Black Swan

Ten Things In 2010: Movies

This past year I’ve spent a lot more time on the film-rankings site FLICKCHART, which is pretty much the best ranking site ever. The premise behind it is simple: Instead of giving a starred rating to a film, you rank it versus another film. In this way you’re able to build a more accurate top film list based off of your sensibilities, and if interested, see how all the films rank with all the users in a global ranking. It’s a little daunting when you first go to the site and sign up, but they guide you through and the next thing you know a few days have passed.

But the point of today isn’t to sell you a site, it’s to show off my Top Ten Films of 2010. This year has been rather great for film, and everything in my top ten list really impressed me. I also managed to see roughly 30 films that were released this year, up from the 10-15 from 2009. Didn’t hurt that I went to AFI Fest this year and got to see a most of those films.


My AFI Capsule Review!

THE GIST: I have an affinity for fish out of water tales and this one came with an extra helping of heart, as cheesy as that sounds. We got a glimpse into these people’s lives in this rather strange town and were able to identify with the main characters. I kind of want to see this again as soon as I can.

My AFI Capsule Review!

THE GIST: The first thing that stood out to me was the structure of the film. Everything is told in flashback, with the present depicted in still photography. Each character gets a turn to tell their point of view and we’re never on one person’s story for too long. Just this alone makes it an interesting watch, but there’s so much more to see here. This perhaps ranks among my top Korean films for sure!

THE GIST: A sci-fi period piece, and not necessarily what you might think. I’ll admit I teared up a bit at the end.

My AFI Capsule Review!

THE GIST: This film is about the resolution of an era. The old Yakuza get wiped out and replaced with a much younger set with “new” values. It’s quite a fascinating watch and I couldn’t tear my eyes away. Well, except for the various parts involving finger-chopping.

My Review!

THE GIST: Bloody hell! Perhaps I DO like sword and sandal epics after all. There’s never a dull moment here and some of the more cliched moments aren’t offensive. I hope future films in this genre stray in the direction of this film and go for small, focused stories with an extra helping of grit. I’m so done with the sprawling epics *ahem*TROY*ahem*.

My AFI Capsule Review!

THE GIST: Two people compete for the love and affection of a rather striking youngster. It’s all style and all substance, and I kind of wanted to see it again after leaving the theater.

THE GIST: A film that accurately captures the zeitgeist of the 8-bit, 20-something gamer. Edgar Wright does well with the source material and Michael Cera impresses as the title character. Unfortunately, it’s a bit of a polarizing film for the nerds out there, which lead to poor box office. Personally, I think those who didn’t connect with the film really weren’t the type of gamers the source material was reaching out to.

THE GIST: Nolan’s best film, in my opinion. This one is hard to top.

THE GIST: I was stressed out for the entire film, and that’s a good thing! I liked the play of restraint versus letting go set amongst Swan Lake. Natalie Portman is great in this. SEE IT!

My AFI Capsule Review!

THE GIST: Props to the cinematography, which is a homage to the aforementioned Argento films. Pretty much every cinematic trick that I loved from those films is in play here and there’s a particular scene in the end that’s tough to forget. There’s no question. You need to see this film!



Diagnosis: Film–Weekend of Dec. 3

It looks like Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis will be in my near future with Black Swan. Probably could have seen it during the AFI Fest if I had REALLY concentrated hard enough, but I decided against it and saw a whole lot more throughout the festival. There are a few other films out this weekend that might be worth checking into, but I’m not sure if they’re “must-see” or even “must-see this week.”

*mimics Geoffrey Rush* Films. Damn.

Warrior’s Way

Directed By: Sngmoo Lee
Written By: Sngmoo Lee
Starring: Kate Bosworth, Danny Huston, Geoffrey Rush
Release Date: December 3, 2010 (1,500 screens)
Synopsis: A warrior-assassin is forced to hide in a small town in the American Badlands after refusing a mission.

Thoughts: This is the type of film that will be so bad it’s good, be Netflix Party fodder and yadda-yadda

Diagnosis: Definitely a rental!

