Thursday, January 21, 2010

2009 Leaman Awards: Supplementary Awards

-Top Ten Tag Lines-

10. "There's one inside all of us" –Where the Wild Things Are
9. "Here comes the bribe" –The Proposal
8. "Holmes for the Holidays" –Sherlock Holmes
7. "Safety Never Takes a Holiday" –Paul Blart: Mall Cop
6. "Christine Brown has a good job, a great boyfriend, and a bright future. But in three days, she's going to hell" –Drag Me To Hell
5. "Divorced...with benefits" –It's Complicated
4. "New model. Original parts" –Fast & Furious
3. "Once Upon a Time in Nazi occupied France..." –Inglorious Basterds
2. "Is Your Money making a Killing?" –The International
1. "Based on a tattle-tale" –The Informant!

-Bottom Five Tag Lines-
5. "Some fight for power. Some fight for us" –Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li
4. "He was a prisoner who became a president. To unite his country, he asked one man to do the impossible" –Invictus
3. “Outwit. Outspy. Outsmart. Outplay. Then get out” –Duplicity
2. "Sometimes we leave everything to find ourselves" –Two Lovers
1. "This Easter the legend comes to life" –Dragonball: Evolution

-Top Fifteen Drama Scenes-
15. "Bathtub Showroom moment between two sisters" –Away We Go
14. "Carousel of Death spins and one decides who dies" –Saw VI
13. "Hans Landa slowly gets a confession from a farmer hiding Jews" –Inglorious Basterds
12. “Plane Crash and Its’ Aftermath in One Take” –Knowing
11. "Judit reveals to Matteo her involvement in the destruction of his film" –Broken Embraces
10. "Getting the truth in a motel room" –State of Play
9. "Kirk is Born as the U.S.S Kelvin is Destroyed" –Star Trek
8. "A visit to Mandela's old Prison" –Invictus
7. "Disarming a bomb at the UN " –The Hurt Locker
6. "Carl and Ellie Marriage and Passing Montage" –Up
5. "Harry coaxes the truth about Tom Riddle from Professor Slughorn" –Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- My vote for best sequence in the entire Harry Potter series.

4. "The truth comes out in a sit down with Mom, Precious and a Counselor" -Precious
- Powerful and insightful, without becoming melodramatic.

3. “Oh the Times They are Changing: Opening Title Sequence” – Watchmen
- The most creative montage of the year (sorry Up fans), is the best sequence in the entire film (and it's right at the beginning).

2 ."An undercover Mission is discovered by an SS Officer in a Basement and Ends in a Firefight" –Inglorious Basterds
- Quentin Tarantino's trademark 'talky' style is put to use here to create one of the most suspenseful sequences in cinema. The tension ratchets up slowly and ends with quite a bang, one of Tarantino's finest sequences.

1. "Jake Climbs Iknimaya, tames his own Ikran and learns how to fly" –Avatar
- All the positives of the film contained in one sequence that truly shows the integration of all the boundary pushing technologies with a well written (and directed) dramatic beat. It's suspenseful, visceral, awe-inspiring and the best dramatic sequence of 2009.

-Top Fifteen Action Scenes-

15. "Master Ip defeats the Out of Towners and Restores Honor to Fo Shan" Ip Man
14. "Jaa Uses a bit of Drunken Style mixed with leg work and Rescuing Slaves" Ong Bak 2
13. "Killing the Comedian" Watchmen
12. "Kato Saws Through Teams of Ninja's and is Rescued by Saya in the Forest" Blood: The Last Vampire
11. "Three Assassins Converge on the Motorway in a Doubledecker" The Tournament
10. "Optimus Prime Rescues Sam and Fights off Three Decepticons in the Forest" Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
9. "Shootout in the Woods at Little Bohemia" Public Enemies
8. "Machines Gathering Humans leads to a Car Chase Ending on the Bridge" Terminator: Salvation
7. "Ip Man Defends the Cotton Mill and Fights Against Two Old Foes" Ip Man
6. "Final War Between the Navi and the Humans on Air and Land" Avatar
5. "Tracing the Shooter Leads to a the Guggenheim Shootout" The International
4. "Final Assault by Sea and Land on Cao Cao's Camp" Red Cliff
3. "Ip Man Takes Out Ten Japanese in One Fight" Ip Man
- An epic, but short, fight scene that features a brutal fist to fist fight sequence. There is no give and take, but the creativity and the context of the scene truly make it one of the great fight scenes.

