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The 2012 Movie Rankings: The Words, For a Good Time Call, and Side by Side usher in the Fall season

Everyone waits until the year is over to compile their “Best of whatever” movie lists. This has become a mundane practice. Time for a bit of a change, kids.

Look, the coach (me) evaluated a lot of players (7 to be exact) since last week’s rankings. So let’s drop the usual metaphoric sports-opening and just get right to where The Words, For a Good Time Call…, Side by Side, The Tall Man and a few choice indie horror flicks landed. Savvy?

The new releases for the respective week will have a capsule review at the end of the column. An updated list comes out every Monday. Here’s how things are shaking up so far in 2012:

1. Chronicle
2. The Dark Knight Rises
3. The Cabin in the Woods
4. Moonrise Kingdom
5. Side by Side
6. ParaNorman
7. The Avengers
8. Red Tails
9. The Grey
10. Game Change
11. The Secret World of Arrietty
12. Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax
13. Friends with Kids
14. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
15. The Raid: Redemption
16. The Odd Life of Timothy Green
17. Tyler Perry’s Good Deeds
18. Big Miracle
19. Think Like a Man
20. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted
21. Brake
22. Robot and Frank
23. Hope Springs
24. Rock of Ages
25. HeadHunters
26. Hemingway and Gellhorn
27. Mirror Mirror
28. People Like Us
29. Magic Mike
30. Total Recall (2012)
31. House of Ghosts
32. The Campaign
33. Ted
34. Celeste and Jesse Forever
35. V/H/S
36. 21 Jump Street
37. Snow White and the Huntsman
38. The Words
39. This Means War
40. God Bless America
41. The Three Stooges
42. Gone
43. The Amazing Spider-Man
44. Blue Like Jazz
45. For a Good Time, Call…
46. Ruby Sparks
47. American Reunion
48. Jeff, Who Lives at Home
49. Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
50. Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best
51. Katy Perry: Part of Me
52. The Expendables 2
53. Ice Age: Continental Drift
54. Juan of the Dead
55. Prometheus
56. Hysteria
57. The Dictator
58. Safe
59. Searching for Sonny
60. Brave
61. Lawless
62. The Hunger Games
63. John Carter
64. Wrath of the Titans
65. Dead Dad
66. Underworld: Awakening
67. The Devil Inside
68. The Possession
69. Premium Rush
70. Father’s Day
71. Livid
72. The Five-Year Engagement
73. Downtown Express
74. Sparkle
75. Savages
76. Sound of My Voice
77. Project X
78. Men in Black 3
79. The Tall Man
80. Hit and Run
81. Piranha 3DD
82. Dark Shadows
83. The Raven
84. The Bourne Legacy
85. [Rec] 3 Genesis
86. Silent House
87. That’s My Boy
88. Darling Companion
89. Bully
90. The Watch
91. What to Expect When You’re Expecting
92. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
93. Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding
94. Lockout
95. The Woman in Black
96. The Vow
97. Man on a Ledge
98. Step Up Revolution
99. Extraterrestrial
100. The Lucky One
101. Contraband
102. The Samaritan
103. Act of Valor
104. 4:44 Last Day on Earth
105. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
106. Safe House
107. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
108. To Rome with Love
109. The Apparition
110. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days
111. Why Stop Now
112. The Pirates! Band of Misfits
113. Kill List
114. Chernobyl Diaries
115. Haywire
116. Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Witness Protection
117. A Thousand Words
118. Joyful Noise
119. Battleship
120. Wanderlust

Not Screened: One for the Money, Casa De Mi Padre, Chimpanzee, High School, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Nitro Circus 3D, Cosmopolis, Oogieloves In The Big Balloon Adventure, The Cold Light of Day



Many of the award contending films of 2011 (The Artist, Hugo, War Horse, etc.) were all love letters to classic Hollywood filmmaking. House of Ghosts is no different. Writer/director Christopher Mihm is paying homage to legendary haunted horror/creature filmmaker, William Castle (1959’s House on Haunted Hill and 1960’s 13 Ghosts). Technically sound and acted splendidly for the time period the screenplay is mimicking, this not only provides tongue-in-cheek laughter for the modern audience, but it still manages to have a subtle suspense about what is taking place within the story. Factor in a George A. Romero-like social commentary that is laced throughout and this black-and-white product becomes clever cinematic entertainment. It really captures the essence of that era of horror filmmaking all while gracefully nodding/winking to this generation’s intelligence.