All Good Things

Director: Andrew Jarecki
Written By: Marcus Hinchey and Marc Smerling
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Kirsten Dunst, Frank Langella
Release Date: December 3, 2010
Synopsis: All Good Things is a love story and murder mystery based on the most notorious unsolved murder case in New York history. The original screenplay uses newly discovered facts, court records and speculation as the foundation for an imaginative spellbinding story of family, obsession, love and loss.

Thoughts: Looks like an interesting enough film. Just not my cup of tea. I’d rather see Blue Valentine, instead.

Diagnosis: Right actor, wrong film!


Director: Duane Baughman, Johnny O’Hara
Release Date: December 3, 2010 (2 screens)
Synopsis: A riveting documentary of the recently assassinated Benazir Bhutto, a polarizing figure in the Muslim world. Following in her father’s footsteps as a pillar for democracy, Bhutto was expected to dominate Pakistan’s 2008 elections but the assassination sent Pakistan politics into turmoil. This major event sent shock waves throughout the world and transformed her from political messiah into a martyr for the common man.

Thoughts: This could be an interesting documentary, actually.

Diagnosis: Curious.

Black Swan

Director: Darren Aronofsky
Written By: Mark Heyman and Andres Heinz
Starring: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel
Release Date: December 3, 2010 (19 screens)
Synopsis: A thriller that zeros in on the relationship between a veteran ballet dancer and a rival.

Thoughts: Yeah. This. Definitely going to see this.

Diagnosis: Yeah. This.

Dead Awake

Director: Omar Naim
Written By: Johnny Harrington and Justin Urich
Starring: Rose McGowan, Amy Smart, Nick Stahl
Release Date: December 3, 2010 (50-75 screen)
Synopsis: Dylan, a young man working at a funeral parlor, is trying to unravel a mystery that shattered his life ten years earlier. After faking his own funeral to see who will show up, he befriends a mysterious street junkie and is reunited with an old love from his past. The lives of these three characters are transformed by supernatural forces as Dylan discovers that no one is who they seem to be.

Thoughts: The synopsis alone……

Diagnosis: I got nothing.

I Love You, Phillip Morris

Director: Glenn Ficarra, John Requa
Written By: John Requa and Glenn Ficarra
Starring: Jim Carrey, Ewan McGregor, Leslie Mann
Release Date: December 3, 2010 (6 screens)
Synopsis: Incarcerated at the state penitentiary, con artist Steven Russell (Carrey) meets the love of his life: Phillip Morris (McGregor). As a free man, his passion results in a series of improbable cons to bust Phillip from jail and build the perfect life together.

Thoughts: Normally I’d pass up a Jim Carrey film for…a better one. This one seems like it might be a better one, actually.

Diagnosis: Curious.


Director: Josh Sternfeld
Written By: Josh Sternfeld
Starring: Nick Stahl, Rachel Nichols, Kellan Lutz
Release Date: December 3, 2010
Synopsis: Small-town detective Noah Cordin is called to solve a juvenile homicide that occurred during a home burglary in his affluent town of Hilliard. The dead boy’s mother, Allison Connor, is a member of the Meskada County Board of Commissioners, and a powerful woman in Hilliard; and the entire township rallies together in solidarity – to support her and Detective Cordin’s efforts to find the killers.

Thoughts: Another film with Nick Stahl in it. Kind of a big weekend if you are a fan.

Diagnosis: Pass.

Night Catches Us

Director: Tanya Hamilton
Written By: Tanya Hamilton
Starring: Kerry Washington, Anthony Mackie, Wendell Pierce
Release Date: December 3, 2010
Synopsis: In 1976, complex political and emotional forces are set in motion when a young man returns to the race-torn Philadelphia neighborhood where he came of age during the Black Power movement.

Thoughts: This seems like a pretty straight-forward film about the time. I’d like to see this if I can.

Diagnosis: Want to see.

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale

Director: Jalmari Helander
Written By: Jalmari Helander
Starring: Per Christian Ellefsen, Peeter Jakobi, Tommi Korpela
Release Date: December 3, 2010
Synopsis: In the depths of the Korvatunturi mountains, 486 metres deep, lies the closest ever guarded secret of Christmas. The time has come to dig it up! This Christmas everyone will believe in Santa Claus.

Thoughts: Hot damn! I want to see this. Had a chance earlier, but another awesome show conflicted. Guess I’ll have to see this ASAP.

Diagnosis: Must see!