October 04, 2009

On Sale Now

Important update below!

I realize most of you won't read this 'til you're back at work tomorrow, but the option to purchase "The Film Freak Central 2009 Superannual" just went live.

528 pages, 354 reviews, a whopping 63 films reviewed for the first time therein. Which ones? Okay, here goes: Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters; Babylon A.D.; Batman: Gotham Knight; Bigger, Stronger, Faster; The Brothers Solomon; Burn After Reading; Cassandra's Dream; Changeling; Chicago 10; Dead Silence; Death Sentence; Disaster Movie; The Diving Bell and the Butterfly; Doomsday; End of the Line; Flanders; The Foot Fist Way; The Forbidden Kingdom; 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days; Fred Claus; Frontiers; Frost/Nixon; Hitman; Hot Rod; Igor; In the City of Sylvia; Inside; Last Chance Harvey; Let the Right One In; The Life Before Her Eyes; The Machine Girl; Man on Wire; Martyrs; Meet the Spartans; The Midnight Meat Train; The Mist; Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium; Music and Lyrics; My Kid Could Paint That; National Treasure: Book of Secrets; Never Back Down; Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist; Once; The Orphanage; Paranoid Park; Resident Evil: Extinction; Shoot 'Em Up; Shutter; Silent Light; Son of Rambow; Splinter; Starting Out in the Evening; Superhero Movie; Tell No One; Them; Tokyo Gore Police; Tropic Thunder; Twilight; Vicky Christina Barcelona; The Visitor; Waltz with Bashir; You Kill Me; and Young People Fucking!

As I mentioned way back when, because this book nearly doubles the page count of our previous Annuals, we had to charge a higher price for it. It's $30. I imagine if you wait a few weeks for it to show up at Amazon, they'll shave a few bucks off, but if you want to support the site, we get the biggest kickback when you buy it through Lulu, our publisher--who, by the way, are an extremely reputable online retailer. (That link
again.)

"The Film Freak Central 2009 Superannual" includes all our reviews of 2007's and 2008's theatrical releases, plus all our interviews and Top 10 lists from the same two-year span, topped off by a foreword from Stephan Elliott, director of The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert as well as the recent Easy Virtue.

I hope you'll consider adding it to your shelf. By the way, Julia Buck, you are the winning Patron and your complimentary copy is on the way. My thanks again to everyone who donated in the Superannual pledge drive; your names are in print as promised.

Look at it this way: where else in print are you going to find praise for Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium alongside a pan of Once? I mean, really.

UPDATE: Thrilled with the response so far. I'd be remiss if I didn't add that the
2005, 2006, and 2007 Annuals are each still on sale--lots of material in those books you won't find online.

UPDATE (10/11/09): Reader Vincent informs us that by entering the coupon code FALLREAD you'll receive 10% off your purchase of the book! Whaddya waiting for?

50 comments:

Justin B-H said...

Sweeeeet!!! Glad you got around to reviewing Waltz with Bashir, and can't wait to read it!

Anonymous said...

Ordering now!

Reds said...

Ordered. All the best gents.

Justin B-H said...

As for the new banner (pod-Nimoy in freezer with hand-brace visible!), it would be great to see Walter properly reviewing the first three Invasion of the Body Snatchers films sometime...

Dennis said...

I can't wait to read Walter's thoughts regarding Martyrs, which I noticed he favorably referenced in his (overly vitriolic) Zombieland pan. Martyrs is probably one of the top ten best horror movies of the '00s in my estimation, an absolutely brilliant deconstruction of the "torture porn" sub-genre, and its just unnerving as fuck.

Arlvy said...

I too, cannot wait to read the Martyrs review. It is absolutely one of the best horror films of the decade and makes a good deal of the also rans utterly obsolete.
And a pan of Once? Oh dear sweet joy yes!

Alex Jackson said...

Glad to see that the Once backlash finally hit.

And I like Martyrs, but the best horror film of the decade is a bit much. Didn't quite sustain me all the way through nor did I suspend disbelief completely in regard to the ridiculous premise. But yeah, it definitely does give you something to chew on.

Ryan said...

I just emailed Walter asking for his thoughts on Martyrs a couple of hours before this went up, too. Looking forward to this arriving on my doorstep!

Ryan said...

Walter pans Once? If I remember correctly, he put it somewhere in his top 11 through 20 of 2007...? Can someone in the know clarify this?

Bill C said...

@Ryan: It is I who pans ONCE in the book. Walter wrote a lot of the new content (including virtually everything horror-related--dude went on a fucking bender there), but not all of it. Ian contributed a healthy # of the exclusives and Alex a few as well.

DJR said...

I hope somebody tears The Forbidden Kingdom a new one. Damn, that movie was awful.

Patrick said...

I really liked this Onion Hater column about Tyler Perry's awful, awful films, or more specifically, his Medea.

Kyle Puetz said...

From Ian's latest:

Following Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Capitalism is the second film this year to comment directly on the distracting stupidity of YouTube videos featuring cute cats.

Didn't Funny People do that too?

I also was wondering whether, because you guys pointed me in the direction of the French when it comes to horror, there were any suggestions beyond Them, Inside, and Martyrs.

