Before 2011 drifts too far from memory, we’d like to call out a few non-musical things that made the year worthwhile.
The weeks never have enough hours for us to watch all the films that we want to see and every year our catch-up list grows. Here’s the scant few titles that left an impression, some of which we actually saw.
TROLLHUNTER – Released in Norway in 2010, this clever horror film reached the United States in 2011 and breathed some life into the overused and overspent faux-documentary gimmick. It’s the rare combination of horror and comedy that delivers on both.
EXTRATERRESTRIAL – We haven’t even seen this yet but we’re putting it up here because the trailer is pretty exciting. Every genre flick is looking for a fresh angle and it appears that the inventive director Nacho Vigalondo may have one by framing that tired old alien invasion story through the bleary eyes of a one-night-stand couple shaking off what may be their last questionable decision.
On that same note, we also hold hope that Attack the Block does the same trick with the same trope with a different but equally promising execution. And it was a complete surprise to us how much we enjoyed the remake of Fright Night. Against all sense, it justified its existence. Sadly, that may convince Hollywood to keep on remaking things that are better off left alone.
WONDERPUTT -- Keep your Xbox and "Words with Friends", this free online PC game from DampGnat is the shiny, candy-like button we keep pressing. Get a Slushee and some stale tortilla chips with orange cheese sauce to make the miniature golf experience complete.
RADIO ENDURANCE TEST – Invented by our own bastard publisher, S.L. Kreighton, RET is simple: Get in the car, turn on the radio, find a song you know but normally avoid, and listen. Repeat this exercise until madness sets in, or worst of all, win by coming around and learning to enjoy a song you thought you hated. For two or more players, take turns finding a song you know one or more of the other players hates, set the dial and watch them squirm. Okay, so not a game really as much as a form of torture. It’s free though and it really happens.
HARK! A VAGRANT – Kate Beaton has been drawing her clever comic strip for a few years now but we only just discovered it this year. The Canadian artist with a history degree squeezes laughs from literature, history (duh), pop culture and everyday weird stuff that inspires her consistently funny work.
THE DEFENDERS – We hadn’t touched a mainstream superhero comic in years, but Marvel’s revival of this late Silver Age title intrigued us enough to buy the first issue and was good enough to bring us back for the forthcoming second issue. The debut has a “getting the band back together” feel and doesn’t shy away from mild humor in the service of a Lovecraft knock-off plot.
Worth a Mention -- We missed the first few issues of DC’s Wonder Woman relaunch but word on the street is they finally figured out what to do with the Amazon warrior princess.
Similarly, we missed the start of Image’s Mudman, but from what we’ve seen, it’s one of the better takes on the tired superhero concept.
Perhaps both the new Wonder Woman and Mudman will soon be collected in a trade paperback and we can eat it all at once the same way we tackled Ultra, The Walking Dead and Great Lakes Avengers.