Monthly Archives: December 2012

My Personal Choices for the Best of 2012 in Film

Screen Shot 2012-12-28 at 1.40.31 AM

I watched 52 films that came out this year, which is a lot more than I’ve ever watched in a single year before (my TV watching did suffer, in case you were wondering [you totally weren’t, it’s okay, you didn’t hurt my feelings…much]). Hope you enjoy!

NOTABLE FILMS UNSEEN: The Master, Cloud Atlas, Promised Land, Beasts of the Southern Wild, The Sessions, Amour, Killer Joe, The Intouchables, Wreck-It Ralph, Ruby Sparks, Rust and Bone.


  • Good Message : Mainstream Appeal Ratio (i.e. how much positive change did this film have on the world at large?)
  • Entertainment Value (i.e. how much did I personally enjoy the film?)
  • Emotional Resonance (i.e. how much did this film move me emotionally?)


  • God Bless America
  • Skyfall
  • Ted
  • Celeste & Jesse Forever
  • Liberal Arts
  • Game Change
  • Lawless
  • The Cabin in the Woods


20. LINCOLN (dir. Steven Spielberg, scr. Tony Kushner) — My review here does a good job explaining how I feel about this film. Lincoln barely cracked the Top 20, but Kushner’s unflinchingly literate screenplay illustrating the art of compromise has proved more popular than I expected among mainstream America.

19. THE HUNGER GAMES (dir. Gary Ross, scr. Gary Ross, Suzanne Collins, Billy Ray) — This is where the “mainstream : message ratio” comes into play. The Hunger Games proves that there is a literate, smart alternative to the moronic, mysogynistic, unbelievably-bad-for-you Twilight Saga in the YA market for girls. The message is solid, the performances are solid and the cinematography, while controversial, immersed me emotionally in a fictional world–a difficult task for any film.

18. LIFE OF PI (dir. Ang Lee, scr. David Magee) — I went into this film with extremely low expectations and emerged a very happy camper. Ang Lee once again proves that he can master any type of story in any type of visual language. While the message was a bit muddled, this Cast Away-on-a-boat-with-a-tiger movie won my heart with dazzling visuals and a deft sense of tone.

17. FLIGHT (dir. Robert Zemeckis, wri. John Gatins) — My review here covers the basics. While the film is flawed, Zemeckis’ experienced directorial hand and an absolutely engrossing performance from Denzel Washington create a compelling addiction narrative with one of the strongest central characters put to screen in recent memory.

16. ZERO DARK THIRTY (dir. Kathryn Bigelow, wri. Mark Boal) — Jessica Chastain delivers one of the best performances of the year as an analyst dead set on finding and killing Osama Bin Laden. A realistic, slow-burn thriller from the team behind the better film The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty is nonetheless an interesting character study and an incisive look into the absolute, unflinching lack of reward for efforts made in the name of the dogs of war.

15. SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED (dir. Colin Trevorrow, wri. Derek Connolly) — It shocks me that this film is so high up on the list, even now. This film caught me off-guard when I first saw it, with its mix of absurd scenario, human characters, and riotous sense of humor. Mark Duplass, Aubrey Plaza, Kristen Bell and Jake Johnson all bring something interesting to the table in this little feel-good movie that could.

14. ARGO (dir. Ben Affleck, scr. Chris Terrio) — This film pushes all the right buttons, and does all the right things. Its message is solid as well. The acting is all-around excellent, and the screenplay is razor sharp. I’m surprised this film isn’t higher, but to me it was just missing something, and I’m not sure what it was, but I suppose it just felt a little too neat for my taste. Here’s the podcast I guested on, talking about it.

13. ANNA KARENINA (dir. Joe Wright, scr. Tom Stoppard) — My review here does a good job summarizing my thoughts. While it doesn’t seem to have much of a mainstream impact, I couldn’t stop thinking about this movie after I saw it, and I can still have conversations debating the film with my friends who have also seen it. An unusual, groundbreaking adaptation of one of the most profound musings on love in the history of literature.

