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Stalker's Top Ten 2011: Mark Buckley's Learnings

10FSReel.jpgFilmstalker's Stalker's Top Lists for 2011 kick off with Mark Buckley, regular on the Filmstalker Audiocast, the site and the Stalker's Top Lists. He's always coming up with funny and innovative lists and this year is no different.

For 2011 Mark has learned a lot from cinema, and some of it is rather disturbing, some just plain funny, and a few clearly wrong decisions. Have a read and see if you agree.

Before we look to Mark's list of what he learned from films this year, how would you like to have your list for 2011 on Filmstalker?

Just create a list, add at least a sentence explanation about each entry although it would be nice to have more, how you'd like to be known on the published article along with a site link, and email it to me at . For some inspiration you can look at the other Stalker's Top Lists from previous years.

Now, let's hand over to Mark Buckley, man of many talents including his excellent photography service.

Stuff that I learned from flicks in 2011.

1: Stop Touching Your Face
'Shit, someone's coughing, I'll just shuffle away now I think. Damn, the cinemas full, I know what, I'll breathe through my hanky!' - This was my train of thought as someone started coughing mid way through Contagion.

Honestly, I'd have sold my grandma to watch it in an empty cinema. It's a rare thing that a film sucks you in, educates you, and makes you reassess how you behave, safe to say that this flick put the willies up me. I found it more affecting than a lot of horror flicks I'd seen, really takes you back to the paranoia of the late seventies, or just after 9/11. Great stuff.

And for once, the ending wasn't a cop out. (Did you know that the average human touches their face 3000 times a day?)

2: Don't mess with The Rock / Dwayne
Arnold who? Sylvester who? Bruce who?

Seems to me that there is a new action hero out there, and his name is Dwayne.

Sat watching Fast 5 (Filmstalker review), or whatever its full title is, and it dawned on me, that the next huge film star has arrived. Looking at The Rock (hell, what's a first name between friends), it became apparent that here is a guy that oozes charisma, and not only that, but the guy can act.

OK, so he probably won't pop up doing Othello at the RSC, but he's got some serious acting chops on him, just watch Walking Tall (Filmstalker review). I'm just looking forward to him breaking out of the action guy mould. Man he's gonna be huge.

3: Swearing is big, and clever, especially when it's done by a 4ft thing.
I use the word 'thing' as it covers a, erm, thing - but it is called Paul.

I'm a big fan of Pegg and Frost, but I didn't expect Paul (Filmstalker review) to be that good. I am, I admit its target demographic, but it was still hysterical. How could something so simple be so fun. I can imagine the pitch - 'It's an alien, it swears. Can we have $40,000,000 please?"

Add to that the great cast, jokes, and the fact it looks like a $100,000,000 picture and it's a winner. I'll wait for Paul II I think.

4: The little ones can be gems, and the big ones can be crap.
Compare Sucker Punch (Filmstalker review) to The Guard.

Which one is an ace movie, the one that cost $82,000,000 (6* on IMDB for Sucker Punch), or the one that cost $6,000,000 (7.4* on IMDB for The Guard).

No I'm not saying that IMDB is a measure of quality (lord knows it isn't), but The Guard was one of the highlights of the year, Don Cheadle and Brendan Gleeson in a movie that cost pocket change to make (well, compared to most flicks), and was amazingly shot, brilliantly written, and stunningly acted.

Plus, its genius, serious FBI agent, Irish Garda that couldn't give a shit, cocaine shipment, dying mother, hookers. This is a recipe for the funniest flick I've seen this year (yep even funnier than Paul). A film with a huge heart.

Just brilliant stuff, it stacks up against In Bruges, and this was directed by the guys brother that directed In Bruges I think.

Sucker Punch on the other hand was a big pile of steaming dog shit. The biggest disappointment of the year, as Snyder directed the amazing Watchmen (Filmstalker review). Sorry but no amount of steam-punked chicks could save it. A mess.

5: Don't write people off, they may do something brilliant.
Kevin Smith, self financing podcasting filmmaking guy, who's stock was at an all time low after Zack and Miri Make A Porno, and Cop Out (I dug 'em, but they tanked) returned with a flick that was half horror half drama. And it was ace.

Who'd have thought that a step away from the Askewniverse would raise his profile, and also show him to own a serious pair of directing chops.

The link to Smith is here, but after reinventing himself as a shit hot director, Ben Affleck starred in a film that wasn't seen by many. Along with Kevin Coster he starred in The Company Men, about redundancies, and weighing up life.

A flick that is both moving, and one that I was able to relate to. Affleck delivered a subdued and angry performance that proved that he's a great actor. Surely a huge star again, and a proper film star.

Now about that Afleck / Rock movie...

Now which part did I find disturbing? Could it be that I'm surprised that I'm one of the few that liked Sucker Punch (Filmstalker review)? Perhaps it's that Mark's just noticed Dwayne Johnson aka The Rock? (Well it is his return to action) No, I think it's the idea of an Affleck/Rock film!

Actually I have to shock Mark and agree with his comments about Walking Tall, The Rock and The Company Men.

Many thanks to Mark for that list, and if you want to see your list live on Filmstalker just email it to me at and I'll get it published over the coming weeks.

What things did you learn from the cinema this year? What films reached out to you and let you know something new that you didn't realise before?




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Movable Type 3.34

Dear boy, you look absolutely awful. Why don't you try acting? It's so much easier.
- Laurence Olivier's response to Dustin Hoffman who had gone without sleep for a few nights to look exhausted in Marathon Man