Thursday, January 1, 2015

The 2014 Dorkies - The Best & Worst Of Cinema (Brad's Picks)

I watched 452 films in 2014, 143 of them released within the calendar year.  It was a great year for Good Movies, but not a great year for Great Movies.  Of the Top Ten films listed below, only the films in the top two spots are absolute classics for me.  Who knows how I'll feel in a few months or a few years, but there you have it.  Can't complain.  Lots of good stuff here, but if I was going to rank the Dorkies we've done since 2011, this is easily my least favorite year.  I have a couple of caveats before we get started.  I have yet to see Paul Thomas Anderson's Inherent Vice.  That is unfortunate.  It was one of my most Anticipated Films of the Fall/Winter Season, and this list doesn't seem complete until I've seen that movie.  But you can never see them all, can you?  Second caveat, even though they were technically released theatrically this year, Matt & I were able to see both A Field In England & Why Don't You Play In Hell last year.  Both films ranked on my Top Ten (spots 4 & 6), and would have certainly ranked high on my list this year (probably spots 2 & 3).  I love those damn movies more and more every day.  Watch em if you haven't.

If you're looking to explore The Dorkies further, please give our new ITMODCast Podcast a listen.  Part 1 & Part 2 are filled with plenty of those hyperbolic absolutes you've come to love from Matt & myself, plus a little fresh air provided by Darren & Bryan.  Meeting every week with these guys has reenergized my love for film, and I am truly looking forward to further explorations on Dork pop culture.  Maybe I'll even read a book this year.

Anyway, on to awards show...


10.  Get On Up:  I'm as surprised as you are.  Biopics, as a general rule, are some of the most uninspired works of boredom cinema has to offer. And Musical Biopics??  Rags to riches to drugs to spousal abuse to bittersweet life lesson nonsense.  I hate them.  No matter how good the mimicry, the films usually fall short of actually capturing the magic of the performer (see Ray, Walk The Line, the endless array of Elvis wannabes).  I love James Brown.  I've loved him every since he came down from the sky and cheered Apollo Creed to his death.  So the idea of watching a mediocre presentation of James Brown's bonkers lifestyle held very little appeal to me...especially since so much of it is a Rock n Roll cliche.  Poor kid + talent + drive = success + drugs + women = loneliness blah, blah, blah.  The miracle here is that director Tate Taylor and screenwriters Jez & John-Henry Butterworth embrace the absurdity of their subject, and inject Brown's story with a surreal living flashback narrative filled with fantasy & fourth wall smashing winks.  The film starts with his 1988 arrest when he stormed an insurance office, brandishing a shotgun because some poor lady dropped a deuce in his toilet.  Batshit. How'd he get here?  Get on Up doesn't bother to answer that question, it simply depicts the dozen personalities that occupy the alien we call James Brown.  It jumps back & forth in the James Brown timeline, to the point where six frames of film can stretch fifty years.  It's a thrill to watch.  Get on Up embraces the fiction of storytelling, electrifies the tired "Based on a True Story" tagline, and suddenly I'm falling head over heels all over again for the funkiest man in show business.

9.  The Babadook:  A lot of movies were hyped this year - Boyhood, Mockingjay, Guardians of the Galaxy, Birdman, Whiplash.  Some I bought into, some I did not.  That's the way it goes.  The Babadook was probably hyped in the most insanely hyperbolic way when William Friedkin tweeted "I've never seen a more terrifying film than THE BABADOOK."  Since last year, I've been reading great things about this little Aussie horror, and I was getting a touch weary.  Certainly it could not be as scary as they say.  And I was right.  It's not that scary.  It's creepy.  It's disturbing.  But it's not the scariest horror film I've ever seen.  Far from it.  However, it is an emotionally torturous assault on your nerves.  Seven years after her husband died while driving her to the hospital to give birth to their son, Essie Davis is at war with her demented offspring.  Noah Wiseman as the child obsessed with monsters under the bed, stage magic, and projectile weapons is one of the worst littlest shits I've ever witnessed.  For the first half of the film, I was ready to throttle the boy if Mom didn't have the guts to do it herself.  When the supernatural presence finally reveals itself, it's actually a tremendous relief.  The next thing I knew, the familial roles reverse and I found myself rooting for The Bad Seed.  It is withoutadoubt one of the best character switcheroos.  And let's not forget the last scene - an utterly smart, and perfect monster movie metaphor.

