Sunday, January 16, 2011

COUNTDOWN: The Top Ten Movies of 2010


2010 was a fantastic movie year. And even though it didn't quite surpass the constant excellent quality film-making from 2009, the Oscar season of 2010 was astronomically better. And so making a list this year is much harder than it was last year. It's hard to pick the best of the best without missing some personal favorites from audiences and critics alike. The following movies on this list aren't movies that are necessarily "Best Picture Quality," but are the movies that entertained the most.

In all honesty, I wasn't excited when Disney first announced that their next "Princess Movie" would be a computer animated one. Especially since last years 2D hit, The Swan Princess, almost made it as one of the "great" Disney cartoons. I was even more upset when they announced that the next princess movie was going to be the story of a modern-day Rapunzel, featuring a Rapunzel voiced by Mandy Moore... gross...
Luckily, Disney changed their mind, and went back to a more traditional approach. It didn't matter that they chose to keep Mandy Moore on the project, because Tangled is Disney's best movie in nearly a decade. Thanks to the work done by John Lassetter, this movie has earned it's right in being able to stand tall with all of the other Disney classics, computer animated or not. The story to Tangled is charming, but what really makes it work is the incredible pacing, witty-dialogue, and the FANTASTIC musical score by Alan Menken. The fact that Tangled features Alan Menken changes everything. He is the one thing that The Swan Princess so desperately needed, and his music and lyrics are what bring the film together. Add together the beautiful animation, smart character designs and even the voice talents of Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi (He steals the show), and you have without a doubt one of the finest animated movies of the year. Congratulations Disney.


By now, unless your name is Christopher Nolan and you've managed to make the two greatest comic book movies of all time, the idea of people making comic-book/superhero movies has gotten rather old. Let's face it, Batman Begins and The Dark Knight redefined how a comic book movie should be made, and unless you're a director that's brave enough and willing to try and somehow top Christopher Nolan's masterpieces, then you should stay away from these kind of films. (I'm talking to you Zach Snyder.)
Thankfully, director Matthew Vaughn has a vision of comic-book films that not just unique, it is completely unique. Kick-Ass is not only incredibly entertaining, but literally kicks your ass. Featuring a solid ensemble cast being led by new actor, Aaron Johnson, the story follows a lesser known comic-book story. Sure, it starts off like any other superhero movie, but the familiar plot-line and characters is what makes Kick-Ass work... until it develops into it's own category of superhero awesomeness that must be seen to be believed.
This movie is pretty much 2010's version of 2009's Watchmen. It has everything from the language to the over the top blood and gore. I must also mention that this movie features Nicholas Cage in a movie that I actually liked. (He was also exceptional in The Sorcerer's Apprentice) This was one of the movies that really helped start 2010, and turn it into a fantastic movie year. And I hate to admit it, but Nicholas Cage steals the show.


What's left to be said about Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World that hasn't already been said? Sure, I could say that Edgar Wright's directing is pitch-perfect, and that the film is relentlessly entertaining, but that would be just the icing on this massive cake of a movie. (Heh... I came up with that myself. Go me.)
Just as the subtitle on the poster suggests, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World is indeed an epic of epic epicness when it comes to an epic film. And the strangest part about this flashy comic-book style movie is that it stars Michael Cera. An actor that I normally can't stand... ever. The thing that makes this so strange is the how I can't picture anyone else playing the part of Scott Pilgrim. For once in his pathetic career, Michael Cera has found a role that fits him perfectly... or maybe he's just becoming a good actor, but I kind of tend to doubt that. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World is a perfectly paced film that tells the tale of a young man in a band that is trying with all of his might to make the girl, who is literally the girl of his dreams, fall in love with him. The only problem with this is that in order to do so he must defeat all seven of her evil ex-boyfriends. Sure, it sounds like a video game, and sure the title is stupid, and sure it even stars Michael Cera, but that formula is what makes Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World work so well. Definitely one of the finest movies of the summer and of the year. It's such a pity that the movie ended up being one of the biggest box office flunks of the year, despite the overwhelming praise from critics and fans.


