Nobody would forgive me if I didn’t do a top movie list too

31Dec09

Okay, well maybe not. But I spend so much time with this forum talking about movies. Good movies, bad movies, so-so movies, old movies, new movies, hell, I’m a film major this is just what I do. One forward I have is that I did miss the Hurt Locker and I heard that movie was good. But I can’t bring myself to add any movie that I haven’t seen. And yes, Watchmen was a lot of fun and I will probably buy the DVD, but the film just did not have the same effect on me that the book did. That said, here are my top picks for film this year:

10. Avatar- Yes, in terms of story this is easily the weakest link on this list. But I have to give Avatar a spot on this list simply because of James Cameron’s commitment to detail and visual effects. Not since Jurassic Park have I been so taken aback by the world of a movie. While one could argue that this spot could easily have gone to Transformers 2, first that is an insult to Avatar, because the CGI is ten times better. Secondly, the story is actually well told. Their is nothing wrong with the story and characters, they just aren’t adding anything new to the action movie. Consider this, any film that convinces you to abandon hope in your own race and switch the side of nine foot, tiger people is surely doing something right.

9. The Hangover- This new film by Todd Phillips (Old School, Starsky & Hutch) isn’t going to be winning any big awards, perhaps apart from ones given out by MTV. But comedies shouldn’t really have a commitment to deeper meaning if your gags are so damn funny that you have to stop for breath in between laughs. This is a lesson that Judd Apatow needs to re-learn and fast. Ed Helms finally gets the big break that other Daily Show alumni Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert got. Bradley Cooper shows that he can make his patented asshole character actually quite likable. Though to be fair, Zach Galifinakas steals the show ten minutes in by attempting to get the guys to join in with a blood brothers pact and doesn’t let up from there. But truly makes this guy comedy work is how all three of them are able to play off of each other, as well as funny cameos from Rob Riggle (the next Daily Show alum to hit it big perhaps?), Ken Jeong, and Mike Tyson. Yes, face tattoo crazy Mike Tyson can be intentionally funny. Who knew?

8. Adventureland- People ask why I like Jesse Eisenberg so much. Why shouldn’t I? He’s more or less an older me. He takes the awkward, mumbling comic style made famous by Michael Cera and adds vulnerability and depth. This coming of age film was the perfect choice for his skill set. Eisenberg plays James, a recent college graduate who gets a summer job at a local theme park to help pay for Columbia graduate school. Throughout a rather frenzied summer of 1987, James discovers love, friendship, and himself. This movie is actually quite dark, while no where near as slapstick as the trailer would like you to believe. Easily the funniest scene in the film is a quick dinner conversation between a stoned James and his parents and about interning at Mr. Rodgers Neighborhood. Little known fact, Greg Mottola is a solid director. Obviously flexing muscle he didn’t have available to him during Superbad, Mottola puts some cool-looking shots into this. Also, Lisa P., if you’ve seen the movie, you know what I’m talking about.

7. 500 Days of Summer- What should have been a standard romantic comedy which is able to flourish thanks to an inventive story-telling mechanic, a beautiful directing style, and music that fits every scene. Joseph Gordon-Levitt gives a performance that ensures he will have no shortage of tail for the rest of his hopefully long life. Gordon-Levitt plays Tom Hansen, a young man who spent his whole life waiting for the one, and winds up falling in love with a woman who doesn’t adhere to this philosophy, played by Zooey Deschanel. Told in a non-linear format, one of 500 Days of Summer favorite tricks is to put one of the best moments of their relationship right next to a scene of them at their worst. This one is not for the faint of heart, one of the girls in my group cried during this one…and I was close.

6. Zombieland- I love zombie movies. There is something about post-apocalytia that I have always found positively enthralling. Still reading? Any who, one of the best elements of doomsday scenarios are zombies. Not the strongest or most intelligent opponents to human destruction, but they are terrifying for their sheer numbers and ferocity. At the core of this off-beat zombie flick is a warm, fuzzy comedy about relationships and the necessity of companionship. Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrellson, and Abigail Breslin are the beginning of unlikely start of this group, but Emma Stone really is the glue to this. Finally Jesse Eisenberg has a love interest worthy of his attention, Stone balances smart, sexy, and funny quite effectively. This is yet another comedy that is quite well shot, the most visually stimulating scene being one where the survivors destroy an Indian casino gift shop just for shits and giggles.