Bill C said...

I personally wouldn't even suggest THEM.

The horror renaissance in France occurred very recently, so MARTYRS and INSIDE are really its Alpha and Omega. (HIGH TENSION of course has its admirers.) Walt reviewed another terrific one back in 2003 called IN MY SKIN that very much predicts the current wave in its body disgust. It probably seems a lot tamer post-INSIDE.

Anonymous said...

Also ignore the fuck out of Frontiere(s). Anyone who tells you that film is worthwhile should be avoided.

Ian Pugh said...

That did cross my mind, Kyle, but I'd argue that Apatow doesn't exactly regard them as a dismissible distraction, at least not on the same level those other two films do. More than anything, they're a business opportunity. Hard to disagree with him, really...

Michael A. said...

Martyrs is also one of my best-of-the-decade picks, but I found Inside to be shockingly bad. Maybe this'll be a chance to reappraise it.

My main issues came from the vulgarity of the frankly awful CG fetus. Not for any grossness, but for how it dredges up all kinds unintentional subtext around CG in film. Plus, when it's inevitably read in terms of the abortion debate, the film is pro-life in a very dumb way. It's John McCain putting scare quotes around the phrase "health of the mother."

In the making-of doc on the DVD, the filmmakers say that the CG was needed to remind audiences that the fetus is a living thing, but they accomplish exactly the opposite, Dr. Manhattan-style. When this thing is the macguffin, that's really unfortunate.

It does have its merits in the handful of scenes dealing with the french riots, but they're just not the focus. I would have wanted to see more specific focus on them, rather than the shakey metaphor of 'revolution as childbirth'.

Anonymous said...

Is Martyrs really all that? It's like two very different movies, and the second movie doesn't have a good leg to stand on.

Bill C said...

Interesting. I personally loved INSIDE, but would agree that the CG fetus accomplishes the opposite of its intent. As a visual reference to 2001 or that Massive Attack video, on the other hand, I was fairly accepting.

The movie got so ugly, though, that I started to find it beautiful. The final image was probably my favourite in a horror film since JEEPERS CREEPERS.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone seen the recently released direct-to-DVD Trick 'R Treat? The positive buzz for it is overwhelming, especially considering it isn't very good.

Bill C said...

Speak of the devil: watched it today. It's pretty bad--incoherent, frankly.

I knew it was gonna be a dud when they cast Tamoh Penikett as a porn-watching man-child said to sit around playing videogames all day. It's a small role, even a negligible one, but on the other hand it's the little things that make the movie, and that's just clueless casting right there.

I like the idea of doing an Amicus-style anthology, but TRICK 'R TREAT doesn't have their pathos nor their clarity of concept. I'm not surprised it sat on the shelf, and it's just another reason to take any report that comes out of the Alamo Drafthouse with a big grain of salt.

I sampled about 5 minutes of the commentary track, for what it's worth, and twice the writer-director implores his co-commentators to say something. Ayup.

Anonymous said...

I agree completely. I'm also put off a tad by some of the violence against children, which I'm normally all for in pushing the envelope, but the film delights in tacky sleaze. Will you review it properly for the mothersite?

Arlvy said...

Ouch, I have a copy of Trick R Treat to watch (though thinking back, ALL the praise I read about it came from it'sreallyfuckingnotcoolnews, so my own fault I guess) and have been quite looking forward to it, damn.

Re: Martyrs, yeah I would say it's one of the best Horror films of the decade and that's because, to me, it captures all the horrendous "justification" lies that have become so prevalent this decade. That it also looks inward at the audience's desire for pain and redemption is just the icing on the admittedly bitter cake. Not to mention how technically brilliant it is especially in carrying over the clinical, brutal precision of the group to the camera work and cinematography.
And now, frankly, I'm giddy at the thought of what Laugier is going to do with the Hellraise remake.

Si said...

"Once" is summed up by its title. Best viewed once and then left well alone. A second viewing confirmed this for me.

Anyone agree?

Bill C said...

@Anon: If I don't review TRT proper, somebody will.

@Si: Ironic, that, huh?

@All: Anyone received the book yet? My final copies came today, and I'm incredibly relieved. This is the first time I've really been able to micromanage the layout, and I think it paid off.

Patrick said...

re: Couples Retreat – so what you're saying, Ian, is that the film shockingly doesn't end up with Favreau and Davis in an open marriage where they can sleep around as they wish, or with condoning Love having a younger girlfriend? I can't believe it, really.

Mark Kermode (a british critic) has vowed to leave criticism behind if he sees ten films in 2009 worse than Bride Wars. Would this be a contender?

Ian Pugh said...

Without exaggeration, Bride Wars is one of the worst films ever made. I certainly appreciate Kermode's diligence and palate, but I wouldn't call Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen worse than Bride Wars--they're pretty much on an equal playing field as assaults against narrative, technical proficiency, common sense, and humanity itself. Couples Retreat is a screaming piece of shit, no doubt. One of the worst of the year for certain--but at least I can discern the mentality from which it springs. The other two are such foreign objects to me that I'm not entirely sure I can actually call them movies.

Reds said...

