MY TOP 10 FAVOURITE MOVIE TRAILERS

Written by Tyrone Bruinsma

Rules:
-Trailers for real movies (no parody or fan trailers)
-Movies do not have to be already released
-Films do not have to be as good as the trailer
-It has to be the trailer that is being judged
-Any official trailer counts
-Only one instance of a franchise or director (Different franchise continuities are permitted)

10. NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (Dir. Samuel Bayer. Released 2010)

So by all accounts, this actual film is pretty bad and don’t kill me when I say I haven’t seen the original series, only Freddy V.S Jason. But I will say that this trailer sells the creepy atmosphere, nightmarish execution and some of the nasty visuals I want from a horror movie. Also Jackie Earl Haley is amazing as Freddy in the terrifying sense (don’t hate me Robert Englund fans-he’s good) and the liens of dialogue he’s given do put me on edge. I think the use of slower pacing at first to rapid editing towards the end while showing enough gore and jump scares to get me invested. Regardless of the film itself, I love this trailer.

9. THE MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS (Dir. RZA. Released 2012)

I feel like I should watch more Kung Fu films, because this obvious homage to the classic ones is so much fun. Also even though Eli Roth is a guy I should like but don’t, this might be the best thing his name has been attached to. The trailer sells this epic Kung Fu story of multiple factions and characters so we can have awesome things like: Lucy Lui throwing flying fan blades, Russel Crowe as a cowboy type, Rick Yune as a dude with razor sharp armour, the RZA as a dude with the eponymous metal fists and Dave Bautista as a man literally made of metal. Also you have sexy girls, fun word play and gore-easiest way to sell me on a movie.

8. PROMETHEUS (Dir. Ridley Scott. Released 2012)

This is one of the most terrifying and atmospheric trailers that got everyone’s attention. Granted it promises a lot, but it’s great. Going back to how the original Alien was marketed with a droning score and brief flashes, Prometheus creates a beautiful and terrifying world. The visual are everlasting in ones mind, the horror and tension is palpable and that score is to die for. Plus the brief uses of dialogue makes them hang more prominently. I still love re-watching this trailer to see how horror is done.

7. ALADDIN (Dir. Ron Clements, John Musker. Released 1992)

While I saw the movie before seeing any trailer, this Aladdin trailer is really fun and brings me the joy of the original film. The music, adventure, danger, romance, comedy and fun are all in-tact. It is pretty much the original film all tied into a neat little bow, plus having the announcer tell you the story feels delightfully nostalgic and childhood memories of seeing other trailers rushes back. It’s basically a happy pill in a video.

6. JURASSIC PARK (Dir. Steven Spielberg. Released 1993)

Again, I saw the movie before the trailer: but I have one of those special edition all Jurassic Park movie packs and I scanned through the behind the scene stuff at least a hundred times and saw the trailers for the first three films and this one always stuck out to me. It’s pretty much a condensed version of the movie: first it’s whimsical and wonderful, then it turns into a scary monster movie. The wonderous John Williams score breaks down into a tension building rhythm and you’ve got me hooked like when I watch the film.

5. GODZILLA (Dir. Gareth Edwards. Released 2014)

This has a lot of the same qualities of the Prometheus trailer: moody, visually arresting and selling me on very few words. That HALO jump to a score piece from 2001: A Space Odyssey (which would be used in the eventual film) then going to tension building scenes of destruction and action…before cutting to the reason I saw this film-a dusty silhouette and the roar of Godzilla in all his glory. The best trailers at the end of the day appeal to your most inner likes, and this did that. Love the movie, love the trailer.

4. BATMAN RETURNS (Dir. Tim Burton. Released 1992)

I’m a Batman fan and of the original 4 Batman films…this trailer was what excited me most. The monstrous Penguin, sexy Catwoman and awesome Batman to the tune of explosions, punching and a truly epic score and narrator is what hooked me as a kid. I can see why this would be considered inappropriate for a child (mostly the sexuality on display), but it’s batman doing awesome things in a world with an aesthetic that I dig.

3. THE DARK KNIGHT RISES (Dir. Christopher Nolan. Released 2012)

This is the most openly awesome trailer involving Batman from start to finish. The finale in the Dark Knight trilogy with my favourite Batman nemesis Bane coming in full force. The epic scale action, the pounding score and juicy lines from everyone are why I love this trailer. It give me goosebumps every time, and while all the Dark Knight Rises trailers were awesome and epic, this was epic turned up to 11 and never stopping, plus this made Bane look like the badass that he is and I loved it.

2. SICARIO: DAY OF THE SOLDADO (Dir. Stephano Sollima. Released 2018)

I’m a fan of the original Sicario, so I was nervous when a sequel without the same director and cinematographer was announced (same writer though). However, my nervousness wore off when this terrifying sounding, nasty looking trailer came one with one of the most badass pieces of music I’ve listened to. The building tension matched to imagery that had me guessing would’ve been enough…but then all hell breaks loose when Benicio Del Toro uses his finger as pistol bump stock and I was hooked. It looked like the badass, nasty, epic and brutal sequel I wanted from Sicario and it was here.

1. BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE (Dir. Zack Snyder. Released 2016)

Ok yes, three of the trailer here were Batman movies-my fanboyism speaks for itself (but they’re not in the same continuity so I win). This wasn’t as kid grabbing as Batman returns or ruthlessly epic as Dark Knight Returns, but it was a slow visual build to something I’ve been wanting to see on screen for years…Batman fighting Superman. The build up through music, visuals and music was great…and then we cut to Ben Affleck in front of the Dark Knight Returns costume-and the trailer became the best thing ever. The score becomes a war theme, the Bat-suit, Bat-wing and Bat-mobile get visual show off pieces before we see Ben Affleck in the regular suit looking beastly. And then we have Ben Affleck in the Bat-Armour from Frank Millar’s The Dark Knight Returns staring up with glowing eyes in the rain at Superman, and saying in a deep scary robotic voice “Tell me, do you bleed? You will”. And my brain exploded. And yes I’m a fan of the film itself, but this trailer was great and it’s the trailer I watch most to inspire me as a filmmaker-boosh.

