2012

The Best Horror Movies of 2012

Another year has come and mostly gone and hundreds, if not thousands, of young, stupid, misbehaving teenagers have been lost at the hands of ghosts, apparitions, psychos, monsters, animals, and families with strange murder dynamics. Like any responsible site, it’s now our job to look back on a year of cinematic chaos and movie madness and sort all of this into an easy digestible list full of horrors! And family films! Because really, 2012 in horror wasn’t all that violent, but it was reflective and satisfying in a familiar way. Onward!

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So, Barack Obama is keeping his job as our next President of the United States. Neat. While morale is no doubt varied because of this, I’m sure the one thing we can all agree is that 100% of us would rather see our mother get punched in the face than deal with another second of politics. So to ease us back into reality and adjust our eyes to the light, here is a list of made up presidents in films. Guys who, no matter what party affiliation, we can all agree would beat out either of this year’s candidates. And by “beat out,” I mean with fists.

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Boiling Point

San Diego Comic-Con, the Western Hemisphere’s nerd mecca, is rapidly approaching and with it will undoubtedly flow the inane, poorly thought out, and overused “anti-Comic-Con” rhetoric we’ve come to expect and loathe. While my objects will almost assuredly have little to no impact on the flux of lazily written articles, I want to slam my Gandalf staff down and attempt to prevent the Balrog of Boring Comic-Con commentary from passing. Comic-Con, bloated and sometimes misdirected as it may be, is a fun time, and the following arguments just don’t float any more:

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2012 Movie Roland Emmerich

The Mayans, the wise race of ancients who created hot cocoa, set December 21st, 2012 as the end date of their Calendar, which the intelligent and logical amongst us know signifies the day the world will end, presumably at 12:21:12am, Mountain Time. From now until zero date, we will explore the 50 films you need to watch before the entire world perishes. We don’t have much time, so be content, be prepared, be entertained. The Film: 2012 (2009) The Plot: Disaster filmmaker extraordinaire Roland Emmerich gives audiences his vision of how the world will end in this 2009 blockbuster. As the clock ticks closer to December 21, 2012, geologists and other scientists discover various anomalies happening to our planet. Solar flares are tossing neutrinos across space, and they are impacting the Earth’s mantle. They predict global catastrophe as the crust shifts and the Earth’s plates rearrange. Eventually, massive earthquakes wipe entire cities off the globe while one family, led by John Cusack, makes an escape in a limousine of awesomeness.

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It’s gotten to the point where studio period and fantasy epics are as ubiquitous as sequels, remakes, and superheroes. This of course creates a paradox in that the entire reason for the existence of these films is their flash and spectacle. If Wrath of the Titans, a sequel to a remake focusing on a mythological superhero, has taught me anything, it’s that it might be time for these movies to vanish to the ethereal plains…at least for a little while. The latest in a string of underwhelming, despite themselves, period epics, Wrath is a tedious chore as messy in its visuals as it is frustratingly poor in its construction. The story here is that Perseus (Sam Worthington), having saved the world from both Medusa and the Kraken, is called into hero service again when his father Zeus (Liam Neeson) is taken prisoner by Hades (Ralph Fiennes) and Ares (Edgar Ramirez). The two conspirators plan to use Zeus’ power to release the sinister father of gods: Kronos. I use the word “story” loosely because whatever moments in the film aren’t the chapter distinctions in “How Not to Write to Write a Screenplay” are simply cribbed from Edith Hamilton’s “Mythology”; more accurately from someone reading “Baby’s First Edith Hamilton” picture book. The screenwriters flipped through it, carelessly flopping their fingers on the most eye-catching beasts, exclaiming, “this one, and this one, and this one…put them all in there.” At this point, one intelligent assistant offered, “guys, those aren’t even Perseus stories.” That […]

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The Mayans, the wise race of ancients who created hot cocoa, set December 21st, 2012 as the end date of their Calendar, which the intelligent and logical amongst us know signifies the day the world will end, presumably at 12:21:12am, Mountain Time. From now until zero date, we will explore the 50 films you need to watch before the entire world perishes. We don’t have much time, so be content, be prepared, be entertained. The Film: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005) The Plot: Arthur Dent (Martin Freeman) discovers that his house is scheduled for demolition to make way for a freeway bypass. Thanks to his unique friend Ford Prefect (Mos Def), he also discovers that the planet Earth is scheduled for demolition to make way for a hyperspace bypass. The worst day of Arthur Dent’s life soon turns into the most fascinating one when Ford takes him along on a trip through the galaxy by hitching a ride on passing spaceships. Dent learns that Ford is a writer for the interstellarly famous book “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” which offers plenty of advice for would-be travelers, including “Don’t Panic” and to always bring along your towel. During their travels, Arthur and Ford meet up with the two-headed galactic president Zaphod Beeblebrox (Sam Rockwell) and quirky Earth girl Trillian (Zooey Daschenel), who are looking for an ancient supercomputer that will provide the answer to the ultimate questions of life, the universe and everything.

