Thursday, January 27, 2011

My 2010 Oscar predictions

The Oscars are here, that ancient wheezing granddaddy big cheese of Hollywood’s self-congratulatory back-patting season. It’s the big time, kids. The Red Carpet of Red Carpets. A gaudy, glitzy, overblown “night of magic” and carefully scripted PR, helmed by a veritable cornucopia of who’s-who, their sparkly plumage spread for full display, and all for that little statue, the winner having been determined by a group that is largely comprised of out-of-touch Centenarians.

But shallow spectacle and lack of relevance makes them no less of an event. When they choose a movie we like, we mention it with full weight and gravitas. And when they choose the crappy movie with a swelling score delivered with work-like efficiency by Ron Howard… we poo-poo them. “Bah… Oscars,” we say, with a sneer on our lips, “meaningless. It’s all political and has absolutely nothing to do with quality or art!” Meanwhile, the ticket sales for all of the nominated films rise and rise, sometimes climbing upwards of 40%, depending upon your source… which in this particular percentage’s case is from deep within my own buttocks.

Regardless.

This is a time when we are annually reminded just how truly helpless we all are before the full on, engorged and throbbing display of Hollywood’s unleashed finery, as moths to the flame, we flutter in and fall to our knees, salivating before its luminescent luminaries. We gaze enraptured as the glamorous glitterati bask in their own golden glow, to prance, to preen and to laud one another for doing a job they already pay themselves ridiculous mountains of cash to do.

But I doth mock the meat I feed upon…

So gather, my friends, gather here in the smoke of my fire, let us roll the bones and portend…

JON’S OSCAR NOMINATION PREDICTIONS!
(minus the categories which belong at the untelevised portion of the show…)

An admission: Many of these films I have not yet seen, and as such, they are a complete mystery to me. This fact forces me to make shallow, snap judgments based upon my generally uninformed, extremely slanted and deeply held pre-conceived notions as to their quality regardless of any evidence to the contrary. If this bothers you, fuck off.

And so…

Actor in a Leading Role
• Javier Bardem in “Biutiful”
• Jeff Bridges in “True Grit”
• Jesse Eisenberg in “The Social Network"
• Colin Firth in “The King's Speech”
• James Franco in “127 Hours”

Jeff Bridges won last year; Javier Bardem won the year previous. Eisenberg and Franco are cocky young Turks, plus Eisenberg said he didn’t watch the nomination announcement because he “doesn’t own a TV” which makes he and I enemies forever due to his extreme douchiness, but most importantly, the King’s Speech concerns something English, therefore it is automatically the artiest film of this already arty bunch and by extension, so is Colin Firth.

Who I think should win: Bridges

Who will win: Firth

My reaction: TTTTTTTThhhhhhhhhhhhhhhpppppppppppppppbbbbbbbbbbbbbttttttttttttt!

Actor in a Supporting Role
• Christian Bale in “The Fighter”
• John Hawkes in “Winter's Bone”
• Jeremy Renner in “The Town”
• Mark Ruffalo in “The Kids Are All Right”
• Geoffrey Rush in “The King's Speech”

Apparently Christian Bale lost a bunch of weight for this role so he could look all cracky. That’s some serious acting, yo. Mark Ruffalo has been circling the Indie-darling Oscar nod for a while now, but if it wasn’t his for his role in Zodiac, it won’t be his for a role that could easily be described as simply as: “a dude”. Jeremy Renner was the best thing in The Town, without a doubt, but otherwise that movie was just not good enough for him to be granted a win. Then there’s Geoffrey Rush, former Oscar winner and nominated for a role in the film that has been officially designated by the Oscar voters as the one possessing the most quality-ness this year. The best hope the other nominees have is that often times ,when it comes to Sweepers (and with around a dozen or so nominations, The King’s Speech looks to be poised as The One this year), the Supporting Actor category is usually the one that splits different from the trend, so maybe, just maybe John Hawkes has a chance… maybe…

Who I think should win: Hawkes

Who will win: Bale

My reaction: TTTTTTTThhhhhhhhhhhhhhhpppppppppppppppbbbbbbbbbbbbbttttttttttttt!

Actress in a Leading Role
• Annette Bening in “The Kids Are All Right”
• Nicole Kidman in “Rabbit Hole”
• Jennifer Lawrence in “Winter's Bone”
• Natalie Portman in “Black Swan”
• Michelle Williams in “Blue Valentine”

Annette Benning’s role, like Ruffalo’s, wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t a stand-out. However, there’s always the threat of the dreaded Career Oscar nod, and while I’m not against the Career Oscar nod in theory, it’s usually given at the expense of someone better deserving that particular year, which almost guarantees someone else will be robbed at some later point, in order to pay back this time. The good news is, I think Portman is too much a steamroller this year. This is award is her’s. Not only was she phenomenal in a total Oscar role, but nobody else has any real buzz, which is really the ultimate Oscar currency, you know. The voters love a good story. Princess Paltrow, Matt and Ben, Diablo Cody used to strip. That’s Oscar gas in your tank, baby. And Portman is preggars, people. She’s on a billion magazine covers for being pregnant, for Black Swan, and for her new movie about being Fuck-buddies with Ashton Kutcher. That’s: deserving ability, love and family, and a little bit of sexy-time raunch all rolled together and that equals win. Nicole Kidman and Michelle Williams are just also-rans; they might as well be barely drawn parodies of actresses briefly shown in the background. I mean, I’d really like to see Jennifer Lawrence get the nod, but she’s too new and Winter’s Bone was way too long ago, so even though this will ultimately end up being a win for her, as she’ll get a leg up into some more quality projects out of it, she’s dead last as far as this race is concerned. Portman’s put in her time and she deserves it. It should be her.

Who I think should win: Portman

Who will win: Portman

My reaction: I think she was so cute with a Mohawk.

Actress in a Supporting Role
• Amy Adams in “The Fighter”
• Helena Bonham Carter in “The King's Speech”
• Melissa Leo in “The Fighter”
• Hailee Steinfeld in “True Grit”
• Jacki Weaver in “Animal Kingdom”

I think the King’s Speech’s official mandate could loom pretty large here. Plus Crazy-ass Helena Bonham Carter has got a pretty strong track record for a possible Career nod. However, that Golden Globes dress could hurt her. It was so hideous, I was staggered before I even saw a picture. I was like that little blind girl in the moments directly after Oppenheimer’s first Atomic bomb was set off: “What was that?” And like Bainbridge said, when we support fashion as bad as that: “...we’re all sons of bitches...” I love Amy Adams, so I’d support her winning without even seeing the film, because come on… do any of us really NEED to see the Fighter? As for Melissa Leo, if there are two of them nominated for the Fighter and it’s going to go to one of them, it won’t be her. Animal Kingdom is one my “need to see” list and I’ve heard really good things about Jacki Weaver’s performance, plus she’s foreign (well… Australian…) and so very, very Indie at the moment and that all works in her favor, but Australia is no England and Animal Kingdom isn’t quite the right type of grimy art to overcome an English Royalty period piece, no way. Now, for my money, I’m backing Hailee Steinfeld, yes, yes, she is a brand new newbie and very young, but she was fantastic in her first role against two very big, very well known acting personalities and she acquitted herself with seeming ease. What I don’t get is the Supporting nod. Wasn’t she the main character?

