Sunday, December 12, 2010

And so, the "Best of 2010" lists begin!

So, my boy Rich, film buff and all-round awesome dude, just did his best of 2010 movie list, and so I've been inspired to do mine. Please bear in mind that I'm not a film buff whatsoever. I'm a total film nut, especially when it comes to horror movies, and I've written quite a few reviews in my time, but I'm not exactly Mark Kermode. Although I do love him very, very much.

So, I am by no means an expert. I like what I like and sometimes I like what everybody else hates, so...well, take it as you will.

So! My top ten movies of 2010 are as follows (if spoilers slip in, I'm sorry):

10. A Nightmare On Elm Street
First, let it be known that I am a HUGE Freddy Krueger fan, and the Nightmare On Elm Street movies are some of my favourites of all time, as far as horror goes, and just movies in general. I was pissed Robert Englund wasn't reprising his role as Freddy, who is probably my favourite villain of all time, but of course, he's a very old man at this stage and I guess they wanted to revamp the series somewhat, which is fine. I love Jackie Earle Haley, and he was the perfect choice for the new Freddy. Some of his one-liners in this new version are hilarious, and he genuinely scared me a few times. Of course, the fact that the whole "did he really do it" storyline is thrown in is a bit stupid if one has already seen the originals. However, the tone of this revamp is spooky and eerie and there are genuinely a few frights. The whole supernatural edge is dealt with very well, without the usual cringey effects. I'm not usually scared by such things, but I genuinely was in A Nightmare On Elm Street. Plus, seeing the big, dumb vampire from the woeful Twilight movies kill himself within the first few moments was fucking AWESOME. This was no way near as good as the original, but it was pretty damn good. And it was also both fun and funny, two elements that I consider to be very important in any horror movie.

9. Piranha 3D
I only saw this yesterday, but it makes it into the top ten because it was so much fun, so silly, so gory, and had all of the key elements of a classic, B-movie, monster-horror movie. I love anything to do with scary things in the water - Jaws, Lake Placid and Deep Blue Sea being three of my favourite horror films of all time. And I love watching stupid people get mercilessly killed. And I love boobies. And I love Christopher Llyod. So, really, Piranha 3D was my perfect movie! I'd read up about it in Total Film prior to seeing it, so I was already a bit geeky about how much fake blood was used, and how certain things were shot. Visually, it's a dream. The location is sun-drenched, the water is crystal clear, and there are some seriously hot bodies on show. In fact, the only real problem with this movie visually, is the terrible CGI job done on the piranhas. Luckily, the acting is fairly good, hammy in places and serious in others, and it's easy to suspend one's disbelief and really believe in the danger posed by the vicious fishies, even if they do look totally shit. Christopher Lloyd is awesomely hammy, and has a lot of fun with his role. The only real downer was when Jessica Szohr, the chick who annoys the hell out of me every week on Gossip Girl, didn't get chomped to bits in the end.

8. Splice
I'll admit, I'm not a big sci-fi fan. And, although I have quite a strong stomach, shit that has to do with biological experimentation or anything of the sort makes me feel slightly ill. Even so, I was excited to see Splice. I love a bit of Adrien Brody and I was intrigued by the much talked about, semi-sexual tone. Luckily, I wasn't disappointed. Splice isn't horror, nor is it sci-fi. It's a thriller and a drama, a study of human nature and a study of a crumbling relationship, and it asks difficult questions about how far one would go for one's career, and how intelligent people can act really, really stupid. Moving, shocking and very, very strange, Splice was a nice surprise that gave me hope that I may, one day, like the sci-fi genre.

7. Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallowes part 1
I'm a massive Harry Potter nerd, and I'm delighted that the movie adaptations have got better as the years have gone by. I feel as if I've grown up with the kids, and their acting has got so much better that it's almost hard to believe that they're the same people. The seventh instalment was equal parts terrifying, heart-wrenching, hilarious and thrilling. I laughed, cried, gasped, hid behind my hands - even though I already knew the story well. It is by no means a perfect film, but it was a near-perfect adaptation and it did not disappoint me. A lot of people felt it lagged in the middle, but I didn't notice the long-ass running time, nor did I think any of it was unnecessary. The setpieces were beautiful too. I'll no doubt be seeing it again on Christmas eve, as is tradition, and I can't wait!

6. Shutter Island
Another fantastic adaptation! Denis Lehane is one of my favourite authors, and the other, Ben Affleck-directed adaptation of his novel Gone Baby Gone was fantastic, so I had high hopes for this one, even though the story itself is complicated, and didn't seem like it would translate well to the big screen. Luckily, it did. Leonardo di Caprio and Mark Ruffalo shone as the two leads, and the setting was suitably eerie, complemented perfectly by a booming, foreboding soundtrack. It was another near-perfect adaptation. The only real problem I have with it, and it's a tiny one at that, is the added-in bit at the end, which seemed to only be stuck in there so as not to confuse otherwise stupid viewers. I didn't really feel like it was necessary. But otherwise, the layered, creepy, strange story was perfectly told on screen and the acting was spot on.