8.  Frank:  What starts out as a "quirky" indie comedy about a band of eccentrics trying to reach intellectual nirvana through field recordings and Fuck You Punk Rock, slowly reveals itself as a sad ass meditation on creative failure.  Domhnall Gleeson is desperate to justify his existence through cheap musical imitations, and comes close to achieving that goal when he happens upon a keyboardist drowning himself in the English Channel.  Before he can give it a second thought, an unpronounceable band (Soronprfbs!!!) recruits him into their Scottish freakshow.  As our heroic lead we identify with Gleeson's voyeurism & eventual fetishizing of Michael Fassbender's deeply troubled musical genius.  However, as the film grinds to its SXSW catastrophe, we & him discover Gleeson as the true loser of the piece.  Is there a sadder or more relatable denouement?  And Yet!  There is so much energy and life to Frank.  Fassbender gives one of his strongest performances as the cranial agoraphobe; he's a sad creature, a joyous being, and painfully self aware.  "I Love You Wall" will go down as my single favorite short film from 2014's cinema landscape.

7.  Gone Girl:  After the drab bestseller disappointment of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, I was certainly cautious going into David Fincher's latest pageturner adaptation.  And actually, after my first viewing of the film, I was nonplussed.  It took a second outing with my wife in tow for me to finally seep into its scabby domestic swamp, and cackle at the troubles of maybe-murderer Ben Affleck.  Gone Girl succeeds in lampooning America's True Crime obsession as well the pathetic woes of married life. But when he wants to, David Fincher gets psycho scary and offers some delightfully grim acts of violence.

6.  Guardians of the Galaxy:  Fanboys have won.  We took over the world.  Here is the film to prove it.  Some of you out there might pish & posh at the Marvel machine, but the others out there like me are simply flabbergasted.  If this film had failed at the box office, it would not have been the end of the MCU - we would have just had to suffer through an endless array of Thor 3s & Iron Man 4s.  The end of the world?  No.  But thanks to the world embracing Rocket Raccoon we will get Doctor Strange, and Black Panther, and The Inhumans, and The Suicide Squad, Cyborg, Shazam, and who knows what other comic book properties Hollywood can wrap their mitts around.  Don't be scared Hipsters.  Embrace us, Comic Book Fandom can be such a rapturous inclusive experience.  And not every Comic Book movie has to be a guy jumping around in his underwear.  It's a world overrun with oddball characters and multiple subgenres.  Despite the usual Marvel Bad Guy/Exploding City trappings, Guardians of the Galaxy feels more reminiscent of Star Wars, or rather, it's knockoffs like Ice Pirates and Battle Beyond The Stars.  Chris Pratt's space cowboy is all swagger and charm, the dashing good guy we want to lead our merry band of scaliwags.  Of course, the characters you truly fall for are the pistol packing Raccoon & the walking tree thug.  It's obvious that James Gunn loves his players, and whatever villainous disappointments I might have about the film are forgotten in the banter.

5.  The Raid 2 - Berandal:  First things first, the second film is nowhere near as awesome as the first.  The Raid was a 101 minutes of nonstop kill crazy action.  Few films (if any) capture the intensity and exhaustion of those action sequences.  When I heard that Gareth Evans was attempting a Godfather Part II-like sequel to his high rise stab-a-thon, I could barely comprehend it.  The balls of it.  After barely surviving his encounter with Mad Dog, SWAT officer Rama is recruited by the secret police to dive deep into the Indonesian mob.  101 minutes transforms into years of horror and shame.  So is this The Godfather Part II of kill crazy action films?  Kinda.  The plot is dense, overwrought, and basic, but Gareth Evans rewards gorehounds with tremendous feats of bodily harm.  Gratuitous?  Exploitative?  Yer damn right.  It's hard for me to get aboard the John Wick train when The Raid films exist.  This is what I want from my actioners.  Baseball bats, hammers, and scimitars - Oh My!

