Seven months ago I made the conscious decision to write about film again (or at least do a film related post). I felt that by not doing so I was omitting an element that was ever present in my previous blog (As is evident from my old series’ in Poisonous Paragraphs that I began way back in 2007) and it was needed given how much I discuss film in my regular everyday life.
In the past 6 + months I’ve seen a fair share of new or newish films via Netflix, Redbox and the internet to compile a new list consisting of 25 more cult films of the Internet Age (1996-). If you counted correctly, you’d notice that the last list actually contained 52 films rather than just 50. This time I was able to stop at 25. Why waste anymore time? Let’s get to it…
Enter The Void (2009)
The visual style of this film really resonated with many film buffs, including Kanye West who used it as inspiration for his “All Of The Lights” video. I consider this film to be a total mind fuck and is recommended for only advanced film aficionados. Otherwise you don’t absolutely need to see it. It’s hard to describe why but just take me at my word.
The Man From Nowhere (2010)
"The Man From Nowhere" was actually supposed to be on my 2011 list but due to a clerical error it was inexplicably left off. A loner befriends a young girl with a rough home life who lives in his apartment complex. Through a series of surprising events, he’s thrust into a world of violence and vengeance that he seems more than prepared for. You need to see this.
London Boulevard (2010)
A well known hood fresh out of jail comes home and doesn’t want to fall back in with his old crew. What does he do? Look for employment. He gets a job as the bodyguard of a reclusive European film star with serious anxiety problems while trying to avoid getting mixed up in any of the crap that landed him in jail in the first place. Adapted from Ken Bruen’s novel “London Boulevard”.
"Hesher" is a unique film. It’s about a boy and his family that never recovered from an accident in which he lost his mother and a random stranger named Hesher (played by Jospeph Gordon-Levitt) who becomes a part of their lives and ultimately helps them to deal with their grief and loss by doing nothing helpful at all. You should just watch it for yourselves to see what I mean.
The Robber (2010)
This film is an adaptation of a Martin Prinz novel about an Austrian distance runner and bank robber. In this film you see a man newly released from prison live a double life of a marathon runner that seemed rehabilitated and an armed robber that just can’t stop. See what happens.
Fire In Babylon (2010)
This riveting documentary chronicles the rise of the famed West Indies Cricket Team and their dominant run that spanned more than two decades and made them the most feared cricket team on the planet. I gave zero fucks about cricket before seeing this documentary and I was still fully engaged and impressed by the sport the way they played it. Highly recommended.
Elite Squad: The Enemy Within (Tropa De Elite 2) (2010)
The first part of “Tropa De Elite” was about Brazil’s BOPE police force and a mission to raid the favelas and slums of Rio to clear the area of violence to not embarrass the city during a papal visit in 1997. This edition focuses on the corrupt politicians and police that get a stranglehold on the city in the years following the fallout from a bungled operation. If you loved “City of God”, “City Of Men” (the series and the film), “Favela Rising” or “Tropa De Elite” then you need to see this.
The Perfect Host (2010)
David Hyde Pierce might actually be batshit insane in real life. Either that or he’s a fantastic actor. This less I tell you about the actual plot? The better. Just trust me on this…
"Submarine" is one of those artsy, quirky British indie films. It revolves around a shy 15 year old with a crush on a girl who is worried about his parents deteriorating relationship. We watch our protagonist attempt to get the girl and keep his parents together simultaneously.
White Irish Drinkers (2010)
This is the story of what happens the night two Brooklynite brothers decide to knock over a theater the same night of a Rolling Stones concert in 1975. “White Irish Drinkers” is gritty, raw and unapologetic. Find it and see it.
Thunder Soul (2011)
This is a documentary about the legendary Kashmere Stage Band that was an entity in the 70’s, their subsequent dismantling and their reunion 30 years later to give a concert to benefit both the school and the man that brought them together. I was able to get into them thanks to Stones Throw re-issuing their music years ago so this was one music documentary I looked forward to. I was not disappointed in the least.
I Will Follow (2011)
Ava DuVernay accomplished everything that I critique Tyler Perry for failing to do with his films in “I Will Follow”. This writer/director wrote believable characters that you genuinely cared about that possessed depth while employing an ensemble cast of Black actors. I want to be like Ava DuVernay when I grow up. Highly recommended.
