Thursday, February 14, 2013



2012 had an eclectic mix of all kinds of subject matter for the movie year. There are a lot of familiar trends as usual like superhero movies ruling the box office and the quality movie year not really kicking in until October. It was a brutal first few months of the year followed by a weak summer and then finally a plethora of great movies coming out in the last three months. That's normal for every year, just look at the list of Best Picture nominees at the Oscars. Most of those movies were released around the fall and Christmas. I do love discovering new movies including a movie that is on my top ten list that I knew nothing about when I popped it into my DVD player. I love surprises and there were many and I love discovering all this new talent and new stars emerging. "The Regular Moviegoer" is really about the love of movies, good, great and bad and embracing them all the same. I try to not be too critical but when a bad movie comes along I have to tear it apart. I always find more good and great movies to like than bad ones to hate so I must be doing something right.

I want to focus on the great talent that emerged and continued to entertain us immensely this past year but there is one thing that bothered me about this past year. A terrible tragedy happened this past summer when a man entered a theater in Colorado during a screening of "The Dark Knight Rises" and shot up the theater killing a group of people that just wanted to experience the joy of film. This again brought up about the violence in movies and their influence on sick people like this shooter. My condolences to the families and friends affected by this tragedy but I can't let go this ideal that a Batman movie or violent movies had something to do with this tragedy. This person was sick and troubled and he would have done this despicable thing anyway without any influence. This is the typical blaming some institution for someone's evil actions. Movies are an easy target but less violent movies will not fix the problem. There has been violence in books, television and movies for centuries and other countries get the same movies we do and some of those countries have less deaths and shootings than we do. I have seen so many violent movies, even when I was a kid and I was never weak enough to blame movies on something I did that was wrong. I will not let people attack the institution that I love without looking at the real problem, that our gun laws are very weak and absurd.

Now that I have gotten off my soap box let's get into the wonderful, weird and bad year in movies for 2012 and I will start with my annual Faces of 2012. They are stars to watch out for and actors that made indelible impressions on me this past year and that I want to see a lot more of.

1.) Genesis Rodriguez in Man On a Ledge: So I am watching this DVD of a movie that received terrible reviews and I am having a fun time. There was an actress in this movie that I couldn't keep my eyes off of and everytime she was on the screen she made this movie that much greater. Enough to almost bolster this movie to my top ten list. Genesis Rodriguez owned the screen, being beautiful, funny and showing major charisma enough to make me remember her days after I saw this little, critically panned heist movie.

2.) Jack Black in Bernie: Jack Black has always been seen as a goofball but like John Belushi he has a major acting talent. Like Belushi he can do drama and he proved it with this small Richard Linklater based on true life movie. It was a totally controlled performance and after a while I forgot it was Jack Black on the screen and believed I was watching Bernie.

3.)Ti West, the director of The Innkeepers: The art of the effective and classy, scary horror movie is back due to Ti West. The director of my favorite horror movie of the last few decades, "House of the Devil", has made another winner. "The Innkeepers" was like an old fashioned ghost story that was well told, funny, scary and that actually had a solid, creative story.

4.) Mark Duplass in Safety Not Guaranteed and My Sister's Sisters: Mark reminds me of Tom Hanks with his easy going charm and sense of humor. He plays an everyman character with the same polish as Hanks. He was great in two of the best independent movies of the year and he made solid contributions to some blockbusters also.

5.) Aubrey Plaza in Safety Not Guaranteed: Aubrey Plaza is a total hilarious delight with her deadpan delivery as April in the television show "Parks and Recreation". The deceptively beautiful and gifted actress headlined one of the most creative and best movies of 2012. She gave another type of performance, funny, charming and not deadpan like her April character and she was a pure delight. Hollywood could build a big budgeted Hollywood movie around her if they had the guts.

6.) Matthew McConaughey in Bernie, Killer Joe and Magic Mike: It is now time to take Matthew McConaughey seriously for until now he has been seen as just another pretty, vanity type actor. McConaughey played a small town lawyer, a sinister and sick killer and a mother figure to a bunch of male strippers. All different roles and all deeply portrayed and great performances, all individual. I still think his performance in "Magic Mike" should have been nominated for an Oscar.

7.) Tom Hardy in The Dark Knight Rises and Lawless: Hardy is a very intense actor who has made such a huge impression in such a short time. He gave what could have been an incomprehensible character clarity, life and intensity in Bane. He also, along with a special actress, was the most interesting and strongest part of the moonshine drama "Lawless".

8.) Ben Affleck, the director of Argo: For an actor I used to not care for, to an actor I was rooting for and now a highly accomplished and smart director. Ben Affleck has won me over and his movies just keep getting better. "Argo" is a flawlessly directed and compelling drama and I look forward to more Ben Affleck directed movies.

9.) John Hawkes in The Sessions: John Hawkes is still not well known to movie audiences especially after getting snubbed by Oscar for his amazing performance in this touching drama. From his gut wrenching performance in "Winter's Bone" to now this sweet and powerful performance John Hawkes should be recognized!

10.) Helen Hunt in The Sessions: Helen Hunt has been away from the big screen for a while and she comes back in a big way in "The Sessions". She reminds us of how graceful, real and assured her performances are and she brings life and sweetness to this very touching drama.

11.) Kelly Reilly in Flight: Here is a striking actress that I have seen before and that I definitely want to see again! Before I saw this movie I expected a great performance by Denzel Washington but I didn't expect to find a performance by a great new actress that equals Washington's.

12.) Leslie Mann in This Is 40: Leslie Mann is that great combination of sexiness, beauty and a sense of humor that is appealing. She is charming and funny and steals this funny comedy from her other equally talented co stars. This is a performance that should catapault Mann to other movies other than her husband's films.

13.) Jessica Chastain in Zero Dark Thirty and Lawless: Jessica Chastain has been in so many movies these past two years you think you would get sick of her. No, this beautiful and graceful actress is a throwback to actresses like Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn. In "Zero Dark Thirty" she is the center and life force of this explosive drama with a controlled, powerful and in a final shot vulnerable and heartbreaking performance. Also in a movie dominated with male characters in "Lawless" she steals the movie away from the men folk.

14.) Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook and Hunger Games: First Jennifer Lawrence was nominated for a raw, mature and powerful performance in "Winter's Bone". Then she became a star as heroine Katniss Everdeen in "The Hunger Games". Then at the end of 2012 she gave my favorite performance of 2012! In "Silver Linings Playbook" she totally owns the screen and wraps the movie up in her little finger. She is beautiful, sexy, funny, heartbreaking and charismatic as she takes scenes over with ease and confidence. The fact that she is only in her early twenties is astonishing and incredible.