 

But I’m not trying to make an echo chamber so let me know what your favourite trailers are.

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Opinion Piece: Butch Hartman Streaming Platform Controversy

Written by Tyrone Bruinsma

Man I’m sick of good people turning bad…
 
Ok so for the uninformed: Butch Hartman (creator of Fairly Odd Parents and Danny Phantom) recently crowdfunded an animation streaming platform…however it was only upon completion he revealed it would be a Christian media platform (while bragging about his success and then pretending to be humble and making unsavory comments about suicide). Now Butch making Christian media or a Christian media  platform isn’t bad, I’m a believer in creative freedom, freedom of speech and freedom to create (not freedom from criticism because Butch is trying to cover this up a bit). The shady thing is that he LIED to people who gave money on his promise of creating new media…not creating a platform for his religious media. Kickstarter requires full transparency, and customers like transparency-so revealing this only just before the funding goal was reached is shady. Plus it’s somewhat shameless to exploit money for the sake of religious purposes.
Now Religious films and media aren’t wrong or bad: Veggie Tales still has its fans as a Christian kids show, but most modern religious media is pandering propaganda. I mean did you see that Jehovah Witness cartoon propaganda that told kids to tell the children of gay parents that their way of life is wrong and they need change to be accepted by Jehovah?…Because that was uncomfortable in more ways than one. There’s always been an uncomfortable nature based around religious media as a tool of propaganda, especially when it was aimed at kids (not to mention how Christian media is often the most dominating one). But bashing my head against that wall isn’t going to be a positive experience…however what did also catch me were Butch’s comments on “smutty content”. Also Butch claims propaganda is bad…but Christian media is kind of that.
Because while Butch was praising himself and his efforts, he also bashed Netflix for having “smutty content” and while he didn’t say kids were watching it-he said its “ruining the culture”. Now that ROYALLY angers me because yes, I’m someone who creates R rated type content and I don’t believe that a rating decides the quality of a film. Because have you seen the trash that is Peter Rabbit, The Emoji Movie or Nine Lives…because those are trash kid films as much as the next R Rated gore porn horror flick. And if we’re going to use Butch’s religious media, how about Mel Gibson’s ultra violent Passion of the Christ that was…well a “passion” project for Gibson who is Catholic and while controversial, it is a graphic depiction of a religious even that sticks in my mind and is a brutal version about a story of Jesus’s love for humanity (depends on your perspective). But, how many culturally important or artistically valuable films exist that aren’t children friendly?
-Taxi Driver
-Apocalypse Now
-Scarface
-Goodfellas
-The Godfather
-Fight Club
-Seven
-Halloween
-The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
-Blue Velvet
-A Clockwork Orange
-Full Metal Jacket
-Pulp Fiction
And that’s not even a quarter of the important films who are rated pretty much only for adults. The concept that mature/adult/sexual/violent content is wrong or immoral has always been an idiotic and evangelical pushing point. Suggesting that “oh this film or show has sex or violence makes it bad and evil” is something that we in the 21st century should dispose of, because it removes an nuance or conversation for a blanket statement. Taxi Driver explored the damaging psychology in a post Vietnam war and dark 70’s era, Scarface was openly a message on the damaging effects of drug abuse, Fight Club mocked masculine insecurity and fascism and A Clockwork Orange explored the nuanced subject of morality and freewill. Not every kids film is perfect and wholesome, and not every R Rated movie is an artistic tour de force. So Butch’s blanket statement can get stuffed.
As a creator, you should be transparent and maybe don’t be hypocritical or throw an entire medium under the bus for the sake of promoting your own goals. If you are a creator and you want to promote values…just make sure they’re universally good values.

A Discussion on Storyboarding, 2nd Unit Direction and Michael Bay

Some videos you should watch to compliment this:

Six Reasons You Should Respect Michael Bay
Michael Bay: What is Bayhem
Let’s talk about Shaky Cam
7 Things you Probably Didn’t Know about The Rock
Predator: Why is it so Good?

So as a filmmaker: Michael Bay is one of my influences. I respect the man and don’t have the same bile many critics have for him. The Rock, Bad Boys 2, Pain and Gain and 13 Hours are awesome, and I do love the Transformers franchise.

But there’s two things I do respect about him:
1. LACK OF STORYBOARDS
In most modern blockbuster films, everything is storyboarded (drawing out the shots of the film) and pre-visualised (often before a director is chosen). The Marvel Cinematic Universe follows this and most major directors like Steven Spielberg, Ridley Scott and David Fincher will storyboard their films. Pretty much you’ll have a comic book before you have a film (Look at Mad Max Fury Road as an example). Michael Bay, in all his massive 200 million dollar Transformers films-doesn’t. Instead he operates on blocking the scene out with his actors, visualising how he wants the whole thing to look on camera, in the edit and with visual effects planned  after. Bay basically comes up with the scene on the day and has to retain every bit of information to fully create the intended scene. The only other director I could find who doesn’t use storyboards is Werner Herzog (Director of Aguirre: The Wrath of God, The Fitzcarraldo, Grizzly Man, Rescue Dawn and Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans) who calls them a tool of the cowards. So say what you will about Michael Bay, he’s able to create and visualise entire massive CGI spectacles without having to draw it out and he does communicate it well to his crew and post production team.

