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Monday, March 18, 2013

Blogfest: Top 10 (Horror) Movie Countdown

Ninja Captain Alex overt at Alex J. Cavanaugh is hosting yet another awesome blogfest today, and I'm more than happy to participate in it. Back in June 2012, his first blogfest "The Movie Dirty Dozen" had a similar theme, but Alex has decided to revisit it with "Top Ten Movie Countdown", because back at that time, he have had less than 200 followers (he's at 1,800 now), and most most of his new blog buddies missed it. I, personally, think the idea is great, but since I participated in his first blogfest, I decided to mix things up a little bit, instead of re-posting my top 10 favorite films of all time. Therefore, I'm putting a 'horror' spin on the subject, in order to be able to present to you my "Top 10 Favorite Horror Movies of All Time" + a bonus list of my "Top 3 Favorite Horror Comedies of All Time". Alex, I hope you don't mind I broke the rules. :) Check out both lists below, and let me know what you guys think. Oh, and just for the record, do not expect to see some overly familiar horror classic cliches such as "Halloween", "The Shining", and "Psycho" at the top of my list. It's not gonna happen. :)

George Beremov's
TOP 10 Horror Movies of All Time

1. [REC] (2007)
Spanish directing duo Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza will make you experience fear to the fullest with "[REC]" - a POV horror masterpiece, that is uber-inventive, highly original, brilliantly-crafted, claustrophobic, and unpredictable, but above all SCARY as hell. The final act is so utterly intense and mind-blowingly terrifying, it will stay with you for the rest of your life, so consider yourself warned.

2. The Descent (2006)

Horror flicks don't get any more claustrophobic than Neil Marshall's sensational underground fright-fest "The Descent". He has managed to create a modern horror classic that combines all the right elements - an appealing group of likable female characters, chilling setting, freaky-looking creatures, effective gore, sky high level of intensity, tons of genuine scares, and truly priceless entertainment value.
3. The Exorcist (1973)
[The Version You've Never Seen]

Although made back in '73, William Friedkin's timeless horror classic "The Exorcist" never gets old, and rightfully so. No matter how many times you have seen it, it's still shocking, utterly frightening and as effective as it was four decades ago. The 2000 version reveals a few never-before-seen scenes of terror, that you'll never forget, just like Linda Blair's truly outstanding performance as Regan.
4. Alien (1979)
[Director's Cut]

Ridley Scott's late 70's sci-fi horror phenomenon "Alien" needs no introduction. It's sheer brilliance in terms of concept and execution, featuring the most unique, creative, impressively-designed and utterly horrifying creature in cinematic history. The movie as a whole is an unforgettable thrill ride, filled with edge-of-your-seat moments of  fear, tensity and eeriness, plus, it's a technical achievement.
5. The Ring (2002) &
Ringu (1998) [Tie]

Both Hideo Nakata's "Ringu" and Gore Verbinski's US remake "The Ring" are equally as creepy and effective, and easily rank as one of the best supernatural horror films ever made. While the Japanese version wins in terms of originality and scares, the American version has bigger visual impact, and it's far more technically polished and visually creepy, not to mention the new elements added to the story.

6. Planet Terror (2007)

Mostly know as the first part of the double feature "Grindhouse" from 2007, "Planet Terror" is  Robert Rodriguez's best (if not financially successful) effort, one of the coolest-looking zombie films of all time, and hands down, exploitation cinema at its finest. Everything from the stylishly trashy visuals, quirky characters, and over-the-top action scenes to the top-notch practical effects, and buckets of guts and gore works amazingly well.
7. Martyrs (2008)

Pascal Lauguier's sadistically sick flick "Martyrs" goes far deeper than most horror movies, and not just in terms of its violence and gore. It gives far greater consideration to the traumatic psychological impact of violence and suffering. The absolutely shocking twist at the end will prove everyone who thinks this is just one nasty, gruesome, and brutal torture-porn film wrong.
8. The Others (2001)

More creepy rather than scary, but constantly spooky and insaely atmospheric, Alejandro Amenábar's fantastically-crafted ghost story "The Others" is a proof that a horror film does not need a multi million dollar budget or first class special effects to be effective. All you need is a charismatic lead, sinister setting, engaging script, and a clever twist ending that you'll never ever see coming.
9. Rosemary's Baby (1968)

Forget about "Psycho"! Polanski's "Rosmary's Baby" is the real deal, and arguably the best horror movie of the 60's and history of cinema in general. Its satanic subject matter is as disturbing as it can get, and every  young mother's nightmare. The ominous atmosphere adds further creepiness to the already dark story, and the smart script keeps you wonder whether all this is simply a paranoia, or the Devil himself is really involved.

10. Jaws (1975)

A true horror classic in its own right, "Jaws" was, is, and will always remain the best shark movie in film history, thanks to Spielberg's ability to create a creature feature that it as realistic as it's terrifying - one that no one who saw it will ever forget. It's near-perfect in every aspect, with the gruesome final act being a hair-rising culmination of a thrilling build-up. A definite must-see for every genre fan!

