Alexhilhorst.com Continues to Grow

•May 10, 2010 • Leave a Comment


For those of you who are still unaware, I have my own website now, alexhilhorst.com. If you’ve been wondering why I’ve dropped off the face of the WordPress map, it’s because I’ve migrated to my own site, which still has the same sharp wit you’ve come to know and love, but is a hundred times better. Tomorrow I’ll be uploading my first video to the site, so you should check it out. For now, here’s a list of what you’ve been missing:

Check Out These New Articles From alexhilhorst.com

•March 29, 2010 • Leave a Comment

So, I’ve pretty much stopped using WordPress now that I have my own website, alexhilhorst.com (which uses the WordPress engine, actually). If you’ve been coming here wondering where all my inane ramblings are, rest assured you’ll find them all here. If you’re picky, and don’t want to read everything, here’s a breakdown of what you’ll find:

Just know that from now on I’ll only be posting new stuff to alexhilhorst.com, so check there regularly for new content. Coming up later today is my review of the first half of Caprica’s first season. And in the near future you’ll also find writing samples (novels, short stories, screenplays) and videos of all my student films.

alexhilhorst.com is Up and Running!!

•March 21, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Finally, the epic wait is over- the time has come- alexhilhorst.com is up and running. It’s not much different from what I’ve got going on here right now, but soon there’ll be videos and writing samples and all kinds of goodies. Plus, it’s prettier. So check it out! I’ll be posting new writings there from now on, and will only link the articles to this original WordPress blog.

The Sorry State of the US Job Market, Part 2

•March 12, 2010 • Leave a Comment


During my senior year at Tisch, I attended Senior Colloquium because I was growing concerned that I wouldn’t be able to find paid work once I graduated (how prescient!), and the course description sounded like it would help me do just that. Turned out that just like most of NYU’s career counseling services, Senior Colloquium was totally useless (granted, I didn’t take the second semester version, which I hear is better). Week after week we were treated to another low-level producer as our guest, many of whom weren’t even involved with film at all, but ancillary media like internet startups. In between complaining about how their careers never panned out, the guests always said the same thing: you have to pay your dues. I’m sorry, but that’s bullshit. Why do I “owe” the film industry anything? I haven’t even gotten a chance to be a part of it!! And people wouldn’t have to “pay their dues” if celebrities weren’t being paid ridiculously exorbitant sums of money to star in films. How many interns do you think went unpaid when Marlon Brando demanded $1 million just to read Coppola’s script for Apocalypse Now? Guy may be one of the greatest actors of all time, but he’s also one of biggest, fattest douchebags of all time.

In many ways the disparity of wealth in the film industry directly reflects the disparity in the United States as a whole. Millions of people work in the film industry across the world, but a very small percentage receive the majority of the wealth it makes. It’s the same case in the US, and no one’s doing anything about it. Everyone votes for Obama because his campaign advisors were geniuses who realized if they plastered the word “Change” across his face liberal fools everywhere would vote for him without question, and then what does he do right after being elected? Bails out the banks. Sure, he needed to do it in order to prevent the world from devolving into some hybrid of Waterworld and Mad Max, but with no constraints? The banks just got free cash and now everything’s back the way it was before, corruption, ridiculously high bonuses and all. And now, instead of focusing on the country’s number one problem- THE FUCKING RECESSION- Obama decides to put all his eggs in one basket and pursue health care as if reforming that system will somehow solve all of the nation’s problems. What difference does it make if people can get government-subsidized healthcare WHEN THEY CAN’T EVEN FIND A FUCKING JOB?!!! And don’t even get me started on Afghanistan… it’s as if Obama never studied its history and realized THAT IT’S TOTALLY IMPOSSIBLE TO CONQUER IT. Alexander the Great literally died while trying to invade Afghanistan. HAVEN’T YOU PLAYED RISK, OBAMA?!!! FOR CHRIST’S SAKE!!!!!

