Thursday, December 16, 2010

Rent or skip: 2010

As I flew through the songs list with ease, I always knew in the back of my mind my next step would be a list of my favourite movies from 2010, being that it'd be logical and given that I'm such a huge fan of movies, it'd be a piece of cake.  It's quite the opposite.

Music is much more accessible; with movies, I had to consider multiple things, and my field of choices is narrow.  I first had to have seen the movie, then I verify that it is indeed a 2010 release and not an older movie that I watched in the year; then I'd have to like it, and then I'd have to pick not one but ten.  I quickly found that that was impossible.  I hardly went to the movies this year, and the times that I did, I came away hating what I had just seen.  As well, I'm in no place ranking the best movies of the year, as I missed out on some - I haven't seen the majority of the Oscar contenders; some haven't even come out - and therefore it'd be improper for me to list a movie like A Nightmare on Elm Street as "my 6th favourite movie of the year" simply because I've SEEN it and haven't seen something like Black Swan or The Kids Are Alright.  (I want to see both)  Maybe in some cases, the movie has yet to be released - well, I guess I'm only thinking of one specifically, and it's Tron Legacy.

Therefore, my alternative is this: I'll pick ten movies that I HAVE seen this year, and rank them from worst to best, using subheadings ranging from The Amazing to The Ugly.

(I also look forward to this list much more than I did to my music list, as I find a person's musical tastes are subject to more scrutiny, probably because there's such a wide range to choose from and I visibly stuck to the mainstream.  Movies are movies - independent movies are just as moving or excellent as blockbusters, and had I seen some lesser known films in 2010, I would've included them.)

I hated this movie.  I knew, somehow, that going into the movie I wouldn't like it; I was right.  Not that it wasn't well done; in fact, quite the opposite.  The movie is visually spectacular, and the use of special effects were impressive (at times).  Despite all that, there was just something preventing me from enjoying the movie - the story wasn't really all there (it still felt like a string of encounters with strange characters) and the characters were difficult to relate to.  I was no fan of Johnny Depp in this movie, and had I not seen the exact same character everywhere in every movie she's in, I would've enjoyed Helena Bonham Carter.  I tried my hardest to enjoy the movie, but my attempts came up short; I couldn't deny the fact that despite it all, I hated it.

I really don't have much to say here, it's a given.  If anything, though, it was a definite improvement over New Moon, but that doesn't say much at all.  I think a movie's fate is instantly sealed when its headlining stars are Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson.  (I must say I need to commend myself from not launching into an I Hate Twilight rant, picking out all the flaws, but it's been so overdone that it's not effective anymore.  It's like making a parody of something that's already a parody itself)

Yikes.  Speaking of a movie's doom when considering who starred in it.. when you have Christina Aguilera, a singer turned actress (when has that ever actually worked?) up against Cher, who looks like she needs to get back to her crypt.. there's nothing but horror to come out of it.  I full well knew that going into the movie, I was doing so for a laugh - in addition to seeing two of my favourite actresses, Kristen Bell (who, I would say, stole the movie as a psychotic burlesque dancer in a downward spiral) and Dianna Agron (completely shedding her Glee image in the two minutes she's onscreen by screaming and swearing).  Not even they, or the music, could save this movie.  Far too long, far too laughable.

As a horror movie by itself, it's certainly better than those made these days; visually disturbing at times, the movie goes beyond the run of the mill horror movies out there, with stupid premises and over-reliance on gimmicks.  However, I think one of the biggest flaws is the fact that the jump scares become so constant that they become uneffective - I'd much prefer more disturbing scenes with the horror upfront (as the movie does) than the expected scares from right around the corner.  Now, as a remake, it too is better than most - but I'd be remiss to not mention that the original is miles better regardless of the time period and budget / technological restrictions.  One thing that was improved upon was the concept of micro-naps, where characters are so tired that they become delirious and start dreaming while conscious.  That element added a level of stress while watching the movie, but the effect soon wore off after the first ten or so jump scares using the tactic.

Back in 2008, I had little to no expectations for the first Iron Man, and even though I'm a pretty huge fan of superheroes, I had never payed attention to Iron Man at all (and I therefore didn't know about the characters or villains - though I had vague ideas).  Needless to say, I was completely surprised, as I enjoyed it immensely and thought it was actually well done.  The sequel is no different, which is commendable in itself, being able to match the success and quality of the first.  Just as funny, just as action packed, and mindful of the addition of so many characters, a feat which many superhero movies before it have failed at (I'm looking at you, Spider-Man 3).

I loved this movie.  Completely loved it.  I would consider it as an great, but that's just my inner fanboy, since the movie isn't technically as good as the ones I've listed as "better."  I was like watching the pages of a comic book come to life on screen, as characters and violence are both realistic and cartoonish at the same time.  The movie is a perfect example of pure entertainment, and I'm more than confident in 2011's X-Men: First Class in the hands of this director (Matthew Vaughn).

If you've read this blog at all, I'm sure you're already well aware of my thoughts on the seventh film in the series.  To be honest, my outlook improved on my second viewing, since I knew what to expect.  Still, the movie felt a bit drawn out, forcing the few actual events occurring in the first half of the book over a far too long period of time.  Then, I'm faced with the question: do I prefer this - long, half of the story, but keeping most if not all of the aspects of the book, or the entire book as one movie, risking a rushed pace and the omission of some important facts?  Aside from that, I would have to commend the director's effectiveness in making a Harry Potter film work OUTSIDE of Hogwarts, the staple for the past six movies.

This movie was a pleasant surprise for me; I went in hearing good review upon good review, good recommendation after recommendation.  While at times dry or slow, the real strong points are the performances by the cast; I actually came to loathe the character of Mark Zuckerberg, wanting to desperately punch him in the face, so I guess that's completely due to the effective acting onscreen.  Even Justin Timberlake was better than I expected, though it was difficult to get over him as an actor; he was never his character but always Justin Timberlake playing his character.

I cried.  Maybe that's an indication of how effective this movie is.  It was absolutely heartbreaking to witness this movie, especially the end, as I felt like my the ounces of childhood I still was hanging on to were completely vanquished.  Being the English student I am, this movie was like the archetypal loss of innocence, as I practically grew up with the first movies and the characters; now that it's done, I come to realize that so is that part of my life.  Maybe I'm being to sappy, who knows.  I had my reservations going into the movie given that the first two are nearly untouchable in their quality and given that there was such a large space of time between making the second and third, but the third didn't miss a beat and was as good, if not better, than the first two.  I don't even know if I can handle the devastation of watching it again, hah. 

Hands down, the greatest movie of 2010 - I expected nothing less from Christopher Nolan, and am now eagerly awaiting The Dark Knight Returns.  If you haven't seen this movie, shame on you; if you have, you're already aware of everything amazing about this movie, and I need not even explain it.  The plot is extremely complex and mesmerizing; the characters are diverse and well played; the entire movie is an adrenaline rush, and I was on the edge of my seat both times I saw it.

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