2004 in review

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Remo D
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2004 in review

Post by Remo D » Fri Dec 31, 2004 9:08 pm

The horror year of 2004 offered plenty of range--there were times when I was ready to give up on the whole thing, and there were times when I was utterly floored. The 70's revival of 2003 slowed down incredibly--just two remakes this year, but we reached back considerably farther in an attempt to reinvoke plenty of the original classic monsters. And especially frustrating was the realization that a considerable percentage of eligible titles could lay legitimate claim to "non-horror" status! So, as always, I call them as I see them. Agree--disagree--it's all fine by me, and you won't get an argument. Here, then, is my annual rundown.


Make all the "Dude, where's my Punk'd 70's Demi Moore Show" jokes you like--Ashton Kutcher did a fine job in THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT. We've all seen people screw up the present by trying to fix the past plenty of times in the movies, but this surprisingly harsh outing really drove home the desperate feeling of truly needing to make things right (hey, if child pornography, baby blasting and dog-torching don't make you cringe, what will?), and the cast really carried things along.

HELLBOY was the latest outing of perhaps my favorite modern genre director, Guillermo del Toro. Honestly, it had neither the punch of BLADE II or the emotional impact of THE DEVIL'S BACKBONE, but it was a very enjoyable demonic comic book outing that still managed to touch on del Toro's established themes (especially father/child relationships seen through supernatural lenses).

HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN doesn't belong here? Not even with the boggarts, the dementors and an honest-to-goodness werewolf in a tale of dark evil slowly gathering strength? It's still the best film yet in the series--Gary Oldman was a tremendous addition to the cast... and I have no idea how they're going to do the next two books while keeping the family audience at the same time. You want a horror show? It's coming...

So... DAWN or SHAUN? The remake we'd all been dreading the most turned out to be very slick and entertaining (not to mention gory), even though it was one of those PLANET OF THE APES deals that tries not to be a remake while including so many insider references that you can't help but invoke the original. Not a remake, but very much a dedicated tribute, was SHAUN OF THE DEAD, which pleased Romero's fans by mixing the frequently-seen combination of gore and humor with that rare third ingredient... intelligence.

None of our local theatres had the guts to book THE MANSON FAMILY, but Jim Van Bebber himself brought it to town as part of our local cancer charity/independent film festival. Needless to say, the film "stripped the paint off our walls" in unflinching style in this ultimate deglamorization. I suppose you could make the case that this isn't a "horror movie," but, unfortunately, you can't make the case that it's not real.

THE MACHINIST deserved the critical accolades it received: both for Brad Armstrong's direction and Christian Bale's performance as a haunted skeleton of a man. The supernatural, again, fails to get involved, but the imagery leading up to the revelation is as disturbing as it gets. The secret is easily guessable--but the conclusion is supremely satisfying, nonetheless.

The year wouldn't be complete without at least one "I stand alone" entry. I was virtually alone in your company--but I had support from the critics in this case--when I stuck up for OPEN WATER. Even if the stranded couple wasn't the easiest pair in the world to get along with, the feeling of "being there" and being forced to imagine oneself in such a hopeless--not to mention excruciatingly extended--predicament hit a home run with me.

But I just might be the only one out there willing to make a case for EXORCIST: THE BEGINNING (and I really, really want to see the Paul Schrader version). Acknowledged: the CGI effects were rushed and crappy. Acknowledged: the climax was a watered-down rehash of the original. And yet I thought that the film (in this incarnation, anyway) was quite well acted; that it had impressive visuals (not the CGI stuff, but the "buried temple" set and similar elements) and some genuinely shocking moments; and that it had a story worth telling. And continuity has never been a theme in this series, so don't bother reminding me that it doesn't really "match." There are now at least two versions of three out of the four films, and we all know that they screwed mercilessly with the third one (my favorite sequel), too. As an EXORCIST film, it's not even second best. As a religiously-themed horror film, it beats the holy hell out of LOST SOULS, STIGMATA and END OF DAYS.

Now here's the real question: what should I name the best horror film of the year? One of the very best films I saw all year was an Italian import called I'M NOT SCARED. As we watch the filter of a young boy's imagination slowly give way to unpleasant reality all too close to home, we're reminded of such classics as THE CURSE OF THE CAT PEOPLE, THE SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE and del Toro's THE DEVIL'S BACKBONE--it's right up there with those, but it really can't be considered a horror film.