5. In The Loop- This is a little known British film based off of a BBC comedy program. Taking place inside of the UK government’s communications department, this film breaks down the issue in the mistakes of word selection and the accompanying fallout thanks to media interpretation and attempted decoding of government rhetoric. A young MP makes a flub during a television interview which leads to considerable media belief that the government wants to go to war. Every time the Ministry of Communications tries to correct this, they just seem to wind up deeper and deeper down the whole, eventually getting the Americans involved. What’s amazing about this movie is that they never actually say what country they are going to invade, everyone just seems to know. But it’s obvious that this is supposed to take place during the present day, as one character makes a reference to Facebook. This gives the movie a timelessness, which transcends Iraq and goes into all dumb wars.

4. A Serious Man- The Coens are at it again with a modern day version of the biblical Job. Larry Gopnik has a tough life; his wife wants to leave him for widower, his mooching brother refuses to leave, his daughter who is never home wants a nose job, his soon to be Bar Mitizvahed son has a huge pot habit, one of his students is trying to bribe him, and he’s up for tenure at the college where he teaches at. This movie never relents on it’s protagonist as the selfishness of the various characters makes Larry’s life a living hell. Even the rabbis at Larry’s temple don’t offer much in the way of advice. Some would say that God has abandoned Larry, but when the puppeteer of your future is the Coens, you know your in trouble.

3. District 9- who knew that the best racism allegory in the history of cinema would come about through a sci-fi movie. First time feature director Neil Blomkamp and first time star Shartlo Copley team up to make one of the sharpest movies this year. A film that proves to be socially-conscious without being preachy. Copley plays Wikus, a mid-level employee at his company which deals with a group of aliens that now live in a ghetto in Johannesburg. These aliens are referred to as Prawns for their shrimp-like appearance. Unknown to Wikus is that his company is only keeping these aliens alive so they can figure how to use their advanced weaponry as their own. Wikus is charged with moving the aliens out of District 9 into the new District 10, an even-worse slum which he admits later in the movie amounts to a concentration camp. But when he gets infected with an alien-made nerve agent, he gets taken away by his company for testing. Now Wikus is fighting for his life, allied with a Prawn scientist named Christopher Johnson. What gives this clever movie even more life is the quality of the effects, it is amazing how expressive the aliens are despite the fact that they look nothing like humans.

2. Inglorious Basterds- This is Quentin Tarantino’s best movie since Pulp Fiction. While this film has it’s detractors, namely people like Jack Danger and The Critic. I have always been a fan of Tarantino’s blend of heavy dialogue, intense action, and black humor. Brad Pitt is so much fun as the Nazi-scalping Lieutenant Aldo Rayne, that it’s a shame whenever he is off screen. Rayne leads a small group of Jewish Americans on a warpath through Nazi occupied France, scalping all but a few survivors, who leave with swastikas scarred into their foreheads. Christoph Waltz plays a chilling villain, not because he is heinous, but because he is clever, resourceful, and completely amoral. The best scene in the movie is a pressure cooker in a bar where a British agent and the two German-born Basterds are trying to avoid detection from an S.S. officer, it is amazing how tense yet hilarious this scene is. Tarantino has always been one for style, this one plays off of Europe. So much of the movie delves into language, and characters who can’t understand multiple ones often find themselves in a lot of trouble.

1. Up In The Air- Jason Reitman continues to build up an impressive resume from Thank You For Smoking and Juno. This should go down as one of George Clooney’s best performances. Clooney plays Ryan Bingham, a contractor hired independently by various companies to fire their employees for them. Because of his lifestyle, Bingham spends almost all of his time on the road, predominately in airports and hotels. In the last year, he flew 350,000 miles and spent only 43 days at home, a small, undecorated one bedroom in Omaha. Ryan has no close family or friends, his commitments are to American Airlines, Hertz cars, and Hilton hotels. Ryan’s way of life is challenged when his boss hires a woman who has developed a new system to fire people over the internet, cutting out all the costs of traveling. In a desperate attempt to preserve his way of life, he takes the new girl out on the road with him to show her the ropes and the sad, quiet dignity of his job. This movie was released at exactly the right time, in a time where unemployment is such a huge problem, this film deals with the dilemma of how much of one’s life is career and how much is family. I can’t wait to see this movie again if anyone else is interested.

Advertisements


No Responses Yet to “Nobody would forgive me if I didn’t do a top movie list too”

  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: