Friday, January 25, 2013

Flieder's Flicks - Good Day FOX 35 Orlando 1/25/13



Check out my appearance from this morning where I offered my thoughts on 'Parker', 'End of Watch', and 'Won't Back Down'.  (Please pardon the awkward beginning.  Earpiece issues!)

FOX 35 News Orlando

In Theaters Now


(new releases are in green):

The Master     Grade: A+

The Impossible     Grade: A

Django Unchained     Grade: A

Zero Dark Thirty     Grade: A

Skyfall     Grade: A

Argo     Grade: A

Broken City     Grade: A

The Sessions     Grade: A-

Silver Linings Playbook     Grade: A-

Rust and Bone     Grade: A-

This is 40     Grade: A-

Les Miserables     Grade: B+

Parker     Grade: B+

Gangster Squad     Grade: B+

Amour     Grade: B+

Jack Reacher     Grade: B

Lincoln     Grade: B

Quartet     Grade: B

Life of Pi     Grade: B

Beasts of the Southern Wild     Grade: C+

Hyde Park on Hudson     Grade C+

Mama     Grade: C+

The Last Stand     Grade: C+

Parental Guidance     Grade: C

Anna Karenina     Grade: C

The Guilt Trip     Grade: C-

The Hobbit     Grade: D

Parker



Try Googling 'fallen from grace' and you just might get a picture of Jason Statham.  Back in the late 90's/early 00's, Statham, helped in large part by director Guy Ritchie, really shot out of the gate.  Films like 'Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels' and 'Snatch' thrilled critics and fans of the energized British crime genre, and Statham became an instant star.  He continued his reign with decent action films like 'The Transporter', 'The Italian Job', and 'Crank', and then peaked in 2008 with 'The Bank Job'.  But since then, it's been a second and third 'Transporter', a second 'Crank', two 'Expendables', 'The Mechanic', 'Blitz', 'Killer Elite', and 'Safe'.  Quite honestly, there's nothing less creative or original than these movies other than the titles themselves.  (I predict the next ones to be titled 'Hard Case', 'The Cleaner', 'Hustle & Punch', and maybe just 'Guy'.  This is a fun game!  What are some of your predictions?)  But, you know that wise old saying in Hollywood:  When you're down, co-star with Jennifer Lopez.  That's bound to work.  (Oooh!  'Bound to Work'!  That's another one!) 

This time Statham is a thief who plays by his own set of rules.  He says what he means and means what he says, and expects the same from his associates.  And considering that generic premise, and the above poster, with the above tagline, and Statham's last eight to ten films, as well as Lopez' track record, all signs pointed to a terrible experience.  And yet, it wasn't at all.  In fact, it was pretty pleasurable.  Statham is good, Lopez is good, and the supporting cast including Michael Chiklis, Patti Lupone, and Bobby Cannavale are all good.  And there's even a slight plot turn or two that make the film feel a little fresh.  All in all, it's a fun movie that's paced well.  It's a pleasant surprise and Statham buffs will surely get their money's worth.

Grade: B+

Amour


Austria's submission to the Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film is a French drama about a sweet, loving elderly couple dealing with the sudden onset of severe health problems.  It's our biggest fear as we grow old.  What do you do when you can no longer take care of yourself?  Will you become a burden to your loved ones?  This is a painfully sad look at what many of us have to deal with in life, from one angle or another.  It won the top prize at Cannes, and was nominated in the Best Picture, Best Foreign Language Film, Best Actress, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay for the upcoming Academy Awards.  (I predict it wins only the Best Foreign Language Film award.)

Personally I'm not a huge fan of director Michael Haneke.  He takes himself way too seriously.  (And his remake of his own 'bad for the soul' film, 'Funny Games', was unforgivable.  And, to be sure, 'Amour' is the feel bad movie of the year.  But it's very powerful for those who respond to these kinds of hard-to-watch films.  Pair it with 'Away from Her' and you'll surely opt to kill yourself before growing old.