Who I think should win: Steinfeld

Who will win: Carter

My reaction: Well... her speech ought to be interesting. And by interesting I mean stupid.

Animated Feature Film
• “How to Train Your Dragon” Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois
• “The Illusionist” Sylvain Chomet
• “Toy Story 3” Lee Unkrich

Admission time: I am not a fan of the Triplets of Bellville. I am not a fan of light French slapstick, or any French slapstick now that you mention it. To be honest really, I’m not a fan of any French comedy, like: at all. AT ALL! I also hate that water color style of animation, so I basically wish cinematic syphilis on the Illusionist and its saccharine sweet uber-bullshit. It sets my teeth on end just seeing the sweet sweet innocence of the trailer, oh so innocent and fluffy. Ugh! It’s so bad; I’m tempted to switch to Freedom Fries. So suck it, Illusionist! As for How to Train your Dragon, it’s great fun. Great fun. Little Ms. Super-cute Wife and I really enjoyed it and if you know Little Ms. Super-cute Wife, that’s really saying something about how much fun it is. But in the end, it lacks the emotional core that Toy Story 3 displayed so easily and honestly, as good as it was, it’s no Pixar film, not by a long stretch.

Who I think should win: Toy Story 3

Who will win: Toy Story 3

My reaction: shhhhhhhhhocker.

Documentary (Feature)
• “Exit through the Gift Shop” Banksy and Jaimie D'Cruz
• “Gasland” Josh Fox and Trish Adlesic
• “Inside Job” Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs
• “Restrepo” Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger
• “Waste Land” Lucy Walker and Angus Aynsley

Exit through the Gift Shop is great AND it’s about cutting edge Art with an upper-case A. Voting for it means you like cutting edge Art with an upper case A, which means you are cutting edge. The other films, of which I’ve only seen the also great Restrepo, only serve to remind us of sad things: excessive drilling, the energy crisis, the economic crisis, the endless garbage dumps, and the endless quagmires of war, yadda, yadda, yadda, so all that and with no holocaust related movie in the bunch, I’m going to throw my not-inconsiderable weight (but I’m working on it!) behind Exit through the Gift Shop

Who I think should win: Exit through the Gift Shop

Who will win: Exit through the Gift Shop

My reaction: Thumbs up.

Visual Effects
• “Alice in Wonderland” Ken Ralston, David Schaub, Carey Villegas and Sean Phillips
• “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1” Tim Burke, John Richardson, Christian Manz and Nicolas Aithadi
• “Hereafter” Michael Owens, Bryan Grill, Stephan Trojansky and Joe Farrell
• “Inception” Paul Franklin, Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley and Peter Bebb
• “Iron Man 2” Janek Sirrs, Ben Snow, Ged Wright and Daniel Sudick

Remember when Phantom Menace lost to the Matrix? That was so awesome. Anyway, Alice in Wonderland is one of the ugliest things ever, however, it made a ga-zillion dollars and sometimes that’s all you need. I hope not, though, I really, really hope not, because that horrendous piece of shit deserves nothing but scorn and loogies. Harry Potter and Iron Man 2, on the other hand, were both great, but the effects were of the expected quality. My skirt was not blown up by anything special. Hereafter? Huh? Yeah, I totally forgot about this film too. Remember the trailer with the tsunami wave and Matt Damon is a psychic? No, of course you wouldn’t. This film is Oscar bait so obvious even the Academy ignored it, so this nomination is both a thrown bone and a middle finger, which is good. Do better, Mr. Eastwood. And then there’s Inception. I think I’d say yes to Inception, even if it wasn’t my favorite of the bunch, if only for the awesome practical effect (as in: Non-CGI) that was the spinning hallway fight. Although, I do think it’s ridiculous that Black Swan didn’t get a nomination here. Yeah, I know it’s not all sci-fi, Academy voters, but sometimes the best CGI is the CGI you don’t notice… What a bunch of out-of-touch assholes.

Who I think should win: Inception

Who will win: Inception

My reaction: as it should be.

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
• “127 Hours” Screenplay by Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy
• “The Social Network” Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin
• “Toy Story 3” Screenplay by Michael Arndt; Story by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich
• “True Grit” Written for the screen by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
• “Winter's Bone” Adapted for the screen by Debra Granik & Anne Rosellini

The only one I haven’t seen here is 127 hours and I’ve heard nothing but good about it, despite its subject matter and general knowledge of the ending before you even walk in. It’s also Danny Boyle. But he won recently, so… probably not. Toy Story 3, while brilliant, is a cartoon and while that’s not an automatic no, when a cartoon does win, it’s usually despite the fact, get me? I haven’t read Winter’s Bone, but the screenplay is fantastic, it’s just been so long since this film was out, man. I mean, there’s a reason most of these are released in December… old people can’t remember shit for very long... I have read True Grit, so I can attest to what a wonderful job the Coen Brothers did, but… they did the basic same thing just a couple of years ago, right? So, I think the Social Network will get the award and it will get it because A. It won’t get Best Picture, so this is its consolation prize. And B. because no one expected a movie about Facebook to be even remotely good, let alone fantastic.

Who I think should win: True Grit

Who will win: The Social Network

My reaction: eh… I’ll allow it.

Writing (Original Screenplay)
• “Another Year” Written by Mike Leigh
• “The Fighter” Screenplay by Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson;
Story by Keith Dorrington & Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson
• “Inception” Written by Christopher Nolan
• “The Kids Are All Right” Written by Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg
• “The King's Speech” Screenplay by David Seidler

The Academy loves Mike Leigh, he’s Indie quality, you know? But a one shot nomination winner in a traditionally “part of the package” category? Doubt it. Wow, the Fighter, huh? God damn, look how many monkeys it took to tap out the rags to riches story of a boxer whose trials and tribulations within the ring pale in comparison to the trials and tribulations he must overcome outside of the ring… fuck… Anyway, the Kids are alright is a good film, a strong film, but not enough of a “wow” film. So it comes down to the King’s Speech and Inception. By all accounts, as far as I’ve heard, the King’s Speech is good. I know Inception is definitely good. But Inception is also a silly little sci-fi film and populist to boot, while the King’s Speech is, as I’ve stated earlier, arty like a motherfucker. But it doesn’t really matter because, Director, Picture, Screenplay? Those are three great tastes that usually taste great… together.

Who I think should win: Inception

Who will win: The King’s Speech

My reaction: (rolls eyes)

Directing
• “Black Swan” Darren Aronofsky
• “The Fighter” David O. Russell
• “The King's Speech” Tom Hooper
• “The Social Network” David Fincher
• “True Grit” Joel Coen and Ethan Coen

Ok, so yes, there have been times when the Director and Picture awards split, but it’s been much less often then when the two of them stay together. I mean, a big part of the reason a Director can ever even make a Best Picture is their Producers, so the two awards staying together means everybody gets an award for the good job they did together. And that’s what I expect to happen here, so right away, you want to dump off half of the Best Picture nominations, because it’s not going to happen. So, this is our field. Right off the bat, I’m backing the Coen Brothers, but honestly, No Country for Old Man is from a similar vein and tone and it won just two years ago, so a repeat so soon is unlikely. Not undeserved, mind you, but unlikely. The Fighter is Oscar pap, this year’s Invictus. Not quite undeserved of its accolades, but definitely not in the same category as the others. It’s predictable been there, done that crap. Aronofsky is still too left of center for the Academy’s tastes, I think. And honestly, the film was more Natalie’s show than it was his, although the dance scenes were intense. So once again, we’re down to the King’s Speech and The Social Network. As you’ve probably guessed by now, I expect The King’s Speech to receive the award, mostly because it’s all high-falutin’ and shit, but more so because Facebook scares the unholy catheter out of most of the Academy voters. Those liver-spotted bastards barely even know how to operate their DVD players, you go and mention Facebook to some of them and they’re gonna be scrambling for their Blunderbusses, you know what I’m saying?