12. CHRONICLE (dir. Josh Trank, wri. Max Landis) — No, that’s not a typo. Yes, you read that right. CHRON-I-CLE. The found-footage superhero movie. A box-office sleeper hit, Chronicle delved into the psychology of the creation of a monster (played superbly by the soon-to-be star Dane DeHaan). Incidents like those at Columbine and Virginia Tech have made this movie relevant for a whole new generation of kids… and parents.

11. HITCHCOCK (dir. Sacha Gervasi, scr. John McLaughlin) — My review here. A sweet, but never saccharine, fictionalized biopic of the master of suspense. Excellent performances all-around, an unexpected sense of humor and a classic Hollywood love story make this one of the most enjoyable, satisfying pictures of the year.


10. SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS (wri/dir. Martin McDonagh) — My review here. This little-seen gangster-epic-sendup blends an underrated performance from Sam Rockwell with several other excellent actors and a witty, legitimately smart screenplay from In Bruges mastermind McDonagh. It sneaks into the last best picture slot.

9. MOONRISE KINGDOM (wri. Roman Coppola & Wes Anderson, dir. Wes Anderson) — My review here. Wes Anderson does Wes Anderson, and while that might mean a more distinct, select audience than other films, this childhood love story for adults wins my heart and has a decent message to boot.

8. LOOPER (wri/dir. Rian Johnson) — My review here. A mainstream AND critical success, Johnson’s sci-fi opus overcame somewhat questionable time-travel logic with an amazing emotional center and a surprisingly intimate second half that brought home a powerful, necessary message regarding the cycle of violence.

7. SEEKING A FRIEND FOR THE END OF THE WORLD (wri/dir. Lorene Scafaria) — Yes, I know what its score is on RottenTomatoes. Yes, I also know the Metacritic score. Yes, I realize it shifts tones as much as a poor ripoff of a Tarantino film. However, this movie moved me in a way I can’t describe. The ending brings me to tears every time I see it. Steve Carell and Keira Knightley lead a cast of talented character actors put to work in surprising, if small ways. A poignant, entrancing love story, this movie is one we all need to see.

6. LES MISÉRABLES (dir. Tom Hooper, scr. William Nicholson, Claude-Michel Schönberg, Alain Boublil, Herbert Kretzmer) — A flawed, if powerful adaptation of the classic musical (itself an adaptation of Victor Hugo’s classic novel) that, courtesy of actors singing live and one four-minute long take of Anne Hathaway moving everyone in America to tears with her haunting rendition of “I Dreamed A Dream”, is able to convey its amazing message(s) through an alternately grandiose and intimate look at the Revolution of 1830 in France.

5. THE IMPOSSIBLE (dir. J.A. Bayona, wri. Sergío G. Sanchez) — A devastating, brutal tsunami sequence rivals the best of disaster sequences in cinematic history. Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor and young Tom Holland deliver raw, realistic performances in a movie that suffers only from the implausibility of the truth it portrays. A riveting family drama, and a wonderfully human story of survival.

4. THE DARK KNIGHT RISES (dir. Christopher Nolan, scr. Christopher Nolan, Jonathan Nolan, David S. Goyer) — The best superhero trilogy ever made concludes with a less intelligent, but still astounding finale. Not as good as The Dark Knight, but it never tried to be. It laid down its many messages for a whole new generation of superheroes–the kids that will grow up to change the world. So what if Hollywood time was used a bit too much? Nolan knew he had a billion-dollar box-office at the ready just for making the movie, so he decided to use it to do as much good as he possibly could (ahem, Joss Whedon).

3. DJANGO UNCHAINED (wri/dir. Quentin Tarantino) — Tarantino’s at the top of his game with this south-set Western that invites interesting discussion on the politics of race and violence, as per usual with the master. The most fun you’ll have in a theater all year, Django has two of Tarantino’s best villains…and best protagonists. The only flaw with Django is its underutilization of the masterful Kerry Washington. But Scandal’s still on TV so I’ll forgive it.

2. THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER (scr/dir. Stephen Chbosky) — Some audience members were put off by the main character’s perpetual state of incomprehensible loneliness. But that inquiry into the mind of a 15-year-old boy, a lonely boy named Charlie played so superbly by Logan Lerman, is what makes the film necessary. We all must relate to Charlie. We must understand him. For to understand him and to empathize with him is to understand and empathize with all of those who have ever been lonely. All of us. Empathy is the key to the perfect civilization and this film masterfully brings that message home. An ‘A’ CinemaScore showed that most of us commonfolk in the audience do have the capacity to learn that empathy, and thusly have the capacity to include the excluded and give the world a chance at acceptance and love for each other. Oh, and also, did I mention Emma Watson?

1. SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (scr/dir. David O. Russell) — It’s a romcom family drama about mental illness. It’s confusing, I know. But the realistic elements blend beautifully with the stylized dialogue present in the romance of Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, both giving their best performances to date (the ensemble is fantastic all-around). It makes me swoon just thinking about how quirky and awesome it is. This year’s best story, I left the film feeling amazing and jazzed and ready to try to write something hopefully just as good. I’ve talked to no one who’s disliked it in the slightest. It’s a universal indie film with a heart the size of China and I can’t stress enough how great the messages are. Go see it. You’ll only be glad you did.

And now, the individual awards:


  • J.A. Bayona – The Impossible
  • Rian Johnson – Looper
  • Ang Lee – Life of Pi
  • David O. Russell – Silver Linings Playbook
  • Quentin Tarantino – Django Unchained

Honorable Mentions (in no particular order): Robert Zemeckis – Flight, Stephen Chbosky – The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Tom Hooper – Les Misérables, Christopher Nolan – The Dark Knight Rises, Kathryn Bigelow – Zero Dark Thirty


  • Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola – Moonrise Kingdom
  • Rian Johnson – Looper
  • Martin McDonagh – Seven Psychopaths
  • Lorene Scafaria – Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
  • Quentin Tarantino – Django Unchained

Honorable Mentions: Drew Goddard & Joss Whedon – The Cabin in the Woods, Sergío G. Sanchez – The Impossible, John Gatins – Flight


  • Mark Boal – Zero Dark Thirty
  • Stephen Chbosky – The Perks of Being a Wallflower
  • Tony Kushner – Lincoln
  • David O. Russell – Silver Linings Playbook
  • Chris Terrio – Argo

Honorable Mention: Nicholson/Boublil/Schönberg/Kretzmer – Les Misérables


  • Bradley Cooper – Silver Linings Playbook
  • Daniel Day-Lewis – Lincoln (tie)
  • Anthony Hopkins – Hitchcock
  • Hugh Jackman – Les Misérables
  • Denzel Washington – Flight (tie)

Honorable Mentions: Jamie Foxx – Django Unchained, Christoph Waltz – Django Unchained, Tom Holland – The Impossible, Joaquin Phoenix – The Master


  • Jessica Chastain – Zero Dark Thirty
  • Keira Knightley – Anna Karenina, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
  • Jennifer Lawrence – Silver Linings Playbook, The Hunger Games
  • Helen Mirren – Hitchcock
  • Naomi Watts – The Impossible

Honorable Mentions: Emma Watson – The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Kara Hayward – Moonrise Kingdom


  • Samantha Barks – Les Misérables
  • Kristen Bell – Safety Not Guaranteed
  • Anne Hathaway – Les Misérables, The Dark Knight Rises
  • Frances McDormand – Moonrise Kingdom
  • Kelly Reilly – Flight

Honorable Mentions: Jacki Weaver – Silver Linings Playbook, Kerry Washington – Django Unchained, Amy Adams – The Master, Mae Whitman – The Perks of Being a Wallflower


  • James D’Arcy – Hitchcock
  • Robert DeNiro – Silver Linings Playbook
  • Leonardo DiCaprio – Django Unchained
  • Tommy Lee Jones – Lincoln
  • Ewan McGregor – The Impossible

Honorable Mentions: John Goodman – Argo and Flight, Alan Arkin – Argo, Bryan Cranston – Argo, Bill Murray – Moonrise Kingdom, Bruce Willis – Moonrise Kingdom and Looper, Bradley Whitford – The Cabin in the Woods, Tom Hardy – The Dark Knight Rises and Lawless, Philip Seymour Hoffman – The Master, Sam Rockwell – Seven Psychopaths, Samuel L. Jackson – Django Unchained, James Spader – Lincoln, Russell Crowe – Les Misérables, Jude Law – Anna Karenina