Grade: B+

Quartet


Let me start by saying I'm glad that movies made for older folks starring older folks are in vogue.  In this post-'Downton Abbey' world, 70 seems to be the new 20.  And Maggie Smith is apparently the new 'it' girl.  Arguably the best ensemble of 2012 came from 'The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel'.  And now, we have yet another ensemble featuring Smith, as well as Tom Courtenay, Michael Gambon, and Billy Connolly.  Directed by Dustin Hoffman, this one's a dramedy about quirky Brits living at a home for retired musicians.  But, as much as I love the cast, and love this newfound appreciation for more seasoned actors, this one's a bit dry and could have used a bit more life injected into it.  Billy Connolly breathes life into it, stealing every scene he's in, but when he's not on screen it grinds to a halt.  Hoffman may be a seasoned actor, but I think he needs a little more work behind the camera.  And next time, Mr. Hoffman, may I suggest you also get Bill Nighy?

Grade: B

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A Liar's Autobiography: The Untrue Story of Monty Python's Graham Chapman



If there are two genres I don't get they're probably animation and ultra-dry British comedies.  Merge the two, and I'm in Hell.  Welcome to 'A Liar's Autobiography: The Untrue Story of Monty Python's Graham Chapman', also known as my own personal 'Dante's Inferno'.

Based on Chapman's memoir from 1980, with voiceover taken from the now deceased Graham's own reading of his book, this is a mess of a film, without even accidental moments of entertainment.  Python alumni Eric Idle was smart to be the sole ex-member to not get involved with this project.  I wish I had been smart enough to avoid it myself.  And now for something completely painful...

Grade: F

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Tall Man

 
 
I often ask myself why I waste time watching movies on VOD or DVD that didn't get any attention from critics or audiences alike, many of which never even got a theatrical release.  Clearly if a movie is any good at all, there would be some buzz and sterling reviews on Rotten Tomatoes or Metacritic, right?  Well no, not necessarily.  Case in point: 'The Tall Man'.
 
Jessica Biel stars as a nurse living in a small town where children are mysteriously disappearing.  Rumor has it that a hooded, and possibly inhuman, 'tall man' is responsible.  And now the FBI has arrived to find the culprit and hopefully the children as well.
 
I can't remember another film that kept me more on tilt from start to finish than this one.  ('Cabin in the Woods' comes to mind, but that one has a completely different comic tone in a campy sci-fi genre.)  Starting with a Hitchcockian / 'Twin Peaks' / 'Winter's Bone' feel, and continuously morphing with twists, non-linear storytelling, and multiple reveals, this dark mystery/thriller will keep you guessing until the very last minute, and leave you thinking, but also fully satisfied.  It's a great find and a great reminder why I look for hidden treasures.  Looks like My Top 52 Films of 2012 just became 53.  It's now my 18th favorite film of 2012.  See it now on VOD, DVD and Blu-Ray.
 
Grade: A

Guns, Girls and Gambling

 
 
Trivia question:  What movie features Christian Slater, Gary Oldman, and Elvis?  Trick Question. 'True Romance' is no longer the sole answer.  (And if you remove Oldman, you can even add '3000 Miles to Graceland' as a correct response.)  Welcome to 'Guns, Girls and Gambling', the latest quirky, violent crime film to go straight to DVD.  Besides the aforementioned guns, girls, and gambling, you can expect cowboys, indians, mexican standoffs, and five Elvises all in pursuit of a McGuffin.  It's clearly inspired by, but in no way in the same league as a Tarantino, Guy Ritchie, or Martin McDonough film.  But if you're a fan of the quirky crime genre and enjoy films like '2 Days in the Valley', 'Brick', or 'Lucky Number Slevin', then it's a reasonably enjoyable watch.  It's now available on VOD, DVD, and Blu-Ray.
 
Grade: B-

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Playback

 
 
 
If you've been paying attention to movie news lately you might have heard that the disgrace of lowest grossing film at the box office in 2012 went to 'Playback' starring Christian Slater.  It reportedly cost $7.5M and only grossed $264 at the box office.  (Not $264 million or thousand, mind you, but a mere $264!)  How could a picture gross that little, you ask?  It happens frequently actually.  Reportedly, per the Screen Actors Guild, low budget films can pay their actors less if the film gets a theatrical release.  And sometimes it's even in the contract that a film will get some sort of theatrical release.  But if the studio doesn't ultimately want to spend the money for a legitimate limited release it will open a film quietly in one theater for one week with no publicity or marketing whatsoever.  So, with no marketing and opening only in one theater, how much can you expect a movie to gross?
 