2. HANDLES 2ND UNIT DIRECTION
For the uninitiated, 2nd unit direction is 2secondary shooting stuff like pick up shots or some action sequences that often don’t have the main titled director shooting. Examples like this would include the South Korean action sequence in Avengers Age of Ultron where Joss Whedon was not the director there, or the compound shootout in Predator where John McTiernan directed the build up to the sequence; but the 2nd Unit Director shoot the action itself. Often times, 2nd Unit Direction is somewhat perfunctory and basic, where the studios force a less experienced director to take a seat back and let a technical experienced director create the safe and mandated action the studio wants. 2nd Unit Direction is not bad, far from it-but using Predator as an example: the compound shootout’s build up is expertly crafted, but the actual shootout is somewhat stale and full of static shots that were just thrown together in the editing room. Now remember what I said about storyboarding and pre-visualisation earlier? Storyboards are often used nowadays when planning a film so everyone knows what’s being shot, the Marvel Cinematic Universe does this a lot to account for sometimes very new filmmakers coming on board. Even Steven Spielberg has left some of his action sequences in the Indiana Jones films to his 2nd Unit Director, but because Spielberg storyboarded everything-he knows he’ll still get what he wants. And some 2nd Unit Directors are major talent or go on to be major talent: like how The Wachowskis were the 2nd Unit Directors on V for Vendetta (mostly action) despite James McTeigue being the listed director, or Christian Rivers who served as a Splinters Unit Director on the Hobbit Movies and 2nd Unit director on the Pete’s Dragon remake has now directed Mortal Engines under producer Peter Jackson. But, Michael Bay ever since his early days has shot most of his 2nd Unit work (because the second unit team on The Rock didn’t do the best job). Because Bay has no storyboards, really only he can shoot what he’s looking for. And since he’s become specialised as an action filmmaker (while most studios hire dramatic or comedic directors who aren’t action specialists) he’s one of the few filmmakers who gets full creative control over his action sequences. While you can blame some movies for having weak action due to 2nd Unit Direction and editing by studio and marketing mandate, Bay’s action lives or dies by his hands alone-and I’ll still say he produces some awesome action sequences.

Some of my Favourites are:
-The Shower Shootout in The Rock
-The Truck Chase and Drug Den Shootout from Bad Boys 2
-The Base Attack from Transformers
-The 4 Way Battle in the Forest from Transformers 2
-The Chicago Battle in Transformers 3
-The Ratchet Assassination in Transformers 4
-The Defence Sequence from 13 Hours
-The Final Battle from Transformers 5

Michael Bay is a director I admire and aspire to be. He’s a rare auteur action director of big budget properties and he’s more focused on making what he wants-over everything else. While yes, he’s been somewhat forced to be the voice of the Transformers franchise for 10 years-it’s at least been a vehicle for visuals he wanted to create. Hell, Bad Boys, Pain and Gain and 13 Horus were films he was passionate about making and fought to make. Now obviously he’s not perfect (I dislike Armageddon, Pearl Harbour and The Island) and you can argue about his offensive content (even though he’s fought against Hollywood racism in real life and wasn’t one of the many filmmakers accused of sexual harassment in 2017) but I respect the man. What I find funny is how despite Hollywood treats Bay like the death of cinema-they often copy his style with the rapid cutting and cinematography techniques (like how Battleship and Battle Los Angeles were trying and failing to be Transformers clones).

I do think there’s certain criticisms against Bay that are nitpicks at best and hypocrisy at worst. Like how critics dislike his use of rapid editing in action films for ruining action cinema…but praise the headache inducing rapid edits of Baz Luhrman’s Romeo and Juliet or Moulin Rouge. And Bay has plenty of really good long takes like the 360 panning shots he’s known for (even if they’re stitched together like Birdman) or an entire action shot from Transformers 2 where Optimus Prime was bouncing between 3 Decepticons at once and it was in one take and awesome (but you can only watch it in the special edition-which kind of sucks).

Consider this: Bay is respected by Steven Spielberg, many big actors and is one of the very few big budget auteurs who built himself to this level. He’s no real hack and fits alongside Zack Snyder in the sense of big budget auteur filmmakers who specialise in action (and I think some of the stupid criticisms made against both directors are childish-like the Nostalgic Critic “jokes” about them in his videos). Bay still directs: his next projects being a Netflix film, an adaptation of Robopolcapse (that like Transformers was handed to Bay by Steven Spielberg), an Elephant poaching documentary (because Bay is actually a big animal lover, donating his Bar Mitzvah money to a animal shelter and he really loves dogs) and possibly the Lobo movie for DC because DC would let him make it his way.

And in terms of the Storyboard and 2nd Unit Direction-it works and doesn’t work for different filmmakers. Some directors can’t shoot everything (especially on giant projects with deadlines), and storyboards are your choice. Personally I like to visualise and storyboard big moments so everyone sees clearly (and because I like to do Satoshi Kon style match editing), but some scenes I like to see play out and improvise the camera on day. Everyone has a different directing style, none are more correct than any other unless you’re breaking logic/rules of basic story and cinema for no real reason.

Create what you want-that’s your goal as an artist.

TOP 10 WORST FILMS OF 2012

Written by Tyrone Bruinsma

Dishonorable Mentions:
-The Amazing Bulk
-American Reunion
-Battleship
-The Bourne Legacy
-Brave
-The Cold Light of Day
-The Devil Inside
-Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days
-The Five Year Engagement
-Foodfight
-Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
-The Guilt Trip
-The House at the End of the Street

-Ice Age: Continental Drift
-Jurassic Shark
-Men in Black 3
-Mirror Mirror
-The Odd Life of Timothy Green
-The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure
-Paranormal Activity 4
-Parental Guidance
-Pitch Perfect
-Possession
-Project X
-The Raven
-Red Dawn
-Rock of Ages
-Silent Hill: Revelation
-Silver Linings Playbook
-Snow White and the Huntsman
-Taken 2
-A Thousand Words
-The Three Stooges
-The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2
-Underworld: Awakening
-The Vow
-What to Expect When You’re Expecting
-The Woman in Black

10. THE HUNGER GAMES
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Don’t kill me Hunger Games fans (if you guys exist-man this franchise and craze died quickly) I wanted to like this. As someone who holds Battle Royale in my top 10 favourite films ever-I wanted to like a big budget kind of story like it…but I didn’t. Aside from the dialogue and performances before stock and bland for what would set the tone in “Sci Fi Dystopian Young Adult Novel” adaptations, it’s lacking overall. The themes aren’t as deep or intricate as the clear cultural parallels in Battle Royale, instead opting for the “High School Cafeteria” metaphor that’s boring. And unfortunately some of the coding (intentional or not) renders Katniss a somewhat male character, the “heroes” these blue collar working types and the “villains” with effeminate clothing and stylings. Like I don’t if that makes this film mildly sexist/homophobic-but if the intention was Romans feeding Christians to the Lions…why not just have the clothing be roman inspired. As for the filmmaking itself, Gary Ross is incredibly poor in the directors chair who is clearly uncomfortable shooting action-opting for shaky cam and rapid editing to hide any real kills. The major CGI is laughably inept, even though there’s behind the scenes stuff of them putting in mountains and a cart into scene with CGI…like-you nailed the stuff no one cares about for effects that look like 90’s b movies. And by the end: I didn’t care, didn’t have any fun and felt like my time was wasted. Even after this whole franchise…nothing really happened.