2. "Finale at his Home Village: Weapons Fight Extravaganza" Ong Bak 2
- Tony Jaa demonstrates his ability to use nearly all variety of weapons with this stunning sequence that last nearly 20-25 minutes. Despite the use of some unorthodox weapons (he's not as adept at the three sectioned staff as he would like you to think), it's with the more tradtional weapons like the sword that is agility, creativity, and quickness truly shines.

Here is a clip from the massive finale

1. "Finale: From Rooftops, to Dojos, to the Sides of Buildings" Chocolate
- It's a grueling, long, and varied sequence that ends in a stunning fight on the side of an apartment complex. While portions of the finale feature some well choreographed fighting, it's the final all-out stunts that set this sequence apart. Not since Jackie Chan's stunt team in the 1980's has there been a team as dedicated to showing us something we've never seen before.

Here is the best sequence from the great finale

-Special Recognition-

- The following is a list of things in 2009 that barely missed a category or just deserved a category of there own. Some are good, some are bad, but they all deserved some recognition.

- Best Compilation of Work: Jim Broadbent in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, The Young Victoria, and Inkheart

- Eric Bana Award: (For the Best Performance in a Bad Film, as Bana gave in Troy) Michael Sheen in Underworld: Rise of the Lycans

- Hairspray Award: (For the best 1st Half of a Movie Ruined by a Terrible 2nd Half, like Hairspray) Up gets lost in South America, The Informant! never seems to end, and Paranormal Activity never delivers on its excellent slow build first half.

- Gary Oldman Award: (For the most over the top performance of the year) Chris Klein in Street Fighter: Legend of Chun Li

- Guilty Pleasure of the Year: Saw VI, Crank: High Voltage, The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard

- Special Achievement in Visual Effects: Destruction of the world in Knowing, Whisps of Gas and Smoke Turning into Memories Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, "The Shadow" in Inkheart, the visual landscapes of Avatar.

- Creative Ideas That Made Me Happy: The redemption of the Victoria's mother in The Young Victoria, Scrat and Scratess chase the Acorn while in Bubbles sequence in Ice Age 3, the character of Buck in Ice Age 3, Stealing arrows in Red Cliff, 'You Make My Dreams Come True' dance sequence in (500) Days of Summer

- Best Comedic Bit Roles: Kristen Wig and Bill Heder in Adventureland

- Best Documentary: Anvil: The Story of Anvil

- Worst CGI of the Year: Race to Witch Mountain, Ninja Assassin, and The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

- Most Surprising Performance: Zac Efron literally carrying 17 Again on his own.

- Worst Performances and Moments: Hank Azaria's Kahmunrah debates Stiller's Nightguard in Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, Christine Brown fights a Gypsy in her Car in Drag Me To Hell, Oil Rub Down on the High Priest in Year One, Ejiofor convinces the World leaders to let the gates down for the people in 2012, The ladies of the raped and murder club come out to meet and welcome Suzy Salmon from The Lovely Bones

- Worst Performance in a Good Film: Naomi Watts in The International

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

2009 Leaman Awards: Superlative Awards

Most Disappointing Film of the Year
"Given to the film that falls the farthest below its expectations"

Winner: Terminator: Salvation
Runner-Up: Year One

Comments: I suppose I should've known better than to get my hopes up for this film, but the combination of an excellent trailer, a gritty and visceral aesthetic, and the inclusion of Christian Bale suckered me in. Besides an excellent second act action beat, this film fails on all levels and single handedly has destroyed any interest I still had in the Terminator franchise.