Of course, all publicity is good publicity, and the fact that this film made so little actually made me want to see it.  So I coughed up $3.99 on VOD.  And you know what?  It ain't great.  But I've certainly seen worse.  On one hand it's kind of your typical low budget horror film, emulating more successful horror films.  It's 'The Ring' meets 'Scream', if you will.  But it's mildly enjoyable in parts, and it's clearly made by film lovers for film lovers.  Plus, I have to take a moment to defend Christian Slater.  I've always been a fan, and he's getting a lot of bad press lately for starring in a lot of duds.  And I can't completely defend him, because it's pretty true.  But he's also still every bit as good as he ever was.  In my opinion, he's one great script away from being back on top.  Mark my words:  Christian Slater will be back.   #ClarenceAndAlabamaForever
 
Grade: C
 


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Fairhaven

 
 
Chris Messina is undeniably one of the most underappreciated stars of the last few years, showing up in more movies than most ('28 Hotel Rooms', 'Argo', 'Ruby Sparks', 'Celeste and Jesse Forever', and 'The Giant Mechanical Man' to name a few) and consistently providing solid and diverse performances.  Here he makes his screenwriting debut, as well as co-stars in this ensemble 'Big Chill'-esque drama, about a man returning home to Massachusetts for his father's funeral after a long time away, and reuniting with old friends.  The strong ensemble cast includes fellow prolific actors Rich Sommer (who most would recognize from 'Mad Men') and Sarah Paulson (most known for her solid work in TV as well).  This is unfortunately not one of Messina's best, but it's got some good characters that really have potential.  But, sadly it doesn't offer the payoff it should.  I rarely say this, but at only 85 minutes this one's too short.  It sorely needs a third act.
 
You can see 'Fairhaven' now on Video on Demand, and in very limited release in theaters.
 
Grade: B

Friday, January 18, 2013

Flieder's Flicks - Good Day FOX 35 Orlando 1/18/13



Check out my appearance from this morning where I offered my thoughts on 'Broken City', 'Mama', and 'The Last Stand'.
FOX 35 News Orlando

In Theaters Now



(new releases are in green):

The Impossible     Grade: A

Django Unchained     Grade: A

Zero Dark Thirty     Grade: A

Skyfall     Grade: A

Promised Land     Grade: A

Argo     Grade: A

Broken City     Grade: A

The Sessions     Grade: A-

Silver Linings Playbook     Grade: A-

Rust and Bone     Grade: A-

This is 40     Grade: A-

Les Miserables     Grade: B+

Gangster Squad     Grade: B+

Hitchcock     Grade: B+

Jack Reacher     Grade: B

Lincoln     Grade: B

Life of Pi     Grade: B

Beasts of the Southern Wild     Grade: C+

Struck by Lightning  (VOD)    Grade: C+

Hyde Park on Hudson     Grade C+

Mama    Grade: C+

The Last Stand    Grade: C+

Parental Guidance     Grade: C

Anna Karenina     Grade: C

The Guilt Trip     Grade: C-

The Hobbit     Grade: D

A Dark Truth  (VOD)     Grade: D-

Storage 24  (VOD)     Grade: D-

Broken City

 
 
I was just thinking to myself the other day that there aren't any smart noir/detective films made anymore.  When was the last time we had a 'Chinatown'?  Or even an inferior attempt at one?  It seems Hollywood has decided audiences don't have the patience for a movie where we have to pay attention and think.  But everything happens in cycles and hopefully these types of films will make a comeback.  Last week we had 'Gangster Squad' which, granted, was heavier in style than in smarts, but it's very well made and a lot of fun.  And now we have 'Broken City' which is even better.
 
