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Old December 15 2010, 07:25 AM   #841
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

Updates: (in Bold)
Aliens in the Attic (6)
Armored Trooper Votoms: Big Battle (7)
Armored Trooper Votoms: Roots of Ambition (8)
Armored Trooper Votoms: The Last Red Shoulder (8)
Armored Trooper Votoms: Pailsen Files: The Movie (7)
Batman: Under The Red Hood (9)
Boondock Saints (10)
Boondock Saints: All Saint's Day (9)
The Book of Eli (8)
Broken Blade (7)
Cardcaptor Sakura: The Movie (7)
Cargo (7)
Cencoroll (8)
Les Chevaliers du Ciel (8)
Clash of the Titans (2010) (8)
Crazy Heart (6)
Dante's Inferno (2010) (7)
Date Night (7)
The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya (9)
District 9 (8)
Eden of the East: The King of Eden (8)
Eden of the East: Paradise Lost (8)
The Edge of Darkness (9)
Evangelion 2.0: You Can [Not] Advance (9)
The Expendables (9)
The Fantastic Mr. Fox (8)
Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works (9)
Fist of the North Star (1995) (4)
G-9 (6)
Gamer (6)
Green Zone (7)
Harry Potter the the Deathly Hallows (8)
Higurashi no Naka Koroni Chikai (7)
Inception (10)
Inglorious Bastards (7)
Iron Man 2 (9)
Jonah Hex (6)
The Killers (6)
King of Thorn (8)
Kino's Journey: Life Goes On (7)
Kino's Journey: The Country of Disease (7)
The Last Airbender (8)
Law Abiding Citizen (9)
The Lovely Bones (6)
Lupin the 3rd: First Contact (7)
Lupin the 3rd: Green VS Red (6)
Lupin the 3rd VS Detective Konan (7)
Lupin the 3rd: The Secret of Mamo (9)
Lupin the 3rd: The Last Job
Macross Frontier: The False Songstress (9)
My Name is Bruce (5)
Naruto Shippuden Movie 3 (8)
Oblivion Island (6)
Oceans (Documentary/ Rating is NA)
Oldboy (9)
Pandorum (7)
Planzet (5)
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (8)
Street Fighter IV: The Ties That Bind (8)
Summer Wars (9)
Sunshine (4)
Sword For Truth (6)
Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Lagann-hen (8)
They Were 11 (9)
The Triplets of Belleville (5)
The Uninvited (7)
Unstoppable (8)
Walking Tall (7)
Waltz With Bashir (9)
The Warrior's Way (6)
Wicked City (8)
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Old December 15 2010, 01:30 PM   #842
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

I have seen SALT and Harry Potter 7
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Old December 15 2010, 04:10 PM   #843
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

So far - at Cinemas
Hurt Locker
Iron Man 2
Inception
Social Network
Robin Hood

And over 100 movies on DVD also. Still need to see Animal Kingdom, Kiss-Ass, Scott Pilgram vs the World, and many more I can't think of right at the moment.
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Old December 15 2010, 05:15 PM   #844
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

Last night was Joe Kid, another Clint Eastwood western.

I liked this more than High Plains Drifter. Here Clint was playing a character you could like and was easily more relatable. The role struck me as having a similar type character to Liam Neeson's in Taken.
Joe apparently had retired from a life of tracking and hunting and killing. He seemed to take to just living one day at a time and at his own pace regardless of the law. He took one a type of Otis from the Andy Griffith show as well.

But then, something happens to people he cares about and he reassumes the mantle of badass to make amends.

I'd grade this as an A-
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Old December 16 2010, 03:57 AM   #845
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

Just finished Triage, which I got from Netflix. Colin Farrell and Christopher Lee. The story hinges on notions of catharsis as cure, and shrink as wise priest, but Farrell's and Lee's performance help sell it. The movie is notably humane and it takes an unflinching look at war, entirely free of glamorization. Which is quite rare these days. Highly recommended.

Two notable films I've seen which got no press were Agora and The Oxford Murders. Both are highly recommended.

Agora, starring Rachel Weisz, is a spectacular historical epic about the murder of Alexandrian mathematician, astronomer and philosopher Hypatia. It is loaded with contemporary resonances about religious fanaticism. But these resonances are honest and humane, instead of comforting prejudices in disguise.

