Here’s all the current movies I remember seeing in 2010. I decided to split them up between films I’ve seen in the THEATER and films I’ve seen on DVD, because I think that affects the viewing experience.
Come to think of it, it seems more than half the movies that came out in 2010 are already out on DVD! That may be the reason why I don’t rush out to see new movies too often. In a few months, you can just buy the DVD for about the same cost! I remember on VHS, it would sometimes take a whole year.
Most of these movies are not fresh in my mind. After all, I didn’t see them with the intent of critiquing them. I just watch movies to enjoy them. So it was mentally exhausting to try and remember them all and say something about all of them in one sitting. Took me several hours. Well, here’s my comments, I tried to weigh some positives and negatives for each, so take it for what it’s worth.
WATCHED IN THEATERS
Remake of the 1941 classic that defined the werewolf genre.
POSITIVE: Spooky scenery. Great moody atmosphere that fits in with the classics. Great transformation scenes, but nothing groundbreaking.
NEGATIVE: I did not sympathize with the character Larry Talbot in the same way I did with the original. Benecio Del Toro is not as charming and likeable as Lon Chaney jr. In the original, it felt sad and tragic that he became a werewolf. This time, I wasn’t as emotionally involved.
See the video review here with Mike and I.
Alice in Wonderland
Tim Burton’s retelling of the classic story. Wait a minute. It’s not a retelling. It’s a sequel?
POSITIVE: Visually stimulating.
NEGATIVE: Doesn’t have the heart of the original story. It somehow turns into an action-fest about slaying the jabberwocky. Underwhelming.
Iron Man 2
Tony Stark is pushed by the government to share his Iron Man technology and is faced with a new deadly villain out for revenge.
POSITIVE: Robert Downey Jr and Mickey Rourke are compelling as always. And stuff blows up!
NEGATIVE: Like most sequels, not as good as the first. The ending is a bit rushed. Needs more AC/DC. Would the song “War Machine” be too appropriate?
Christopher Nolan fucks you in the mind again with this cerebral film about dream invasion.
POSITIVE: The multiple dreams within dreams is really creative. It plays with time in ways that’s his best since Memento. Worthy of being shown in film classes for years to come.
NEGATIVE: The beginning is really talky, but they needed all the explanation to set up the rules. Then when it gets started… wow! Not much negative to say. It’s just really confusing and needs to be seen more than once.
Sylvester Stallone gets together a shitload of action stars and gives you a big kick in the ass like the good ol’ days.
POSITIVE: Great Blend of action and humor. Reminiscent of 80’s action films.
NEGATIVE: Some digital blood and modern shaky camera/fast editing take away a bit from the authenticity. Don’t expect anything more than a dumb action flick.
See a longer text review here.
Originally a fake trailer from Robert Rodriguez’s half of the “Grindhouse” (2007) double feature, Machete is now an actual movie. Danny Trejo hacks up some racist Americans and every Mexican stereotype in the book is used. A “Mexploitation” film by every definition of the word.
POSITIVE: Lives up to the original trailer and cleverly utilizes all the footage from it. Violent and entertaining ode to the grindhouse era.
NEGATIVE: It’s meant to be FUN and not taken too seriously, yet it becomes overly political.
The Social Network
Fast-paced drama about the creation of FaceBook and the legal disputes involved.
POSITIVE: I’m the only person in the world who has never once personally logged into Facebook, yet I still found the movie interesting.
NEGATIVE: Jesse Eisenberg speaks like a robot the whole time, a million words per minute, without ever stopping to breathe. I understand Mark Zuckerberg is intelligent. I get it. But Eisenberg’s portrayal sounded too inhuman to me, like a computer.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 1
I’m not such a big Harry Potter fan and haven’t read the books, but still appreciate them.
POSITIVE: From what I hear, splitting the book into two movies was a good idea because they were able to fit more details in.
NEGATIVE: The projector burned out during a pivotal scene. Wasn’t the movie’s fault, but that sure sucked.
WATCHED ON DVD
The Spy Next Door
Jackie Chan babysits some kids and fights crime.
POSITIVE: Decent Chan-style fight scenes. Light hearted fun for kids and whole family. Funny outtakes as usual.
NEGATIVE: Like said, it’s a family film. Don’t expect anything mind blowing.
