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Old December 31 2010, 10:31 PM   #879
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Location: Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Re: Movies Seen in 2010

90. Tangled (A-)
91. The Fighter (B+)
92. The Red Shoes (A+)
93. True Grit (A-)
94. Chicago (A+)
95. It's A Wonderful Life (A+)
96. Michael Clayton (A)
97. Fantasia (C+)
98. Long Day's Journey Into Night (B+)
99. Mean Girls (A-)
100. Munich (A)

This post brought to you by the letter 'M' (otherwise, these movies have absolutely nothing in common), achieving my goal of 100 films for the year. Both of these are rewatches - I originally saw these movies on their theatrical releases in 2004/2005, but not since.

Mean Girls I recall seeing in theatres only because the original movie we were going to (I don't remember what) was sold out, and the girls in our group outvoted the guys on the replacement - but it was quite enjoyable. It's become huge in internet culture since, generating a half-dozen major memes. Few movies have used the high school characters template so effectively. This was, of course, back when Lindsey Lohan was something other than a tabloid punchline; it's sad, because she doesn't lack for talent, and does a great job. One can't help but notice that she's surrounded by a passel of other young actresses (Rachel McAdams, Amanda Seyfried, even Lizzy Caplan) who are all doing much better than her (Lacey Chabert hasn't really had the same success as the others, but she's not a joke either). The movie was also the first real broadside from Tina Fey's burgeoning solo career as a writer/actor, which subsequently resulted in a highly acclaimed TV show (and a couple of other movies that aren't nearly as good). In terms of flaws, well, the main love interest is exceptionally bland - sort of like an early Disney prince. But whatever, it's still great.

Munich, from a year later, is Steven Spielberg's big Serious Drama for the 2000s, one of bunch of terrorism-related films produced in the years after 9/11. It remains controversial (both sides thought it was too sympathetic to the other, some people just thought it was naive; I don't know if Israeli Mossad agents would be as philosophical/troubled as these guys are, but it's a legitimate dramatic device, in my opinion). Spielberg doesn't have any real answers (who does?), and the end doesn't pretend otherwise. The film ends with Avner in exile, as it were, from Israel, though with his wife and child. Exile is a prominent theme in Jewish literature, for obvious reasons, and Spielberg uses it in a lot of different ways (as well as the related theme of family, a Spielberg staple). The film is exceptionally well-made, with a very vivid recreation of the 1970s, but one would expect the best from Spielberg. The cast is likewise exceptional, with Eric Bana and a dapper Ciaran Hinds standing out, as well as one of Geoffrey Rush's more understated recent turns. There's only one flaw in the whole thing, the final montage, which starts off okay but becomes absurdly over-the-top (Bana appears to be literally sweating buckets, and I don't know how his wife isn't screaming in pain). It almost derails the film, but a nicely understated scene between Bana and Rush rescues the finale.
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