Since this Tuesday is Valentine’s Day today’s mix is all about love.
This post is in the spirit of those year in review style posts. To be clear, these aren’t what I consider to be the best movies of 2011 out of every movie. Although a couple will also appear on that forthcoming list. These are just the best on Netflix. I know you need to watch something up to date every once in a while.
Technically some of these films are dated as being from 2010 but I’m going on when it was actually available to be seen by the majority of folks in the US. So I’ve included some that had a foreign, limited or festival release in 2010 but went wide on DVD in 2011.
Simply click the film’s title to be whisked away to it on Netflix.
Certified Copy (Copie conforme) (French) (Available Until 12/27/14)
It’s certainly difficult to describe Certified Copy without giving away the movie. So let’s put it this way, a man and a woman who have a barbed attraction share a day together. Yes, it’s a talking movie. I loved it! The film stars Juliette Binoche and William Shimell.
A Little Help (Available Until 10/25/14)
After her husband’s passing a woman has to deal with raising her son and herself. This is a good little movie starring Jenna Fischer. Chris O’Donnell and Rob Benedict (Waiting) costar.
Passion Play (Available Until 07/20/13)
Oh, Passion Play. I love the entire idea, casting, visual choices, et al of this film. Mickey Rourke stumbles into a traveling sideshow and meets a beautiful young woman (Megan Fox) who plays the part of an angel. Of course they fall for each other. Then there’s the fact that he’s tangled up with some other unsavory folks. The movie costars Bill Murray, Kelly Lynch and Rhys Ifans.
Limitless (Available Until 05/16/13)
Limitless is about a writer (Bradley Cooper) who ends up trying a drug that gives you hyper focus and confidence, or as I saw one commenter remark, something like a mix of Ritalin and Cocaine. Limitless was originally entitled Dark Fields and I get the feeling that it was supposed to be darker but it still works so well as this polished finished product. I’m still not sure of the character’s motivation but yeah, it was awesome!
Last Night (Available Until 01/01/13)
Last Night is about a married couple (Keira Knightley and Sam Worthington) who’ve been together for a while but are both tempted to cheat on the same night. Knightley’s character is definitely more fleshed out and relate-able. Ah, maybe that’s just to me, she’s a novelist who currently writes fashion pieces. Her possible fling is with a hot, foreign ex. Worthington mainly seems like a stock faithful husband who is confused and tempted. It’s by Eva Mendes though so it totally makes sense. In real life I believe cheating is basically the worst thing you can ever do but when it’s possibly going to be Worthington and Mendes getting it on, well, yes, I was egging them on. And Griffin Dunne plays a writer! I love when he does that.
A Beautiful Life (Mei Li Ren Sheng) (China/Hong Kong) (Available Until 12/13/12)
A booze and high heel loving real estate agent meets a police officer. She leads him on a bit while basically using him to do things for her. It’s one of those friend zone relationships. Do they get together? Ooh.
No Strings Attached (Available Until 06/22/13)
Well this is one of the two fuck buddies movies that were released in 2011 and it’s not the better of the two, that would be Friends with Benefits. However this is a decent, entertaining movie. Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher are two acquaintances who keep meeting. Eventually they hook up and then fall into a friends with benefits situation. I adore Portman playing a woman who is now trying to compartmentalize her life into just work (as a doctor) and sex after seemingly just working for a while. Kutcher works in TV. Kevin Kline and Cary Elwes costar. I feel like they were underused. Well Kline gets some scenes but is a bit cartoony. Elwes gets to say like two words. Ludacris, Lake Bell and Mindy Kaling costar.
Take Me Home Tonight (Available Until 05/16/13)
Topher Grace stars in this 80s themed comedy as a high school graduate (who was promising) but has been squandering his time since then. He runs into a crush (Amber Heard) and decides to lie his way into her good graces. The bulk of the film is set at a party involving a ton of great actors, Anna Faris (as his sister), Dan Fogler (as his sidekick), Chris Pratt (Faris’ IRL hubby as her onscreen fiance), Lucy Punch, Michael Ian Black and Michelle Trachtenberg. Funny flick. Check it out.