9. THE LORAX
Lorax teaser poster.jpg
A big corporatized version of a Dr. Seuss novel that softens, weakens and creatively destroys the mature and grey message of the original book. Thank you Illumination. Seriously, this movie is such a pandering mess (and considering the Onceler has a fanbase still…why) that has no actual voice or value-just pretending to be important. The voice acting is…meh, only one of the songs is somewhat entertaining (most of them being annoying or too cliché to remember) and this film’s humor is a poor excuse of comedy. So no, I don’t like this film and I’m not going to see Illumination’s Grinch adaptation because…why would I give myself another reason to hate cinema?

8. THIS MEANS WAR
This Means War Poster.jpg
It’s a sexist movie that was actually a decade old before it started production. You have two guys who find out they’re dating the same woman and proceed to compete like children for her intention instead of…doing anything remotely smart. Tom Hardy and Chris Pine…why are you in this? The movie doesn’t make any kind of criticism of the behavior on display and just treats it as funny. Plus…the coincidence that two friends who are spies would date the same woman is one of the most contrived things I’ve ever heard of. It’s not funny, smart, entertaining or worthwhile-it’s just stupid and you can thank the director of the Charlie’s Angels films for it.

7. ALEX CROSS
AlexCross2012Poster.jpg
It was either this or Taken 2 and this was worse. Tyler Perry as an action hero? FAIL! Sub-standard criminal minds plot? FAIL! Shaky cam and rapid editing making the action incomprehensible? FAIL! Remembering that Morgan Freeman’s attempts of this character with Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider weren’t much better? FAIL! I feel like director Rob Cohen has been losing his talent as he gets older. Like Dragon the Bruce Lee Story, Dragonheart and Daylight were all pretty good. The Fast and the Furious and xXx were fine I guess? The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor was…I don’t really know how to feel about that movie. But Stealth, Alex Cross, The Boy Next Door and Hurricane Heist (you didn’t’ even know the last one existed) are just bad. No wonder Marvel hires newcomers, old dogs can’t hold their own anymore.

6. ROOM 237
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This movie was supposed to be an examination on Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece The Shining…and instead was mostly idiots babbling about nonsense. Considering this film makes no mention of the hidden abuse narrative and barely touches on the themes of horror as coping with real world atrocities…it’s no wonder YouTube has become the place for film analysis. If you want to hear more about why this room is wrong watch Adam from YMS break it down. In short, most of it is listening to unedited audio of people talking over The Shining and rambling on about shelves turning into boners, “minotaur” imagery and making entire contemplations about nothingness and random stuff that has nothing to do with the movie. Yes, I get the argument of “Death of the Author” in that people can make their own assessments about what a movie means…but if you’re going to take a random (possibly fake) conversation with your son and make that the defining analysis of a movie-you might just be crazy and listening to you would be a waste of time. Also no, Kubrick didn’t shoot the moon landing-that’s also stupid.

5. LES MISERABLES
The poster shows the young Cosette, played by Isabelle Allen, in the background of a dark night. Text above reveals the cast listing and text below reveals the film's title.
So…Tom Hooper made this, King’s Speech and The Danish Girl…is it fair to say he sucks and that I’m afraid for his Cats film adaptation? Les Miserables is a poorly directed mess of an epic novel/stage play adaptation with the live singing gimmick demonstrating why you have songs dubbed in the first place. The cast either have bland voices or ear-splittingly annoying voices (I’m looking at you Amanda Seyfried) and Russel Crower might not sing bad…he’s just in the wrong genre of song. It’s not an epic or empowering story, it’s too long to be fun and not long enough to make sense (the story in general is just bad) and overall…I didn’t like it. Yes, I’m no fan of musicals much already but I really don’t like this.

4. SMILEY
Smiley Movie Poster.png
An “internet horror movie”…that doesn’t make good use of the horror genre or knowledge of the internet. Despite having Keith David briefly in this (then again this has YouTube actors you forgot existed) this movie is all kinds of trash. This movie ONLY make sense in terms of dumb movie logic and ONLY if you’ve no understanding of the Internet. This movie is trying to say that Anonymous and 4Chan have the desire to dress up in Smiley faced masks and kill people “for the lulz”…like…no. Anonymous is an anarchist group against mass control and people who get away with abuse…and 4Chan just wants to cause offence between people. The only way this movie makes sense is in the “OOO BE SCARED THAT PEOPLES FROM TEH ARE GON KILL YA”…instead of fears like hacking, sex trafficking, stalking, child pornography, dark web dealings and other legitimate stuff. Because serial killers don’t do what this movie claims…and even if this movie got that right…it’s not scary.

3. AREA 407
Image result for area 407
Don’t let this semi-cool poster fool you (there’s like three and this is the best one) this movie might be the worst found footage movie I’ve ever seen. I did a full review of this damn thing where I laid out its issues of needlessly dumb story, terrible effects and awful use of the found footage medium. But yeah, this is a found footage dinosaur movie with no merit or value outside of “how not to make a dinosaur or found footage movie”. Don’t watch it, please don’t.

2. THAT’S MY BOY
That's My Boy poster.jpg
This movie thinks statutory rape, incest, granny fiddling, child neglect, racism and homophobia are funny…I don’t need to say more right? It’s already a bad comedy with bad acting and bad execution…before we get to the comedy that makes fun of awful things. The jokes aren’t even directed right and seem to be leaning in Family Guy’s “So wrong so it must be funny” realm…but Family Guy never said statutory rape was funny (they made an episode about that). There’s a reason Adam Sandler doesn’t get many theatrical films anymore…garbage like this.