Dude, stop toking up and FIX THE FUCKING COUNTRY!!!

But Alex, you ask, didn’t you vote for Obama? Why yes, I did. But only because my first choice, Hilary, lost in the primary, and an America controlled by Sarah Palin seemed like my vision of the apocalypse. So I was willing to accept the alternative. But that’s the last time I vote for the Democrats in any kind of federal election. Obviously I won’t be voting for a Republican ever, but the Democrats have finally proven their critics right: they’re a bunch of corrupt, spineless, moderate pussies. And I’m sick of voting for two sides of the same coin. It’s not my fault American citizens are so retarded that the thought of having more than two candidates gives them small brain aneurysms. But from now on, I will vote for a third party in every federal election until a third party actually becomes a contender, which will be never, so I’ll be voting for Nader and the preserved Head of Nader for eternity. Maybe I’ll mix it up a bit, and vote for a new party each year. Communist party one year, socialist party the next, Cthulu Party 2016!! It doesn’t make a difference anyway, as voting in this country is completely pointless. I don’t want to sound like a radical nut or anything, but I think you’re blind if you don’t see that nearly every decision and policy our government makes is influenced by big business. We’re living in a dystopian future, people!!! We’re only one step away from the mega-corporation you see in movies like Alien.

But I digress. A LOT. Back to why the job market sucks so much. Well, due to the fact that I can’t find any kind of gainful employment with any respected companies, or use my film skills to make profit, I’ve been looking at the retail and service industries as of late. At first I went for retail, cause I figured it wouldn’t be that shitty and with my degree I should have no trouble getting such an easy position. WRONG. Turns out that with a few exceptions, most retailers are only interested in hiring you if you have retail experience. This was most insulting to me at GameStop, which not only looks like the chillest retail environment of all time, but is run by the nerdiest collection of dudes I’ve ever seen. I understand needing prior experience for let’s say, a construction gig, or anything that requires even the remotest semblance of skill. But retail? Brosef, I have a COLLEGE DEGREE. Do you honestly think my lack of retail experience will be a liability? I already know all there is to know about videogames, love talking about them, like talking to people and I can do simple arithmetic. If you honestly believe it will take me longer than one day to learn how to use a cash register than you’re a fucking retard and I should have your job.

Apple, Gamestop, Barnes & Noble & Starbucks have all rejected me. So has USC’s graduate screenwriting program. My gut is telling me NYU isn’t going to accept me either. To be honest, I’m at a total loss. Every day seems bleaker than the last and it’s hard to find motivation when you’re surrounded by so much failure. Even if I could find the initiative to reignite my passion for cinema and writing, it’s hard to keep it going when the future of the planet seems so destined for cataclysm. Meanwhile, I’m overqualified for any kind of menial minimum-wage job, but underqualified for any kind of work done in an office. I have a slew of internships under my belt as well as several references, but since none of them lasted for a few months and I never received an annual salary, I might as well have no experience at all in the eyes of employers. I’m a skilled editor fluent in FinalCut Pro, AVID, Compressor & some ProTools, but need to learn After Effects, PhotoShop and a bevy of other programs before I can even attempt to find work as an editor, and even then it’s unlikely I would ever be paid. I have a list of phone numbers for the production houses of various films and TV shows, but they only seem interested in hiring production assistants they’ve either worked with in the past, or who have taken the Mayor’s Office PA training program. The Wasserman Center for Career Development is utterly & insultingly useless, going so far as to have a “job fair” for unpaid internships. TIsch Career Development is mildly better, but in the grand scheme of things there doesn’t seem to be much they can do to help me. I’m submitting scripts to festivals and fellowships, but since all I’ve got is a somewhat original horror film and a TV pilot that accidentally happened to have the same mythology as Fringe, I don’t have high hopes for any wins.

