Friday, December 15, 2006

Squish's Semi-Annual Best And Worst (December 2006)

'Tis the Christmas season and you all know and wait eagerly for Squish's Best and Worst Picks! As per usual, I'll be showcasing my best and worst rated films since last time. if it's one thing I've realized it's that the more movies you watch, the greater chance you have of finding deeper valleys and higher peaks. Luckily I have not a new worst ever film to report, which is thankful, however Squish's permanent list of top five films has definitely had a shuffle due to Chan-wook Park, but we'll get to that later.
In honour of the bleak and grim weather we Canadians will be facing for the next while, let's start with the stinkers:

The worst movies I've seen in the last six months are:

#1 - Song At Midnight - 22% (I'd Rather Listen To Crickets)

I know I had a blast writing the review, that's for sure, but watching this film because some book told me I had to see it before I died makes me wonder if the intent of the book is, in fact, to attempt to kill you with boredom and ulcer-bursting rage. Granted the China-shipped bootleg I bought had one of the worst translations I had even seen and may not properly reflect the wonder tale of, from what I can understand, a Chinese Phantom of the Opera dying to hump his sister... or something...

#2 - Evil's City - 26% (Metropolic Badness)

There's one good thing about straight to video films: they don't get any hype whatsoever and you can pretty much bet that these are gonna suck. Your expectations are lowered and if you're lucky, you find something with a couple of neat lines, shots or even lessons. Then, there's renting a movie with the intention of laughing at it with friends at how terrible it's going to be. Then, there's being embarrassed and squirming around on the couch and every scene contemplating turning it off, but giving it one more little chance. The worst has got to be the post-production gunfire effects, little starbursts put on the nozzle of the plastic gun. I swear, I don't remember anything else about this pile of dogshit.

#3 - Perils Of Pauline - 28% (The Perils of Bad Entertainment, Ugh.)

Remember hearing about those old films where the girl is tied to the tracks by the moustachioed man in the big black hat? Remember the story where the woman is tied to a log and put on the track of a lumber saw. In both those cases the woman is saved by her knightly macho saviour right? Remember the other perils Pauline went through? I was told that this was the silent serial short that did it all first. I went to the source and instead of finding some sweet gold, I discovered 1914's answer to stunt cinematography... Long shots that show us barely anything. What's worse is that the woman did her own stunts, injuring herself several times in the process, and what did she get for it? Chronic pain that drove her to alcoholism! It's garbage and it's no fun at all to watch.

#4 - Letter From An Unknown Woman - 36% (If Only She'd Have Stayed Unknown!)

Remember how Jar Jar Binks was so bad a character in Star Wars that he ruined scenes he WASN'T in? Well this film takes it one step further. This movie was so bad that when I saw the name Joan Fontaine in the opening credits for Rebecca, I immediate knew it would be a piece of upchucked liver. Luckily Hitchcock did a great job of reining in her talent, unlike director Max Ophuls, who deserves a refreshing exhumation so he can be burned at the great Film stake for this one.

#5 - House of Games - 36% (House Of Lames)

I was understanding of the fact that the previous four films were old and obscure, or straight to video caca, but when I bought this, it was because Roger Ebert said it was the best movie of the year. I should have known better than to trust a guy who used to write boobie scenes for Russ Myers. This is the story of a con game, and it's the most predictable film you'll see all year... and Ebert's a goof. The only reason this isn't as bad as #4 is because I was able to mock it on occasion.

And that's that. What's really great is that I've seen tons more fantastic films than bad ones, and even one that's reached the #2 spot of Squish's All-Time Favorites List, but we'll get to that yet.

Here's the five best movies I've seen in the last six month:

#5 - Dead Man - 92% (Knocks You Flat On Your Ass)

I found this to be on nice surprise. Turns out I'm a fan of the Western. That aside, I like tales of the underdog trying to deal with a messed up situation. I also like stories where the characters have a strong streak of the Lynchian, while all being framed in some nice black and white wildernesses. Johnny Depp is the cherry on top, and as simple tales go, this one is rich and runs deep. Enjoy.

#4 - Rear Window - 92% (Sneak A Peek at Perfection)

I know this is on numerous best films ever lists, and now I know why. You should too. Aside from mentioning that Grace Kelly has such a stunning presence in this as to make one weep at the fact that no one on earth has ever accomplished the grace of her namesake. Oh right and there's this awesome storyline about a guy who looks out at his neighbors and sees certain things amiss... right, that part.

#3 - Fanny and Alexander 92% - (Knocked Me On My Fanny)

The acting is unsurpassed. It's not because the actors know how to stand in one place properly, look natural or deliver their lines with impeccable timing, it's because the resonance of their words and their emotions is felt so deeply that it shakes your very foundation. As period pieces go this is probably my favorite. Definitely check it out.

#2 - True Romance 94% - (Truly Amazing)

Granted, this may have gotten such a bias due to the nostalgia and recall value, but isn't that what makes a great film? I have no shame in declaring I love Quentin Tarantino and this is one is written by him. Every actor in the universe is in this one and they're all super-wicked-awesome-hyper-cool. Dig it.

The best movie I've seen in a long time:

#1 - Sympathy For Lady Vengeance - 96% - (Perfection From Lady Vengeance)

I suggest this film to every adult our there just because the film is multi-faceted in its appeal. Fans of the Art-House will appreciate the highly stylized cinematography with just enough special effects added to give it an added edge without overwhelming the scenes. The storyline is extremely human, not to mention an extreme look at humanity pressed to the limit. Chan-wook Park is my new favorite director, and because of this frikken guy, I have to shatter my etched in stone tablets 'Top 5 Favorite Films Ever' list. How inconvenient, and I really liked the font!

Alright now in closing: it's official, is going up soon. I know I said that six months ago, but I really mean it this time, and it's one gorgeous site, yesiree!