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DeviantKnowledge

2009 Movies: The Deviant Knowledge “Notable” Film Awards: Best, Worst, and Weirdest of the Year in Cinema

oscuzzAnother year if film has come and gone and we are no right on top of the Oscar announcements. I don’t make definitive statements about the “best movies” of the year or anything. Don’t get me wrong. I see a lot of movies, and as the expression goes, opinions are like rectums, everyone has one. I, personally only have one rectum but have many opinions. But my opinions are no or less valid than yours, so we will again refrain from making definitive judgments this year and again offer The Deviant Knowledge Notable Film Awards for 2009. This will be my short list of films that in my meager view deserve some sort of recognition good or bad.
Interestingly enough, 2009 turned out to be a pretty good year for Science Fiction films. As a long term geek of the genre I can honestly say it’s a rare treat to see quality hardcore sci-fi. However, it wasn’t all good and we must first visit that genre to see the seedy underbelly of 2009 cinema:
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Best Picture Jumps From 5 to 10 Nominees in 2010: My Oscar Grouch and a James Cameron Rant

oscar911We’re a short time away from the Oscar announcements the first week of February and it’s time to take stock of the sideshow that is the Academy Awards. Like last year, we’ll be posting a 2009 wrap up of notable films (I don’t do “10 Best Lists” or anything, see our 2008 Notable Film Awards). Expect my “notable” list in the next few days–I have one 2009 release that’s waiting for a viewing that I would be remiss to not consider before posting my rather irrelevant thoughts.
In any case, most of you that care are already probably aware of the surprising decision from the Academy to expand the list of nominees in the Best Picture category from five to ten in the Oscar race. Is this really a good thing?
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Doctor Who: The End of Time Marks the End of an Era In Front and Behind the Cameras.

eot00I am admittedly a multi decade Doctor Who fanboy, but I’m not an irrational one. I do believe that the health of the show since its return in 2005 is generally top-notch. We’ve had the pleasure over the past 5 years of seeing some of the best moments in the nearly half a century since the show’s inception . However, there’s a marked difference between Doctor Who in the 21st century vs. Doctor Who from the first 30 years. The End of Time, is a fitting example of some of the new show’s most enduring strengths and most nagging weaknesses. More importantly, it brings the new show to it’s most critical moment in it’s quest for long term survival, certainly a more critical juncture than the perplexingly sudden departure of Christopher Eccleston after one year in the title role leaking to the press immediately after the series premier.
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Sherlock Holmes: Did We Really Need Another? One Word Answer: Downey, Jr! Or is That 2 Words?

holmes1sheetLet me make one thing perfectly clear: from 1984 to 1994 the definitive versions of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes literature was adapted by Grenada Television. The greatness of these adaptations was partly due to the faithfulness of the screenplays to the source material, but mostly due to the spellbinding performance of Jeremy Brett as Holmes [clip at review's end along with the trailer for the current film]. Ever since I spent my formative years balancing my Sherlock Holmes appreciation in the midst of dirty magazines, Star Trek and Friday Night Videos I have immediately turned my nose up at any attempt at a new adaptation of the work that would surface. It really took throwing one of our generation’s greatest living actors into the role to even nudge me over the line of considering it, even if it was opposite the astoundingly dull Jude Law in the role of Watson.
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Avatar: Cameron’s 3-D Masterpiece with 2-D Characters is Still a Worthwhile Ride.

avatar1sheet2James Cameron long ago reached that pinnacle of Hollywood Celebrity reserved for that oh-so-elite few who automatically inspire sprays of internet venom the second their name becomes attached to a project. The last straw for Cameron was the wild success of Titanic which ensured that if he chose to do so, he would never have to lift another finger or even change out of his pajamas again for the rest of his life to ensure an expensive roof over his head and warm meals on the table.
Unearned hate is the common backlash to mainstream success as the masses of unwashed internet talkbackers make feeble attempts to lend credibility to their sense of taste by hating someone or something that enjoys general mainstream succes. This makes Avatar, as one of Cameron’s most ambitious and expensive projects the perfect canvas for that giant bullseye of criticism even before the first frame of the film ever hit the internet.
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New Super Mario Brothers Wii Review: All the Classic Mario Goodness of Old; All the Mario Baggage of Recent Titles

nsmbwboxFor our six and a half loyal readers that wonder if we gave up, we didn’t. Sorry for the lack of updates. Various things like income-providing jobs, child abuse and World of Warcraft have kept us from updating the last couple of weeks. We’ll get back to movies soon (the seemingly endless 17-hour run time of 2012 was enough to scare me away from theaters for a couple of weeks), but I do now have a better-late-than-never look at Nintendo’s latest rehash, New Super Mario Brothers Wii. You may feel that me calling this a rehash indicates I feel dredging up the old 2-D side scrolling platformer back up to the console world is unwelcome. However that would be harsh. After all, if you’re rehashing a tried and true genre, you might as well do it with the best of the best.
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Doctor Who-The Waters of Mars: After 46 Years, the Program Still Has Some Shockingly Dark Places to Take Us.

whologosmallerJust one week before the 46th anniversary of Doctor Who you wouldn’t think there’d be many superlatives left. I’ve been an avid fan of the program for 25 years now and I don’t take the quality of the show lightly.waters41 The Russell T. Davies era has brought us multiple superlatives for better and worse. At least two stories since 2005 rank what I consider among the best in the show’s 45 year run. Unfortunately, the lowest point and worst episode in the show’s history also has come out of the RTD era. The Waters of Mars is neither the best nor the worst in the show’s history, but it is far and away the darkest episode in the the series’ long run.
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2012! Roland Emmerich’s Bold Statement: Better Make it the Small Coke at the Concession Stand.

2012-1sheet-2First, before I even broach the subject of the movie itself, I have to say I have a slight ethical problem with the marketing of the film. It’s a minor nag but I have a serious issue with anything that deliberately feeds on the gullibility of the public at large, and the “2012” baloney that has been floating around pop culture since Erich Von Däniken’s Chariots of the Gods in the late 1960s is just kind of silly. First and foremost, if you’re a Von Däniken follower and are looking to 2012 as Hollywood’s last laugh on what we’re in for, look elsewhere. While the movie refers a couple of times to the alleged Mayan prophecy, it’s all just a tent peg to let Roland Emmerich destroy the world. I can dig that. I’m down with death, destruction and general mayhem. But how long does it take the world to end anyway?
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The Men Who Stare at Goats Offers a Lot of Laughs Before a Perplexingly Bad Finale.

goats1sheetA fleeting interest in the U.S. government’s multi-million dollar folly of the 1970s and 80s called the “Stargate” Project sparked my interest early in seeing The Men Who Stare at Goats. Those that may try to convince themselves that even the government wouldn’t be daft enough to drop that much money into something as foolish as a long term paranormal spy program would be woefully wrong. I can’t really blame the government for putting some initial research money into it. It’s the general lack of oversight and continued year after year tossing of money into this pit that boggles the mind.
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V Returns to Television After a 20 Year Absence–and It May Have Been Worth the Wait.

v-promo1It’s with mixed emotion and cautious optimism that I had been anticipating the premiere of ABC’s “re-imagining” of the classic 1980s mini-series V. For those younger than me, which is with each passing moment becoming a larger percentage of the world’s population, I can’t describe how huge the original V was for boys of my age at that time. It fell right in the mind-numbing void that was growing exponentially as we began to realize that the Star Wars saga was over and there was really nothing on the horizon to take it’s place.
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