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My 2010 Film Awards

08/01/2011 2 comments

I’ve just returned from holiday, so this is a little late, but I decided to round off the year with an awards-esque thing. This is what I made of the year:

Best Screenplay: This is easy – Aaron Sorkin’s The Social Network was incredible. No question about this one.

Best Soundtrack/Score: I’m going for the Shutter Island score, assembled by Robbie Robertson. Mark Kermode described it as “honking and quacking”. I loved it. It fit the film perfectly.

Best On-Screen Chemistry: Riz Ahmed and Kayvan Novak were hilarious in Four Lions, so I’m giving this one to them. Really great performances and a really touching relationship.

Best Villain: It has to be Lotso from the wonderful Toy Story 3. What a bastard.

Best Horror: I haven’t seen a lot of horror this year, so this is going to Frozen. This one caught me unawares, a real pleasant surprise.

Best Sci-Fi: No doubt that this has to be Inception, one of the films of the year. As everyone keeps on saying, it proves that popular cinema does not have to be dumb.

Best Comedy: I’m going back to Four Lions again. Hilarious. And I haven’t seen a whole lot of comedies this year.

Best Supporting Actress: Emily Blunt in Wild Target. Not a great film, but I enjoyed watching her, and she was very funny.

Best Supporting Actor: Stanley Tucci for The Lovely Bones and Easy A. I enjoyed both movies, and Tucci is the man.

Best Actress: Ruth Williams as not-Cherie Blair in The Ghost. An excellent performance from an excellent actress.

Best Actor: DiCaprio for Inception and Shutter Island. The man is infinitely watchable.

Best Director: I think I’ll say Chris Nolan for Inception because it was so spectacular, but with a massive nod to David Fincher.

Best Film: Definitely The Social Network. Perfect in every way.

And, just to end on a downer:

Worst Film: Vampires Suck. Easily the worst thing I have ever paid to do.

This is what I had to choose from, I think I saw 42 in total:

127 Hours (8/10)

A Nightmare on Elm Street (4/10)

Buried (6/10)

Clash of the Titans (2/10)

Devil (8/10)

Easy A (7/10)

Four Lions (9/10)

Frozen(8/10)

Get Him to the Greek(7/10)

Green Zone (8/10)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (8/10)

Inception (10/10)

Invictus (8/10)

Iron Man 2 (7/10)

Kick Ass (8/10)

Knight and Day (5/10)

Let Me In (5/10)

Monsters (8/10)

Predators (7/10)

RED (5/10)

Remember Me (7/10)

Salt (6/10)

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World (7/10)

Shutter Island (8/10)

The American (7/10)

The Bad Lieutenant – Port of Call: New Orleans (7/10)

The Book of Eli (6/10)

The Expendables (7/10)

The Ghost (9/10)

The Human Centipede (First Sequence) (4/10)

The Killer Inside Me (6/10)

The Lovely Bones (8/10)

The Other Guys (7/10)

The Road (6/10)

The Social Network (10/10)

The Town (8/10)

The Wolfman (4/10)

Toy Story 3 (10/10)

Up In The Air (7/10)

Vampires Suck (1/10)

Wild Target (7/10)

Winter’s Bone (8/10)

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The Town – Oscar Contender?

I’ve been looking around the web at various bits of Oscar-related news and came across WB’s “For Your Consideration” page for Ben Affleck’s The Town. Not convinced. I liked The Town. I’d even go so far as to say that I very much enjoyed it, but Oscar contender? Not for me.

It is one of the most straight-forward, down-the-line, simple films I have seen this year. Affleck’s direction and acting is good, but not world class. I could see Jeremy Renner or Rebecca Hall getting Supporting nominations, perhaps, but the big two are never going to happen, and the day Affleck wins an Oscar for his acting is the day Hell freezes over. And I say that as a fan.

To be fair, Renner and Hall were excellent in this movie – they did everything required of them well and convinced me of their somewhat two-dimensional characters – but there are probably five better nominations I could think of having only seen about 30 films this year – Mark Ruffalo and Ben Kingsley (Shutter Island), Stanley Tucci (The Lovely Bones), Nic Cage (Kick Ass), Robert Duvall (The Road), Andrew Garfield and Armie Hammer (The Social Network) are all better bets for Supporting Actor than Jeremy Renner, and I would venture that Rachel Weisz (The Lovely Bones), Emily Mortimer and Michelle Williams (Shutter Island), Amy Ryan (Green Zone), Eva Mendes (Bad Lieutenant) and Helena Bonham Carter (Harry Potter) all did better jobs than Rebecca Hall in their respective roles. OK, maybe it’s a stretch to suggest that the likes of Kick Ass and Harry Potter will get Oscar noms in the big categories, but they deserve them more.