The more I search the more frustrated I become. Filling out arbitrary questionnaires designed to tell if you would be a good drone at an AMC Theater would be infuriating if it wasn’t for the drug and background tests some companies (like Best Buy) demand their applicants go through. It’s practices like these that make you realize we live in a world where we no longer have any real rights. I understand the thought process behind these checks, and it makes a little more sense for criminal background (but not really). But no matter which way you slice it it’s discriminatory. Criminals who’ve paid their dues have just as much a right to a job as a normal citizen, and as long as a worker isn’t doing drugs on the job it’s none of their employer’s goddamn fucking business. This country is a shithole pretending to be the leader of the “Free World.” We claim to have a legal system, but it’s constantly bogged down in bureaucracy and procedure, so much so that innocent people are often sentenced to death, while white collar criminals get off scott free. We have the right to vote, but as I said before what difference does that make when candidates are handpicked by the rich and designed so as to be relatable to the widest possible demographic? We claim to be a land of the free, but we are not free in the slightest. The lives we lead, while better than many of the peoples of the world, are still the antithesis of freedom. How can we claim to be a democracy when so many of our minorities still do not have the rights that they are owed?

The world is going to shit, it’s as simple as that. If you’re an optimist, you’re just naive. What’s most distressing is that if you look back on history, the world has always been a swirling cesspool of shit. Old people may tell you “things were better back in my day,” but that’s just because they’re senile and nostalgic. Things have never been better, if anything, things were way worse just a mere thirty years ago. But if you really think about it, despite all the scientific achievements mankind has made, our society has still to progress very far. And when that realization sinks in, you can see how it’s hard to hold onto hope.

Ben Lives to Scheme Another Day

•March 10, 2010 • Leave a Comment


Had LOST followed last week’s fantastic “Sundown” with an ep centric to any other character than Ben, I think I would have been disappointed. “Sundown,” one of the series’ darkest installments to date, was a hard act to follow, and while in comparison to previous Ben episodes “Dr. Linus” was only okay, he is such an engaging character and Michael Emerson such a tremendous actor that I was thankfully pleased. While I’m not part of the “REVEAL ALL THE ANSWERS OR I WILL HATE YOUR SHOW FOREVER” crowd, I have to note that little happened in the way of plot last night. I’d also like to point out that chronologically, only one and half days have passed since Juliet detonated Jughead and sent everyone back to 2007, and thus, only a mere week since the Oceanic Six boarded Ajira Flight 316. “Dr. Linus” gave us a lot of teases, most of which I have already spoiled because I am such a great LOST seer. Did I not call Richard coming from the Black Rock? I know it’s not conclusive yet, but they couldn’t possibly have hinted at it any harder. And did I not predict that Widmore was the individual Jacob wanted to come to the Island, the “Wallace” marked down at number 108 on the lighthouse dial? Just wanted to point out how awesome I am before moving on.

“Dr. Linus” was at its heart, a character-driven episode and it was a damn fine one at that. While the flash-sideways was interesting, it wasn’t as compelling as what was happening on Island, especially the last five minutes when Ben apologized for his sins and was accepted as one the Good Guys by Ilana. As my friend Jacob pointed out (not the god-like keeper of the Island, a real person), never before had we as an audience empathized with Ben to such a degree. I’ve felt for him before- he had a shitty childhood, got shot by a crazy, time-traveling Iraqi, is funny-looking and watched his daughter die in front of him. But learning that his central issue was one nearly everyone can relate to- a desire to belong, to be a part of a society and be accepted- was truly touching.

Now for some theorizing:

Widmore

While I correctly predicted Widmore’s return to the Island, I’m not exactly sure what his angle is. I feel he is now one of the good guys and will be working with the pro-Jacob group. But he showed up in a submarine filled with military-type dudes and neglected to announce his arrival to Jack, Ilana and co. What his “plan” is I don’t know, but I imagine it will be equal parts sinister and for the greater good. Widmore’s obviously not a nice guy, but he once served Jacob and I doubt he’s there to provide “Evil Incarnate” with submarine support.