4.  Cold in July:  Michael C Hall shoots a burglar creeping around his living room.  What follows is not the movie you signed up for - it's much, much, much better.  Sam Shepherd plays the burglar's pissed off father.  Don Johnson, the hillbilly gumshoe.  I dare not spoil how they all get in that pickup truck, or what they do once they step out.  All I'll say is that Cold In July is a mean little crime story worthy of Joe Lansdale's good ol' boy novel, and it's directed by Jim Mickle with true love of 80s neon & John Carpenter soundtracks.  Bravo, sir.

3.  Dawn of the Planet of the Apes:  I enjoyed Rise.  It's a solid origin tale (sigh, always the origin tale) with some nifty ideas, and a passable James Franco performance.  Thanks to that film's motion capture success, director Matt Reaves is able to come on board here and go all in with the ape culture.  This is Cesar's movie.  It's the Planet of the Apes I've been waiting for since first discovering the Escape & Conquest sequels.  Andy Serkis' Cesar struggling to lead his people in the shadow of man's failure, while humanity struggles to pull itself out from under it's own loathsome destruction.  This is opera.  It's Shakespeare.  It's so damn human.  Like The Babadook, it's everything genre storytelling does right when holding up the mirror.  Yes, Jason Clarke and his sidekicks get the motivational short shrift.  They're barely in the film, so who cares, maybe we can cut them out completely on the third go 'round. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes wins my heart with its opening deer hunt, Koba's "Human Work" judgement, and Cesar's climactic gaze.  We've finally reached that place where genuine performance can be found in a talking chimp, or a raccoon, or a tree.  Science Fiction can do anything - let's really push it now.

2.  Captain America - The Winter Soldier:  Nothing will top the experience of seeing The Avengers for the first time.  The Disco Dork was there, ask him how high I was walking outta the theater.  That being said, I've watched The Winter Soldier seven times this year (3 in the theater, 4 at home), and I'm confident in exclaiming it as the best film (so far) from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  Feel free to argue your Iron Man or Guardians love with me, I get it, I'm with you.  But The Winter Soldier was made for me, not you.  The Russo Brothers telepathically reached out to me while I was dreaming, and stole all my love for the character and dropped it into their film.  I've been reading Cap comics every month for nearly 25 years now.  I'm a fan.  One of those weird guys who trolls the internet & dedicates blogs to Steve Rogers.  I can't hide my freak flag when talking Captain America.  It's love, and it's tough to match or impress.  At the start of the year, I reread Ed Brubaker's five year run on the character, and I was well pumped before the film's fade-in.  So, you gotta understand/fear my perspective when it comes to this movie.  The Winter Soldier is not Brubaker's comic book.  It takes a crumb here, and a crumb there, but what the MCU understands is that you can't cram a Marvel movie like a Rowling slog.  Take what you want, treat it nice, and fanboys will be happy.  And I was very happy from frame one.  "On your left."  No other big studio would open their Blockbuster Popcorn Movie with a character beat this exhilarating.  Steve Rogers runs laps around Anthony Mackie's fellow GI.  They bond over their military background & Cap's need to experience Marvin Gaye's Trouble Man.  TROUBLE MAN!!!  Only the greatest blaxploitation movie of all time, and a kick ass soundtrack.  Mind blown.  Then you have that moment later at the VA where Sam Wilson asks Rogers, "What makes you happy?" & Cap responds "I don't know."  Yessss!  That is everything that's tragic and right about Cap Outta Time - the loneliness of fighting the good fight.  Even when that fight leads you right to the Government's footsteps.  Captain America vs The USA.  Yep.  You gotta go there.  If the film had one flaw, it's that the The First Avenger failed to flesh out his relationship with Bucky Barnes so that some of the emotional punch of The Winter Soldier is lacking, but I've got the those comics to fall back on, and that flaw seems like a minor quibble to me.  Now let's not forget some of the great action sequences contained within.  Cap's Bourne Identity assault on the Lemurian Star, Nick Fury's DC Carjacking, Cap's elevator smackdown, and The Winter Soldier bridge battle.....TROUBLE MAN!!!! Holy Crap!!!  TROUBLE MAN!?!?!?!  Can't believe it.  I love this damn movie.

