Best of 2010
10. True Grit
The Coen Bros. latest film doesn’t particularly show the grit we’ve come to love from films like “No Country For Old Men” and “Fargo,” but it doesn’t do anything wrong either. Even though the story didn’t particularly keep me on the edge of my seat like I expected it to, it did have realism going for it. Shot beautifully to provide the vibe of the old west, and acted aptly by a cast of Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon and Josh Brolin, it created an entertaining period piece that shows the Coens’ range.
9. The King’s Speech
Many people may fail to recognize the importance of public speaking. We live in an age where Obama was able to swoon and promote an American people toward his election with the same ease Hitler misguided an entire country towards pure hatred. Words are power. “The King’s Speech” proves this point, through the painful stutters of King George VI. The cast is excellent; Colin Firth embracing the role with scary accuracy and Geoffrey Rush providing quirky, yet engaging acting as a speech therapist. While not the most attractive story, it is very well done and a great film.
8. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
Director Edgar Wright of “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz” fame decided to branch from his traditional blend of stylish British humor, to a blend of stylish Japanese graphic novels. While admittedly fast-paced, the movie is a rush to the head that leaves viewers wanting more: an eclectic one-two teenage punch with character to boot.
7. The Town
Ben Affleck, not only the star but also director of “The Town,” continues his Hollywood comeback in full stride (already set to be the star of Terrence Malick’s future project). This gritty heist film goes toe-to-toe with classics like “Heat” and “Ocean’s 11,” with a hardworking Boston cast to boot. Jeremy Renner and Blake Lively shine as run-down Bostonians and associates of Ben Affleck’s exploits in the film. The last 30 minutes will keep audiences breathless, and glad to see Ben Affleck back in the saddle.
What is there to say about “Inception” that hasn’t already been said? It’s an epic and enthralling film that keeps you glued through its entirety, constantly making audiences question what is actually reality. Proving that not all hope is gone for original thoughts in Hollywood, Nolan demonstrates he is director/writer gold.
5. Shutter Island
While many may have forgotten about “Shutter Island,” as it premiered after the 2009 Oscars, most certainly have not. Martin Scorsese proves that he can do more than simple De Niro / DiCaprio combos, but instead can direct a completely compelling thriller.
4. The Fighter
The best sports film since “Raging Bull,” “The Fighter” shows a struggling Massachusetts family with two fighters as sons (both in their own rights). Christian Bale provides the best acting displayed this year as a dysfunctional ex-boxer and crack addict. He is dauntingly good, and commands your attention every scene he is in. Amy Adams also stands out, and after her amazing performance as a quiet nun in “Doubt,” she blows people away once more as a rugged bartender.
3. Toy Story 3
Skeptics may think a film with toys in McDonald’s Happy Meals couldn’t take them on the greatest emotional ride of this past year. However, “Toy Story 3” is the greatest animated film ever, primarily because it’s more than meets the eye. It acts as a drama, tragedy, comedy and action film all in one; a tour de force of cinema that tops not only any Pixar film, but any Disney film ever.
2. Black Swan
The most visceral and draining experience you may ever sit through, “Black Swan” shows the evolution of a director capable of touching the soul. Serving as a culmination of Darren Aronofsky’s prior films, the talented director takes bits and pieces from “Requiem for a Dream” through unrelenting direction and style, as well as “The Wrestler,” with an abrasive story line and characters. Natalie Portman shines as the leading lady, transforming into a shockingly dark, black creature as the film progresses.
1. The Social Network
As news traveled about an “Untitled Facebook Movie” in the works, skepticism was abundant, with people questioning who in their right mind would make a film about a website. Yet after three years, Facebook has almost one billion members, Mark Zuckerberg is almost the richest man in the world and “The Social Network” is the most important film of our time. It is a masterpiece, the best film of the year (possibly decade). Credit goes to Aaron Sorkin for the sexy, sleek, smart, and most importantly, addictive writing. David Fincher’s directorial style works well here, especially in the opening scene where Fincher’s shots play off Sorkin’s complex script like a tennis match. The acting has made Oscar potentials out of young and ambitious actors. Jesse Eisenberg is the wise punk we all love to hate and hate to love, and Andrew Garfield shows off true acting chops as Zuckerberg’s cohort. The film is firing on all cylinders, and is one of the greatest films ever.
The Worst of 2010
6. Valentine’s Day:
Director Ken Kwapis began a new romantic comedy trend in 2009 by casting many A-list actors into one film with “He’s Just Not That Into You.” This year, director Gary Marshall tried the same tactic with “Valentine’s Day.” However, a movie that features big name actors doesn’t necessarily make it a good film. Unlike “He’s Just Not That Into You,” “Valentine’s Day” doesn’t fluidly intertwine the film’s many different subplots. Horrid performances by Taylor Swift and Taylor Lautner don’t help either. The film’s opening day earnings of $21 million can most likely be attributed to females who dragged their significant others to the theater to celebrate the February holiday.
5. The Last Song
“The Last Song” targets chick-flick loving teens everywhere in an attempt to live up to the hype of previous hits like “A Walk to Remember” and “The Notebook.” The characters and plot seem all too familiar and predictable, because they are— young lovers separated and facing disaster together was an idea much too close to that of “Dear John,” released just one month prior. Miley Cyrus also leaves a lot to be desired as the leading lady, as she is a long way away from her Disney Channel days.
4. When In Rome
Despite likeable performances in comedies such as “Couples Retreat” and “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” Kristen Bell made a poor career choice starring in “When in Rome.” The film itself lacks any real substance, as it tries too hard to become a romantic comedy classic. The film poorly encompasses too many romantic comedy elements which come together to create one outlandish plot. The film’s only saving grace is Nick Beamon (Josh Duhamel), whose good looks help to pass the movie’s 91 minutes.
3. Little Fockers
Although “Meet the Parents” and “Meet the Fockers” are comedy favorites, “Little Fockers” fails to perform despite high expectations left over from its predecessors. Although the plot is a practical and relatable direction for the sequel, Gaylord Focker (Ben Stiller) and Jack Burns (Robert De Niro) are unsurprising as they exhibit the same antics from the first two movies. Poor performances from secondary characters like Andy Garcia (Jessica Alba) and Kevin Rawley (Owen Wilson) add to the film’s demise, as well as minimal screen time for Gaylord’s parents (Barbra Streisand and Dustin Hoffman). Unfortunately, the most humorous scenes are spoiled in the film’s trailer. It’s safe to speculate this is the last “Focker” installment.
2. Sex And The City 2
It may be hard to believe, but the first “Sex and the City” movie had more depth than its sequel. The second just shows the four women vacationing in Abu Dhabi, with a completely pointless plot. Viewers may have stayed tuned in for all the fashion and fun the famous foursome have brought to the series. However, the movie is far-fetched in comparison to the lovable plots from previous years. Even though the movie performed fairly well, raking in almost $37 million its first weekend, the first film was more successful, reaching almost $57 million in 2008.
1. How Do You Know
How do you know this movie is awful? You know this movie is lacking when an all-star cast featuring Jack Nicholson, Paul Rudd, Reese Witherspoon, and Owen Wilson couldn’t easily wow an audience looking for a romantic comedy. Witherspoon is charismatic and loveable as always, while she struggles in the middle of a love triangle. The idea for the movie, as well as how Rudd and Witherspoon fall for each other, is admirable. However, it falls short of delivering, with a very slow start that fails miserably to pick up any steam. The movie is lackluster, which is surprising given the impressive team of A-listers involved. The film earned just $7 million in its opening weekend.
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