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.


Cole D'Arc said...

ive only seen the bottom two movies on this list. but i fully intend to see Black Swan - i didn't even care if it was any good when i first heard of it. two of my favourite actors as BALLERINAS is enough to make my heart explode all on its own.

i would argue that age aside, Michael Cera really wasn't type cast as Scott Pilgrim at all. he's by far the most proactive character he's ever played. plus it's nice they got a real Canadian kid who plays bass for the role.

what you said about the fights is true - in the books, each fight is really unique and interesting so they had to really change that to jam them all into the film which is really too bad. wouldve been a lot better as two volumes ala Kill Bill but i still loved the movie.

Shane said...

Cole, if Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis as ballerinas might possibly make your heart explode, then you will certainly die (with joy) when you witness the dark sexy storm that is this movie. I've certainly fallen in love with Natalie because of her powerful performance here.

I haven't actually read the Scott Pilgrim comics, but I'm certainly interested. Michael Cera was well cast, and if hadn't been available, I'm sure you could have played the role too. You do look a lot alike.

Also, you should get around to seeing Tangled. I'm interested in knowing if you'll appreciate it as much as I do.

kingshearte said...

I actually have not yet seen any of these movies (the last little while has been too damn busy for movies), but your endorsement has now placed all of them on my must-get-around-to-it-eventually-preferably-sometime-this-decade list. Black Swan was there already, but I was a bit on the fence about some of the others.

Shane said...

Please let me know what you think when you find the time to see any of these films. If I steered you wrong I will give you a full refund.

Cole D'Arc said...

yes, the similarities between Scott Pilgrim and myself are actually a little startling. how could i not root for the guy?

Ryan said...

I definitely felt the same way about Inception, but I sadly have not yet seen any of the other movies on your list!

I can't say I'm that interested in Tangled, but I definitely need to see Toy Story 3. I'm also not interested in Black Swan that much, but I might see it for the hype on DVD/BD someday.

I want to see Scott Pilgrim, but I just finished Volume 3 of the books so I need to finish the last few!

Excellent list!

Shane said...

Ryan, you've only seen one of the movies? I don't know how to feel just now.

Upset. Yeah, that's it. lol.

I'm now even more interested to see your top movies. It's nice that our lists don't seem to overlap too much.