JU-ON was certainly the most frightening thing I was lucky enough to catch on the big screen this year, and I'm certainly glad I didn't catch it on video ahead of time. Of course, it wasn't actually made this year, and thanks to my daughter, I did catch the follow-up on disc. Again, not bad at all, but I'm fairly familiar with the material now.

Okay, so I'M NOT SCARED is the best peripheral title of the year. And JU-ON was the scariest American theatrical release of the year. But when it comes to the best theatrical horror film of 2004, I'm handing it to SAW. This is no pseudo-horror procedural like TAKING LIVES or half of the recent movies of Morgan Freeman (not counting SE7EN, of course). Sure, SAW owes a debt to the latter and then some. But it works--it played me for a fool when I thought I was miles ahead of it, the setpieces, true to the title, cut to the bone--and there's that mocking puppet from DEEP RED! The giallo lives once more, and while I can't say I'm greatly looking forward to the sequel, this one had me stumbling out of the theatre and reeling. Not easy to do--so the cup is yours.


Since I'd just seen JU-ON on the big screen, no remake--not even one by the same director--could ever hope to recapture the original feeling. Still, I certainly didn't think that THE GRUDGE belonged on Roger-Dodger's Ten Worst list--it obviously knew how to play the material for the target American audience, for better or for worse.

Also on the aforementioned list was RESIDENT EVIL: APOCALYPSE. And of course, it's a largely mindless kitchen-sink sequel that gets more ridiculous the more you think about it. But we all know that there are FAR worse video-game-derived horror films out there (and good Lord, I have to see ALONE IN THE DARK within a month, too!). There's plenty of energy, it's never boring, and there are even a couple of good ideas thrown into this mixture--most impressive of all is a cliffhanger ending that actually left me wanting to know what happened next!

And who was expecting anything more than they got from ANACONDAS: THE HUNT FOR THE BLOOD ORCHID? Well, we could have had a little less (okay, one hell of a LOT less) of a certain wide-eyed "homeboy" who did his best to irritate the hell out of the viewer for nearly the entire running time. But if you bought a ticket to watch giant computerized snakes chomping on people, the goods were essentially delivered.

CLUB DREAD tried so hard to duplicate the slasher cliches (not to mention the gore) of the 1980s that it often forgot that it was supposed to be funny. But Bill Paxton as a poor man's Jimmy Buffet and a spectacular... er... performance... by Jordan Ladd were there to keep your eyes open, at least.

SECRET WINDOW sprang from one of Stephen King's less-inspired works, but Johnny Depp and John Turturro made the predictable tale of a tormented author watchable at worst and more entertaining than the novella itself at best.

At least Frank Oz knew that a remake of THE STEPFORD WIVES in this day and age would only work as a comedy. The would-be-horror elements fell flat, and the conclusion was an utter disaster. But perfect casting resulted in a frequently hilarious reworking--again, I defy anyone to watch Bette Midler's contribution to the Christmas-craft-circle conversation without laughing out loud.

And speaking of remakes that really aren't? What can one say about VAN HELSING that hasn't already been said? I wanted to love this movie, and when I saw the black-and-white prologue, I actually dared to hope. And then... chaos and overkill took over. I still ended up liking it a bit more than THE MUMMY RETURNS, but not as much as THE MUMMY (and no, I'll never apologize for liking that one). However, my children both loved VAN HELSING, and it did not spoil their appetites for the Universal Classics, so I still suggest that no lasting harm has been done.

Just under the gate at the end of the year was another "classic" revival of sorts in the form of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. Of course, when you're doing the Andrew Lloyd Webber version, you simply can't duplicate the effect of the live show, try as you might--and neither a needless flashback nor a gratuitous sword fight can help. Still, the film itself is visually stunning throughout and the casting choices were essentially spot-on. This could have been a little better--but not much.

As for DARKNESS? It doesn't even belong here--it's two years old and it was hacked down to a PG-13 when it needed to be an "R." I will go so far as to say that the uncut version might very well have landed high on my list--there seemed to be plenty of potential in this creepy, atmospheric Spanish ghost story. Again--I'll let you know when I actually see it.