Most Surprising Film of the Year
"Given to the film that soared the highest above its expectations"

Winner: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
Runner-Up: 17 Again

Comments: 2009 has turned out to be quite an amazing year for animated features, and there was no animated film that surprised me more than Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. The horrible trailer gave the impression that the film was a one gimmick film attempting to just capitalize on the 3D craze. In actuality, it's a refreshing and entertaining film that reminded me of Emperor's New Groove or Kung Fu Panda (though not quite in their league). Also surprising in 2009 was Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, becoming my favorite entry in the Ice Age series and redeeming a lackluster Ice Age: The Meltdown.

Most Overrated Film of the Year
“Given to the Film that is consistently cheered when it should be jeered”

Winner: The Hangover
Runner-Up: Food, Inc.

Comments: The Hangover is not only one of the most pedestrian sex comedies I've seen in a while, but it's also the most overrated. The Hangover takes an interesting premise and squanders it with cardboard characters doing immoral actions and ultimately learning nothing from anything while getting away with everything. As the men learn of their escapades their reaction is laughter and incredulity, its never remorse or reflection. Don't be fooled, The Hangover is no Wedding Crashers nor is it even Knocked Up, this film could've starred Jerry O'Connell and gone straight to DVD in college towns.

Most Underrated Film of the Year
“Given to the film that is consistently jeered when it should be cheered”

Winner: The International
Runner-Up: Knowing

Comments: Not the best conspiracy thriller ever conceived, but The International is a solidly entertaining and intriguing film that moves quickly, features a couple great dramatic moments, and a gun fight for the action hall of fame. Director Tom Tyker does an excellent job of location scouting, giving the film's travelogue locations a slick and modern aesthetic. The film always remains visually appealing, but it's ultimately the 'realist' position that the movie concludes with I enjoy the most. Like Traitor from last year (though not quite at that level), here is a thriller that flies under the radar, but delivers as well as any the past few years.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

2009 Leaman Awards: Major Awards and Commentary

Here is the BIG STUFF! Thanks for reading and Enjoy!

Best Supporting Actress

- Vera Farmiga Up in the Air
- Mo'Nique Precious
- Gwyneth Paltrow Two Lovers
- Blanca Portillo Broken Embraces
- Rachel Weisz The Brothers Bloom

Winner: Mo'Nique Precious
Runner-Up: Blanca Portillo Broken Embraces

Comments: It wasn't never really a race this year as Mo'Nique walks away with the award. Easily the most 'evil' of the performances, Mo'Nique doesn't shy away from going over the top, and this pays off with her emotional plea in the final act of the film, revealing more character than most care to admit. The best antagonist since Ledger's Joker.

Best Supporting Actor

- Jason Bateman State of Play
- Jim Broadbent Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- Saul Rubinek Julia
- Mark Ruffalo The Brothers Bloom
- Christoph Waltz Inglorious Basterds

Winner: Jim Broadbent Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Runner-Up: Jason Bateman State of Play

Comments: Has there ever been a more interesting character in the Potter films than Professor Slughorn? Conflicted from the beginning, I absolutely delighted in Slughorn's struggle with his past failures mixed with his delight in helping and 'collecting' students. Slughorn is played with wit, charm, and potency by the always great Jim Broadbent. Slughorn's confession to Harry is my favorite moment of the whole series, as well as the best acted.

Best Actress

- Emily Blunt The Young Victoria
- Carey Mulligan An Education
- Tilda Swinton Julia
- Gabourey Sidibe Precious
- Meryl Streep Julie & Julia

Winner: Carey Mulligan An Education
Runner-Up: Tilda Swinton Julia

Comments: How refreshing and delightful to find this outstanding performance amongst a year filled with disappointments in the cinema! Equal parts innocent and naive, as well as sexy and adventurous; Carey Mulligan is the center of the entire film. Mulligan gives one of the best debuts of the decade, it just so happens it's one of the best female performances of the decade.