Who I think should win: True Grit

Who will win: The King’s Speech

My reaction: Down the British! Up the Rebels!

Best Picture
• “Black Swan” Mike Medavoy, Brian Oliver and Scott Franklin, Producers
• “The Fighter” David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman and Mark Wahlberg, Producers
• “Inception” Emma Thomas and Christopher Nolan, Producers
• “The Kids Are All Right” Gary Gilbert, Jeffrey Levy-Hinte and Celine Rattray, Producers
• “The King's Speech” Iain Canning, Emile Sherman and Gareth Unwin, Producers
• “127 Hours” Christian Colson, Danny Boyle and John Smithson, Producers
• “The Social Network” Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti, Michael De Luca and Ce├ín Chaffin, Producers
• “Toy Story 3” Darla K. Anderson, Producer
• “True Grit” Scott Rudin, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, Producers
• “Winter's Bone" Anne Rosellini and Alix Madigan-Yorkin, Producers

Ah, the vaunted Ten nominees. So inclusive. So now. So embracing of change. Whatta loada, right? The kids are alright? Winter’s Bone? Toy Story 3? 127 hours? Inception? All good films, but I know the Oscars, you know the Oscars, we all know the Oscars, so let’s be honest, none of those films are Oscar material… at least as far as those stodgy old farts think. It’s like when they nominated Eminem for best song whenever that crappy film of his was nominated, the year Elton John turned his back on the gay community and not in the friendly Fire Island kind of way either. You just know the producers of the awards show had visions of hordes of hip, young teens flocking to the nearest TV. Oh, the Oscars! Oh, so hip, so inclusive of the younger generations! Fart. Come on. You know what 10 fucking nominees means? Like, at least another hour tacked onto the program, that’s what that means. It’ll be sixty-seven years long this time. Ok, sure, on the Brightside, yeah, at least the brain-numbing stupidity of the opening interpretive dance performance is about to shoot for the fucking stars of stupid when it’s Inception’s turn, that’s something to look forward to. And speaking of, what the hell is the interpretive dance for the Kids are Alright going to look like? Personally, I’m praying for scissoring. Lots and lots of scissoring. Ok, admittedly, there’s more good films nominated this year than pap, so you know… that’s good, but that doesn’t mean that I expect any sudden twists here at the end. This is a Director/Picture pairing year, so hello King’s Speech… which means I’m going to have to go see it now… sons of bitches…

Who I think should win: True Grit

Who will win: The King’s Speech

My reaction: scorn

The Oscars… sigh… here we come, you rotten bastards.


So there you have it, kids.

Thoughts?

Jon

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Best films of 2010

Hey-oh! And here we go!

Good news! Today’s the day! I have finally managed to wrap up and write up my little Best of 2010 list for all you good people out there in the hinterlands of the Internet. Celebrate! Woooo! Now, I should say this up front here, I definitely missed some films I wanted to see, ones that might have made the list. I included that list below the main attraction. That’s right. Two lists for the price of one, kids. Come on now, that's super awesome…

Oh-ho-ho, but wait a second, y’all, it gets better.

I also included a short list of films that ALMOST made the list AND an even shorter list of films I originally thought would suck donkey balls, so I avoided them and then, I saw them on a couple of different end of the year lists and I thought “hmmm… maybe I was wrong,” so I went back and checked them out and… nope… they sucked donkey balls. All those lists and more are toward the end, but in the meantime, between you and there, is the big dealio. That’s right… Can you feel it?

Ok then…

The official Jonathan Hansen’s Top Ten Best of List for 2010



Thank you… thank you… this is as much for me as it is for you... you're too kind.... no, really, thank you… thank you... really, thank you... Ok, that's enough... alright already. Ok, thanks. Thanks... Ok! Enough already! Hey! Zip it! God… ahem…

So, let’s begin.

10. Easy A
The ten spot on my list is always a bit of a strange one, there’s always a ton of films (really only three…) crowding around, jostling each other for position, and the final choice is usually one that you might hesitate to call “impressive”, if you know what I mean, it feels like an add on, like at least five of the Best Picture Oscar nominees… In actuality, the ten spot is always reserved for the unexpected treat, the film I didn’t expect to see or feel too strongly about, but ended up enjoying immensely. This year it almost went to How to Train your Dragon and it almost went to Lemmy, but in the end, Easy A stood tall. Why? Emma Stone, for one. I love her. Don’t you love her? You should love her. She is totally hot, she’s ridiculously sarcastic, and she seems like a bit of a dork. All good qualities. Watch this clip here. Heh. Anyway, Easy A is the story of… well, it’s kind of the Scarlet Letter meets Mean Girls, I guess, but trust me, with the help of a smart and funny script, it turned in a fun, charming movie filled with fun, charming performances. …What? Come on, what do you want? It was fun and charming. I can like fun and charming, shut up.

9. Iron Man 2 
You must be flabbergasted, right? I know! I liked Iron Man 2? Moi? It’s like the Sun has suddenly started to revolve around the Earth. What can I say, I am a man of simple needs and part of those simple needs is Robert Downey Jr. in red and gold armor, cracking wise and fighting robots! Preferably while drunk… fake drunk, of course, only acting, don’t ‘cha know, because he’s had some issues in real life, which was sad… Anywho, I saw it, I loved it, I want more of it. Did I have a problem with the Producers laying the seeds for the Avengers movie? What? NO! Look who you’re asking? I don’t even understand that complaint: “uh, they’re talking about other stuff that isn’t instantly paid off… wah.” Shut up. To me, Iron Man 1 AND 2 are brilliant representations of what I would consider as perfect popcorn flicks. This is what the less cerebral end of your big flashy summer flicks should look like: fun and loud, but still smart and aware. It looks good, it’s well casted, it’s well acted, and it’s well directed. It’s a good time that doesn’t require a lobotomy or a total lack of taste. Totally fun. Loved it.

