Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Worst Movies of 2010

And now that I've covered the best of the year, lets take a moment to look at the worst the year had to offer. Some dishonorable mentions go out to Due Date and A Nightmare on Elm Street. Those movies sucked, but as bad as they were, five movies managed to somehow be even worse.


I can't remember the last time a movie has slid down my list so quickly. I came out of the theater thinking it was okay. But time has not been kind to this one. The more I think about it, the more I've grown to hate it.

It doesn't really know what it wants to be. It's a very goofy, over the top action flick. But then it starts to take itself too seriously with the story, leading to a mash-up that just doesn't work at all. None of the characters are likable, a lot of the jokes fall flat, and only a handful of action scenes are even mildly entertaining.

Bottom line, this movie worked better as a fake trailer than an actual movie, and it probably should have stayed that way.

Clash of the Titans

This movie was just dull. I can't even really think of much else to say about it, it was just dull. The only scene I enjoyed lasted for a mere moment, and was a nod to the original Clash of the Titans. While they're gathering materials for their quest, one of the guys picks up the owl from the original. Someone questions what it is, only to be told to leave it behind. Too bad they left it, that owl took part in the only entertaining scene in the whole dull movie.

Iron Man 2

So much for that roll you were on, Robert Downey. Both Due Date and Iron Man 2 were total stinkers. This movie just tried way to hard to recapture what made the first movie so great, only to fail miserably in every attempt. It wasn't charming, it wasn't witty, and it was oftentimes obnoxious to even watch.

The banter between Pepper and Tony was annoying. The drunken fight between Iron Man and War Machine was annoying. And I couldn't understand one single word that Mickey Rourke said, but I'm sure it was annoying, too.

The lack of quality in this film has me worried for the upcoming Avengers series of movies, but hopefully they'll learn from the countless number of errors made here and they'll be able to shape up in time for the big collaboration.


Yeah, I bet most people haven't even heard of this one. I only found out about it based on a trailer I happened to catch online. The trailer was really intriguing, and built the movie up to be a Blair Witch style horror film for the internet age.

This is just a case of false advertisement, however. There's no horror movie to be found here. Or, well, much of any movie, really. It starts off interesting enough, as a guy meets a girl online and they communicate over a period of time. They form a sort of long distance relationship, even though they've never met each other before. But the guy soon catches the girl in a series of lies, and decides to investigate by showing up to her house unannounced.

Then when he meets the girl, who is in fact not who she said she was, that's sort of it. And the movie just drags on and on from that point, with nothing of worth really happening. So much build up, all leading into to a whole lotta nothing. What a disappointment.

The Last Airbender

Again, no surprise here. I've already torn this movie apart in a previous post, so there's not much else I can say without retreading old ground. But I do just want to emphasize the amount of potential this film had to be great, and the amount of potential this series still has to be a successful film franchise. Just give it to a competent director is all that I ask, one who'll actually treat the source material with the respect that it deserves.

So there it is, folks. My very best and very worst movies of the year 2010. I hope you enjoyed it, and look out for more potential movie reviews from yours truly in the coming year. With movies like Cowboys and Aliens and Sucker Punch on the horizon, 2011 looks to be another good year in film.

The Best Movies of 2010

Well, it's that time of year again. Time for my rundown of the past year in movies. I made it out to a lot of films this year. Some were bad, but most of them were good. Now, I've compiled my lists of the year's best and worst, though I did want to do something a little different.

While I loved a good many movies that came out this year, there were four that managed to stand out for me above and beyond all the rest. As I've been compiling this list throughout the year, only four films have stuck with me at the top as the absolute best. Only four films really shined as irreplaceable on the list. And I really just want to focus on those four films here. But first, for those curious, here's what my top 10 movies of the year leading up to those four looks like:

10. Kick-Ass
9. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
8. The Social Network
7. Black Swan
6. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
5. Tangled

I'd also like to give some honorable nods to The Fighter, Toy Story 3, and The Expendables. All were great films in their own right, even if they didn't manage to make it into my final list. Now then, onto the good stuff.

The Ghost Writer

I went into this film based on a vague interest after seeing only a single commercial randomly on TV. The premise was interesting enough, a ghost writer, played by Ewan McGregor, takes up the task of writing the memoirs for the British Prime Minister Adam Lang, played by Pierce Brosnan. He takes on this job after his predecessor on the project died from a supposed accident. And as The Ghost dives deeper into the story of Lang's life, what he discovers puts his own life in danger.

It's a thrilling film that keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout. This movie intrigued me from the opening scene of an unmanned car parked aboard a ship, and it left me as compelled as our main character to unravel the mysteries that presented themselves.

Ewan McGregor is great as The Ghost (his character is never actually named). He's a witty, almost charming character. Though his wit oftentimes comes across as rude, even when he doesn't intend to be. He's also very curious, always questioning even the little things that are going on around him.

