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The Best Films of 2016


It’s a real shame that when prolific screenwriter Michael Dougherty (X2, Superman Returns) released his debut film, Trick r’ Treat back in 2007, it went straight to DVD even with Bryan Singer’s stamp of approval and producer cred. But of course, in the tradition of Halloween, we must respect the “dead” and even possibly resurrect them. And thanks to Beyond Fest, that’s what they did by bringing the film to the big screen with a Q&A with the cast, moderated by the wacky Seth Green. Even as a novice Horror fan, I can say that Trick ‘r Treat should easily be considered a Halloween staple film along side John Carpenter’s Halloween and even my childhood favorite like Hocus Pocus! Four different and terrifying stories are strung together by the presence of Sam, a diminutive child whose head is covered in a potato sack and although, that doesn’t sound very daunting, the imagery will surely cause you to wet your pants. Trick ‘r Trick can come off as another daffy halloween film but its knit tight screenplay that intertwines these different stories tells one of the most exhilarating, unconventional, and compelling halloween stories to date. Any fan of the holiday can appreciate the film’s hardcore allegiance and respect to the ideology of Halloween. B+
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It's been a couple of days since I watched The Counselor and I can't help but be baffled by the spectacle of Ridley Scott's latest piece. Maybe it's worth viewing due to its oddly messy yet intensely sexualized/bloodstained vignettes. I don't know, I just had such high hopes for this film and sadly, I was sorely disappointed! I honestly would've rather watched Bad Grandpa! The primary reason why the film did so poorly was due to Cormac McCarthy's inept first screenplay. Although, it was unbearably bad, Cameron Diaz made this film totally worth it with her sultry, sexiness, and bad-assness that was permeating all throughout the film. The Counselor definitely should've been retitled, Cameron Diaz being a badass bitch.
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Scream (1996, Wes Craven)

Sidney Prescott: Why? Why did you kill my mother?
Billy: Why? WHY! You hear that Stu? I think she wants a motive
[Stu Chortles]
Billy: Well I don't really believe in motives Sid, I mean did Norman Bates have a motive?
Stu: No.
Billy: Did we ever find out why Hannibal Lecter like to eat people? DON'T THINK SO! See it's a lot more scarier when there's no motive, Sid. We did your Mom a savor, Sid. That woman was a slut-bag whore who flashed her shit all over town like she was Sharon Stone or somethin'.
Stu: Yeah, we put her out of her misery, 'cause let's face it Sidney, your mother was no Sharon Stone, hmm?
Billy: Is that motive good enough for you? How about this? Your slut mother was fucking my father and she's the reason my mom moved out and abandoned me.
[Sid looks astonished]
Billy: How's that for a motive? Maternal abandonment causes serious deviant behavior. It certainly fucked you up. It made you have sex with a psychopath. 
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Crome Yellow and I went to Beyond Fest to watch A Field in England. I can only describe this film as something I have not seen before. It has such a hypnotizing and alluring effect on you. Definitely go see this if you like experimental films with a bomb-ass soundtrack.


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12 Years a Slave is based on the autobiography of the same name by Solomon Northup who was a free black man but was kidnapped and sold into slavery. The film reiterates the same themes that previous films about slavery has tackled but McQueen’s approach to it intensifies the reality of the situation by holding a mirror to the public to present that Solomon’s situation could happen to anyone. With an A-list assemble; every actor firmly challenges their roles with such complexity and dimension that gives the “old” story of slavery a more in-depth and intricate look than the usual black and white take (pun intended). 12 Years a slave is a suffocating and harrowing representation of the humanistic pilgrimage of survival that will leave you huffing and puffing with melancholy long after the ending credits. A 

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Martyrs (2008, Pascal Laugier)

Mademoiselle: Martyrs are exceptional people. They survive pain, they survive total deprivation. They bear all the sins of the earth. They give themselves up. They transcend themselves... they are transfigured. 
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(1988, Pedro Almodovar)