Meeting Evil (2011)
Luke Wilson plays an easily manipulated and weak willed man who is forced by Samuel L. Jackson’s antagonist to fight against his regular nature and become the exact opposite of the man he once was as he sleepwalked through life. At least that’s what I saw. You see it yourself and tell me different.
The Rum Diary (2011)
"The Rum Diary" is based on the Hunter S. Thompson novel/memoir of his time spent in Puerto Rico as a journalist in the late 50’s. Being that I’m huge Hunter S. Thompson fan (not that his influence on me is obvious or anything) and given the sheer amount of obstacles and red tape resulted in the delay of the film I was kind of predisposed to liking it. How about you?
Everyday Sunshine (2011)
"Everyday Sunshine" is a music documentary about the highly influential band Fishbone. Learning their origins, tumultuous history and their current struggles to stay a band in the modern music environment. If you’re into music documentaries then you should definitely seek this one out.
Red State (2011)
Kevin Smith made a film that served a powerful piece of social commentary with “Red State”. As surprising and unlikely as some events that occurred in this film may have seemed given the current anti-terror climate and the interpretation of the Patriot Act and subsequent Homeland Security guidelines and policy changes this shit could easily happen. That’s what makes it all the more engrossing. Watch it.
Take Shelter (2011)
"Take Shelter" is not the typical indie drama. You’ll watch the film and be totally engrossed and captivated from beginning to end wondering how it’s all going to shake out.
Attack The Block (2011)
I first saw this film online then I caught it on Redbox and now it’s on cable so even more people will get a chance to see it stateside. It’s a relatively simple idea that’s well executed. An alien invasion happens but it’s concentrated on a council estate’s tower block in the UK. Ultimately the invaders face formidable resistance from a group of young urban dwellers. Even though the film is low budget it don’t come across as low budget which is a testament to the special effects team. Check it out.
Two estranged brothers, one the younger brother who just come home from a tour with the Marines and the elder is a schoolteacher and an MMA fighter by night are put on a collision course that culminates in a major MMA championship fight with much more on the line than a belt. I was taken surprise by how good this film was. One of the top 5 films of 2011 in my opinion.
The Devil’s Double (2011)
"The Devil’s Double" is a film based on the memoirs of Latif Yahia, the former body double of the sociopathic Uday Hussein. Yahia’s experiences in the House Of Hussein are made all the more sobering when you realize that they weren’t made up accounts dreamt up to scare and terrify viewers. These events actually happened. Dominic Cooper’s performance as the dual roles of Latif Yahia and the sadistic Uday Hussein has to be seen.
Writer/director Dee Rees made “Pariah”, a story about a young woman dealing with familial and societal pressures as she struggles to become the person she is. She doesn’t want to disappoint her family but she also doesn’t want to compromise herself in the process. Between Ava DuVernay and Dee Rees hopefully there will be a resurgence in quality Black film in the coming years. One can only hope…
Nicholas Winding Refn’s “Drive” was the best film of 2011. Hands down. No discussion. Enough has been written about it and the influence of this film will be more than apparent in the coming years. If you haven’t seen it yet then do so. If you can, try to see it on Blu-Ray as opposed to regular DVD.
The Raid AKA The Raid: Redemption (2011)
"The Raid" is one of the most dynamic Asian action films I’ve seen since Panom Yeerum AKA Tony Jaa’s "Ong Bak" first opened in Asia close to a decade ago. The film took Asia by storm and invaded the internet to the point the Sony Pictures picked up the film and they’ll put the film in theaters on March 23rd in NY and LA. It should be opening nationwide stateside this Spring but we early adopters saw it already via Asia DVD distributors and online. Watch Hollywood try to copy it.
Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey (2011)
I was surprised at how well made this documentary was and also surprised at how much I enjoyed it. I’d rate this documentary as inspirational as “Basquiat: The Radiant Child”, “Exit Through The Gift Shop”, “Bill Cunningham New York” or “Still Bill”. To see what Kevin Clash went through to pursue his dreams and how he inspires others to do the same today is well worth it.
1 More Hit (2012)
J-Swift’s struggles with addiction cost him everything. Let’s see if he can fight to get it back. Find it. Watch it.
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