Saturday, January 29, 2011

MINI LIST: Ryan’s Favourite Films of 2010

It’s 2011 and we’re one year away from John Cusack doing death-defying feats of amazement, like driving through massive earthquakes, or weaving in and out of volcanic eruptions in an airplane.

So, um, here are some of my favourite movies from 2010? Yeah.

5. Kick Ass

Oh great, here we go again with Kick Ass. What’s the big deal about this movie anyway? In short, Hit Girl. Honestly, there is a lot more going on in this movie than her, but she totally steals the show. I actually had a hard time placing this film in the number five slot over The Social Network, but in the end a little girl killing dozens of henchmen with blades and every variety of gun just beats a socially awkward super-rich geek every time. Wasn’t Nick Cage in this movie? You have some kind of Cage-fetish, don’t you? Why I see all of his movies, I can’t really tell you. He actually did a good enough job in this movie except I wasn’t sure what to think of the scene where he’s tied to the chair (no spoilers!). That was just so disturbing. Did you read the comics? They were so much better! No, I didn’t read the comics. About to blow all the comic fanboy minds here: not a fan of Romita Jr’s art. That and, well, I didn’t really know much about it until the movie buzz. Maybe someday…
Excited for the sequel? Hell yes. Best Kick Ass tagline? Sickening violence, just the way you like it!

4. Iron Man 2

That came out last year? Yeah, in May. Somehow it feels like it came out forever ago. You a big Iron Man fan? No, not really. Honestly, most of the Avenger crowd doesn’t tickle my fancy. The movies are great though, and Downey Jr. is a perfect Tony Stark. If you’re not a big fan, why’d you like this flick so much? It was fun, exciting and action-packed, I guess. Like I said, I’m not a huge Iron Man fan, so it was easy for me to like something like this. Plus it had Stark’s bitchin’ suit case armour! What’d you think of War Machine? Not that I thought that Terrence Howard was a good pick in the first film, but Don Cheadle? That’d be my biggest gripe about this flick – Jim Rhodes is supposed to be a big, jacked dude. The producers definitely dropped the ball on that one. Coolest part of the movie? Drunken armour wars.

3. The Expendables

Is this the true return to “old school” action? I suppose. I find, personally, that a lot of action films coming out lately have simplified their storylines to deliver “wham-bam-thankya-ma’am” action. This was definitely the best of the new crop, though. Stallone’s getting up there. Could he keep up with today's young guys? You’d best believe. He might not have that many more action films in him, but he was great in this. If he decides to quit acting in them he should definitely continue writing, directing and producing them for sure. Are there too many big “names” in this movie? In a way, yes. Not that there are too many actors trying to “steal the scene” or something, but some people were a bit under-used. I’d definitely like to see a sequel that focuses on a few more characters. I heard Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger were in it. Is that true? It is indeed the truth. Bruce, Arnold and Sly are all in a scene together! There isn’t much, though. It was still very cool. Too bad Arnold’s basically said he won’t be doing any more action films though, because I’d love to see him in a sequel. So, will there be an Expendables 2? I think Sly and his gang would be silly not to! And this time, convince Jean Claude to join in!

2. Tron: Legacy

How long has it been since Tron was first released? Just 28 years, is all. Do you think the time in between the films helped this one? It certainly didn’t hurt it. I mean if they’d made a Tron sequel before now, it might’ve been decent. I think today’s technology definitely helped with Legacy. So, how are those special effects? Top notch. They fall into the “blew me away” category. If I had to think of movies in the last few years that really sucked me into their world with the special effects the only two that come to mind are Avatar and Tron: Legacy. Did the 3D ruin it? Everything is in 3D these days! The 3D for Legacy was handled so well. I think that a lot of movies that come out have 3D tacked on as an afterthought. Tron: Legacy did this great thing where it was in 3D for specific scenes and 2D when that third dimension didn’t do anything for the film. Do you want to see more Tron? I would love more Tron. I truly hope they don’t wait another 28 years for a sequel!