I genuinely liked The Town, but it is no more than a solid film with solid direction and solid performances. It is, in a word, solid. Solid. Although, given that nowadays we get 10 Best Picture nominations, it is possible that The Town will get one of these. I won’t support it, but it’s possible.

The Social Network’s Oscar Campaign

30/11/2010 1 comment

As everyone knows, David Fincher’s The Social Network is the film of the year. Concise, gripping and brilliant, it lacks nothing and has everything. What Fincher doesn’t have, however, is an Academy Award. The man who made Se7en, Fight Club and Zodiac has not been recognised by the Academy. A travesty, I’m sure you agree.

This week, there has been a lot of Oscar chat, due to the Gotham Independent Awards, at which Winter’s Bone won Best Picture. Now, Winter’s Bone is being talked about as a key contender for the Oscar, alongside The Social Network, Toy Story 3, The Kids Are All Right and The King’s Speech. These all tick boxes for Oscar nominations – token kids movie? Check. Indie movie? Check. Minorities movie? Check. British movie? Check. Best film of the year? Check.

If The Social Network doesn’t win either Best Picture or Best Director, the Academy needs to take a long, hard look at itself. I have gone on and on about The Social Network to whoever will listen, and was disheartened to be told last week that it was “boring”, before being told that Inception was a better film. Not just that it was the opinion of this person that it was a better film, but that it actually is a better film because it is a more exciting story and it has action. Hmm.

What has really surprised me is the story that Justin Timberlake is campaigning hard for a Supporting Actor nomination. He was certainly good in the film, but if The Social Network is to get a Supporting Actor nod, I would expect it to go to either Andrew Garfield, who is heavily tipped, or Armie Hammer, who was fantastic as the Winklevi. Timberlake did a good job, sure, but he was very much a background character. He certainly did something different from what we’ve seen before in the likes of Southland Tales and Black Snake Moan. Whatever the case, he’s a long way from N*Sync now.

The Social Network – A Review

11/10/2010 1 comment

Perhaps a film about coding a website doesn’t sound like the most interesting of premises. Maybe that’s why Aaron Sorkin decided to turn the story of Facebook into a courtroom drama. Smart move, Mr Sorkin. The former West Wing scribe is renowned as one of the best in thebusiness, and The Social Network only serves to enhance his reputation; from the back-and-forth opening scene to the one-line put-downs and witticisms, this script is flawless. So, it’s a good job that a director as talented and intelligent as David Fincher was on board to do it justice.

As an opening paragraph, that may have been a bit gushing, but if there is one film this year that deserves it, it is this one.

Jesse Eisenberg plays Mark Zuckerberg – inventor of Facebook and the youngest billionaire in the world. The story begins in the autumn of 2003, as he creates Facemash, a crude “hotness comparison” website, in retaliation to his recent dumping at the hands of Erica Albright (Rooney Mara). Flash forward four years to two separate depositions in which Zuckerberg is facing lawsuits from his former best friend and CFO Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield), and three fellow Harvard students Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss and (Armie Hammer and Josh Pence) and Divya Narendra (Max Minghella), for potentially hundreds of millions of dollars.

Through the depositions we see expertly crafted flashbacks to what may or may not have happened during the creation and growth of Facebook, as told by the three parties. What Sorkin and Fincher manage to stay away from so admirably is choosing sides – as Sorkin puts it, they chose the Rashomon approach. And it works. None of the characters on offer are particulary likeable, but at different times we manage to feel sympathy and empathy for different people. Everyone is jealous, paranoid or greedy at one time or another, and so we never settle into a pattern of liking any of them.

Despite all the greatness already pointed out, there is one thing missing from this review: David Fincher’s direction. When Zodiac was released in 2007 it set a new bar for Fincher’s work to live up to, directorially speaking, but The Social Network manages to even surpass that. The 48-year-old makes a five-minute blogging scene breathtaking, turns a tracking shot down a bus into a stroke of genius, and makes the Henley Regatta look like the greatest spectacle on earth – thanks, in no small part, to Edvard Grieg’s “In The Hall of the Mountain King”, AKA the Alton Towers theme.

 

Eduardo Saverin (Garfield) and Mark Zuckerberg (Eisenberg)

 

The man is nothing short of a genius. His shot composition and kineticism gives the film an energy that few other directors could. His reunion with cinematographer Jeff Cronenworth, with whom he worked on 1999’s Fight Club, appears to be yet another masterstroke, as every scene has a distinct look, whether it be set in a smoky bar, a soulless, glass-filled deposition room or sun-drenched California.

