I realize that February is a little late for a year in review, but considering we’re in the height of award season I feel the subject is still relevant. Besides, I like listing things. So 2010 was an interesting (sort of) year for the movies. Theaters were yet again flooded with remakes, sequels, and ugh, 3D glasses (I’ll spare you of my grievances with 3D for another time). Personally, I thought the general quality of the films released last year bordered on extremes. In other words, I constantly found myself leaving the theater in complete awe or intense disgust, with a few exceptions of course. Anyway, let’s get to specifics. While I saw A LOT of movies this year, there are some I have yet to see, so let’s start there.
Still On My List:
The King’s Speech (EDIT: Saw it just in time for the Oscars. Amazing!)
2) 127 Hours
3) The Town
4) Winter’s Bone
5) Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
Normally I love me some Scorsese, but Shutter Island came up short for me. I found the background music to be laughably overdramatic, and the overall “flow” of the film was a bit choppy. I felt Mark Ruffalo actually out-shined Leonardo DiCaprio, who I failed to make any emotional connection with the entire film. While I was intrigued with the complexities of the plot and appealing aesthetics, I constantly found myself checking my watch thinking, “Oh my god, how has it only been _ minutes? When is something actually going happen?” The much desired climax of the film finally arrives in last 2o minutes or so, but it’s so over the top and spastic, it’s hardly satisfying.
Honorable Mention: Black Swan
I can see why it’s big with critics and all the award shows, but sorry, Black Swan did nothing for me. I felt this film was trying too hard to be dramatic and complex that it was almost campy. Perhaps it was Darren Aronofsky’s intention to create more of a campy thriller/horror, but I just could not take it seriously. As much as it pains me to say this, I did not find Natalie Portman that impressive either. It was a solid piece of acting, however, I didn’t find it particularly Oscar-worthy. In fact, I actually found the performances of Barbara Hershey and Vincent Cassel to be the stand outs of the film. On the bright side, Black Swan has some stunning cinematography, which further enhanced the intricate yet beautiful choreography.
It’s really refreshing to see a teen comedy that’s intelligent and actually funny. Easy A does contain many “coming of age” cliches, however, they are approached with a fresh and inventive perspective. Emma Stone, as the lead Olive Penderghast, is hilarious and delivers her witty dialogue effortlessly. (She’s one of the next best things in Hollywood, and you can quote me on that.) Despite some flaws, it is one of the best teen comedies I’ve seen in years. Check out this short clip (my favorite scene):
Favorite Guilty Pleasure:
Plot? Meh. Characters? Meh. Dialogue? Meh. A soundtrack by Daft Punk? Sweet! Crazy fights scenes with glowing discs and motorcycles that generate in thin air? HELL YES. A lot of people did not like this “sequel”, but I thought it was awesome. Perhaps they didn’t bother to turn off their brains like you’re supposed to do in such films. Or maybe I just like things that glow.
I need one of these.
Honorable Mention: Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
A movie geared towards kids but enjoyable for all ages. Fast-moving, lots of action, and a cast with surprising depth. I can’t wait to see Logan Lerman as D’Artagnan in the upcoming Three Musketeers reboot. Like Emma Stone, I feel he has a great future ahead of him.