1.  The Grand Budapest Hotel:  Just when I think Wes Anderson cannot possibly impress me any more, he goes and makes a bloody masterpiece.  Yes, it's another example of intricate dollhouse filmmaking - this time going so far as to muck about with aspect ratios.  Cloying?  This is not the place to debate the Anderson artificial aesthetic.  You're either in, or you're out.  Personally, I simply love what The Grand Budapest has to say about the power of storytelling.  It takes the audience from a girl reading a book at an author's grave, to the author reflecting on his work, to the young author hearing the story, to the story itself.  A fictional game of telephone reaching through time to give some solace to the reader.  Anderson has played with the bittersweet before, but never have the tonal shifts been as shocking or as powerful.  One moment you can be laughing along with Ralph Fiennes' heroic dandy, and the next you can be fearing for his life or the life of a jettisoned cat.  It's a love story between a boy & a girl, a man & his widow, a man & his lobby boy.  These are some of the highest stakes Anderson has played with, and I look forward to the director tackling such an epic scale again.

HONORABLE MENTIONS (in alphabetical order): Big Bad Wolves, Edge of Tomorrow, Foxcatcher, The Guest, A Most Wanted Man, Nightcrawler, Only Lovers Left Alive, Selma, The Signal, and Under the Skin

BEST DIRECTOR - Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel):  Flawless filmmaking.  From the performances, to the set design, the editing, the music, the screenplay, etc, etc...  The Grand Budapest Hotel is one of those rare films where I would absolutely not change a single frame of the movie.  It's perfect.  A gem.  Again, some folks are turned off by his style.  Art's subjective, I cannot argue with that.  I don't want to.  Anderson's movies are a singular vision that dig right into my feels.  Currently, The Grand Budapest Hotel is not my favorite of his canon (that's still The Life Aquatic), but give me a few rewatches and I could see this climbing right to the top.  How could I not award Anderson Best Director?

Runner Up - David Fincher (Gone Girl)

BEST LEADING MALE PERFORMANCE - Phillip Seymour Hoffman (A Most Wanted Man):  This was an exceptionally hard category to narrow down.  So many great roles for great actors this year.  Guy Pearce & his dirty apocalyptic shorts in The Rover, Jake Gyllenhaal's bug-eyed maniac in Nightcrawler, Michael Keaton's whacked out hasbeen in Birdman, Ralph Fiennes' profane person of interest in The Grand Budapest Hotel.  Decisions, decisions.  I'm going with Hoffman in A Most Wanted Man because he delivers a deceptively quiet performance that eventually reveals itself as one of the most depressingly rage-fueled roles in spook cinema.  Hoffman is all whispers, murmurs, eye rolls, and facial twitches...until he's not.  So good.  A Most Wanted Man may not have been the flashy art house thriller you wanted, but it was an excellent exploration on the bullshit futility of Spy vs Spy politics.  And of course, there is the real life tragedy that Hoffman will not live on to execute other performances as strong as this one, and we'll just have to live with what he gave us.

Runner Up - Guy Pearce (The Rover)

BEST LEADING FEMALE PERFORMANCE - Essie Davis (The Babadook):  No question here.  Davis for the win.  As the widowed mother of the world's most thrashingly annoying headcase of a child, Essie Davis runs the gamut of human crisis.  She's a sympathetic put-upon mom, a terrorized victim, and a heroic crusader against evil; the whole film is placed on her shoulders and she utterly sells the agony & fear of parenthood.