Potiche (Trophy Wife) (French) (Available Until 03/17/13)
Catherine Deneuve stars as the housewife of a jerk who runs a plant. She ends up taking it over. In doing so she meets up with a youthful dalliance (Gérard Depardieu) who opposes everything that her husband stands for. And it’s set in the 70’s! The costumes are awesome.
Faces in the Crowd (Available Until 10/25/16)
Milla Jovovich witnesses a murder and then is attacked by the murderer. In the process she is injured resulting in Prosopagnosia, which is severe face blindness. She can’t recognize anyone. Not only does this interfere with her day to day life but now she has no way of identifying the criminal. Julian McMahon costars as a police detective who takes a shine to her.
Hobo with a Shotgun (Available Until 08/05/14)
Rutger Hauer stars as the title character, yes a hobo with a shotgun!, in this zany exploitation flick.
The Resident (Available Until 07/20/12)
Jeffrey Dean Morgan creepily stalks his tenant, solitary doctor Hilary Swank. Lee Pace and Christopher Lee costar.
Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (Available Until 12/29/14)
This was so frickin’ funny but it wasn’t really promoted at all. Tyler Labine (Reaper, Mad Love) and Alan Tudyk (Firefly, Dollhouse) are two likeable hillbillies who’ve saved up to buy a vacation cabin in the woods. They are all excited about chilling out when they meet some yuppie college kids who only see them as scary backwoods stereotypes. A ton of hilarious deaths ensue.
Red State (Available Until 10/18/14)
Three high school kids go in search of tail but end up in a really fucked up situation in this Kevin Smith film. Supposedly Kyle Gallner actually had a real panic attack during filming. The cast also includes John Goodman and Michael Angarano. The movie drags a little at one point but it picks back up.
Dylan Dog: Dead of Night (Available Until 05/03/14)
Dylan Dog wasn’t that great or anything but I still feel the need to include it because there’s some good stuff in it. Brandon Routh is a supernatural PI who’s bestie, Sam Huntington, dies and is shocked to find out that he’s now one of the undead. Huntington always cracks me up. Routh’s chest is mesmerizing. Some of the undead stuff is pretty inventive. The big bad is way too Spawny though.
Insidious (Available Until 05/09/13)
The creative team behind the first Saw film, James Wan and Leigh Whannell, wrote and directed this flick. It’s a vintage feeling ghost story. A family has to deal with a haunting. Rose Byrne (barf) and Patrick Wilson play the parents. Eventually they bring in a team of Ghost Hunters type investigators (including Lin Shaye and Leigh Whannell). The movie has a great ambiance. I didn’t see that first little twist near the ending coming either.
Please share your 2011 picks with us in the comments section.
You may also enjoy:
Movie Rundown: March 2011-includes my initial thoughts (in video form while wearing a ridiculous wig) on Take Me Home Tonight, Red State, Certified Copy, Limitless and Potiche.
Movie Rundown: May 2011-includes my initial thoughts on Last Night and Passion Play.
Top Sexy Romances-w/ Damage starring Juliette Binoche & Wild Orchid starring Mickey Rourke
The Sexy Kyle Gallner
The Sexy Milla Jovovich
The Sexy Bradley Cooper
Movie Rundown: February 2011-includes my initial thoughts on The Resident
Web Oodles 5/20/10-includes awesome photos of Megan Fox and Mickey Rourke
Since today was the first day of the end of the world (rolls eyes), let’s do this shit. I feel like I would be remiss if I didn’t address actual end of the world theories so those are at the end.
Click the title of the film to go purchase it on Amazon (or another store) or just check out the widget at the end of this post. Clicking on the date will take you to the IMDB to read more on the film.
Last Night (1998)
“I don’t give a damn. People are always saying ‘The children. Pity the children’. I’m tired of the children. They haven’t lived, given birth, watch their friends die. I have invested 80 years in this life. The children don’t know what they’re missing. “
My favorite doomsday film is not a special effects laden film. In fact, there are none in it. This is a little known independent film that focuses on a group of characters and what they would each be doing on their last day on Earth. This is your type of film if you are a “life is about the journey, not the destination” person. We never learn why the world is ending. That isn’t the point. It’s about what, as an individual person, you would be doing. Some just want to see their family, some want to do something that they have never done before, etc. The film was written, directed by and stars Don McKellar. The film also stars Sandra Oh, Sarah Polley, David Cronenberg, Callum Keith Rennie, Tracy Wright and Geneviève Bujold. It’s fantastic!