1. PIRANHA 3DD
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I already hated the 2010 version of of this that weirdly got positive reviews and having seen the original Roger Corman/Joe Dante version-there’s such a large quality difference between that original fun monster film and this trash. So…it already ignored that twist in the first film where the Piranhas were just babies and the adults were like from Mega Piranha and just goes “PIRANHAS IN THE WATERPARK” and I already checked out. The gore and sex from the first film is back but its worse and cringeworthy here – to the point that a piranha swims up a girl’s genitals without damaging her just so it can bite a guy’s dick off during sex. If you wanna see this like I did…waste your money. The cast is wasted (including Gary Busey and David Hasselhoff)  and only Christopher Lloyd is any good again. This film is just embarrassing with terrible jokes/kills (I can’t tell sometimes) and makes me wish someone actually watched the original film and went “Oh it’s a metaphor for how weapons we developed for Vietnam could harm American citizens” and did a modern equivalent…but no-let’s just have tits and gore and sex and fart jokes and that’s it. This film downright infuriates me and I legitimately think that if it was deleted from existence…nothing would be lost.

TOP 10 BEST FILMS OF 2012

Written by Tyrone Bruinsma

Honorable Mentions:
-21 Jump Street
-The Amazing Spider-Man
-Argo
-The Avengers
-The Bay
-The Cabin in the Woods
-Chernobyl Diaries
-The Dark Knight Returns
-The Dark Knight Rises
-Gyo: Tokyo Fish Attack
-Haywire
-The Hobbit: An unexpected Journey
-Justice League: Doom
-Life of Pi
-Lincoln
-Looper
-Magic Mike
-The Man with the Iron Fists
-The Pirates! Band of Misfits!
-Resident Evil: Retribution
-Rise of the Guardians
-Savages
-Sinister
-Skyfall
-Ted
-This is Not a Film
-Wreck It Ralph

10. SAMSARA
Samsara Film Poster.jpg
While more meditative art piece than film, Samsara is one of the most visually impressive films I’ve ever seen without CGI. Directed by Ron Fricke (who directed Baraka, Cronos and was the cinematographer of Koyaanisqatsi) and having been made over several years in dozens of countries-the film is about the patterns and similarities in life. It’s a beautiful story and film told without characters or dialogue; showing how humans all over the world and nature and man-made structures-all share some form of singularity and it’s beautiful. If you want meditation, peace and gorgeous imagery-I can’t recommend this enough.

9. THE MASTER
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It’s a well acted, entertaining and visually impressive drama by Paul Thomas Anderson that’s a subtle take-down of Scientology? Oh yeah, this is a good one. This film is primarily an acting showcase of the late Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix-essentially in what’s known as “The Processing scene”. Though not dark or disturbing, it’s an engaging mature drama about clearly damaged characters that I was riveted by. I’ve noticed a weird tendency of Paul Thomas Anderson films to revolve around…fluids I guess? There’s a special drink in this film and a lot of references to ocean currents (like connecting and a controlling people), the oil/blood imagery of There Will be Blood, the rain in Magnolia and the…fluid of Boogie Nights (you know what I mean if you’ve seen it) so I don’t know if I’m making this up or not. Still, if you’re also looking at subtle critique of Scientology or any cult, this also does that while being a good movie.

8. PROMETHEUS
A female figure in silhouette stands before an enormous statue of a humanoid head. Text at the middle of the poster reveals the tagline "The Search for Our Beginning Could Lead to Our End". Text at the bottom of the poster reveals the title, production credits and rating.
Yes, I like Alien Covenant more and I get a lot of the complaints against this movie but: I’m happy it doesn’t blatantly answer questions, I don’t agree with some of the small complaints and I’d like to remind people that this is still a B-Movie done A+. Seriously, Prometheus is Ridley Scott’s most gorgeous and visually well crafted film in the modern era (Gladiator is his best from the prior decade and Blade Runner from his earliest and is his all time best). The practical and digital effects are perfectly combined to create this truly  beautiful world, from the massive wide shots to perfect inserts. The plot isn’t a complete Alien re-tread and feels more like other B-movie horror plots with characters to fit (like a scene where two annoying characters trash talk each other while one smokes weed). It still feels unique enough and adds more interesting questions and concepts to the Xenomorph universe, even though I never really cared about the Space Jockey/Engineer from the original film. The main paradox I have between this and Alien Covenant is that Prometheus looks better (because Covenant was admittedly semi-rushed), while Alien Covenant is the story I cared more about. However this is a horror film so massive credit to the creepy score (which can be beautiful) thanks to Marc Streintenfeld, and there’s three sequences that made my skin crawl so amazing job team. The main scene I wish was altered was a scene that had a Xenomorph/Human hybrid attacking people as it’s infinitely creepier. But I still think this is great thanks to an amazing cast and isn’t as bad as many claim.

7. CLOUD ATLAS
Cloud Atlas Poster.jpg
The Wachowski’s most famous work might be The Matrix Trilogy, but I think Cloud Atlas and Sense8 might be their best. Cloud Atlas has the siblings (along with Run Lola Run and Perfume director: Tom Tykwer) bring Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, Doona Bae, Keith David Hugh Grant, Zhou Xun and many other talented actors in a story about reincarnation, human experience and universality. Yes, it’s had flack for actors sometimes not playing their race/gender: but it’s the point of showing how any being/soul can inhabit any body and I think that’s a very positive transhuman narrative (makes sense as the filmmakers are Tran-women). While this might’ve been captured more fully in Sense8 which tackles the same themes-Cloud Atlas does it on one of the biggest canvases ever. The Wachowskis go for big and bold-and while the result is not perfect (looking at you Jupiter Ascending,) Cloud Atlas is close enough to it.

