The Alamo Drafthouse Picks the Top 10 Films of 2012

The Alamo Drafthouse brand is beloved among moviegoers for their plush theaters, but it’s revered for their impeccable taste in movies. Whether programming a film festival or picking up indies for distribution, they’ve demonstrated an eye for films that aren’t just good, but unique.

With 2012 on its way out, the company has just released its list of their ten favorite movies from the year. Some of the titles were as successful at the box office as they were with critics, while others are more off the beaten track, but all are well worth checking out. Read their picks after the jump.

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The ABCs of Death is an anthology comprised of twenty-six vile, disgusting, hilarious, sometimes fantastic, and other times forgettable horror shorts. Individual directors each paired a letter of the alphabet with a way someone can die, and every possible option was on the table, no matter how offensive or gory.

Predictably, the results are equal to the imaginations and skills of each director. Some episodes look gorgeous with innovative, shocking and exciting ideas executed beautifully. Others are simple and clean, and work just right. Then there are films that don’t do much with their concept and lay there. Along the way, the constant excitement and anticipation of which filmmaker is next and what their death might be provides a worthy propulsive energy in the absence of a narrative. But when one of the films lays an egg, it hurts everyone else around it.

The ABC’s of Death hits VOD January 31 and theaters March 8, but it just screened at the AFI Fest Presented by Audi. Read more after the jump. Read More »

Edgar Wright hasn’t directed a feature since 2010’s Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, but that doesn’t mean he’s stopped bringing us films over the past couple of years. He exec produced last year’s Attack the Block, which proved to be one of the most enjoyable gems from last year’s crop of summer entertainments. Now he’s followed up by executive producing another promising picture, from Kill List director Ben Wheatley.

The new trailer for Sightseers starts out looking like a run-of-the-mill road trip dramedy, as a sweet, ordinary couple (Steve Oram and Alice Lowe) sets out to explore the English countryside. After the pair have a chance encounter with an irate local, however, the tone veers into something far darker — and funnier. Watch the video after the jump.

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If you’d like to see Ben Affleck with a stunning Seventies beard, Chris Hemsworth and Martin Freeman each surrounded by a bunch of dwarves or the first image from Ben Wheatley‘s follow-up to Kill List, this post is for you. After the jump, see new images from Ben Affleck’s Argo, Rupert SandersSnow White and the Huntsman, Peter Jackson‘s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and Ben Wheatley’s Sightseers. Read More »

As a follow-up to the movie Down Terrace, director Ben Wheatley made the tense and rather strange film Kill List. The picture defies typical categorization, because it blends elements of domestic drama, a hitman thriller and a much weirder sort of suspense story that will, I think, earn a few pleasingly shocked reactions from viewers.

There is an ambiguity to the movie, as Wheatley declines to explain every element of the story, but enough info is present that no viewer ever has to be lost. Disoriented, definitely, but that’s part of the plan. Kill List is like a realization of many familiar modern male anxieties, and it also contains a few truly unexpected turns that surprised me more than anything else I can remember in the last year. In short, it’s good stuff. I’ve thought about it quite a lot since the credits rolled.

Mondo will soon release a poster designed by Iron Jaiden (who did great images for Videodrome and Repo Man, among others) to help promote IFC’s limited theatrical release of Kill List. See the full image after the break. Read More »

‘Kill List’ Trailer

I only know a few things about Kill List, the latest film from Ben Wheatley (Down Terrace). I know that some friends who have seen the movie have raved about its ability to manipulate genre conventions and audience expectations. Even those who have seen it and not loved it, such as Germain, had things to say that intrigued me. (Germain’s Fantastic Fest review mentioned the film posing “really screwed up and fascinating questions.”)

And I know that the trailer that has been released to begin the promotion for the limited February release, via IFC, looks great. But I’m reluctant to discover any more, because those I’ve talked to about the film suggest going in cold if at all possible.

All told, Kill List seems like a movie that should be on your radar. Have a look at the trailer below. And not to worry — it seems to be light on potential spoilers. Read More »

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Ben Wheatley‘s second film, Kill List, is becoming quite a conversation piece as it makes the rounds of a couple festivals. The film is described as a blend of domestic drama, hired-killer thriller and mystical horror that works in a surprising and sometimes very visceral manner. (Check out trailers here and here.) The director (who also did Down Terrace) is using the Kill List momentum to set up a few other projects. One of them, Sightseers, is a dark comedy that will be exec produced by Edgar Wright. Read More »

Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: I celebrate all levels of trailers and hopefully this column will satisfactorily give you a baseline of what beta wave I’m operating on, because what better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? Some of the best authors will tell you that writing a short story is a lot harder than writing a long one, that you have to weigh every sentence. What better medium to see how this theory plays itself out beyond that than with movie trailers?

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The horror anthology The ABCs of Death, inspired in part by early kids’ books and bearing a real resemblance to Edward Gorey’s The Gashlycrumb Tinies, is a who’s-who of current horror and genre stars and up and comers. The film will be divided into twenty-six segments in which a letter of the alphabet corresponds to a method of death. The segments will be short, but given that they’ll be directed by people like Nacho Vigalondo, Jason Eisener, Noburo Iguchi and many more, they might pack a punch.

Two more directors were added to the list today, bringing the total number of signees to twenty-five. Xavier Gens (Frontier(s), Hitman) and Christopher Smith (Severance, Triangle, Black Death) are now on the roster. Details of a contest to choose the final director are after the break. Read More »