Here’s what I think. How ‘bout you?
As inventive and dazzling a sci-fi movie to hit the screen in ages. Far superior to Cameron’s Avatar. Christopher Nolan has, like he came so close to doing with The Dark Knight, elevated the genre flick to grand art. It’s brilliant in every respect.
The Social Network
My personal favorite movie of the year. Excellent performance by Jesse Eisenberg, but the real star is the script by Aaron Sorkin (creator of The West Wing and SportsNight). Sorkin might be the best writer working in Hollywood today. I dream of being able to write dialogue like he can.
The Tillman Story
Pat Tillman was a star in the NFL who gave up millions of dollars to join the Marines after 9/11. He was sent to Afghanistan where he immediately saw how fucked up things were, and he transformed himself from Bush-administration posterboy into a vocal opponent of that war, as well as the fiasco in Iraq. He was killed in a friendly-fire accident, and subsequently had his memory corn-holed by the Republicans. This documentary made me sad and profoundly angry.
The Kids Are All Right
Annette Benning and Julianne Moore, alongside Mark Rufalo, conduct an acting clinic here, while Lisa Cholodenko’s direction is an understated marvel. She should get an Oscar nomination, but, alas, probably won’t. Funny, charming, socially relevant. Who could ask for more in a movie?
I dig the novel by Charles Portis, but, personally, can hardly sit through the John Wayne movie version (Glen Campbell set a standard for hideous acting). Thankfully, the Coens came along to do the book justice. Terrific work by Jeff Bridges, and Josh Brolin somehow gets better with every movie he makes. Hard to believe he was the dorky big brother in The Goonies.
I’ve been a fan of Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s work since Delicatessen. Micmacs, the tale of two guys with a wildly elaborate plan to take down a weapons manufacturer, is simultaneously pure Jeunet, and something very new. The sight gags are hilarious, and the overall visual impact is stunning. You just never know what Jeunet is going to do next.
How do you make a movie of Allan Ginsberg’s decidedly un-cinematic poem Howl? Here’s how.
The King’s Speech
It doesn’t get much better than Colin Firth as George VI, the British king who overcame his stammer, with the help of a goofy Australian speech therapist (Geoffrey Rush), and rallied his country in defense of Hitler’s Germany. Watching two heavyweights like Firth and Rush work with each other is truly a wonder to behold. And even Helena Bonham-Carter isn’t as annoying as she usually is.
A double prize winner at Sundance, this introverted little movie is an arresting experience. 19-year-old star Jennifer Lawrence gives an Oscar-worthy performance as a young girl in the Ozarks forced to care for her family. I look forward to seeing what she does in the future.
A place-kick to the face. Bee-hive tetherball. A feces volcano. A tavern full of brawling midgets. A sweat cocktail. A Port-O-Potty full of dog poo on bungee cords. Laughter heaven. The funniest movie I saw this year.
And, in no particular order, the worst…
Percy Jackson & the Olympians: Lightning Thief
How to ass-rape Greek mythology for fun and profit.
Knight and Day
Cruise still can’t act. Still isn’t funny. Is still really irritating.
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
Metrosexual nancy-boy vampires. I hate them and want them to die.
Heterosexual hipster-boy vampires. See above.
Careful, Sly! You’ll break a hip!
Ridiculous times at the Armageddon diner. Dopesville.
So little comedy talent, so little laughter.
Hot Tub Time Machine
What the fuck is John Cusack doing with his career?
Alice in Wonderland
Someone please assassinate Tim Burton before he strikes again.
Have a most excellent bunch of holidays, folks!