1. Inception

Is this movie over-hyped? I don’t know. By now, probably. It doesn’t mean it’s a bad movie, though. It was one of the best movies I’ve seen in a decade. So, what’s it about? I wouldn’t want to give anything away, but the basic premise is about how people who have the technology to enter a person’s mind via their dreams. Why is it called Inception? The film follows a man named Cobb, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, who is basically a dream thief. He steals thoughts in what is called an extraction. The most impossible task to perform in someone’s mind, however, is not to steal a thought, but to implant an idea, otherwise known as inception. Is it all just a big CG gimmick? No, this movie has fantastic visuals and they play a major part of the story, but the story is where this movie truly shines. It’s very layered and warrants multiple watches. Leo DiCaprio is on quite the roll, huh? Yes he is, that is until he ruins Akira (sigh), although I think he’s next portraying J. Edgar Hoover and after that Dr. H.H. Holmes in The Devil in the White City, which I think is particularly interesting. You might have to look that last one up.

Monday, January 17, 2011

MINI-LIST: Cole's Favourite Movies of 2010

2010 wasn't exactly a banner year for movies for me so expect a list of a much cooler year coming soon. But I know certain parties are still curious about my picks so here they are.

I'm glad Shane decided to go with the MINI-LIST format for this one as I really don't have a lot to say (for once). I'm even going to rip off his questions for the most part. Let's do it.

5. The Expendables

How would you describe the movie in five words? Testosterone, testosterone, testosterone, guns, testosterone. Why did it make the list? Well, it does feature Sylvester Stallone, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Jason Statham and a host of other well known ass kickers of fine cinema. That alone is an achievement. What was your favourite thing about the movie? Dolph Lundgren!!! What didn't you like about it? No Jean-Claude. So sad. What surprised you most? For some reason, I didn't think Steve Austin would be playing a bad guy. But he does a fair job of it.

4. Kick-Ass

Why doesn't Roger Ebert like this movie? Apparently, because he finds it overly violent. Do you agree with him? Do I ever? (besides Dark City, I mean) So you don't agree with him here? Oh, I agree with him - it's overly violent. But I think that's a very good thing. What surprised you most? Just how good the soundtrack is - it blends wonderfully with the action. Does the movie cross a moral line by having a prepubescent girl running around killing people? I don't think so because she's killing bad people. People always freak out when minors are shown doing ANYTHING in movies. It's ridiculous. And besides, in the case of Hit Girl, it's rather...far fetched. So gimme a break. 

3. TRON: Legacy

Is it a worthy sequel to TRON? I would say absolutely. Sometimes having a gap of many years between sequels can really be advantageous. In this case, it really helps the story. Is this the best-looking movie you've seen in 2010? Without a doubt. What surprised you the most? The ending, I think. Not that there's a big twist or anything. Was that Cillian Murphy in the scene in the boardroom? Yeah. Maybe he was passing by the set and they asked him over. Is this a better film than its predecessor? No. They're actually quite difficult to compare, really. The concepts in TRON were foreign to about 95% of its audience when it was released. TRON: Legacy tries to push this envelope too but it can't go as far by virtue of the technology-oriented world we live in these days. It's not like 1982 was SO primitive, it's just that back then only a handful of people really understood where technology was going, I think - any movie from the eighties that tried to accurately predict what the world would be like in twenty years or so was way off. But it seems to me that the average person today has at least some sort of grasp of what the next twenty years will realistically bring with regards to technology.
It's the Age of Information after all. Concepts discussed in TRON: Legacy really don't seem that out of reach.

2. Scott Pilgrim VS The World

Is this movie based on you? Pretty much, yeah. Well, that is, it's based on a comic that is based on me. When are you going to start seeing some money for this? Any day now, I'm sure. So you have an X-Men patch on your jacket? No, they changed that. I have a BPRD patch. I guess they figured X-Men was more recognizable. Would you really date a chick with so much baggage? Dude, I ONLY date chicks with that much baggage. Halifax: Threat or Menace? Definitely Menace. You'll see.

1. Batman: Under The Red Hood

Waitaminute! This movie wasn't even released in theatres! What do you think you're doing? Stating my favourite movie of 2010. I don't recall any rules besides date of release. It's a 2010 release so bite me. Ok, smart guy - so what's so great about it? It's extremely faithful to the comic arc on which it is based (what a concept!) - Judd Winick, who wrote the comics, did the script - , the voicework is topnotch, the animation is fantastic, Gotham looks just like it should...I could go on. Anything you DIDN'T like about it, fanboy? While the voicework is great, of course I would have preferred having Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill - all the other actors I'm fine with, even the guy playing Gordon. So who is the Red Hood? You can't be serious. Will this open the door for more animated movies based on awesome story arcs? God, I hope so.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

MINI-LIST: Shane's Favourite Movies of 2010

Even though I saw fewer films than usual last year I figured I'd be ruining an annual tradition if I didn't mention my favourites of 2010. I'm hoping my fellow listers will draw attention to their favourites as well. Enjoy the mini-list.