There are fanciful elements added to the sparse historical record about Hypatia, allowing romantic attachments to Hypatia to play a major role. In addition, Hypatia is portrayed as realizing, too late to publish alas, that planetary orbits are elliptical which would justify Aristarchus's heliocentric model. These melodramatic notions permit a small-scale "human" story, redolent of comforting cliche, leading the viewer into this extraordinarily rich recreation of another time.

In addition to CGI Alexandria, there are pullbacks to views from space. These function not just as exemplars of the expansive ideas and interests of the (some) of the protagonists. They also punctuate the plot with our modern perspective. This movie was, if I recall, cowritten by Alejandro Almenabar, who also wrote and directed The Others, a dandy ghost movie.

The Oxford Murders, starring Elijah Wood and John Hurt, also had a Spanish pedigree. Cowritten by Alex de Iglesia and a fellow named Guerricaechevarria from a Guillermo Martinez novel, this is in many ways a science fiction murder mystery. The science in this case would be a branch of math/philosophy called logical sequences. It is hard to describe anything about the plot, but it is both cleverly twisted, philosophically and thematically pointed, and humanly emotional. The performances are excellent. Poor old Elijah Wood will apparently toil in the wilds of excellent performances, as leads in obscure indies or minor supporting roles in Hollywood movies, for the rest of his life. He's quite good, but is far too short and too typecast to become a star I expect. Hurt is another of those superb actors who just aren't well known to most people. It is nice that he got a leading role again, even if it's an indie.
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Old December 16 2010, 07:58 AM   #846
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

Saw Tron Legacy earlier today. Probably A-. Felt a little disappointed by the 3D elements of the film.
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Old December 17 2010, 03:27 AM   #847
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

279. Ira & Abby [B+]

The first time I went to see this film (three years ago!) the projector's bulb exploded and the show was canceled. Luckily, it wasn't a sign from above or any nonsense lie that, because as it turns out, the film was pretty amusing. At times, the web of relations between the characters became pretty convoluted (though never hard to follow), but it was also very funny and even touching at times. A pleasant romantic comedy for once.

Jason Alexander puts in a hilarious (if small) supporting role and the two leads (who I haven't seen in much else) were both delightful--even Fred Willard, who managed to pull off more than his usual idiot shtick.

My mum just saw THE OXFORD MURDERS and seemed to like it. The film is on Netflix's Watch Instantly feature right now. I may take a look. I'm not sure John Hurt is so unknown, though. People probably recognize him from his role in ALIEN, and he's had prominent supporting turns in INDIANA JONES 4, THE PROPOSITION, and V FOR VENDETTA recently. Agreed about Elijah Wood, though. Despite LORD OF THE RINGS, it seems like his lot in life is to toil away in indie films--which even the best of are left unappreciated.
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Old December 18 2010, 05:16 AM   #848
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

90. Tangled (A-)
91. The Fighter (A-)

David O. Russell's newest and probably most conventional film (though it's still very different from any boxing movie I've seen) - though when you go as far into weirdness as I Heart Huckabees, it may be time to take a step back. It's a contenda at the Oscars this year (Oscar loves boxing most of all sports, by a wide mile), particularly, it's shaping up, in the supporting acting categories. The second of two Oscar hopefuls this year focussing on poor Irish-American families in Boston, though in this case in a more reputable profession.

I don't know much about Micky Ward, but as played by Mark Wahlberg he's a pretty low-key individual - Wahlberg's a capable actor, and he plays his part well, but the film envisions Ward as the object of a tug-of-war between various individuals far more assertive and energetic than he, and a lot of the time Micky kind of gets lost. The trio of major supporting performances: Christian Bale as his brother Dicky, Melissa Leo as his mother, and Amy Adams as his girlfriend, are all livewires. Bale, in particular, is brilliant, and if he's on track to win the Oscar here, he'll deserve it.

The film isn't especially interested in the actual fights of Micky's rise to the big-time as it is the fight between two factions (his family on one side, his new girlfriend and other trainer on the other) over how he's going to train. His family has bungled his career pretty much from the start, and in a lot of movies this'd be pretty clear-cut (indeed, it initially seems to be); but they show things as a bit more complicated than that. Russell also isn't afraid to throw in some almost zany stuff that you wouldn't find in most boxing movies, such as everything to do with Micky's sisters, or a lot of Dicky's schtick.

