If it's crap ... We'll tell you
This is my first blog post, so I don't really know what I'm doing here, and no one is going to want to read this anyway...but oh, well. In this post, I'm going to give my opinion on all the films I watched in 2010 – I know, we’re nearing March, and it’s kind of too late to make an ‘Films of 2010’ list now. Note: I have said 'give my opinion', so if you do read this, please don't have a long rant about how you disagree with me, and criticise my reasons for my opinions. Thanks :)
In the year of 2010, there were about 350 films released (probably more, but that was just an estimation). Out of them, I have seen 17...yeah, not a brilliant result, but luckily, most of those films I watched were very good. So let's start, the films are in no particular order, but I’ve put the ones I don’t really like at the start:
Alice in Wonderland
I went to see this literally the day it came out, back when I was a raving Tim Burton/Johnny Depp fan. I kept telling myself that this was the best film in the world after I had seen it. Almost a year later, I hate this movie. The only good thing about this film is the visuals – Tim can’t fail at them – and possibly Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen. Everything else I disliked: I didn’t like how they had to give all the Wonderland characters – or, ‘Underland’ characters – names like Tarrant and Mallyumkum or something like that. I didn’t like that they gave it a big prophecy story, or any story, for that matter: with the original Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, there was no plot, just a load of events happening after each other, almost just an experience, and they made the mistake of giving them this weak plot taken from the Narnia stories. I’m ashamed of Tim, because he had the chance to make a fantastical adaptation – I was one of many who was too excited when I first heard Tim was making Alice in Wonderland, it seemed right down his street. My opinions have changed on Mr. Burton; I used to think all of his films were great, but now I class him as a hit-and-miss director – and this movie was one of his misses.
*Cue angry mob of Nolan fans, film critics, the world throwing insults and tomatoes at me* Yes, I did not like Inception that much. I’m not really a fan of Chris Nolan either, I only like Memento and The Prestige, and I just think he was trying a bit too hard here. The main problem I have with this is it’s just too confusing and too long (the problem I had with The Dark Knight), and I didn’t understand the whole heist thing. Then again, I am still quite young, so maybe it was normal for me to not understand the heist part and the whole theory of the dreams – or it might just be that I’m too stupid to understand. I think what Nolan has a problem with in his films is making the audience ‘feel’ for the characters: in Inception, I wasn’t interested in any of these characters, it all seemed a bit distant. But I do like some parts of this movie: the music, for one, Hans Zimmer never fails, and of course, the visual effects and locations are astounding to see. Other than that, my mind was all over the place. I could watch it again, and I probably should, but until then, I’m not really a fan. Yes, I praise it for being an ‘intelligent’ summer blockbuster, but I personally was too confused by it all.
Let Me In
When I first heard that they were doing a remake of Let the Right One In, I had doubts. They had changed the names of the main characters, and the location, and because of my assumptions of Hollywood remakes, I thought they were going to take away all of the chilling atmosphere and dark background that made me love the original Swedish film – oh, and also they couldn’t top the original soundtrack, beauty beyond words. But I saw it anyway, just to see if I was wrong…I was a bit mixed about it. I thought the acting was good, Chloe Moretz and Kodi Smit-McPhee have real potential for their young ages, and the music tried its very best to be as beautiful as the original, thank you Michael Giacchino. But I felt like I wasn’t seeing anything new – well, I should have known that, knowing beforehand that this was a remake. But I wasn’t expecting it to be almost a shot-for-shot remake, and in some parts I was getting bored, knowing what was supposed to happen next. I can’t really talk for someone who saw this before the original, but I’d recommend it to them, it’s still a good film: I’m just mixed on it, because I’ve seen the original, which I believe is much better. Sweden – 1. Hollywood – 0.
I haven’t seen many western films, or any Coen Bros. films either, so this was a brand-new experience for me. I was glad that it was shorter than most films nowadays (any film shorter than 2 hours I class as short now), because I wasn’t really blown away by it. The plot seemed simple enough, a girl wants to find her father’s killer…but that was sort of it. I shouldn’t be complaining, because most of the time, I’m always complaining that there’s too much going on in a movie, but I think because the plot was so simple, it was boring for me, I kept losing interest; it just seemed like half the movie was Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon and Hailee Steinfeld riding round on horses. I can say that Hailee Steinfeld’s performance is actually brilliant; for her age, she has such a maturity; I hope she goes far if she chooses the right films that’ll get her noticed even further. However, that’s the only praise I have for this movie. It seems forgettable to me now, I don’t exactly remember it well – I just remember contemplating whether to watch it on DVD with subtitles for whenever Jeff Bridges speaks. I don’t know whether this movie is a typical Coen Bros. movie, but if it is, I don’t think I’ll like the rest of their movies, which is a shame, as I’ve heard they’re very original and interesting.
