Welcome to The Mundane Adventures of a Fangirl

I consider myself a Fangirl. What does that mean, you ask? A "fanboy" in the most common understanding is a hardcore fan of 'genre' based entertainment in particular. In my case - science-fiction and comic book based movies and television. Because I'm a chick - it's fangirl, not fanboy. There you have it! I am a big movie fan, however, not necessarily a 'film' fan. And now - I have the forum to present my opinions to the public! These will mainly be movie reviews -that will always be my opinion - repeat OPINION. Just what I think, and in no way do I present my opinion as fact. I hope you enjoy and maybe it will help you decide what to see at the movie theater this weekend!

Monday, August 26, 2013

2010 Year in Review

Here's another blog entry from an older random places.  I was going through and cleaning up those places and found this entry on the best/worst of 2010.  So here is some more flashback nonsense! Incidentally, my total for this EW list was 13, so this was one of my better totals in terms of Oscar movies.  Enjoy!

Once again, Entertainment Weekly (it, SyFy, and SI are the only magazines I need – I don’t read newsy ones, I get all my news from the Daily Show and BBC Nightly World News)  has published their list of the top 25 movies you need to see before Oscar Night.  With the Golden Globes this Sunday and the critic’s choice awards airing this week, it’s time to throw some unsolicited opinions out there. The ceremony takes place on Sunday, February 27 – so get your formalware ready.  This year I have seen 6, with immediate plans to see 3 more of them, either I’m getting better at seeing award movies, or the movies are getting more tolerable. 
 Here once again is their list followed by my list.  By all means, feel free to comment, agree and disagree – just my opinions after all! 

EW List:
1.  The Social Network – David Fincher directed Facebook origin story.  Haven’t seen it yet, seemed unnecessary to see it in the theaters, but will see it as soon as Netflix delivers it.
2.  The King’s Speech – Tom Hooper directed typical British based-on-a-true-story award movie.  Colin Firth is supposed to be excellent, as is Geoffrey Rush, who can do this and The Warrior’s Way in the same year.
3.  Inception – Christopher Nolan directed movie of the year, despite Leo.
4.  The Fighter – directed by David O. Russell and starring Marky Mark and Christian Bale – SI claims it is now the best boxing movie ever made – and one of the best sports films ever made, try to get past the super-thick Boston accents.

5.  Toy Story 3 – No thank you.  Supposed to be excellent, but I really did not enjoy the others, so this is a no for me.
6.  True Grit – a western good enough to make me break my Cohen Brothers ban – also features the best old west dentist ever, “I have relieved him of his teeth, but I will entertain offers for the rest of him...”  “...But we need shelter.”  “Well, I have my bear skin.”  Fantastic, doesn't mean that I will see any other Cohen Brothers movie.
7.  Black Swan – a movie talked about enough I broke my Darren Aronofsky ban (he director the Fountain - the worst movie I have ever seen). – worth it?  Did I like it?  Did I hate it?  Well, I saw it….about all I can say.  Natalie Portman should win Best Actress for it.  The rest – creepy, bizarre, weird, disturbing, insane…you should see it?  

8.  The Kids are All Right – Annette Benning and Julieanne Moore and Mark Ruffalo, didn’t see it….
127 Hours – Danny Boyle attempts to follow up Slumdog Millionaire by trapping James Franco under a rock...Something we've all wanted to do at one point or another.
9.  Winter’s Bone - An unflinching Ozark Mountain girl hacks through dangerous social terrain as she hunts down her drug-dealing father while trying to keep her family intact.  That sounds terrible (Jennifer Lawrence is really young and will probably be nominated).
10.  The Town – from the acclaimed director of Gone Baby Gone (Ben Affleck, yes that Ben Affleck), a gritty Bostony thriller – great top to bottom.  Affleck is great, Renner is great, and John Hamm is great.
11.  Rabbit Hole – Life for a happy couple is turned upside down after their young son dies in an accident.  Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart in a movie that seems to be made for the Awards Season.

12.  Another Year – A look at four seasons in the lives of a happily married couple and their relationships with their family and friends.  It was written by Mike Leigh, and that’s seriously all I know about it.  How random is that?  It sounds really boring.
13.  Get Low - A movie spun out of equal parts folk tale, fable and real-life legend about the mysterious, 1930s Tennessee hermit who famously threw his own rollicking funeral party... while he was still alive.  Robert Duvall and Bill Murray.  Nothing about this interests me.

