Sunday, January 06, 2013

sleestakk's Top Ten Films of 2012

Because it was such a good year for film I struggled narrowing down my list to only ten films. The pool I chose from is pictured here but ultimately I decided to go with the films that gave me the most enjoyment.

10. Cabin in the Woods

9. Holy Motors

8. Dredd

7. Nameless Gangster

6. Agneepath

5. The Avengers

4. Pitch Perfect

3. A Werewolf Boy

2. Django Unchained

1. Killer Joe

Three of my Top Ten I saw more than once. The others I will gladly watch again and again. But I could say that for any of those 25 pictured above. Clearly my list isn't what critics would consider the "best" of the 2012 but I'm no critic nor does "best" mean much to me. Check out the entire 25 films I considered at Letterboxd.



Monday, November 05, 2012

Music Box of Horrors

Chicago was fortunate to have TWO 24-hour Horrorthons this year. This was the first one.

The (Annual) 24-hour horror movie marathon at the Music Box Theatre in Chicago was held on October 13 - 14. Formerly known as the Music Box Massacre, now called Music Box of Horrors. Kicked off Saturday at noon, here was the line-up of films (in order), all of which were presented in 35mm except the newer films, Satan’s Little Helper and Eddie: The Sleepwalking Cannibal both DCP. The Golem was 16mm. Special guests included Sybil Danning and Jeff Lieberman. Roughly 600 people attended the event over the 24-hour period (around 150 were there at the end).


I arrived right before The Golem kicked off the event. I stayed (awake) for 10 films leaving around 6:30am after The Phantasm. I would have loved to stay but I needed s little sleep before the "Day of Chicago Firsts" event at Portage Theater in the afternoon. I really wanted to see Deadly Spawn and Blood Diner on the big screen. Ah well. Still managed 18 hours of film.

Best moment: meeting Sybil Danning and chatting for a bit around the midnight hour. She is an awesome person.

WTF moment: during Q&A, audience member asked Jeff Lieberman what he thought about the demise of 35mm film, expecting him to provide his lament. Instead he said, "fuck film. I love digital. I'm not looking back." (paraphrasing)

Good times.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Noir City 4: Chicago

The Noir City Film Festival has ended and I'm glad that I was able to view as many titles as I did. Total of 8 films out of the 15 presented. Some true gems too including a few not available on home video.

The films I saw were: Three Strangers (1946), Black Angel (1946), Phantom Lady (1944), The Window (1949), Shakedown (1950), Undertow (1949), This Gun for Hire (1942), and The Great Gatsby (1949). Wish I could have seen more! Maybe next year.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Godzilla Fest 2012 Kick Off

Spent the afternoon and evening at the Pickwick Theatre for a line-up of Giant Monster movies to celebrate the 19th annual G-Fest event. The afternoon was two Godzilla influences and the evening was two Godzilla rivals films. Highlight was easily viewing Kong Kong '33 on the big screen. Still such an incredible movie.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Stryke of the Apes

Stryker (1983)
Directed by Cirio H. Santiago
Dipped into my San Jose VHS haul to finally view this gem. Really fun early 80s sci-fi action adventure. Naturally a Road Warrior rip-off but still plenty entertaining. And Steve Sandor is a decent lead as Stryker. “After the holocaust, nothing matters but survival.”

Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)
Directed by Rupert Wyatt
Went to the midnight screening b/c I just couldn’t take hearing / reading anymore about this film. The positive buzz was nearly overwhelming so I didn’t want my expectations to get the best of me. Good thing because this is a great film. It pays off in many ways. Didn’t like the callbacks to the original PotA flick but whatever. The drama is really great. Much to appreciate here.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Another Death Spa

Another Earth (2011)
Directed by Mike Cahill
Went over to CineArts after work to catch this. Nice little indie sci-fi film co-written by Brit Marling. Mostly really enjoyed this but had a hard time getting past William Mapother because he will always be “Ethan” from LOST to me. It’s the ending that really seals the deal here.