8. The Social Network
Great trailer, right? I love that trailer. You do know I link to the trailers through each title, right? Ok, good. So, onward then, anyway, there’s been a lot of loose talk around the Internet lately by certain folks. They’re mad at this movie. They’re mad for several stated reasons, some more legitimate than others, but for the most part (much like a good portion of our President’s detractors) many of the people bitching (although no one I personally know) seem to have one underlining problem that they don’t like to admit: They hate this movie because in actuality, they hate Facebook. No, no, come on now, admit it… you know it’s true. But it’s alright. I hate Facebook too. It is a foul, noxious evil bastard of a beast and it has a death grip on my soul with its excrement-stained talons. So, yes, I hate Facebook. I hate Facebook in much the same way I hate the phone. They’re both ingrained in our lives and are now completely integral; we can’t get rid of them. Facebook and its dirty, stinking ilk changed the world and how we communicate and interact with one another and there’s no going back, so we might as well get used to it. Also, stop sending me Farmville requests; I’m not interested in that stupid fucking waste of time game. I play Backyard Monsters, you son of a bitch… God, I’m so much better than you… Anyway, Facebook, it’s here to stay and as such, with The Social Network, we are now presented with its creation myth, its “Mr. Watson, come here” tale. And it’s a good time, love or hate Facebook or Aaron Sorkin or Jesse Eisenburg, the flick is a damn good time. Now, I have no problem admitting that I love me some David Fincher movies, so I’m a bit biased, but really, who’d have thought the story of a gaggle of Harvard douche bags writing out some code together and then getting into a drawn out legal slap-fight would make such a tense and interesting little story. Is it THE movie of the Facebook generation… no. But are you surprised that some critics may have gone a bit around the bend with that? Yes? Well… what can I say, man? I am so sorry hyperbole has let you down yet again…

7. Exit through the Gift Shop
Banksy is a well known graffiti artist and I love his stuff, but what I love more is he likes to trap people, catch them off-foot. He likes to skewer the establishment and then turn around and expose the anti-establishment folks cheering him on as a bunch of dickheads too. That’s awesome. And then there’s this film… This film is about a short little French dude (Not Napoleon ) who likes to film shit and becomes obsessed with street art. His trip through the dark and seedy underbelly of the street art world leads him, finally, to Banksy, King Shit Supreme of Street-Art-polis and from there, Thierry (the Non Napoleon French dude) becomes a street art king in his own right, transforming himself into Mr. Brainwash, a figure both loved by the masses and derided as a meaningless consumer whore by his peers. It’s a great film, just a great film… and it may be nothing but a big prank. The whole thing. A set-up. A big bit of smoke and mirrors and mummery, and as for Mr. Brainwash? Play-acting. Maybe. So whats the answer? Is it real or fake? It certainly happens, it’s not staged, but in the end, is it real? And does it matter? No. Horrid little commercialized art machine or witting/unwitting puppet, the story of the creation of Mr. Brainwash is a fantastic experience. This is this year’s Doc, folks. I know most of you only see one a year, so if that's you, make it this one (Or Winnebago man…).

6. Black Swan
This was the last film I was trying to see before putting this list together and there’s a reason it was last. Short and sweet? Darren Aronofsky often leaves me cold. Click on his name. Look at him, with his stupid, snide little moustache… the bastard. I’d love to hold him down and shave that ridiculous little lip-ferret right off. Ye…ugh, you disgust me. …And often times, I have the same reaction to his films. Not always, of course, in fact sometimes, like the Wrestler, he delivers a phenomenal film and phenomenal performances, but most of the time? No, thank you. Well, Black Swan is one of his good ones. It’s the story of a young woman slowly cracking under the pressure of performing as the Swan Queen in a new production of Swan Lake and it’s all told using the story of Swan Lake. And let me tell you, cracking is putting it lightly. Natalie Portman loses her shit. She is amazing. When she turns into the Black Swan, it is clear and chilling, the difference in her stance, her face going from fragile eggshells to stone demon? Amazing. It is an amazing performance. Amazing. Vincent Cassel is great and I’m still pissed I haven’t seen Mesrine yet… Plus, it has Winona Ryder (we’ll always have Reality Bites, Cherie) as the aging Prima and new local favorite Mila Kunis as the dark and seductive twin/rival. Now, is it somewhat overwrought and a bit campy, of course it is, it’s Aronofsky and it’s about Ballet, I mean Barbara Hersey is shooting for what can only be described as Crawford-esqe levels here, but in spite of that or because of it, this film is brilliant and creepy (at times, really creepy) and completely worth your time. Go see it.

5. Scott Pilgrim
Now, I know this isn’t a super popular film with some of you great unwashed out there and to that, I say: Suck a big fat one. I love Scott Pilgrim. This is the story of boy meets girl. Of boy falling in love with girl. And of boy then being forced to fight her seven evil exs in crazy ass, video game, kung fu style fights. Yes, it’s a classic tale. And yes, I know, the movie didn’t capture the totality of character nuances the book series features, either. Yes, I’m flabbergasted. No, really. I am. That’s never happened before in the history of adaptations ever. And yes, I know, you’re tired of Michael Cera too. Listen, you guys created that monster, alright, so don’t come crying to me now that he’s out there, running around and nebbishly terrorizing the countryside. Not my problem. Besides this is a fun film. Have you seen it? Most of you haven’t. It’s a good time. It’s hilarious. Edgar Wright is awesome. There are guest stars up butt-hole. Visually stunning, Scott Pilgrim is a blast. Try it out and you’ll see and then, you can come back here and admit I was right all along… again…

4. Inception
Okay, so I’m going to start off talking about this film’s one problem, because there is one big problem with the film, then I’m going to fix that problem for you and move on… Ok, ready? So: “Does the top fall or not?” This is the big question, isn’t it? Yes, but it’s also the wrong question. It’s not the one you should be asking yourself as you leave the theatre. Now, I admit, the question of the top is a consuming one and THAT is the problem… No… not the fact that we never find out, but the fact that the scene is even included at all. Why? Because, honestly, the scene doesn’t matter and by including that last little moment, Director Christopher Nolan needlessly injects the audience with a frustrating level of anxiety and suddenly, the question of the top is all anyone remembers and talks about. That scene effectively wrecks the experience of the film for the majority of the audience and instead of what should be happening (people seeing a summer film showcasing the way summer films ought to be), they instead gripe and groan about how confusing the film is, when in fact, it is the opposite. Remember when I said Iron Man 2 is the perfect popcorn flick? Well, Inception ought to be the other side of the spectrum. The summer film that wows you, challenges you, shows you new things. This is a film that is entertaining and loud and unbelievable, but smart and cool as well. This is what Hollywood should be making every summer. Big, bold, fresh ideas with strong casts and crews and stronger scripts… but then there’s that Top spinning, spinning, spinning, isn’t there? Did it fall? How is that the wrong question? You want me to fix it? You want me to let you in on the right question? You want to know the key to determining the difference between what is the dream and what is reality? I’m not going to tell you outright…, but I will tell you the questions you should be asking. It’s not: Does the Top fall? It’s: Who does the Top belong too? Because the Totem only works for its owner, correct? Hmmm… so if it isn’t Cobb’s totem (and it’s not), then what IS his totem? Once you figure that out, you’ll release all that spinning top anxiety because suddenly you’ll see that whether or not the top falls doesn’t matter and you’ll find yourself left with a fantastic summer flick… just the way it was supposed to be. Enjoy.