After all the dust has settled however, The Social Network is the story of an antisocial nerd who creates the social tool that has defined a generation and a decade. It is a remarkable story, and is told in remarkable fashion. When people look back on this decade, The Social Network will be remembered as a piece of work that absolutely captures these times perfectly. It is without a doubt the film of the year, and could be the film of a generation.

*****

Emma Stone to be MJ in Spider-Man

It turns out this whole thing is rubbish, Emma Stone will be playing Gwen Stacy, formerly played by Bryce Dallas Howard. Disappointed.

The big news as I woke up this morning was that Emma Stone is almost a certainty to be cast as Mary-Jane Watson in Marc Webb’s upcoming Spider-Man reboot. This is excellent news. Not only does she have the right look for MJ, but she has the ability to play this kind of character. We have seen many sides of her in movies like Zombieland and Superbad and she seems, without wanting to resort to hyperbole, perfect to play this role. She can do action, she can be funny, she’s obviously a lovely-looking young lady AND she’s not a pathetic, limp charisma vacuum like Kirsten Dunst was.

I’m very excited for the new Spider-Man movie; Marc Webb made one of my favourite movies of last year in (500) Days of Summer, Emma Stone is almost a certainty to be cast, and it’s frickin’ Spider-Man! I haven’t seen anything of Andrew Garfield – the new Peter Parker – as yet, but that will change when The Social Network is finally released over here. Visually though, he seems to be a decent choice.

The news about Emma Stone leaves Mia Wasikowska, Dianna Agron, Georgina Haig and Dominique McElligot as the possible choices to play Gwen Stacy. Wasikowska is perhaps better known as Alice in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland; Dianna Agron should be well known to Glee fans (of which I am not one); Georgina Haig has just two feature film credits to her name, and doesn’t even have her date of birth on the IMDb and Dominique McElligot is recognisable only as Sam Rockwell’s wife in Duncan Jones’ Moon. Based purely on looks, I would give this role to Georgina Haig. I have no idea if she is a good actress, but she looks like Gwen Stacy.

Marc Webb’s Spider-Man reboot will begin shooting in December of this year and will be released on July 3rd 2012.

This week, I went to the cinema twice

02/10/2010 1 comment

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about Ben Affleck and posted a trailer for his film The Town. This week, I went to see The Town and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Remember how Gone Baby Gone was full of moral ambiguity and dilemma? Well, so is The Town. The story concerns a gang of bank robbers, headed up by Doug MacRay (Affleck), and their exploits, internal problems and their pursuit by the FBI following the robbery of a bank, managed by Claire (Rebecca Hall). In the midst of it all, Doug ends up developing some inappropriate feelings for Claire, after checking on her to make sure she didn’t have any valuable information to pass to the FBI. Affleck builds on Gone Baby Gone in terms of his directorial style, however the film is unfortunately less interesting; it’s a fairly basic cops and robbers thriller. Despite this, it remains entertaining for its two hour duration, with new developments occurring fairly regularly, even if they aren’t earth-shattering twists. Where Gone Baby Gone showed its strongest hand in its last five minutes, The Town collapses in the last thirty seconds, which leaves a bitter taste. Thankfully, the rest of the film is so solid and full of energy that it still holds up. It really is a cracking movie, if not a classic. It had done well so far at the box-office, taking in $61.5m worldwide from a $37m budget, improving on Gone Baby Gone‘s haul, and showing that as well as making films with integrity and thoughtfulness, Affleck also makes films that people want to see.

As the title of this post suggests, I went to the cinema twice this week. The second time was to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Robert Zemeckis’ Back To The Future, another film I wrote about recently. Having never seen an old film on the big screen before, this was a new experience, and was well worth my £6. I love this movie, and the big screen only made it better. I noticed things I hadn’t noticed before, laughed at things that hadn’t seemed funny before, and the soundtrack seemed even better than ever. It was, in a word, incredible. I can’t imagine that anyone reading this hasn’t seen Back To The Future before, but if you haven’t, stop whatever you’re doing and watch it now.

As awesome as the two feature films I saw were, the highlight of my trips to the cinema were seeing the trailer for The Social Network twice. David Fincher is by far my favourite director currently working, and has made some of my favourite ever films. When I first heard about this film, it was a strapline news article in Empire magazine, saying “David Fincher signed on to make Facebook movie”. I had no idea what this meant.Maybe it was some sort of social networking mystery, or a Hard Candy-esque story. Nope, it’s just the story of Facebook. Nothing could appeal less to me as a concept, but with Fincher attached I am far too excited, and the trailer only serves to get me so excited that the film cannot live up to my expectations. It will still be the greatest movie of the year though. Here is the trailer, so you can be excited too.