GODSEND had a great idea involving the cloning of a lost child--but the true consequences of such an action were passed over in favor of a "twist." It tried to be everything (except a comedy, I guess) at once and it wound up pleasing nobody. I was about to say it had the worst ending of the year, but it's nothing compared to...

THE FORGOTTEN. Another lost child, but this time everyone's denying that he existed in the first place. It's a terrific idea that would have played best without the supernatural, but eventually it becomes THE X-FILES at its very worst. Ending? WHAT ending?

Oh, the SURPRISE ending! The moment we've all been waiting for from M. Night Shyamalan! Hey, I truly enjoyed his three previous films, but THE VILLAGE bored me to tears from beginning to end. Yeah, I had the ending figured out, but I also guessed THE SIXTH SENSE in ten minutes and it didn't affect my appreciation of that film in the least. Sure, maybe THE VILLAGE is an allegory about the state of the U.S. today. But it's a boring allegory.

ALIEN VS. PREDATOR doesn't even count as an ALIEN film (you couldn't possibly match the continuity--and you think EXORCIST: THE BEGINNING had problems?), and I don't care if it's a PREDATOR film. Much as I loved EVENT HORIZON, Paul Andersen did a better job writing RESIDENT EVIL: APOCALYPSE than he did putting this video game together.

There's a faction that believes that SEED OF CHUCKY was an underrated gem--a masterpiece of clever humor and gore. But Ronny Yu had already shown us what you could REALLY do with a Chucky movie if you wanted to. I had to admit that I couldn't take my eyes off of this train wreck, however. Sorta like CATWOMAN, dontcha know.

But the crowning insult of the year? The very idea that BLADE: TRINITY was actually part of the same series that gave us BLADE II. You can't blame Wesley Snipes from shying away from publicizing this considering how it turned out--can you imagine what it must be like to have Ryan Reynolds trying to upstage you with his wisecracks at every turn? Oh, yeah--they tried to bring Dracula into the picture, too. Not everyone agreed, but I thought the results made Richard Roxburgh's take in VAN HELSING worth looking at again. I didn't expect anything special from AvP or SEED OF CHUCKY, but this was a kick in the teeth and the year's very worst "horror" film.

And just to clean house, a few quick mentions. I really enjoyed two Stephen King television projects this year--namely, KINGDOM HOSPITAL (a very underrated--and original--take on Lars von Trier's THE KINGDOM which plays so much better on DVD than it did on ABC), and a solid, surprising miniseries remake of SALEM'S LOT. Hallmark's FRANKENSTEIN wasn't bad at all, but it simply didn't add anything to the familiar story--it just played it by the numbers. Far more surprising was a low-budget take on DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE which showed up on Alpha Video's new independent film line--be sure and check it out if you can. And I've said it before and I'll say it again... never mind ANACONDAS. The best guilty pleasure of the year for me was BOA VS PYTHON.

Decent family fantasy in LEMONY SNICKET'S A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS. A none-too-impressive attempt to turn Vin Diesel's PITCH BLACK character into a mega-budget franchise icon in THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK (what's even worse is that the director's cut gives him a backstory that puts him forward as a Christ figure of sorts?!). And a surprising amount of nostalgic fun in SKY CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF TOMORROW (the marching robots were terrific, but I sure wasn't expecting a visit to King Kong's island!). As mentioned, CATWOMAN was a train wreck. THE PUNISHER wasn't bad for a near-remake of MAD MAX. But THE INCREDIBLES scooped any "real" comic book adventure this year.

Parting thought: why is it that none of the four best "jump" moments of the year were contained in any of the year's best horror films? For the record, they occurred in TAKING LIVES, RESIDENT EVIL: APOCALYPSE, THE FORGOTTEN and LEMONY SNICKET.

What say you?

Remo D.
My dog's breath smells like peanut butter...

...and I don't even have a dog!

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Latte Thunder
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Post by Latte Thunder » Sat Jan 01, 2005 9:22 am

Looking back, I didn't really see a whole lot of movies this year. Of those, less than half of them were genre offerings.

My top picks for horror this year are pretty slim and will probably ring true with just about everyone else here.