You know, I'm kind of ashamed to say that I was a little skeptical on seeing Toy Story 3. I personally didn't think that the trailers looked that great, and the idea of Pixar's first bad movie being the third part to what could potentially be one of the greatest movie trilogies of all time, kind of scared me. Can you really blame me though? Animated movies and a third part tend to be BAD. (Does anyone remember Shrek 3?) So yes, I let my nerves get to me, and I walked into Toy Story 3 expecting some Dreamwork's quality film making.

Luckily, I was wrong.

Turns out that Toy Story 3 is one of the finest animated movies ever made. The film features surprisingly mature themes and concepts that reflect those that we saw in Toy Story 2 regarding abandonment and growing up, only Toy Story 3 takes it up to a whole new level; the film is almost like three movies in one, a comedy, The Great Escape, and an incredibly moving drama. Sure, now that the hype has died down, there are a lot of people who claim that the movie didn't move them at all, but to those people, I say, "Get a heart." Toy Story 3 is the conclusion to what was my childhood. And anyone that grew up without the magic of these films in their lives was robbed of something great. Toy Story 3 was the highest grossing film of the year for a very big reason, and that reason is that it's just good. Not only did it score a perfect ten out of ten from me, but it received overwhelming universal praise from fans and critics around the globe. If Pixar isn't nominated for Best Picture with this film, I will shoot the academy.


In 2007 the Coen Brothers released the brutal masterpiece, No Country For Old Men. Since then they've been silent with their film-making, and while black comedies like Burn After Reading were entertaining, audiences have eagerly been waiting for their return to the big screen with their next "big" movie. I can easily say that True Grit is not only one of the best movies of this year, but is one of the best ever to be released from the Coen Brother's.
Instead of being a direct remake of the classic John Wayne film, the Coen Brothers have remade the classic based upon the novel that the original film was based upon. And I can safely say that the Coen Brother's vision of the wild west is not only a beautiful film, but is actually superior to the original Wayne version.
Featuring a cast that works like a charm, young actress Hailee Steinfield leads us into the dangerous world that is the wild west with a bounty hunter, in search of the man who killed her father. I really have to give credit to Steinfield who is an incredible new young actress. She leads the crew head-first into the film with a performance that rivals big-time actors such as Jeff Bridges, who gives a performance as Rooster Cogburn that would have made John Wayne himself proud. It's not hard to predict that this film will be a huge hit at the Oscar's this year.


You shouldn't be fooled by the unoriginal title of the movie. (On Imdb I found at least twelve other movies with the same title.) David O. Russell's The Fighter is not only the best sports movie since 2005's Cinderella Man, but it's the best boxing movie since the original Rocky Balboa.
Telling the story of how boxer Micky Ward became the successful boxer he is today, The Fighter is an incredible drama about a family's struggle to make it to the top.
Thanks to a cast that is literally, dynamite, this movie works better than most movies made in the last decade. The acting is phenomenal. I cannot stress enough how good Christian Bale is in this movie. I have never seen a performance like it in my life. He definitely steals the show. But he's definitely not the only one that's giving his best. Mark Wahlberg, although acting a simpler role, plays off Micky perfectly, and Amy Adams finally shows us what she's capable of doing. The entire ensemble is probably the best of the entire year. It's so rare that you find a movie that works as well as this one did. My only complaint about the entire film is how slow the beginning started. But one little complaint isn't enough for me to say that this movie is definitely one of the best movies in the last decade. Sports Illustrated pretty much summed this whole movie up. "The Fighter just may be the best boxing film ever..."

4. 127 Hours

Is it hard to believe that a movie about a man trapped under a boulder is not only amazingly entertaining, but somehow manages to be two hours long?
Probably. But somehow Danny Boyle has managed to make a film about a man stuck in the same place that is incredibly entertaining and even more moving. Half of it is because of Danny Boyle's directing. The other half is because James Franco gives one of the greatest acting performances that I have ever witnessed. Sure I just said that about Christian Bale a few lines up, but Christian Bale has an incredible ensemble cast helping him. James Franco drives the movie by himself as he sits under a rock for nearly two hours.
Based on the incredible true story of Aaron Ralston, 127 Hours is a cathartic experience on the importance of survival and life itself. The film tells the tale of how Ralston spent 127 hours with his arm trapped under a boulder. It was a life or death decision when Ralston chose to cut off his own arm in order to survive. And that's pretty much what the movie is about. It's strange how the selling part of a movie is a scene that is so graphic and so intense that people literally passed out and threw up during the world premiere. This movie is an experience that will stay with you days after you leave the theater, and Danny Boyle makes it more visually pleasing than you could ever imagine.