Latest Annual arrived this morning. It's good and heavy, I got lots of reading to do.

Walter_Chaw said...

Laugier is no longer doing the Hellraiser reboot, sadly. He is working on an English-language picture, though, with an intriguing premise. A shame, because Martyrs is a film made by a cenobite.

Vincent said...

Ordered on Sunday and received on Friday. It's spectacular, Bill; congratulations.

I must say, I was disappointed that there weren't more patrons. Folks, please do what you can to support FFC!

Vincent said...

By the way, for those so inclined, use the coupon code FALLREAD at Lulu to save 10% on your purchase.

Anonymous said...

Will you lose 10% revenue, too?

I'm waiting for my upcoming birthday to order this.

Bill C said...

Will you lose 10% revenue, too?

Doesn't appear so, Anon.

Anonymous said...

Book ordered!

Please tell me Walter is doing a review of Where The Wild Things Are.

Bill C said...

Walter is doing a review of Where The Wild Things Are.

Patrick said...

Please tell me Walter is coming over to Germany to visit me for Christmas.

jer fairall said...

Funds typically get tight for me this time of year, so I'll have to put the Superannual on my Christmas list for now. Until then, some great recent stuff at the site guys! Bryant's review of Stop Making Sense is phenomenal--it actually, to use a cliche that rarely applies wherever it is used but really does here--captures the film. It made me want to watch the film again Right Now.

So, too, does Walter's pan of St. Elmo's Fire, actually: I have memories of watching the film years ago and probably liking it (though in trying to recall anything about the film I can't really get any farther than that David Foster theme and one (?) of the characters being a coke addict), but holy shit! It can't really be the train wreck described here, can it?

Bill C said...

ST. ELMO'S really is that bad, Jer. Though it does contain the immortal pick-up line, "This face seats five." Only Demi has a coke habit in it, yeah--on screen, at least.

Justin B-H said...

Good review from Walter-I had friends who were mad over St Elmo's fire in the late 80s, but Walter's comments about Garden State in the October 2004 Reader Mail page page perfectly crystallise my feelings about St Elmo's Fire, ie just because it was pitched to who I was at that time in my life didn't mean it had anything to say whatsoever.

Walter_Chaw said...

Wild Things

Anonymous said...

Thank you, that is a wonderful review of a wonderful movie.

Dan said...

That Wild Things remake sounds like a seriously distorted version of the Neve Campbell/Denise Richards trash classic. :)

But seriously, I'm glad it appears to be a great movie. The tales of behind-the-scenes turmoil has me worried we'd either get a limp concession to studio interference, or find Jonz over-reaching himself. But it sounds very good.

Is there any sign of the problems they encountered, or was that all just effects-related stuff with the animatronics? I seem to remember hearing about test screenings where the studio were worried kids found it more harrowing than entertaining.

DaveA said...

Regarding The Book: I'm afraid I'll have to wait for Amazon, since I find Lulu's shipping cost to Germany too expensive; I'd rather donate those 7$ directly to you. I'm not sure if there're enough Germans around here which would make a bulk order worthwhile.

Regarding Wild Things:
Is there any sign of the problems they encountered, or was that all just effects-related stuff with the animatronics? I seem to remember hearing about test screenings where the studio were worried kids found it more harrowing than entertaining.

Well, I guess all producers worry about is business. And with estimated costs of 80.000.000$, I'd be damn worried. Don't get me wrong - I think it's one of those small wonders that Jonze actually got that kinda money to realize his vision. I don't know how often I watched that trailer; I can't wait to see the damn thing.

Walter_Chaw said...

No sign of struggle or concession as far as I could tell. The Wild Things are beautifully rendered: they deliver nuanced, heartbreaking performances of staggering genius. Thanks Eggars.

Bill C said...

@Dan: Apparently he behind-the-scenes turmoil was handily resolved when it turned out Sendak's contract gave him enough power that the studio couldn't really do anything to the movie without his blessing, and he was firmly in Spike's corner at that point. The release version is the director's cut.

Dan said...

@Bill & Walter: Phew. Glad to hear that the film hasn't been hobbled in any way, thanks to Sendak. I've read a few other reviews today, and some basically label it "boring" because nothing actually *happens* -- although they raved about other elements and admitted it has some brains behind it. Should be a good film to cause some arguments amongst friends :)

Dan said...

Similarly to DaveA's problem, it's £12 for shipment to the UK, so any FALLREAD coupon saving is negated. I will likewise wait for Amazon -- is there a release date? Pre-Christmas hopefully.

Dennis said...

Alright Walter, you've referenced Predator as an '80s favorite numerous times, so quit teasing and write a review already! Sorry for the impatience, but it's likely my favorite actioner of that decade, and I've read scarce serious criticism devoted to it.

Jefferson Robbins said...

Is Sendak a Holocaust survivor in the sense that he lost relatives (although not his parents) to the Nazis? Or in a broader cultural sense? He's Brooklyn-born, and certainly did not suffer the camps himself.

Walter_Chaw said...

A shit - mea culpa. I've so closely identified Sendak with the Holocaust from his work that I conflated his involvement. Correction made. And with thanks.