A Thief in the Night (1972)
“That’s right, Jenny, in a way it is free, what I mean is it doesn’t cost anything but your life.” “That sounds pretty expensive.”
This was a Christian propaganda rapture film. Apparently it’s the first in a 4 part series (yeah, I don’t get that either). Plot: “The film deals with Patty, a young woman who knows and has heard the Christian gospel but dismisses it due to her satisfaction with secular life. One morning she wakes up to discover that her husband, a Christian, and millions of others have disappeared. Gradually, Patty realizes that the Rapture, mentioned in the Bible, has happened and she is living in the last days of the Antichrist. A government system called UNITE is set up and those who do not receive the mark identifying them with UNITE will be arrested.” (from Wikipedia). I haven’t seen this film since I was 13 but I did just watch some clips on YouTube and it’s still creepy as fuck. When I was in junior high and attending a local church they had movie nights on the weekend sometimes (ostensibly to keep us off the streets and from getting into trouble, etc.). Because it was a church they usually only played stuff like Charlie Chaplin shorts or other really old schtick whilst lamenting that they could only play that type of thing because it was for families. My friends and I would alternately watch this stuff while passing notes and joking, etc. Basically this was a good way to talk to boys that we only had the chance to see at church. So the night that they decided to play this freaky ass end of the world film was definitely unexpected (and probably would have made younger kids piss their pants). The film stars Patty Dunning, Mike Niday, Collen Niday, Maryann Rachford, Thom Rachford, Duane Coller, Russell S. Doughten Jr. and Clarence Balmer.
The War of the Worlds (1938) (Note: MP3 of audio recording)
In 1938 the now celebrated Orson Welles narrated a radio drama of H.G. Wells’ novel The War of the Worlds about about an alien invasion. They sneakily played it as news bulletins to freak people out. However it aired on Halloween so many people actually knew it was all in good fun. Adolf Hitler cited the panic as “evidence of the decadence and corrupt condition of democracy.” I am from a small town with our own AM radio station (woot!, we don’t need uh anything created past 1906) which used to air this on Halloween. I have no idea if they still do. When I was young and first heard it I had to ask my father about it and it blew my mind. Yes, I have seen the Tom Cruise film adaptation and although many hate it I would say that it’s decent.
“Stay with me. I know how this sounds, but I’ve mapped these numbers to the dates of every major global disaster from the last 50 years in perfect sequence. Earthquakes, fires, tsunamis. The next number on the chain predicts that tomorrow, somewhere on the planet, 81 people are going to die, in some kind of tragedy. “
Knowing is a film starring Nic Cage as a professor who by discovering that a series of numbers has predicted the world’s past tragedies is able to predict the end of the world. Knowing was panned by many people. My guess is that is because people often do not like to watch more intelligent people than them on film. Personally I am no math whiz but highly enjoyed this film. Rose Byrne costars. I should also mention that this film does show catastrophes happening on screen (as the previous films do not).
Plot: “Robert Neville (played by the late Charlton Heston), a doctor, due to an experimental vaccine, is the only survivor of an apocalyptic war waged with biological weapons. The plague caused by the war has killed everyone else except for a few hundred deformed, nocturnal people calling themselves The Family”. (from IMDB.com). So Omega Man is technically post-apocalyptic but I had to include it. The film has been spoofed (awesomely I might add) by The Simpsons. Will Smith also made a film version based on the original book called I Am Legend which has been universally panned and made fun of on Cracked.com many times. I’ve never been interested in watching it. I also really don’t care for how Will Smith rips things off all of the time without acknowledging it.
Adam Sandler’s hilarious comedy Little Nicky is more of a fish out of water story about the devil’s son but the reason Nicky comes to Earth is that Nicky’s brothers are trying to bring Hell to Earth. If you too love the late Mr. Beefy, go here. The film costars Patricia Arquette, Harvey Keitel, Rhys Ifans, Tiny Lister, Rodney Dangerfield, Allen Covert, Peter Dante, Jonathan Loughran, Robert Smigel, Reese Witherspoon, Dana Carvey, Jon Lovitz, Kevin Nealon, Michael McKean, Quentin Tarantino and Ozzy Osbourne.
