Mr. Cellophane

In a location adjacent to a place in a city of some significance, what comes out of my head is plastered on the walls of this blog.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

My favorite movies of 2010.

I think I've put this off long enough.

10. Predators - Robert Rodriguez apparently hatched the idea of a Predator planet years ago. It was worth the wait. A tense and exciting follow-up in the franchise.

9. Machete - I'm still waiting for Don't and Thanksgiving (assuming they even get made), but for now, this ridiculously entertaining actioner more than lives up to the trailer.

8. Inception - This mind-bending thriller is not for every taste, but quite gripping for those who get into it.

(7.5 I Love You, Phillip Morris - An amusingly off-kilter adaptation of the true story (!), anchored by Jim Carrey's lively performance. Note: the '.5' is because I first saw the film a couple weeks ago, not in 2010 like I should have.)

7. Megamind - In one of those weird coincidences that tends to happen, we got two 'bad guy goes good' animated movies. That I liked this one a little more was an interesting surprise.

6. Kick-Ass - Much like (okay, not that much) Wanted, this adaptation improves on Mark Millar's original comic. Violent and ridiculous, yet quite enjoyable.

5. Tangled - This retelling of the classic fairy tale marks another fine entry in the Disney canon, with lovely animation and no shortage of heart.

4. RED - Perhaps the best of the year's 'team of ass-kickers' movies, with a superior cast making the most of the material. Great fun.

3. Toy Story 3 - Embarking on a third movie in any series is a risky proposition, but never count out Pixar; this final chapter is funny and heartwarming.

2. The Social Network - They said it couldn't be done: 'A movie about Facebook and it's nothing but people talking? Inconceivable!'. They were wrong. Aaron Sorkin's screenplay, David Fincher's direction and a fine cast make this something special.

1. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World - Edgar Wright's movies just get better and better, and this adaptation of Bryan Lee O'Malley's graphic novels proves it; an absolute delight, bursting with great gags and visual imagination.

Missed it by that much:

The A-Team - Adaptation of the 80s TV series boasts a good cast and some fine action scenes.
Black Swan - Creepy, unsettling and very compelling; a lively mindfuck of a movie.
Despicable Me - I didn't expect much from this film, but it is disarming in its balance of humor and sweetness.
Devil - A little cheesy at times, but overall, a gripping, well-made thriller.
Easy A - Uneven but very funny movie with a bright, star-making turn by Emma Stone.
From Paris With Love - John Travolta chews the scenery in this typically brash and reckless Luc Besson concoction.
The Ghost Writer - This slow-burn of a thriller very much earns the adjective 'Hitchcockian'.
Hot Tub Time Machine - Silly and raunchy, this comedy (thankfully) doesn't rest solely on its premise.
How to Train Your Dragon - One of the more ambitious Dreamworks animated features with a number of exciting moments.
The Losers - The first of the year's 'team of ass-kickers' movies fell by the wayside, but it is an enjoyable work.
True Grit - The Coens put their stamp on this Western with fine performances and whip-smart dialogue.
Unstoppable - Even with the expected Tony Scott-isms, this thriller delivers with exciting action and strong rapport between Denzel Washington and Chris Pine.

Movies that deserve a fairer shake:

These are movies that, for whatever reason, were maligned by critics or audiences or both, but I found them entertaining.

Cats and Dogs: the Revenge of Kitty Galore - The film managed to transcend its pointlessness with fine vocal work and wisely focusing the action on the animals instead of human characters.
Charlie St. Cloud - A game attempt to move Zac Efron further away from High School Musical territory, this is a sweet little movie.
Killers - Just about everyone hated this movie. Maybe, it was because of the stars or the premise, but whatever. Violent for a romantic comedy, but greatly enjoyable, with Tom Selleck stealing the movie as Katherine Heigl's disapproving dad.
Leap Year - Some funny lines + Amy Adams + beautiful Irish scenery = not a bad way to spend 100 minutes.
Lottery Ticket - This reworking of Friday is better than its IMDb rating would lead you to believe. Good laughs, charming leads.
Nanny McPhee Returns - Once you get past the chaotic first ten minutes, this is a very enjoyable follow-up.
The Tourist - Pretty stars and gorgeous international scenery, volume III. Unbelievable in spots, but generally engaging.
The Warrior's Way - Supposedly the biggest bomb of the year, but well worth reappraisal, with enjoyable action scenes and a not-quite serious, not-quite camp tone.