3. Toy Story 3
Pixar is great. That’s all there is too it. They are great. Their worst film (Cars) is still better than the majority of films out there. Year after year, Pixar is consistently putting out the best storytelling in Hollywood. Hands down. The Incredibles is probably in my top ten of all time. Smart, funny, and able to entertain all ages, their movies shock and delight, you will literally laugh AND cry. If you avoid their movies because you think: ew… cartoons. Let me tell you, buddy, A. Pull your head out of your butt. B. If you like good movies you need to do yourself a favor and start checking these out. If, after that, you STILL don’t like Pixar… well… you have terrible taste and probably should stop listening to your own opinion or at the very least, try and be sure you never offer it in public or to other people… Anyway, Toy Story 3 is the final chapter in the story of Andy’s toys, where Andy is about to leave for college and the toys find themselves accidentally donated to a daycare and must work together to get home to him before he leaves, and it is a rare, rare beast, my friends, in fact, it might be the only one of its kind: it is the third film in a series and also, it is the best one of that series. Now, I’ve always enjoyed the Toy Story films, they’re funny and well told, but they were usually ranked below my other favorites like the Incredibles or Monsters, Inc. or Up or Ratatouille. But Number 3? The story of the slow and melancholy end of an age, the scramble for meaning in the face of your own mortality, the bonds of friendship that make us a family, plus an edge of your seat prison break movie? Yes, please. And, oh. Oh. Soooo good. Really. And then there’s that moment toward the end where the Toys finally find themselves without an escape and with no other option but to meet their fate together and they all reach out and take each other’s hand? It is a pure film moment. It pierces your heart. Yes, I know that’s some shameless shit I just wrote right there, I admit it, but that moment sticks with you, man, it speaks clearly without language. It will touch you. And the person who watches this film and makes it to that moment and yet finds still themselves unmoved… I don’t want to know them. This is a brilliant, brilliant movie. I was floored. Seriously, if you’re not well into the Pixar catalogue, you are wrong and no true film fan.

2. Winter’s Bone
Lost in the hullabaloo and brouhaha of summer, the flash and thunder of Hollywood unfettered, there was a tiny little bit of blink-and-you’ll-miss-it backwoods noir released: Winter’s Bone. And it was brilliant. I talked about it here, so this write up will be brief. In a nutshell: A great film. At times it’s a disturbing and hard to watch one, but still great. The only reason it didn’t make my number one this year is the shear entertainment value of the one that did… more on that later. So, anyway, Winter’s Bone is the story of a young teen in Appalachia named Ree, who is saddled with the caring of her younger siblings and mostly catatonic mother. Meanwhile, her meth-head Father has jumped bail, using the family home as collateral, and suddenly Ree has three days to bring him back in or lose the house and at that point, everything. What follows is a frightening journey through a dark woods world of dangerous hillbillies and meth-heads and the secrets they’ll kill to keep. Neither preachy nor voyeuristic poverty porn, it is simply an engrossing tale and star Jennifer Lawrence is a talent I expect to hear much more about in the future.

1. True Grit
This is probably not all that shocking for you regular readers out there. I loved this book and I’ve been chatting the flick up for probably the last 6 to 8 months. And it delivered. All the heart of the book. All the scruff and smile of the Coen brothers’ films. I will buy this and watch it again and again. It just flows, you know? It sweeps you away. And I think that’s why some people complain about the ending. Although completely true to the ending of the book, including where Maddy calls an aging Frank James trash because he didn’t stand for a lady (awesome), it is also a crash back to Earth. Maddy and Rooster and Lebeouf’s journey to apprehend the villainous drifter Tom Chaney seems like something out of an ancient fantasy and while it’s going you are happily strung along in its epic wake, and the eventual “day after” feel of the ending is a sad jolt back to reality, back to a world without happily-ever-afters, where the white knights become just men once again and stalwart friends and companions sometimes drift away. Easily, my number one. Easily. A great, great film. I loved it. Go see it.

EDIT: Looks like the Oscar noms are out and I've got a lot of cross-over. Interesting.

And for the completists out there…

The Almost made its:
1. How to Train your Dragon: No, really, it’s awesome.
2. The girl with/who… movies: The ones based on the Stieg Larsson books. I heard the books are... meh, but the films are good.
3. Kick-Ass: Got to love Hit Girl.
4. Red Riding: An ambitious trilogy about child murders and other dark deeds in Northern England in the late 70s and early 80s. English Noir. Good, but not quite a homerun.
5. Winnebago man: My 2nd favorite Doc of the year.
6. The American: A little slow, but good.
7. Lemmy: My 3rd favorite doc. You can’t watch this and not become a Motorhead fan… if you weren’t already.

The movies I didn’t see, but might have made the list from what I hear:
1. 127 hours? I should see this. I love Danny Boyle, but I hate these types of films…
2. Monsters? Looked fun. Aliens infecting an area of Mexico, an immigration allegory, kind of a bastard child of District 9. Reviews were split. It was here and gone, so… I missed it.
3. A Serbian Film? A lot of buzz. It’s this year’s Antichrist, as in: nightmarish and disturbing…
4. Four Lions? A comedy about bumbling suicide bombers… hmmm... sounds French, but it's actually English and apparently it’s good. We’ll see. I’m curious.
5. The King’s speech? Some people seem to love it. Others fall all over themselves to dramatically yawn whenever the film is mentioned. It’s getting nominations, so I’ll see it eventually.
6. The Kids are alright? “You know what’s awkward? Watching a pretty graphic lesbian sex scene with your mother.” -- Little Ms. Super-cute Wife.
7. Mesrine? I linked to this in the Black Swan blurb. Can’t wait to see it.
8. The fighter? Eh… I put this here only because some folks like it, but at a glance, this looks like this year’s Oscar bait to me, this year’s Invictus… Haven’t we seen this movie before? Aren’t we tired of it yet? Can we make a note this time?

Films I’ve seen on other people’s lists that I was surprised to see appearing, but then turned out to be crap like I had previously assumed:
1. Greenburg: Annoying crap. Ben Stiller sucks.
2. Ghost Writer: Over-blown and made no sense. How is a hidden message in an unpublished memoir any kind of proof of any wrong doing at all?
3. Takers: A film made by idiots for idiots. Fake. Stupid. Predictable. Terrible.

So there you have it, folks, stick a fork in 2010 because I am done. So, what'd you think? Did something not make my list that you would have included in yours? Let me know, otherwise I'll be back this week maybe with a new general projects update blog and maybe talk about my new Loft class too (which starts tonight... exciting...) and maybe I'll put some stuff up over at the Scribblerati blog as well.

Only time will tell,

Jon

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Game of Thrones Trailer #2


The Game Begins

It doesn't show a lot, at least fans of the book series will recognize the moments that are mentioned. Still looks great, still can't wait.

Jon

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Captain America

Take a look at this... the first photo of Chris Evans in full Captain America regalia. Yes, it's different from any of the more classic Captain America designs and it's also not the excellent Bryan Hitch designed WWII outfit, but all in all, this is good. Seeing it for real, it works much better than I expected; it doesn't seem as out of step with the time period. I like the muted colors and really, I love the scuffed shield, that just looks great. The helmet/mask is fantastic, too, with the little painted on wings and leather skullcap beneath. As Billy Ocean would say: "It's simply... awesome..." Also, for a little bonus crazy 40s sci-fi cool, in the background you can see some kind of heavy armor Hydra drones.

Only six-ish months to go!


Good stuff. Good stuff. Color me pleased. I feel much better now, better than I did after my initial reaction to Thor's first pic, at least. This is more in line with how I felt after seeing the first glimpse of the Iron Man Mark 1 armor.

In a word: Hopeful.

Good stuff.

Thanks Badass Digest! Edited for a better pic: Thanks Io9!

Jon

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Films I'm looking forward to (2011)

Hi ya' kids!