15.) David O' Russell, director of Silver Linings Playbook: David O'Russell started off with a quirky sense of style with a few independent films. Now he has directed two of my favorite movies of the past 15 years. First there was the best movie of 1999, my favorite war film of all time "Three Kings". Then he touched on the fight game with "The Fighter" with another masterful job. In 2012 he has directed a heartwarming and crowd pleasing comedy/drama that touched me more than any movie has this past year. Every movie he has made is different from the other and that makes him one of my favorites.


Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie
The Raven
Mother's Day
High School-
Total Recall-Unneccessary remake
Red Hook Summer-Spike Lee's worst movie
Bachorlette-Shameless and very unfunny Bridesmaids rip off
Hyde Park On the Hudson-terribly executed, worst movie about a President ever made

10.) Hope Springs: This badly written movie made me cringe a lot with it's phony story, bad dialogue and embarrassing therapy session scenes. Tommy Lee Jones and Meryl Streep look lost and have never come off as lame in their careers as they do here. They try their best but this dumb movie fails them.

9.) Taken 2: The worst sequel of the year and bad because it copies everything from the original, adding nothing new except for an embarrassing final fight scene.

8.) Les Miserables: I know, I know there are people that love this movie as much as I hate it. I just found it insufferable, overbearing and depressing. I am told the story's power comes from it's story but I thought the story was ridiculously phony. I am also told that audiences are crying buckets of tears. I didn't feel anything so you fans can watch this over and over and cry everytime. I will watch a real musical instead and cry at real emotion as I pop in the dvds of "Fiddler on the Roof" and "Hair".

7.) Rise of the Guardians: This stop motion animated movie is the creepiest and again one of the most depressing children's films I have seen.

6.) Tie: The Apparition and The House at the End of the Street: These are two of the worst horror movies I have ever seen. Not because they are vulgar or excessively gory but because they are lazy, uninspired and deadly dull.

5.) Mirror, Mirror: This is the worst of the fairy tale, live action movies that I have ever seen probably. It is smug, unfunny, boring, Julia Roberts gives the worst performance of her career and it's just a very dumb movie.

4.) Darling Companion: This is probably the worst and dumbest movie about a dog I have ever seen, yes worse then "Benji The Hunted". Plus you have Diane Keaton and Kevin Kline starring and Lawrence Kasdan writing and directing. A whole lot of great talent in a movie that is stupid, goofy, sappy and unintentionally funny.

3.) What To Expect When You're Expecting: An all star cast in the worst movie with an all star cast since last year's "New Year's Eve". Nothing in this movie dealing with having a child could possibly happen in real life. The movie is phony, dopey, lame, badly written, over acted and embarrassing and oh so boring! and long!!.

2.) The Devil Inside: Now this is really, possibly along with "Apollo 13" the worst horror movie I have ever seen. It is amateurish, boring, badly directed and just plain awkward. I have never seen a more ineptly made horror movie and I have seen tons of turkeys in this genre.

1.) Alex Cross: The worst movie of the year has the worst miscasting of any movie of this year or any other year. Seeing Tyler Perry as an action star is the most awkward thing I have ever seen in a movie. This reminds me of an old blaxploitation movie but that would insult bad blaxploitation movies. Matthew Fox, so good in "Lost" is horrible here as a bug eyed, robotic killer. This is a nasty, ugly, laughable mess that is terribly executed and just plain weird. At one point I was hoping Perry's Madea character would show up to save the day and fight the Matthew Fox guy. Now that would be a lot of fun!


1.) Contraband: Decent Mark Wahlberg action movie though forgettable.
2.) Woman in Black: Daniel Radcliffe kind of grows up.
3.) Thin Ice with Greg Kinnear
4.) Snowtown Murders
5.) Casa De Mi Padre: Unusual and unique Will Ferrell spoof spoken entirely in Spanish
6.) Damsels in Distress: Love Greta Gerwig!
7.) The Dictator: Hit and miss comedy but funny most of the time.
8.) Dark Shadows: Really dissapointing Burton/Depp movie but it looks beautiful! Maybe because Michelle Pfeiffer is in it.
9.) Snow White and the Huntsman: Charlize Theron is ice cold wonderful, film looks beautiful. Better Snow White movie by miles than "Mirror, Mirror"!
10.) Dark Horse: Another dark comedy but surprisingly heartfelt film by Todd Solondz.
11.) Woman in the Fifth: Dreamlike, surreal potboiler with Ethan Hawke.
12.) Savages: Not top notch Oliver Stone, forgettable but has it's moments. Good for late night cable when you can't sleep.
13.) The Do Deca Pentathalon
14.) Lawless: Tom Hardy and Jessica Chastain steal the movie and save this moonshine drama from being forgettable.
15.) For a Good Time Call...: Can a vulgar phone sex comedy be cute? Hmmmm.
16.) Pitch Perfect:" Love Anna Kendrick! She is pitch perfect in this fun, fluffy comedy. There is great music also.
17.) Late Quartet: Christopher Walken, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Catherine Keener! Jackpot! Walken is amazing in this light, flawed drama about a classical music quartet.
18.) Get the Gringo: Straight to DVD Mel Gibson movie is not that bad, better than 75% of the movies that came out in 2012.