The top of the list, the best of 2004 positively goes to Dawn of the Dead. It's number one with a bullet. I was so ready to hate it but as soon as the preview hit USA, I promptly shut my mouth and got my ticket early for opening night. I left the theater dumbfounded! How did this movie even get made? Was no one at the studio paying attention? This was extremely grisly for a Hollywood made horror movie! I couldn't say enough good things about it.

On its heels is Shaun of the Dead. Very funny and a damn good zombie movie. Making a zombie flick is tough business because all the good ones have already been made. Being original in that subgenre is tricky and they managed to do it with flying colors.

Saw left me really conflicted for most of the movie. The acting sucked hard, but it was a cool story. The third act, however, made me a believer. It made up for all the flaws. The pace suddenly shifts gears and all hell breaks loose. The grand reveation at the end was stunning. Great direction, a pretty original plot, an all around good movie.

Haute Tension hit DVD this year, so I think it falls into this category nicely. It's tough to do anything orginal with the stalk and slash genre but this one really delivers. It's loaded with some downright savage brutality and gruesome effects by Gianetto Di Rossi. Don't miss the upcoming American release.

That's really all I can comment on in the horror department. Hellboy gets honorable mention for being a decent flick. I, being a fan of the comics, had some problems with the story and the relationships of the characters, but it looked good and Del Toro stll rules with me.

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Post by DylanDog » Sat Jan 01, 2005 1:40 pm

Nice work as always, Remo, but as much as I liked Saw, I gotta go with LT with Dawn as best of the year. Shaun would come in 3rd I think, but those 3 were clearly the best new horror films I saw last year. Worst? Gotta go with Van Helsing. I did manage to reach my goal of 200 movies viewed this year, but just barely. Hopefully next year I'll have some more money lying around to rent something or hit the theatre while waiting for the netlflix....flicks.

+ means exceptionally good
- means exceptionally bad
> means it exceeded my expectations
< means it did not meet my expectations