Best Actor

- George Clooney Up in the Air
- Russell Crowe State of Play
- Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock Holmes
- Viggo Mortensen The Road
- Sam Rockwell Moon

Winner: Sam Rockwell Moon
Runner-Up: Viggo Mortensen The Road

Comments: The best twin performance since Nicholas Cage in Adaptation (Rockwell is not quite as good), is also the best male performance of the year. Much of Rockwell's trademark quirkiness is reined in here as Rockwell gives a solid and greatly layered performance that just might be the highlight of his career.

Best Ensemble

- Inglorious Basterds
- Precious
- The Road
- Sherlock Holmes
- Up in the Air

Winner: Up in the Air
Runner-Up: Inglorious Basterds

Comments: This was a pretty easy choice for me this year as I truly enjoyed all the performances in this film. In fact, I think the film works (and works well) simply because its leads are so charming, charismatic, and agreeable. I think the films performances actually help to temper and balance out the stark purposelessness of universe of Up in the Air. If I return to the skies, It will be to simply watch Clooney, Farmiga, Kendick and Bateman, live out these characters, despite how the film ultimately uses them.. I don't know if I can say that about any other film this year.

Best Director

- John Hillcoat The Road
- Duncan Jones Moon
- Kevin MacDonald State of Play
- Guy Ritchie Sherlock Holmes
- Quentin Tarantino Inglorious Basterds

Winner: John Hillcoat The Road
Runner-Up: Kevin MacDonald State of Play

Comments: Adapting and bringing to the screen one America's great novels is not an easy task. Hillcoat confidently commands The Road creating the perfect tone and atmosphere that coarsens through every aspect of the film, including it's subtext and performances. Working with a fairly slim plot and stoyline, Hillcoat masterfully coaxes out every ounce of value.

Best Picture

5. Ip Man

4. Moon

3. Sherlock Holmes

2. The Road

1. State of Play

Comments: State of Play marks the first time I've ever given my Best Picture award to an 'A-' film (the only 'A' film of 2009). Despite these circumstances, State of Play is still a solid film that deserves recognition, so I'm glad to give it some. The plot is much too detailed to convey here, but its revelations are all earned, surprising, and truly engaging. Sandwiched in-between all the plot and mystery, are some great issues dealing with the privatization of homeland security (can I say again how much I enjoy the film's failure to confirm the easy scapegoat here?), the dying of print newspaper, and the question of fairness and accuracy in reporting.

The acting is excellent (Crowe, Bateman and Mirren especially) and all the production is memorable as well. All in all, this will be one film that I'll look forward to watching again and again in the future, much like A Few Good Men. It's a blast to watch, remember the twists and enjoy the performances.

2009: A Year in Review
"It Gets Worse Before It Gets Better"

I love watching movies. I devote nearly all of my spare time to watching them, thinking about them, writing about them, and sharing them with friends. Not every film turns out to be one worth devoting all that time to and unfortunately in 2009 that extended to the majority of films I saw. About halfway through the year, as I began to be disappointed by film after film, I suspected that it would be a tough year for me, but I never thought the year would end with only one 'A-'' film (and that took a second viewing for me to arrive at). This is the worst year in film dating all the way back to 1996 (and at least that year had Jerry Maguire and Scream in the 'A' range.). So what made the year so bad? Were there any bright spots in the whole thing? Lets take a closer look at the year.

Looking over the list of what I would label as 'disappointments', it's hard to remain positive about the year. The list of directors with prestige that turned in average to terrible films this year is simply astounding; Eastwood, Proyas, Jonze, Zemeckis (who hasn't made a great film since 2000's Cast Away), Cameron, Jackson (of the Peter vairety), Soderbergh, Linklater, Raimi, Gilliam, Coen Brothers, J.J. Abrams, Howard, Gilroy, Gervais, Marshall, Allen, and Ramis. All directors I look forward to and not a single one produced a film that I care to watch again. Alas, perhaps 2009 was missing those prestige dramas, but did it at least deliver my bread and butter genre? Did it succeed in prodcuing great blockbuster entertainment?