Grade: A-
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Kimberly Pierce's adaptation of Stephen King's novel sounded a lot better in theory than its actual execution, which tried to tell the same story but through a modernized lens of cyber-bullying and hollywoodization. In concept, Julianne Moore and Chloe Moretz portraying the highly dysfunctional relationship of mother and daughter sounds like a dream come true. But somehow with Pierce's touch, everything from the cinematography, acting, to the soundtrack sulks in shallow waters and fails to go any deeper than the transparent surface. These two actresses have excelled in everything they do but they represent the Hollywoodness of the film that is ultimately the reason why the film will fall under. While in the 1976 version of Carrie, Sissy Spacek was able to churn the tormented high school girl character to agonizing lengths, Moretz' undeniably pretty face simply cannot convey the deep seated turmoil that burned in Spacek's eyes. These days, the Horror genre is getting beaten to a pulp with its recycled themes, gimmicks, gore, just to amp up some shock factor. And sadly, Carrie is no different. With reimaginings, it is always hard to fully capture the essence of what the original film or book embodied. But instead of fleshing out the themes of girlhood, bullying, and religion, Carrie decides to tread in skin-deep waters just to shell out a buck or two. In the end, It doesn't matter how good the marketing was, it is the film that'll ultimately determine how loud the horror is. C+
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Any time Wes Anderson announces his next film, waves of hipsters like myself gawk at the possibility of getting a peep at the next incredible ensemble and quirky stories that we're irresistibly addicted to. And of course, The Grand Budapest Hotel is no different. But what is different is that I'm actually excited for this one than anything else due to its incredible ensemble that entails Anderson's usual collaborators in addition to new faces like Tilda Swinton, Saoirse Ronan, Lea Seydoux, and so much more! This has everything I want from an Anderson kind of film especially a hunky William Dafoe and a Egon Schiele painting! I love it!! It comes out March 7, 2014! SOOO FAR AWAY!

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Year: 2013
Director: Sion Sono
Writer: Sion Sono
Cinematographer: Hideo Yamamoto
Cast: Jun Kunimura, Fumi Nikaidó, Shin'ichi Tsutsumi, Hiroki Hasegawa
Country of Origin: Japan
Rating: N/A
Time: 129 min.


Crome Yellow and I went to the very first Beyond Fest this year in Hollywood. Beyond Fest caters to all nerdism from the comic book culture to ultra horror fans to all things COOL aka why this is the perfect festival for Crome Yellow (& I'm just tagging along!). David Choe, the graffiti artist and his DVDASA podcast friends came to host and a do live show of their podcast where award winning porn star, Asa Akira made out with an audience member. It was utterly fantastic! Then of course, we saw the outrageously, ridiculous, bat-shit crazy, film by Sion Sono, Why Don't You Play in Hell which is hands down, one of the best films to watch this year!



Why Don't You Play in Hell is the one film that every cinephile needs to watch before they die! This seems like an exaggeration but the film is a nonstop, bloody, thrill ride that'll massage the crap out of all your senses till it overloads! I have always loved Sono's films and this one is no different! I am so honored to have been one of the few people in AMERICA to have watched this beautiful piece of cinema for the first time! Cross your fingers that this film gets distribution or a VOD deal!

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Paul Greengrass’s true-life adaptation of the 2009 hijacking of the U.S. container ship Maersk Alabama by a crew of Somali pirates is truly riveting and comes alive in Captain Phillips. Captain Phillips played by Tom Hanks presents some of his best acting I’ve seen in recent years. Through it’s consistently teeth-clenching intensity, amped up by the excellent music score by Henry Jackman and screenplay by Billy Ray, Captain Phillips creates satisfying drama as well as justly showcasing the true events that took place. The film is two hours and fifteen minutes, which seems overly drawn out but it creates enough dread that by the end of the film, Tom Hank’s natural and decent performance quickly escalates to one painfully disturbing portrait of the aftermath of a tragic event when anyone is pitted against America. It may not be an Oscar winner, but it is Tom Hanks’ magnificent portrayal of a real-life heroic figure will surely have The Academy dabbing their eyes by the end of the film. B+
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Why are you so attractive Shia Labeouf?! Apparently so attractive and distinguished that he was the only one not giving his best 'O'rgasm face for the official posters of Lars Von Trier's Nymphomaniac. I honestly can't wait for Trier's new film especially seeing this outstanding cast come together. 