1) Battle of Algiers theatre
2) Big Fish theatre
3) Murder dvd +
4) Kakashi dvd
5) Beyond Re-Animator dvd <
6) St. John's Wort dvd
7) Godzilla vs. Destroyer dvd
8) Jesse James Meets Frankensteins.. dvd
9) Cabin Fever dvd +>
10) Eyes Without A Face theatre
11) Zombie 5: Killing Birds dvd
12) House Of Clocks dvd
13) Gamera 1993 tv
14) Mothra Reborn tv
15) Mothra 3 tv
16) Signs dvd >
17) Rahxephon (box set) dvd
18) Misery dvd +
19) The Last Samurai theatre >
20) Tomie: Replay dvd
21) Blood Suckers dvd
22) Hellraiser: Hellseeker video -
23) Blood Thirst dvd
24) Another Heaven dvd
25) Children Of The Corn dvd
26) Old School dvd
27) Ring: Spiral dvd
28) Carrie dvd +>
29) Dawn Of The Dead theatre +>
30) Idle Hands dvd
31) Godzilla Against MechaGodzilla dvd
32) Blackmail dvd +
33) Welcome To The Dollhouse dvd
34) Final Destination 2 dvd -<
35) Kill Bill Volume 2 theatre +
36) Spider dvd +>
37) Karate Warrior vhs -
38) Dreamcatcher dvd -
39) The Skin Game dvd
40) Black Demons dvd -
41) Run Lola Run dvd
42) Willard dvd -
43) Run Ronnie Run dvd +>
44) House Of 1000 Corpses dvd <
45) Secret Window theatre >
46) Stuck On You dvd
47) Sleepy Hollow dvd <
48) Hellboy theatre -
49) Wheels on Meals dvd
50) Drunken Master 2 vhs
51) Dracula's Daughter dvd +
52) Son Of Dracula dvd
53) Van Helsing drivein -
54) The Attic Expeditions dvd
55) Rose Red dvd
56) Blood dvd
57) The Greenskeeper netflix >
58) The Hills Have Eyes netflix
59) The Eye netflix >
60) Thunder Warrior vhs
61) Zombie 4: After Death netflix -<
62) Thunder Warrior 2 vhs
63) The Big Lebowski tv +>
64) The Man Who Laughs netflix +
65) Kiss Me Quick dvd
66) Contraband dvd
67) The Ghastly Ones dvd
68) Miracle netflix
69) House On Bare Mountain dvd
70) The Dead Zone dvd
71) Wrong Turn netflix -
72) I'm Not Scared theatre <
73) The Aftermath vhs -
74) Number 17 dvd +
75) The Bloodsucker Leads The Dance netflix >
76) Gojira theatre +
77) Ong Bak: Muay Thai Warrior dvdR +
78) Bubba Ho-Tep netflix <
79) April Fool's Day netflix -
80) Streets Of Bangkok dvd -
81) Psychomania netflix
82) The Bells/ The Crazy Ray netflix
83) To Kill A Mockingbird tv +
84) The Haunted Lantern netflix
85) The Ring dvd +
86) The Seeds Of Sin dvd
87) Easy Virtue dvd +
88) Hysterical netflix -
89) The Man Who Changed His Mind netlfix
90) Mother's Day netflix +>
91) Tomie: Rebirth dvd
92) Godzilla's Revenge dvd
93) Baba Yaga netflix
94) Shaun of the Dead bitTorrent +>
95) 8 Mile tv >
96) Cave Of The Living Dead netflix
97) Aura Battler Dunbine (box set) dvd
98) Spiderman tv >
99) Spiderman 2 theatre
100) The Astounding She Monster netflix
101) Tomie: Another Face dvd
102) Terror Of MechaGodzilla dvd
103) Brotherhood Of The Wolf netflix +>
104) Gamera 2: Attack of Legion netflix
105) Hatred Of A Minute netflix
106) Anchorman theatre
107) Ju-On dvd
108) Ju-On 2 dvd
109) Ju-On: The Grudge dvd -
110) The 10th Victim netflix
111) Memento Mori netflix
112) Citizen Kane netflix +
113) Blow Up netflix +
114) Silver Bullet netflix
115) City Of Lost Souls netflix +
116) Zatoichi 2004 dvd
117) Something Wicked This Way Comes netflix +
118) The Undead bit torrent
119) Voyage To The Prehistoric Planet dvd
120) Daimajin netflix +
121) Death Dream netflix
122) Saturday the 14th netflix -
123) Harold and Kumar > White Castle bit torrent +>
124) Salem's Lot 2004 tv >
125) El Arte de Morir netflix
126) The Village theatre
127) Napolean Dynamite theatre +>
128) The Eel dvd
129) Targets netflix +
130) Return of Daimajin netflix
131) Ichi The Killer netflix <
132) Monster From Prehistoric Planet netflix
133) Gamera vs. Monster X netflix
134) Fall of the House of Usher netflix
135) Wrath of Daimajin netflix
136) Tomie: Forbidden Fruit dvd
137) Freeze Me netflix <
138) Hand Of Death netflix
139) The Testament of Dr. Mabuse netflix +
140) Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy netflix <
141) Hercules netlfix
142) Four Times That Night netflix
143) The Lost Skeleton Of Cadavra dvd +>
144) May dvd
145) The Punisher dvd
146) DOA: Final netflix
147) Dead Eyes Of London netflix >
148) The Ghost netflix
149) The Passion Of The Christ dvd
150) The Unknown netflix +
151) London After Midnight (restored) netflix <
152) Zatoichi 1 netflix
153) The Black Hole dvd
154) Dawn of the Dead (Argento cut) dvd
155) The Ace Of Hearts netflix +
156) Laugh, Clown, Laugh netflix
157) The Bride of Frank netflix >
158) Pirates of the Caribean dvd +
159) The Set Up netflix
160) Faust netflix<
161) Austin Powers: Goldmember tv
162) Hercules Unchained netflix
163) Steamboat Bill, Jr. netflix + (also Convict 13/ Daydreams)
164) Outside The Law netflix
165) Shadows netflix
166) The Burning bit torrent
167) Scarface dvd
168) Scary Movie 3 dvd
169) The Killer Meteors netflix
170) The Stand dvd >
171) Irreversible netflix
172) Salon Kitty netflix
173) Female Vampire netflix -
174) Visitor Q netflix +
175) Shadow Of The Vampire netflix >
176) 1990: The Bronx Warriors netlfix
177) Zatoichi 2 netflix
178) RahXephon: Motion Picture netflix
179) Mondo Cane 2 netflix
180) Sisters netflix
181) Sex Pistols: Filth & Fury TV
182) The Shock netflix
183) Nomads of the North netflix
184) El Santo Y La Tigresa netflix
185) Ikiru netflix +
186) Boxing Helena netflix
187) Thunderbolt vcd
188) The Ghosts Of Edendale netflix -
189) Saw theatre +
190) Simone tv
191) Deep Rising netflix
192) It's Pat tv
193) The Gift netflix +
194) Hong Kong Spice Gals vcd >
195) My 5 Wives tv
196) Graveyard of Horror netflix -
197) JFK netflix
198) Satanik netflix -
199) Fiance of Dracula netflix
200) Mothra theatre
201) Violence In A Women's Prison netflix -
202) Deliverance netflix +
203) Werewolf Woman netflix >
204) Cold Eyes Of Fear netflix >
205) Haunted School vcd
206) Conquest netflix -
207) Killer Klowns From Outer Space dvd
208) Attack of the Puppet People netflix >
209) Dodgeball dvd
210) Iron Warrior vhs
211) Mad Doctor Of Blood Island vhs -