  • Roger Deakins – Skyfall
  • Mihai Malaimare, Jr. – The Master
  • Ben Richardson – Beasts of the Southern Wild
  • Robert “The Wizard” Richardson – Django Unchained
  • Robert Yeoman – Moonrise Kingdom

Honorable Mentions: Caleb Deschanel – Jack Reacher, Masanobu Takayanagi – Silver Linings Playbook, Don Burgess – Flight, Claudio Miranda – Life of Pi, Greig Fraser – Zero Dark Thirty and Killing Them Softly, Dariusz Wolski – Prometheus, Wally Pfister – The Dark Knight Rises, Seamus McGarvey – Anna Karenina, Steve Yedlin – Looper


  • David Blackburn – Detention
  • William Goldenberg – Argo, Zero Dark Thirty
  • Fred Raskin – Django Unchained
  • Jeremiah O’Driscoll – Flight
  • Melanie Ann Oliver – Les Misérables, Anna Karenina

Honorable Mentions: Jay Cassidy – Silver Linings Playbook, Andrew Weisblum – Moonrise Kingdom


  • Michael Brook – The Perks of Being a Wallflower
  • Alexandre Desplat – Argo, Zero Dark Thirty, Moonrise Kingdom, Rise of the Guardians, Rust and Bone
  • Danny Elfman – Silver Linings Playbook, Hitchcock, Promised Land, Frankenweenie
  • Dan Romer, Benh Zeitlin – Beasts of the Southern Wild
  • Hans Zimmer – The Dark Knight Rises

Honorable Mentions: Alan Silvestri – The Avengers and Flight, James Newton Howard – The Hunger Games and Snow White & the Huntsman, Jonny Greenwood – The Master

Introducing-Joshua Baez

Hey you know that feeling you get when you listen to something and within 10 seconds, you just know that you want it downloaded into your music library for safekeeping? Then the next thing you know, it turns into some binge downloading, from one song to another, not even needing to listen to something through the whole way to know that it’s some damn good stuff? Reminiscent of some youtube adventures, this exact thing has just happened to me. I’d like to present y’all with this talented musician from Bellevue (whoop whoop, Washington!) named Joshua Baez.

This guy right here. He is good. Flat out. I don’t even really know what to say about him to be honest. His music is absolutely astounding. He calls his style a mixture of Alternative Rock and Indie Pop, but before we get into that aspect of his music, I really want to shed some light on the “Scores” part of his band camp. I don’t know where he got the inspiration for this or how he made it, but holy hell. I stopped writing this post for a while and I just looped all 7 songs over and over. I cannot describe what it is and why it’s so good, but I can just say it fit my mood exactly. So in a weird way, I guess the only way to describe these tracks are to describe how I was feeling. You know, sitting there and not really doing anything, but staring off into space. Not empty, pointless kind of space but where you’re actually thinking. Listening to it for a while, I knew that I had to look at some porn while I was at it. No not the kind of porn you’re probably thinking of, but some damn good earth porn. Yup, check some out right here if you want (Earth Porn!) It just made me feel like I wanted to pick myself up and place myself directly in those pictures to just sit and gaze for hours. Listening to these tracks just gave me some nostalgic feel, to what memories/feelings? I have no idea of, but it felt good. Just this warm feeling in the pit of my belly, kind of like you know things are going to be alright whatever happens and you can be content. Or you know, since it is winter time, it just gave me this feeling like I wanted to be outside, and the scene would be set perfect if I was chilling underneath a streetlight, snow falling around me and I was just feeling like I was good. As you can probably tell, I’m kind of rambling now, and it might not make sense, but those were the feels I got from these indescribable tracks. I will not single out any track. They are all fantastic. Choose one, play it and just go with the flow. Also, if you’re not in a calm mood or have no intentions to be, skip this for now. This is something to be appreciated and to be taken in completely.