Runner Up - Scarlet Johansson (Under The Skin)

BEST SUPPORTING MALE PERFORMANCE - Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher):  A mixture of In Cold Blood & Moneyball (not really, but how fun is that combo?!), Bennet Miller's Foxcatcher is a deliberately paced critique on wealth in America that packs as much dread into its runtime as the most vile of horror films.  Both Channing Tatum & Steve Carrell are exceptional as the sociopathic Dupont and his desperate to please boytoy.  However, in the days following my first viewing of the film, it was Mark Ruffalo's idolized sibling that refused to leave my thoughts.  His nobility, his confidence, his confusion & inability to understand his brother.  He reads the lines, but most of the work is done behind the eyes.  The brooding Ruffalo anchors the entire story on reaction shots, and it is masterful.

Runner Up - Tommy Lee Jones (The Homesman)

BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE PERFORMANCE - Tilda Swinton (Snowpiercer):  I struggled a lot with this movie.  I really did adore the first third of the film, maybe the first half, but as Chris Evans stormed his 99%ers through the train cars, the metaphor got muddier and the climactic revelations a real snooze.  But there was nothing to scoff at when it came to Tilda Swinton's grotesque governess.  What a banner year for Swinton!  The pop culture obsessed vampire of Only Lovers Left Alive, the latexed Lansbury of The Grand Budapest Hotel, and the psycho creepy AI of Zero Theorem.  Tiny roles that all left a mark, but her Mason was just a hilarious ogre to root against.  She was obviously having a blast with her glasses, fur coat, & teeth - chewing the scenery with brilliant gasps of disgust for the filth around her.  Fun, fun, fun.

Runner Up - Emily Blunt (Edge of Tomorrow)


5.  Interstellar:  I love, love, love the sentiment, the scale, and the craft of this movie.  Watching it on the six story screen at the Udvar-Hazy Air & Space Museum IMAX was a total blast...literally, as Hans Zimmer's cacophonous organ score squeezing the life from my heart.  Brilliant!  But man, what a dopey script.  It's obvious, and often dumb.  Bummer.

4.  John Wick:  It's no Raid 2.  Sorry.  Can't get excited like the rest of the internet.

3.  Life Of Crime:  Ok, the idea that this prequel to Jackie Brown (aka Elmore Leonard's Rum Punch) could live up to Quentin Tarantino's finest film is unrealistic & bound to disappoint.  The performances are solid enough.  Jennifer Aniston as the stockholm syndromed trophy wife is good.  John Hawkes as the skinny Robert DeNiro Gara is good.  Mos Def as the unimpressive Sam Jackson Robie is...meh.  Leonard's book is not really a masterpiece either, but it sure as hell has a lot more danger to it then this run of the mill caper.

2.  Tusk:  What was I expecting from a film about a podcaster kidnapped, tortured, and transformed into a walrus?  Something incredibly strange and disgusting!  Instead Kevin Smith gets distracted by his Johnny Depp cameo, and confoundingly retreats from the cuckoo of Michael Parks.  Justin Long is so preciously committed to his walrus persona.  I wanted to love me some exploitation.  Ok!?!

1.  How To Train Your Dragon 2:  Some films just shouldn't have sequels.  There is a kernel of an idea here, but the antagonist plot never gels and the family plot wanders into the ordinary.  Still, Toothless is the most adorable creation ever, and I'd watch three or four more sequels if you shove them in front of me.


5.  Left Behind:  Guys, I think it might be time to take Nicolas Cage out to pasture.  It hurts to type, but the man either can't catch a break or he just doesn't have it in him anymore.  Left Behind is the final straw, we gotta do something before his career steers even further into the realm of embarrassment.  To once again go back to Jackie Brown, "Your ass used to be beautiful."

4.  3 Days To Kill:  Oof.  Another career that has seen better days.  Kevin Costner does his best Agent Cody Banks, and might have pulled it off if not for the daughter in distress angle and Amber Heard's red red red red red lipstick abomination.  Everyone in this film acts profoundly uncomfortable.  They know they're in a goose egg, just running the numbers until the credits roll.