6. DJANGO UNCHAINED
Django Unchained Poster.jpg
This is my favourite film by Tarantino. Not only it is a perfect cast, acted, written, directed, shot, scored and edited execution of the film it’s trying to be-but it’s pretty much a dark satire/parody of racism and the great crime of slavery in American history. Tying the lie of the romanticised American cowboy (which Spaghetti westerns did and this film is taking the style of) and tying it to the ugly truth of Slavery in America is kind of genius. It mocks the engine, the execution and nonsensical mentality of that entire crime, while framing Jamie Foxx’s Django as the kind of classic Caucasian hero legends and stories are often framed around. It’s also a hilarious film (mostly thanks to Christoph Waltz) and badass blood bath with Tarantino’s love for cinema on full display. Yeah, I love this and you should too.

5. DREDD
A futuristic police officer in armour and a helmet that covers all but his mouth stands on the corner of a building roof with a gun in his hand as large tower blocks burn behind him. Above the man reads a tagline "Judgment Is Coming".
While subtle, beautiful and introspective artistic works appeal to me-so do perfect executions of an ultra violent and badass action film. Dredd is one of the most awesome little (for 40 Million dollars) films I’ve seen in a long time. Don’t believe the lies that it’s a rip-off of The Raid (this thing was in the editing room by the time The Raid started shooting) and try to understand both films are different outside of a context free reading. Karl Urban is perfect as the heartless Dredd while everyone else build the world around him. The visuals are masterfully shown (2D or 3D) and this really is a hardcore action thrill-ride the likes of which we only got more of because John Wick was successful. Just go see Dredd-it’s AWESOME!

4. HOLY MOTORS
Holy Motors poster.png
One massive meta-arthouse piece to cinema can make me happy. This movie is all kinds of awesome and though the average audience might not get it: to those like me who love and breathe cinema…it’s kind of a masterpiece. The story of a man “acting” in different movies (by the transitions never really happen) and it being this entire inside meta commentary on the evolution and death of cinema by Leos Carax is beautiful and marvelous. The visuals, performances, direction, editing and execution is perfection. While I can’t guarantee the result will make everyone fall in love-it’s something I was enthralled by, so give it a chance.

3. END OF WATCH
End of Watch Poster.jpg
This is the best film David Ayer has made. The pseudo-documentary style is great in showing Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena be amazing characters, the script is tight and naturalistic, and its execution of action scenes are also done really well. This is such a simple film, but it’s executed perfectly and is infinitely more entertaining than over bloated crime films that are needlessly convoluted or overly action orientated. And that ending…100% feels. David Ayer does relationships either in the form of brother/family dynamics and he nails it here.

2. ZERO DARK THIRTY
ZeroDarkThirty2012Poster.jpg
I wasn’t sure if I was going to love this film. A 2.5 Hour procedural drama about the build up to executing Osama Bin Laden on paper doesn’t sound that interesting, but thanks to the ever talented Kathryn Bigelow (Blue Steel, Point Break, Strange Days, The Hurt Locker) it’s one of the best dramatic thrillers I’ve seen. While most of this film is the procedural exploits of a determined woman trying to find Osama, it’s still great (more entertaining than the forgettable and replaceable CSI type shows out there). The torture scenes are executed as is to be honest and not swing “This is good” or “this is bad” morals, but yeah it’s that end that rocks. The final 30 minutes of Seal Team Six flying in and sweeping through the compound housing the once most wanted terrorist is gripping as all hell. This film has the same effect as Tora! Tora! Tora! wherein the details and execution of everything of an event we already know is the interesting part. We may know the result of this mission, but seeing it unfold in uncompromising details is nail-biting perfection. I really dig this film so give it a watch.

1. WOLF CHILDREN
The poster shows a young woman holding two children, both with tails and wolf ears standing in a grassy field on a cloudy day with the sun coming out. At the top is the film's title, written in Japanese white letters and the tagline, written in blue letters. At the poster's bottom is the film's release date and production credits.
This movie made me cry faster than any other film-I’ve no shame in saying that. This is one of the most gripping dramatic stories I’ve seen and I love it. The story of a young girl who meets a dark stranger (who is a werewolf), falls in love with him, has his wolf children and then he dies (all in the first 15 Minutes) – forcing her to start a new life with her difficult kids elsewhere is one of the most beautiful and emotional stories I’ve seen. The animation from director Mamoru Hosada (The Girl who Leapt Through Tim, Summer Wars, The Boy and the Beast) is fantastic with some incredibly dynamic shots at play. The English and Japanese dubs are really well done, but it’s mostly the dramatic interplay that I love. I won’t spoil, but the changes characters go through and how other react makes me tear up every time. I really think this film should be seen more and I wish Western animation studios would make stories like this as opposed to…The Emoji Movie…or Boss Baby…or Cars. Wolf Children is beauty and art and my favourite film of 2012

A REDUX: TOP 5 HORROR FILMS

Written by Tyrone Bruinsma

So I’ve watched this Cinefix Video quite a lot in terms of looking for unique horror films, but it gave me a little challenge.

Basically Cinefix contend the best 5 horror films are:
-Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Slasher)
-Alien (Monster/Sci Fi)
-Silence of the Lambs (Crime)
-The Shining (Psychological/Supernatural)
-Psycho (Psychological Thriller)
With the respective replacements being:
-Blood and Black Lace
-The Descent
-Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer
-The Innocents
-Peeping Tom

So my personal challenge is to recreate the same list to fit those forms without resorting to other immediate classics or anything else Cinefix mentioned. I like to think I have a strong grasp of horror cinema so I’m gonna give it my best shot.

5. THE NEON DEMON (THE SLASHER)
The Neon Demon.png
So good slashers that aren’t already established are somewhat hard to come by  so ignoring: Halloween, Friday the 13th, Texas Chainsaw Massacre and A Nightmare on Elem Street leaves something to be desired. Scream doesn’t really count as it’s a satire (and I didn’t think it was that good). Maybe one of the better remakes like Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), The Hills Have Eyes (2006), Friday the 13th (2009) or Maniac (2013) could fit the mold if we pretend their originals don’t exist. Maybe Jason X as a self-aware parody of its series could get some love. I also could’ve picked often forgotten films in the slasher mold like You’re Next, The Terminator, Wolf Creek, The House on Sorority Row or the original My Bloody Valentine. But for this, I decided to go with Nicolas Winding Refn’s The Neon Demon. So while not entirely a slasher, Refn has said the film is directly inspired by The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It is art-house sure and it doesn’t follow a traditional format by any means, but it feels like a reforming of the Slasher/Final Girl concept by making beauty dangerous. I don’t want to spoil how it goes, but it’s defintley a new classic worth exploring-because it is kind of awesome.