Jacob’s Touch

So yeah, all signs are pointing to Richard being a Black Rock prisoner. But what’s this about Jacob’s touch being a “gift,” presumably the gift of eternal life? Does this apply to everyone Jacob touches? If so, it would mean Jack, Hurley, Kate, Sayid, Jin & Sun will stop aging at some point and live forever provided they don’t seek suicide via unstable dynamite. What about Ben? He was touched by Jacob after stabbing him, does that count? Is it a literal touch, or is it a special kind of touch (I know, that sounds dirty) that Jacob only gives to people every once in a while? It’s all very ambiguous, and knowing LOST it will never be fully explained. If it is, I’d venture to guess we’ll get an answer in March 23rd’s Richard-flashback episode “Ab Aeterno,” which means “eternal life” in Latin.

While it wasn’t the focus of the episode, the scene between Richard and Jack in the Black Rock was excellent, and I’m loving the new Jack. I get the impression that he doesn’t quite believe the idea that he’s special and has a purpose and all that, but since he survived a plane crash, appendicitis, helicopter crash and hydrogen bomb detonation, he must feel a little invincible. And he obviously doesn’t care about his own well-being anymore, so he’s got just a little bit of the crazy in him.

The Island’s Role in the Flash-Sideways

The scene between Ben and a cancer-stricken Roger was so quick I almost didn’t catch the big tidbit of info we learned about the flash-sideways version of the Island. It put to rest my idea that the Island had been underwater for a very long time- it seems to have only been sunk since the 70s. However, the scene did seem to hint at my idea that it wasn’t Jughead that destroyed the Island, as both Ben and Roger were still alive, while in the other universe they were still on Island at the time of the Incident. It seems the Incident may never have happened, at least not in the way we’ve seen it, and Roger & Ben either left the Island after or before the event. Either way, it seems Sayid never shot Ben, which makes sense considering the fact that Oceanic 815 landed safe and sound in the alternate reality. If it never crashed on the Island, then our heroes never would have travelled back in time and detonated Jughead, Ben never would have been shot, etc., etc. Something else must have sunk the Island, and that something may turn out to be the biggest mystery of the season.

Hydra Island

Just something to ponder: why exactly does Smokey want to go to Hydra Island? Do the means for his escape lie there, or is he just trying to get off the main Island, perhaps so he can blow it up/gas it and kill anything left there? Also, don’t forget that last season, Smokey hinted to Richard that he wanted all of the other survivors of Ajira Flight 316 dead. That’s something I doubt Sawyer or Kate will be down for, so I wonder how long their time with the Man in Black will last. Sayid & Claire, though… well… they’re frakkin’ crazy.

Star Trek 2009 Review Added to Archive

•March 7, 2010 • Leave a Comment

This is NOT your father's "Star Trek."

Since I was writing about J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek in my Top 10 Movies of 2009 post, I decided to upload the review I wrote of it on Facebook last year. The review was part of a pointless countdown of all eleven Star Trek films I was doing at the time, the rest of which I’ll put up when I feel like it.

Read the review here.

Alex’s Best of 2009, Day Four- Movies

•March 7, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Just in time for the Oscars, I present my Top 10 Movies of the Year. I know it’s already mid-March, but what can I say? Sometimes I get lazy. Obviously I didn’t see every film that came out last year, and there were several that might have made it on here had I gotten a chance to see them. These include Coraline, Humpday, Thirst, The Road, A Serious Man, The Fantastic Mr. Fox and Adventureland. Other movies I saw that were good but just not good enough to make the top 10 include The Girlfriend Experience, Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, World’s Greatest Dad, I Love You, Man and Zombieland. You’ll notice Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds is absent from the list. Now I know that film was really critically acclaimed, got nominated for an Oscar and is generally beloved by the NYU Tisch film kid crowd. But I thought it was bullshit and I’m tired of seeing Tarantino make the same film over and over again in slightly different variations. Inglourious Basterds can go screw itself.