1.) Haywire: Another solid Steven Soderbergh movie, this time action with the very hot ex MMA star Gina Carano.
2.) The Grey: Cold, intense and mildly gripping thriller again with hot action star Liam Neeson.
3.) Chronicle: Fun, different and surprisingly good chiller.
4.) Chico & Rita: Cool, adult animated movie with a nice romance story.
5.) The Secret World of Arriety: This was a bad year for animated movies. This was one of the best, refreshing, not a mess.
6.) Project X: Kind of a teenage "Hangover" movie that gets the job done.
7.) Dr. Seuss's The Lorax: Colorful, quiet, funny and also not a mess. This is one of the three good animated movies of 2012.
8.) Being Flynn: Close call but Robert Deniro's and Paul Dano's performances rock it!
9.) Footnote: Compelling, Isreali drama about morals and making the right choices.
10.) 21 Jump Street: Very funny, smart and well acted comedy with more hit jokes than misses. Deeper than a one joke comedy.
11.) Jeff Who Lives at Home: Offbeat comedy with a lot of strange laughs, Jason Segal and Susan Sarandon are great.
12.) Hunger Games: The great Jennifer Lawrence becomes a blockbuster star. Her heroine is inspiring and this movie is well done.
13.) Deep Blue Sea: Slow, rewarding, haunting and graceful romance that is very sad but Rachel Weisz is fantastic!
14.) Raid:Redemption: Chaotic action movie that is very violent but fast, furious and intense.
15.) Bully: Sobering documentary about bullying that will make you mad and challenge your emotions.
16.) American Reunion: A funny, touching and nice wrap up to the "American Pie saga.
17.) Cabin in the Woods: One of the best horror movies of 2012. Extremely imaginative and original with a knock out, funny ending. Two words: Killer Unicorn!
18.) Monsieur Lazhar: Fine french movie about a teacher entering into a challenging school after a tragedy has struck.
19.) The Five Year Engagement: Very funny, touching and smartly written comedy. Emily Blunt is fantastic!
20.) The Avengers: This does not dissapoint! Funny, action packed, nice blending of superheroes. Plus a few great visual jokes.
21.) The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel: A great cast in an exotic setting with great, gentle humor. Tom Wilkinson is fantastic!
22.) God Bless America: Controversial, vulgar shock comedy that works. Bobcat Goldthwait has made a twisted "All in the Family".
23.) Oslo, August 31st: Sobering and compelling Norwegian movie about drug addiction and a day in the life of a recovering addict.
24.) Prometheus: Kind of dissapointing sort of prequel to "Alien" but it is fast and beautiful and haunting to look at.
25.) Your Sister's Sister: Nice, relaxed independent romance with great performances by Mark Duplass and Rosemarie DeWitte.
25.) Seeking a Friend For the End of the World: Weird, unique, offbeat comedy with Steve Carell and Keira Knightley. It works.
26.) Beasts of the Southern Wild: This movie grew on me the second time. It still seems like a pretentious and incomplete student film but the father/daughter relationship is touching and Quvenxhane Wallis is exceptional!
27.) To Rome With Love: Hit and miss, multiple stories but entertaining and fun. A lighter "Midnight In Paris".
28.) The Amazing Spiderman: Pretty decent reboot of Spiderman series, a little different than original Sam Raimi series but Raimi's "Spiderman 2" is still the zenith and standard bearer of all the movies.
29.) Ruby Sparks: My favorite kind of movie, about the creative process of writing. The movie is sharp, original, creative, funny and Zoey Kazan is a delight.
30.) Killer Joe: Sick and twisted thriller but very Southern Gothic like, a lot of fun. One of Matthew McConaughey's very fine performances of 2012.
31.) Celeste and Jesse Forever: Sometimes too quirky for it's own good but funny and charming. Andy Samberg and Rashida Davis are great indidvidually and together.
32.) The Bourne Legacy: Very fine reboot of the Jason Bourne series with great action, intrigue and a game Jeremy Renner.
33.) The Odd Life of Timothy Green: This movie was dumped on by critics but I liked it's innocence and simple beauty about parenthood. This is a little film that should be checked out.
34.) Sparkle: This movie has it's flaws with show business cliches but Whitney Houston and Carmen Ejogo are stunning!
35.) Expendables 2: Better than the original and more the same, no surprises but it's fun in a throwback to the cheesy 80's kind of way.
36.) Compliance: Shocking based on a true story thriller that you won't believe but the movie is never boring and it will push your buttons flawlessly.
37.) Sleepwalk With Me: Stand Up Comic Mike Birbiglia writes an offbeat, smart and very funny slice of life comedy.
38.) Possession: Surprisingly effective chiller if you don't think about it too much after.
39.) Arbitrage: Richard Gere is magnificent in this okay thriller that has been done better and deeper before like in "Margin Call".
40.) Liberal Arts: Elizabeth Olsen is the real deal, funny, charming and beautiful in Josh Radnor's well written romantic comedy.
41.) The Trouble With the Curve: Clint Eastwood plays his usual gruff, grumpy old guy but somehow this movie works because of him.
42.) 10 Years: This small, sleeper movie that pretty much went straight to video is fun, engaging and smart. Another winner for Channing Tatum.
43.) Here Comes the Boom: This surprisingly good underdog movie coasts on the everyman charm of Kevin James who can be really good in movies. Also ex UFC fighter Bas Rutten is a complete delight here stealing the movie from it's stars.
44.) Sinister: This moody, creepy and effective chiller is held together by Ethan Hawke's fine work and movie's atmosphere.
45.) The Bay: This low budget ecological chiller by long lost director Bary Levinson is effective, simple and very interesting.
46.) This Must Be the Place: Another weird character for and offbeat performance by Sean Penn as an aging punk rock star and Penn is unrecognizable in a performance better than the movie.
47.) Lincoln: I can't deny the amazing performance by Daniel Day Lewis even though I didn't embrace the movie. I love the effective look at the man and his struggle with a stubborn House of Representatives. The political scenes and Day Lewis stand out, the home and family stuff is weaker.
48.) Life of Pi: Another movie that I didn't share the same opinion as the critics who hailed it as a masterpiece did. The nature scenes are fantastic and the movie begs to be seen in 3D but the narrative sorrounding the movie is weak and annoying.
49.) Hitchock: Though the movie should have had more behind the scenes material on how "Psycho" came about I love Helen Mirren and Anthony Hopkins and the jokey feel of the movie.
50.) The Guilt Trip: This surprisingly good, charming and funny road trip comedy has laughs and non cloying sentimental scenes. Streisand is back and her and Rogen work seamlessly well together.
51.) The Impossible: Hard to watch but rewarding disaster movie has a spellbinding performance by Naomi Watts. Also that tsunami scene is powerful, breathtaking and unbearable.
52.) Jack Reacher: Pretty solid potboiler and mystery that enagages and gets you involved.
53.) Not Fade Away: Hit and miss rock n' roll drama with a killer soundtrack and great recreation of the 60's that just misses greatness at every turn.
54.) Promised Land: Solid, honest and engrossing drama that has a story that is very topical with humor and smarts. I wouldn't mind Matt Damon and John Krasinski writing more screenplays.


1.) Tomboy: Heartbreaking, gentle and beautiful coming of age drama is a must see. A French movie with actors you have never seen giving real and natural performances in this touching drama.

2.) Fat Kid Rules the World: Jacob Wysocki, so good in "Teri", is great again here as a likable overweight kid who finds his self worth playing drums in a rock band. A wonderful hidden gem of a performance by Billy Campbell as the Dad.

3.) Killing Em Softly: Brad Pitt is wonderful, intense and deadpan here as a hitman for hire in this talky crime drama that reminds me of the best crime films of the 70's, "Killing of a Chinese Bookie", "Mikey and Nicky" and "The Friends of Eddie Coyle".

4.) Seven Psychopaths: Twisted, inventive, funny black comedy and crime film that is offbeat, fun and smart. Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken and Colin Ferrell are at the top of their game.

5.) Bernie: Jack Black gives the best performance of his career in a true life drama this time. Offbeat and quirky but original, inventive and very well acted.

6.) Headhunters: Another winner from Norway is extremely violent but fast paced, engrossing and fun movie that has an orginal feel about it.