Looking over my grades for this year's blockbuster is like looking over the report card for a failing high school football player. The list of casualties include: Wolverine, Star Trek, G.I. Joe, Angels and Demons, Harry Potter 6, 2012, Watchmen, Terminator 4, Transformers 2, Night at the Museum 2, and Avatar. All of these failed to deliver the goods in my opinion failing to either deliver a fun and entertaining ride, or the rare blockbuster that is as deep as it is wide. Sherlock Holmes is this year's best blockbuster film, delivering everything a blockbuster should have while offering something deeper as well.

Two unlikely areas produced the best surprises of the year for me. Hong Kong/Asian cinema and animated films truly 'saved' the year from near disaster. While it's been a down year for American blockbusters, Chocolate, Ip Man, Red Cliff, Ong Bak 2 all represent the cutting edge for action films. What a relief. Not to mention the unusually great animated category. I thought that 2008 was going to be the 'down' year for the 2000's, but I guess sometimes it has to get worse before it gets better. Which, when you think about it, is a pretty fitting statement for 2009 in general. Bring on 2010!
- The Part-Time Critic: Kyle Leaman

Monday, January 18, 2010

2009 Leaman Awards: Minor Award Nominees and Winners

I'm a little later than most film websites (I really don't know why anyone even reads me) on posting my awards for 2009, but here they are for your enjoyment. Now, it might seem a bit arrogant and pretentious to do my very own 'awards' for a film year (actually more trivial than arrogant), but I have to say, it's a lot of fun to create your own awards and then pretend they actually mean something. This is what I have done with 'The Leaman Awards'. Technically the Leaman Awards have existed since 2003, they started out in paper only form amongst a couple of close friends. They first found their way online at my Myspace account in 2006. Last year's awards can be found here, and thus, this will be my second time posting my awards here on the Part-Time Critic blog.

It must be said from the outset that this is purely my subjective opinion. It's much a mixture of what I consider to be the 'best' with what I consider to be my 'favorite'. Thus, it's riddled with my bias. Of course, my bias in my own awards is much better than my awards containing someone else' bias, and it's infinitely better than it containing Len Bias or even Evan Bayh. Anyways, I hope you enjoy the awards, feel free to leave comments. First up, my Minor Award Nominees and Winners.

Best Makeup

- District 9
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- Moon
- The Road
- Where the Wild Things Are
Winner: The Road
Runner-Up: District 9

Comments: District 9 would've been a frontrunner here, but it's honestly too difficult to tell just where the makeup starts and the CGI begins. Not far behind it lays a superb makeup job in The Road. There isn't a single shot in this film that the makeup on our actors doesn't stand out and sell the grittiness of this stark future. It's an essential aspect in selling the film and it's worthy of honor.

Best Costume Design

- The Brothers Bloom
- An Education
- Public Enemies
- Red Cliff
- The Young Victoria
Winner: The Brothers Bloom
Runner-Up: An Education

Comments: When it comes to determining the costume award winner I simply try to determine the film whose costumes not only best 'fit' the film, but deepened it so much, that it would represent a bigger loss to the film than the costume work of other films (this is the same thing I do with all the other technical awards). That being said, I love the bright, quirky, costuming of The Brothers Bloom. They fit the tone and theme of the film perfectly.

Best Sound

- Avatar
- A Christmas Carol
- District 9
- Inglorious Basterds
- Public Enemies
Winner: Avatar
Runner-Up: A Christmas Carol

Comments: Although the whole film features awards worthy sound work, one sequence stands out in particular; the destruction of hometree. The sound work for this sequence nearly becomes a character within itself, giving the viewer all sorts of detailed information about the scene. The bass literally pushed me in my seat and the sound detail felt so realistic I could've sworn there were fans rushing air in my face. One of the standout experiences of Avatar.