3. The Social Network

Yeah, we all know that the idea of a facebook movie is kind of ridiculous... but the idea of a good facebook movie is even more ridiculous. But, as it turns out, The Social Network was one of the best movie experiences that I had all year. Thanks to an incredible ensemble cast that is bizarre but still works, and Alan Sorkin's screenplay with David Fincher's directing, this movie is nearly flawless.
Praising the movie seems almost pointless as it has already received so much praise. I said in an earlier post that it almost seems like David Fincher and Alan Sorkin were bragging about how good their movie is... turns out they had every right to be bragging. If this movie had been released another year it probably would have made it as my number one film of the year. Yes, it's that good.
When people think of the idea of a facebook movie, they think that it's going to be about how facebook affects us today, or how using facebook is fun, or something. But it turns out that the facebook movie is actually about how facebook was founded, and believe me, it's not only highly entertaining, but is also incredibly interesting. The movie is basically a court-room drama outside of the courtroom. You know, I actually thought it was strange how they chose to play the song "Creep" by Radiohead on the trailer, but after seeing the movie, it all makes perfect sense. Easily David Fincher's best movie since Fight Club.


It feels almost like a crime to not give The King's Speech the title of the best movie of 2010... so since I feel icky about not crowning this movie number one, I'm going to just get this out of my system.
The King's Speech is without a doubt, the best picture of the year.

There, with that now out of my system I can now get on with praising this movie. The King's Speech is a relentlessly entertaining film, with acting that is not only pulled off incredibly well, but feels incredibly natural. When you see this movie, you will not see Colin Firth, you will see a man that is trying to learn how to properly speak. Geoffrey Rush is incredible, and in my opinion, nearly steals the show.
The King's Speech tells the incredible story of King George VI, who suffered from a speech impediment, and went to an ordinary man to seek guidance. It is definitely the feel-good movie of the year. You will walk out feeling inspired, and feel as if you've just accomplished something worthwhile, even though you haven't really done anything. The writing is flawless; the cinematography is the beautiful, and the musical score is easily one of the year's best, if not that then the best. Everything is literally perfect. They say that when it comes to the dramatics that it's impossible to achieve "perfect." The King's Speech proves whoever came up with that wrong.


Did you expect anything else?

Yes it's true that The King's Speech is my choice for the best picture of the year, but Inception is easily the most unique and by far the most entertaining movie of not only this year, but probably the last five years. So even though I think The King's Speech deserves Best Picture, I stand by my decision that Inception is the best movie of the year... does that make sense? Or is my logic flawed? (I look forward to your criticisms in the comments.)

After directing the best comic book movie of all time, and making a bajillion dollars, it was safe to say that Christopher Nolan was free to do whatever he wanted with his next film. We patiently waited for two and a half years for Inception, and the payoff was easily worth the wait.

Set in an alternate reality where technology exists that allows one to travel inside of another person's mind, the plot focuses on Cobb; an extractor that steals information from other people's minds. Cobb is faced with a request that will challenge not only his skills, but his mind as well. In order to return to his family in America, Cobb must perform the impossible task, inception. And what is inception? What kind of a name is for a movie is that? And what's up with the trailer? And why does Leonardo DiCaprio's character have such a strange name? Seriously, the questions about this movie are endless, and after seeing it, they don't stop but grow instead. Inception is a movie that demands to be seen more than once. If you watch the movie once, you may understand most of it, but believe me, you're going to want to see it at least twice.