NYMPHOMANIAC is the wild and poetic story of a woman's journey from birth to the age of 50 as told by the main character, the self-diagnosed nymphomaniac, Joe (Gainsbourg). On a cold winter's evening the old, charming bachelor, Seligman (Skarsgård), finds Joe beaten up in an alley. He brings her home to his flat where he cares for her wounds while asking her about her life. He listens intently as Joe over the next 8 chapters recounts the lushy branched-out and multifaceted story of her life, rich in associations and interjecting incidents.




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There is not one word that can wholly describe the EXPERIENCE that is Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity. He has masterly succeeded in creating a film that is technically astute as it is emotionally resonating to tell a gripping story of the power of human resilience. Gravity is thrilling enough to satisfy blockbuster lovers as well as impress cinephiles with the pristinely grandiose spectacle of space unseen in any science fiction film in recent years. Sandra Bullock becomes the modern day representation of female heroism as she presents a deeply embedded emotional complexity to her character as Ryan Stone, a fragile astronaut who recently lost a daughter. Not only does she fights the most arduous emotional battle but is also faced with the reality of undertaking one of the most horrifying physical and mental journey to survive space when death seems like an easier answer. Gravity does powerfully tell the story about the perseverance of the human spirit but it is more about the transcendental experience of the film that’ll be remembered for years to come. A 

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The Craft (1996, Andrew Fleming)

Driver: Watch out for the weirdos, girls.
Nancy: We are the weirdos, mister.
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Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity is one of my favorite films of 2013, hands down! And it's an understatement when I say I am completely obsessed with this film that boggled my mind in every aspect. I swear the film itself made me feel like I went on a daycation, IN SPACE! With a record-breaking $55 million at the US box office, it is no wonder why critics and audiences alike love the film. Check out these alternative Gravity posters that have blown my mind. Definitely would have preferred these posters rather than the usual generic bland posters seen on every other bus stop. 

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Crome Yellow and I have teamed up to bring you The Director Series! Each month I'm going to pick a foreign filmmaker thats coming out with a film in that month and watch all of their filmography and rate them from the worst to the best! And of course, with my love of harrowing and heart-wrenching films, I had to pick the French Canadian filmmaker, Denis Villeneuve who has made films like MaelstromPolytechniquePrisoners among others! So grab a pen, sit back, and get emotionally ready to get your soul pummeled by none other than the stories of Denis Villeneuve! Also check out my post on Crome Yellow!


Other linksPrisoners Film Review // REW-FFWD // Next Floor

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Louis: You see that old woman? That will never happen to you. You will never grow old and you will never die.
Claudia: And it means something else too, doesn't it? I shall never ever grow up
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Joseph Gordon-Levitt's directorial debut film, Don Jon follows a New Jersey guido name Jon, who cherishes the mundane yet satisfying routine in his life that is sustained by his instant gratification of porn. Gordon-Levitt transforms himself into a testosterone-pumped meathead who just wants to hit it and quit with the 8s & 9s in the club when he sees the perfect 10 that is Barbara (Scarlett Johansson). Naturally, they get together to reveal that due to their own obscene fantasies of what sex and love should be, they are in it for the wrong reasons. There are structural inconsistencies and shallow character development but as Gordon-Levitt's first film, it is ambitious, confident, and surprisingly heart-felt even through the shots of double DD's and cum-shots. And I have never seen Johansson better than she is in this and I laud her for it! There is nothing Joseph Gordon-Levitt can't do and with Don Jon, it shows. B+ 
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(1991, Jim Jarmusch)

Grade: A
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