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The Mayans, the wise race of ancients who created hot cocoa, set December 21st, 2012 as the end date of their Calendar, which the intelligent and logical amongst us know signifies the day the world will end, presumably at 12:21:12am, Mountain Time. From now until zero date, we will explore the 50 films you need to watch before the entire world perishes. We don’t have much time, so be content, be prepared, be entertained. The Film: Ikiru (1952) The Plot: Upon inferring the news of his close, impending death within a matter of months due to cancer, long-time city bureaucrat Kanji Watanabe (played by Takashi Shimura) struggles through his final days fending off his illness as well as deep depression. As he reflects upon the trajectory of his life he looks back and realizes the damaged relationship with his son and comes to understand the relative insignificance of his job duties over the past decades of city service. After a few weeks of shuffling through different attempts to find some temporary form of happiness he gets invigorated one day at work when he stumbles upon the request of some lower-end neighborhood tenants seeking city approval to fix up their community playground. With only a few months left to live Watanabe fights both time and seemingly endless layers of bureaucracy to see one positive accomplishment come to fruition before he passes.

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The Mayans, the wise race of ancients who created hot cocoa, set December 21st, 2012 as the end date of their Calendar, which the intelligent and logical amongst us know signifies the day the world will end, presumably at 12:21:12am, Mountain Time. From now until zero date, we will explore the 50 films you need to watch before the entire world perishes. We don’t have much time, so be content, be prepared, be entertained. The Film: WALL-E (2008) The Plot: In the distant future, humanity has abandoned Earth (presumably after it got all jacked up in the Mayan Apocalypse), leaving behind a small waste collecting robot, WALL-E, who has faithfully executed his programming by cleaning up all the trash we’ve left behind and crafting it into cute little bundles. His predictable life is turned upside down with the arrival of EVE, a reconnaissance robot he falls in robot love with that leads him on a journey across the stars that will alter the course of humanity.

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Movies to See Before the End of the World: A Boy and His Dog

The Mayans, the wise race of ancients who created hot cocoa, set December 21st, 2012 as the end date of their Calendar, which the intelligent and logical amongst us know signifies the day the world will end, presumably at 12:21:12am, Mountain Time. From now until zero date, we will explore the 50 films you need to watch before the entire world perishes. We don’t have much time, so be content, be prepared, be entertained. The Film: A Boy and His Dog (1975) The Plot: Vic (Don Johnson) and his telepathic dog Blood scavenge the ruins of America, eking out a simple life while hunting for food, sex, and the new American dream of not dying a horrible death after World War IV. Their journey soon leads Vic to a seemingly perfect underground society, complete with food, picnics, Americana, and ladies that don’t need to be struck on the face to sleep with you, but Blood smells something is amiss.

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In our first show of the 2012 season, we set off the filmmaking fireworks by finding out why Innkeepers director Ti West doesn’t believe in spooks, and by talking to indie icon Ed Burns about the twitter revolution, his $9,000 budget, and his new must-see movie Newlyweds. Plus, Neil Miller stops by to dangle the hope and potential of 2012′s most anticipated movies over our noses. Will he say the movie you’re thinking of and validate his opinion to you, or will he neglect it, making everything he says in the future suspect? Be prepared to find out a metric ton about movies and their makers, because it’s our third season, and we’re only getting started. Download This Episode

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Recently, Paramount sent around one of those pat-yourself-on-the-back sorts of press releases announcing that they made more money worldwide than any other studio last year. Of course, not one to dwell too long in the past, they also managed to slip in a little paragraph bragging about how good their upcoming 2012 looks as well: “In 2012, Paramount’s release slate highlights include World War Z, a zombie thriller starring Brad Pitt and directed by Marc Forster, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, the next installment in the global franchise starring Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Channing Tatum, a new chapter in the Paranormal Activity franchise, and The Dictator, starring Sacha Baron Cohen and directed by Larry Charles, the team behind Borat.” The interesting part of this paragraph is that, in addition to mentioning a bunch of high profile projects that we already knew about, the studio is also claiming that they have another Paranormal Activity movie in the works, which is news. All of these other movies are in various stages of post-production, but Paranormal Activity 4 is naught but a glimmer in some profit-minded executive’s eye.

