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2010 has been an interesting year and one where I made a lot of new movie(con) friends. People who love movies even more than I do – which I never thought was possible. I went along to Empire Magazines MovieCon where I met some great people and saw some amazing footage for films that came out both this year and some coming next year.
So what was this year in movies in the world of Y2Neil? Mel Gibson went dark and angry in ‘Edge of Darkness’ released in January. This wasn’t a bad turn for Mel who I’ve always held a soft spot for since Lethal Weapon, yes he has been a little crazy of late and more recently with his outbursts to his ex partner but you can’t deny he is a talented actor. ‘Edge of Darkness’ had promise but lost me when it went all eco and environmentalist.
February saw the release of Joe Johnston’s reimagining of the classic ‘The Wolfman’ staring Benicio Del Toro in the lead. With the progress we’ve made in technology I was left fairly disappointed in ‘The Wolfman’ and didn’t get sucked in or find any real terror in the movie that dragged on just too long for me.
The start of the year then was a little bleak for me but that would soon change with the release of ‘Shutter Island’. Bringing Leonardo DiCaprio back to leading man role this film was right up my alley. Dark, twisted, huge orchestral score that always kept you thinking. I thought this was going to be Leo’s best film, but I wasn’t ready for what would happen in the summer.
Tim Burton is one of my favourite directors, ‘Mars Attacks’ is one of the most underrated films in my opinion and the original Batman films really set the standard for superhero movies of the new age. However ‘Alice In Wonderland’ was a huge disappointment. Digitally edited to be shown in 3D which really didn’t make any difference to the film or to the experience, I even went to see it twice to see if I missed something the first time, however I didn’t and this remains a lacklustre offering.
Other notable failures for me that sounded so promising were ‘Hot Tub Time Machine’ which only showed that Craig Robinson is a funny fellow. ‘The Runaways’ could have been great but it starred two actresses who, in my opinion, are the blandest, wooden, uninteresting things ever committed to the silver screen in Kirsten Stewart and Dakota Fanning. I did warm to Dakota as the film progressed but whilst the story was supposed to follow sex, drugs and rock and roll, it didn’t have the bite it needed. ‘Clash of the Titans’ was another remake that couldn’t deliver, again a failure in 3D it lost all elements of plot and sense.
The first quarter of the year highlight had to be the incredible and must anticipated ‘Kick-Ass’. Hilarious, violent and featuring an eleven year old girl dropping the C-Bomb alongside a Nicolas Cage who put on a cracking Adam West-esq voice. I ended up going to see this three times at the cinema where I fell in love with it and it really got me more interested in scores attached to films, the one scene in particular was accompanied by James Murphy’s excellent work.
Into summer and the films that the studios expect to make them the most money. We had ‘Iron Man 2’ which didn’t feel as much of a sequel but more of a prequel to the upcoming ‘Avengers’ movie. Is it any wonder why director Jon Favreau has not signed on to the third? There was the re-make of ‘The A-Team’ which was a fine popcorn chomping movie for action fans but for those trying to recapture the memories of their youth they are to be greatly disappointed. Face should NEVER have been making the plans.
This summer box office smash however was another Leonardo DiCaprio movie, Christopher Nolans incredible ‘Inception’. Another movie that I went to see at the cinema a number of times, four in total. People thought it was complicated but it’s not at all, an entertaining dance through dreamscapes. This even had me enjoying the work of Ellen Page who I lost all hope with after Juno. ‘Inception’ really restored my faith in cinema, not only was it the biggest summer blockbuster that wasn’t a sequel or a superhero movie but the audience reaction every time I saw it in the final scene was fantastic to be a part of.
But the summer couldn’t be all fantastic. Predators wasn’t too bad, more could have been done with Topher Grace in my opinion and it fell too easily to the conventions of Hollywood and did everything in threes. Case in point, Topher Grace is walking down the dark tunnel, lights a flare, no monster, it goes out, he lights it a second time, nothing, the third and boom. The scare. We had ‘Get Him To The Greek’ which was another movie that was passable, laughable but far too conventional and not brave enough to try something new.
‘Salt’ was entertaining enough, Angelina Jolie however didn’t make me believe she was a leading lady. For being an action flick she looked far too thin and gaunt to be pulling off those sorts of moves without breaking something. ‘Toy Story 3’ was a joy. As with the other films in the series it made me cry, really quite embarrassing to see an old man crying in a theatre full of children. Another film that had me in tears but for different reasons was ‘The Twilight Saga: Eclipse’. This was the worst movie I have ever seen, so boring, so plain, so dull yet it had me in tears in places from laugher. There is K-Stew and R-Patz trying to be serious but all I can do is laugh at them try to act.
Into the final part of the year and the event that was Movie-Con. We were treated to two exclusive movies here and weren’t they smashing? First up was the most explosive action movie with the greatest line up of action stars ever committed to celluloid, ‘The Expendables’. But despite its explosions the story was weak and the rather laughable. But whilst this was an entertaining enough film – probably thanks to the company I viewed it with – the highlight of MovieCon for me was ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. The World’.
I fell in love with this movie, the film, the music, the actors and director. Everything about it was superb, it jumped out of the screen, totally immersed me and pulled me into Scott’s world. The film needed more exposure than it received which was a shame but I urge you to get it on bluray or DVD, crank up the volume and enjoy one of the best movies of 2010.
Other notable mentions of 2010 as we end the year were ‘The Other Guys’, the trailer really was the best part about this movie and again finding another actor alongside Will Ferrell who can steal the show – Mark Wahlberg. We also had ‘The Social Network’ which told the story (with some embellishments) of the creation of Facebook and will surely will some prizes at the Oscars, even if only for Trent Reznors score. There was also ‘Buried’ that stared Ryan Reynolds in a box for ninety minutes, a small indy movie that will hopefully get more exposure on DVD than it did in cinemas.
Finally 2010 went out with one of the most anticipated sequels of all time, ‘Tron: Legacy’. Sadly this was all glitz and no bitz. The story was pathetic, the characterisation weak and was a real let down. 1982 saw the wonders of technology pushed to the limits and whilst that is true again 28 years later, the visualisation cannot make up for a decisively weak movie.
So that was 2010 in movies for me, there were a number of good films that I missed and a number of bad ones too. If I were to pick my one favourite movie of the year I would struggle between ‘Inception’ and ‘Scott Pilgrim’. I suggest that you watch them both. They are both very different from each other but on both ends of the movie spectrum can deliver so much entertainment. Both visually incredible and even an audible treat with both a score from Hans Zimmer and some fantastic bass-driven rock from the legend Beck.
2011 will be full of superheroes once again as we see The Avengers, Thor and Captain America, X-Men return, the two Greens, Hornet and Lantern, more Pirates of the Caribbean. There is Source Code, Sucker Punch, Super 8 and even Scre4m is getting me excited. Not to mention another MovieCon to look forward to.
Here’s to the movies!