Best Original Score

- Avatar
- Invictus
- The Road
- Up
- The Young Victoria
Winner: The Road
Runner-Up: Avatar

Comments: Nick Cave and Warren Ellis have collaborated before on scores for The Proposition and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, to excellent results. I find The Road to be their best work. Stark and minimalist, the score conveys the emptiness, the wandering, and the struggle our characters experience. The score feels lamentful for the situation our characters are in, but I ironically find it to be hopeful as well. A perfect mirror of what makes this film so great, I proudly give this award to The Road.

Best Visual Effects

- 2012
- Avatar
- District 9
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- Star Trek
Winner: Avatar
Runner-Up: 2012

Comments: It's no secret that I'm not the biggest fan of Avatar and it's no secret that I wasn't bowled over by the experience of it. All of that being said, it didn't have to be a near religious experience in order for me to recognize that the visual effects work in Avatar is at a level we've never seen before. The best and most fully realized visual effects of the decade belong to the last blockbuster of the decade and will be remembered for years to come perhaps not for being revolutionary, but for their richness, depth, and stunning quality.

Best Art Direction

- Avatar
- Fantastic Mr. Fox
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
- The Road
Winner: Fantastic Mr. Fox
Runner-Up: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Comments: Wes Anderson's film The Life Aquatic won the Leaman Award for Best Art Direction in 2004, and he repeats the win here in 2009. Anderson's first foray into the animated world is a light and breezy caper based on a beloved children's book. Despite good voice work, the standout of the film is the creative and at times genius art direction. All the usual Anderson flairs are apparent, but they seem to find a natural home in this genre, where Anderson's creative and unique shot compositions seem to feel right at home in a children's film.

Best Cinematography

- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- Ip Man
- The Road
- State of Play
- Where the Wild Things Are
Winner: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Runner-Up: The Road

Comments: The most stunningly beautiful film of the year is hands down my favorite cinematography work of the year. In fact, it doesn't take but 10 minutes for the film to win the award. I can't remember a film to use shadows, dark browns, yellows and blues to better effect. While I have plenty of issues with the Harry Potter series, this is the bright spot for me. The story can be frustrating, the character arcs slow and ill-paced, but all the technical aspects seem to get better and better with each entry. I look forward to seeing how the next entry can even come close to the work here.

Best Film Editing

- (500) Days of Summer
- Crank: High Voltage
- The Road
- State of Play
- Up in the Air
Winner: State of Play
Runner-Up: Up in the Air

Comments: In no way does State of Play break any new ground like last year's Speed Racer. Despite it's lack of innovation, State of Play is an excellent example of a film that succeeds despite eschewing fancy quick cuts, chopped up timelines, and layered intercutting. The scenes get in and get out, only lingering when they need too. The editing keeps the pace constant giving the whole film a feeling of propulsion and energy that unfolds from its opening murder. Much like the other technical awards, no other film's editing meant as much and added as much at State of Play, 2009's best film editing.

Best Animated Feature

- Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
- Coraline
- Fantastic Mr. Fox
- Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaur
- Up
Winner: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
Runner-Up: Coraline

Comments: Despite the absence of an 'A' film in the category, this might well be the strongest animated year ever. Not only are the film's great, but every type of animation was present this year. From the stop-otion of Coraline and Fantastic Mr. Fox, the hand drawn animation of The Princess and the Frog (not nominated), to the CGI work in the other competitors, there hasn't been a deeper and more varied year that I can remember. Who would've thought that Up would be last in this category? Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is the surprise of the year yielding great laughs and my award for best Animated Film of the Year.