5. Toy Story 3

How would you describe the movie in five words? The Great Escape with toys. Why did it make your list? It's a satisfying and entertaining conclusion to one of the best trilogies around. Pixar never fails to impress with their quality of characters and story. What was your favourite thing about the movie? The way these CG toys convey more humanity and emotion than many real people in live action films do. What didn't you like about it? That the film keeps building and building to the escape portion, but it turns out to be a retread of the escape from Sid's house' from the first Toy Story, and it just wasn't nearly as interesting. What surprised you most? Just how dark and depressing some parts get. The villains are truly evil and sadistic, and some - like the baby doll - are really creepy. This may be a bit traumatizing to younger kids, but I'm ultimately glad Pixar doesn't pull any punches.

4. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

How would you describe the movie in five words? Super geeky pop culture attack. Why did it make your list? It's a fun, high energy story of love and physical confrontation. It may be the most visually interesting film of the year; every shot has something cool to look at. Plus, it has hilarious, enjoyable characters. What was your favourite thing about the movie? That it takes place in Canada. It was filled with little nods to Canadian culture, and I cracked up whenever Scott defeated a foe and they would explode into loonies and toonies flying everywhere. What didn't you like about it? Well, some of the fights with the 7 deadly ex's aren't quite as cool as that first battle. What surprised you most? That I wasn't tired of Michael Cera playing the same sort of quiet character again, though maybe it had something to do with his inexplicable ability to uppercut people into the stratosphere.

3. Tangled
How would you describe the movie in five words? Chick with magical hair sings. Why did it make your list? It's easily the best animated film Disney has put out in some time (excluding Pixar's work for them). The scenery and design of the film is gorgeous and with compelling characters and story, snappy dialogue, and a rich score, it had everything I had hoped. What was your favourite thing about the movie? Watching the trailers would lead you to believe that Rapunzel's pet chameleon was going to be the comic relief as the typical animal sidekick. Instead a horse with an unwavering sense of justice steals every scene he's in. What didn't you like about it? Not enough of that horse, of course. What surprised you most? I went to the movie not knowing it would be a musical much like Disney's heyday of the late 80's and early 90's. The songs are fantastic and I was pleasantly surprised.

2. Inception

How would you describe the movie in five words? Russian stacking doll brain fuck. Why did it make your list? I could go on for many paragraphs on why I like this movie, but this is a mini-list, so I'll just say that I'm amazed with the story Christopher Nolan has crafted. He's produced another astonishing movie with style, substance, and thrills. What was your favourite thing about the movie? I just love all the ways you can interpret the story. As far as I can tell, there are the events of the film as we see them, the events as they really happened, and then a third layer of how the movie is experienced by the audience. Each element is significant, but they stand alone. It's entertaining at face value, but it gives you plenty to analyze and think about as you watch again. What didn't you like about it? I just wasn't digging the James Bond-esque snowy mountain facility sequence. What surprised you most? That many people hate this movie or call it boring. How can you not enjoy a dream heist that includes things like shifting gravity fights? It's an original movie that demands your attention, and I have no idea how that's boring.

1. Black Swan
How would you describe the movie in five words? Ballerina perfectionist loses her shit. Why did it make your list? It's a haunting, suspenseful, spellbinding movie about a woman who's pushed physically and mentally over the edge by a passion for perfection. The movie manages to be frighteningly beautiful and mixes together unsettling moments of dread and sexual energy. I was strangely turned on one moment, and then horrified the next, and I loved it. What was your favourite thing about the movie? Natalie Portman, who stands out with easily my favourite performance of the year. It's amazing what she achieves to believably play a world class ballet dancer. The physical demands of the role aside, her character is so tragic and intense that there's no looking away. What didn't you like about it? Nothing comes to mind. I'm too busy thinking about watching it again. What surprised you most? That my top movie is about ballet. Well, it's really about much more than that. If you've been hesitant over seeing it because of the subject matter, please ignore that and dive in; it's a modern masterpiece of psychological horror.