A song written for our very own blogger, Dylan, for his short film “Titles Are Too Mainstream”. Here’s where I can heap on the praise for Joshua’s talent. If you’ve had the chance, you know “Scores” is already damn good, but for his songwriting/singing, he’s not one to pass over either, with this great track in “I Lost You”. Reminiscent of a young Ben Gibbard (Death Cab For Cutie’s lead singer), Joshua’s music just gives off the same feels as those of Gibbard’s. No it’s not because Joshua is from the Seattle area like Gibbard or that he has some damn cool covers of DCFC in the “Covers” section of his bandcamp, but rather because of Joshua’s lyrics and voice. With touches of vibes via lyrics from the D-Cab song “What Sarah Said” in a more upbeat tune, along with the uncanny familiarity of his voice that matches Gibbard’s in many aspects, I couldn’t help but immediately think of Gibbard when listening to this song. I always dig it when artists put little details into songs that aren’t the traditional guitar, bass, or drums etc, like the xylophone (correct me if I’m wrong?) in this track. This really made the song for me as it put that upbeat, hopeful feel into the song.

Here we go. Uke time. Seeing on his Facebook that he was part of a uke-piano duet, I went seeking for a track like that and “Please, Don’t Go Away” fits the bill. I haven’t really touched upon any songs that are uke and piano heavy, but a song that is just both those? wut. I was taken-aback by how much I appreciated the slow pace and chillness of this track. Once again, I’m sorry, I can’t describe the song. But I can give you one of the random thoughts that popped into my head. “Wouldn’t it be nice to just hop on a train and just leave somewhere with a significant other and just be carefree while the train bounces up and down?” + A random gif: 

Pretty weird, I know, but that’s the way my mind works when I can get some good songs to trigger these thoughts.

It only took me a few tracks to realize how chillax all of Joshua’s music is and I really dig that. If he isn’t a chill guy in real life, I’d be shocked. “White Wave”, one of his singles released online from his “Little Bird” album is just perfect. Why? Because for once I don’t have to describe what the song feels like to me because it’s all in the lyrics. Every aspect of this song just seems to fall into place perfectly and it’s awesome to single out different parts of the track and then smack them together again to hear the whole song. Best part of the song for me was the transition into a louder, more forceful sound around the 3 minute mark (you have to hear the transition).

Seeing as it is Christmas now, I think it’s fitting to leave you with Joshua’s little project called “25 Days of Christmas Cheer” where he leaves his own rendition of some good ol’ Christmas tunes. The cool thing about this specific one is that this is the slowest I have ever heard “Jingle Bells” ever sung. It’s distinctive and a bold presentation of the song, and for that, it deserves to be listened to with an open mind and a keen ear that tries to block out the traditional type of sound. It’s pretty damn cool actually, and if you dig it, listen to the rest of his songs all displayed up on his youtube page.

“I’m very passionate about music because I believe that music is a language that everyone speaks. We’ve all felt weak, helpless, alone, but with music, you suddenly don’t feel so alone. I want people to be able to connect with my music, to be able to relate to it. I want them to know that even when life is hard, it will get better. All you have to do is step back and breathe.” -Joshua Baez

Some damn good words there and I wished everyone could know the power that music can have on people. It’s more than just some sounds mashed together, but something magical that can make you feel anything ever. I don’t play any instruments, nor do I have anything to contribute to the music world besides an opinion and an opportunity to perhaps shine some light on some undiscovered music, but that doesn’t matter. We have people like Joshua to create what we cannot express with words sometimes and to feel like we’re not the only ones in this world ya know? His entire bandcamp is gold and it came at a perfect time for me. I downloaded a whole bunch (free music! Errone loves free music, Thanks Joshua!) and I let it just sit and play, which is why this post took so long (I started at 10:30 last night and it’s damn near 5 AM now).

You don’t have to read all my words or take them into account, but I just wanted to let Joshua know that his music has what it takes to make it big (especially on the internet) and thrive, so I’m doing my part to support him. I appreciate your music man and your approach to it is inspiring. Please take the time to visit these important links and follow up on Joshua. He’s good and it doesn’t hurt to let someone know that their efforts are not unnoticed. You can find all his music up on his bandcamp, except for a couple (C’mon Joshua, link ALL your songs to the bandcamp main page like “I Lost You”). Give yourself some time with this stuff, it’s not to be tossed around lightly. Happy Holidays!