Alrighty, so I’ve got at least one or two films that I would like to see before I go about finishing up my Best of 2010 list. They’re both likely candidates, so I should see at least one of them, really. In the interim, I thought I’d put up my top 15 movies I’m looking forward to in 2011 list.

Top 15?

Why 15?

Why not?

This is something I did last year, and I was really right with some films and man, I really wrong with some of the others. So, here's this year's Top 15 and yeah, sure, there’s probably some stuff out there that I left off the list that will end up catching my attention, just like last year, and there are probably some films on the list that will end up losing my attention as they get closer and more information about them is revealed, also, just like last year. What can I say, folks, things change, the center does not hold. This is just an initial list, transient at best; these are the things that are currently on my radar, the things I’ll be blabbing about over the course of the coming months.

Let’s begin, shall we?

SHALL WE?

Coming Films

1. Green Hornet (1/14)
I know, I know… WTF? Why? Well, two reasons: One, it’s directed by Michel Gondry and two, the studios fat cats had a batch of kittens when they saw the finished project, like they flipped out over the fact that Seth Rogan was fat and were apparently expecting something more like Iron Man. So I figure, if a bunch of studio execs hate it, it can’t be all that bad. Plus, it’s Gondry directing… so it’ll be kinda cool at some point, right? Right? Whatever, its January…

2. Drive Angry (2/25)
It’s my belief that once a year, you need a little Nic Cage to brighten your life. You need his thinning mullet flapping in the breeze. You need his Shatner-esque delivery. Hands down, no one chews scenery like our Nic; he’s the new Dennis Hopper for a Post 9/11 world. I don’t even know what that means, I’m just typing, trying to channel a little Nic Cage and that’s the result. See what I mean? C-c-c-crazy! I’m banking on this film, the story of a dead man who escaped from hell in a muscle car to avenge his daughter’s murder, a film that has the Director name-checking both Outlaw Josie Wales and Vanishing Point equally, being that carzy-ass and always needed film for this year.

3. Apollo 18 (3/4)
There are two films this year that claim the Apollo missions were cover-ups for our first contact with an alien species. One is the third installment of Michael Bay’s Transformers, the worst series of films ever made by anyone ever in the history of the planet, the other is this film. It’s another in the found footage type of movie (I know…), this one obviously involves aliens. Best of all, the Producers Timur Bekmambetov (the awesome: Nightwatch) and Harvey Weinstein are out there, pretending that it’s real… I love that people still do that. Who still falls for that anymore? "What? It's all real?" I don't know. Anyway, so as tired out as this genre got in the years following Blair Witch, sometimes these are still good. I liked Paranormal Activity well enough and I really liked The Wicksboro Incident, plus… you know, astronauts, space, the moon landings, I’m in.

4. Battle: Los Angeles (3/11)
I’ve talked about this film before. It looks promising. It’s also the second of three films on this list involving aliens/alien invasion… apparently, that’s the hot topic in H-wood these days… Just a little inside info from me to you…

5. Sucker Punch (3/25)
I’ve mentioned this film before now too. I said it then and I’ll say it now: It’ll either be the coolest thing ever… or the stupidest…

6. Source Code (4/1)
Ok, yes, I know, this film stars Jake Gyllenhaal (Prince of Persia), I know, but it also stars Michelle Monaghan (Kiss, kiss, bang, bang) and Vera Farmiga (Up in the air) AND it’s directed by Duncan Jones, who made the phenomenal Moon starring local favorite Sam Rockwell, so yeah, I’m interested in the guy’s sophomore effort.

7. Super (4/1)
There's no trailer yet, but this is a "funny" superheroes movie, funny as in dark, kind of like Kick-Ass but not as broad. I predict that most people won't like this one. Apparently Rainn Wilson dresses up in his red suit and then hits people with his pipe wrench, mostly evil doers like line cutters and their hell-spawned ilk, that's about all I know, except that James Gunn is pretty good and it’s got other local favorites like Ellen Page and Nathan Fillion in it. I'll see it.

8. Hannah (4/8)
I wasn’t as impressed with Atonement as others were and the whole “assassin tries to escape violent life only to get pulled back in” storyline is a little wobbly interest-wise, but… it does look good, doesn’t it? And if I’m going to be honest, Saoirse Ronan and Joe Wright’s directing were both promising, so I’m interested enough…

9. Thor (5/6)
Shocking, I know. (heh, Thunder God joke…) Besides just for fun and spectacle, I'm not sure what this film will bring to the table. It is definitely Marvel’s gutsiest film. Thor is a weird character, who, like the Hulk, I’ve never been entirely convinced was ever that interesting as a character. Kenneth Branagh, though, Anthony Hopkins… Not to mention Natalie Portman and Kat Dennings... she is so cute and sarcastic, too bad she's home-schooled. Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist was surprisingly enjoyable, right? And the fact the sex scene was a finger-banging… loved that! Of course, none of this has anything to do with Thor, but shit, if you're so interested, a casual perusal of this blog will lead you to a ton of my ramblings on the subject... Jeez, get off your ass, why don't you do something for yourself for a change, huh?

10. Tree of Life (5/27)
Ah, Terrence Malik, you crazy ass son of a bitch. Thin Red Line is one of my favorites ever. The New World… is not… Both are brilliant in their way. The trailer for Tree of Life is indecipherable and gorgeous, everything you’ve previously done, now unfettered and multiplied. Will I go to another one of your beautiful cinematic ramblings? Of course.

11. Captain America (7/22)
There's no trailer yet, but I don’t really need to say anything at this point, right? Come on. Yeah, I’m going. And Joe Johnson… you better not fuck it up, buddy. Also, I’m willing to accept Hydra in the film because there’s a larger picture and whatnot, and it looks cool and all, and who cares, really, but a part of me wishes it was still a bunch of dirty Nazis Cap was gonna be tearing through… I mean, come on, who doesn’t enjoy seeing Nazis get their ass kicked? (Which, incidentally, was one of the primary ways that Nazi spies were uncovered in WWII, they would put a bunch of guys in a room and ask: "Who likes seeing Nazis beat up?" and the one who DIDN’T raise his hand? ...Fucking Nazi bastard.)

12. Cowboys and Aliens (7/29)
And here’s alien movie numero tres. Can you guess what it’s about without watching the linked trailer? Huh…? Oh, you’re so smart. Anyway, Jon Favreau won me over with the Iron Man films. He’s got a good, fun eye. Also, my second favorite Bond is in the film, as is my personal hero, a man I’ve modeled my life on (except for marrying Calista Flockheart… gross): Harrison Ford. All that, plus Cowboys? And Aliens? Ok, sure.

13. Immortals (11/11)
There's no trailer yet, but did you see The Fall? Amazing looking, kind of a failure, yes, but amazing looking. Well, this is directed by the same guy and is, basically, the story of Theseus, who fought the Minotaur in Greek Mythology. So, I’m in. Even though the description says he “battles against imprisoned Titans”, I’m still in. Even though Clash of the Titans was poop on a stick, I’m still in. I love those Greek myths and The Fall was amazing looking.

14. Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol (12/16)
The fourth Mission Impossible movie? With Tom Cruise? Written by JJ Abrams? On my “looking forward to” list? Without even seeing a trailer? You’re shocked? Not as much as me. Simple and succinct, there's three reasons: Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, and most of all, it’s directed by Brad Bird. Now, it’s true JJ Abrams and I have a long history of liking the same things for very different reasons and being as such, I’ve never really liked most of his stuff, BUT… the last Mission Impossible did not suck and his Star Trek was pretty awesome and with Brad Bird in charge? I’m totally willing to overlook that crazy fucking midget asshole Tom Cruise.