7.) The Hunter: Willem Dafoe is amazing here in this existential Australian movie set in the Tasmanian wilderness. Slow but rewarding character study with beautiful location work and cinematography.

8.) The Queen of Versailles: This fascinating, scathing and very funny documentary is based on real life, rich couple David and Jackie Siegel. Their life provides the backdrop for one of the finest movies about our recession and the rich.

9.) The Innkeepers: This spooky and eerie ghost story knows that the best shockers are story based instead of based on gore and cheap thrills. This is creative and smart and director Ti West is our best horror movie maker today!

10.) Declaration of War: This French movie by Valerie Donzelli is different and offbeat drama about parenthood and dealing with a sick child. The movie is fresh, honest, fast, not heavy handed and quietly powerful.

11.) The Kid With the Bike: Written and Directed by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, this cinema-verite type drama does better with what most American movies would have screwed up. Telling the simple story of Cyril, a young boy whose mother has passed away and dad has abandoned and the woman, Samantha, who tries to be there for him emotionally. This movie captures real life without much fuss and it is mercifully short. I say that because a typical Hollywood producer would add a half hour with stupid plot developments and subplots. This movie just relaxes and gives us an honest story without the bells and whistles making this a more touching and compelling movie. The beautiful Cecile De France (High Tension, Hereafter) is an actress to look out for, she is great as is Thomas Doret as Cyril.

THE 25 BEST MOVIES OF 2012 Actually 27)

25.) Wreck It Ralph
Directed by Rich Moore

This is by far the best animated movie of the year with eye popping, fun visuals and a lot of great humor for adults and kids. This is extremely inventive, creative, brilliant, hilarious and never boring without being chaotic.

24.) GOON
Written by Jay Baruchel and Evan Goldberg
Directed by Michael Dowse
Actors: Sean William Scott, Jay Baruchel and Liev Shreiber

This is the best hockey movie and almost equal to "Slapshot" puck for puck in the vulgar comedy mixed with violence department. The laughs come on big and fast and based on characters more than just cheap shots. Sean William Scott is funny and charmingly goofy as true life enforcer Doug Smith.

Written and Directed by Rian Johnson
Actors: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt

This is what all science fiction movies should be like, chock full of inventive ideals and a highly imaginative screenplay. This is the best of it's kind since "Inception". This is also a subtly touching and dramatic movie with feeling while most science fiction movies are cold like this year's "Prometheus". This movie never runs out of ideals and never gets out of hand.

22.) Searching for Sugar Man
Directed by Malik Bendjelloul

This fascinating muscial documentary about the re-discovering of Detroit musician Sixto Rodriguez is full of joy, happiness and redemption and finding your way back. This examination of Rodriguez's way back to a new found stardom is inspiring and full of great music.

21.) This Is 40
Written and Directed by Judd Apatow
Actors: Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Albert Brooks

This is not only one of the funniest movies of the year but also a surprisingly honest and real look at marriage though with some outrageous humor thrown in. Leslie Mann gives one of the best performances of the year and Paul Rudd is possibly the most engaging funny and charming actors out there.

20.) Safety Not Guaranteed
Written by Derek Connolly
Directed by Colin Trevorrow
Actors: Mark Duplass, Aubrey Plaza, Jake Johnson

This is the best romantic comedy of the year or in years and also an inventive time travel movie with loopy but original ideals.
Aubrey Plaza needs to become a movie star right now and Mark Duplass is her equal creating the most unusual but best couple of this movie year. Funny, smart, touching and like a classic old time screwball comedy with a star making performance by Aubrey Plaza.

19.) TED
Written and Directed by Seth MacFarlane
Actors: Mark Wahklberg, Seth MacFarlane, Mila Kunis

This is the funniest movie of the year because it made me laugh harder and longer than any other comedy this year. It is a huge surprise with hilarious jokes and a story that is kind of strangely touching and is not over run by vulgarity. Mark Wahlberg has to be the most under rated comedic actor in movies today. Being a huge fan of the 80's cult classic "Flash Gordon" I was tickled with glee with the surprise cameo, the best one since "Ghostbusters" in 1984.

18.) On The Ice
Written and Directed by Andrew Okpeaha MacLean
Actors: Frank Qutuq Irelan, Josiah Patkotak

This authentic and refreshing thriller filmed in Barrow, Alaska feels like real life captured by a documentary film crew. Then we get involved in the story which is honest, full of surprises and quietly powerful.

17.) AMOUR
Written and Directed by Michael Haneke
Actors: Emmanuelle Riva, Jean Louis Trintignant, Isabelle Hupert

This heartbreaking and painful movie is at once sad and powerful and then finally uplifting when looking at a dedicated marriage. Riva and Trintignant are incredibly powerful as a couple whose marriage is tested by pain, death and challenge. This is a pretty brave movie just shy of a classic.

16.) The Sessions
Written and Directed by Ben Lewin
Actors: John Hawkes, Helen Hunt, William H Macy

This brave, touching and warm movie about Mark O'Brien and his struggle with living his whole life in an iron lung is inspiring, funny and deeply emotional. John Hawkes gives an amazing performance as O"Brien, criminally snubbed by the Oscars. Helen Hunt is back in a big way as his sex therapist Cheryl giving a graceful, nuanced and warm performance. This is thankfully a light drama instead of being heavy handed, the movie has a great sense of humor.

15.) The Central Park Five
Directed by Ken and Sarah Burns

Another documentary masterpiece by Ken Burns about the five young African American men who were wrongly accused of the rape of a jogger in Central Park in 1989. The movie is like a great detective story as Ken and Sarah Burns delve deeply step by step into our flawed justice system talking to each man who explain in great detail and sorrow of the years of incarceration and pain they had to endure. This movie moved me emotionally while making me very angry. This is a gut wrenching and emotional masterpiece of documentary film making and investigative journalism.

14.) (Tie) Man On a Ledge
Written by Pablo F. Fenjves
Directed by Asger Leth
Actors: Sam Worthington, Ed Harris, Genesis Rodriguez, Jamie Bell

Premium Rush
Written by John Kamps and David Koepp
Directed by David Koepp
Actors: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Shannon

These unusual movies are high on my list for many reasons but mainly because they are huge surprises that came out of nowhere, have no business being this good but are better than most movies out there, big and small. "Man on a Ledge" is a solid heist film that is boosted by the great Ed Harris, Sam Worthington's first alive performance and one of the greatest big screen debuts. That would belong to the gorgeous Genesis Rodriguez who is sexy, beautiful, funny and full of energy and charm and steals the movie from heavyweights like Harris.