The Social Network
The dreaded Facebook movie. My thought was ‘What was the world coming to?’ when the news came out that they were making a Facebook movie. Then I realised David Fincher was directing it. I’m mixed with David Fincher, I’ve seen 3 of his movies: one I love (Se7en), one I dislike (Fight Club – oh no, I’ve gotten tomatoes thrown at me again) and one I’m mixed on (Benjamin Button). But I gave this movie a chance. Again, another movie I’m considering getting on DVD to put the subtitles on, because all the characters talk so fast! But I think it really adds to the pace of the film, it kept me really interested because I knew if I missed one bit of the story, I’d be lost. I was expecting to be really bored by this movie, with it having loads of dialogue, and being about Facebook and all the business and finance aspects behind it, but the pace really helps. I wouldn’t say it’s the best film of the year: it was good, but it wasn’t that good. But it’s gotten loads of awards buzz, and it’ll probably win everything at the Oscars, so I’m in the minority here. One thing I don’t get is how it’s getting nominated for Best Score – what score? Only parts of music I remember are a sequence of a few piano notes, and the techno-style In the Hall of the Mountain King.
The King’s Speech
Like The Social Network, I don’t think this movie deserves all the praise it’s getting (and I loved how totally unbiased us Brits were at the BAFTAs): again, it was good, but not that good. I thought Colin Firth’s character was really unlikeable, either stuttering too much or screaming in quick fits of rage. I thought I’d like this movie; I usually love period pieces…but I just didn’t think there was anything special about this. I watched it for Helena Bonham Carter, as I think she’s a great actress, and she does a good job here, too; I was also pleasantly surprised by Geoffrey Rush, and hearing a bit of Mozart in the movie (yes, I get excited when I hear classical music). But there’s not really much I can say about this one; I don’t really remember it well. Also, with all the awards buzz it’s gotten, I really hope Colin Firth doesn’t get Best Actor at the Oscars – but he will. I don’t think he deserves it, but he will.
I hate to admit that the first thing I think of when someone mentions this movie is Malcolm McDowell. When they showed the cast list at the end of the trailer, I was looking through: “Oh, right, yeah, okay, Amanda Bynes, right, okay…Malcolm McDowell?!” I obviously fell out of my chair, being a bit of a Kubrick fan. He was in this movie for no more than two minutes. Three, at most. Ah well. However, the second thing I think of when someone mentions this movie is ‘Mean Girls’ little sister’. During my early teens, I lived on teenage comedies, I used to love them all: Mean Girls is the only one I still love in my one year shy of adulthood. I was reminded a lot of Mean Girls throughout this movie, most notably Emma Stone in Lindsay Lohan’s position; maybe if we see what Emma Stone’s future roles are, we can see where Lindsay Lohan’s film career might have gone after Mean Girls. This movie’s a lot of fun, the main character’s really identifiable with me – only problem I have with Emma Stone is that it’s really questionable how her character can be ‘lost in the crowd’ and unnoticed, when she looks like Emma Stone; in real life, she’d have all the boys fawning over her before she told any rumours about herself. Only part I wasn’t too keen on was the dance sequence, I thought it was kind of unneeded, as I’ve seen too many of them in all those said teenage comedies I lived on.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I
Unlike most people, I thought this was a very good first half of the final Potter film; I thought they ended it at the perfect place. But what people don’t really realise is that this is just the first half; if they’re complaining that there isn’t enough action and that it’s all very boring…they’ve got the battle to end all battles to look forward to in the second half! Having grown up with Harry for nearly ten years now, I’m getting kind of sick of him, and the whole story. However, when watching this, I still enjoyed it. Yeah, not much happens in it, but it’s always nice to see how much Harry, Ron and Hermione have grown up, and how most of my favourite characters don’t get enough screen-time, except for Dobby, who made a long-awaited return after four movies (he should have appeared in Movies 4 and 5, but they used Neville instead). My favourite part of the whole film has to be the animated sequence of the Deathly Hallows story: I remember being sat in the cinema, wondering how they’d show the telling of the Deathly Hallows (if Hermione would just sit down and talk e.t.c.), and they show this animated sequence, and I was frozen in front of the screen, just mesmerised by it. That scene alone should be nominated for Best Animated Short at the Oscars (I can still dream).