Leonardo Decaprio investigates the disappearance of an inmate from an asylum on an island.
POSITIVE: Was much better than I thought. In fact, I really liked it. Good suspense.
NEGATIVE: Some people may not like the ending.
Two cops are searching for a rare stolen baseball card in this cliche buddy action comedy from Kevin Smith.
POSITIVE: Well, it has Bruce Willis. And there is a funny Die Hard reference in there.
NEGATIVE: Tracy Morgan screams the whole time! Extremely annoying. The brilliance in Kevin Smith’s films is not present here. Whatever. No harm, no foul. I forget and move on.
Hot Tub Time Machine
Time traveling and Crispin Glover. Reminds me of something.
POSITIVE: A stupid idea that turns out a little funnier than expected.
NEGATIVE: I think my brain filtered out the negative because it was so downright stupid. Enjoy it for what it is.
Young kids dress as super heroes and beat each other senseless and bloody.
POSITIVE: Damn! The fighting scenes were jaw dropping. Way more violent than expected.
NEGATIVE: Sometimes it might have gotten a bit too violent. When Nicholas Cage is tortured, for example. More disturbing than many horror films. Other than that, not much negative to say. Fun movie.
Death at a Funeral
Family secrets have it out at a funeral where everything goes wrong. Wait. It’s a remake of a movie that’s only 3 years old??
POSITIVE: I haven’t seen the original version, but this was mildly amusing. I didn’t expect much.
NEGATIVE: A lot of stale jokes.
Nightmare on Elm Street
Another tiresome remake of a an already great slasher classic.
POSITIVE: Doesn’t bullshit around. Gets straight to the horror and never lets up.
NEGATIVE: In the end, I still felt there was no point to it all. It’s nice to see another Freddy movie but doesn’t have anything fresh to add.
Survival of the Dead
George Romero, master of the undead, returns to the genre he created, beginning with Night of the Living Dead (1968). Since then, he’s made one zombie film a decade. Dawn of the Dead (1978) and Day of the Dead (1985). Each fantastic in their own right. 20 years since the dead trilogy, he revitalized the genre with Land of the Dead (2005) and since then, he’s made two more. Diary of the Dead (2007). Technically Survival of the Dead was a 2009 film, but was only playing in festivals.
POSITIVE: Solid horror.
NEGATIVE: Not as relevant or memorable as previous dead films. I’m glad to see Romero still making films, more than ever, but I’d be happy to see him make other kinds of horror films. I’m a bit zombied out.
Get Him to the Greek
A hilarious satire on the non-stop party lifestyle of a rock star. A record company intern must get a rock star from England to Los Angeles to get to a concert in time, but can’t keep the guy under control.
POSITIVE: Much better than I expected. Consistently funny. I always enjoy imagining what it would be like to live like a rock star. Shows some genuine sadness behind the partying behavior. Also P. Diddy eats his own head. Yes, you read that correctly.
NEGATIVE: Some scenes work better than others. Kind of a mixed bag.
The Karate Kid
Remake of the 1984 film of the same name. Boy learns karate to get respect from bullies. Except now, it’s kung fu.
POSITIVE: I’m genuinely surprised. This is a faithful update to the original. It changes enough around that it could have easily gotten away without being labeled a “remake.” I was emotionally invested in Jaden Smith’s character. Stellar acting all around.
NEGATIVE: The only problem is the title. As pointed out many times, it should have been called “The Kung Fu Kid”. It would have differentiated it from the original, yet reminded audiences of it at the same time.
People are dropped in a jungle and hunted by the alien predators, in this reboot/sequel or whatever, to the Predator franchise.
POSITIVE: It’s the first Predator sequel to come close to matching the tone of the original. Brings it back to its jungle basics.
NEGATIVE: Starts abruptly. Does nothing new or interesting. Adrien Brody is the Schwarzeneggar equivalent. Really?
Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World
Scott Pilgrim has to fight seven evil exes in order to win his new girlfriend.
POSITIVE: Amazingly entertaining! It breaks boundaries by throwing away logic and going for a live action video game style. There were tons of moments when I thought to myself “I’ve never seen THAT done before.”
NEGATIVE: Style over story. I am not familiar with the source material, but I wasn’t emotionally invested in the plot in any way. Am I supposed to sympathize with some schmuck who cheats on his girlfriend?