"Premium Rush" is an inventive and fast paced action movie with some of the best chase scenes in a movie in years. Add to that the amazing Joseph Gordon-Levitt who would not have been matched by any action star out there right now in this movie. He adds an extra depth and likeability to a thin character. Then you have my favorite character actor in ages in Chicago bred Michael Shannon who plays another of his unforgettable, loopy bad guys. These two movies if given more attention now or released back in the 70's would have been hailed as action classics. I urge everyone to check these two out, you may be shocked at how great and entertaining they are.

13.) Tie: Marley
Directed by Kevin Macdonald

This is one of the two best documentaries of the year and two of my favorites of the past decade. They are both equally fantastic, both made me cry and uplifted me. "Marley" is a movie full of joy and great music and about one of the most fascinating musicians I have ever learned about, Bob Marley. This is a long, penetrating, joyous and engrossing look at one of our greatest musical icons. This is full of music that lifts you up and the movie sneaks up on you emotionally as it gives us Marley's kids talking with great love and admiration for their flawed, but great father. I would watch this movie over and over just for the joy it creates mixed with tears. After this movie I downloaded all of Marley's music, that is the power of music and this outstanding film.


Directed by Daniel Lindsay and T.J. Martin

If you love football like I do this is a must see! The fact is the movie really has nothing to do with football or any strategy of the game. Like one of the best television series I have ever seen, "Friday Night Lights", it is about the life of the coach and teammates away from the game. It deals with young men's past mistakes and overcoming them. It deals with the player's grades in school and how the game of football in the future is not possible without them. It is about the measure of a man and no man has impressed me and touched me more than Coach Bill Courtney as he takes his Manassas Tigers and tries to make the playoffs for the first time in eons. How he motivates and cares for his team and stands by them is inspirational especially when it is so tough to stand by some of these kids. While looking at the lives of three different types of kids on the team and their struggles in life including O.C Brown, Chavis and "Money" the movie touches us and made me cry several times throughout. I love all the movies on my best list but this is the only movie I would beg people to see on this list, football or non football fans.

12.) The Dark Knight Rises
Written by Christopher and Jonathan Nolan
Directed by Christopher Nolan
Actors: Christian Bale, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ann Hathaway, Tom Hardy

This is a satisfying conclusion to the best superhero trilogy of our times. Christopher Nolan has made another deep, exciting and fascinating film in this amazing saga. You have a grand majestic sweep with more superior action and Ann Hathaway's best performance and a great under rated performance by Gordon-Levitt. I was not prepared for how the movie would choke me up in it's final 15 minutes. This is larger than life excitement and while not as masterful, powerful and exciting as "The Dark Knight" (what movie can be?) it still stirs up awe and wonder while maintaining it's complexity and darkness.

Written and Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
Actors: Joaquin Phoenix, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams

This cold, cynical, slow but rewarding, perfectly shot masterpiece is another incredible accomplishment in the career of Paul Thomas Anderson, one of our very finest directors and auteurs. Not an embraceable movie but the artistry, powerful performances and creepy, hypnotic drama is impressive. This is like something Orson Welles would have mastered with the same precision. Not a fun movie but if you love great, nuanced acting and bold filmmaking this is a must see. Phoenix is quietly powerful and amazing and Hoffman gives a performance of pure perfection.

Before I present my ten best movies of 2012 I will now present my Snavely Award winners! These are great performances that have been recognized already but also full of neglected performances that don't ever get recognized.

Best Supporting Performance By An Actor (Male)

Joseph Gordon-Levitt in The Dark Knight Rises
Michael Shannon in Premium Rush
Ezra Miller in Perks Of Being a Wallflower
Alan Arkin in Argo
John Goodman in Argo and Flight
Javier Bardem in Skyfall
Samuel Jackson in Django Unchained
Christopher Walken in A Late Quartet
James Spader in Lincoln
Jason Clarke in Zero Dark Thirty

Now here are the very best of this group, I will not have an individual winner, these are all equal:

Matthew McConaughey in Magic Mike
Phillip Seymour Hoffman in The Master
Robert Deniro in Silver Linings Playbook
Leonardo DiCaprio in Django Unchained
Christoph Waltz in Django Unchained
Tom Wilkinson in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Tommy Lee Jones in Lincoln

Best Supporting Performance By An Actor (female)

Jessica Chastain in Lawless
Amy Adams in The Master
Judi Dench in Skyfall
Jackie Weaver in Silver Linings Playbook
Carmen Ejogo in Sparkle
Elizabeth Olsen in Liberal Arts
Jennifer Ehle in Zero Dark Thirty
Cecile De France in The Kid With the Bike

And now the very best and again no individual winner:

Helen Hunt in The Sessions
Ann Dowd in Compliance
Kelly Reilly in Flight

Best Performance By An Actor (male)

Jared Gilman in Moonrise Kingdom
Mark Duplass in Safety Not Guaranteed
Ben Affleck in Argo
Jake Gyllenhaal in End of Watch
Michael Pena in End of Watch
Willem Dafoe in The Hunter
Jack Black in Bernie
Brad Pitt in Killing Em Softly
Sean Penn in This Must Be The Place
Richard Gere in Arbitrage
Ewan McGregor in The Impossible
Thomas Doret in The Kid With the Bike

and now the very best, again no individual winner:

Joaquin Phoenix in The Master
Denzel Washington in Flight
Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook
Jean Louis Trintignant in Amour
John Hawkes in The Sessions
Daniel Day Lewis in Lincoln

Best Performance By An Actor (female)

Kara Hayward in Moonrise Kingdom
Aubrey Plaza in Safety Not Guaranteed
Leslie Mann in This Is 40
Emily Blunt in The 5 Year Engagement
Zoe Herron in Tomboy
Rachel Weisz in Deep Blue Sea
Rosemarie Dewitte in Your Sister's Sister
Hellen Mirren in Hitchcock

and now the very best and again no individual winner:

Naomi Watts in The Impossible
Quvenzhane Wallis in Beasts of the Southern Wild
Emmanuelle Riva in Amour
Jessica Chastain in Zero Dark Thirty
Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook

Congratulations to all the winners that make movies that much more special!


And as always the order of these movies and the other 15 or so can change over time:

Written by Neil Purvis, John Logan and Robert Wade
Actors: Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Javier Bardem, Albert Finney

The purely best Bond movie since "Goldfinger" going back to what made Bond so great in the first place, character development while thrilling us with great action. This is somehow the deepest and most honest Bond movie with it's gritty action, superb, evil villain and a Bond girl that is a modern and fresh take on the classic Bond girl. Add to that a final set piece in the last half hour that is chilling, simply effective, cold, suspenseful, funny and intense all at the same time. Javier Bardem is perfect, Craig is now officially the Best Bond and this Bond movie is not only one of the best Bonds, it is one of the best action films period.

