Toy Story 3. That is Quentin Tarantino’s first choice for the year 2010. I’m not quite sure if the animation feature truly deserved that spot. Granted this is a single director’s personal opinion, I hold his in high regard and I am a little disappointed to find Inception strikingly absent.
Having survived the year, I decided to compile a list of my own. Read on for my favourite movies of 2010.
10. The Ghost Writer
Hired to redact the memoirs of a former Prime Minister, a ghost writer uncovers secrets and lands himself in harm’s way. Roman Polanski delivers yet another stylish thriller, echoing the atmospheric nature of his previous works Rosemary’s Baby and The Ninth Gate.
Paranoia builds upon each unsettling revelation, crafting intensity with uncertainty and misdirection. Ewan McGregor is a stunning triumph as the nameless leading man, deftly navigating through the labyrinth of compelling mysteries.
Continue reading Favourite Movies in 2010
Skyline (dir. Colin & Greg Strause, 2010) – After a party, a group of friends wakes to find mysterious beams of blue light placing people in a trance.
Aliens! Loud noises! What is happening? Help!
To put it simply, Skyline is a three-day chronicle of the survivors in a alien-ridden dystopian future. To complicate it, I really could not. So there I sit in my comfortable theatre seat, feeling my brain atrophy from inactivity and wishing I had more popcorn.
Just like how the stock characters fall victim to the equally generic aliens, I fall victim to the narrative or the lack thereof. Obliteration continues. I start to snicker as tropes rain from the sky. Is it momentary craze? Permanent insanity? No matter, the unlikely hero(es) are here to save the day. What a laugh.
Continue reading Review: Skyline (2010)
Red (dir. Robert Schwentke, 2010) – When his peaceful life is threatened by a high-tech assassin, former black-ops agent Frank Moses reassembles his old team in a last ditch effort to uncover his assailants.
Echoing Cop Out and The Losers, Red is plenty of fun and pure joy to watch.
John McClane and God teaming up as retired, extremely dangerous CIA agents? Bones McCoy abandoning his blue shirt and suiting up for his mission against them? If those aren’t reasons enough, how does one miss a movie with the Queen wielding a gun? Simple. One doesn’t.
Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Karl Urban and Helen Mirren all take up arms in this hilarious thrill ride. The unlikely ensemble proceeds to launch an avalanche of impossible action and ludicrous fights. Think, strolling out of a spinning car. Scrap that. In fact, go big and imagine a single bullet stopping the impact of a missile launcher.
Continue reading Review: Red (2010)
Hawking (dir. Philip Martin, 2004) – At the age of 21, Stephen Hawking was diagnosed with motor neurone disease, which never impeded his ground-breaking work on the nature of the universe.
Faithfully documenting famed physicist Stephen Hawking’s journey, this engaging biopic gains credibility in Benedict Cumberbatch’s fine performance.
In the first on-screen dramatisation of Stephen Hawking’s life, Hawking takes us through the famed physicist’s early years as a budding PhD student at Cambridge University. The BBC television film faithfully chronicles his undying persistence in his scientific endeavours, throughout the difficult years of his struggle with motor-neuron disease.
Depicting both his achievements in physics and his determination to overcome his condition, the moving story acquaints us with the man behind the science. Therein lies an emotional exploration of an enduring romance, in the form of his loving relationship with his first wife Jane Hawking.
Continue reading Review: Hawking (2004)
The Social Network (dir. David Fincher, 2010) – Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg launches the social networking site Facebook, but is sued by the Winklevoss twins who claim he stole their idea.
While factually ambiguous, The Social Network effectively translates a potentially linear biography into a powerful universal story.
In just a few years, Facebook has become a global addiction. The largest social network in the world has become almost synonymous with its key inventor Mark Zuckerberg, but The Social Network comes as a reminder that it takes more than one man to build a phenomenon.
Despite the name, the film is not about Facebook. Rather, it deals with the relatable peaks and valleys of aspirations behind closed doors. Behind the enterprise lies a timeless story, in which the on-screen Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) discovers the cost of over-ambition.
Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin takes huge liberties for dramatisation. But despite invented details, the film remains immersive and grounded as a work of fiction. His sharp writing draws universal themes out of Zuckerberg’s relationships in both friendship and business, lost due to his misguided aspirations.
Continue reading Review: The Social Network (2010)
Ed Wood (dir. Tim Burton, 1994) – Despite lacking support and commercial success, Ed Wood perseveres in fulfilling his dreams of bringing his films to life.
Eccentricity is no barrier to success, as the inspiring bio-pic of Ed Wood shows the power of persistence amid flak.
In 1959, Plan 9 From Outer Space was dubbed the worst movie ever made. The failure steered director Edward Davis Wood, Jr. onto the path of pornography. Plan 69 unfortunately failed to work out. Before he found his coveted fame, he died in 1978.
Sadly, his infamy did not end after his death. In the 1980s, the Medveds’ Golden Turkey Awards named him the worst director of all-time.
Now, if only Ed Wood had the chance to see Tim Burton’s tribute. The 1994 dramatised biopic retains Wood’s eccentricity in a positive light, and finally gives him the respect he deserves.
Continue reading Review: Ed Wood (1994)