We see as he struggles with himself to stay out of trouble, but his curiosity always manages to get the better of him. From the very beginning when he takes on the job, and all the way to the end as he puts the pieces together, he's constantly being talked into situations, even by his own self, only to regret his decisions after the fact.

He's a very interesting character to follow along, as is the story he uncovers. And it all leads to an ending sequence that frankly no words could ever do proper justice. It's one of the freshest finales to a film that I've seen in years, and one that just has to be seen.

Let Me In

I've already spoken a bit about this film in a previous post, mainly comparing it the original film it's based on, Let the Right One In. As I said there, this remake has surpassed the original in every way imaginable, and stands on it's own as a completely engrossing, supremely satisfying experience.

What I really want to talk about here though is Chloe Moretz. She just sort of came out of nowhere this year. She started the year strong, playing Hit-Girl in the movie Kick-Ass. She was a foul mouthed 12 year old killing machine, and though she'd rather play with knives than Barbie dolls, there was still a hint of a girly girl at heart. She was tremendous in this role, and her superb acting streak continued in Let Me In.

Here, she plays Abby, a manipulative vampire girl. She's been around for ages, though she's been stuck in the body of a 12 year old the whole time. She appears to be innocent enough during her initial encounters with her next door neighbor, Owen. But as their relationship develops, we learn of a darker, more brutal side to Abby.

Like in her previous film outing, Chloe Moretz plays this role to perfection. I have no issues saying that she has been by far the best actress this year. I can't remember the last time I was this impressed with a new actor, and I'll definitely be keeping an eye on her career after such a strong breakout year.

Tron: Legacy

About a year ago, I first saw the teaser for the new Tron movie. I was left unimpressed, and not looking forward to this film. But as the year wore on, and more and more was revealed, I eventually became drawn to it. And let me tell you right now, this movie ROCKS!

It's a visual feast for the eyes, with a booming score by Daft Punk that'll still be playing in your head well after you've left the theater. Now this movie's been getting a lot of mixed reactions, with only the two things I just mentioned receiving any real praise. But I enjoyed the hell out of it. Everything about it. The beautiful visuals, the music, the story, the acting, Olivia Wilde, everything.

You can go in without having seen the original Tron, though there's some nice little nods here for those who have. The story really captivated me, even if it is fairly simple. We follow Sam Flynn, played by Garrett Hedlund, as he finds his way into the computer world known as The Grid in order to find his long lost father, Kevin Flynn, played by Jeff Bridges.

What he finds is a strange world, dark yet vibrant with it's neon lights. The “games” are an absolute pleasure to watch, and the cheering crowd adds a nice gladiator feel to them, fitting considering the stakes that are at hand. All of the action scenes are a real joy to watch. And the aforementioned soundtrack only adds to the intensity.

The acting is all fine, particularly considering that most of the characters are playing computer programs. But even the human characters do a good job. In fact, it's some of the more human scenes that stand out for me in this movie. I loved Sam describing the sun to Quorra, and I was smiling during the whole dinner conversation between father and son.

And Jeff Bridges does great here, doing double duty as both hero and villain. But I don't care what anyone says, his CGI face on Clu, as well as the younger Kevin, looked fine. There was only a single scene near the end of the film where it clearly stood out as being CGI.

It's an extremely fun movie, one that I enjoyed more than I ever would have imagined. But unlike my previous mentions in this list, the issue with this film isn't the lack of people seeing it, but rather the fact that many who've seen it have failed to see the greatness the lies within, shrugging it off as just a stupid, if pretty, movie. I found it to be so much more than that, though.

Oh, and I want my own downloadable Olivia Wilde please.


No surprise here, really. Inception is without a doubt the best movie I've seen, not only this year, but in the past several. There's not much that I can say that hasn't already been said, which is partly why I hadn't bothered to write up my own review of it before now. It's clever, ambitious, and inspired.

One of the things I constantly hear about this film is that it's also confusing, but I really don't find that to be the case here at all. The movie goes out of it's way to explain everything that's going on, and the story is honestly really straight forward. In fact, the only thing I found confusing was how so many people were somehow confused by this movie.

But that issue aside, as I've said before, the movie is very clever in the way it portrays the ways the human mind works in the dreaming state. It allows for a world of possibilities to be explored, and explore them it does with some of the most jaw dropping imagery you can imagine.

And as we dive deeper into the dream world, we're constantly haunted by the ever looming music, which almost acts as the movie's pulse. The booming bass in particular in many ways feels like a character itself, adding an even more epic feel to the movie's already epic scale.