Mark Wahlberg plays a former New York City cop, who now makes his living (barely) as a private dick.  But when his old acquaintance, the Mayor, played by Russell Crowe, calls and asks him to find out who his wife is fooling around with, you just know not everything is as it seems.  It's a story right out of the noir playbook, but fans like me will revel in every second of it.  Wahlberg is just right as the lead, and Crowe is at the top of his game here, and more devilishly fun than I've ever seen him.  I really hope people go see this movie so we'll get a lot more like it in the future.  And kudos to Hollywood for releasing such a smart, well made film in mid-January.  You've given a jaded film critic hope.  (a small tear runs down my cheek)
 
Grade: A

Mama

 
 
For a while now it's been my philosophy that most horror movies suck.  It's unfortunate, but it's true.  But what I don't understand, given that, is why so many well respected actors are drawn to them.  In the last year alone we saw Daniel Radcliffe, Ethan Hawke, Jennifer Lawrence, Elizabeth Olsen, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and Kyra Sedgwick all dip their toes in the horror pond, with results ranging from mediocre to sub-par.  And we can now add Oscar nominee (and likely near-future Oscar winner) Jessica Chastain to the pile.  And while this movie isn't terrible, I can't understand what attracted Chastain and producer Guillermo del Toro to the project.  It's just your standard horror film, with a creepy ghost, some creepy little girls, a lot of creepy whispering, and plenty of creepy jolts to make sure you don't sleep well at night.  But it lacks anything original that makes you feel like you didn't just waste the last hour and 40 minutes.  Of course, one could do worse than have to look at Jessica Chastain, even if she isn't sporting her trademark flowing red locks.  So that's a plus.  Just please don't make 'Dada'.  I'm begging.
 
Grade: C+

The Last Stand

 
 
Well, he said he'd be back and he was right.  The 'Governator' returns to leading roles as a small town sheriff who must face off against a drug lord who escapes from custody and will do whatever it takes to get to Mexico.  And you can expect lots of explosions, car stunts, bloody shoot 'em ups, and of course, plenty of Arnold's one-liners.  Plus, there are many familiar faces including Forest Whitaker, Luis Guzman, Peter Stormare, and Johnny Knoxville. 
 
As a fan of all those pre-political Schwarzenegger classics, I was both curious and cautiously optimistic for Arnold's return.  I'm happy to report that he still has big screen presence.  Like Harrison Ford, age won't keep him from being an action star.  But, also like Ford, an inability to pick good scripts may.  Schwarzeneggar always shined best in sci-fi, and flailed about most as forgettable public service tough guys.  I'd love to see him in something as good as 'Total Recall' or 'Predator' again.  Unfortunately, the six upcoming films listed on his slate on IMDB don't thrill me, including a team up with Stallone, a fifth Terminator installment, and a sequel to Twins, adding Eddie Murphy as the third sibling.  #arnoldneedsanewagentstat
 
Grade: C+

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Ben Affleck/Tony Mendez Argo Junket

 
 
Ben Affleck is getting a lot of press lately due to his 'Oscar snub' last week.  He was considered by most to be a lock for a Best Director nomination by the Academy for 'Argo'.  But they really blew that category, leaving out worthy contenders like Affleck, Kathryn Bigelow ('Zero Dark Thirty'), Paul Thomas Anderson ('The Master'), Christopher Nolan ('The Dark Knight Rises'), Quentin Tarantino ('Django Unchained'), and Tom Hooper ('Les Miserables'), and instead including relatively unexpected picks like Benh Zeitlin ('Beasts of the Southern Wild'), Ang Lee ('Life of Pi'), and Michael Haneke ('Amour').  Fortunately for Affleck, my colleagues at the Broadcast Film Critics Association and the Hollywood Foreign Press did him right and not only nominated him, but awarded him Best Director as well as Best Picture for 'Argo' at the Critics Choice Movie Awards and Golden Globes, respectively.  He looked genuinely stunned at both shows.
 