Christopher Nolan loves to make confusing movies... but Inception almost takes it to a whole new level, by attacking the viewers minds with all sorts of questions. Audience members that can keep up with Nolan's film are rewarded with some of the finest sci-fi moments in cinema history. Put together an all-star cast and an incredible musical score by Hans Zimmer, and an insane (and unique) plot and you have Inception. (Yup. That's all you need.)

I don't want to talk much about the plot because the less you know the better. But all you need to know is that Inception is incredibly original and by far the most entertaining film of the year. Yes, The King's Speech deserves Best Picture, but Inception deserves the title of 2010's Best Movie of the Year. Congrats Nolan. Let's see if you can win the directing oscar you've deserved for the past few years.

Well people, that's my list of the top 10 movies of 2010! If you agree or disagree with my decisions, leave your comments... I read them. I would also like to take this as a moment to apologize for my lazy blogging. For the few faithful blog readers that I have left, I'm sorry that I have been slacking on posting useless knowledge and random crap from my life. In shorty, I hope you can forgive me, and I will now start blogging again. (I have motivation!)

Monday, January 3, 2011

COUNTDOWN: The Top Ten Movie Trailers of 2010


It's that time of the year when I begin my countdown's of the best movies of the last year. Yes, it's true that 2010 had a lot of great movies. But what made 2010 stand out as a great movie year is not only the movies the but amazing trailers that Hollywood has made for us to view. Like I have said before, I love movie trailers. A good movie trailer catches my attention and will probably have me on youtube so I can view it over and over again. The following trailers are all trailers that instantly made me want to see the film, and had me viewing the trailer multiple times. In order for a trailer to make it onto this list, it must be entertaining and provide a wanting to see the full-film.

10. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

It turns out that Michael Cera can act. The trailer to Scott Pilgrim vs. The World made me actually want to see a movie starring an actor that I have never been able to stand. (Sorry Kimmie.) Like the movie, the trailer to Scott Pilgrim vs. The World features spot on editing that only director Edgar Wright could pull off. I'll admit that the first few times I saw this trailer I thought it was terrible simply because it featured Michael Cera. But after I threw away my biased opinions, I found this to be a trailer that was almost on par with the brilliant and witty film.

9. True Grit

The original True Grit is a widely known and very respected western classic. So when the Coen brothers first made the daring announcement that they were planning on remaking the film, western junkies all around the country freaked out. Some people got so mad that they even shot their television screens with guns. (True fact.) The only thing that was stopping people from going out and killing the Coen brothers in cold blood was some knowledge that the movie would be solely based off of the novel, True Grit. Other than that single fact, audiences would have to wait with their shot guns loaded until the release of the trailer to find out what the movie would look like. And the trailer doesn't disappoint. The trailer not only features some stunning cinematography, but it also includes Johnny Cash singing his old country blues, AND stellar cast featuring Jeff Bridges. Oh yeah. Fantastic trailer, stunning visuals. Very well mix.

8. The Crazies

Remember when horror movies used to be good? It seems that as the years have gone by Hollywood has lost all capabilities of being able to make any good scary movies. With the exception being the ORIGINAL Paranormal Activity, there really haven't been that many good horror flicks in recent years. The Crazies trailer makes it very clear that it's going to be making a very broad attempt at redeeming a tired and overdone genre, the zombie flick. The trailer to the Crazies caught my eye because it has a different feel to the zombie flick. It makes the emphasis on the fact that the zombies are your family members and friends. Plus, the trailer gives off this great paranoid sense and fear of being quarantined and not knowing who you can trust. It's a freaky trailer, and almost makes you feel claustrophobic; and it easily caught my attention. Not to mention that it features Gary Jules singing Mad World.

7. 127 Hours

Danny Boyle returns to the cinema's with a movie about some guy that gets his arm stuck under a rock and ends up having to cut it off with a dull pocket knife. Cool, huh? Does that sound really entertaining? No? Well, I can't blame you for thinking so. Who honestly wants to watch a movie that was so graphic and intense that people actually fainted and started to vomit during the selling point of the film? Well, after watching the trailer to 127 Hours, you can't help but wonder how great of a movie it's actually going to be. The trailer alone is a piece of art, that makes you wonder how the final piece will turn out. (And boy is it something to watch.)