Or, in the words of Empire magazine: ‘The other DiCaprio-haunted-by-dead-wife-in-dreams-while-questioning-reality movie’. And I have to say this is a good film. Although, as a newly-born fan, I’ve only seen 6 of his films, I can say that this isn’t Martin Scorsese’s best . I had to study this film (and compare it to One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest) in my Film Studies class, so I’ve seen it quite a few times, and I thoroughly enjoy it. I really liked the film-noir feel it has to it, I love the music they used (no original score), and Leo DiCaprio’s super; also is Michelle Williams, who’s very very promising; in fact, my favourite scenes are the ones her character is in. My favourite scene is in one of DiCaprio’s marshal’s dreams, where he sees William’s wife: I won’t say too much, as I can’t really explain it, but it’s just hauntingly beautiful. The plot was very confusing, and I honestly didn’t see the twist coming, but I have obviously had the plot broken down from when we discussed it in class. It was because of this film that I set myself the task of watching some of Scorsese’s other films, and I’m too glad I did, because he is now one of my favourite directors, with Taxi Driver being one of my favourite films of all time.
I’m sorry, but I don’t think I can say much about this movie. I myself don’t really know why I like this movie. But I keep watching it and watching it. I’m going to try my best and explain why: I think it’s because it’s a very realistic, gritty film, and an underdog story, in some ways. There’s a brilliant cast, particularly Christian Bale and Amy Adams, but I wasn’t really feeling for Mark Wahlberg’s character, the rest sort of outshined him. It was the first boxing film I watched, and I’m now interested in watching more of the genre, because I kind of enjoyed the boxing scenes in this. I’m not sure if this is getting loads of praise, or if it’s being underrated, but I do understand why this won’t win many awards at the Oscars – except for Christian Bale, he needs that Oscar.
When it was released, despite the box office failure, a lot of people seemed to like it, but now, a lot of those people now hate it. I’m one of those who really liked it when it was released, and still like it now. The opening is one of its strongest points, the movie had my full interest from there. It’s a really great concept: a normal teenage boy wondering why no one’s tried to be a superhero before, so he tries it himself. And I like his superhero…even though he has no superpowers, but that never stopped Batman. Speaking of which, I really enjoyed Nicolas Cage’s performance; in that 2 hours of the film, it made me forget about some of his other acting attempts (‘NOT THE BEES!’). Another actress who shines is young Chloe Moretz, possibly the coolest twelve-year-old ever. For me, I think this movie’s really underrated – I think it lives up to its name! – but I think the main reason people don’t/didn’t like this movies is because of all its violence. I do have to admit, it’s pretty gory for a superhero movie, but one of my favourite scenes is a very gory one: Hit-Girl crashing into an apartment, killing everyone she sees, all to the ‘Banana Splits’ theme tune in the background.
I’ve been in the same room as Danny Boyle. It was a theatre, actually. And he was about 100 feet away, but still!!! I was curious to know how he would film this, a story about a man who gets his arm stuck under a boulder and survives for 127 hours before giving in and having to chop his arm off – oh, come on, it’s hardly a spoiler anymore, is it? Mr. Boyle didn’t fail me this time. The opening credits are great, the first ten, fifteen minutes are a bit slow, but the story really starts when James Franco gets trapped by that boulder. James Franco gave a fantastic performance: he had just the charisma and the ability to keep my interest for the whole of the film, but I think I’m the only person who thinks he looks loads like Johnny Depp in this film. This is a really good film, most people wouldn’t have it so high on their lists, but I have it high on my list simply because it made me cry at the end. The ending of this film is just full of optimism, and you’re just so glad he’s free and he’s been saved; it really really moved me. It’s such a shame that this movie will win nothing at the Oscars, when it deserves to, especially James Franco for Best Oscar.
It has to be on my list. It’s Disney. It’s their 50th animated feature. It’s a fairytale movie. It’s got music by Alan Menken. Alas, it’s not traditionally animated. But it’s still a superb movie. I’d consider myself more of an animation fan than a live-action fan, and that’s because all I watched for the first thirteen years of my life was animated movies. And I watched a lot of them. And though I don’t watch as many now, I still keep track of which animated movies are being released. I first saw the trailers for Tangled, and it had Dreamworks written all over it; it was a definite ‘no’ for me. But after seeing a few clips, and listening to the fantastic soundtrack, I had to go and see it. And Disney is back on their game. It’s a gorgeous, gorgeous movie that really takes you back to the 90’s Renaissance of The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Tangled is as spectacular as these movies, but it’s still top-notch for Disney, who are just about entering a third Disney Renaissance. Do not let the Dreamworks trailer fool you: there’s nothing remotely modern about this story, except maybe the main characters’ dialogue at times. It’s still a great movie though, it really brought out the rabid Disney fan in me.