The final fight is the only one we see in any detail, and, as I said before, it's not as involving as some fights (Russell films it with commentators constantly talking; it comes across like the audience is watching TV for most of it), but it's competent enough.
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Old December 20 2010, 03:36 AM   #849
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

90. Tangled (A-)
91. The Fighter (A-)
92. The Red Shoes (A+)

An iconic 1948 film about ambition to be a star (in the ballet, so we're talking relative stardom here); often called the best film by its directors, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, it's quite impressive overall. I got around to seeing this now in part because a lot of the reviews of Black Swan mention this, which intrigued me.

I've heard it called the best ever use of Technicolour, and having seen the film I could believe it; the colours are amazing (it's obsessed with the lead actress' bright red hair). Pretty much every review or summary of the film I've seen spotlights the 17-minute ballet sequence, which is indeed extremely memorable. I've practically no experience with the ballet, but the story told here is quite engaging. The film takes a number of flights of fantasy, with a lot of people reading the ending as the shoes actually doing what they do in the ballet.

Cast-wise, the amount of actual dancing onscreen necessitated casting most of the roles with actual ballet dancers (rather than actors); Moira Shearer, as the lead, is quite good. The supporting men from the troop are all incredibly over the top, but that mostly fits with the atmosphere. Anton Walbrook and Marius Goring, the two main actors who don't have to dance, are also very good.

My main reservation is the ending conflict between career and marriage which, even for the time, comes across as incredibly forced on the part of the husband.
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Old December 20 2010, 04:17 AM   #850
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

The Fighter is on my list, I enjoyed reading that min-review.

I saw two movies this weekend.
-Tron: Legacy
-Narnia: Voyage of the Dawntreader (is there a disc/grading thread for this?)

Tron
I haven't seen the first movie in forever and have forgotten 95% of it and it seems they made the movie with that in mind. They did a good job, imo, of creating a narrative that weaved what I perceived as fill in the blank flashbacks to the first movie in the beginning. Felt it was a good blend of action and that the story was more than paper thin(which is what I often expect from an action spectacle film). I saw it in 2-D but I think it likely would have been worth the 3-D upcharge.

Voyage of the Dawntreader
It's a shame that this wasn't marketed well by Fox. It's only made about $50m in 10 days on a $155m budget. It is a much much better movie from start to finish that Prince Caspian. This had adventure, some magic, some myth and was fun the entire time. They introduced a new kid, Eustace, who is a cousin to the Pevensie kids. Thanks to wiki I've found he is the star of the next book The Silver Chair. He grew from an annoyance to a likeable character and it would be interesting to see the next movie with him in the lead. If you have an interest in the Narnia series I suggest you check this movie out.
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Old December 21 2010, 01:24 PM   #851
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

Black Swan ***1/2
2010, R, 108 minutes
Starring Natalie Portman (Nina), Mila Kunis (Lily), Vincent Cassel (Thomas), Barbara Hershey (Erica), Winona Ryder (Beth). Produced by Scott Franklin, Ari Handel, and Jennifer Roth. Music by Clint Mansell. Cinematography by Matthew Libatique. Editing by Kristina Boden and Andrew Weisblum. Written by Mark Heyman, Andres Heinz, and John McLaughlin. Based on a story by Andres Heinz. Directed by Darren Aronosfky.

Darren Aronosfky's films have always been about obsession. If you look at his filmography, each and every film looks at a certain individual and their obsession, their compulsion, their dedication, to achieve something or to obtain something, whether that be tangible or elusive. Let's take a look at his debut feature, entitled Pi, which chronicled a man's obsession over mathematical equations, and in essence, explored the detrimental consequences of his mental obsession. His next film, perhaps the one he is most known for, entitled Requiem for a Dream, is about individuals and their addiction to drugs, but not just the object, but the addiction for acceptance. The Fountain explores the concepts of immortality and grief, and about one man's obsession to save the woman that he loves and being unwilling or unable to accept the mortality that lies before him. The Wrestler shows an aging man and his dedication to his craft, living a life only he knows, and how his profession dominates and influences even the most mundane aspects of his life.

