From Showtime and Kino Lorber comes what is basically a fun primer of adult cinema for folks that might want to either re-visit the genre, or perhaps learn where to start their collection. “X-Rated” is a very R rated look at some of the greatest Adult movies of all time, and manages to interview many of the surviving cast members of films like “The Opening of Misty Beethoven,” “Deep Throat,” and the once very controversial “Taboo.” Its surprising to see how much involvement many of the cast members had in making these classic porn movies, and how affectionately a lot of modern adult stars discuss these movies with a lot of insight and enthusiasm.
Most horror fans agree by now that most creative minds have pretty much tapped the zombie well dry, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a lot of filmmakers still trying to reinvent the wheel. “Attack of the Lederhosen Zombies” does not re-invent the wheel and probably won’t change anyone’s mind on zombie movies, but for devotees of the sub-genre, there’s a lot of fun to be had. There’s some good music, a brisk pace, and a different setting beyond the typical country farm house or city back drop. Two snowboarders head out to the Swiss Alps with their manager Branka to film a publicity video for their corporate sponsor. When snowboarder and slacker Steve botch’s the filming altogether, the trio are left on the mountain, stranded.
“American Pie” hit the right chords in the right time, it caught lightning in a bottle, and I was there when it became a pop culture phenomenon. It made the development of the digital age a fun comedic prop, as our protagonist Jim is caught on the world wide web of dozens of people prematurely ejaculating, and dancing. It struck the iron at just the right point and for a while was a massive hit. Hell, it even invented the term “Milf” (Thus an entire popular porn sub-genre was born!) But watching it so many years later, it’s clear that “American Pie” is just not a very good movie. Maybe it’s because seventeen years later pop culture has redefined what’s raunchy about a thousand times over, but when you cut away at the sexual humor, what you have a pretty mediocre teen comedy.
Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg are two men who can be funny when they want to, and whenever they come up with a premise for something out of the box they almost offer up something great. For some reason they can never seem to completely unfold their unusual premises whole hog, and hinder their own efforts to be absurd time and time again. “This is the End” had moments of pure hilarity but fell apart by the second half, and “Sausage Party” is a movie where I get what they’re doing. Yes, I understand what they’re doing here. “Sausage Party” is an off the wall and absurd twist on “Toy Story” where anthropomorphic sentient inanimate objects are treated as such to the point where they feel everything humans can. They can be scared, they have their own communities, and yes, they even have their own sexualities and religions. I get it.
For fans of eighties cinema, Mill Creek Entertainment offers up a collection of eight noteworthy eighties movies on DVD for the more cost conscious collector. Among the eight films in the collection is 1990’s “Flatliners.” The David Cronenberg supernatural drama about a group of medical students exploring the effects of near death experiences stars Kiefer Sutherland, Kevin Bacon, and Julia Roberts, respectively. James Woods and Robert Downey Jr. co-star in the 1989 drama “True Believer,” about an embittered lawyer who re-opens an old murder case with a young lawyer, unraveling a web of corruption, and conspiracies.
This year brought a lot of film festival coverage opportunities for me which means I was able to attend and/or cover twelve film festivals/events. That being said, these paired with a ton of good independent titles meant I had very little time for wider theater releases. This not mean the latter were not good, it only means that I saw a grand total of three major releases (Deadpool, Rogue One, and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them) on the big screen.
First, here are my special mentions: L’Elan, Deadpool, Saving Mr. Wu, The Laundryman, Realive, Bed of the Dead, Let Her Out, Alena, Corp Etranger (Foreign Body), They Call Me Jeeg Robot, Karate Kill, The Eyes of My Mother, Rogue One, The Witch, Southbound, Antibirth, The Love Witch.
With no further ado, here is my top ten favorite movies from 2016:
So many, many short films are made each year, yet a lot of film fans overlook them, thus making themselves a disservice. 2016 saw a fantastically good crop of shorts from a variety of countries, showcasing the talents of filmmakers worth watching. In 2016, I saw over 175 short films through film festivals, Vimeo, YouTube, etc. Choosing a top 10 was tough this year and kept changing from day to day. Out of those ever changing titles, here are the 10 Best short films, or my 10 favorites at the moment, and a bunch more worth checking out.
Special mentions (aka I wish it were a top 25): Innsmouth, Postpartum, Stained, Injustice for All, Japanese Legends: Slit, Watchbear, The Puppet Man, Kaddish!, Little Boy Blue, Deathly, Overtime, Hoshino, The Tunnel, Bionic Girl, and Disco Inferno.
On to the Top 10…
“Josie and the Pussycats” is kind of a “They Live” of its sub-genre, taking a cute premise and turning it on its head to show a decent rock trio and how they become consumed by corporations, merchandising, and the all consuming hunger of the fans that follow. Sadly in 2001, the world was inundated with endless boy bands and pop princesses, all of whom were Caucasian, very blond, and very young, and were always on MTV grinning and getting their fans to spend, spend, spend. So, “Josie and the Pussycats” sadly got lost in the shuffle considered something of a celebration of consumerism, when really it kind of mocked the whole idea.