Friday, December 24, 2010

Movies in 2010

Winter's Bone (see below)

You can't see them all and you'd go mad if you tried, but I've been to the cinema a great deal more than last year. Maybe the weather has helped in that I've been indoors a good deal, but the 2010 crop of films has been strong. There's a few I've missed and they're on my to-do list, like Black Swan, Shutter Island and The Fighter. But for what it's worth here are:

Hendo's Six Hot Movies of 2010.

Monsters is a rare thing, a British science fiction film. And it's great. A sort of road movie made by Gareth Edwards with a crew of about seven who travelled through central America in a bus. Every now and then they'd get out, recruit some locals and shoot a scene with improvised dialogue. When he got home Edwards cut the film in his bedroom on his PC and painstakingly added in all the special effects. The result is a very watchable Easy Rider meets Day of the Triffids affair, the budget for which came in at around £300,000. That's miniscule in film terms and should endear him all the more to austerity hit Hollywood. Go see.

Kick Ass A super hero film with a difference, ie that the main character has no super powers but decides to fight crime in a funny costume anyway. He's well played by Aaron Johnson, and the film also boasts a promising performance by Chloe Moretz. Well paced direction from Matthew Vaughn and a sparkly script by Jane Goldman makes it worth getting the DVD, or a download or whatever it is you do these days. But a word of warning, this is one of those films which absolutely everyone loved except me. I thought it was reasonable but there's a bit where one of the characters gets set on fire which crossed my personal line on violence and - for me - spoiled it.

The Social Network. American students talk at one another, invent Facebook, fall out, hire lawyers. I was bored stupid, but everyone else thinks this film is pure gold. I just couldn't manage to care about any of these preppy/nerdy types. Aaron Sorkin wrote the screenplay and one of his keynote strategies is to make his characters speak quickly 'so that they appear clever'. It revolves around people talking about money in offices and has six Oscar nominations which shows how bankrupt American film culture really is. But I'm afraid you're going to have to see it, if only to post what you think about it on Facebook.

Winter's Bone. A teenager in backwoods Missouri finds her dad has gone missing while on bail, which wouldn't be so bad if the bail surety wasn't the house she lives in with her silent mother and perky siblings. Loved this film for a variety of reasons; the no holds barred depiction of grinding rural poverty and deprivation, the ensemble cast with the outstanding performance from newcomer Jennifer Lawrence as the teenage girl trying to cope with demands most adults would run away from, and the taut thriller of a script. Superb, my film of the year.

Of Gods and Men. A small community of monks in North Africa walk the perilous line between Islamic fighters andTunisian government forces. Beautifully shot with some brilliant acting from the French speaking cast. And a really unusual film which is a bit dull for the first ten minutes but take it from me, it's worth sticking around. Based on a true story which makes the moving drama even higher in impact. Do seek it out.

Inception This film is so clever people had to go and see it twice to work it out. This is risky marketting but fortunately smart break-neck direction, amazing effects and DiCaprio at full throttle makes it all a worthwhile exercise. I think I kind of 'got it' but not being totally sure still made this thriller a great way to spend an afternoon at the Ritzy.

I'm looking forward to the King's Speech and for some reason connected to Tamsin Greig and Gemma Arterton I may see Tamara Drewe for a second time when it comes on the telly. Happy filmery in 2011!

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