Although Batman, Superman, and even Spider-Man get a lot of attention, it’s worth noting that Hugh Jackman has now portrayed Wolverine six times on the big screen. Unlike Supes and Spidey, Logan didn’t ask for his powers and unlike Bruce Wayne, he doesn’t necessarily want to vanquish the bad guys. This makes Wolverine one of the more compelling and consistent characters in cinematic superhero history. The Wolverine explores why.
Let me start by saying that this list is not exhaustive. These are choices made from the films I’ve seen this year. I have a few catch-up films to watch like Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine, which from what I hear (I’m a fan), would probably have made the list, had I seen it. So, of the films I’ve seen and in no particular order, here are my faves from the past 12 months.
This is the best/worst time of the year for me. I love year-end lists but I hate compiling them. It is a masochist thing for me: I stress on it, torture myself, then as soon as it is done, I want to change it. I’m never satisfied. For the record, all included here may or not be from 2013. My list contains things I’ve re-discovered throughout the year. It happens. Enough of the bullshit: here it is in no particular order (with exceptions for favorites).
Diablo Cody hit it big a few years ago with Juno and everyone and their mother flocked over to her fan club. I watched Juno and admit I enjoyed it, but it was so filled with pop culture one-liners that it became boring. People said it was fresh and new but to me it was someone just trying way too hard. After that, Cody wrote Jennifer’s Body, which I was a fan of because of the silliness and how the film actually presented itself. Of course, people didn’t like this one and it was easily dismissed by critics. Cody wrote another “hit” called Young Adult which was just OK by me and many others.
Recently a new film called Paradise has surfaced that Cody wrote and directed. This is actually her directorial debut and the project she decided to helm first. First off, let me say this film feels like a total passion project for Diablo Cody. I could be wrong, of course, but Paradise falls flat and is so boring it doesn’t feel right.
New this week on Popshifter: I review the bizarre time capsule that is Saâda Bonaire and have some constructive criticism for Sebastian Grainger after his latest solo release, Yours To Discover; Paul discusses where R&B is now and where it’s heading with Toronto musician Jhyve and explains why Purple Snow: Forecasting the Minneapolis Sound is a labor of love; Brad reviews an underrated classic (Body Bags) and a new could-be classic (Bounty Killer); and Jeff waxes nostalgic and gloomy with Depeche Mode’s “Black Celebration.”
Exploitation is a term that isn’t used with newer films, although every so often we get a film that looks like it’s from today but has the throwback feel. Bounty Killer is one of those films. However, Bounty Killer never claims that to be a throwback and that’s what I really enjoyed about it. If you are mainly inspired by older films and want to really hit hard with the audience who loves that type of thing, do not call your film a throwback. It ruins everything.
John Carpenter has blessed us with many great flicks and inspired a limitless amount of people. He continues to do so even today. Still, Carpenter has a few underrated flicks and Body Bags is one of them. The whole film wasn’t directed by The Horror Master himself, but he directed a segment and more importantly, he nailed it as the host of this anthology. Body Bags might not be the best thing ever but it is a blast. (Don’t take me too seriously when I say it may not be the best thing ever; I mean that in a very positive way, actually.) Now, Scream Factory has given us a pristine looking Blu-Ray.
If you’re a member of the movie superfan community, you know that it’s not just the movies we love to obsess over, it’s everything associated with those movies, from quotes, to the name of the set designer, to the poster art. You’ve memorized the poster art (and variants) of your favorite movies. You know all too well that the Mondo limited edition screen prints of movie posters sell out almost immediately and that those lucky enough to acquire them often sell them for hugely inflated prices online. And you definitely know the names of the artists who’ve created these posters.
Now there’s a documentary called “Twenty-Four by Thirty-Six” that “explores the world of movie poster art, past and present; the artists who create it, companies that commission it, galleries that display it, and collectors and fans who hang it.” But in order for this doc to come to fruition, they need our help and they’ve launched a Kickstarter to do so.
“Twenty-Four by Thirty-Six” not only follows a couple of fantastic illustrators, but also profiles some well-known artists and personalities in the screenprinted poster community (like Tony Seininger, Gary Pullin, Jason Edmiston, Phantom City Creative, Kevin Tong, Tim Doyle, N.E., Paul Ainsworth, and many more), and talks to fans and collectors.
Besides knowing that you helped contribute to the completion of this documentary, what’s in it for you? There are lots of rewards, from having your name listed in the credits, to a digital download, T-shirts, DVDs, Blu-Rays, various versions of the film poster (including a glow-in-the-dark version), a signed John Alvin Alien poster, a private screening of the film at a BBQ with the director, and lots more.
The Kickstarter ends on December 21 and right now they haven’t reached their goal of $25,000. So check out “Twenty-Four by Thirty-Six” on Kickstarter and get to donating!
Oh, Brian De Palma. You broke my heart but I keep coming back. First, it was Mission To Mars, one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen (and this from a diehard MST3K fan). Then it was the dreadful adaptation of James Ellroy’s The Black Dahlia. Still, I was excited about Passion. Noomi Rapace and Rachel Adams in an erotic thriller with lesbian undertones? Who could resist? Not me.
The critics weren’t kind at Passion‘s TIFF premiere in 2012. But Noomi Rapace! Rachel McAdams! Erotic thriller! Plus a score from the great Pino Donaggio. My desire to see the film did not wane.
Well, I’ve now seen Passion. And I have a lot of thoughts, and most of them good. It’s vintage De Palma, that is for certain: heightened emotion masking flatness of emotion, weird artificiality bleeding through lush production design, over-the-top music, exquisite framing, and outlandish narrative. I haven’t seen Alain Corneau’s 2011 inspiration Crime d’amour, so I can’t speak to it, but I now understand why so many hated Passion. It’s not a straightforward movie; it’s a straight-up giallo. Forget Hitchcock. It’s all Italian. There’s even a police investigation, a hallmark of the genre.
The name ZoZo probably won’t ring a bell with normal folk, but if you know me, you should know I’m not normal. I’ve always been fascinated with stories about ZoZo and loved to read people’s testimonies of their encounters with this so-called demon. If you are clueless about who or what ZoZo is, you can find everything you need to know about him online. There is a small community that believes this is real and many have encountered this demon of sorts through the well-known Ouija board.