Honorable Mentions: The Thing and The Faculty are about the end of one group of people (not the entire world) but that could spread to the whole world. Strange Days (1995) was set on the last day of 1999 (which was another time in the past that people predicted the world would end). Although there are people in the film celebrating or fearing “the end of days” and the film kicks off with Ralph Fiennes listening to a call in radio show with the voice of Winona Ryder as a devout Christian who believes that this is the end, none of the main characters believe in/are addressing this fear.
This list is short (for one of my lists) but I feel no need to pad it because these are my personal favorites and what I consider to be the best. Go here for a huge list of apocalyptic films.
On End of the World Theories
As a guide I’ve been answering the question the question “When is the end of the world?” for years. Today’s (May 21, 2011) prediction comes from Harold Camping of Family Radio Worldwide who goes around predicting the end of the world every once in a while to sell you something. The big date that has been circulating for years is December 21, 2012 which some will tell you that Nostradamus or alternately the Mayans predicted. After answering that question for months I felt a compulsion to research it a bit myself. Though I am now an educated (i.e. I studied many religions before coming to the decision) atheist and former non-denominational Christian (used to attend a Baptist church and prior to that a Lutheran, but leaning towards Catholic, church) I had to know if Nostradamus predicted this.
If you’ve watched any of those History Channel Nostradamus programs you may also think that the guy was pretty fascinating and possibly onto something, as some of his predictions seem to have come true. I don’t have a link for this as I looked it up years ago, but Nostradamus being linked to this date was inferred by another guy who linked it up via puzzle pieces so I wouldn’t put much stock in it.
Christians will tell you that the exact date of their rapture isn’t written down yet, you just have to be ready. Scientists will tell you that the sun will eventually burn up Earth and all of the other planets billions of years from now, so you don’t need to worry.
Check It Out–The Yuppie Survivalists at Details.com-my favorite apocalypse article ever!
(I asked Jenny if she had any photos of her and Christian Kane together. She no longer had any of those. However she was able to find the 4th photo down that I have now added. She stated that it is a photo of Christian’s parents with Alissa as a baby. Behind them on the wall there are 2 family photos both of which appear to feature a very young Christian Kane.)
You can view more photos of her here.
(click it to see the full sized photo)
I’m a huge twitter fanatic and I do check out who people are before I follow them back. Recently after making a Kane comment (while listening to his latest album) I noticed that a woman named Jennifer Ekl Stoker was following me. All of her tweets were dealing with her claim that she has a daughter that was fathered by actor/singer Christian Kane. For some reason no one is taking her seriously or trying to get her story out. I have 2 theories as to why this has been happening.
She is mainly contacting Christian Kane fans whom do not want to hear anything negative about him or it’s because casual movie goers and TV watchers probably do not recognize Christian Kane by name.
Who Is Christian Kane?
Your Crash Course-Christian Kane is currently starring in the successful TNT series Leverage. as Eliot Spencer, nicknamed “The Hitter” because of his martial arts skills. Many fangirls, myself included, have been following Kane’s career since he portrayed Lindsey McDonald on Joss Whedon’s Buffy The Vampire Slayer spin-off, Angel.
Christian Kane is also a country rock singer. You can check out some of his music directly below.
Now that you are up to speed on who that familiar face, Christian Kane is, check out my interview with Jennifer Stoker. (The interview was conducted via email and I have not edited her answers for authenticity.)
Hello Jennifer Stoker,
Are you claiming that your daughter Alissa Haley Barosh’s father is actor/singer Christian Kane?
Yes, Alissa Haley Barosh’s biological father is Christian Kane
How and where did you meet Christian? What was Christian’s name when you met?
Chris and I met at the University of Oklahoma. I was in the sorority Alpha Chi Omega and he was an ATO pledge. We were having one of our sorority philanthropy called “Mr Spring Fling”. Each fraternity selected one of their pledges or members to participate. Each man was to perform a dance that we taught them for the contest. It took a few weeks. I happened to be assigned to the ATO (Chris Short). He came in 2nd I believe.