Death Spa (1990)
Directed by Michael Fischa
Oh man was I looking forward to this selection for Horror Movie Night. Glad to have finally seen this b/c it’s so damn fun and ridiculous. Watching people trapped in the “death spa” is quite entertaining. Under-appreciated horror.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Maniac Dreaming

Maniac (1980)
Directed by William Lustig
Took me long enough to finally see this. Geez. Thanks to Instawatch for making it available. Such a slimy and grimy flick that feels like a product of its time. I love that. Joe Spinell is creepy as all hell. Also dig on Caroline Munro, of course.

Dead of Night (1972)
Directed by Bob Clark
Caught this on Instawatch after hearing some buzz on the twitter. Deathdream, as its known, is a pretty cool flick with an inventive zombie vietnam vet story. Worth the watch. Another Bob Clark classic.

Monday, August 01, 2011

No Retreat for Bigfoot

No Retreat, No Surrender (1986)
Directed by Corey Yuen Kwai
Viewed this on my return flight from Puerto Rico. Holy hell is this an awesome flick! I had no idea but had always heard this was great. It is! It’s the kind of movie I’d love to watch w/others in a BTSNAT type of event. Or just a movie night. JCVD is wonderfully evil and montage is one of the best. So entertaining.

Night of the Demon (1980)
Directed by James C. Wasson
Also viewed on my return flight from Puerto Rico. Not a terrible hunt for Bigfoot film or as bad as its reputation, I guess.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Hottie in Outer Space

Mutiny in Outer Space (1965)
Directed by Hugo Grimaldi

Totally dig this sci-fi thriller. The green fungus is hilarious. Just a fun yet silly film that approaches the material seriously. Big fan of these flicks and Dolores Faith is a hottie in space. Viewed during my flight out west.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Christmas Shock

Shock (1946)
Directed by Alfred L. Werker

Kinda cool Vincent Price noir flick. Price always makes for a good villain. Worth the watch.


To All A Goodnight (1980)
Directed by David Hess

Horror Movie Night: Christmas in July edition! Decent but best thing about this is Jennifer Runyon. Will revisit at a future Christmas Horror Movie Night, I’m sure.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Fighting Personalities

Persona (1966)
Directed by Ingmar Bergman

Filling more Ingmar Bergman gaps and this might be my favorite to date. Crazy considering his style change but duality of the characters and the story are executed so well I just really love it. Def one to revisit someday. 8 / 10


The Fighter (2010)
Directed by David O. Russell

Solid 7 out of 10. Good drama. Bale steals the movie. Sick how good he is. Everyone else is very good but Bale is the clear standout. Decent film but other than Bale didn’t deserve all the accolades, IMO.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Agent Fear of the Dead

Fear and Trembling (2003)
Directed by Alain Corneau

Really, REALLY love this movie. Totally captures what it’s like for an ex-pat / foreigner to work in a Japanese company. Incredible film. Highly recommended. Too bad Kaori Tsuji didn’t go on to do more because she’s excellent.


Marc Mato, agente S. 077 (1965)
Directed by Gregg C. Tallas

Low budget spy thriller from Spain. The opening sequence when the crooks break in to steal the death ray is the best part of the film.


Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead (1994)
Directed by Don Coscarelli

Pretty darn good sequel esp. since I wasn’t expecting much. Wish they’d put all the films into a nice Blu-ray set. I really like Reggie Bannister.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Shadow of a Doubt (1943)

Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock

Excellent thriller. One I will definitely need to watch again. So well crafted but expected from the master. Joseph Cotten is terrific.

Flick (2008)

Flick (2008)
Directed by David Howard

Picked this up from the library b/c it was in the horror section and looked interesting. It’s not really. A tad on the dull side despite a good premise. Really it’s the execution that fails. Not terrible but a little boring. Too bad.

Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
Directed by Isao Takahata

Put this off long enough. Not sure I could watch this again. Up there with Nobody Knows as one of the saddest, most tragic films I’ve seen. Anything with children in desperate situations is just too much for me. Hard one to watch indeed.