Now for the list:

1. District 9


Directed by Neill Blomkamp

What, you were expecting something else? I struggled for a long time to decide whether to put D9 or The Hurt Locker in the #1 spot. I originally felt The Hurt Locker was more deserving because a) it dealt with real life b) it had a deeper, more poignant message and c) it had already garnered so much critical praise. But at the end of the day it came down to one thing: originality. I’m not saying The Hurt Locker isn’t original, it is, but it’s a war movie, and an Iraq War movie to boot. D9 presents a universe unlike any other. Like every other film it’s influenced by those that came before it, but in many ways it tells a story that no one’s ever told before. Humans never subjugate aliens! Aliens subjugate us! By turning this trope on its head, Neill Blomkamp created something incredibly unique, entertaining, and at times, even touching.

The best thing about the film is that it’s actually three different movies for the price of one. It starts out like a faux-documentary, then turns into a David Cronenberg horror film, and then climaxes in a balls to the wall action blowout in the final act. What I don’t think a lot of people realize about the movie is that it’s actually really hilarious, and is sometimes simultaneously comedic and horrific. That’s a hard feat to pull off, but Blomkamp does it, thanks in large part to the terrific acting of Sharlto Copely, who’s Wikus van de Merwe is one of cinema’s greatest bumbling anti-heroes. If more science fiction was like this the world would be a better place. Way to go, South Africa. Making me proud of my heritage.

Read my review.

2. The Hurt Locker


Directed by Kathryn Bigelow

To be honest, on second viewing I was not as impressed with The Hurt Locker as I was the first time I saw it. My mother made an insightful observation as to why: the first time you see this film it’s surprising. It’s not what you expect; it doesn’t follow the mold of other war films, even war films set in Iraq. It doesn’t try to create some high-handed moral message about the horrors of war, nor is it really a tale of the damage combat does to one’s psyche. Sure, all three of our central characters face mental breakdowns at some point in the film, and there’s no doubt The Hurt Locker portrays war as a terrible fact of life. It’s just not the point; it’s not what the film is about. The film is just about war. It tells it like it is, and thus ends up being something more similar to Black Hawk Down than Saving Private Ryan.

The film is not without its flaws, but I like it for several important reasons. For starters, Jeremy Renner’s character and performance are awesome. I know he doesn’t represent the vast majority of bomb defusers in the army, and yes he can be hard to relate to because he’s a bit of sociopath, but good characters don’t always have to be likable characters, and the fact that he’s in it just for the adrenaline rush was something I found really appealing. Second, the film has great action sequences, particularly the Barret .50 cal sniper scene in the desert. And lastly, Bigelow manages to create a war film that is exciting, thought-provoking and dark, but doesn’t leave you feeling depressed and overwhelmed once it’s finished. At the end of the day, it’s just a really great story set in one of the worst places on Earth.

3. Up


Directed by Pete Docter

This movie gets the #3 spot because it made me cry. Straight-up. I’m not ashamed. No other film on this list gave me that kind of visceral emotional reaction (Where the Wild Things Are came close), and the fact that it’s an animated film shows just how powerful it is. Up puts more heart into its opening sequence than most movies have throughout- in fact that opening sequence is amazing because it’s almost like its own little silent film. And it’s heartbreaking, because even though it’s animated it’s telling a story that’s very true to real life. People fall in love, and then inevitably one of them dies. While it’s just a short sequence and a very small portion of the film, it really touches you, and also does a great job of setting up the character of Carl Fredricksen.

Of course, the rest of the movie is pretty great too. While it doesn’t have the same level of whimsy as WALL-E, Up still exemplifies what PIxar does best- blending adult drama with universal comedy so that both children and adults can enjoy their films. In many ways, Up actually feels like the first film they’ve made aimed at adults, even more so than The Incredibles. That film was about a family, and as such there’s a brother-sister dynamic that is very relatable for kids. Up is about an old dude looking for happiness at the last stage of his life, so it’s really not a film made for kids. Which is probably why Pixar threw in a little Asian boy, talking dogs and a wacky giant bird. But hey, that’s stuff’s awesome too. Dug’s the bomb, yo.