3.  300 - Rise of an Empire:  Zach Snyder gets a lot of hate on the net these days.  I get it, Sucker Punch was a god awful mess.  Man of Steel has its problems.  But dammit, watching 300 Part II really made me appreciate the balls out insanity of his Frank Miller adaptation.  What a god awful dullard of a movie.  Eva Green in all her nude hate madness could not save a second of this claptrap.  Garbage.

2.  Sin City - A Dame To Kill For:  Was this as bad as Robert Rodriguez last DIY effort, Machete Kills?  No.  And there might even be a moment or two where I had a good time with this one.  Sadly though, you just cannot go home again.  In the eight years since the original Frank Miller collaboration (that mad nutter again), my opinion of the film has dwindled quite a bit.  Similar to how some films don't need sequels, some comic books are just better off as comics.  Especially when the comics are already playing so heavily in cinematic nostalgia.  A reflection of a reflection of a reflection is nothing.  It's pretender cinema.

1.  Sabotage:  Arnie should certainly be doing more movies like this and fewer like Terminator Genisys.  Playing his age, acting rough & mean.  An old dog with a few tricks still left.  Sadly, this is a David Ayer movie, and Arnie is trapped in a fog of B.S. machismo about yet another group of corrupt asshole cops.  The film tries too damn hard to be HARDCORE.  It's silly.  It's goofy.  And it's laughable.  Not to mention that Arnie is surrounded by a group of wannabe badasses.  Roll over guys, play dead.  Stay dead.

MOST OVERRATED FILM OF THE YEAR - Boyhood:  This is a good movie.  And it's quite an experience to watch your actors age with their characters.  But it's also just another coming-of-age story.  I get it.  Growing up.  It's an event.  We all do it.  Ok.  I'd rather watch the Before Trilogy again or Paul Almond's Up series.

Runner Up - Birdman

MOST UNFAIRLY MALIGNED FILM OF THE YEAR - Godzilla:  When you got out of the movie did you say something like, "There should have been more Godzilla."  If so, then you've probably never watched a Godzilla film before.  I'm not going to pretend that I'm the biggest Gojira fan on the planet - only this year did I watch a number of the original films.  I dug em.  Most of them share the human to kaiju ration found here.  It's called "Build."  Could Aaron Taylor Johnson have had a touch more charisma?  Yes.  Should he have been killed off and Bryan Cranston moved to the center of the action?  Yes.  But dammit, I enjoyed the hell out of the spectacle.  The Atomic Breath Finishing Move?  That's gotta be one of the coolest things I saw all year.

Runner Up - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

BEST FILM SCORE - Under The Skin by Mica Levi:  Not the type of score that you tap your foot to, but Levi's constant hummmmm electrifies the unease of the screenplay.  It fits right at home with the alien predator, lulls you in, drowns you in a black pool, vibrates your innards.

Runner Up - Interstellar by Hans Zimmer

BEST FILM SOUNDTRACK - Guardians of the Galaxy:  Obviously we all love the music here.  But it's not just a soulless collection of Classic Rock to win over the mindless drones in the audience.  One of my favorite aspects to the film is how the soundtrack acts as an extension of a mother's love for her son.  Not only does it keep Peter connected to his mom (and Earth), but that love also reaches out to blue alien thugs in the form of The Pina Colada Song, and teaches vicious galactic assassins to dance.  It's also a great weapon to take down a Kree despot.  Winning.

Runner Up - Frank

THE IT'S NOT TAKEN BUT WE'LL TAKE IT AWARD - A Walk Among The Tombstones:  We've only got a couple of weeks, but soon we'll finally have the conclusion to the epic Brian Mills Saga.  Until then we've just had to settle for a hodgepodge of various Neeson street toughs.  Non-Stop was fun enough, but ask me what the plot was and all I can recite is the Key & Peele sketch.  A Walk Among The Tombstones is not great cinema either, but it sure as hell is a dark beast of crime time horror.  Neeson is hired by Dan Stevens' drug kingpin to find the serial killers who mutilated his wife.  A cheery place to start that only gets cheerier as Neeson shoots, cuts, and carves his way through an 8MM conspiracy.  U - G - L - Y.

