Monday, December 27, 2010

BEST OF 2010


Good ol’ fashioned fun, thought-provoking or mind-bending – these movies made me think, made me laugh or gave me a good cry (allergies, I guess). Looking back, it was a pretty good year:

TOY STORY 3 (animated)
The toys are back in town! TOY STORY 3 cements the series as, arguably, the greatest film trilogy of all time. Exceptional storytelling, depth of character, richness of emotion, exciting adventure, thrills, enchantment and laughter – it dazzles at every single turn. Kids will love it. Parents will adore it and probably shed a few tears. They definitely took this thing beyond infinity!

INCEPTION (with Leonardo DiCaprio)
Satisfyingly intricate, approachably intelligent, ground-breakingingly vivid, thunderously action-packed, mind numbingly intense and thrillingly heart-pounding. It’s a masterfully made and riveting piece of cinema.

THE SOCIAL NETWORK (with Jesse Eisenberg)
A tightly-wound drama that fires so well on all pistons (directing, writing, acting, cinematography, music, etc). A fascinating movie about privacy, ownership, insecurity, competition and social hierarchy.

TRUE GRIT (with Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon)
Truly dirty, truly dusty, truly gritty. A briskly-paced, creatively-written, expertly-acted, vividly-violent and sure-handed movie that easily finds a spot among the top westerns of all time. It’s brilliant at every turn. TRUE GRIT is a true hit!

BLACK SWAN (with Natalie Portman)
FIGHT CLUB meets FAME in this darkly off-beat, beautifully stirring and unnervingly-twisted movie. It’s definitely not for everyone but this whacked-out bird soars!

127 HOURS (with James Franco)
This story of a man who’s literally trapped between a rock and hard place is a colorful, energetic, elegant, enthralling, moving and a cringe-worthy epic about the power of the human spirit.

THE KARATE KID (with Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan)
A subdued Jackie Chan and a charismatic Fresh Prince Jr. not only deliver a beautifully poignant love letter to the imagery and culture of China but, and this is the most important part, a family friendly (ages 7+ recommended), crowd pleasing, feel good flick that’ll make you stand up and cheer…and maybe even strike the Crane pose!

THE FIGHTER (with Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale)
An interesting story with expert direction and powerful performances, THE BOXER injects this otherwise formulaic sports saga with tensions of family that ultimately give it true heart. The real bouts are fought in the living room…when the gloves are off. THE BOXER is tough. THE BOXER is scrappy. THE BOXER will knock you out!

THE BOOK OF ELI (with Denzel Washington)
A simplistic, spiritually action-packed, non-preachy, post-apocalyptic, word-of-God western that dazzles with equal parts faith, hope and butt-kicking mayhem. Hallelujah, amen – I loved it!

THE TOWN (with Ben Affleck)
Say what you want about Affleck (lord knows I have) but he knocks this Boston crime movie out of the ‘pawk’! Yes, it feels a lot like HEAT or THE DEPARTED and the title is more than a little generic but inside it’s a gritty, turbulent, moody, perfectly cast and smartly written movie that burns with a white hot intensity. Visit THE TOWN!

The story is unshockingly familiar – but, the movie still dazzles! Vivid animation, fun characters, exciting action and it puts you in the what’s-it-like-to-fly seat almost as well as anything we saw in AVATAR.

THE GHOST WRITER (with Ewan McGregor and Pierce Brosnan)
A superbly-acted, expertly-crafted, fiercely-intense, grown-up, political thriller that’s packed with layers of intrigue and suspense.

RED (with Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich and Helen Mirren)
An off-beat, action-packed and romantic MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE meets THE BUCKET LIST hybrid that moves with such a hip, comical and aggressively-casual cinematic fluidity that it’s almost impossible not to enjoy.

SECRETARIAT (with Diane Lane and John Malkovich)
The stakes aren’t that high (like in SEABISCUIT) and it never shies away from its formulaic and predictable roots but SECRETARIAT still remains a well-acted, exhilarating and heartwarming Disney sports drama. It’s inspirational and great for the entire family. Secretariat…was a stud!

THE A-TEAM (with Liam Neeson and Bradley Cooper)
Out of control, over the top and cheesy. Turn your brain off and enjoy this big, bright, shiny, non-stop, laugh out loud, high-wattage, big budget, blow ‘em up, double-cross, Hollywood, explosion-filled, well acted, chase fest. It’s basically the cinematic equivalent of drinking a double red bull and vodka thru a straw made of licorice. I pity the fool who misses it…

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