4. Avatar


Directed by James Cameron

As you probably know, I was very skeptical about Avatar before I saw it. I’m a huge Jim Cameron fan- I’ve seen all of his movies, with the exception of Xenogenesis (great title, btw) and Piranha Part Two: The Spawning (not so great) and love them all (yeah, even Titanic. You got a problem with that?). But there was just something about all those tall, blue Native Americans running around, combined with the fact that the military’s design looked identical to Aliens and Halo, as well as the revelation that the 3D would still require glasses, that just rubbed me the wrong way. Thankfully, Jim proved me wrong, and once again reasserted himself as the King of the Blockbuster.

Before I praise the film, I should note that the plot, dialogue, and some of the acting is, truth be told, pretty weak. I mean, Jim called his unattainable resource that is the key to all Earth’s energy woes “unobtanium.” That’s pretty sad, bra. You couldn’t come up with a better name, or you know, a better trope? And of course the unobtanium motherload just happens to lie under the Na’vi’s giant treehouse. C’mon, man… try a little harder. And I seriously don’t get why Sam Worthington is such a big action star now- he can barely act and just looks like a slightly less handsome Tahmoh Penikett. But all that aside, Avatar is amazing.

The story may be cliché, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck you in. It even tugs your heartstrings a couple times, albeit in a very big, cheesy, old-Hollywood kind of way. If you look past the cutting-edge technology, the film feels very old school, mostly in the way it chooses to tell its story. But let’s stop beating around the bush- the real reason this movie rocks is because it’s a visual feast for your eyeballs. It’s the Last Supper of visual eyeball feasts. You may think the Na’vi look stupid or that the movie is just a whole lot of hype, but trust me- Avatar is a work of art like none you’ve ever seen, and you’re really missing out if you don’t see it on IMAX 3D. No movie, not even Star Wars or The Lord of the Rings achieves what it achieves. It creates an entire new world and draws you in. For two and a half hours, you’ll actually feel like you’re on Pandora… which in reality would not be a good thing, as literally everything on that planet can kill you.

5. Paranormal Activity


Directed by Oren Peli

A lot of people seem just as skeptical about this film as they are about Avatar. I think this trepidation stems from the fact that Paranormal Activity greatly resembles another low budget horror success, 1999’s The Blair Witch Project. It’s true that TBWP is mostly just angsty twenty-somethings yelling and arguing with each other as they trudge through woods, but rest assured- Paranormal Activity makes TBWP look like Leprechaun: Back 2 Tha Hood in comparison. I know the poster looks like it’s lying- this can’t be “one of the scariest movies of all time” you say! But believe me- it is. This movie is fucking terrifying. I saw it in a very empty theater with one friend and I felt unnerved and uneasy for the rest of the day. It doesn’t get in your head the way say, The Shining does, but it definitely stays with you.

The concept for Paranormal Activity is just brilliant, and the parts they don’t really go into in the trailer are what make it even better. The distinction the film makes between a ghost and a demon is great, because let’s be honest- ghosts aren’t really that scary. But demons are, especially if they’ve been haunting your girlfriend her entire life and more or less want to take her soul. And even though the majority of the film is just a static nightvision shot of the protagonists’ bedroom, the subtle sight gags the filmmakers employ are just brilliant. Like any good horror film, Paranormal Activity wouldn’t be anything without superb sound design, which it has in spades. If you still don’t believe me, consider this: I don’t like ghost stories that much, but Paranormal Activity scared me more than The Shining, The Exorcist or The Thing. So yeah, it’s pretty scary.

