Thursday, December 30, 2010

Films of 2010

I've been cruising the Web this morning looking for Top 10 movie lists to fill out my Netflix selection. It's sometimes hard to navigate the recommendations. I'm not sure why, but it seems like movie reviewers have become more and more subject to their particular, individualized taste. Maybe there are just too many films, or not enough trustworthy national reviewers-- if you have recommendations of Top 10 lists worth paying attention to, please post. Mostly, I don't want to watch dark underground slasher/horror films or Sundance-type indies that go nowhere. One reviewer's list was loaded with "relaitonships on the verge of collapse" films, and another was too gory for consideration. Still, I gleaned a few I'm looking forward to that I would not have otherwise heard about.

After seeing The Fighter before our Christmas trip to Chicago, we have been having a little Christian Bale film festival. Steve hadn't seen The Machinist or American Psycho, which, taken together, do show an interesting range by Bale, and if nothing else, his attention to his own physique! I'm going to add Laurel Canyon to our viewing, and we're thinking of rewatching Empire of the Sun as well. I have another on "video on demand" from Netflix, All the Little Animals, which is also supposed to be a stellar performance.

One of the films that stood out on lists, and that was among the best we saw this year, was actually three: the Red Riding series. I first saw it listed as part of the Palm Springs Film Festival when we were there last January (what a great way to start the year that was!). Reminded of it later in the year, I added it to my Netflix queue. If you like the murder mystery series done by the BBC over the last three decades, you are in for a treat with this series. A tale of police corruption and serial killings in gritty Northern England, the 1970s period is captured stunningly well and the films have excellent performances and a rich feel. The first one stars Andrew Garfield, who costarred in The Social Network and is a young actor to watch.

Although the reviewers are saying that 2010 was a good year for the studios, I have to disagree. I don't remember a year where I had so few films to put in my queue, or so many weeks when we would have liked to go see a film and couldn't find a single thing we'd go to the theater to watch. It is possible that more and more often, the good films come out in Jan-March of the following year, to focus the Oscar buzz, but I can't say I've even heard about more than a handful of films I'd go out of my way to see. When I'm anxiously awaiting Toy Story 3 to come out on DVD so I know we'll have something worth watching, the studios aren't doing a good job.

It's hard if not impossible for me to imagine life on the farm without Netflix, especially Netflix Watch Instantly. I remember when I moved from Chicago to Joliet with my first husband, how nervous we were about the loss of movie options. There was an amazing video store in Joliet, with no organization-- as films came in they just gave them a number and added them to the collection, which would have been chronological except they were also acquiring older films as they went along. That place kept us busy and provided lots of entertainment. Now, though, every year is a good year with access to the Netflix catalog. It's just a matter of finding the recommendations.


WolfsGotYourTongue said...

ones with * I haven't seen yet, but want to...

Death to smoochy
Imagine me and you
Shortbus *
The imaginarium of dr. Parnassus
Hedwig and the angry inch
Before Night Falls
The kids are alright *
Exit through the gift shop
Kiss me again
Conversations with other women
Escanaba in da Moonlight
The Darjeeling Limited
A lot like love
Practical magic
I love you phillip morris

I know there has to be more, but I'm having a hard time remembering... maybe you're right, not much going on in 2010 (but you must go see black swan).

Susan Sink said...

I'll be very interested to hear what you think of The Kids are Alright. I loved it, but can see why others wouldn't.... many of these were made before 2010 (which kind of proves my point, I think.)

WolfsGotYourTongue said...

I will definitely let you know, once I get around to seeing it...

WolfsGotYourTongue said...

Ok. I have now seen 'The Kids are Alright'.
...and I must say I was a little disappointed, for all the hype from the politicized debate surrounding the movie, I expected to be at least a little offended. I was not offended. In fact, I quite liked it. Annette's character was pretty unlikable through the whole movie, and then at the end she delivers her moment of lucidity to Ruffalo, telling him to go make his own family. Not that she was deserving of betrayal, but that the storyline was believable in the actions that followed.
As for the Lesbian nation's uproar, I am of the belief that politicizing sexuality is a bad idea. I understand that it has its uses (namely getting rights) but when people begin to internalize their 'party line' it becomes a block for their own emotional/spiritual/mental evolution.
That's my 2 cents.. cheers!

Susan Sink said...

I'm glad to hear you say that, Giana! I felt kind of odd liking it so much when I heard about the controversy. I'm usually VERY in tune with movies where the lesbian reveals her true desire to sleep with men and is seduced away to a man, as if that's OBVIOUSLY better... I thought this movie walked a fine line and just totally made sense-- she was responding as much to seeing her kids in him as his own qualities, and she never actually gives up or turns on her sexual identity or her primary relationship. It seemed very believable to me. Yes, the women are "types," but they didn't seem totally "flat" or characitured. I thought the movie had a fantastic script and Mark Ruffalo was great-- both with the women and with the kids. He was right on target with the son, without it seemingly like "oh, of course, two women can't possibly raise a boy." It seemed to me it both affirmed the importance of both genders and their differences and affirmed the lesbian family.