Django Unchained – Film Review

Literally the only qualm I have with this movie is that Kerry Washington (center) isn’t in it more.

Two words: Fuck. Yes.

(Also a really excellent film on racism and its causes. One of Tarantino’s best. Okay, done now. Yay brevity!)

Snoop Lion is Damn Awesome – “Here Comes the King”

Here is a picture of Snoop Dogg:

Here is a picture of Snoop Lion:

See a difference? Looks like the same guy right? Actually not though. Snoop Dogg is the man that provides the gangsta, melodic g-funk style to the world that is the anthem for stoner-tumblrs all around.  Snoop Lion is the new man making that reggae, dub type of sound that is the anthem for stoner-tumblrs all around. Basically same person with a new revitalized outlook on life when he was rechristened Snoop Lion by a Rastafarian priest in Jamaica. Gonna be honest, I thought he was whack as hell when he decided to change his name and frankly, I thought it sounded stupid as hell. But just started listening to some of his new ish…damn this dude knew what was doing. I never really thought there was a difference in chill music, but you can definitely hear from Dogg to Lion.

Introducing “Here Comes the King”, produced by Major Lazer, off the expected album “Reincarnated” that should come out early 2013. Holy damn. You know those songs that you listen to for about 20 seconds and you just KNOW that it’s going to be awesome? Yup. This track right here. Blending a bit of the chill, slow reggae, with a sliver of dubstep, some female harmonizing, and the rap and you end up getting a super chill, head-bobbing banger. While not quite leaning in any specific direction, the song touches upon all the bases of its beat and doesn’t emphasize on anything specific, making for a well-rounded track. Angela Hunte, featured on the track is perfect for the chorus. The meaning of those lyrics? I’m surprised there isn’t one swear word, but it sounds a lot like everything Snoop is saying is a response to the haters who think his new stuff is whack. I don’t even know what to say about the track really, I’m just so taken aback by how good Snoop Lion is sounding. I thought the name change was stupid but on the real, just think about it. The man, behind all that weed, knows what he’s doing. Going from a pretty damn good rapper, like a top Dogg and taking up a higher calling into a Lion? Snoop Lion beats Snoop Lion. He doesn’t have much out yet, but keep an eye out, the King is coming.

[Intro : Angela Hunte]
Show no fear, we made it clear
That the warrios are commign and we no play

[Hook : Angela Hunte]
We at war with the army of haters
And when we kill em we just smoke ’em like papers
Somebody get me my crown cuz I’m feeling it now
You might be a lord; but here comes the king x2

[Verse 1: Snoop Lion]
Here I come a steppin inna the dance
Here I come a steppin inna the dance
Posted up the wall here inna mi stance
Posted up the wall here inna mi stance
We never fail, we only shine with brilliance
One king one faith one religion
And if you hear me come and join the revolution
One king one faith one religion
And if you hear me come and join the revolution

We at war with the army of haters
And when we kill em we just smoke em like papers
Somebody get me my crown cuz I’m feeling it now
You might be a lord; but here comes the king
You might be a lord; but here comes the king

[Verse 2: Snoop Lion]
They gonna love me
Call me black chutney
All gold chrome with the diamonds in the back
Lil homies in the front dont know how to act
We comin deep and you never see us smiling
10 million strong and it will rumble when we are riding
Two shots up for my africans
Been around the world and back again
Feel so good gotta let me in
Power to the people let em kiss the ring
Bow – here comes the king

[Hook: Angela Hunte]
We at war with the army of haters
And when we kill em we just smoke em like papers
Somebody get me my crown cuz I’m feeling it now
You might be a lord; but here comes the king
You might be a lord; but here comes the king

[Verse 3: Snoop Lion]
They know me in japan and pakistan
Ganja makes me lord of all the land
Im royalty no need for me to wear a crowm
Born a rebel then I became a man
I heard a voice, he said that I would understand
One king one faith one religion
And if you love me come and join the revolution
One king one faith one religion
And if you love me come and join the revolution

[Hook : Angela Hunte]
We at war with the army of haters
And when we kill em we just smoke em like papers
Somebody get me my crown cuz I’m feeling it now
You might be a lord; but here comes the king x2