Midnight Son
Given what passes for vampires in these dark days of the ludicrous Twilight franchise, it seems almost insulting to toss this original and affecting horror movie into the same putrid bucket containing Stephenie Meyer's rank turds. Still, we must call a spade a spade and a vampire movie it most certainly is. However, Midnight Son is one of the creepiest, sexiest and truly romantic vampire pictures to grace the screens in many a new moon. Its unique blend of gorgeously gritty camerawork and equal dollops of both neorealism and existentialism, place the picture closer to the tradition forged by George A. Romero's Martin, Larry Fessenden's Habit and Abel Ferrara's The Addiction. What first feature filmmaker Scott Leberecht brings to the table that's all his is a tremendous degree of heart. He manages to shock us, creep us out AND move us. This is an astounding achievement. First screened at Toronto After Dark Film Festival (TADFF 2011)

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
With brilliant Swedish filmmaker Tomas (Let The Right One In) Alfredson at the helm, the 2011 feature version of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is one of the best movies of the year and one of the great spy movies of all time. George Smiley (Gary Oldman) and his boss Control (John Hurt) are high level members of the British intelligence service who are forced into retirement when a mission to uncover a Soviet double agent in their midst goes horribly wrong. A new breed/regime comprising Bill Haydon (Colin Firth), Percy Alleline (Toby Jones), Roy Bland (Ciarán Hinds) and Toby Esterhase (David Dencik) take over. One of them is a traitor. Smiley is secretly coaxed out of retirement to ferret out the Russkie mole. With the help of a keen young agent Peter Guillam (Benedict Cumberbatch) a former audio-visual specialist Connie Sachs (Kathy Burke), a rogue bag-boy Ricki Tarr (Tom Hardy), memories of Control's tutelage and a surprise ally, a complex chess game plays itself out as the layers are slowly stripped away to reveal the truth.Director Alfredson plunges us into the bleak, cold, rainy nightmare of the Cold War during the early 70s. With cinematography by Hoyte Van Hoytema (The Fighter) that harks back to the great work of Owen Roizman (Network, The Exorcist, The French Connection, Three Days of the Condor), Alfredson delivers a movie set in the 70s that looks and feels like it was MADE in the 70s. With gorgeous grain dancing across every frame, we're plunged into the murky world of bureaucrats playing deadly cat and mouse games. Gary Oldman owns this movie and delivers the performance of his lifetime. His astonishing poker-face and rigid body language are stunningly controlled. His most phenomenal work is when Smiley decides when to display, ever-so subtly, something resembling an emotion wherein we see what Smiley wants us to see, or what we (and other characters) THINK Smiley wants us to see. And let it be said that Oldman delivers one of the most staggering screen monologues in movie history - it's up there with the greats: Richard Burton's "Bergin" speech in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Marlon Brando's "fake Ophelia" lament in Last Tango in Paris and Al Pacino's "football is life" speech in Any Given Sunday.

(or just consider both lists as The Greg Klymkiw Top 25 Movies of 2011)
(in alphabetical order)

50/50 is a comedy about cancer. The incongruity of this might seem off-putting, but humour, for any illness (no matter how deadly), is in my humble opinion, the best medicine. Adam (Joseph Gordon-Leavitt) is a public radio reporter with a bright future. When he is diagnosed with cancer his life quickly unravels, but with the support of his best friend, he maintains an even keel. Will Reiser's semi-autobiographical and superbly structured screenplay delivers the requisite laughs and tears, but never feels false. This is all achieved in good measure due to Jonathan (All the Boys Love Mandy Lane) Levine's exquisite direction. First screened at Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF 2011)

The one thing worse than knowing a loved one has died is the horror of a loved one disappearing without a trace. It's knowing the truth that offers the most meagre shred of solace, or at least, acceptance. Not knowing, though, is the real horror. Absentia is a micro-budgeted independent horror movie brilliantly directed by Mike Flanagan that plays on these fears.First screened at Toronto After Dark Film Festival (TADFF 2011)

Down the Road Again Don Shebib, with his legendary Goin' Down The Road, practically invented English Canadian cinema with it's neorealist portrait of two losers from the East making their way in the big city. Shebib has crafted this deeply moving and funny sequel that works as a continuation to a movie beloved by many Canadians, but also works if one has never seen the original.