15. Sherlock Holmes 2 (12/16)
There's no trailer yet for this one either, but I liked the first one, I know some folks did not, but I did. I also like Robert Downey Jr. (Johnny Be Good), and Jude Law, despite the fact that he was in A.I., which is the single worst movie ever made of all time by a human being. I enjoyed the look of Sherlock Holmes and the world and they way they portrayed inside Holmes’s head, and the movie itself, of course, so yeah, I’m there.

Und das ist alles fur heute, dig?

That’s the rough list there, my friends, just some upcoming projects I’ll be on the lookout for. What about you? Anything I missed? Let me know.

But wait, there's more!

For a little added benefit, I’m including a bonus second list. WOOOO! You lucky ducks! God, this is just like that episode of Oprah where she was giving away cars... Anyway, the first list was some of the films I'll be looking forward to, but the bonus list…?

The No Thank Yous
(FYI, this is my other new band’s name. I envision it as a side project, for the down times, you know, for when Meryl, Daryl, and T-Dog aren’t demanding the whole of my attention and I just want to stretch a bit, creatively…)

Ahem…

1. Adjustment Bureau
I know it’s based off a Phillip K. Dick story, and it’s got plenty of possibly good stuff and people involved, but the trailer leaves me cold and uninterested. It’s this year’s Shutter Island for me.

2. Green Lantern
God damn… that trailer looks like shit, right? It is so totally boring. After seeing that, despite the fact that it looks like it’s hitting all the required Green Lantern touchstones, I think this film has got great big fail written all over it. Don't get me wrong, I'd like it to be good, but that trailer makes it look like a throw-back to the 90s. It reminds me too much of Hellboy or League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and those were awful, awful films, people. Awful. I call the general aesthetic: Dark Chrome. And much like bad lighting, it is the first hint that the movie you're about to see is fucking terrible.

3. Your Highness
Meh… I mean, funny swearing AND Natalie Portman in a thong and yet… meh. And this is coming from a guy whose entire blog could be said to be based off of funny swearing and pictures of Natalie Portman in a thong. Plus, I’m gonna say it… Danny McBride is starting to wear a little thin for me.


4. Tintin
Apparently the whole world loves Tintin. Apparently the whole thinks he’s Indiana Jones meets Sherlock Holmes meets, I don’t know, Woodward and Bernstein or something… all drawn like Archie and… I don’t get it. I don’t. Add that to the fact that this is the latest Spielberg passion project, not to mention the fact that the whole world also loves Soccer too... and this film pretty much appears to have absolutely nothing for me, man.

5. Super 8
JJ Abrams planning on aping Spielberg. Trouble. Abrams last secret project? Cloverfield, the lamest “giant monster attacking a city” film ever made. How do you make a lame giant monster movie? All I can say is: Prepare to be underwhelmed.

6. Paul
I love Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, but… I just don't get... just watch the trailer, you’ll understand.

7. Priest
Did you not see Legion? Or Daybreakers? Sylvester Stallone's Judge Dread? This is like all of this smushed together, but... you know.. stupider...

8. X-men: First Class
Matthew Vaughn directed Kick-ass and, apparently they’re doing this film (an untold origin of the X-men/Magneto and Xavier as young men story) in all 60’s Mod style. These things intrigue me, but… and perhaps I've been burned by the X-men film-world one too many times now, but my spider sense is tingling, folks. I’ve been wrong before, sure, but something about this film just reeks of fail.

9. Pirates of the Caribbean 4: To Beat a Dead Horse
On one hand, apparently Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom's characters will not be in the film, which is good. On the other hand, this is a Pirates of the Caribbean film, which is bad.

10. Transformers 3: Dear God, why hast thou forsaken us?
Shyeah… no.


So that's it, folks, things to watch for and avoid in the year 2011. Check back in, oh... later this week or early next if you're interested in my Best films of 2011 list!

Good luck out there, you bastards!
Jon

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Top Ten Worst films of 2010

Hey there!
Well, well, well, looky, looky here, kids, looky here, looks like it’s that time again. It's that magic time of year when every asshole, squatting out there in the Internet dark, jabbering on about movies (like yours truly, for example…) starts to make their lists summing up the previous year’s offerings: The Best of, the worst of, the so-so of, and on and on and on, blah-blah-blahbiddy-quack-quack. Far be it from me to ignore an opportunity to run with the herd, right?

Now, as those of you who’ve been here before probably already know, my Top Ten Worst lists eschews the smaller films that just didn’t make it, the micro-budget idiot fests, and the “ironically” bad. Those lists are the haven for the hipster douche, the wad-job posers and their asswipe game of “Stump the Band”, ever digging to find that point where the most obscure meets the biggest pile of poo. I see no point in this. And often times, it’s one big “duh”. And in many cases, honestly, I just never see the films. Sharktopus? Never saw it. I don’t need to actually step in dog poop in order to tell whether or not it’s actual dog poop. Oh, is The Room terrible? What a shocker, especially considering the writer/director is some kind of high functioning delusional. Go on, laugh at him, laugh at him pretending like all along he intended to make the film that bad on purpose, debasing himself for any kind of acceptance. Does laughing at him (and the many like him) at your stupid little intentional-kitsch, neo-Rocky Horror circle-jerks make your memories of high school hurt less?

You bag of dicks.

Anyway, no, my Top Ten list focuses on those with the most opportunity to get it right, the hacks that had the money, the talent, and the time and yet, somehow, against all odds, failed completely. For a moment, think about how many millions they spent and that these sub-par efforts were the results. Millions.

Come on!

So let’s do this shit…

(Note: I haven’t seen Tron yet)

The official Jon Hansen’s Top Ten Worst films of 2010:

10. The Expendables
This film completely failed in every way that A-Team somehow did not, a result that I would never have expected a year ago. How does a movie featuring Liam Neeson in a really, really bad Hannibal Halloween costume and an upside down flying helicopter defeat a movie starring a veritable who’s-who of classic action alumni? I mean, shit, who would have thought Jean Claude Van Damme was right to turn down this film? Really, how is this movie not the very absolute definition of a fun, loud popcorn movie? How do you mess up something so easy? Well, with a surprisingly convoluted and even more surprisingly stupid plot, even for the low standards of cheesy 80s action flicks, for starters. Have none of these guys ever seen the Dirty Dozen? Or maybe The Guns of Navarone? Or at least Seven Samurai?

9. Eat Pray Love
First. World. Problems.

8. The Town
Gone Baby Gone was surprisingly good. Ben Affleck really did well behind the camera, so when I heard about this film, I was excited. But… this film isn’t so much bad, really, it’s more of a paste job of a couple dozen other movies I’ve already seen and liked better. Ben did good job behind the camera again, and a not so great job in front of it. Jeremy Renner is great. Blake Lively is hot. The action was well done, but… yeah… I’ve seen it before and liked it better the first time. Predictable. A little boring. And some parts made me wonder when the book was written as some of the scenes made no sense when you consider the capabilities of modern technology.

