Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Favorite Film Discoveries of 2012 - Scott from Married with Clickers ""

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Favorite Film Discoveries of 2012 - Scott from Married with Clickers

Scott and his wife Kat run the Married With Clickers podcast. It's a great show and you should listen. Scott has been in on this series for 3 years:
Here 's his list of his top 10 discoveries of 2010:
http://rupertpupkinspeaks.blogspot.com/2011/01/scott-from-married-with-clickers.html
2011:
http://rupertpupkinspeaks.blogspot.com/2012/01/scott-from-married-with-clickers.html

and for 2012, they actually did a podcast covering their favorite discoveries:
http://marriedwithclickers.libsyn.com/married-with-clickers-episode-101-our-top-10-film-discoveries-of-the-year



10. Holiday (1938)
George Cukor's screwball comedy is an absolute gem and holds up beautifully today. The script is sharp, filled with wit and class warfare undertones. Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn are in fine form in their 3rd outing together. Deep down, however, I wish that they'd stuck with one of their working titles: Unconventional Linda.


9. Jaws 2 (1978)
Let's get one little item out of the way; this is not Jaws. I had always thought that I'd seen this film, but upon further reflection I think I was only fully aware of it due to the trading card series, the adaptation in Marvel Comics Super Special and parodies in Mad and Cracked. If Jaws is about a silent, stalking killer, this one has much more of a 'Stomp Amity' vibe. If you're up for scenes featuring poor waterskiing safety as teenagers being punished for having fun, this is a great way to spend an afternoon. It is not a masterpiece like the original, nor is in as laughably bad as the 3rd and 4th installments, it is just a solid piece of summertime entertainment that should be enjoyed as a standalone film.


8 . The Asphyx (1972)
A fun drinking game would be to drinking every time someone says 'ass fix' during this film. This is a rather old fashioned, stuff British horror sci-fi set in the Victorian era. You know the type of film, where people stand around a fireplace chatting and you're pretty sure you've seen this set before. Actually, it is about battling the demons that come to take someone's soul at the moment of their death. If these demons can be trapped, one can live forever. That should go quite smoothly, don't you think. A refreshing change of pace from most 'scary' movies I watched in 2012.


7. Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence (1983)
Unfortunately, this film was not quite as good as I had hoped, but still a very solid and moving piece of cinema. David Bowie shines a godly light as a British Officer who has recently arrived in Japanese POW camp, determined to 'rock' the status quo. There's some terrific atmosphere here, aided by a wonderful score. Tom Conti and Takeshi Kitano deliver heart-wrenching performances in the fine film derailed by a terrible flashback sequences.


6. Earthquake (1974)
Another disaster movie that had somehow eluded me throughout the years. The disaster formula of terrible things happen to a cast of all-stars doesn't always work, but it certainly does here. Every dollar in the budget is up there on the screen and the practical effects still look quite good today. An Achilles Heel for many disaster flicks is the pacing, but this one moves along at a good clip and provides a sufficient number of jolts throughout. All of the tangential subplots actually make sense and add to the film and the performances (save for Ava Gardner) are strong. The highlight is Richard Roundtree as a sort of African-American Evel Knievel. Do yourself a favour and look up 'Motorcycle stunt gone wrong from EARTHQUAKE' on YouTube.


5. Storm Warning (1951)
If you had told me that there was a rural noir about the KKK starring Ginger Rogers, Doris Day and Ronald Reagan, I would have thought you were insane. I am still shocked that such a film actually exists and even more shocked that I really dug it. Far from perfect, due to a lull in the middle act, Stuart Heisler’s fine, under seen movie builds tension nicely at all the right moments. Granted, I have never seen a KKK film without mentioning races or racism, but it still must have been quite something for 1951.


4. Torque (2004)
A future cult classic. I don't know a thing about riding a motorcycle while high on cocaine, but I imagine the film comes close to replicating the experience. It is absolutely bonkers in all of the right way. The plot is ridiculous, the dialogue laughably quotable and the acting either wooden or over the top. Director Joseph Kahn obviously follows the mantra of 'cram as many movie video camera trick as possible in every scene' and the viewer reaps the benefits. I'm not sure we'll ever see Adam Scott and Ice Cube appear in the same film again, so please savour the moment.



3. Grand Prix (1966)
This one absolutely blew my mind. I'm not much of a car racing fan, but I saw a used copy of the Blu Ray and figured watching 3 hours of John Frakenheimer film cars driving on the streets and courses of Europe might be a lot of fun. How right I was! It is one of the most gorgeous Blu Rays I have ever seen, with an unbelievably crisp picture and the sound is profound. While many of the performances are strong (with James Garner being the real standout for me), I will keep returning to this one for the racing sequences. Frankenheimer and company edited the hell out of this film, and know exactly when to take the rapid fire approach and when to hold the camera on the action for long, long shots. You may find yourself leaning into turns while sitting on your couch. This is a great time capsule of both Formula One Racing and filmmaking in the 60s. Everyone should own this.


2. Hard Rain (1998)
This film features a jet-ski chase in a high school. That's really all you need to know. It was the most pleasant surprise I had all year. I had an absolute blast watching Christian Slater work towards the title of Wettest Hero in Cinema History. It is all about a heist gone wrong in the middle of a flood and all of the bad decisions people make when wearing soggy shoes. This one shot right up to the top tier of my favourite guilty pleasures.


1. The Battle of Algiers (1966)
This is simply one of the finest films I have ever seen. Gillo Pontecorvo recreated the events of the Algerian War of Independence, focusing on the in the streets of Algiers in the mid-50s. This is a masterpiece at every level; from the filmmaking techniques, to the performances (from a cast mostly of non-actors) to Morricone's score. The tense moments will make you hold your breath, and at some point you will be shocked that you're not actually watching a documentary. This film has been used in many countries to teach counter-insurgency techniques. It should also be used in every film school to teach how to create a piece of art that transcends not only language and genre, but also the medium itself.

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