How to Train your Dragon
A few months earlier, I would have put this movie higher than Toy Story 3. This was before I got both on DVD for Christmas and watched them for a second time. I’ll start off by saying that I can’t be dealing with Dreamworks anymore (why should I when I have Pixar?), and I wasn’t planning on seeing How to Train your Dragon. But when I saw all its glowing reviews, I gave it a chance. On my first viewing, I saw it as a huge leap from the normal Dreamworks, and they had actually taken a leaf out of Pixar’s book by using less dialogue for the heart-felt scenes between the main character and his dragon. It’s a great story, loved the main character Hiccup, and that climax is almost at Pixar standards; but the ending was what made me love the movie, as I thought it was a very risky thing to do, and it’s something that I certainly hadn’t seen done in any animated movie, at least. On my second viewing, I realised I didn’t like the opening: it reminded me that it was a Dreamworks movie. It wasn’t until Toothless the dragon was introduced that the movie moved upwards, and I loved it again…But it didn’t connect with me as much as Toy Story 3 did, and that’s why it’s not higher; I guess it’s because Toy Story was a part of my childhood, and nothing stands in the way of my childhood. It’s still a great film, though. Dreamworks, don’t fail me with the sequel.
Toy Story 3
It’s Pixar. It’s Toy Story. It’s my childhood. I was one of those crazy teenagers who ran to the front of the cinema line, screaming: “Get out of my way, I’ve been waiting 11 years for this!!” And it was so worth the wait. The perfect ending to the beloved Toy Story series. Unlike the Harry Potter series, I never get tired of seeing Woody and Buzz and the gang (mainly more Woody, I’ve always preferred him over Buzz), and I can’t tell you how big my smile was when I watched that opening and remembered those lines from the very first movie. And the smile stayed with me right through to the very end, when I was also crying like everyone else (if you didn’t cry, I’m afraid I can only assume you have a heart of stone). Although it’s not a fantastic story, the characters charm, and the action and emotions are high – after the last fifteen minutes, I was emotionally drained. To be honest, I have never been so happy as when I’m watching Pixar’s movies, and this one was no exception. The whole world was praying that Pixar could pull off this third in the series, and that it not suffer from sequelitis, as a certain other animation studio does – but it’s Pixar. They can do pretty much anything…even shock the world by making Cars 2.
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
I think this is a very underrated movie. A lot of people really hate it, but I don’t see why, really. It’s a fantastic, action-packed romantic comedy: it’s so full of energy and kept my interest all the way through: I really love how bright and colourful it is, and all the visual effects used on the characters e.g. the love hearts flying round the characters kissing, and a meter inside a character’s head switching from ‘No Clue’ to ‘Totally Get it’. The music’s great too, and it really brought a lot to the energy and the feel of the movie. The only problem I have is that the love interest, Ramona Flowers, doesn’t appear to be that amazing; I couldn’t really see why she’d have seven exes after her, she didn’t seem that interesting. And I’m sort of mixed with Scott Pilgrim himself: he appears to be unlikeable, particularly in the first third of the movie, where he dumps Knives Chau for Ramona Flowers…but for some reason, I was glad he did, because at times I found Knives kind of annoying and obsessive, and at times I didn’t. Either way, I could watch this movie over and over again and not get bored; it’s bursting with life and, if it can be classed at this, the best romantic comedy I’ve seen.
I saved this movie for last, because this feels like a very personal movie to me. When I say personal, I mean, I can relate to the main character so well. I share a lot in common with Nina, Natalie Portman’s character (she deserves the Best Actress Oscar for her role): I am too a ballet dancer, and I’m obsessed with perfection whenever I dance; I strive to be perfect in every dance I do. However, I am very innocent, I’m not exactly close to my mother, who is always over-concerned and suspicious of me, and at times, I feel like an outsider in the world. That was what I got from Nina in this movie: the fact that we spend every single scene with her, that there are no scenes between characters away from her, shows that we are completely immersed in Nina’s world, and we’re not going to leave it. This movie really shows the dangers of perfectionism, I think, and it gives us a real insight into the psychological horror that can come with it. One thing that gets overlooked with this film is Clint Mansell’s music, and also the sound itself in the movie: I watched a little featurette about the sound, and it amazes me how much effort and cleverness they put into it. I like how the movie opens, it all seems very normal, but then her fantasies are immersed within the reality, leading into the finale, one of the best scenes I have seen in a long time; the visual effects are exceptional in showing Nina’s delusions, and it was the perfect way to end the film, with not exactly a happy ending for the audience, but a happy ending for Nina herself, the character we’ve been rooting for the whole movie. I like how kind of…modest it is, it seems like quite a ‘small’ movie, but it had a really big impact on me, touching me personally and emotionally. I know that this probably isn’t the best movie of the year, but it’s definitely my favourite.
Thanks for reading, if you did :)