On December 7th, I had the opportunity to casually talk to Affleck over breakfast in New York City, along with the former CIA agent he plays in 'Argo', Tony Mendez, and 'Argo' screenwriter Chris Terrio.  It was a real treat.  (And that's an understatement.)  And afterwards I participated in my first junket.  I hope you enjoy.  (Note: It's only 4+ minutes long.  You can ignore the last 4+.  It's probably just duplicated. )
 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Flieder's Flicks - Good Day FOX 35 Orlando 1/11/13



Check out my appearance from this morning where I offered my thoughts on 'Gangster Squad', 'Zero Dark Thirty', and 'The Dark Knight Trilogy'.


FOX 35 News Orlando

In Theaters Now

 
 
 
(new releases are in green):

The Impossible     Grade: A

Django Unchained     Grade: A

Flight     Grade: A

Zero Dark Thirty     Grade: A

Skyfall     Grade: A

Promised Land     Grade: A

Argo     Grade: A

The Sessions     Grade: A-

Silver Linings Playbook     Grade: A-

Rust and Bone     Grade: A-

This is 40     Grade: A-

Les Miserables     Grade: B+

Gangster Squad    Grade: B+

Hitchcock     Grade: B+

Jack Reacher     Grade: B

Lincoln     Grade: B

Life of Pi     Grade: B

Struck by Lightning (VOD)   Grade: C+

Hyde Park on Hudson     Grade C+

Parental Guidance     Grade: C

Anna Karenina     Grade: C

Not Fade Away     Grade: C-

The Guilt Trip     Grade: C-

Playing for Keeps     Grade: D+

The Hobbit     Grade: D

A Dark Truth (VOD)    Grade: D-

Storage 24 (VOD)    Grade: D-

Gangster Squad

 
 
Josh Brolin and Ryan Gosling head up the Gangster Squad, an elite team of good cops formed by Police Commissioner Nick Nolte to help take down the crime regime of mobster Mickey Cohen in late 40's/early 50's Los Angeles.  It's 'The Untouchables' for a new generation, but with a heavily stylized Hollywood noir feel.  Sean Penn shines as crime boss Cohen, masked under an excellent makeup job, but still as animated and fun as ever while not as melodramatic as his usual overacting.  In fact, it's one of my favorite Penn roles to date.  And Emma Stone rocks the moll look as Cohen's red headed doll looking for a fresh start.
 
Originally scheduled to be released last September when awards hopefuls make their debut, the film's trailer was pulled after the Colorado shooting last July due to a potentially off-putting theater shooting scene.  Re-shoots were done and the film's release was postponed until that wasteland of bad cinema known as January.  But, while it's not quite award worthy, for a January release it's a pretty great surprise with a lot of heavy hitters doing solid work.
 
Grade: B+
 
 


Struck by Lightning

 
 
Let me first begin by saying, I'm not a 'Gleek'.  And similarly I'm not a Chris Colfer fan.  He strikes me as a Hollywood lottery winner, not unlike Anton Yelchin, who doesn't fully realize how ridiculously lucky he is.  (Though that's probably a bit harsh.  He actually does a decent job here.)  But needless to say this film which premiered last spring at the Tribeca Film Festival was not high on my list of must-see movies.  Yet it's only 84 minutes and available on Video on Demand, so I watched it for you, my loyal readers.  You're welcome.
 
In this quirky dramedy, Colfer plays a high school outcast with more than his share of problems.  He's been deserted by his dad.  His mom is an unstable alcoholic.  Oh yeah, and at the beginning of the film he's struck by lightning and killed.  Bummer, huh?  Told in flashback by Colfer, his only goal in life is to get out of town, go to Northwestern, and become a writer/editor for a literary publication.
 
While it's not a terrible film, and has an assortment of familiar faces (Allison Janney, Dermot Mulroney, Christina Hendricks, Angela Kinsey), it's also not a film to go out of your way for.  Frankly, it's a film written and starring a gay man (Colfer), directed by a gay man, featuring closeted gay men characters, and targeted to young gay men.  Not that there's anything wrong with that.
 
Grade: C+

Storage 24

 
 
Ah, January. How I won't miss you when you're over. Movies released in January, particularly at the beginning, are often terrible. If they were any good, studios would have pushed to get them released by year end for awards consideration. And one should always be wary of movies premiering in January on Video on Demand. (See my review of 'A Dark Truth' last week as an example.) And here's example number two.