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Culture Warrior

For the past few weeks, cinephiles, journalists, and critics have been grappling with the notion of what ‘post-9/11 cinema’ is, has been, will be, and/or looks like. What they’ve come up with are a group of wildly different, potentially specious, but ultimately quite fascinating explorations on the relationship between art, commerce, and life – and by ‘life’ I mean, in this case, that rare type of event whose effect takes on an enduringly profound, universally personal, omnipresent ripple. The overwhelming conclusion that most of these observations end with is, rather appropriately and naturally, “I don’t know, but here are some thoughts.” Besides those works of audiovisual media that were directly inspired by, intentionally referenced, or somehow directly related to 9/11, it’s difficult to say exactly what a post-9/11 film is unless one allows for literally every film made afterward to potentially enter such a category. But perhaps we’ve been asking the wrong question.

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Culture Warrior

Movies have a strange relationship with history, that’s for certain. On the one hand, they have the ability to bring to life, in spectacular detail, the intricate recreation of historical events. On the other hand, films can have a misleading and even potentially dangerous relationship with history, and can change the past for the benefit of storytelling or for political ends. And there’s always the option of using films to challenge traditional notions of history. Finally, many movies play with history through the benefit of cinema’s artifice. Arguably, it’s this last function that you see history function most often in relationship to mainstream Hollywood cinema. In playing with history, Hollywood rarely possesses a calculated political motive or a desire to recreate period detail. In seeking solely to entertain, Hollywood portrays the historical, but rarely history itself. Tom Shone of Slate has written an insightful piece about a unique presence of that historical mode all over the movies seeking to be this summer’s blockbusters. Citing X-Men: First Class, Super 8, Captain America: The First Avenger, and Cowboys & Aliens as examples, Shone argues that this is an unusual movie summer in terms of the prominence of movies set in the past. However, while such a dense cropping of past-set films is unusual for this season, these movies don’t seem to be all that concerned with “the past” at all – at least, not in the way that we think.

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As we all know, the world is going to end in 2036 after mankind’s preventative measures against global warming attract a meteor the size of Nigeria and pull it right down on top of New Italy. Yet, even though we’re armed with this powerful knowledge, we still lose our minds a little bit when we see signs of natural disaster right out of our religious texts. So why are we so concerned with the end of all things? NASA thinks movies are the culprit, an assertion that’s entirely correct.

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The year 2010 may have ended, but the cycle of movie news keeps on a-cyclin’. Most of the news this time of year has something to do with a list — the best, the worst and the otherwise notable performances, directorial efforts and nude scenes, just to name a few. Everyone wants to have their say and we at FSR may be the worst among them with our Year in Review. So you’ll have to excuse me if my innagural edition of Movie News After Dark, the movie news column you can read while mostly asleep, is full of other people’s “best of” lists. There are also some worthy surprises, I assure you…

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Let’s face it. The Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland has us all frightened. If not because it’s intimidatingly hard to spell, then because it could have killed a bunch of people. Time to get prepared for next time with a little help from films.

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After an unplanned week off, I am indeed back with another edition of This Week in Blu-ray. In this edition, we’ll take a look at great movies for the kid inside of us, of both the classic and contemporary variety. We’ll also have a go at some movies with questionable releases — films that deserved better — and at least one movie in which the world is destroyed. So bring your Wolfgang Petersons and I’ll bring my Roland Emmerichs, and we’ll have a party.

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Rob Hunter loves movies. He also loves nudity in PG-rated movies. These two joys come together in the form of cash money payments that he receives every week and immediately uses to buy more DVDs. This week features Clash of the Titans, 2012, Elvis, The Wraith, Bitch Slap, and more!

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I typically save the boiling points for Robert Fure, aiming instead to frame my column as an observation of media rather than a critique, analyzing trends and their meaning in the context of film and television as an intersecting object of commerce and art. But there is something that has been getting under my skin in some films released in the past several months, and it’s the way that Hollywood deals with the subject infidelity.

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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science has released the list of the seven films that are in the final running for the Best Visual Effects Oscar. We break down the finalists, telling you exactly who may or may not win.

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