Friday, December 24, 2010

2010 My Top 6 Favorite Movies

Well 2010 is almost over and my blogging has not been what I wanted it to be but all can do is strive to improve the frequency of my blogs in 2011. The content of my blogs never concerns me as I enjoy writing them and if people don’t wish to read them there is lots of other things to read on the Internet.

Since it is almost the end of 2010 and everyone is putting out their best of lists I thought I would put together my top 6 of 2010 movies. These are movies I saw, not movies that were necessarily made in 2010 nor movies that were released in theatres in 2010. I may have seen them at a film festival and they may not have wide screen release yet. Also they are not listed in any particular order so don’t think where they are on list makes them better than others.

OK let’s begin I will list them and then provide details on each where I saw it, what it’s about, little review, etc.

High School


Piranha 3D

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo


Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage

Now with some details I will provide again in no discernible order

Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage

I read about this documentary I think in Classic Rock magazine and figured it would be gone from the theatres or not be playing where I live. The documentary made by Scot McFayden and Sam Dunn who also made Headbangers and Iron Maiden; Flight 666 sounded worth investigating I checked and it was playing at the Uptown a small art house theatre in Calgary, well for Father’s Day my daughter and I went for supper and then to the Rush documentary.

From the very beginning to the end it was brilliant and I am not afraid to say that there were times I was getting misty eyed thinking back to memories associated with the Rush history and songs. From every classic rock station to Jack Black movies, remember School of Rock and Jack Black tutelage on the drums by listening to Rush, this band is everywhere. They are 3rd on the list for the number of Gold and Platinum records behind only The Beatles and Rolling Stones.

The documentary starts in their early days when Alex Lifeson moved from Fernie B.C, to Toronto and moved in to the same neighborhood that Geddy Lee lived and a friendship was started. During their teenage years together with drummer John Rutsey was formed and they started playing school dances and community halls. They were not making much of a living and Rush may have gone the way of many bands who have massive talent but don’t get their break but 2 things happen.

Ontario, changed the drinking age to 18 allowing Rush to play bar gigs and earn 4-5 times what they were previously earning and a late night DJ in Cleveland Ohio played the B side of Rush demo single with the song “Working Man”. Almost instantly people were calling asking when the new Zeppelin album was coming out, after a few days Rush were rushing calls from US labels and the rest is history as they say.

A change in the line-up saw John Rutsey being replaced by Neil Peart due to health reasons and the band was ready to take on the world.

The documentary covers from the beginnings though the tours with the likes of Kiss, UFO and others. It shows the playful side of the band and also the commitment of the band. The quote from Gene Simmons of Kiss with regards to the after show partying and girls and where Rush “In their hotel room watching TV” shows that to Rush the music was their business and entertaining the fans their goal.

The documentary covers the fantasy period during which Rush delved into long songs dealing with LOTR and Ayn Rand The Fountainhead and the fun that UFO had with them on tour. The stories of UFO stapling there robes to the stage and other pranks and Rush’s reaction to this was humorous to hear about. Then the changes in the band to integrate more keyboards into the sound and the strife it caused internally but through it all the band still focused on their music.

The movie spans the entire career of the band and also deals with the deaths of Neil Peart’s wife and daughter and subsequent healing process. If you are a Rush fan this is a must see and if you are a music fan then this would be enjoyable.

The scene with the 3 of them sitting around at a hunting lodge having dinner enjoying wine from one of their own vintages, discussing everything from the next album to the history of the band to anything else that came to mind is priceless.

Below are the link for the trailer and a Q&A from Geddy Lee, Alex Liefson, and the film makers

This blog will continue with the next movie in the list.


Ladies and gentlemen Ross Gellar, people this not your “Friends” Ross Gellar, this is David Schwimmer at his best. This movie was part of TIFF 2010 which I try to make a yearly pilgrimage to find some hidden gems amongst the Hollywood block buster and zombie movies. I was interested in this movie due to a few facts, that David Schwimmer was directing and the story sounded interesting and topical.

A typical happy family, Will (Clive Owen) and Lynn (Catherine Keener) Cameron have 3 children, a son going off to college a little girl of about 10 and Annie (Liana Liberto) who is 14. The family is successful, well to do and all the kids seem well rounded, balanced no drugs, no heavy drinking. There appears to be good communications between the parents and the kids and everything is going along smoothly.

On Annie’s 14th birthday Annie is given a laptop and soon begins to chat with Charlie (Chris Henry Coffey) and soon we see things are not what they seem to be in this “perfect” family. There seems to be some distance between Annie and her parents, her older brother was her confidante/buffer and with him gone this distance seems to grow. Into this void Annie has found Charlie. This movie shows how these on line pedophiles slowly work their way into this kids lives and isolate them from their friends, family, anything that will give them support or allow them to challenge the pedophile.