Best new ...."Dawn of the Dead"
Best overall.... "Spider"
Worst new .... "Van Helsing"
Worst Overall.... "Female Vampire"
"This must be settled the way nature intended...with a vicious, bloody fight!!"
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Post by Kimberly » Sat Jan 01, 2005 5:07 pm

Dawn of the Dead... Like everyone when I heard this was getting made I was upset about it annnnd just like everyone I was VERY thrilled with the film. VERY enjoyable.

Saw... I just hope the sequel is as good as the first one was. Despite it being spoiled for me from some douche over at alt.horror... there were enough twists and turns that had me thinking that maybe said prick was just pulling my chain. Well... in the end he was right... but I still really enjoyed this one as well.

Shaun of the Dead... Over rated. Gave me a chuckle here and there but compared to the glowing reviews from not only critics but genre fans... I thought it was totally over rated.

Open Water... Yet another over rated film IMO. Sure it had some tense moments... I actually really enjoyed that night/thunderstorm part... I give them all well done on getting up close to those sharks... but in the end they couldn't of been eatten any faster for me. I've been a certified diver since I was 19 and to this day I still wait with my face in the water waiting for the boat to get me... cause I'm scared that a shark is gonna come up from under and gobble me up... so I was so excited to see this... it was crap

Van Helsing... Great opening... shitty movie

Cat Woman... Two letter review

The Grudge... I had really high hopes for it. Same director... Raimi's Ghosthouse pictures... how bad can the fuck it up... aparently they can fuck it up pretty damn good...

The Machinist... Just great!! Very dreamy in it's look... kinda like a Lynch movie only it makes sense and doesn't suck...

I'm Not Scared... Another good one... I don't care how many say they "saw it coming"... it still will never take away my memory of being in the theater and EVERYONE letting out one collective gasp...

RE:Apocalypse... LOVE the first one... no sir, I didn't care for the second one. The dogs looked better in this one... and they nailed Nemesis' look... but making him "good" in the end... come on now!! This one was a big disappointment to me...

Blade Trinity... Bad script, bad directing, bad casting... just bad

Seed of Chucky... SILLY!!

A Dirty Shame... Another big disappointment for me... however Tracey Ulman doing the Hokey Pokey was fucking CLASSIC!!

The Butterfly Effect... Ashton Kutcher... who would of thunk. One hell of a movie!

And I don't care what Shawn says... I liked The Manson Family... ALOT :p

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Post by Chris Slack » Mon Jan 03, 2005 10:20 pm

I'm keeping a log this year so my shitty memory doesn't allow me to forget about the tons of movies I watch, forgive me if I miss a few. I have included a couple of non-genre titles simply because I don't have many "new" movies that are worth mentioning :)

Movies I liked a lot:
Dawn of the Dead remake
Shaun of the Dead
The Butterfly Effect
The Incredibles
Team America World Police
Harold and Kumar go to White Castle
Haute Tension (technically 2003 but since it played the 2004 Seattle Film Fest...)
A Tale of Two Sisters (see note on Haute Tension)
Doppelganger (same deal as the last two)
Ong-Bak (2003 but new in 2004 for me)

Movies that plain sucked:
Van Helsing
Resident Evil Apocalypse
Aliens VS Predator
"Regrettable... I was hoping for a colleague, but at least we have
another experimental subject..." -Mesa of Lost Women

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Griff [Mola]
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Post by Griff [Mola] » Tue Jan 04, 2005 10:22 am

I really didn't see fuck all of this year's releases. There just wasn't that much for me to get excited about. So, anyway, I'll keep it simple:

Best: SHAUN OF THE DEAD. Thanks for not only outsmarting me but for also for not insulting me. Piss funny. These guys get it.