Best Adapted Screenplay

- Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
- An Education
- The Road
- Sherlock Holmes
- State of Play
Winner: State of Play
Runner-Up: The Road

Comments: After my first viewing of State of Play I wasn't all that impressed. It was a strong film, but not much more. A second viewing opened me up to the pleasant unorthodox decisions the screenplay makes. For example, the screenplay hints at conspiratorial possibilities (some of these turn out to be true), while ultimately making the true villain a single person. It would have been easy, especially in today's environment, to place all blame entirely on the Blackwater like group in the film, but the screenplay ultimately takes a more intruiging route, a harder route, and one that makes for a better film.

Best Original Screenplay

- Adventureland
- Away We Go
- Inglorious Basterds
- Moon
- The Young Victoria

Winner: Moon
Runner-Up: The Young Victoria

Comments: Perhaps the film equivalent of The Road's score. Stark and minimalist, this film extracts a lot of entertainment, insight, and discussion out of what is essentially a short story premise. It's exactly the films penchant for lingering on daily activities and minutia that allows us to slip into the setting and get to know our character. Thus, when strange things begin to happen, it only takes one or two changes (who is that extra person?) to completely alter the film's universe. This is excellent writing with not a single wasted sequence.

It's a lot to take in (especially when I make Evan Bayh jokes), but there is more to come in the following days. Stay tuned for the major awards and more supplementary and superfluous awards than you shake a stick at.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

2010 Film Preview: Part 2

You can find my 'Top Ten Most Anticipated Films of 2010' by going to Part 1 of my film preview or by Clicking Here.

In Part 2 of this film preview I'm going to delve into some more random categories. I guess once you start watching more than 100 films a year, you begin to become a little cynical towards films, and it's difficult to truly anticipate a film. This is the outlet you might find some of the more popular 2010 entries that I have one reason or another to begin to doubt. Did I miss anything big? Let me know.

"Not Quite Top Ten"

Directed by Martin Scorsese
Opens in Feb.
If you need more convincing other than seeing the director's name, than call me up and we'll go see it together and I'll tell you all about this Scorsese guy.

Directed by Patrick Alassandrin
No release date

Directed by Chris Sanders
Opens in March

Directed by Peter Chan
Releases on Home Video
Released in 2007 in Hong Kong, this war epic is finally making it's way stateside on DVD.

Directed by Harold Zwart
Opens in June

"Want to like, But Have My Doubts I Will"

Seems to be falling into the Burton curse, "You seen one Burton film, you seen them all"

Columbus steered the Harry Potter ship right, so what makes us think he couldn't do it here? Oh, the release date? Yea, that makes me think so too.

It looks like it will be one of the biggest comedies of the year, but it doesn't do anything for me.

Steve Carrell and Tina Fey in a comedy? Then why does the trailer not garner a single laugh out of me?

Another in the long line of remakes, but I've always thought this series had the best chance at being a horror film with some decent substance. Still, Bay is producing...and so far only the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake has been any good.

Didn't really care for the first, but could the second one be better?

"Guilty Pleasures"

An action junkies dream film. Stallone is on a creative run after the successes of Rocky Balboa and Rambo, so I hope this becomes the action film everyone knows it can be.

I'm a sucker for the first two films, and I actually look forward to this one. With the original gang and Spike Jonze' involvement, how could this go wrong?

As you all may know, I'm a fan of the series and after a great Saw VI, I'm excited to see the directions they end up going with this one. Still, I wish they would've carried over the director form VI.

Van Damme turned down The Expendables because he said Sly didn't want to give him a 'character'. I guess Van Damme thought this direct to DVD film was the film he needed. Still, there is actually some decent buzz on the action in this one.

"Curious, Keeping My Eye On It"

2010 Film Preview: Part 1

Nothing kick starts a year in film like wild speculation and anticipation! Sometimes half the fun of being a film nut is in following productions from the first time you hear about them till you actually buy a ticket and take a seat in the theater. With 2009 now behind us, it's time to gaze into the film year that will be 2010. In the following posts, I'll try to round up all the films that I know about and have begun anticipating for one reason or another.