Written by Mark Boal
Directed by Kathryn Bigelow
Actors: Jessica Chastain, Jennifer Ehle, Joel Edgerton, Mark Strong, Jason Clarke, James Gandolfini, Kyle Chandler, Chris Pratt

This was a close call but after final thoughts I had to put in my top ten thus this tie with one of the biggest surprises of my moviegoing career. "Zero Dark Thirty" thrives on it's focus on the determined and strong willed women behind the tracking down and assassination of Ossama Bin Laden played by possibly our finest actress today. Jessica Chastain gives a tough and gutsy performance and then reveals a moment of vulnerability in the end that got her the Oscar nomination. Kathryn Bigelow has directed an intense and solid movie with flaws but also with power and extreme focus.

Written by Amy Jump and Ben Wheatley
Directed by Ben Wheatley
Actors: Neil Maskell, MyAnna Burling, Michael Smiley

This shocker surprised me more than any film has in recent memory. This is a moody, chilling, intense and finally scary thriller in the classic tradition of old British chillers from the 70's. After the first hour you get used to one type of movie when suddenly the movie pulls the rug out from under your feet (fairly) then jolting you, leaving you with your mouth wide open. After the movie was over I sat there frozen and stunned for 5 minutes then I sprung the hugest smile I have ever given after a movie. If you love movies you have to check out this very violent, gory, extremely scary and chilling masterpiece.


Written and Directed by David Goyer
Actors: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Pena, Anna Kendrick, Natalie Martinez

The writer of "Training Day" has made a cop movie that trumps that Denzel Washington crime thriller. This is the best cop movie I have seen in years and also one of the biggest surprises of the year. Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena play two friends and police partners who the film follows through a hectic and intense day on the beat in L.A. This movie's first 45 minutes are hilarious as Gyllenhaal and Pena expertly define their characters and make us roll in the aisles. The movie then turns amazingly intense, action packed and chilling ending in a state of devastation. This is fast, solid and intense film making at it's finest and an under rated masterpiece.

Written by John Gatins
Directed by Robert Zemeckis
Actors: Denzel Washington, Kelly Reilly, John Goodman, Nadine Velasquez, Don Cheadle

This is a fascinating character study that surprised me by delivering a completely different movie than the trailer would suggest. Denzel Washinton in my opinion gives the best performance of his career in this powerful and engrossing movie. This is a movie that Spencer Tracy would have made in his heyday. "Flight" is a major star vehicle and Washington gets great support from a powerful performance by Kelly Reilly and a hilarious scene stealing one from John Goodman. "Flight" will keep you on the edge of your seat, make you laugh and finally choke you up. John Gatin's screenplay is a brilliant screenplay, one of the best this year, that is an intricate, unconventional and brilliant screenplay.


Written and Directed by Quentin Tarantino
Actors: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Kerry Washington, Leonardo DiCaprio, Samuel Jackson

Leave it to Tarantino to keep churning out the most exciting, fun and exhilirating film making of any director out there. This might not be one of his best or a masterpiece but again I had more fun during a movie than any other time this year. "Django Unchained" is colorful with exciting and clever writing, great performances, crisp and beautiful cinematography and original characters I will never forget. No director out there knows more about who he is as an artist than Tarantino does. He has made another confident, extremely fun and creative movie with a trio of delightful performances by DiCaprio, Jackson and Waltz.


Written by Reid Carolin
Directed by Steven Soderbergh
Actors: Channing Tatum, Matthew McConaughey, Kevin Nash, Alex Pettyfer, Cody Horn, Olivia Munn

You can call it the male stripper movie but what I found was a movie that reminded me of a movie like "Saturday Night Fever" and I think this is equal to that classic. After watching a new print of "SNF" my opinion was confirmed. "Magic Mike" is similiar in power to that movie and is about more than just men taking their clothes off. This is a dark, grity and unglamorous look at men looking at a dead end life full of obstacles and despair. I came in expecting a comedy and I left experiencing a powerful drama that ends with darkness but honesty and truth. Matthew McConaughey is outstanding in his best performance so far. This is a movie that defines it's time just like "Saturday Night Fever" defined it's decade.


Written By Roman Coppola and Wes Anderson
Directed by Wes Anderson
Actors: Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton

This is the most original movie of the year and a movie full of imagination, quirkiness and pure deadpan joy. This is Anderson's best movie since "Rushmore", the best movie of 1998. This is a delightful, creatively written movie that is full of surprises, great performances and a childlike innocence that is captivating. Every frame of the movie is full of creative wonder, every word of dialogue carefully written bringing us one of my favorite love stories I have encounterd in a movie because of it's realness, honesty and simplicity.


Written by Steve Chbosky based on his novel
Directed by Steve Chbosky
Actors: Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ezra Miller

This is one of the most real, heartbreaking and most sastisfying movies about high school and growing up as a teenager I have ever seen. It is up there with "Lucas", "Breakfast Club" and "My Bodyguard" as the most honest depictions of teens and high school I have ever seen. This is a beautiful, graceful, funny and finally powerful film of finding yourself and getting back the happiness you deserve. I cherish this movie for it's honesty, real tears, pain and happiness that is explored. It's a beautiful depiction of a life that all kids should strive for. This poignant, soon to be classic is a beautiful movie going experience that ends on such a powerful note that finally turns into hope.

2.) ARGO

Written by Chris Terrio
Directed by Ben Affleck
Actors: Ben Affleck, Alan Arkin, John Goodman, Bryan Cranston

Ben Affleck is now building a film making resume that is becoming powerful and one of the greatest. This is an accomplished, exciting and flawless film that is brilliantly shot and assured. This true life story turns into a thrilling and fascinating movie that does not waste one shot. This is a flawless, fast paced and a very rewarding film that would be part of a great double feature with "Zero Dark Thirty". I like this movie better because the screenplay doesn't waste any minute of our time with subplots that go on too long. This movie just gets down to business recreating a time and place perfectly while informing us ( and not like it was a history lesson a la "Lincoln") of a time in our country's history while also keeping us on the edge of our seats.


Written by David O'Russell based on the novel by Matthew Quick
Directed by David O'Russell
Actors: Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Robert Deniro, Jackie Weaver, Chris Tucker

This is my favorite movie of 2012 simply because it is the most life affirming movie of the year or any other year. The movie is funny, touching, powerful and just a joy to experience. The story is something I can relate to personally in a deep way but on it's own merits it was the most crowd pleasing expereience of the year. This wonderful movie also has a lifeforce at it's center in Jennifer Lawrence who owns the screen more than any other actor this year. Her commanding screen presence and performance is sexy, funny and real. Bradley Cooper gives his best performance showing us how great a talent he can be as a serious actor. Add to that Robert Deniro's best role to play in decades and one of his best performances of his career. "Silver Linings Playbook" has it all, charm, humor, high drama and an ending that filled me up with great happiness. David O'Russell has made my favorite war movie of all time "Three Kings" and has now made one of my favorite dramas in years. He is a singular artist that is making no mistakes in what has so far been an unique brilliant and bold career.