Hanna has the five-act structure of a Shakespearean tragedy and plays itself out rather deftly on a number of thematic levels – most notably that of family and what constitutes a family. This Grimm-styled fairytale (with subtle and not-so-subtle signposts along the way), blended with a Bourne-like action film and road picture, is ultimately the story of a young girl who finds her way out of a forest to do battle with an evil “witch” and be reunited with the father she loves.

Martin Scorsese's ode to the beginnings of cinema is a delight and probably the first movie shot in 3-D by a truly great director - and the effect, which I'm still not a big fan of, at least works nicely enough that it didn't drive me up the wall like it usually does. Telling the story of a young boy who tries to unravel a secret left by his late father and set against the backdrop of a Paris train station, it's a terrific movie for the whole family. Oh, and even more delightfully, one of the principal characters is none other than the true father of fantastical cinema and special effects, Georges Melies.

Killer Joe
At one point during William Friedkin's Killer Joe, an unexpected roundhouse to the face renders its recipient’s visage to a pulpy skillet of corned beef hash. Said recipient is then forced to fellate a grease-drenched KFC drumstick and moan in ecstasy while family-members witness this horrendous act of violence and humiliation. William (The Exorcist, The French Connection, Cruising) Friedkin, it seems, has his mojo back. Set against the backdrop of Texas white trash, a young man who needs to settle a gambling debt, convinces his father to hire a hit man to bump off his his ex-wife for the insurance money. From here, we’re handed lascivious sexuality, double-crosses, triple-crosses and eventually, violence so horrendous, so sickening that even those with strong stomachs might need to reach for the Pepto Bismol. First screened at Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF 2011)

As dramatically postulated in the latest production from the kubassa-stuffed-to-overflowing loins of the Winnipeg-spawned hit machine Astron-6, be afraid - be VERY afraid of the future. Straight from the jaws of Hell comes Draculon (Adam Brooks), a crazed totalitarian infused with a slavering desire to inflict pain. When a brave young soldier bites it, he gets mysteriously transformed by the mad genius Dr. Scorpius into MANBORG, the next best thing to Jesus Christ and/or Robocop. Our title hero joins forces with three superHUMAN heroes in the struggle to free Earth from the clutches of Hades. And it's a battle you'll never forget. The movie is replete with mega-martial-arts, chase scenes ATVs that fly, Tron-like arena jousts and plenty of shit that blows up real good. The movie was made for a thousand smackers, shot on glorious DV-CAM and includes tons of in-camera and rudimentary effects that resemble early 80s community cable blue screen and there's not one damn thing in this movie that looks awful. It's endowed with the visual splendour that can only come from filmmakers who love movies and movie-making. First screened at Toronto After Dark Film Festival (TADFF 2011)

Meek's Cutoff
This is one terrific offbeat western - a kind of country cousin to the Monte Hellman oaters The Shooting and Ride the Whirlwind, Peter Fonda's The Hired Hand, John Ford's Wagon Master and dollops of Terrence Malick's Days of Heaven. Telling the story of a young woman traversing across the open, deadly plains of 19th America, it has a meticulous pace, stunning visuals and the sort of elegiac quality that always serves a western very well. First screened at Toronto International Film Festival Bell Lightbox

Midnight in Paris
Far from his beloved Manhattan, Woody Allen continues to delight and dazzle with his tour through European backdrops. Owen Wilson and a lovely supporting cast take us into this magic realist tale of a screenwriter who mysteriously traverses back in time to 1920s Paris and cavorts with the likes of Ernest Hemingway, the Fitzgeralds, Gertrude Stein, et al and slowly discovers how empty his life in present day is and how he has to find some way of bringing magic back into his existence. First screened at Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF 2011)

This well directed sports biography from Bennett Miller features Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill as the real life managers who took a losing team, the Oakland Athletics, and applied statistical science and mathematics to building a winning team. The movie has a similar "everything you always wanted to know about" feel to the world of baseball as The Social Network had for Facebook. The difference is that Moneyball is actually good. First screened at Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF 2011)

Paul Williams Still Alive
Legendary singer-songwriter Paul Williams was so high on the radar. Then he dropped off. This is what precipitated and inspired this wonderful new feature documentary by Stephen Kessler who explains in his heart-felt narration how his rapturous adoration for Williams dissipated when life moved on and Williams became a fleeting memory. A chance Internet surf brought Williams back onto his radar. He eagerly wanted to know more about his childhood idol. What happened? Where was he now? What was he up to? What does a fan do in such circumstances? He makes a movie about it. We see a director who clearly loves his subject matterand as the film progresses, we experience a friendship developing between the two men. Very cool. First screened at Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF 2011)

Take Shelter
A simple family man in a rural locale begins to experience apocalyptic visions and obsessively begins preparing for the ultimate annihilation. It's survivalism in extremis and one of the creepiest movies of the year. Michael Shannon proves again what a phenomenal actor he is. The camera loves this guy and we simply can't take out eyes off of him for a second.

There Are No Outdoor Ice Rinks In Madrid
The brilliant Spanish-born, Canadian-raised film artist Bruno Lazaro Pacheco has etched a phenomenally poetic, personal and deeply meditative documentary that weaves his own family's flight from fascism with the tale of a Canadian who volunteers for the Spanish Civil War. Memory, family, political ideals that are hoped for and dashed blend lovingly in this powerful, complex indictment of fascism.

The King’s Speech gave me pathological hemorrhoids. Thankfully my piles receded after seeing Madonna’s W.E. This vaguely feminist fairytale crossed with fashion porn is a wildly stylish, dazzlingly entertaining and sumptuously melodramatic flipside to that horrendous Oscar-baiting nonsense. Instead of Colin Firth spluttering with nobility as King George VI in television director Tom Hooper’s painfully earnest snooze-fest we get an exuberantly acted reverie into the life of Wallis Simpson (Andrea Riseborough), the snappy dressing American divorcee who wooed King Edward VIII (James D’Arcy) into her boudoir, forcing him to abdicate for the woman he loved and thus allowing his stuttering, half-wit brother to mincingly don the Crown of Jolly Old England, hoist Blighty’s sceptre and eventually provide inspiration for the aforementioned hemorrhoid-inducer. Making a movie about Wallis and Edward and focusing on Wallis is – dare I say – something we’d ONLY see from a female director. So it’s Madonna. Why the fuck not? She’s been the primary fuel behind an astounding career and one with considerable longevity – driven by a brilliant ability to artistically reinvent herself. With W.E. she not only reinvents herself as a filmmaker to be reckoned with, she does so with audacity and aplomb. First screened at Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF 2011)

The Woman
As rendered by director Lucky McKee and his co-screenwriter Jack Ketchum, The Woman is, without a doubt, one of the most foul, wanton and viciously humorous movies of the new millennium. Like all corn-and-steak-fed American men, Chris wakes early in the morning and declares how much he loves the quiet of the country before revving up his ATV and tear-assing into the woods for some hunting - which yields a live trophy - a buxom, beautiful, feral woman from the backwoods that he manacles in the fallout shelter in order to civilize her. The civilization process includes being raped late into the night by Chris while son Brian watches jealously through a peephole. Eventually, as any eager All American Boy would do, the feral woman, is eventually tortured with wire cutters and sexually abused by the randy little chip-off-the-old-block. Can revenge be far behind? The Woman is an unflinching ride on the locomotive of excess that has turned America into a third-world country. The movie requires a strong stomach and open mind - anything less and you'll feel like you stepped into your worst nightmare. First screened at Toronto After Dark Film Festival (TADFF 2011).


Gary Oldman - Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Michelle Williams - My Week with Marilyn

Louis Negin - Keyhole

Tara Lynne Barr - God Bless America

Tomas Alfredson - Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy


The Descendants

Jack and Jill

(in alphabetical order)

The Artist
Homage to silent cinema yields the most annoying movie of the year.

A Dangerous Method
Dull Cronenberg misfire with Fassbender administering ho-hum spankings.

All the pretension and none of the charm of 70s-styled existential male angst.

The Eye of the Storm
Boring Australian chamber piece with one too many Geoffrey Rush nude scenes.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
David Fincher's utterly incompetent and unnecessary remake of a taut unpretentious thriller.

The Hangover Part II
A disgrace replete with poor writing and no laughs.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Boneheaded reboot of great franchise needing a reboot like I need hemorrhoids.

Straw Dogs
Abysmal, incompetent remake of Peckinpah classic.

The Tree of Life
The biggest sore-ass inducer of the year.

X-Men: First Class
Anachronistic, poorly executed reboot of comic book series.


The Adventures of Tintin
Battle: Los Angeles
Cars 2
Cowboys & Aliens
Crazy Stupid Love
The Day
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
The Green Lantern
Horrible Bosses
Larry Crowne
New Year's Eve
Sucker Punch
Super 8
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part I