Did you engage in a long love affair?
It wasn’t Love affair because we were not in love but did see each other occasionally over several months ( and almost an entire summer). honestly a FWB thing.
What caused the two of you to break up? Did Christian leave you while you were pregnant or after you gave birth?
I told him I was pregnant over the summer of 1993. He said he was not ready to be a father and didn’t have “cash” ( a term he used a lot). He didn’t want me to have an abortion,,thank goodness). I never would have agreed to that.
I was forced to move home with my parents and back to Texas and leave the sorority. I was staying in an apt that summer to work with my roomate (rush chairman) on upcoming sorority Rush.
Has he ever met or spoken with his daughter?
He hasn’t ever spoken to Alissa but she would like to meet him
Did he ever make any promises to you regarding marriage or regarding helping you to raise Alissa?
I Never wanted to marry Chris.
Is it true that you were in contact with Christian’s parents in the past? Have they had a relationship with their granddaughter?
His parents, Pamela and Mike Short were contacted by my parents regarding the situation and were made aware. They were (as well as him) sent a birth announcement, several letters (sent via certified mail), pics of Alissa and some phone calls on both ends. I drove to norman Ok when she was a baby to show my sorority sisters my precious daughter and to contact Chris (who was working as a waiter) and show Alissa to his parents. I showed up with Alissa and friends to his restaurant he didn’t” appear” to be happy but he did recognize us. I called him later and asked if he wanted to see her and he said “no, it will be too hard”. I called his mom and she said I was wekcome to come over. I did and even took pics of Alissa with his folks. Pam even kept in contact for several months (but not ver consistantly). She called to make sure we made it back to Houston okay. The last phone conversation we had she said I was looking at the whole situation with “rose-colored glasses” and Chris was going through. A hard time with everything and seeing all pics I sent them. She said they were basically loosing their son and were chosing him over their granddaughter.
Is he listed as the father of Alissa on her birth certificate or did he refuse to sign it?
He wasn’t listed on birth certificate because he wasn’t present at the time of the birth. He did however give me “some” info in regards to his family medical history as well as his ss# before I left Oklahoma. I in return turned that info over to the state, as I was applying for Medicaid
The attorney general opened the case a couple times I believe but because his legal name was Christopher Michael Short and listed at his parents address in Oklahoma it made the process difficult. They wanted us both to appear in Oklahoma for dna test but he was in California and going under the stage name Christian Kane so that trip would have been costly and pointless. Frustrated I gave up for a little while. Then tried contacting his sites and no luck.
If you have talked to him or anyone who represents him does he deny both the fact that he fathered your daughter and that you had a relationship or only that he is the father?
He has never denied that Alissa is his child (not that I have ever heard). I just never really heard anything and figured they were just ignoring me in the hope I would just loose interest or leave the issue alone
What are your intentions? Is your main objective to receive back child support for her, to reunite them, or both?
Intentions are both for the benefits of Alissa.
Is it true that you are currently in talks with Eric Griffin of Brand X Management (who represents Christian Kane) regarding the legalities of this matter?
I emailed Eric and he emailed me back and said that he would forward my info to the “legal authorities”. I should hear something within 3 days of them receiving my contact information. Eric said that he wasn’t the one to talk to basically.
Disclaimer: (AKA-You can’t sue me) What is my opinion? Information that she mentions from Christian’s past (ex. the college that he attended, his birth name) are true. I also think that her daughter does look like him. However I am being neutral here. I am giving her a platform to have her say. I am not siding with anyone. And yes, I’m a Kane fan and have nothing against him.
The October 3, 2011 issue of Star Magazine with Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds on the cover (“Sandra & Ryan’s Secret…Texas Wedding!“) includes a small blurb mentioning Jennifer Stoker’s story. It’s entitled “Leverage Star Christian Kane’s Secret Love Child” and is on page 34.
FYI-I have been asked for information on what is currently going on with this (May 2014). If you read the story then you will see that the girl is of age as of now. Not only that but this post is functioning like a news article. You would not demand a news outlet go dig up an article from years ago and alter it. Also, this is my personal blog. I post what I want on here. Thank you for reading.