As a change from last year’s film of the year format, I’m going to make up some new categories. Just for the sheer hell of it or something.
Let’s kick off with a controversial one then. Kick Ass isn’t as good as the hype suggests. Sure it’s good fun but if you listened to some people, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s the greatest film ever. It’s not. It’s partly down to the main character. He’s just not very good and he’s intensely dislikeable. It’s Hitgirl that steals the show. She’s brilliant. Nicholas Cage isn’t in it enough to make a great impact although when he is about, he is very good. The focus is just too much on Kick Ass and Red Mist for my liking when I found other characters much more interesting (albeit a bit two dimensional but I can appreciate why this was deliberate). I’m not saying it’s a bad film, just not as ‘OMGamazing’ as some people would make out. In saying that, if I was still 15, I reckon I’d have adored it.
Most watched at the cinema
To wreck all my dubious credibility, it’s The A-Team. I saw this three times at the cinema while runner up prizes went to Iron Man 2 and Inception with two viewings each. I saw it twice with my Mum and once with my friend as she wanted to see that or Inception and I didn’t really fancy seeing Inception three times in the space of 10 days. I found it good, mindless fun. Many others didn’t, that’s fair enough. Bradley Cooper in it was a good reason to keep watching for me anyhow.
Most thought provoking
I only know one other person who’s actually seen this so I suspect it’s been rather forgotten. It’s about Samuel L Jackson who’s a black-ops interrogator who has to get information out of terrorist lunatic, Michael Sheen, who’s planted a series of nuclear bombs across the US. It’s not action packed in the slightest but it is extremely uncomfortable viewing. Essentially it’s a debate of how far must you go in order to save thousands of lives. It’s uncomfortable not just because of the kind of violence and torture portrayed but because of how it makes you think of how you’d deal with such a situation too. It’s very interesting stuff really but a bit grim.
Redemption of the year
Before 2009, Leonardo DiCaprio was that irritating prettyboy actor who I’d only seen in Titanic previously, and found intensely annoying. I didn’t give him the time of day since. Bad I know, but bear in mind when Titanic came out, I was at the peak age that meant all my friends thought Leo was sooooooo gorgeous and lovely. When I just thought ‘meh, far too pretty and girly looking, plus the guy can’t act’. If I’d only ever seen him in Titanic, I’d still be thinking this too because the film is utterly, utterly dire. Then I saw the trailer for Shutter Island and it looked really rather good, so I gave him a chance and saw it. I’m converted now. Even more so after watching Inception (where admittedly, there are some similarities to the two characters), I’ve since watched a couple of other films of his such as The Aviator and The Departed which have also been very good. A friend encouraged me to watch The Basketball Diaries too so I’ve got that but not seen it yet. So yeah, well done DiCaprio, you turned out alright.
Ignored by everyone but really quite good
Seemingly even less popular than Unthinkable (I don’t know anyone who’s seen it!) is Roman Polanski’s The Ghost (sometimes called The Ghost Writer). Starring Ewan McGregor and Pierce Brosnan, it’s a quite compelling political thriller. Ewan McGregor is a ghost writer for Pierce Brosnan, British Prime Minster (and extraordinarily similar to Tony Blair), and it’s not long before he uncovers various dodgy dealings associated with the UK’s ‘special relationship’ with the US. It’s clever and well written. Give it a chance.
Film that delivered exactly what I expected
Iron Man 2
I had to find a category for Iron Man somewhere. While others were disappointed by Iron Man 2 (and to be fair, the end is over way too abruptly), I still really enjoyed it. It’s a little lighter than the first one which makes me think they were aiming for something different anyway, thus making it difficult to compare the two directly. I still maintain that Terence Howard made a much better Rhodey than Don Cheadle but you can’t have everything I guess. Sam Rockwell was brilliant though.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
Another slightly irrational dislike of mine, I can’t stand Michael Cera. He’s irritating, he’s whiney, he can’t really act and he only ever plays one part – the absolute loser who inexplicably still gets the girl. I’ve had people try to argue in favour of Cera but sod it, I think I’m allowed at least one irrational thing and he can be it. It made me intensely wary of Scott Pilgrim as I didn’t really know anything about the comic books and I couldn’t stand him. It was Edgar Wright though and he’s great so I risked it. I now own half the Scott Pilgrim graphic novels and plan on owning the blu-ray in the very near future. I still can’t stand Cera though, but he did a good job here – again playing the exact same role as always. Maybe in 15 years time he’ll redeem himself like DiCaprio, or maybe not.
Second best film of the year
Yes, second best film of the year. I loved Inception but I don’t think it’s Christopher Nolan’s best (I’d give that accolade to Memento or The Prestige). It’s a mainstream Nolan film without a doubt which makes it an all together different beast to his previous work (excluding the Batman stuff) but it is highly enjoyable. Funnily enough I don’t think DiCaprio is the true star of it, it’s too much of an ensemble piece so everyone’s great in it. As it should be with any good heist movie. Ultimately though, it’s a sheer spectacle. I do worry about the people who find it difficult to keep track of and have trouble getting their head around it though, I found it extremely simple to understand. can’t wait to watch it again on Blu-ray in the near future.
Film of the Year
The Social Network
The Social Network is amazing. Being a David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin fan no doubt helps a lot but it truly is brilliant. I wasn’t sure how a story about something so dry could work but I had nothing to fear. Sorkin’s dialogue is sublime as was the case with The West Wing. It’s intelligent and never patronising. It’s long but never excessive, always feeling tightly woven. Some fantastic acting ability on display too, particularly Andrew Garfield who showed great promise. Just excellent really.
I haven’t seen Toy Story 3 yet so no idea where that would feature, if at all, here. For 2011, I’m currently most looking forward to The King’s Speech as that looks very interesting. To be honest though, I don’t keep an eye hugely on upcoming films. I wait till they’re nearer to release to read about them.