With Black Swan, Aronosfky's latest foray into self-obsession and arguably his greatest film since Requiem for a Dream, he once more explores the topic of being obsessed and dedicated to one's craft. It's an interesting and simultaneously reoccurring theme for Aronosfky, who gives his films such frenetic energy and pacing that you can tell based on his filmography that perhaps Aronosfky, like all great storytellers and geniuses, is a little obsessed himself. You could even call this a companion piece to The Wrestler - Aronosfky certainly does- and you can see why. Both films deal with individuals who strive for perfection and lead their lives with the sole goal of achieving something that literally consumes them and dominates their lives. Out of all Aronosfky's films, Black Swan is the most horrifying and yet the most beautiful. Really, when you boil the film down to its bare essence, despite the packaging and what you might believe given the subject matter, Black Swan is unequivocally a horror film.

Black Swan follows the story of ballerina Nina Sayers, played majestically and flawlessly by Natalie Portman, who is a dedicated and driven performer. When she discovers that company director Thomas (Vincent Cassel, who despite being a bit of a scumbag, is also consequently slightly brilliant based on his methods) decides to re-envision Swan Lake, he decides to "let go" of star Beth (Winona Ryder, in a brief but pivotal role) and searches for a new lead. His search settles on young Nina, who is chosen to replace Beth, and in her journey to inhabit both the controlled and disciplined White Swan, she must also inhabit the darker and more uncontrolled Black Swan. This is where Nina is tested and tried. She is flawless when it comes to honing the qualities of the White Swan, but Thomas and her mother (Barbara Hershey, in a multi-faceted performance that exceeds cliches) Erica pushes her to become more uninhibited and embrace her inner Black Swan. That is literally and metaphorically what Nina does in the film, and in this process and gradual evolution of self-discovery and self-exploration she comes across another ballerina named Lily (Mila Kunis, in a one-dimensional but effective role) who helps her come out of her shell.

The film is like a ticking time bomb, and the more the film pushes forward, the more we unravel the hidden entity that lies within the soft shell that is Nina. She begins the film as this timid and shy creature, but as the pressure of the production weighs on her, with expectations rising, and a fiercely aggressive director forcing her to slowly come out of that shell, tensions begin to gradually rise. Natalie Portman is a revelation in this film, and she literally must perform a metamorphosis similar to the one the White Swan must endure in the production Swan Lake. It's a tough act to preform and pull off, while still maintaining a sense of believability and emotional truism, but Portman sells you on a character that at the beginning of the film is this shy and fragile character, but toward the end changes so completely and utterly that it is actually quite shocking. You never hesitate for a moment to reconsider the type of dedication and utter commitment that Portman's character must endure, and what she must sacrifice - and that sheer willingness to sacrifice- but if anything, you feel empathetic toward her plight. What her character achieves at the end of the story is what any performer or artist wishes to achieve- to literally end your career on the highest note possible.

In this sense, Black Swan is very much a mirror to the production Swan Lake, so if you are familiar with the play, then you will be familiar with the structure of the film. That might give away some things when you're watching, including most prominently the ending, but it's not necessarily the ending or the trivial details that make this movie so engrossing, but the journey that gets you there. As I mentioned before, Black Swan calls back to Aronosfky's most popular film Requiem for a Dream in the way it moves and ebbs along pacing-wise. The film is only 108 minutes long, but it feels much shorter, and that's a testament to good filmmaking when you are watching something unfold and you are so wrapped up in the proceedings that it just whips on by. That's how tight and concise the narrative of the story remains, and Aronosfky here has stripped all the unessential elements and instead has focused on an incredibly tight story structure that flows and ebbs so effortlessly that almost every moment is too terrifying to watch. It's literally one of those films where the one word where I can best describe the entirety is "intense", and that's not a cheat or a mis-approximation, that is literally the best word to describe the film. There were moments when I just cringed, and not in the bad way, but in the good way that just made you feel uncomfortable.

Aronosfky focuses on some of the more minute details of the most simplistic things, but they never feel inconsequential, but as a matter of fact quite the opposite. There's a lot of shots of Nina preparing and you see the inner workings of what this dedication and commitment has done to her both psychologically and physically. We get close-up shots of bruised feet and scratches. Never once in my life did I feel the need to squint when observing a chiropractor adjusting someone as frail and fragile as Natalie Portman, but because Aronosfky focuses on those seemingly unimportant details, it gradually builds and builds and you begin to understand why he focuses on the things he does. He's building up a character, and he's building this story, and it's that obsessive attention to detail that makes Aronosfky so compelling as a storyteller and why he makes so compelling films. Only an obsessive man can get you into the finer workings of someone who feels so obsessed and commitment to their profession, and I believe Aronosfky knows more than he's letting on, but his films are his greatest journals and they say more than he ever could.