6. The Town

Normally the idea of a movie featuring nuns that rob a bank sounds preposterous. But Ben Affleck's, The Town makes that seem like the coolest idea ever with it's phenomenal trailer. The trailer is one of the largest trailers of the year, featuring some intense action, drama, and most importantly, a plot. Several people would argue that it shows a little too much plot, but I don't agree. The Town's trailer almost feels like a movie in itself, and it had me so pumped to see this film that I must have watched this at least two dozen times before finally going to see the movie.

5. The Fighter

The first thing that the trailer to The Fighter shows, is how much weight Christian Bale is willing to lose for a movie And after that you're probably going to feel inspired and such other feelings of great euphoria since this trailer is super epic, and inspiring. The trailer alone almost makes you feel like The Fighter might be the next Rocky. The only problem with the trailer is when they flash the title of the movie. THE FIGHTER. How original.

4. TRON: Legacy

A sequel to the 1980's cult classic, Tron, seems way overdue. And quite frankly, when they announced that they were planning on making a sequel, I thought that the movie would be dumb and that it would suffer of heavy sequelitis. But then I saw the trailer. The advertising campaign to TRON: Legacy is without a doubt one of the biggest in history. The vast scope of the trailers, posters, TV spots, etc. is almost unmatched. The third trailer is the one that really did it for me though. Not only does it show off a fancy computer animated Jeff Bridges, but it also shows some INCREDIBLE visuals, gives us some hints on the plot, shows us a hot chick and has a killer soundtrack. The list goes on and on with why this trailer is so great. But to really put it simple, it's just epic. I would admit to how many times I have watched this trailer, but it if I did you would all lose the little respect that you have left for me. (And I've lost count.)

3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

The finale to Harry Potter has never looked so epic. Heck, Harry Potter in general has never looked so epic. In fact, it looks so epic, that I'd say the trailer to the Deathly Hallows was actually more epic than the movie itself. I know I'm not the only one when I say that this trailer gave me and still does give me goosebumps when I watch it. This trailer is without a doubt the most epic trailer of the year, and probably one of the most epic of all time. It's a little hard to not want to go and see the movie after seeing the trailer. It's hard to find a trailer that's better than this one. Maybe the LITERAL trailer is better... you be the judge.

2. The Social Network

Sure, the poster is terrible. And many would argue that the trailer is too. The trailer did manage gain a ton of attention and it didn't fail at spawning countless spoofs and parodies, and sure a lot of people lost their last hope and respect for Hollywood by seeing that they were actually going to be making a "facebook movie." And in all honesty, it's a little hard to not lose respect and think of all the cuss words you know at Hollywood for stooping so low as to make a movie based off of a website. But then, you actually get to watching the trailer... and sure, it features a slightly creepy version of Radiohead's Creep by Scala, but the trailer is just a small taste of the what the actual film shows to be promising. The trailer shows off in an almost bragging manner, Alan Sorkin's brilliant witty dialogue, and David Fincher's spot on editing/directing. Plus the trailer shows some amazing acting from an incredibly random but talented looking ensemble cast.

I will admit that when I first saw this trailer I thought that the movie looked dumb... and then the trailer actually started moving forward and this movie easily jumped to the top of my must-see list.

1. The King's Speech

It might be surprising to the few people that actually still read my blog, that this is my choice of the number one trailer in 2010. But my reasons are sound. The biggest reason was that after seeing this trailer I was pretty much desperate to see The King's Speech. No other trailer combined such a great mix of emotions and feelings into a single trailer. And no other trailer showed off the talent of it's actors, directors, writers and even cinematographers as well. By the end of this trailer my sister was telling me that she won't be surprised when this movie wins "Best Picture." And after seeing this trailer it's hard to not agree. It has laughs, drama and a little bit of romance. Sound perfect? That's because it is. Unlike all of the other trailers on this list, only The King's Speech had perfect pacing, and was interesting from beginning to end.

Well, that's my list of the Top Ten Movie Trailers of 2010. Be sure to check out my blog later this week to find out my Top Ten Movies of 2010.

Thanks for reading.