Like last year, I am gonna parcel this out into two different posts, this first containing my Top Ten Most Anticipated Films of 2010, and the next part featuring the next tiers. Keep in mind with lists like these, these dates and films are always subject to changes. In fact, one of my most anticipated from 2009, Shutter Island, is now a February release for 2010. With that in mind, I hope you enjoy! Did I miss a film that your expecting to be great this year? Feel free to comment.

For comparison sake, Here are the links to my Film Preview's for 2009
Part 1: Here Part 2: Here

- Directed by Michael Apted
- Opens in December
Though I found Prince Caspian to be a bit lackluster (its poor box office performance nearly killed the franchise altogether), I admit I have a good feeling about this one. I don't know why, I've never read the book, but Narnia fans keep assuring me that this is one of the best. We shall see, I do admit that it's exciting to be looking forward to another adventure story set at sea, we get so little of those.

- Directed by Philip Noyce
- Opens in July
Will it be Mr. and Mrs. Smith or Wanted? I am hoping for the former, as the trailer makes it seem to be a real good time at the movies. Noyce is an able director and Jolie is born to play these female action leads.

- Directed by Louis Leterrier
- Opens in March
It looks to be a more expansive and epic version of 300. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if that was the pitch to studio executives exactly. Sam Worthington gets the lead role here (geez how did he become so big?), so lets see if you can shake free of his bland persona here. I'm hoping for some great actions sequences out of this one.

- Directed by M. Night Shyamalan
- Opens in July
Night's first attempt at adapting material rather than working with an original script, and it might be his last attempt to right his sinking ship. That's my interest here. I love some of his work, and I am hoping this is a return to form for Night.

- Directed by Lee Unkrich
- Opens in June
Others might have this higher on their lists, but I have a nagging suspicion that this franchise has exhausted it's material. What other themes can they mine? The trailers don't give me much hope as it looks like they are going to continue to stay in the 'what do you do when kids don't want to play with you anymore' vein. We'll see, I am hoping for the best though.

- Directed by Mike Mitchell
- Opens in May
I thought Shrek 2 was one of the greatest animated films of all-time, and while Shrek the Third wasn't close to that standard, I also don't think it was as bad as people claimed it to be. I just enjoy the Shrek franchise. This is why it's placed in front of Toy Story 3; Shrek feels like it's attempting to move forward with themes and characters, where I feel Toy Story is rehashing. Maybe it's just me, but thats how I see it. The recent Shrek Forever After trailer released has confirmed my enjoyment, and I look forward to laughing with and spending time with many of my favorite characters.

- Directed by Yuen Woo-Ping
- No Release Date yet
Yeun Woo-Ping's return to the director's chair has the possibility of becoming one of the greatest martial arts films of the last decade. The trailer promises some epic showdowns and crisp fighting. I am loving the new standards that Hong Kong have risen too.

- Directed by Ridley Scott
- Opens in May
- Trailer
I think I could very easily fall for this film. I think there is plenty of room for improvement over Prince of Thieves, I just pray that this is more Gladiator than Kingdom of Heaven.

- Directed by Teddy Chan
- No Release Date Yet
One of the largest and most hotly anticipated films to come out of Hong Kong since Ip Man and Red Cliff. The word of mouth is outstanding and the film is said to contain a final act featuring over an hour of non-stop action. Plus, Donnie Yen promises a new display of Hong Kong parkour within a standard setting fight scene. If nothing I said gets you excited, this isn't the movie for you.

- Directed by Christopher Nolan
- Opens in July
- Trailer
If this film doesn't have you excited, you need to check your pulse. From the director of The Prestige and The Dark Knight comes a science fiction thriller featuring Leonardo DiCaprio. The early teasers have promised some epic stuff and Nolan recently admitted in an interview that this was the biggest film he's ever made. Nolan is the kind of filmmaker that makes me feel like every film he makes could very well become my favorite of all-time. How often can one say that about a director?