The rest of the cast is splendid. Mila Kunis, who stars as the potential rival ballerina who threatens to take everything away from Nina, plays the conventional stereotype that is expected in this type of story, except at the end of the film you're not really quite sure what role she did play, or if she was as a matter of fact just the female version of Tyler Durden. Vincent Cassel could have played the role of Thomas in a hammy and superficial way, but instead he imbues the character with some ambiguity and complexity that make you ultimately question his ulterior motives (there's one scene where Cassel's Thomas brings Nina back to his apartment that completely took me by surprise at how it unfolded). Even more impressive is Barbara Hershey as Erica, Nina's typical strong-willed mother. Even this character has more shades of gray than you might expect, and you end up really believing, despite Erica's vicarious relationship with Nina, that she really does care for her.

Black Swan is probably one of the most intense yet simultaneously engrossing films I've seen in 2010, and in that case probably one of the most memorable. It's a deeply affecting psychological thriller and even more so a greatly involving character study. It's also a deeply disturbing horror film, but similar to The Silence of the Lambs, has more sophistication and art than you might expect from a film of this ilk. It's also a really interesting and compelling drama, with fleshed out and multi-faceted characters and strong performances, and you mix all of these incredibly exciting, unpredictable ingredients and you achieve something truly spectacular. That end result is Black Swan, a film that is at once disturbing, beautiful, pulsating, and engrossing all at once. It's one hell of a film.
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Old December 21 2010, 04:22 PM   #852
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

Bought my ticket to see True Grit tomorrow night. It's probably going to be the last new release I see this year, based on what films will be arriving in my local theatres between now and New Year's.
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Old December 23 2010, 05:01 AM   #853
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

90. Tangled (A-)
91. The Fighter (A-)
92. The Red Shoes (A+)
93. True Grit (A)

The Coen Bros' latest film is a new adaptation of True Grit, previously made into a 1960s film that won John Wayne his Oscar. I've not seen the original, and while I appreciate Wayne as a cultural icon, I've never had any particular attachment to him as an actor, so the idea of a new film is fine by me. The result is a very good film, one of the better Coen works I've seen.

The plot is quite straightforward: a girl named Mattie (Hailee Steinfeld, who's very good, though she's commiting fairly serious category fraud in this year's awards derby) wants her father's killer (James Brolin, his mouth full of marbles) brought to justice, so she ends up hiring a US Marshal, Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges, in the Wayne role) to bring him in; Matt Damon ends up tagging along.

The film largely hangs on amusing character interaction; indeed, it's extremely funny. It's not quite a comedy, but there's a lot of it in here (typical of the Coens). The characters (especially Mattie) all talk in incredibly formal and elaborate sentences that nobody ever spoke like (they sound like those letters that always get narrated in Ken Burns documentaries). Main complaint would be that the ending is too abrupt; the main story just ends, and then we get an epilogue that doesn't really feel like it adds anything.
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Old December 23 2010, 07:56 AM   #854
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

Watched the DVD of The Lovely Bones (5.5/10) - thought it was okay. Not the best work by Peter Jackson.
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Old December 23 2010, 08:33 AM   #855
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

Captain Craig wrote: View Post
Tron
I haven't seen the first movie in forever and have forgotten 95% of it and it seems they made the movie with that in mind. They did a good job, imo, of creating a narrative that weaved what I perceived as fill in the blank flashbacks to the first movie in the beginning. Felt it was a good blend of action and that the story was more than paper thin(which is what I often expect from an action spectacle film). I saw it in 2-D but I think it likely would have been worth the 3-D upcharge.
I saw the movie in 3D yesterday. It wasn't worth upgrading (though I saw an IMAX screening, which is exclusively 3D). Strangely, despite the virtual portions of the movie having been shot in 3D, it usually looks very two-dimensional - not at all like Avatar, some of the most impressive shots of which simply showed human actors in closeup.
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