Sunday, January 2, 2011

Top 10 Best & Worst Movies of 2010

It’s hard to believe 2010 has come to an end. Last year certainly gave us a couple bangs for our buck$. At the end of every year I love reminiscing about the films we saw, loved and adored, not to mention the films we saw, hated and wish to forget. For a quick movie recap check out Filmography 2010 or 2010 The Cinescape.

Compiling a list of my favorites proved to be daunting this time around. There were so many fun and amazing, well performed/directed films last year. And as much as I tried to forget, there were also a few sucker-punch-doozies in the mix as well. Below you will find my personal favorites along with my… not so personal favorites. I decided to rank them this year, something I’ve never done before. So without further ado, I present to you my Top Ten Best & Worst Movies of 2010.

-Worst of the Worst-

Dishonorable Mentions:
The Wolfman
The Other Guys
The Tempest

10. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse: Ugh! Director David Slade (Hard Candy, 30 Days of Night - both great films) was an interesting choice for the third Twilight film. But Summit doesn’t allow even its more talented directors to show off their stuff. They’ve got a formula, you see, and for these Twilight movies it’s a mixture of slow pacing with lots of bad overacting, cringe upon cringe-worthy dialogue, and cheap special effects. This film was as predictably painful to watch as it was predictably successful. Sure, it’s the better of the three, but let’s not forget, the bar was set extremely low for the first two films, Eclipse had nowhere else to go but up in quality. It still doesn’t make it a good movie.

9. Dear John: Dear John, Please stop talking. Yours Truly, Kristen. Romance definitely sells at the box office and this movie is exactly the type of romantic tearjerker to be expected from an adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks novel. That’s what was expected anyway. What we got was another story altogether. It was awful! The story was so back and forth, the acting sub-par, it was long and boring and the ending was one fat joke. I'm not immune to the pleasures of a terrific romance – The Notebook is among my favorites. But pulling off a successful romance requires not only good acting but a good storyline and some depth, something this movie forgot to add.

8. Step Up 3D: Just like Bring It On and The Fast and the Furious, this is yet another series that just won't quit. I have no doubt they are working on the 4th installment as we speak. I’m going to Step right Up and say… stop making crap… and stop making crap in 3D. Seriously! It’s not like this was was a visually striking, eye-popping movie. Let’s leave the 3D gimmick to the pros over at Avatar and Tron: Legacy land. I saw this reluctantly and you know the feeling when you only see something ‘cause someone else wants to and you’re pleasantly surprised? Yeah, I didn’t have that experience here. I do like a good dance flick (the first two films weren’t half bad), but the story has to be good enough to hold all the fluff together, instead, in the end, I was just embarrassed for everyone involved.

7. From Paris with Love: Not much of a John Travolta fan, but I do like the lovely Jonathan Rhys Meyers. I figured it couldn’t be that bad. Well, this was one of the times I was wrong, dead wrong. Where do I even begin? I’ll start with the cover-your-eyes embarrassment of Travolta’s attempt at over-the-hill hipness and the barely-there plot that’s completely predictable and end with the grainy cinematography that makes everything appear bleak and hollow. These are all valid complaints. However, the worst part about this lame action flick is the shame of how cool it thinks it really is, sort of like the class dork posing as the class clown. I say,.. just pass.

6. When in Rome: Even the cutesy-poo Kristen (GREAT name btw) Bell and the sexy-rexy Josh Duhamel couldn’t salvage this wack job of a movie. An ambitious career woman in love with her job (the audience knows this, because she says “I am in love with my job”), ultimately wishes she were in love with a man too. Then a bunch of men magically fall in love with her after she picks up the coins they dropped into a wish-granting Roman fountain. And by “in love with her,” the film means “dedicated to making her life a miserable." Whether Bell will end up with handsome love interest or not, there’s no question. All the painful pointlessness that comes between their meet-cute and their happy ending is the entertainment equivalent a jumping-jack.

5. Jonah Hex: At a time when comic book movies seem to be on top of their game, the DC universe falls short… way short with this sucker-punch-doozie. I love the handsome Josh Brolin, and sex-kitten Megan Fox, but that didn’t stop the train wreck that was Jonah Hex. It was terrible! From development hell and an overworked script (poorly written btw), to a completely incomprehensible villain, and bad acting, the film was an 81 minute reminder that not all comic books translate well on the silver screen. And furthermore, wasn't this the same studio who brought us Catwoman? Hmm?...

