There are few things in life that give me greater joy than taking a time out from life and watching a movie. I watched a lot this past year, a few horrible ones, a few good ones, and a bunch that make me feel indifferent.
I watched a handful early in the year, then stopped when I had to move. Started to pick up a little more towards the end of the year. Oh, and as you can tell, I was only able to watch more mainstream stuff. So no international and super-indie films. But I always welcome recommendations.
(in no particular order)
Director: Christopher Nolan
-So lets start out with the most popular one out of my list. Yes, this got hyped beyond belief. It seemed like a lot of people who saw it turned into film experts overnight. And these same people, when upon learning you hadn’t seen it yet, would treat the spoilers like government secrets. I waited until I went to San Diego for Comic-Con to watch it. Normally with hype, I turn into a cynic and anticipate the giant expectations not to be matched. But after watching this, I had to admit defeat and say it was actually really good. Did it deserve all the hype? I don’t think so. Was it the best movie I had ever seen? Nope. But you had to admit it was well made and the thing that always separates the good films from the bad ones: the details. You could tell Nolan took his time and made sure he thought about everything. And to this day (despite article after article discussing it), debates arise over what the meaning of the ending is. This was the default movie-to-watch for 2010.
2) Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
Director: Edgar Wright
-If you didn’t see this movie…don’t feel bad. Really, nobody did. And it’s quite a shame too because this was definitely a very unique film. It tried to fit several books of the Scott Pilgrim series all in less than two hours. Quite a task and is at least part of the reason why the pacing of the film made you feel like you were running the 100-meter dash. It’s kinda “Napoleon Dynamite”, in the sense that it’s a film that has a very different style to it, thus will be very polarizing. I know people who loved it and people who thought it was horrible. The amount of video game references made my heart weep and some of the scenes are so over-the-top, it had to have come from a comic. The viewing experience was really fun and it’s sad how not enough movies give you that. And I’ve always wanted a pee bar to show up every time I go to the bathroom.
Director: Matthew Vaughn
-Another film based on a comic book. Another film that was just a lot of fun. But a whole lot more violent. You get to see the evolution of a teenager, who has no superpowers, as he turns into a masked crime fighter. I loved pretty much everything about this movie; the theme, action, acting, music, etc. And who can’t love a film where a really young girl curses up a storm and kills dozens of grown men? Okay, I can think of a few people, but not myself. I loved that most of the action scenes required little to no special effects…just pure imagination and a really small stunt double. I can’t wait for a sequel to come out soon.
4) The Social Network
Director: David Fincher
-My main gripes with this film is its factual inaccuracies and horrible portrayal of women. Everything else about it has made it a lock for the annual awards shows. Looking at it from a film making, storytelling lens, it’s a compelling story. It’s full of drama, betrayal, power, greed, etc. Everything that keeps one interested in a movie. The acting performances were great…yes, that’s including Justin Timberlake. The soundtrack was done by Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross (who just won a Golden Globe for Best Score)…nuff said. As a movie, it was great. But that’s not to downplay the first two negatives about the film. Ultimately, that’s what will stop this film from being on a lot of lists. Let’s see if it’ll cost it an Academy Award for Best Picture.
5) The Town
Director: Ben Affleck
-I’ve never been a big fan of Ben Aflleck’s work. Acting, directing, and yes, writing. But when my sister kept telling me to watch this film when I was back home for Christmas, I knew I had to give it a chance. And I was definitely surprised. Crime movies always have a special place in my heart, with The Godfather trilogy being a staple in my family and early memories of watching Heat with my brother. This film was about more than shooting, stealing, and drugs. It centered on a community and the relationship the people have with each other. How some people get caught up in a lifestyle and have to made the hard choice to either continue and eventually meet a messy end or find a way to get out. But the action scenes are great and hold up with the best of its genre. And they got people from the neighborhood they focused on to be in the film. Even though Aflleck isn’t from that community, he made the effort to make it authentic. He may have a future in this film industry after all.
Honorable mention: Toy Story 3
Director: Lee Unkrich
-I haven’t seen this yet, but everything I heard was positive and caused a lot of crying. This gets a nod because I’m sure this would be on my list if I had seen it. I mean…I was an actual kid when the first one came out so this trilogy has a special place in my heart. Yes, right next to The Godfather.