Written by Skip Woods
Directed by John Moore
Actors: Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney, Sebastian Koch, Cole Hauser, Yuliya Snigir

It takes skill, patience, character development and great acting to make a classic action movie. "Die Hard" is one of the best action movies I have ever seen because I cared about the characters, the action took place in an unique location and the hero was an everyman. Bruce Willis gave a star making peformance that was electric, cool and charasmatic and we rooted for him. It also had a wonderful villian, one of the best ever in Hans Gruber played by Alan Rickman. The second "Die Hard", with characters already developed, went head on with pure wall to wall action. It was like a James Bond movie that at that time was better than any Bond movie in the past decade. That was one of the best sequels ever made.

Now the third "Die Hard" I did not like for the movie was a mess and a dissapointing, overlong chore to watch wasting the great Jeremy Irons as a weakly written bad guy. The fourth "Die Hard" was a little better than the third and you see where I am going here. I don't expect the "Die Hard" sequels to be as great as the first one but at least I want to have fun as an old friend comes back to kick ass. The fifth in the series "A Good Day To Die Hard" sadly was a depressing movie going experience for me because the movie is lazy, dull, badly acted and the action is so hard to follow and the special effects so cheesy. This is one of my least favorite action movies I have ever seen and you can probably guess how many I Have seen. I never smiled, had a confused look on my face that the turned into a snarl. This is bottom feeding movie making at it's worst.

First of all the magic is clearly gone especially when Bruce Willis's line readings sound stale and his delivery is arrogant and detached. Second, we don't find out who the villain is until the last half hour of the movie because of a terrible plot twist I saw coming miles ahead. Third, director John Moore has no ideal how to frame an action movie. The action scenes are shot in close ups and I couldn't follow anything. The bad guys are wooden, Jai Courtney as John McClane's son has zero personality in this movie and the only reason I give this movie any stars is because of a beautiful Russian actress but alas she can't act. It is also amazing how cheesy this movie looks with it's special effects. The first "Die Hard" back in 1988 had a much lower budget so I am shocked that this movie's effects budget looks like it cost $10 and we are in the year 2013.

There are explosions and chases and shootouts that are shot too tight and are sloppy. There is a terrible and confusing chase in the beginning that is uninvolving, laughable and horribly planned out. The rest of the movie is shootout after shootout, explosion after explosion and I became numb and bored after a half hour. The first "Die Hard" had an unique approach and location and this movie makes no attempt to be creative or different. The interplay bewteen Courtney and Willis, father and son, is badly written and the wisecracks by Willis are lame and would be cheesy even in the 80's. The bad guys have no personality and the final helicopter explosion made me laugh at how cheesy it was and how different the stunt men looked from the stars. You see I didn't mention the plot because I coudldn't follow it and after 30 minutes I tuned out and detached myself from this turkey.

The reason I am mad is that I expected at least a competent, dumb movie that was fun like the fourth "Die Hard" and I didn't even get that. This is freaking "Die Hard"! How can you make this atrocious movie in a series that had pleased so many movie goers over the years. I disliked the third movie but at least it looked like a big budget action movie. This movie is shockingly worse than that other turkey "Bullet To the Head" by Stallone earlier this year. Schwarzeneggar (supposedly) Stallone and now Willis are coming back at an old age and insulting us with bad action movies. At least Willis could be doing character work in dramas, I mean have you seen him in the Paul Newman movie "Nobody's Fool"? I suggest he look for movies like that and like great, creative movies like "Looper". Willis has said that there is a chance he would make another "Die Hard" movie. What nerve he has after making us sit through this embarrassment hinting that he wants our money for probably another bad sequel.

Friday, February 8, 2013



Written by Scott Z. Burns
Directed by Steven Soderbergh
Actors: Jude Law, Rooney Mara, Catherine Zeta Jones, Channing Tatum, Vinessa Shaw, Mamie Gummer.

"Side Effects" takes it's time and creates a well thought out and deliciously twisty story with pristine directing by Steven Soderbergh. It is a cold looking movie and that is perfect because the movie turns out to be a cold, nasty thriller that plays tricks with you but fairly. It also has a deceptively commanding performance by Rooney Mara. I can't really expalin much of the plot because I fear I will give the fun and well written story away and all it's juicy secrets. It is one of those thrillers that could go very wrong but Soderbergh is a master at making movies like these because he sets up the characters so well and takes his time starting the story off. That ensures us an edge of your seat type treat that spins you in it's web right from the first frame till the last.

I guess after a second viewing you could drive a truck through some plot holes but after my first viewing I had a big smile on my face. All I can say is that the wonderful Rooney Mara plays Emily who is married to stock broker husband Martin played by Channing Tatum. Emily is a very depressed woman who tries to kill herself and has been deeply sad because her husband was put away in prison for insider trading and when he gets out she has a hard time adjusting. She goes to Doctor Banks, played by Jude Law, for therapy but it doesn't seem to help. That is all I can tell you because after that the movie just keeps piling on twists and swerves. The great thing is that the wonderful and intricate screenplay by Scott Z. Burns is smart and the plot twists are well earned and make plausible sense.

As I am watching this movie and when I was well into it something dawned on me. It was that Rooney Mara's performance as Emily is a great performance and the movie does not work with out her performance. You forget when a movie plays with your brain that a great performance is unfolding before your eyes. Mara who made a huge impact with a five minute scene in "The Social Network" and knocked it out of the park with her performance as Lizbeth in the American version of "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" is the real deal. Her name should now join in on the conversation of the great actresses of this new generation being talked about now, Jessica Chastain and Jennifer Lawrence. She gives a great performance here that is equal to those actresses great performances. Soderbergh and Scott Z. Burns collaborated before on "Contagion" which I didn't care for. That movie lost control and got silly, here the control is always there till the last frame.

"Side Effects" has a great look, has a great cast and a slew of characters that all make an impression. From Vinessa Shaw to Jude Law to all the supporting actors, this is a top notch cast and a deep screenplay with a lot of detailed characters. It will mess with your mind in a good way like all great thrillers do. It is the classic keep you guessing movie that will surprise you with it's plot twists and entertain you, putting a huge smile on your face. Steven Soderbergh tells us that he is retiring from directing movies after this year. All I can say is please don't go because with this and last year's excellent "Magic Mike" we need you badly. "Side Effects" is another solid winner from Soderbergh.