4. Sex and the City 2: They completely destroyed the seemingly unkillable franchise. It even horrified the easy-to-please SATC cultists - me. This film was awful! I was extremely annoyed by the story’s digression, lack of wit, charm and edginess. The miscalculations begin by sending Carrie Bradshaw and her besties off to Abu Dhabi for a few days of fun, sun, and nauseating entitlement. The film is such a scathing satire of self-absorption. Evidence: Near the end of the film, the quartet race against time to keep from having to suffer the ultimate indignity of flying coach. SATC 2 inexplicably cost almost $100 million, yet somehow looks cheaper and tackier than the television show that inspired it.

3. Clash of the Titans: I love the 1981 original, I grew up with it. It’s definitely a Cult Classic. For years I’ve wanted a remake. The possibilities seemed endless. This movie had so much promise, so much potential. But in the end, what was the most anticipated film of the year, also ended up being the most disappointing film. Pushing back its release date to dub in 3D images was a joke. Maybe they thought they had a great film to begin with (which I’d hate to believe) and thought 3D would only add to the flavor. Makes you wonder, what flavor where they going for? All I tasted was disappointment mixed in with boring murky misleading garbage. They completely changed up everything that meant anything, i.e. characters, subplots, story-lines etc. What's Greek for Epic Fail?

2. Splice: It blows my mind that this joke of a movie was on so many peoples "best of" list. What?! Sure, the film had promise, good actors (Sarah Polley and Adrien Brody) and a seemingly interesting and thrilling storyline, but man, was that all wrong. We’re talking Mariah Carry “Glitter” wrong. This garbage of a film, about genetic experimentation and DNA mingling resulting in a female Frankenstein, was about 2 hours too long, not to mention it was also boring, slow-paced, drab, and in the end quite disturbing. But once the garbage-dump dialogue, self-seriousness and — wait for it — inter-species intercourse take over, it’s clear this is nothing but a cheap bit of tasteless sensationalism. It isn’t just another tedious creature feature - it’s much, much worse.

And this year’s #1, all time sucker-punch-doozie, which claimed its title with the greatest of ease, is none other than…

1. The Expendables: Some big-wig Hollywood type decided to round up all the action-hero, hot-shots and make a movie. That’s all fine and dandy, I love a good action flick, but what about the plot, not to mention good (and we would have settled for mediocre) writing? It seems they thought those key elements were expendable. Just so you know, combining all the action-hero’s in the world does not a good movie make. Instead we got a bunch of (mostly) washed-up has-beens, cheap second-hand writing blended in a concoction of stinky horse-poo. Adding insult to injury, this movie was deeply embarrassing not to mention insulting, mind-numbing and painful to watch. At least they got the film’s title right, because that is exactly what this movie is – EXPENDABLE!

*Best of the Best*

Honorable Mentions:
The Kids Are All Right
The Town
Tron: Legacy
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

10. Black Swan: Definitely Hollywood’s more edgier film of 2010. Natalie Portman's performance as Nina Sayers will tie your stomach in knots in this suspenseful thriller, about a ballerina forced to draw out her evil, seductive side in order to deliver the perfect lead performance in 'Swan Lake.' As her dark side struggles to take control, Nina's grip on reality begins to fall apart, threatening the most important role of her life. Portman blew me away with her dark and stellar performance. If you haven't seen it already, do so immediately, but be prepared for a little darkness.

“I just want to be perfect.”

9. True Grit: This old Western remake is a wonderful tribute to the John Wayne classic. The latest from writer-directors Joel and Ethan Coen follows a whipped up smart, headstrong 14-year-old girl (Hailee Steinfeld) who teams up with a drunken, washed-up U.S. Marshal (Jeff Bridges) and a slightly inept, yet heroic Texas Ranger (Matt Damon) to hunt down the man who killed her father. With breathtaking scenic shots, addictive wordplay and top-notch performances all around (especially from up-and-comer Steinfeld, she was amazing), the Coen brothers once again find themselves at the top of their game.

"I am told you are a man with true grit."

8. Shutter Island: When folks like Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio collaborate their talents to a crafty new take on a very old story you get pure genies, not to mention exciting entertainment. On one hand, you have an old-fashioned "haunted asylum" thriller, and a fascinating reflection on the deceiving powers of madness on the other. The film is moody, the story is clever, and it's all backed up by some powerfully good acting. I would LOVE to see DiCaprio win an Oscar for this film.

"Do you know what fear does to the mind? Corrodes it, rusts it."

7. The Fighter: Director David O'Russell (I Heart Huckabees, 'Three Kings) packs a real punch in his inspirational take on boxer Micky Ward's (Mark Wahlberg) journey to become a championship boxer. Mark Wahlberg is wonderful in the role, and is supported nicely by Amy Adams, who plays Micky's girlfriend, and Melissa Leo who plays his headstrong mother. But the real reason to see the film is for Oscar front-runner Christian Bale, who, at the risk of using another boxing pun, gives a knockout performance, as Micky's cracked-out brother. No doubt he'll win Best Supporting Actor for this role.