4. A QUIET PLACE (MONSTER/SCI FI)
The film poster shows a close-up of Emily Blunt in-character with her hand over her mouth.
Replacing Alien or The Descent was hard. In terms of enclosed space monster types of films: I could’ve picked above average works like Leviathan and Virus, underrated films like Pandorum or The Void, surreal Lovecraftian nightmares like From Beyond of Beyond the Black Rainbow or South Korean classics like Train to Busan or The Host. For me, it came down to two choices and while I wish I could give it to The Relic…A Quiet Place really was a revelation to me. A Quiet Place was one of the most nail-biting experiences I ever had, mostly because of its execution. That’s the truly great monster movie, not the question of if it can kill-but the dread and making us not want to see it kill people (but secretly wanting to). A Quiet Place was thematically and sub-textually potent to boot and regardless of the silly nitpicks people have suggested, I think it’s a new classic.

3. ZODIAC (CRIME)
Zodiac2007Poster.jpg
There’s not many choices of crime centered horror films after Silence of the Lambs and Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer…let alone good ones. There’s David Lynch’s Lost Highway as dream-like horror, Misery as a portrait into an obsessed mind, Ridley Scott’s Hannibal that might be better reviewed if its predecessor didn’t exist and the visually stunning The Cell. But I went for an incredibly unconventional pick…one that isn’t really horror, but has enough classifications for me to do so-David Fincher’s Zodiac biopic. Aside from the fact that it’s based on the real unsolved serial killer, many sequences feel immensely scary: the opening kill, the call to a television station and ESPECIALLY the basement scene. The Zodiac killer is never given a perspective and when we have our main characters under threat, it feels terrifying. No it’s not really a horror film, but it’s still scary where it needs to be and in the best way by a master.

2. RING (PSYCHOLOGICAL/SUPERNATURAL)
Ringu (1998) Japanese theatrical poster.jpg
So finding a psychological horror or “is there or isn’t there” supernatural film to equal or replace something like The Shining is hard. There’s lower entries like Below, Blair Witch, Candyman, Silent Hill or In the Mouth of Madness. Better options could be Hereditary, 10 Cloverfield Lane, Wake in Fright, Crimson Peak, Deathwatch, Mother! or A Cure for Wellness. However I decided to go for the original J-Horror classic Ring (and not its still good but purely supernatural American remake) as it fits the mold of psychological horror and questioning the supernatural elements. While at first I wasn’t 100% on board, I realised it was pretty brilliant by the end-especially in comparison to the good enough remake and the ending has a lot to do with it. So while you might have to restructure your mind if you know this story, give it a watch if you’ve never seen this exact version.

1. PERFECT BLUE (PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER)
PerfectBlue.jpg
Picking a pure psychological thriller replacement was hard, I could really only come up with four options: the original Maniac, the J-Horror Audition and David Cronenberg’s Dead Ringers. But I think the best Psychological Thriller that isn’t Psycho or Peeping Tom is the anime Perfect Blue. This was done be deceased anime master Satoshi Kon (Paranoia Agent, Millennium Actress, Tokyo Godfathers, Paprika) and it’s a psychological horror film that was influenced by the likes of Alfred Hitchcock and David Lynch, that would go on to influence the likes of Darren Aronofsky and Christopher Nolan. The story of a pop-star turned dramatic actress dealing with stalkers and self hatred is the perfect kind of psychological tale I love and the crazy execution matches the mental sate of the character. I get that there’s some distaste for the film due to its use of editing to confuse, but I think that’s the intention. Other films like Psycho have somewhat played with questioning sanity in a basic sense, Perfect Blue lets it bleed into the film. And I think it’s a new horror masterpiece.

So there’s my list, hope you like it.

Thank you for reading
-Tyrone

TOP 10 WORST FILMS OF 2013

Written by Tyrone Bruinsma

Dishonorable Mentions:
-21 and Over
-American Hustle
-August Osage County
-Beautiful Creatures
-The Big Wedding
-The Book Thief
-The Butler
-Carrie
-The Counselor
-Diana
-Ender’s Game
-Escape from Planet Earth
-The Fifth Estate
-Free Birds
-Grace of Monaco
-The Great Gatsby
-A Haunted House
-The Host
-The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
-Inappropriate Comedy
-The Incredible Burt Wonderstone
-Inside Llweyn Davis
-The Internship
-Jobs
-Last Vegas
-Oldboy
-Paranoia
-The Purge
-R.I.P.D
-Runner Runner
-Scary Movie 5
-The Smurfs 2
-Texas Chainsaw 3D
-Thor: The Dark World
-We’re the Millers

10. THE LONE RANGER
A man with his face painted white and a black bird on his head, beside a man in a black mask and white cowboy hat.
What makes me the angriest about this film is that this was nominated for Best Visual Effects at the Oscars and not Pacific Rim…what the hell? Also the fact that most industry people took this as a sign that the Western genre was dead (and not the film sucking) was the reason it failed. Gore Verbinski of Pirates of the Caribbean fame couldn’t make this bloated, tonally incoherent mess work. Only the final action scene works in terms of execution and directing. But the entire narrative feels miscalculated and full of the worst parts of the Pirates franchise. Johnny Depp as Tonto is offensive besides being a bad performance. The rest of the cast do nothing and Armie Hammer shows in other films he’s better suited as a comedian or seducer as opposed to the classical Hollywood hero. I wanted to somewhat like this…and I didn’t.