14.  How to Train Your Dragon – my favorite animated movie of the year, followed closely by Despicable Me
15.  Blue Valentine – I don’t like Ryan Gosling (young Hercules) and I really don’t like Michelle Williams (the blond from Dawson’s Creek) so, no thank you.
16.  Biutiful – I let Pursuit of Happyness spell that wrong because of my love for Will Smith, but no way am I letting this pass.
17.  Animal Kingdom - Tells the story of seventeen year-old J (Josh) as he navigates his survival amongst an explosive criminal family and the detective who thinks he can save him.  Austrailian movie, sounds a bit intense for me.
18.  Waiting for “Superman” – Documentary about the public school system.
19.  Alice in Wonderland – Tim Burton and Johnny Depp – do you need to know more than that?  Oh wait, this time the pair took their crazy to 3D.
20.  The Girl With The Dragon Tatoo – the Swedish one, not the upcoming American version.  I read the book - and man, did I hate it.  I expect that I will hate the movie too.
21.  Inside Job - Takes a closer look at what brought about the financial meltdown.  I am not familiar with this - even though it stars Matt Damon.

22.  The Illusionist – wasn’t this a magician movie with Edward Norton and Jessica Biel that came out opposite the Nolan, Jackman, Bale Prestige a few years ago...Apparently this is a different one.
23.  Tangled – Disney’s latest princess.  This time with 3D hair!
24.  Burlesque – there’s at least one musical a year – why not one from  Cher and Xtina?  Featuring Stanely Tucci.

My Personal Opinion of the best of this year:
1.  Inception.  Thank God for Christopher Nolan…from Memento and the Prestige which are brilliant non-linear movies, to re-inventing the Superhero genre with Batman Begins and the Dark Knight the man has yet to make a bad movie.  He promised us he would make another Batman if we let him spend a year making a “truly original” movie, not based on a book – or a remake – or a sequel, something a little tough these days.  Inception is that.  It is hands-down the movie of the year.  Visually amazing, fantastically directed, beautifully acted….it’s everything movies should be and almost never are.  Easily the best movie of the year, hopefully will be rewarded as such.

2.  Tron Legacy.  I remember seeing the original Tron and being amazed at it.  It supposed a future in which mankind would be completely dependant and intertwined with computers and other technology.  Crazy, right?  It doesn’t really hold up anymore – remember special effects when we were young weren’t all that great (tempus fugit) and this sequel/update really makes use of today’s technology to produce something truly beautiful.  Okay, the story is average, but I could watch three hours solid of the light cycle or light jet sequences.  Jeff Bridges loved the first one so much  that he kept his original costume and was super excited about doing this one, both his role and playing himself 35 years younger which was both parts awesome and creepy.  If Disney is looking to update other gems they have in their past catalogue, please, please update Forbidden Planet.  That story is fantastic…and with today’s effects, and if some one re-wrote the role of the daughter (it was made in the 50s, so she’s insulting to today’s women).  Come on Disney….
3.  Expendables.  Everyone forgets that Sly Stallone wrote both Rocky and Saturday Night Fever…and that Rocky won the Oscar in 1976 for best Movie.  Now, I’m not claiming the Expendables was brilliantly written, but it did acknowledge the superpumped unreal action movies from the 80s that so many of us loved.  Sly talked to all his friends from the 80s and tried to get all of them in this movie…JCVD said no, Wesley Snipes said no, Segal was shooting Machete – but lots of others are in this movie.  The plot is thin, but you don’t need it…you’re seeing it for the action sequences and the ‘splosions.   And let’s be real, you’ve always wanted to see Jet Li fight Dolph Lundgren.  Hooray, and thanks Sly.
4.  the A-Team.  My brothers and I used to get in trouble during the summer for watching reruns of the A-team during the morning when we should be outside or doing chores.  But come on, that show was awesome…that theme music, the do-gooding, the montage in the middle where they built whatever they needed, busting Murdock out of a mental hospital, tricking B.A. onto a plane…loved it.  This update by Joe Carnahan (Smoking Aces) kept all the original fun, but made it bigger and slicker, and had great casting! 
5.  Predators.  So that’s four movies out of the top five that are here because they remind me of things I loved in the 80s.  And yet Inception is number one for being original…hmm….I honestly thought this was great – Robert Rodriguez produced a slick prequel/sequel depending on your timeline, and it echoes the original movie really wonderfully – also, more Topher Grace makes everything better.

6.  How to Train Your Dragon.  An animated movie in my top ten?  What the what?  This was one of the best movies of the year – fantastic in the theater in 3D with a great simple story.  I’ve always loved dragons – so maybe I’m biased, and seriously – Scottish Vikings?  Why not hire the Skaarsgaard family to do the voices?  Or just make them Celts?  But whatever, that aside…I loved it!
7.  Date Night.  Tina Fey is my hero – Steve Carrell is big time funny…take two Second City alums and give them a good funny story – excellent.  Add in Marky Mark as shirtless helping guy, awesome.
8.  The Town – From the acclaimed director of Gone Baby Gone (Ben Affleck).  I loved this movie – the writing was good, the acting was good, and yes, he’s a great Director!  Jeremey Renner is good at crazy as he proved in the Hurt Locker last year.  A great straightforward thriller.