This movie works on 2 levels or stories one being Annie and what she goes through and the other being Will and his inability to protect his family and deal with what has happen to his daughter. David Schwimmer has done an excellent job in depicting a subject that is not usually portrayed with such frankness and honesty. There is no graphic sex or nudity but there are scenes that will anger and disturb you and yet you are compelled to watch.

This movie should have put David Schwimmer on the map but last I heard it was being held up by the MPAA over an R rating and David is fighting and rightfully so. This movie does not have any graphic violence or graphic nudity but does have the depiction of a sexual assault of a 14 year old. This is a movie all parents should see and as a parent when I watched it I got more and more angry at Charlie as he slowly manipulated Annie into a situation to which she saw no escape.

The other thing that is great about this movie is it shows life past the sexual assault and the start of the healing process but does not have the “pat” Hollywood ending. When something like this happens to a family it can take years for the damage to heal if it ever heals. David Schwimmer has worked with a rape crisis center in California for over 12 years so this problem is something he is very familiar with.

I will be looking forward to the next David Schwimmer movie after Run Fatboy Run and Trust what is next for this up and coming director.

Below is a link to a teaser trailer for this movie but I can't guarantee how long it will be available.


Midnight Madness at TIFF is a collection of horror, martial arts and generally fringe movies shown each night at 11:59 P.M. Some years the theme is heavily zombies, some years martial arts and some years such as 2010 a mishmash of a little of everything. The high light of 2010 in my opinion was a dark and violent vampire epic called Stakeland. These are not sparkly baseball playing vampires or serve fake blood in a bar vampires these mofo’s will kill you in an instant and there tougher than hell to kill vampires.

A few years ago a movie called Mulberry Street played at TADD (Toronto after Dark) and was well received well the director Jim Mickle always wanted to play MM at TIFF and in 2010 he accomplished this dream with Stakeland. Like Mulberry Street. Stakeland was co-written and stars Nick Dimici and this movie oozes darkness and apocalyptic feel in a world gone bad populated by vampires and religious nut jobs.

The movie starts with a news broadcast saying it is not safe to be out at night with the vampire plaque beset on the world and we cut to a family in a lone barn. They are desperately trying to start there car and next the dog runs out of the barn and a teenage boy goes after it. He is quickly tackled by a man and after hearing some noises coming from the barn he tells this boy “your family are all fucking dead and if you make a sound I will kill you”. This is “Mister” (Nick Dimici) and he is our hero or anti-hero depending on how you look at him. Together they enter the barn and find the boy’s family dead and then as Mister’s flashlight beam plays across the barn we see a vampire feeding on a baby, Martin’s sibling. This all happens in the first 10 minutes so you know you are in for one hell of a ride.

We travel with Mister and Martin across what use to be southern US, finding and killing vampires and trading for goods. There is never a reason explained for why Mister hates vampires and hates religious people and this just adds to his demeanor as one bad mother fucker which he is. They search for safe place to live and also for the mythical “New Eden” which everyone talks about but none have ever seen.

To add to the problems of a world plaqued with vampires we have religious nut jobs who believe the vampire infestation is an act of god. This is a movie that does not pull any punches and does not scrimp on the gore and violence.

From a baby being eaten by a vampire to a pregnant woman being bled out and devoured by a religious nut job turned vampire this movie delivers on all cylinders. Then it has an ending that does not wrap everything up in a neat bow but leaves you wondering what will happen next.

Mister is one of the most iconic cinematic characters ever developed and the sad thing is very few people will ever get to see his brilliance as this movie will most likely never get a wide release. When it is released on DVD it will popular for years to come that is for sure.

Below is a link to a trailer for Stakeland

Here is a link to some comments from stars and director on premier night at TIFF 2010

High School

Toronto after Dark film festival better known as TADD features zombie films, martial arts films, sci-fi films and generally all things scary and strange. It was with some trepidation that I went to High School a stoner comedy starring Adrien Brody and Michael Chiklis, what was an Oscar winner and The Thing doing in a stoner comedy. Wow, was I surprised by a movie that was entertaining, side splitting funny and all around just a fun time. I will be the first to admit I am not a fan of comedies and find little in movies humorous.

Henry Burke (Matt Bush) is the schools valedictorian and honor student and all round future of the school. He has his life planned out, university, career, wife everything and it is the last week of high school. He runs into Travis (Sean Marquette) who he was friends with back in grade school and Travis convinces Henry to try some weed for the first time, school’s almost done what harm can there be.

Meanwhile we see the school’s spelling bee contestant absolutely baked trying to compete and the scene is hilarious. The Principal Gordon (Michael Chiklis) institutes a zero tolerance policy and orders mandatory drug testing for all students. Henry is screwed and begins to freak out and then Travis comes up with a wild idea, they will get the entire school stoned staff and all and this will invalidate the test.

