Friday, December 24, 2010

The Most Memorable Films of the Year

Well, I'd like to start everything off by providing you with a little bit of info about myself. Why exactly should you be reading about the film viewings of some guy in Ohio? Too be honest, I'm not quite sure, but I do hope that you might just find something worthwhile in my ramblings. First off, I'm a Film Production major, finishing my last semester of my undergrad. I'm getting ready to go to grad school for Film Studies. So, I do actually know a bit about this subject, and hope to get an even better understanding of film theory and history in the near future. Currently, my favorite director is Sofia Coppola. Lost In Translation (2003) is a film that I could watch over and over again, and still find new camera shots that I didn't notice originally.

Yes, you're probably thinking this all sounds incredibly pretentious. And you might be a bit right. That being said, I have a great appreciation for terrible movies as well. I'm a huge horror fan. So, I have sat through countless films that would make the average viewer get up and turn it off before Paris Hilton gets her comeuppance.

With Oscar nominations just around the corner, I'm going to start this blog off by listing my (current, and albeit subject to change, seeing as I have yet to see Black Swan and True Grit) Top Ten Films of the Year.

10. Resident Evil: Afterlife
As you're reading this, you're probably thinking, "Holy crap! This guy has terrible taste in film!" And I have to say, I don't blame you. Resident Evil has always been a film series for fans of the video games, which I actually can't say that I am. The films have always been entertaining to me, and Milla Jovovich is just so incredibly badass as Alice that you can't help not to love her. Shot with the same cameras that James Cameron used on Avatar last year (which I hated, by the way), the 3D was incredible and made the action sequences come alive. This film does not pretend to be anything that it's not. It's just a damn good time, with Milla Jovovich kicking even more zombie ass than usual.

9. Tron: Legacy
Tron: Legacy was just an incredible time, especially after watching the original the day before. Going in with the expectation that it would not live up to the original, I was surprised to find out that I enjoyed it just as much as the blockbuster event of the early 80's. Jeff Bridges is fantastic, as always, and newcomer Garrett Hedlund is excellent as his son who accidentally enters the computer program his dad created. What follows is a 3D epic that will rival any of the visually-driven films of the year. I was very pleased to find that the scenes in the real world were filmed in 2D, adding to the spectacle of the computer world.

8. Paranormal Activity 2
Paranormal Activity was a breath of fresh air when it came out last year. It was the first "Hand-Held" Horror film that I didn't hate. Although, I have a special place in my heart for The Blair Witch Project, you just couldn't see a damn thing that went on in that film. Paranormal Activity had some semblance of production value, while still looking amateur, and that is why it was so effective. The things they did in that film, on such a minuscule budget, are still astounding to me. Paranormal Activity 2 built upon this, but expanded on the budget a bit. One would think that this would make this film seem like a consumerist piece of trash, but it was quite the opposite. It was a worthy addition to the series, and elevated the level of scares without ruining the independent quality of it.

7. Tangled
There has yet to be a Disney film that I haven't loved. Enough said...

6. The Girl Who Played With Fire
While not as good as the first film, The Girl Who Played With Fire is a worthy sequel, providing the audience more back story on the incredible character that is Lisbeth Salander. I have to say, Lisbeth is my favorite female protagonist to come along in a long time. Noomi Rapace gives such commanding performances in these films. This series is not to be missed. Go out and rent it immediately.

5. Inception
You've probably all seen this film at least once, or have heard about it constantly around the water cooler. Not much to say about this one that hasn't been said already. Needless to say, the Joseph Gordon-Levitt fight scene blew my mind.

4. Toy Story 3
Making a film that improves on the original Toy Story and Toy Story 2 would seem like an impossible task, but Pixar did just that. I have the most difficult time trying to decide if I like this film more than Up. So, I've decided to stop trying to decide and just enjoy them. Toy Story 3 was one of the most enjoyable films of the year, and will win Best Animated Film without a doubt.

3. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World
This is officially the most fun I've had at the movies in a long time. This highly original work based on the best-selling manga series is incredible. The visuals in this film are astounding. Watching it on Blu-ray only added to the "awesomeness" that is Scott Pilgrim. If there is one movie that you want to watch this year to entertain you, this is the one. Michael Cera is perfect as the title character. This one is sure to be a cult classic!

2. The Social Network
When I first heard that they were making a film about the creation of Facebook, I thought that it was the worst idea ever. I figured that it would be incredibly boring and just a way for the creator to make more money. That all changed when I found out that David Fincher would be directing it. I have yet to be disappointed in a Fincher film. They are always incredibly thought-provoking and stay with you for weeks after viewing them. The Social Network might just be Fincher's best film to date, and that is saying something. Shot with the Red Camera, the images in this film are startling and crisp. The scene where the twins are rowing was shot in a peculiar and intriguing way that you will be thinking about it long after the movie is over. That shot alone is worthy of an academy award, and it only lasts a few seconds. The performances were perfect all around. Jesse my opinion, was Andrew Garfield's. If Garfield doesn't at least get an Oscar nomination for it, it would be a travesty.

And finally...

1. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
I know these films were released ages ago in Sweden, but seeing them for the first time in the US this year, I have decided to add them to the list. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is a perfect film in my book. Noomi Rapace delivers a pitch-perfect performance and the plot moves at a pace that will slowly get under your skin. It is a thriller of the most epic proportions. While there aren't any real action scenes in this one, the suspense is dished out through dialogue and performance, just like in the Hitchcock days. This is my favorite film of the year, and I can't wait to see the final film in the trilogy!

Now, for my DVD viewing of the year:
Eyes Wide Shut
This film is perfect in every way. The eerie music that starts to drive you crazy as Tom Cruise infiltrates the exclusive party held by the elite upper crust of New York is incredible. Cruise and Kidman give astounding performances. You can see the inner turmoil that they experienced while filming this masterpiece. Kubrick has recently become one of my favorite directors, and I have to say it is because of this film. This film is simply incredible.

That's all for now, folks. Hope you'll check back soon for more Adventures of a Film Major!