9.  Salt – say what you will about Angelina Jolie – she makes a good female action hero.  I thought this movie was very good, very intense and actually had a twist I did not see coming!
10.  RED – there is nothing better than Bruce Willis in an action movie, no matter the age, and that’s the point of this movie.  Fantastic.  John Malcovich does great crazy and Morgan Freeman is actually in this, not narrating.  The only bad spot was whats-her-name from weeds, who could have been replaced by someone better…and thank goodness for Karl Urban.
11.  Despicable Me – Loved this one too….can’t remember the last year that had two animated movies I loved.  This one just missed the top ten, because honestly, the thing I loved most about it was the minions…could watch them for hours…the story was good, and voices well done…but watching the minions in the shopping center was the best part.
12.  Iron Man 2 – Not as good as the first.  But the first one was over and beyond amazing, so this one was pretty good….Love Don Cheadle, and RDJ does a good job of following Stark down his darker path…

13.  Unstoppable – so, let me get this straight…it’s two hours of an out of control train?  Yes, but, Denzel, Chris Pine, directed by Tony Scott, trust me…it’s really really good!  I was literally on the edge of my seat!

14.  Faster – better than you think!  The Rock – I’m sorry, Dwayne Johnson, gets out of prison and sets about getting revenge for his brother’s murder.  Sometimes, simple is better, and this is top notch.  “Any questions before you’re released?”  “Where’s the exit?”

15.  the Other Guys – Mismatched partners always makes for classic funny if done right. This was just plain good funny.  Who knew Marky Mark could do funny?
16.  Takers – okay, I’m prepared to be argued with on this, it wasn’t great, but I’m going to give it points for Idris Elba (yum), Hayden Christiansen’s hat, Michael Ealy’s eyes, Paul Walker’s intensity, and Chris Browns 3 parkour lessons.  I will take points away for T.I.’s accent.  Yes, I know you’re from Atlanta, but come on…I don’t understand what you’re saying.

17.  Losers – again, points for Idris Elba.  The saving grace of this movie was the interaction between the guys…charming and funny and Chris Evans, who almost steals the movie.  

18.  Legion – Paul Bettany stars as a fallen angel protecting a baby from God’s wrath.  Two hours of a few people stuck in a diner in the middle of the desert – old school scifi madness.  Simple and cool.  Also Kevin Durand as the angel Gabriel with bulletproof wings, nice.
19.  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, pt 1 – darker, scarier, deeper, better done.  Can’t wait for the final one.
20.  Resident Evil 4.  No, it wasn’t good, but I loved it.  Paul Anderson returns to direct for the first time since the original, after which he married Milla Jovovovovich.  There’s nothing better than slick looking zombie movies, and in 3D to boot?  Sweet.  Plus, Wentworth Miller and Boris Kodjoe.

Bottom of the Year!
1.  The Tourist:  The definition of wasted potential…Everyone in the movie looks bored.  It had a twist ending I figured out 5 minutes into the movie, and no action sequences whatsoever, which is not how it was marketed.  Paul Bettany attempts to save it, but he fails…It’s just awful….terrible.

2.  Robin Hood:  How bad is Russell Crowe to make you miss Kevin Costner’s acting in Prince of Thieves?  Don’t get me wrong, I loved Prince of Thieves, but my favorite Robin Hood was the Disney animated one.  Honestly, seeing how this was the first time Crowe reunited with Ridley Scott since Gladiator – I was excepting much, much more.  Too long, weirdly directed, strangely acted, and pretentious.  Points for Kevin Durand as Little John, but not many.
3.  Cop Out.  Oh, Kevin Smith…I’m a fan of yours, but this movie was just terrible.  It was disconnected and could not find it’s theme and Sean William Scott was very annoying.   And I don’t buy Tracey Morgan as a cop, in any universe.

4.  Skyline:  Could have been so cool, but wasted all the potential.   If there are cool aliens invading…don’t keep us in an apartment with characters we hate for half the movie.  Also – they’re just after our brains?  No alien race with superior technology is coming here to take our brains.
5.  Clash of the Titans.  Have to admit, I was excited about this; I loved the old one, and with new technology and effects, should be awesome, right?  Wrong, totally changed the story, and didn’t look as cool as I wanted, also, stop showing the Kraaken in all the previews, now I’m bored by it in the movie.  I did like the look of mount Olympus, where the gods do some arguing. 

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