THE GOOD SAMARITAN AWARD - The Guest:  A soldier returns to the United States, and visits the family of a fallen comrade.  "He's Here To Help."  To reveal more than that would spoil the fun of the film.  Let's just say that from almost his first moments on screen, you fully understand that something is off about Dan Stevens.  He's done bad stuff, but maybe he's not such a bad guy.  Maybe he's the worst guy?  Maybe he's the worst guy and the best guy.  Total charm & total terror in one body.  Adam Wingard's followup to You're Next is not a straight up horror film, but like that film, John Carpenter holds a lot of influence over the style & script.  Essential viewing for genre fanboys.

BEST TITLE SEQUENCE - Captain America The Winter Soldier: As with all MCU flicks, the title sequence is saved till the very end.  Usually they're more than a touch pedestrian (I still love Iron Man 3's 80s TV finale), but the Russos went to the comic book world's best collage artist, David Mack to produce their Saul Bass-y send off.  It's just the coolest.  Just another feather in the cap of Marvel's best picture.

FILM DISCOVERY OF THE YEAR AWARD - Number One:  Caught this one on VOD in preparation for Matt's annual Hest Fest.  Charlton Heston plays Ron "Cat" Catlan, a washed up quarterback who drowns his woes in booze and women, and treats them equally with hateful contempt.  Heston has always relished in playing the most despicable of "Heroic" Leads, but as much of an A-hole as he can be in Planet of the Apes or Soylent Green, nothing quite matches the politically incorrect revolution found in Cat.  One of my new favorite Movie Losers.  Give me a blu ray please.

Runner Up - Wattstax

BEST SILVER SCREEN CLASSIC - Point Blank:  Seeing my favorite movie adaptation of one of my favorite crime novels at the AFI Silver was the movie highlight of the year.  I've droned on & on about my love for this film, and right now I cannot think of another thing to say to convince you to watch John Boorman's psychedelic revenge film.  Lee Marvin is Cold Blooded.  Bad news done right.  Warner Brothers also finally brought the film to high definition this year, and the blu ray includes a wonderfully rich commentary track featuring both John Boorman & fanboy Stephen Soderbergh.  A must own.

Runner Up - The Professionals

THE SORCERER OR SORCERESS AWARD - Sorceress:  A couple of long lost films hit blu this year, and as much as I enjoyed William Friedkin's South American nitro trucker thriller, the film that really got me giddy was the Jack Hill directed/Roger Corman produced T&A Fantasy, Sorceress.  Satyrs.  Wizards.  Flying Lions.  Twin Playmate Warriors.  The film has it all.  Certainly everything an adolescent or stunted youth needs in life.  It's trash.  But I cherish it deeply.

Runner Up - Sorcerer

MOST ANTICIPATED FILM OF THE YEAR - The Hateful Eight:  2015 will probably end up being  The Year of Star Wars.  I can't get terribly excited about it.  I hope JJ can pull it off, but after The Phantom Menace, I don't think I'll ever loose my mind over a Star Wars film again.  Never say never and all that blah blah blah.  Now Age of Ultron has a good chance of winning the year.  Looking above and how hard I fell for The Winter Soldier, it's easy to see a world in which I go even kookier for the Joss Whedon sequel.  After all, James Spader's got no strings.  Still, coming after Inglourious Basterds & Django Unchained, it's impossible to deny my enthusiasm for whatever film Quentin Tarantino does next.  And another Western to boot?  I don't scoff.  More Westerns all the time!  I'm betting my 2015 Dorkies will rank this Magnificent Seven/Reservoir Dogs mashup as my Numero Uno movie.  Although, there are probably another dozen movies I'm not even aware of that have just as good a chance.  Let's hope for an even stronger year at the cinema.

Runner Up - Avengers Age Of Ultron


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