5. The Runaways
I get a lot of shit for being a total Kristen Stewart fanatic, and I'm often told that I'd watch pretty much anything that she's in. I don't know if that's necessarily true. I've seen pretty much everything she's been in, but then again I've been madly in love with her since I saw her in Panic Room at 14....and I am not ashamed! One day she will be mine! And yes, I have seen all of the Twilight movies in the cinema, just for her. (Notice how Eclipse did NOT make it into this list, thus proving that I will not recommend crap just because of Kristen Stewart). So, on to The Runaways, which did make it in. I love Kristen Stewart. I love when she dresses like a dude and doesn't wear a bra. I love Joan Jett. The Runaways is, thus, one of my fantasies come to life on screen - Kristen Stewart as Joan Jett, in leather pants, with a fem-mullet, not wearing a bra. Now, I was totally expecting this film to be total shit. I mean, there aren't a lot of rock biopics out there that I'd recommend. Last Days was one of the worst films I've ever seen, and I am a massive Kurt Cobain nut. Luckily, The Runaways was on a totally different level. The Runaways aren't a very well-known band, and theirs isn't a story that a lot of people could relate to (myself included), or even know about. It's a shame, because the story is an interesting and exciting one, which plays out very well on screen. This film was shot exceptionally well, and looked beautiful. Seeing Dakota Fanning and Kristen Stewart recreate the infamous Cherry Bomb performance, from Japan in 1977, was pretty incredible. The Runaways kind of bombed, which sucks, because I loved it. But then again, maybe I'm the only one who did!

4. Frozen
Frozen is by far my favourite horror release of 2010. It went straight to DVD over here, which meant practically no one got a chance to see it. It's a real shame, because this is a serious horror gem. It was made for practically no money, and the set itself is claustrophobically small. There are just three actors on screen for the majority of the running time, which nearly always spells disaster. In this case, it was genius. The story revolves around three twentysomethings who get stranded on a skilift. Pretty simple premise, but terrifying nonetheless. Of course, there are only three people involved, so there's no picking everybody off one by one, nor are these characters dumb or irritating. They are layered, believable and it's really easy to sympathise with their plight. Although it does, at times, make for difficult viewing, Frozen is one of the most original movies I've seen this year, and definitely one of the most original horrors in recent years. More people should see this fucking movie!

3. Scott Pilgrim Versus The World
Ah, Scott of my more recent obsessions... I've already written a big, long, boring blog about what I loved and hated about this movie adaptation, and I don't want to repeat myself here. But let me just say that, upon closer inspection, my one and only problem with this film is Mary Elizabeth's Winstead shockingly amateur performance, in which she turns Ramona Flowers, the ultimate bad ass dream girl, into the eye-rolling, snarky, evil bitch that fat, 30-year-old nerds living in their mothers' basements always wanted her to be. MEW, I will hate you forever for wrecking an otherwise perfect film, and for making far too many nerds believe that they were right all along.

2. Toy Story 3
This was an easy choice for second place, because it was one of two perfect films for me this year. This is also on everybody's Top 10 list because, not only was it the perfect ending to a perfect trilogy, but it is beautifully shot, perfectly acted, with a well-structured plot that is equal parts funny, sad, moving and thrilling. Of course, I'm part of the generation that has grown up with these films, so I was bawling like a baby by the end, for more reasons than what I was watching on screen. The Toy Story trilogy is that rarest of gems - a trio of animated films that can be watched over and over without losing any of their original magic. And Toy Story 3 rounded off the series perfectly.

1. Inception
I hate to be a cliche, and pick the film for number one spot that practically everybody else on the face of the planet is going to pick, but there really was no other film that came close to comparing to this one. Toy Story 3 was absolute perfection, but Inception went one step further, because it was live action, and somehow Christopher Nolan managed to achieve on screen what had previously only really been achieved in animated films. I saw Inception twice in the cinema, which of course is much less than a lot of other people. But I would've happily sat through it again another few hundred times. It was a joy to behold, and the acting was absolute perfection. Even Ellen Page, who usually irriates the shit out of me, was great. And, of course, Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon Levitt and Leonardo Di Caprio were fantastic, as they always are. I have a feeling that Inception, much like The Dark Knight, will only get better with time.

So...that's it, my best movies of 2010. Perhaps now it's obvious that I have no taste in movies, perhaps not. But those are my choices and that's that!


Rich M Waters said...

Some interesting thoughts here. There's a few I really gotta see (Frozen, here I come)! Dunno if I'd agree with NOES at all. Jackie was great as Freddie (bar his look. Gerbil nose doesn't do it for me :P) but the story just slugged along for me. Plus it made me feel old, so that doesn't help!
Good list!

Joey said...

Thanks, dude!!! Frozen kicks some major ass. You're right about NOES, it did kinda slug. But I liked the effects a lot. I'd watch Jackie in fucking anything to be honest! He was great in Shutter Island too!