I also want to make mention to the hallway scene. Yeah, that hallway scene. Oh. My. God. No matter how many times I see it, that scene sends chills through my body. It's possibly the most stunning visual I've ever witnessed on film, ever, and is a truly groundbreaking achievement.

The story was fascinating, the visuals were amazing, the score was top notch. What else is there to say? It's the best movie I've seen in years. Chris Nolan has truly outdone himself with this one.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

November: An Experience

Before I begin, I'll warn that this is going to be a more personal blog compared to my more recent posts.

Another November gone, and another National Novel Writing Month completed. I did things a little differently this year, however. While the goal for NaNoWriMo is supposed to be 50,000 words, I upped the ante, going for broke with a 100,000 word goal. 30 days later I accomplished this goal, though the finished product is hardly what I would consider to be a novel. I looked at the event as more of a writing exercise this year, to see how many words I could spew out over the course of a month. I finished up with a little over 104,000, though I definitely know I could have done more if I really pushed myself. But I'm not complaining, I'm relatively satisfied with my results, and I was again able to learn so much about myself through the month, both as a writer, and as a person.

One of the reasons I took on this inflated word count goal was to help motivate the other writers doing this event. After all, this year, my increased word goal wasn't the only thing different. I also acted as one of the local Municipal Liaisons for NaNoWriMo in my region. Basically meaning, I helped set up and run events in town, and had to keep my fellow writers updated and motivated with weekly e-mails, forums posts, and personal interactions. And while my initial intentions with my word count may not have gone exactly as planned (some thought I was just being braggy, though others did look to me as a rival), I do have to say that I am pleased with the outcome of this experience.

It was a challenge for me, being the generally shy and reserved person that I am. I was worried about a lot of things going in. Would I be accepted? Would I be able to be more open, or would I choke up? There were definitely times when I just didn't want to do the whole ML thing, but in the end, I managed to persevere. I was able to push through, stand up and talk in front of a group of people, and walk up to people I didn't know and strike up a conversation. All things that I'm not exactly comfortable doing, and completely clashes with my personality. I grew both as a person, and as a leader. I became more open, more confident, and I was able to form a closer bond to those around me.

I just hope that I was able to really help motivate the other writers. Even if I only managed to inspire just one person, as others were able to inspire me. I watched as so many people, both young and old, tackled the same goal. I watched as they battled with other stresses in life, such as work and school, and yet still kept on. I watched those word counts rise, and saw people, who were worried they wouldn't make it, complete their goals with flying colors. To me, watching all of this take place before my eyes was absolutely inspiring. And I wouldn't have been able to get through all of these challenges if it weren't for that inspiration and help I received from everyone else.

Though it was my third year doing it, NaNoWriMo was a whole new experience for me this year. And as I mentioned before, I was able to take away so much from this experience, and I hope to return and do it again next year.

I did also want to address one other matter, that being the novel I've been working on throughout the past year. I'm not going to talk too much of what it's about, but I will say this. It's a story that I've had in my head since I was just a little elementary school kid playing pretend with my neighborhood friend. It's based on many things that I've experienced throughout my life, with a fantastic twist added in to keep things interesting. It's a very personal story, though I doubt many of the people who've read it so far would have ever guessed that.

About two years ago is when I finally sat down and wrote out the outline for the first part of this story. Since then, I've generated some brief rundowns for the later parts, but I'm not quite there yet. At first, I really wanted this to be a comic book, and so I collaborated with an artist at work to do the drawings for me. He finished up several pages for our pilot issue, and it seemed like we had a good thing going at first. But our ideas began to clash a little too much, and we ended up going our separate ways.

I could have pursued another artist, but at this point, I just really wanted to get my story written down. So, instead of worrying about making it a comic, I decided that I'd just write the whole thing out and make it a novel. And hey, if it's successful enough, then I could adapt it into a comic book or cartoon series and all that other great stuff later on, right? Well, those were some of the ideas running through my head and keeping me motivated as I planned out the novelization of this story.

I finally began work on it at the beginning of the year, and I made a goal to be done with the first draft by the end of this year. I've been editing as I went along, so it took me a long time to make it to this point. But just a couple days ago, I finally did it. I finally completed the first draft of my manuscript. And I couldn't have done it without all of those who helped me. From the suggestions and critiques at local writing workshops, to the motivating words from my family (yes, I actually let family members read this one!). All of that helped push me to finish my novel, and I couldn't be happier right now.

I'm of course going to have to go back and do some more rereads, rewrites, and revisions. But as of right now, I'm satisfied. My next goal is to get this thing published, so we'll just have to wait and see how that goes.

I haven't been writing on my blog as much lately, though I do have a couple of new ones planned for the near future. It is the end of the year, after all. So that means it's about time for another end of year movie wrap-up. So join me again, as I tackle the very best, as well as some of the worst movies of the year 2010.

Thanks for reading!