Honorable mentions:


George Beremov's
TOP 3 Horror Comedies of All Time

1. Gremlins (1984)

A seamless blend of comedy and horror, Joe Dante's true Christmas classic "Gremlins" is undoubtedly one of the most original horror films ever created, destined to become a classic. And it did. It's cute, but creepy at the same time, definitely witty, and all around entertaining. Gizmo is truly the most adorable creature ever, and the gremlins themselves are nasty little freaks, that will give you the creeps. Plus, it has the rewatchability factor.

2. Dead Alive (1992)

Everybody knows Peter Jackson for his amazing "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, but do you remember his super-cool, ultra-gory and utterly hilarious horror comedy "Dead Alive" from the early 90's? I bet horror buffs do. It's a zombie flick like no other, with great sense of humor and super spot-on practical effects, that proudly boasts its over-the-top goriness, and rightly so. The final act is so bloody, you won't believe your eyes.
3. Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn (1987)

OK, Sam Raimi's "Evil Dead" was scary, without a doubt, but his sequel (or more like remake), "Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn" manages to be equally funny and frightening, which is a difficult thing to achieve. Needless to say, this sequel is far more technically polished than its predecessor, especially in the special effects department, and that definitely works in its favor. And Bruce Campbell is a star!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

[7.00/10] The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)

QuickRating: Sure, it's slightly moody and not particularly visually appealing, but thanks to its sincere script, truly excellent performances from the three young actors Logan Lerman, Emma Watson and Ezra Miller, and the interesting dynamics between their genuine characters, "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" can be easily considered the best high school movie to com out from America in the past five, if not ten years. Yes, it's that good.

[6.50/10] The Words (2012)

The Words (2012)

QuickRating: Although completely miscast, Bradley Cooper still does his best and gives one of the better performances of his career, Zoe Saldana is way underused, but Jeremy Irons is spot-on as usual. The melancholic mood of the film suits the peculiar nature of the story, and while hardly plausible, the plot is very engaging, dramatically intense, and definitely not cliched. "The  Words" also teaches an important lesson about dignity, and that makes it worth-watching.

[6.00/10] The Sessions (2012)

The Sessions (2012)

QuickRating: The movie deals with its 'taboo' sexual subject matter in a very gentle and delicate way, the otherwise subtly dramatic script is full of amusing bits, the untypical sex scenes seem as natural and candid as possible, and both John Hawkes and Helen Hun deliver charismatic and pretty memorable performances, but "The Sessions" is largely let down by its unpolished visuals, bland cinematography, and Ben Lewin's odd, off-putting, and by-the-numbers direction.

Monday, March 4, 2013

[6.75/10] Killer Joe (2012)

Killer Joe (2012)

QuickRating: "Killer Joe"'s bizarre, brutal nature certainly won't be everyone's cup of tea, but on the other hand, there's something truly mesmerizing about this twisted, uncompromising, and shockingly violent thriller, brought by "Exorcist" director William Friedkin, that will keep you glued to the screen the entire time. Matthew McConaughey portrays his vile and unpredictable character phenomenally well, and the rest of the cast also give very solid performances.

[6.50/10] Tower Block (2012)

Tower Block (2012)

QuickRating: Even though the execution could have been better and the direction stronger, "Tower Block" still wins points for originality, thanks to its clever premise, and fairly inventive script, plus, having a similar setting to "The Raid" and "Dredd", this British thriller is also grim, gritty, and even somewhat claustrophobic. The truly credible performances add to the story, and make the overall experience a whole lot more gripping and effective, if hardly that memorable.

[5.50/10] Seven Psychopaths (2012)

QuickRating: To say McDonagh's promisingly titled action comedy, "Seven Psychopaths", is overrated would be an understatement. Sure, it has a somewhat original premise, reasonably smart script, solid dose of humor, and precisely-chosen cast, but in the end somewhat none of these elements fit together, and the end result is an underwhelming mess of a movie, that pretends to be more clever, funny, witty, and refreshing than it actually is.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

[6.75/10] Lawless (2012)

Lawless (2012)

QuickRating: It's slightly uneven, and at times even monotonous, because it lacks the dynamic and energy that could have made it even better than it already is, but "Lawless" successfully makes up for these flaws with its gripping story and brilliant cast, all of whom deliver powerful performances, plus, set in the early 1930's this beautifully-shot vintage drama has an incredibly authentic feel to it, thanks to the outstanding cinematography, and top-notch production design.

[6.00/10] Savages (2012)

Savages (2012)

QuickRating: While far from being one of Oliver Stone's most finest achievements due to its incoherent, at time even chaotic plot structure, and Stone's tendency to overdirect certain scenes in order to add some extra roughness to his film, but in the end "Savages" is a rather successful effort than not, thanks to the brilliantly-chosen cast, director's edgy shooting style, vibrant cinematography, and last but not least, the absolutely electric sexual chemistry between the three lead, in-love characters.

[4.00/10] Alex Cross (2012)

Alex Cross (2012)

QuickRating: It has a strong, and downright insane villain that kind of saves it from being a complete and utter disaster, but despite that "Alex Cross" i still ultimately forgettable, and feels incredibly generic and  too dated for today's standards, plot-wise and execution-wise. On the top of that, its main hero played by the otherwise charming Tyler Perry is bland and clumsy character you may find hard to root for, and unfortunately, that brings the movie down even further.