Written by Craig Mazin
Directed by Seth Gordon
Actors: Jason Bateman, Melissa McCarthy, Eric Stonestreet, Robert Patrick, Genesis Rodriguez, John Cho, Amanda Peet, Jon Favreau, Morris Chestnut.

Melissa McCarthy is a complete joy to watch and her comic timing and energy is admirable and contagious. Now that she is becoming a movie star I wish Hollywood wouldn't start ruining this success story with a terrible road trip comedy for her to co star in. "Identity Thief" is a joyless, violent and very unfunny comedy that tries to be an off kilter "Midnight Run" type of movie. I did not laugh one bit during this movie until the last 10 minutes. The movie is wall to wall slapstick violence, bad and improbable situations even for a farce and a waste of a pretty good duo of Jason Bateman and McCarthy. They try their best and particularly McCarthy rises above her material even while being the butt of most of the jokes and the target of the mean spirited violence. Also there are only so many times McCarthy's Diana can punch (5 actually) a man's throat to get away.

Jason Bateman is Sandy Patterson who is a highly regarded company executive who has his identity stolen by Diana who is pretending to be Sandy and maxing out Sandy's credit cards. She is also wanted for assault after punching a man's throat and now the cops are going to arrest the real Sandy. The height of the humor here is supposed to be how everyone reacts to Sandy's first name, making fun of it. Yeah, because there are no male Sandys in the World and no one has ever encountered a male named Sandy (Har Har! Groan!). After Sandy finds Diana to bring her in, the two are chased by a Bounty Hunter and two thugs who make no impact at all as bad guys in this movie. They are just there to shoot at Sandy and Diana or to be shot in the foot themselves. Every character is supposed to be dumb enough to fall for some of the impossible things that happen in this movie and there is a lot of phoniness here.

Then we are supposed to start feeling for Diana towards the end because the movie invents some orphan story for her that is supposed to make Sandy and the audience care for Diana in the end. We are supposed to feel for her when in the beginning the movie targets her for mean spirited violence like she was a female Wile E. Coyote. I wouldn't mind all of this if the movie was funny with all the exaggerated violence but again I did not laugh at all during this insipid movie. The only running jokes I can remember from this movie are the making fun of Sandy's first name and Diana punching men in the throat. Hilarious! Then we have an awkward and very unfunny sex scene with McCarthy and Eric Stonestreet (Modern Family). With that scene and the sex scene in "Stand Up Guys", is this how Hollywood sees sex in the real World? "Identity Thief" has the two funny actors at the center sorrounded by a lot of unfunny dreck.



Written by Noah Haidle
Directed by Fisher Stevens
Actors: Al Pacino, Christopher Walken, Alan Arkin, Lucy Punch, Mark Margolis, Addison Timlin, Vanessa Ferlito, Craig Sheffer.

There is something really wrong in Hollywood when you give two of our finest actors a messy, badly written movie. A movie that has lame viagra jokes, an embarrassing bordello scene and a final shot that made me roll my eyes before I felt like puking. I always know an Al Pacino movie is terrible when he looks like he is acting and that means he is falling into his over acting trap. Christopher Walken is incredibly cool to listen to when he is given some great lines, even bad ones. But the writing here is amateurish with so many cliches it reminded me of about 50 other better movies just like this one. There are many moments throughout the movie where nothing happens. Save for some scenes where we can just hear Pacino and Walken talk together that got me into the movie, this is a chore to sit through.

"Stand Up Guys", directed by actor Fisher Stevens like he is directing a remake of his 80's cult comedy "Short Circuit", does not have a firm grasp on his movie or his actors. Pacino plays Val who was just released from prison and picked up by his best friend Doc played by Walken. They want to relive some old glory days and want to have a fun night on the town. Doc wants to show his buddy one last great time because in the morning he will have to put a hit out on his friend for a past shooting and death. The friends spring out another crime buddy, Hirsch played by Alan Arkin. Hirsch has to breathe through an oxygen mask and then when they all steal a car he appears to be breathing fine. I will give you a $100 if you can't guess what will happen to Hirsch later on in the movie.

The friends visit a whorehouse and eat dinner together where Val eats everything on the menu after he finds out he will be killed soon by his friend. They also help a woman in distress played by the beautiful and sexy Vanessa Ferlito (Q Tarantino's "Death Proof"). Not much else happens except for some bad dialogue, scenes that halt the movie to a grind and a lot of stuff you will figure out a few steps ahead of the movie. This story has been done before multiple times and way better. The movie looks glossy and reminds me of other better Pacino, Walken movies. Then the movie ends with a final shootout which boldly rips off the already dumb ending of the over rated "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid". Then comes the final shot that will either make your stomach churn or make you laugh out loud unintentionally.



Written by Alessandro Camon
Directed by Walter Hill
Actors: Sylvester Stallone, Sung Kang, Sarah Shahi, Jason Momoa, Christian Slater, Adewale Akinnvoye-Agbaje.

One of my favorite directors of action movies in the 80's and 90's was Walter Hill. There have been so many hack action directors whose names escape me. It is hard to remember a singular name except when it comes to Hill who has directed two of my favorite action movies, one is a beloved classic. Those movies would be the controversial 79 cult classic "The Warriors" and the comedy, cop, action classic "48 Hours". If anyone nowadays wants to make a great cop movie or an action movie that successfully combines gritty violence and gut busting comedy they should study "48 Hours". Also when it comes to the star of "Bullet to the Head", Sylvester Stallone, my favorite cop movie for my money is Stallone's neglected 1981 classic "Nighthawks".

Ah the good old days, for Hill and Stallone for the first time have teamed up for the absolute bottom feeding film of their careers. It is like Walter Hill is not really directing because this is a sloppy, dull and very badly put together movie. It reminds me of a crummy Jean Claude Van Damme, 80's schlock action movie. For Stallone, he looks like he does not want to be here, looking depressed and bored. The only saving grace are some one liners by Stallone but even those lines Stallone recites like he smells something rancid. The plot does not need to be described except to say it is a revenge movie where Stallone's super beefy hit man teams up with an Asian cop and the hilarious, mismatched personality clash humor ensues.

The problem with this movie is that it is lazy with unispired action scenes and that is not Walter Hill. There is a silly fight with axes at the end and that is shamelessly ripped off from the same kind of ax fight in my Walter Hill guilty pleasure, favorite 1984 movie "Streets of Fire". Now that is another Walter Hill movie that was fast paced and fun. This is a dull slog especially when it deals with Sara Shahi as Stallone's tattoo artist daughter and the many talky scenes between them. "Bullet to the Head" is on par with the bad straight to DVD action movies mostly released today. Stallone can only live on the success of "The Expendabes" for so long. If he wants to comeback he needs to again count on other geriatric action buddies to support him. His new action movie is the pits!