7. Grown Ups
Good lord. This film is like anti-comedy. It answers, at great and tortuous length, a question no one really wanted an answer to: What happens to once (long ago) funny comedians when they’ve lost their edge, their appeal and their souls? Oh, they make ensemble films… for the families… mostly about pee jokes… and falling down. I don’t know how they can look themselves in the mirror, I honestly don’t.

6. The Losers
Dumb. That’s the only way to describe this film. This film is dumb. DUMB. They actually have a scene where the main male and the token female (you can tell they don’t like each other because of the way they say mean things to each other) start fighting and shooting and karate-ing the shit out of each other in this hotel room and somehow, at some point, blink and you’ll miss… their fighting? That’s right; it slips smoothly into love, rough sexy love. You know the type, the-PG-13-not-physically-possible-because-of-genital-placement-girl-keeps-her-bra-on-the-whole-time type of love? Oh, look out! That punch is a now a sexy caress and suddenly… Hump-hump-humpitty-hump, but still crashing around the room. Willow Smith aint got nothing on them! Ha! Butt thrust! Take that, table lamp! …Man, the things you can get away with in Mexico, huh? Yeah, we’ve all been there. It’s how I and Little Ms. Super-cute Wife met, truth be told. Honestly, I don’t walk out on movies (often), but I considered it with this one and I probably would have, if the tickets at MOA didn’t cost $40,000 a piece. I think J Town Jason was mad at me for awhile for suggesting the film in the first place, so it turned out kind of funny…

5. Predators
This movie is for everyone who really liked the first Predator, but wished it was really, really stupid. I know people try to rationalize. They say: “You just have to turn off your brain…” Fuck you. This movie is a direct result of people enabling this kind of shit. And the worst part? The people behind the movie don’t even try to pretend like they care, even a little bit. For example, here is an actual transcript of one (I forget which one) of the Pre-production meetings:
“Let’s put them on an alien planet, so the Predators can hunt them!”

“But… don’t the Predators prefer to hunt the best warriors in their natural environment because it’s like… I don’t know… more of a challenge or something?”

“But this would be cooler! It’s an Alien world! …We can film it in Texas.”

“Well, wasn’t it supposed to be like… like a regular action movie, you know, like a “real” setting… and THEN this crazy alien gets thrown into the midst… I mean, wasn’t that cool in the first one?”

“I don’t understand. It’s gonna be just like the first one, just without, you know, all the talking…”

“Uh… ok… um… so how do they get to this planet?”

“Uh… ppphhhbbbbtt… Hmm… They… uh… They wake up and they’re just falling out of the sky?”

4. Prince of Persia
Okay, so it’s bad enough that they decided to make a film called Prince of Persia and then decided to cast a white guy in the leading role, but Jake Gyllenhaal? How did this happen? It’s like everyone was asleep at the wheel. What’s the first name you think of when I say non-stop action starring a Persian man? Jake Gyllenhaal! What did he do, just kind of move into the trailer and no one on set had the heart to tell him no, so they just filmed the movie anyway? It’s so ridiculous that sometimes I forget this movie actually exists and isn’t just some horribly on the nose comedy skit about how stupid Hollywood is.

3. The Wolfman
What a god damn mess. There are plenty of reasons: studio interference, changing Directors mid-film, terrible acting, a face-palmingly stupid script… But here’s the ultimate: In the beginning of the movie, the woman character goes to London to fetch Benecio Del Toro home because someone is sick or something. Then she disappears and he rides the train home alone and she’s already there. How did she get home? It’s like 1901, she didn’t take the fucking monorail (monorail, monorail, monorail… ). Not only that, but who was the old guy on the train that left Benecio the silver headed wolf cane while he slept? (FORESHADOWING!!! LOOK OUT!!!) Well, later in the movie, either he or she, (I can’t remember, I may have been watching the film upside and spread eagle on the floor by this point…) one of them mentions how she had asked him to come home from London BY MAIL! Incredible. They just say that out loud, as if the original scene didn’t happen like 30 minutes earlier! Do you know what that means? It means they never had a complete script. It means they shot it piece-meal. It means they did numerous rewrites and reshoots and that they couldn’t even bother, THEY COULDN’T EVEN BOTHER, ON A MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR PROJECT, TO RE-WATCH THEIR OWN FINISHED FILM ONE TIME! NOT ONE TIME! Not even to check to see if it was in the right order. Unbelievable.

2. Clash of the Titans
Here is a perfect example of a movie made by a bunch of witless morons sitting around a room and writing a movie stoned. It’s a barely coherent narrative strung together by “cool” scenes. Like, for instance, they go see Medusa, but they have to cross the River Styx… Yeah, I know… anyway, in order to get across the river, they have to pay the Ferry-man a coin to ride his super bitching mega-death ferry WITH SKELETONS! WAAAAAAAH!!!! Too bad for them, the coin is impossible to get, no living dudes ever, EVER, get to cross the river Styx. EVER! It’s impossible. OH! Wait! Here comes Super shiny Liam Neeson. He just gives them the coin. Problem solved. Ok, so they come sail away on the Ferry, while the bland guy from Avatard gets it on atop a pile of skeletons with his LA-DAY! OF THE MOR-NING! So they get to Medusa’s house… and the place is full, chock fucking full, of stone statues of guys who had been trying to kill Medusa… But wait, Jon, you say, I’ve read a book or two in my time, what’s wrong with that? That’s what happens when you look at Medusa. And I’d say: You’re right… but how did they get there? We just spent 20 minutes talking about how impossible it is to get there. So, who the fuck are these guys? Dumb. Now, I know, I know, this may sound like a minor quibble, except for A: this is just one example of MANY. And B. Reverse engineering the sequences just illustrates that the whole thing was constructed to service some idiot’s idea of “cool”. They REALLY wanted to do Medusa’s temple filled with statues and they REALLY wanted to show the super bitching mega-death ferry WITH SKELETONS!!! ROCK!!!!! WAAAAAAAAH!!!!, but they couldn’t figure out how to make it all fit, so they went with the “ah… fuck it” route… Millions of dollars, folks… Millions of dollars….

1. Alice in Wonderland
In the simplest words and simplest terms: This film is hot and steaming movie vomit. Tim Burton, we are no longer friends, understand? You’re on my list! Johnny Depp? You watch your ass, buddy.

THE END

So there you have it, kids. The worst of a not-so-hot year. Let me know what you think below. You know, kids (I’m taking a seat here and getting serious, bringing the room down a bit…) we have our fun, here at my blog, but sometimes, when I’m making these lists, it’s sad to see just how many crappy films came out. You forget that some of them even ever existed, and then, FART… oh, there’s that one… Sad. Remember The Good Guys? Greenzone? Sad…

On a brighter note, I’ve got a couple of more movies I need to see, and then my almost complete “Top Ten Best films of 2010” list will be complete and I’ll post it soon after. It’s a good list, I think, and I’ll probably have it up this weekend or early next week. I’ve also started to put together an initial “Films to Watch for with Jon” list for 2011 too… so there’s that.

Keep an eye out, folks, and here’s wishing us better cinematic luck in the coming year,
Jon

Saturday, January 1, 2011

And so it begins...

2011 has begun with me rising at noon for a quiet day of writing... so far, so good. Later I'm going to pop on over to the Scribblerati blog and check out Mark's first post of the year.


Good luck out there, you fine ass motherfuckers!

Jon