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Tuesday, Jan 15, 2013
Ten movies that "almost" made Short Ends and Leader's Year End Best of List... and the reasons why they didn't.

So what is an “almost” film and what part does it play in this, the final Year End evaluation from Short Ends and Leader? After all, we’ve already had a Best of, and a Worst. We’ve even explored the once fruitful realm of the Movies You’ve Never Heard Of. And within each category, we discussed other titles, films we would have included had the lists been more than a mere 10 choices long. So where does the “almost” movie fit in? How is it defined, and better still, why include another collection as part of a separate list? Well, every year, Hollywood waits until the last minute to unleash its award season specials on us suspecting critics, and every year we have to make a margin call when it comes to combined aesthetics. Sometimes, a movie fails to make the grade in one important category. Perhaps it just wasn’t “as good” as the other entries making up the final thumbs up/thumbs down tally.

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Wednesday, Jan 9, 2013
There was more good and god-awful this year, making this particular Top Ten a tough one to compile.

Sometimes, you just gotta hate Hollywood and not for the normal reasons. Sure, the constantly pander to the lowest common denominator while pretending to care about cultural tastes, but when dollars come to donuts, they really only care about cashing in, and most of said scratch is apparently coming from a far less critical international community. Still, every year, like Swiss engineered clockwork, the studios unleash their biggest guns, giving us critics more than a few aesthetic hissy fits. As we complain for 11 long months about the lack of quality in our local cineplex, the last four weeks of the year come along and whisk us away to a world where auteurs make powerful personal statements and the tried and true award season stalwarts wake up and show us their creative best.

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Tuesday, Jan 8, 2013
The year in cinematic slop with many more possibilities than praise worthy products.

With the fluctuating tastes of the international public, and the undeniable lure of the quick cash buck, making a Worst of List for any year is a trial. After all, you have to wade through a sea of sloppy indie drivel, many a homemade horror show (both literally and figuratively), and enough supposed comedies/romances/combination of the two to choke a champion mare. The democratization and micromanaging of the medium has lead to offerings specifically geared toward a more than specific segment of the cinematic populace. Thus, Tyler Perry keeps cranking out the crudely baked morality tales while fright and terror are delivered in tepid, ready for the teen market mediocrity.

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Tuesday, Dec 4, 2012
Tired of the same old holiday hokum? Here's 10 examples, both sincere and sinister, that will make your yuletide, if not bright, at least a bit more bearable.

When Santa sits back in his North Pole office and tallies up the boy and girl balance sheet every year, one wonders what exactly he uses as a means of measurement. It used to be that obeying one’s parents, doing well in school, and avoiding the pitfalls and problems of growing up were the essential benchmarks for a ranking of “good”, while putting a tack on teacher’s chair, pouring ink on Mommy’s rug and filling the sugar bowl with ants warranted a score of “bad” and a mandatory gift of furnace fuel, aka coal. But now, in a world that excuses almost any behavior as part of the maturation process, it must be impossible to differentiate between disobedient and merely misunderstood.

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Tuesday, Nov 27, 2012
The Oscars ceremony on February 24 may seem like a long way off, but the Best Picture race is already beginning to take shape.

Well, folks. It’s that time of year again. The best of the best are being thrust out into theaters at a rate so rapid it’s almost impossible to keep up with—taking a work vacation from November through January is really the only way to see all these wonderful films.

Why do the studios wait until the last minute to release their best work? Were they all procrastinating school children who waited until the night before their science project was due and still haven’t kicked the habit? No. Unlike those irresponsible kiddies, these marketing moguls have a good reason for keeping their most artistic accomplishments hidden until the last possible moment.

The Oscars.

A few studios have positioned their films not only for a rewarding run at the box office, but also a successful nominations’ day at the Academy (and thus even more money from the ensuing extended theatrical run). The following 10 films currently have the best odds at scoring the coveted Best Picture nomination thanks to glowing reviews, big money at the box office, and/or savvy marketing campaigns.

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