2010 Film round-up: Part One

Since January 1st, 2010, Dave and I have seen (quick count..) 24 films. We haven’t seen anything since the 9th June, as there hasn’t been too much on to get excited about, but 24 is a pretty good record for me!
I am usually too broke and not that fussed about “seeing it in the cinema”, unless there’s a good reason for it. But the Unlimited movie card from Cineworld has been excellent and we’ve really tried to make the most of it. Here is my round-up of the films we have seen so far.
13.01.10 – Avatar 3D
Well. With all the hype you’d think we would have been amazed by this. But I went in prepared for the worst. And what we got was simply a rehashed, cliched story with some very very pretty effects. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it. But only as mindless eye candy, purely there to keep my brain busy for a few hours. It was hardly mind-blowing stuff.
And I just can’t get into 3D. Are my eyes that shit? Is it just not that great yet? Meh. I could have seen it in 2D quite happily.
My rating? 3/5.
22.01.10 – Up in the Air
Some reviewers have called this film a bit boring. A bit pointless. And found George Clooney’s character not very… likeable. I can relate to that. But I think the point of this character was that he was just so disconnected from feeling anything real that he clung on to this strange obsession with gathering as many frequent flyer miles as possible. As a plane/airline nerd, I found the concept quite amusing and interesting, and loved the unconventional yet positive ending of the film. I liked the characters, the realism and the relationships that developed. So I’m gonna give it a 4/5.

Date unknown (first two weeks of Feb) – A Single Man
Wow. What a poignant, beautiful, sad film. Colin Firth was just incredible, as was the off-the-rails Julianne Moore. I really felt for the characters, despaired for the lead, and wished everything had turned out differently. One of my favourite films so far this year.
My rating: 5/5

20.02.10 – The Lovely Bones
I can see what they were trying to do here. Kinda. But it felt too.. mainstream-y. Glossy. Airy-fairy. Nice. The book to me was tragic, dark, traumatic, though I do associate it with her earlier, more auto-biographical novel, which still makes me shake to this day. It would have been a wonderful film by an indie director without the big budget, sparkly effects and casting. I loved Saoirse, and Stanley Tucci was amazing in his simple choices of expression, but Marky Mark just was.. bad. The Happening bad. Novel-to-film adaptations quite often suck, but for a book I really loved, it just felt lacking. Still love ya, PJ.
Rating: 3/5

02.03.10 – The Crazies
What an underrated gem this was. Gripping, exciting, entertaining as hell. I’d love to watch it again sometime. The whole town goes nuts. Nuts I tell ya! And for a sleepy town with lots of scary farm equipment and hicks with shotguns? that’s an adventure. I loved the casting, the hold-your-breath moments, the story development and how real it almost felt. Well done. Almost as good as The Mist.
I liked it! 4.5/5

09.03.10 – Crazy Heart
From one Crazy title to another. This film felt at times very run-of-the-mill musician biopic, even though the musician in question wasn’t a real dude. Struggling with alcohol and his personal demons, he tries to hold his life together and keep his career on track. I enjoyed it, and thought Jeff Bridges was brilliant, but found it never really went anywhere.
My rating: 3.5/5

12.03.10 – Alice in Wonderland
I love Tim Burton. Especially with Johnny Depp. I’ll see any Tim Burton movie that comes along. But this was just.. rubbish. I really didn’t enjoy it. It felt forced, over-the-top (even for Burton.. ugh, that dance by Johnny Depp), and I just didn’t care about the characters or the outcome for Alice. Meh. Disappointing. I did find Helena Bonham Carter rather amusing, however.
Rating of 2.5/5 at most.

16.03.10 – Green Zone
A film that has been called ‘politically preachy’ or ‘anti-American’ always makes you curious, and being a fan of Greengrass’ Bourne series, and the lovely Matt Damon, we had to make sure we caught this one. Action-packed, interesting and filled with conspiracy, the film is definitely a fun ride throughout. The cinematography and design of the film make you feel immersed in Iraq and in the situations that Miller finds himself in, and the realistic dialogue and plot keep you hanging on ’til the very end. I’ll give this one a 4/5.

22.03.10 – Shutter Island
I’m almost sorry that I picked the plot twist up so early. It’s a good one, and well-executed. But I definitely figured it out well before most, and was kicking myself later on, as I didn’t enjoy the ending as much as I’d have liked. This film will keep you guessing and hoping that you never ever lose your mind. Ben Kingsley and Leonardo are just brilliant in it, and the dark, edgy feel to the film definitely improves the whole experience. I did find the music a little ridiculous, as it was loud and over-dramatic at times, but I think that was the feel Scorcese was going for.
Rating: 4/5

26.03.10 – I Love You, Phillip Morris
Based on the real-life bizarre tale of impressive conman Steven Jay Russell, this film is more than a little ridiculous. With excellent comedic timing from Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor, the film is entertaining enough, but seems to just be a fun escapism (ha ha you see what I did there?) comedy, lacking in too much substance. Not a bad film, just not a brilliant one. I’d give it a 3.5/5.

27.03.10 – The Room
Oh boy. How do you review this movie? A cult classic, this film is one of those that you just have to see to believe. Completely funded by its creator and star, Tommy Wiseau, the plot, acting, style, cinematography and effects are at times mindblowing, leading audiences to now quite openly yell at the screen, “Why, Tommy!”, repeat lines and on occasion, throw spoons (see it and you’ll understand). I recommend this film to anyone who is able to see it. It’s so so bad, but it gets 5/5 in my book. I’d see it again anytime.

30.03.10 – The Blind Side
Okay, so I may be a sucker for a tearjerker film. Especially if it’s based on a true story. But what Leigh Anne Tuohy and her family did for Michael Oher is just remarkable. This has nothing to do with race or privilege, this is a nice family taking in a kid who really needed their help. Sandra Bullock is fantastic and I thoroughly enjoyed this film. It was just sweet, without being too saccharine. It wasn’t preachy. It wasn’t that predictable (well, the general plot was, but not play-by-play). And I was a total weeping softie when it came to the real-life photos at the end! Rating: 4.5/5.

Don’t judge.

Well that’s the 1st quarter of the year, I’ll do April-June next, probably later in the week!

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