9. 47 RONIN
47Ronin2012Poster.jpg
This is the movie I wanted to like the most and it just wasn’t good enough. This is the result of having a first time feature director be given a 175 Million Dollar budget for a questionable project. This film is not the true story of the legendary 47 Ronin tale, it is not the truly epic Lord of the Rings adaptation of it…it’s just kind of a mess. There’s characters like the Dutch Pirate that are on the poster and part of the promotion…but never so much as a have a speaking line. It’s clearly cut down from a much larger film, Keanu Reeves doesn’t need to be here and considering the opening action scene is an overly shaky mess of a CGI animal-the overall execution doesn’t work. This really is more disappointing rather than aggravating, in my opinion-this might have done better as an anime series or purely Japanese epic fantasy film as opposed to what it is.

8. GETAWAY
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A junkie action film starring Ethan Hawke and Selena Gomez that primarily is a practical car chase film shouldn’t be bad…but it is. This movie comes courtesy of Courtney Solomon, a man whose produced horror films you’ve never heard of and whose only directorial projects were An American Haunting and Dungeons and Dragons.  With Getaway as his third time behind the director’s chair: he’s proven he can’t direct fantasy, horror or action. Despite having an 18 Million Dollar budget, it looks worse than microbudget European thrillers, thanks to poor colour grading and the cliché rapid edit with shaking camera. Even in terms of similarly budgeted action films: Smokin’ Aces cost 17 Million Dollars and was infinitely better in everyway.  This would probably be the worst action film if it wasn’t for another film on this list, but why couldn’t this film be a junkie fun 70’s ride or even a low key Bullitt?

7. AFTERSHOCK
Aftershock movie poster.jpg
There’s actually a 2010 Chinese film called Aftershock that’s infinitely better than this. This was written, produced and stars Eli Roth, and it has all the problems I have with his directed films: gore that’s not intense or fun, a wasted premise for clichés and stupidity and overall a film I should like, but don’t. The characters aren’t interesting or even basically fun enough for death. The directing isn’t special, and the horror never comes from the environment or the disaster itself…mostly just from generic bad guys that reminded me of No Escape-a better film. Like, at least make a fun disaster film or do something weird like underground monsters. I know the whole point of the film is supposed to be “humans are scarier” … but when you’re doing it in a really unrealistic way…that point fails.

6. A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD
A Good Day to Die Hard.jpg
While this movie is bad, it’s only as bad as about Taken 2…the difference being Die Hard used to be great. From the director of Max Payne and The Omen remake (really?) comes a generic action movie plot that happens to contain John McClane…I think? Bruce Willis really doesn’t act anymore and it’s irritating. There’s no fun to be had, the action is terribly shot and uninvolving (asides from being unrealistic considering the franchise) and overall…nothing happens. Bad storytelling, bad acting, bad direction, bad editing-the only thing keeping this from being god awful is that it has a budget at least and could maybe be background entertainment.

5. SHARKNADO
Sharks flying through the air, caught in a tornado. In the background is a ferris wheel.
I hate this movie franchise for ruining the concept of shark films. Shark films will no longer be measured by Jaws, Deep Blue Sea or even The Shallows…no it’s just the Sharknado franchise. So now when I try to sell my shark films (films that aren’t trying to be stupid) they’re automatically compared to this trash series…thank you Asylum. Sharknado isn’t fun…it’s a bad comedy that happens to have sharks. Aside from the one decent visual of a shark being chainsawed in half…this whole thing is bad. This movie doesn’t care if it’s good or bad, so why should I care about it? Oh wait, I care because I’d like a sub-genre to not be exclusively judged by a lucky trash success. It’s not even artistic trash like Hobo with a Shotgun, Natural Born Killers or Spring Breakers…it’s just trash.

4. AFTER EARTH
After Earth Poster.jpg
Oh M. Night…stop trying to make blockbusters. The Last Airbender was worse in that you ran a masterpiece of animation through the mud…but this is still an original sci fi film that you messed up royally. You had Will and Jaden Smith, 150 Million Dollars and an entire world to play with…and you made an overly convoluted, yet childishly simple story with terrible dialogue and writing, lame action and a nothing resolution. Will Smith give the worst performance ever because his fun energy is removed, Jaden Smith was clearly not ready to hold his own and…look this movie has no positives and only benefits from occasionally fitting production design. Although I think if this had been made with passion in 70’s by a talented crew and cast…it might’ve been great.

3. IDENTITY THIEF
Identity Thief Poster.jpg
Considering identity theft isn’t funny in real life, making a basic roadtrip comedy out of that isn’t funny. Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy give some of their worst performances in a soft Midnight Run rip-off…that gives the unrealistic depiction of identity fraud and tries to make it funny. Considering this movie already isn’t funny…this whole thing was just a terrible idea.

2. GROWN UPS
Grown Ups 2 Poster.jpg
So aside from this being worse than the first one (to the point one of the main five wouldn’t return) the main thing that makes me want to burn this film to ash is that is opened up against Pacific Rim…and made more money that opening weekend. It’s kind of similar to how Pitch Perfect 2 opened up against Mad Max Fury Road and made number 1 at the box office. I wouldn’t care…but studios see those numbers and they show what audiences want. So forgive me if I’m angry that people refuse to watch big fun blockbusters with a brain…because a comedy they’ll forget in one minute is playing. Considering this is just overall terrible and Adam Sandler has become Netflix cannon fodder…I think his punishment is being served.

1. MOVIE 43
Movie 43 poster.jpg
This movie aspired to be the worst film ever…and it didn’t even achieve that really. It’s still an offensive and offensively awful comedy for sure but…it’s not worse than film that try and fail so hard. It runs SO many actors into terrible scenes (the worst being Hugh Jackman with balls on this neck) that I questioned what was going on. Was this performance art or someone proving that you can openly pitch the worst idea, commit it to being terrible…and Hollywood will still greenlight, fund and release it? Even director/writer James Gunn of the Guardians of the Galaxy films has a credit as director here…that’s a black mark about as bad as it could get. I’d say that if this movie was never made the world would be better…but then I’m sure someone would still eventually make this. What sounds worse than a series of actors doing the worst ideas possible? And why does that sound like something cinema had to make exist? Regardless, I hated this movie- the worst of the year.