“Mickey has a chance to do something that I never did and he needs me.”

6. Toy Story 3: The third and final installment of the Toy Story series ends with flying colors and proves there are great Trilogies out there. It’s hilarious, heartbreaking, and at times even thrilling. No doubt this movie holds you in the palm of its hand. It introduced us to terrific new characters and brought us full circle with the ones we already love. It isn't just for kids, it appeals to adults as well, who remember what it was like to be a kid. It's the best film of an already great franchise and even though I'd rather see How to Train Your Dragon win, I have a feeling Toy Story 3 will win Best Animated movie at the Oscars instead. Well deserving of course.

“This is the perfect time to be hysterical.”

5. 127 Hours: Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle ('Slumdog Millionaire') brings his A-game in this incredible look at real-life mountain climber Aaron Ralston, who was forced to amputate his own arm after it became trapped by a boulder back in 2003. The heart of the film lies in its brilliantly edgy directing and by its lead performance - James Franco. His one-man show beautifully captured Ralston's humor, sadness, fear and, finally, his determination for survival. Sure, that amputation scene was tough to sit through, (I completely closed my eyes and plugged my ears through the entire scene), but the film's emotional payoff made '127 Hours' a well spent time in the theater. Truly inspirational!

“All you have to remember is that everything will be OK.”

4. The King's Speech: Ten minutes into the film I was completely in love with this movie. It’s definitely a heavy-weight contender for the Oscars, given its outstanding cast - Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter (it was nice to see her in a normal role for a change) and award-winning director Tom Hooper. The film is phenomenal. A true beauty! Writer David Seidler based the remarkable story around King George VI's real friendship with his speech therapist, Lionel, who helped the monarch overcome his nearly career-ending stammer. It's a lot funnier than I expected too, not the mention sweet and endearing. It was very well written and had amazing power-house performances to boot, especially by Firth, who is a shoo-in to win this year's Best Actor Oscar. Had I written a separate review, I would have given this movie an A-.

“Because I have a voice!”

3. How to Train Your Dragon: There are so many cute-but-disposable animated features every year, but there always manages to be one or two that steals just a little of Pixar's (well-deserved) thunder. Last year, that film was the effortlessly (and unexpectedly) charming DreamWorks release 'How to Train Your Dragon.' Half-comedy, half-adventure, and 100 percent insightful. 'Dragon' appeals to a wide array of demographics as well, which is sometimes hard to come by. I simply loved this movie and if you like movie scores you have to check John Powell's amazing score. It’s beautiful! Plus, any animated feature that managed to avoid being overshadowed by the (also lovely) 'Toy Story 3' is most definitely note worthy.

"Dat-da-dah! We're dead.”

2. Inception: Does the totem keep spinning? Does it matter? Christopher Nolan is a genius. This movie will blow your mind! Whether or not Nolan's visually stunning sci-fi mind-bender about a team of "extractors" -- corporate spies who have developed a technique for stealing information from people's dreams -- hired for a risky mission all adds up is secondary to the thrill of tagging along with Leonardo DiCaprio and pals on their wildly inventive ride through the subconscious mind. Truly a cinematic wonder!

“Dreams feel real while we're in them. It's only when we wake up that we realize something was actually strange.”

It was a real toss-up as to which two films would wind up in first place, with the decision hanging in the air until the very last minute. Christopher Nolan’s Inception is truly unique, thought-provoking and visually striking, but it’s David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin’s riveting exploration of the creation of Facebook that ultimately won me over in the end. As you can see, my all time favorite movie of 2010 is…

1. The Social Network: The story behind Facebook, the invention that defined a generation, is a phenomenal piece of work! I didn’t expect to love this it as much as I did. From Aaron Sorkin's masterfully crafted script to Jesse Eisenberg's stellar and spot-on performance, backed by Trent Reznor's remarkable score, 'The Social Network' easily became so much more than "that Facebook movie." Director David Fincher (one of my favorite directors) created a tight universe of young people leaning towards something big that changed the world forever. The film is crisp and modern in style and beautifully brought to life, hence it making my all time favorite and #1 film of 2010.

“You know what’s cooler than a million dollars? A billion dollars.”

Did your favorite movie of the year make the list? Something I missed? Let me know what your Best and Worst films of 2010 were and why they belong on your “Best of” list!


Joan said...

I must be getting old, because I haven't seen most of those films - and none of the "worst" films in your review (thank goodness, for sure).

JFun said...

Love the list Kristen! I want to see a lot of these.

One omission was The Bounty Hunter which was definitely one of the best of the year. Maybe it's your number 11 and just barely missed out. Aw well.


I don't know why I love to do that so much.

JB said...

It's good to hear what you enjoyed at the movies. Thanks for sharing

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