6. Up in the Air


Directed by Jason Reitman

For some reason (probably because of the hype) I was expecting this movie to be the best of the year. It’s not, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t one of the better ones I saw. The truth is, it’s nothing all that special. Its script, structure, shooting & editing styles are all very classic Hollywood, and while its story is pertinent to current events, it doesn’t tackle them in any particularly original way other than hiring real people who’d been laid off for certain interview sequences. But it’s a really solid movie with really fantastic performances. All three leads are great, especially George Clooney, who once again proves he’s one of the country’s finest actors. If there’s anything that really stands out about the film it’s its tone- it starts off as a hilarious black comedy, then transforms into a romantic comedy for the majority until devolving into a really dark, depressing tale of mid-life crisis. To make that work is both an impressive feat of writing and directing, and Jason Reitman deserves some kudos.

7. Star Trek


Directed by J.J. Abrams

Even though I watched Alias and LOST, I was never a true J.J. fan until this film came out. I always felt like he was getting more credit than he deserved. J.J. tends to pen the pilots for new TV series, then hand them over to his buddies while taking all the credit. For instance, anyone who isn’t a diehard LOST fan would think J.J. is not only the creator but the current showrunner. In reality, all he did was co-write and direct the pilot, as well as a handful of other eps. He’s even stopped running Fringe. And don’t get me started on Mission Impossible III. That film has to be the most critically acclaimed heap of garbage this side of Crash. But the man really flexed his muscles on Trek and did the impossible in the process: he made Star Trek cool. This 2009 outing was great because it was both true to the original series and characters, and fresh, exciting and new. If you want to hear me blabber on about it some more, read my review.

8. Where the Wild Things Are


Directed by Spike Jonze

Probably the weirdest film on this list (yeah, even weirder than District 9), Spike Jonze’s adaptation of the children’s classic is still poignant and touching, as well as a masterpiece of art direction. A bizarre tone, lack of a definitive story structure and slow pace prevented it from being the masterpiece I had hoped it would be, but it’s a great film nonetheless. The voice acting is top notch, and the emotional finale almost brought me to tears. The film’s greatest triumph is the way it portrays childhood, and the way it made a 23 year old like me empathize with its spazzy protagonist, Max. Even if your parents aren’t divorced, I think everyone can relate to the frustration one feels at that age.

Read the review.








9. Moon


Directed by Duncan Jones

This film wasn’t quite the 2001: A Space Odyssey-esque mind trip I was expecting, but as character-driven sci-fi films go, Moon was outstanding. I would expect nothing less from the son of David Bowie. I don’t want to go into the plot too much so as not to ruin the big twist, but I will say that it’s a fairly original yarn and that you don’t really see the twist coming. Sam Rockwell is an amazing actor, and this is probably the finest performance I’ve seen him give. I mean, the movie’s pretty much just him; the only other character he interacts with really is a robot voiced by Kevin Spacey. It’s just nice to see a sci-fi film that doesn’t rely on extensive special effects or ridiculous action scenes to tell its story. Although, seeing as District 9 is my number one movie of the year, I guess I sort of prefer that style. But still, Moon is a nice change of pace and is definitely worth seeing.


10. Drag Me To Hell


Directed by Sam Raimi

I realize a film called Drag Me To Hell isn’t what you’d expect to find on the top 10 list from a Tisch graduate. But god damn if this wasn’t some of the most fun I’ve had at the movies this year. After the debacle that was Spider Man 3, it was nice to see Sam Raimi go back to his goofy horror film roots. Drag Me To Hell is rated PG-13, but still manages to be just as scary as Paranormal Activity… okay, not really. But it is scary, and WAY more gory. It’s classic Raimi, and feels like it deserves a spot right next to Evil Dead II. It’s funny, gross and terrifying all at the same time. Some of the gags in this film are just absolutely ridiculous (I recommend the director’s cut for extra ridiculousness). Like Oren Peli, Raimi realizes that the scariest villain for a horror film isn’t a ghost, a monster or a zombie- it’s a demon. Nothing’s more scary than a practically invincible hellspawn that serves Satan and wants to devour your soul. Well… maybe a crazy gypsy woman.