'Storage 24' is a low budget sci-fi horror flick about an uninteresting alien that crash lands in a storage facility in London and terrorizes a bunch of unengaging humans.  It couldn't be any less interesting or original, and wouldn't even be worth showing on the Sci-Fi channel.
 
Grade: D-

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Critics Choice Movie Awards

 
 
Don't forget to watch The Critics Choice Movie Awards this Thursday, January 10th at 8:00 PM on the CW.  Who better to pick the best of the year than the people who see everything?  You can see the nomination by clicking here.
 
I am a proud member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association and one of the 270ish voters for the Critics Choice Movie Awards.  As such, I would really like to see the show get great ratings.  So please be sure to tell your friends, your enemies, and all those people you have no feelings for whatsoever (especially if they're a Nielsen family!)

Friday, January 4, 2013

Flieder's Flicks - Good Day FOX 35 Orlando 1/4/13



Check out my appearance from this morning where I offered my thoughts on 'Promised Land', 'The Impossible', and 'Looper'.
FOX 35 News Orlando

In Theaters Now



(new releases are in green):

The Impossible     Grade: A

Django Unchained     Grade: A

Flight    Grade: A

Zero Dark Thirty    Grade: A

Skyfall     Grade: A

Promised Land     Grade: A

Argo     Grade: A

The Sessions     Grade: A-

Silver Linings Playbook     Grade: A-

Rust and Bone     Grade: A-

This is 40     Grade: A-

Les Miserables     Grade: B+

Hitchcock     Grade: B+

Jack Reacher     Grade: B

Lincoln     Grade: B

Life of Pi     Grade: B

Hyde Park on Hudson     Grade C+

Parental Guidance     Grade: C

Anna Karenina     Grade: C

Not Fade Away     Grade: C-

The Guilt Trip     Grade: C-

Playing for Keeps     Grade: D+

The Hobbit     Grade: D

A Dark Truth    Grade: D-

Zero Dark Thirty


Kathryn Bigelow's big screen follow up to her Academy Award winning film, 'The Hurt Locker', is yet another timely story about the war on Terror.  'Zero Dark Thirty' is the most comprehensive account to date on the search for Osama Bin Laden, beginning with his carefully orchestrated attack on the World Trade Center and ending almost a decade later with his assassination by U.S. Navy Seals.  And Bigelow once again proves herself a filmmaking force to be reckoned with.  Her movies are not for sissies.  This one's a powerful and unapologetic look at how we won the war on Terror and cut off the head of the snake.  And Jessica Chastain is unflinching as the CIA agent obsessed with finding the man most of the rest of the political world had given up on.  If you don't have the stomach for U.S. 'interrogation' techniques or can't handle a 2 hour and 45 minute runtime, this one might not be for you.  But I highly recommend it if you can handle it.  Is it 100% accurate?  We'll never know.  But chances are you won't see a better or more realistic account.

Grade: A

A Dark Truth

 
 
What's this?   Andy Garcia and Forest Whitaker in a film I haven't heard anything about, premiering on Video on Demand?  Sound intriguing?  Well, don't make the same mistake I did and pay $9.99 for this bore-fest about a CIA agent-turned-radio-talk-show-host who comes out of retirement for a high paying job in South America.  Despite the talented cast, there's really nothing positive I can say about this movie.  It's painfully dull from start to finish.  And I'm having real concerns about what Mr. Garcia is doing with his career.  He's one of the most talented actors in Hollywood, and yet with the exception of 'City Island', hasn't made a good film in five years.  (Fingers crossed for an Ocean's sequel!)
 
The real dark truth here is that my first film of 2013 was a painful experience and I can only hope it's not a harbinger of a really bad year of film to come.
 
Grade: D-

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

State of the Blog



Happy New Year! Like last year, I figured I'd start the year off with a 'State of the Blog' keeping you up to date on all things 'Flieder on Film' and 'Flieder's Flicks'.