My favorite things in movies - 2010:

Aaron Sorkin's script for The Social Network, especially the opening conversation(s)

Alfred Molina in Prince of Persia: the Sands of Time and The Sorcerer's Apprentice

The bookend cameos in You Again

The bribe montage in The Other Guys

Crispin Glover in Alice in Wonderland and Hot Tub Time Machine

Danny Huston in The Warrior's Way

Dixon flips through the notebook in MacGruber

The 8-bit rendering of the Universal logo and fanfare in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World...and everything that follows

The fight against the motorcycle gang in The Other Guys

Geoffrey Rush in The King's Speech and The Warrior's Way

Harrison Ford in Morning Glory

Jim Carrey in I Love You, Phillip Morris

Nicolas Cage's Adam West impression in Kick-Ass

Olive's weekend in Easy A

The opening credits of Cats & Dogs: the Revenge of Kitty Galore: granted, the song choice was uninspired, but how cool is it to hear Dame Shirley Bassey singing over a title sequence again?!

"Outstanding!" and the explosive sequence of events leading up to it in The Losers

A pair of inspired in-jokes: Jimmy (Bruce Willis) admitting that he never saw Die Hard in Cop Out and Charlie Wax (John Travolta) savoring a Royale with Cheese in From Paris With Love

The reveals of the big secret and The Ghost's fate (not to mention Alexandre Desplat's accompanying music) in The Ghost Writer

Rolfe Kent's scores for Charlie St. Cloud and Killers

Sam Rockwell and Mickey Rourke in Iron Man 2

Sharlto Copley in The A-Team

Steve Carell in Despicable Me and Dinner for Schmucks

The visual effects of Black Swan

The "When Will My Life Begin?" and mood swing montages of Tangled


- I know of the perfect New Year's resolution for those people annoyed by the Futterwacken in Alice in Wonderland: grow thicker skin.

- Also, am I alone in thinking that the head of the Cheshire Cat looked like a CGI rendition of a Critter?

- Best title drop: "Is he as fast as you?" "No, he's Faster."

- Worst title drop: "Why did I get married?" "Why Did I Get Married Too?" (I didn't see the film, but I did see the trailer and that was a rather lazy way to title drop.)

- Not quite as strong a 'Holy fuck!' moment as the judge's fate in Law Abiding Citizen, but still potent: "Now, I'm done." in Edge of Darkness. Runner-up: the hand reaching out toward the beginning of Piranha 3D. No profanities, but I did spill quite a bit of popcorn.

- Now, when it comes to twists in movies, I'm a little slow on the uptake. The twist in From Paris With Love genuinely caught me by surprise (and I'm not the only one, if Leonard Maltin's review is anything to go by). On the other hand, I managed to guess Shutter Island's twist pretty early. Go figure.

- Seriously, was Tracy Morgan's character in Cop Out supposed to be retarded? I'm going to be up all night with this!

- I'm taken aback at how many 'teams of mercenaries' movies there were this year: The Losers, The A-Team, The Expendables and RED. Note to self: get each on DVD and marathon the shit out of them.

- Kim Cattrall with a British accent, a bald Jim Belushi...even before the first reel of The Ghost Writer was done, I was on edge.

- My vote for most overrated movie of the year: How to Train Your Dragon. The flying scenes are fantastic (and some of the best 3D I've yet seen) and the bonding scenes between Hiccup and Toothless are touching...but then, factor in the scenes with the Viking teens and this has to rate a near-miss for me.

- While I'm on the subject of Dragon, I noticed (watching the credits, not so much during the film) that one of the teens was voiced by Kristen Wiig. With the exception of Whip It, I feel like the roles she plays could be filled by just about anyone; she leaves no impression on me. Not a slight at her, that's just the way I feel.

- And continuing with unfavorable opinions on comic actresses named Kristen...Miss Schaal, who I saw in Dinner for Schmucks. Is this chick weird-looking or is it just me? It can't just be me, can it?

- Okay, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps really jumped the rails with that ending. Hardly the worst ending I've seen (see any 'killer's not dead'/'here we go again'/'tripped at the finish line' horror movie ending), but if ever there was a definition of 'tacked-on', this ending would be it.

- Sorry to repeat myself, but Chloe had some superb nudity from the female leads. I'm disappointed that it was pissed away on the story.

- It was nice to see nonagenarian actors Eli Wallach (The Ghost Writer and Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps) and Ernest Borgnine (RED) on screen this year, especially since the movies they were in before this year were stupid, barely-released comedies (Wallach in Mama's Boy, Borgnine in Strange Wilderness).

- Niche movies like Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and Machete fell short of monetary expectations. Following their respective first weekends, posts popped up offering myriad explanations as to why they didn't succeed. Can't we just say 'people are fucking morons' and leave it at that?

- Think I'm being bitter about this? Scott Pilgrim was outgrossed by Vampires Suck. Worldwide. Even if you somehow disliked Scott Pilgrim, you have to admit how fucked that is.

- Lastly, just so it's out of the way, I didn't hate The Last Airbender. You got to love the lemming mentality: if we all march off the cliff together, that makes it a good idea. I really think that Cop Out and My Soul to Take were worse.



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