Enter psycho Ed (Adrien Brody) who Travis says has this killer weed and we have the makings of a movie that should go down in the annals of stoner comedies but so far has not even seen a sniff of a release or distributor. The pair Henry and Travis steal the “killer weed” and attempt to replace the brownies for the bake sale with special brownies.

The only hitch in their plan is Adhir Sebastian Saleem) the straight laces Indian kid who suspects something is amiss. The scenes with the teachers after they get stoned and the parents running the bake sale are priceless. Then when their plan seems to be working psycho Ed shows up looking for his killer weed and things begin to get crazy.

This movie will have you laughing from the beginning to the end and does not disappoint, shows the potential of young actors like Matt Bush and Sean Maquette as well as the reason Adrien Brody is an Oscar winner. To have the range to play The Pianist and also psycho Ed shows Mr. Brody will be around for a long time to come.

Below is a link to a teaser trailer

Below is  link to some red carpet coverage for High School from Sundance

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

I go to a lot of film festivals and every once in awhile you see a movie and say how did I miss that at the film festival, (The Hurt Locker) was like that and this next movie falls into that category as well. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo which is the English translation of the Swedish movie which was release a year before. This is the first of 3 movies of the Millennium trilogy by Swedish author Søren Stærmose who also wrote The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl who Kicked the Hornets Nest.

GWTDT was an incredible movie about a reporter Mikael who is sentenced to a short jail term after losing a libel case and while waiting for the date to report to jail, is hired by a rich industrialist Henrik-Ers. Mikael is hired to look into the disappearance 40 years ago of Henrik-Ers niece, he is convinced she has been murdered and not just murdered but murdered by a member of his family.

Mikael soon learns he his being stalked by a brilliant but un-orthodox computer hack Lisbeth who is dealing with her own issues. Soon Lisbeth as part of her monitoring Mikael gets draw into the mystery of the missing niece and the two of them form both an uneasy business and personal relationship.

The movie flows very well and introduces to a number of family members who could be a murder but as the movie works it’s way we soon find that it is not a single murder that Mikael is investigating but the work of a serial killer. One night upon returning to the apartment they share they find the lock has been picked and someone has gone through their research material. When Mikael confronts who he has deduced who the killer is he is blind sided and only with Lisbeth’s help are they able to escape with their lives.

The mystery is solved and when Mikael is in jail for his libel sentence he receives a visit from Lisbeth and she gives him a large amount of reading material and in it he finds prove that the libel conviction was bogus. Upon his release he publishes his the information on the industrialist and clears his name.

This movie was 2.5 hours plus and felt like it was barely 90 minutes as it moved quickly and kept you entertained, it did not drag and you did not see all the plot twists coming. It had some intense scenes and some people may be offended.

Below is a link for a trailer for the movie

Below is a link to a short interview with Noomi Rapace who plays Lisbeth

Piranha 3D

Now to end my top 6 and again in no particular order is a trashy grade B movie in some peoples opinion but not mine. When I go to horror film there are 2 things it can do to impress me, one scare the hell out of me, the other give me tons of gore, nudity and over the top performances. Well I will let you know that Piranha 3D did not scare me in the least, not worried about giant piranha’s attacking me.

Lake Victoria grows from 5000 to 50,000 and this year we have a new guest ancient man eating piranhas. The movie starts with throwback Richard Dreyfus fishing and an earthquake happen’s which opens up a subterranean cave and releases these viscous piranha. They quickly find a food supply in nubile semi-clothed college kids on spring break.

Here is the story in a nutshell because lets be serious, the story is not what we come to a movie like Piranha for. Sheriff Forester (Elizabeth Shue) is trying to maintain order in her sleep town during spring break and then the piranha invasion occurs. She tells her son Jake to stay at home with his 2 younger siblings but Jake is tempted by the evil host of Wet & Wild and soon finds himself on the lake with the piranhas everywhere. To add to his trouble his brother and sister are trapped on a little island and need rescuing. So we have to rescue the young kids, and try to survive the piranha infested waters while trying to hook up with old flame and hot Wet and Wild chicks.

The kills come quick and often in this movie and are glorious in there viciousness, everything from a topless woman on a para sail who ends up to her waist in the water and when pulled up is half eaten, to a woman who has a piranha eat their way through her head. This movies is full of kills and almost all of them are done in close up and well lit.

The movie ends with a giant kill fest during a wet T-shirt contest which is worth the price of admission itself.

Below is a link to the trailer for Piranha 3D

Below is a link to an interview with Kelly Brook

There is is my Top 6 from 2010.



  1. Like the blog.
    I like the choice of movies and the 'tude.

  2. Your taste in movies is closest to poop.