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Best of 2010

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1. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
2. The Secret in Their Eyes
3. Inception
4. Shutter Island
5. Animal Kingdom
6. A Prophet
7. True Grit
8. Lebanon
9. The Town
10. The Ghost Writer

Honorable mentions: Winter’s Bone, Toy Story 3.
Best documentary: The Two Escobars.

This is the first time that I can think of where a romantic comedy comes in at number one on my annual list.  Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is a unique film that transcends that genre, but it certainly is both a comedy and romantic.  Leonardo DiCaprio had his best year–at least according to me–and leads the way with starring roles in both Inception and Shutter Island.  All in all an excellent year for film.

I have not seen the following films yet:  127 Hours, Black Swan, The Fighter, and The King’s Speech.  If I think that they should have made the list I will give them honorable mention status, but obviously I did not want to see them enough to make sure I saw them.

Agatha Christie’s ‘Ten Little Indians’

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***

My dear doctor, that proves less than nothing. Doctors have gone mad before. Judges have gone mad. So have policemen, and, if I may say so,
even actresses.

This movie, made in a charming 1950’s style gets a bump up from being ripe for MST3k treatment to watchable thanks to some great costumes and very attractive women.  Plus, the most annoying character gets iced first.  Good call.

Unknown

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**½

I didn’t forget everything. I remember how to kill you, asshole.

Remember The Bourne Identity?  Yeah, this movie is an older, less good Bourne.  I must admit that there’s a few good scenes, particularly one with Frank Langella and an old Stasi agent.  Instead of duking it out with their fists or pistols, they used their minds, with one trying to poison the other, but willing to kill himself in order to avoid letting the other win.  What an amazing scene, but it stands alone.  This is not a bad movie, in fact I enjoyed watching it.  It just pales in comparison to the films it wishes to be.

It is also worth noting that Liam Neeson fails to be the badass he is supposed to be.  That said, it’s a misappropriation of feminism makes the surprising female lead take out several elite secret agents.  As silly as that is, if you buy into the movie it’s all gravy.  If not, it’s just escapist fun.

The Lovely Bones

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***

Grandma Lynn predicted I would live a long life because I had saved my brother. As usual, Grandma Lynn was wrong.

This is a well shot period piece, but it was, at times, like a horror movie.  That is unsurprising with Peter Jackson’s background in horror films.  He uses light and darkness in a very deliberate way here, but it pays off fantastically well when the murder happens.  It really misled me to great effect.  On the other hand, it was a huge cop out not to show the crime. And seems a bit ham fisted to use that device as a signal for innocence or foreboding.

It’s almost a melodrama, or a fantasy, pulling at our heart strings with first kisses, tragedy, life saving…  Unfortunately the film relies on voiceover, which is hard to pull off well. Still, Peter Jackson had Cate Blanchett do a fantastic job of it in the prologue to The Lord of the Rings. While that trilogy worked best with long runtimes, this one drags in the middle.  Why not move along quicker?  I guess that the slow pace also works as a slow burn that makes it really scary at parts, so that is one benefit.  On the other hand, touching family reunions have no part in the climax of films.  All in all, it could have been a great film, but it’s not bad.

Winter’s Bone

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****

Never ask for what oughta be offered.

Poverty is depressing, but is it more depressing than abandoning a family?  I guess sometimes blood runs thin.

Ree, the female lead, is so mature, but then to see her act like a kid sometimes reminds you of just how young she is.  Best actress level acting going on here, but the film is primarily a vehicle for her acting.  As a viewer I am more accustomed to seeing movie stars get these roles, not unknown young actresses.  At first I wished that the story had been a bit clearer, but in the end almost all the answers were there.

We do not even know what the girl’s dad looks like.  It’s impressive to make a film about looking for someone without even giving a recent photograph.  On the bright side, we get to see several fine character actors.  Dale Dickey shows off some grit that her character on My Name Is Earl never had.  Garret Dillahunt and John Hawkes–two of Deadwood’s finest also put in strong performances.  This is a fine tale of sin and redemption worthy of that great show.

A View to a Kill

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If you’re the best they’ve got, they’re more likely try and cover up your embarrassing incompetence.

Poorly shot, poorly acted, with several hokey stunts some of which are amusing, some of which are not.  The front of a car driving?  Not amusing.  This barely qualifies as a Bond movie.  It might be the worst one ever made.  Yuck.

Scary Movie

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**

Look, if it’s about that time I puked green slime and masturbated with a crucifix, it was my first keg party, Bobby!

Anna Faris is really talented and did a very good job in this dumb series of parodies.

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