Writers, this story is mainly for you. Yet The Words does have the ability to penetrate other ponderous topics, and therefore, minds, as well. Going with the old story-within-a-story delivery, the engrossing 96 minutes almost becomes too short. You’re left wanting more and perhaps the co-writing/directing team of Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal should have given us some.


Simply put, it’s the first female driven rauncher since Bridesmaids “changed the game” that delivers for the most part. Ari Graynor and Lauren Miller spit and make you joyfully swallow an assortment of crude dialogue as they run a phone sex operation out of their NYC apartment. Their chemistry, along with the directed screenplay, come together (pun intended) nicely early on, but stamina does become an issue in the latter parts. The script needed to inject a few more techniques to avoid stalling out before the intended climax. Still, you wouldn’t throw this “out of bed.” (I’ll be here every week, kids).


(Note: I’m not a filmmaker by any means but found this insanely interesting).

This product does everything a documentary is supposed to do. Written and directed by Christopher Kenneally, and produced by Keanu Reeves and Justin Szlasa, this piece explores the transitioning of shooting on traditional film to playing with the new digital toys of today. The who’s who of directing (James Cameron, Martin Scorsese, David Fincher, Christopher Nolan, etc.) are candidly interviewed by Reeves as they give their stance on whether or not they are embracing the new way of making cinematic products. When the interviews are not the focus, Reeves narrates the technical aspects of what went into photochemical film processing all while doing a compare and contrast with the modern technology (hundreds of film clips from cinema’s past and present act as a visual aid). Riveting stuff, folks!


In what starts out as your standard (boring) mystery/thriller; revolving around a local legend that snags little kiddies from a tiny Pacific Northwest town; throws in a well-disguised twist about halfway through. From there though, it starts to lose steam, and the reveal (a.k.a. when all the questions you have from the twist get answered), isn’t really all that satisfying. A reason for the “letdown,” was due to the fact that writer/director Pascal Laugier was trying to make a political/societal statement in the second-half of the script. And while a game Jessica Biel moves this gritty tale along, it just doesn’t resonate and you’ll probably never think about this sucker again.


If the words, “Troma release,” mean anything to you…then you know what you’re getting. Harkening back to cheesy B-movie sci-fi/horror/torture-porn flicks from the late ‘70s and ‘80s, all the piss-poor production value is done for aesthetic purposes. Same can be said for the acting and constantly winking storytelling. While it takes a while to get all these gimmicks clicking, the second-half ends up being worth the pain of suffering through the first-half. Tons of blood, boobs, and gay sex, consistently hit the screen between all the intended corny dialogues. At least, they (Troma) know who they are and what they’re going for.


If the found-footage genre was told in The Twilight Zone and/or Tales from the Crypt fashion, this is what you would get people. Essentially, it’s just a creepy montage of short films that touch on every subgenre of the horror realm. It’s disturbing, suspenseful, and bloody horrific despite not having a true storyline. Each respective found-footage story is shot (hand-held) fairly well and some of the special-effects/CGI is quite clever. The last couple short series are better in so many ways than most studio released horror products in the last decade.



For a Good Time Call Ushers In The Fall Season

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Joe Belcastro is an established movie critic in Tampa, Florida. As a member of the Florida Film Critics Circle, most of his time is spent reviewing upcoming movies. He also covers news pertaining to the film industry, on both a local and national level as well as conducting interviews. To contact Joe Belcastro regarding a story or with general questions about his services, please e-mail him and/or follow him on Twiiter @TheWritingDemon.

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