Mediocre: DAWN OF THE DEAD (2004). Neither of the above. This movie does not have legs, people, but you can find that out for yourselves after a few viewings. Thankfully nihilistic and bloody, aye, but regretfully heavy-handed and simple-minded, also. Tell me you couldn't have written better. MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE without the humour.

Worst: VAN DEFERENS. I just wanted it to end so I could start complaining about it. Putting a flooded bedpan over my head and beating it with a stainless steel ladle would've produced the same effect. A disgrace!

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Post by DylanDog » Tue Jan 04, 2005 5:33 pm

Way to steal the idea I stole, Chris! :) I actually posted my list for the year for two reasons. One, the slim chance anyone cares and two, in case I lose my data somehow, it's good to have an online backup. This year, I'm adding movies I've rewatched, but will not have them numbered so I'll know exactly how many I see.

Griff, I'm surprised you were so underwhelmed by Dawn. I've actually seen it about 5-6 times now and I still love it. Of course, it's never as good as the first time, but to compare it to Maximum Overdrive???!?!
"This must be settled the way nature intended...with a vicious, bloody fight!!"
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Post by Griff [Mola] » Wed Jan 05, 2005 8:44 pm

What can I say? For a 28 million dollar zombie flick, I find the DAWN remake remarkably unambitious. I don't hate it because its got stuff that any horror fan just loves to see but I won't be sending the screenwriter(s) or director flowers - its just so... unoriginal. I can think of a bunch of parrallels with MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE, one of which is the 'flee-the-safe-haven-and-take-a-boat-to-an-island' ending. There's so many more elements which, I guess, were really pioneered by NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. Infact, the DAWN remake borrows more from NIGHT than from its namesake. The mall location is inconsequential in the remake - it might as well have been a farmhouse. Or a truckstop. Or a morturary. Or whatever. We've seen this stuff before and I knew where it was going - and I'm not just talking about the ol' fateful escape plan.

At the end of the day, however, I think its got some severe characterisation and plot deficencies that just bring the whole thing down. Its frought with cliches but instead of using humour to smooth them over, it continues to take itself very seriously, which I find very self-defeating - a charge I wouldn't level at OVERDRIVE.

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Latte Thunder
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Post by Latte Thunder » Thu Jan 06, 2005 12:37 pm

'Griff [Mola wrote:']its just so... unoriginal.
It is a very unoriginal movie, if you ask me. This is my problem with the zombie "thing". If you've seen one zombie movie, chances are you've seen them all. It's a very constrictive theme to make a movie about because all the best ideas have already been taken and everyone else making a zombie flick is just following the formula set by someone else. It's tough to make an original zombie movie.

That said, I still think it more than delivered the goods that fans were looking for. It's a really harrowing movie and it has some great action sequences. I still love it.
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Griff [Mola]
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Post by Griff [Mola] » Sun Jan 09, 2005 8:18 am

Yeah, its gotta be tough making a zombie movie but 28 million dollars has gotta make it slightly less of a chore. There wasn't the usual budgetary requirement to make DAWN'04 another seige-type film but they went that route anyway. Fine. Its just a shame that pretty much everything in between the fancy pyrotechnics is filler. I found my interest waning during these parts on only my second viewing. Its pretty fucking dire stuff.

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Post by Darth Tanner » Tue Jan 11, 2005 3:50 am

I didn't make it out to see much in the way of genre titles this year either, but most of what I saw was pretty decent. My pick for best would be BUTTERFLY EFFECT and worst would be ALIEN VS. PREDATOR.

Other films I enjoyed:

13 GOING ON 30

Middle ground:


The bottom:


Only 16?!? At least I saw more this year than I thought I did :cheers:
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