Friday, December 30, 2011

Jason's Top 10 of 2011

There was a time when I saw almost everything that hit mainstream theatres. A lot has changed since then. For one, I've come to dislike most of what Hollywood dishes out week after week, finding it boring, unoriginal tripe designed for mass consumption. No chances are taken . . . because taking a chance can hurt box office.

Then there's the show, which requires Shawn and I to watch two movies a week that are away from the mainstream. No complaints; none at all. But it leaves little time to track what's playing in theatres in our home town.

That said, this is a list that's very different from other Top 5 or Top 10 or Top Whatever lists floating around out there. It's a list cobbled together from what I've seen in 2011 and largely from what's been viewed on the show. I can do no more, or no less.

Enjoy the list, and remember: Shawn and I are back on the air Friday Jan. 6 at 10 p.m. PST on 92.5FM CFBX Kamloops, Shaw Cable 106.1 and We've got the return of The Arrow himself, John Fallon, and reviews of Grave Encounters and Julia's Eyes. Awesome doesn't begin to describe the hour of radio that awaits!

1) Troll Hunter
TRROOOOOLLLLLLLL! That will never get old. This is one of the few found-footage films that gets it right. We see enough of the monsters, the camera doesn't shake so much that we get motion sickness, and not too much time is wasted on the boring humans. Actually, the humans are kinda interesting! And I believed everything I saw in this movie, even though it's 100 bullshit. By the time this movie was done, I was convinced trolls exist, at least in Norway. That's the sign of a great movie, people. Hollywood take note: this is great entertainment. Don't remake it, just give it a wide release and you'll make the millions you so desire. A Good from The Basement on this.

2)  Buried
I love movies that leave me feeling like I've been punched in the gut and this movie did that to me. The final 10 minutes are unbearably suspenseful and the ending, although some may see it coming, still packs a wallop. This is the kind of movie Alfred Hitchcock would have made if he were still with us. It's cinematic, emotional and even shocking despite its cramped quarters and features a great performance by Ryan Reynolds. This is a one-man show and he owns it. A Good review from me.

3) Rubber
Rubber is a slap in the face to Hollywood and all the sheeple who flock to the mass-market garbage movie studio's make. As long as the sheeple keep watching movies like that, Hollywood will keep making them. That's what Rubber is about, but it's also about a killer tire named Robert. To say Rubber is witty as hell and twice as funny would be an understatement. It's ballsy and has something to say. People will either groove on that or hate it. I grooved on it, and it's getting a Good in books.

4) Kidnapped
Where to begin? First off, I dig the way it was shot. Lots of long tracking shots to give it a documentary feel. Also love the split screen. It ramps up the tension and the thrills. Some sequences almost knocked me out! And the ending? Killer! Left me spinning on me heals and feeling like I'd been punched in the stomach. Not for the faint of heart or fans of mainstream cinema. Kidnapped pulls no punches and takes no prisoners. It's a Good. I gotta watch it again!

5) Attack the Block
I'd rather watch a movie with juvenile thugs as the main characters than rich, pretentious white people. I'm talking about YOU Skyline. These are the kinds of people you want protecting the planet: real people who, despite being scared, ACT. They know how to defend themselves and their block. They kick ass. Lots of it. And they're about 15 years old. This is a fucking awesome movie! Gory. Scary aliens. Chases. Some good one liners. A fun ride! Better than most movies of its kind. A Good for me.

6) Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil
What a fun, likable movie with lovable characters and some great, gory deaths -- none of which are at the hands of another character! And yes, Katrina Bowden is gorgeous. Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil isn't laugh-a-minute funny, but I did laugh a lot. And one's enjoyment of it doesn't hinge on whether or not he or she is a horror fan. If you dig horror comedies in the vein of Shaun of the Dead, you will likely enjoy Tucker and Dale. I did, and I'm giving it a Good.

7) ChromeSkull: Laid to Rest 2
Best. Slasher. Sequel. Ever. There, I said it. This is an original piece of work, at least for the genre. Yet it gives fans what they want: more blood, more gore, and cooler kills. Yet there are ideas at work here. Hell, the main villain, ChromeSkull, has a pit crew -- a whole network of people working for him. No wonder he can pull off what he does! Even Brian Austin Green was good here. He was creepy, messed up, and a total wanna-be ChromeSkull. The little game of Who Is the Better Killer that he and the original play is F-ing cool. ChromeSkull is quickly becoming one of my favourite slasher villains, and this film lands firmly in the Good. For shizzle.

8) The Loved Ones
Wow, what an experience. I've never gone from hating a movie to loving it before. But I did here. Believe it! The first 40 minutes or so are disjointed and weird. Then the film has a brilliant turning point and it all comes together in the best possible way. Robin McLeavy is a revelation as Lola, one of the creepiest movie villains of all time. Her family makes the one from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre seem oddly tame. This is a disturbing and crazy film that is also a lot of fun. I have to give it a Good.

9) Catfish
Fact or fiction? Or does it even matter? This sure looks and feels like a documentary. No note is false. Every person feels 100 per cent credible. If it's bullshit, then give the makers an award anyway. This movie pulled at me. I felt every emotion while watching it and it's certainly a work for our times; kind of a high-tech, real-life thriller. And, true or not, every Facebook user needs to see this because there is no doubt in my mind this happens every day to people who spend too much time online. In fact, I'd be willing to screen it to people just for that purpose. This is a Good for sure.

10) Burning Bright
Jaws on land. That's the best way to describe Burning Bright, although it isn't as good as Jaws. This is a tight thriller with lots of expertly executed suspense. Briana Evigan acts as good as she looks, and she looks great. I believed her and her relationship with the autistic brother. Burning Bright is a solid horror movie, and one of the best I've reviewed in The Basement. A Good for me.

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