2012 was a busy year. I saw around 469 movies, comprised of 268 new releases (193 of which I saw in the theater), 24 of which I re-watched a second time at home, and 177 older films.  I published 289 blog posts including reviews of over 175 films, as well as my weekly list of what to see in theaters, ranked from best to worst.  And, of course, over the last week I have been posting my comprehensive Best and Worst of the year lists.

I also posted my regular Friday morning appearances on Good Day on FOX 35 in Orlando. To date I've been on 105 times over the last two and a quarter years.  I can't thank my friends at FOX 35 enough for having me on and their support, particularly David Martin, Amy Kaufeldt, John Brown, Stephanie Cowen Eisenberg, Vincent Postiglione, and Paulo Almeida.  They're all the greatest!  And many thanks to the folks at FOX 29 for allowing me to intrude on them every Friday morning and being so helpful and friendly.

In March, I had my debut appearance on Good Day on FOX 29 in Philadelphia, appearing in the studio with regular anchors Mike Jerrick and Sheinelle Jones, discussing 'The Hunger Games'.  It was an honor to be invited on, and all the feedback I got was favorable, yet sadly, they never invited me back.  Maybe in 2013?

Of course, I am still an active and proud member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association. This is truly an honor, as the BFCA is the largest film critics organization in the U.S. and Canada, with only a little over 270 TV, radio, and online broadcast film critics. You can check out my profile by clicking here.  Being a member of the BFCA is truly the best perk of being a film critic.  As a member, I am a voter of the Critics Choice Awards, which airs live on Thursday, January 10th on the CW.  I strongly encourage you to watch it!  Unlike the voters of the Oscars, my colleagues in the BFCA actually see pretty much everything released. So who better to select the truly best of the year?  Plus, it's packed with A-list celebrities and entertainment.  Please tell your friends.  It's very important to me as a member that the show gets good ratings.  I attended the awards show in person last year, but decided not to make the trip out to the West Coast this year.

I also attended the Tribeca, Nantucket, and Philadelphia Film Festivals this year.  It was my 7th consecutive year attending Tribeca, first time to Nantucket, and my 12th consecutive year for Philly.  All three were a lot of fun.

I also got to participate in my first junket this year!  A few weeks ago I was invited up to New York City for a breakfast in honor of 'Argo', with Ben Affleck in attendance, as well as Tony Mendez, the former CIA agent he plays in the film, and Chris Terrio, the screenwriter.  This was a real treat to talk to these folks in a very casual and small environment, with only around 15 other critics in attendance.  After the breakfast I had the opportunity to interview Ben and Tony on camera.  I'll likely post that interview in the near future after 'Argo' gets nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards.

Anyhoo, if you regularly check in, you know I put my heart and soul into being a film critic and maintaining this blog.  If you like it, and you want me to continue providing totally free, ad-free, revenue-free movie reviews and content, then I would certainly appreciate if you'd tell your friends and help me get more followers.  To date, I've gotten 56,447 page views (and about 29,000 of them in 2012).  This is about 27.5% more page views than I got in 2011.  Over 20% of my hits come from outside the U.S. (The U.K., Germany, Russia, Canada, France, Australia, and Brazil are my top 7 outside of the U.S.) So that's not bad. But more would be nice.

I also encourage you to become a Twitter follower (@Fliederonfilm). Unlike most tweeters, I only tweet movie reviews and movie related commentary. You won't have to hear about the delicious cookie I just ate, or any other trivialities from my life. But you will get a 140 character or less movie review with a link to my full review.  And I don't overload you with tweets like a lot of tweeters.  So just click the button on the right hand side and you can set up a free Twitter account.

And finally I encourage you to 'Like' my Flieder on Film Facebook page.  It's the same content as my Twitter tweets, but you can never have too much social media, right?  So just click here and press 'Like'.  Couldn't be easier!

As always, thank you for reading. (Particular thanks go out to TMcGPhilly, CK, food-ie mike, Adam, and Taralyn for their regular comments, and of course Jeana Kim Renger, Kevin Tressler, and Pamela Erin for their continued enthusiasm.)   As always, I encourage and appreciate all feedback, positive and negative.

And now, let a new year of movies begin ...