2010 at the movies

2010 at the movies-attachment0

Cranky Hanke’s 10 best

This strikes me as a curious year — a good year, but not quite a great one. Maybe that’s why I’ve spent more time struggling with this list than in any previous year. I’ve shifted more titles around than usual. I never did get on board The Social Network bandwagon (it was entertaining, but I wasn’t that impressed). I was on the Inception one, and then I wasn’t — until I saw it again. Inception was on the list at least three times, but in the end, came in a runner-up. One day I may regret that. I also wonder how much my feelings on the year were impacted by seeing both Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (1927) and Ken Russell’s Tommy (1975) in the theater, because no matter how good the 2010 offerings were, they didn’t resonate with me the same way that those two films do. Who knows? Anyway, here is how it shakes out for new movies for me — a great year for thrillers, that’s for sure.

1. Shutter Island I believe this is the first time that the first five-star film of a year has ended up in the number-one position. Far from indicating that Martin Scorsese’s best work is behind him, Shutter Island suggests to me that he is as good as ever — and possibly better. This is a nigh-on-to-perfect marriage of technical mastery, thematic complexity and moral weightiness.

2. The Ghost Writer Following the disappointment of Oliver Twist in 2005 (which there was nothing wrong with, except it was another version of Oliver Twist), it was a real treat to see Roman Polanski make a huge return to form with this brilliant meditation on the nature of identity wrapped in the guise of a political thriller. The more you know your Polanski, the richer the film becomes, with its echoes of Repulsion (1965), Cul-De-Sac (1966), Chinatown (1974) and, most particularly, The Tenant (1976).

3. The King’s Speech Tom Hooper’s The King’s Speech is perhaps the single greatest entertainment of the year: a completely satisfying, artistically impeccable, human and moving work that also operates (without compromising itself) as a “crowd pleaser.” I do not believe there’s a single false step in this beautiful film that, if nothing else, will probably snag a long overdue Oscar for Colin Firth. 

4. Micmacs Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s latest qualifies as the most completely creative outburst — and I use the term deliberately — of cinematic fireworks this year. Its full French title is Micmacs à tire-larigot, which translates as “Nonstop mix-ups” or “Nonstop funny business,” and that’s a good description of the movie — both in terms of its boundless cleverness, but also its deliciously convoluted story. Micmacs perhaps got me higher than any other film this year.

5. Black Swan Well, if Polanski made a comeback of his own this year, Darren Aronofsky certainly evoked something of his spirit with this psychological horror/drama about a ballerina’s descent into madness. But it isn’t imitation Polanski, since it also recalls Michael Powell’s The Red Shoes (1948) and is filtered through Aronofsky’s own sensibility. Chilling, involving and disturbing.

6. True Grit The Coen Brothers’ version of True Grit probably comes in second only to The King’s Speech as entertainment, but it’s a close call. I do think True Grit is the most beautifully photographed film of the year, which is saying something when you look at the options. Forget the 1969 Henry Hathaway film True Grit — it was never very good to begin with. This is the goods.

7. The Secret in Their Eyes A rich and richly rewarding thriller that manages to span 25 years — switching back and forth between past and present with almost alarming effortlessness. The film manages to work as a thriller, an emotional drama and a political critique all at once. Everything about Juan José Campanella’s film works.

8. The Extra Man In some ways, Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini’s The Extra Man is my personal favorite film of the year, though I admit that there clearly are better movies. But this offbeat comedy of strange relationships and journeys of self-discovery resonated with me on a personal level as few films did this year. That it also offers terrific performances from Kevin Kline and Paul Dano helps immensely.

9. Nowhere Boy The Weinstein Brothers managed to kill whatever limited box-office chances Sam Taylor-Wood’s biographical film on the young John Lennon had with some of the worst bookings imaginable. Locally, the film cried out for the Fine Arts or The Carolina, but ended up — with no fanfare — at the Beaucatcher, which has only rarely had any luck at all with “art” titles. Don’t miss this warm, authentic-feeling film when it hits DVD later this month. 

10. I Am Love As magnificently operatic as movies come, Luca Guadagnino’s I Am Love was something of a surprise hit when it played here — and a deserved one. Complex and content to leave a lot of the subtexts to the viewer, the film has a wonderful central performance from Tilda Swinton and makes brilliant use of the music of John Adams. It’s all pretty great, but the breathless ending is likely the most exciting single stretch of filmmaking I saw all year.

Runners-up (some of which have been on and off the “10 Best” list several times): Inception, Mother, I Love You, Phillip Morris, 127 Hours, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Get Low, Winter’s Bone — and I’m only slightly stretching it to include Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Machete and Easy A.

Hanke’s 10 worst

1. I Want Your Money Essentially a 90-minute commercial for the Tea Party, which even Tea Partiers refused to see. Spectacularly inept and intellectually and historically dishonest, this was, thankfully, as bad as it got.

2. Cyrus While there were worse movies this year than the mumblecore mess that is Cyrus, I can recall no film that so completely annoyed and bored me. The mumblecore “movement” continues to allow people with no discernible talent to make movies. Why? I do not know.

3. Furry Vengeance It could have been called 50 Ways to Humiliate Brendan Fraser and been more honest. This is a movie strictly for people with a desire to see a raccoon urinate in Fraser’s mouth. I never knew such a market existed. 

4. How Do You Know This tedious witless crapfest from James L. Brooks is so dumb it doesn’t even realize its title needs a question mark.

5. Yogi Bear tied with Marmaduke. Two of the dumbest talking-animal movies ever made are locked in a grudge match for the number five slot. Marmaduke gets extra demerits for wasting Lee Pace, while the cast of Yogi Bear pretty much deserved what they got.

6. Paranormal Activity 2 The original was a one-note gimmick that kind of worked on novelty. This one’s the same gimmick minus any novelty, but with extra tedium.

7. The Bounty Hunter In a year of absolutely awful romantic comedies, this unpleasant, unfunny and unromantic pairing of Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler was the cream of the crap.

8. Our Family Wedding The highlight of this movie is a gag where a goat eats Forest Whitaker’s Viagra and goes on a rampage of horniness. Need I say more?

9. Remember Me Robert Pattinson failed to break out of his Twilight mold with this interminable romance/drama where he spends most of the film sulking. So did I — right up to the ending, which manages to be both tasteless and so preposterous that it’s funny.

10. A Nightmare on Elm Street I don’t object to remakes and rethinkings as a matter of course, but there’s no evidence of any thinking at all here, let alone any rethinking.

The coveted Pootie Tang Award this year goes to Vampires Suck, a movie so cosmically god-awful that it’s an insult to Pootie Tang to give it this award.

Justin Souther’s 10 best

1. Shutter Island After much deliberation, Martin Scorsese’s stylish, overtly creepy thriller finally won out. And not just because it’s a master filmmaker reveling in the freedom of film, but because it’s such a dense, complicated, layered work of modern noir, with a cumulative impact that’s impossible to ignore.

2. True Grit On the surface, this film is a straightforward Western, but one with all the idiosyncrasies the Coen Brothers are known for. The most entertaining — and surprisingly funny — film of the year, coupled with this year’s best cast.

3. Black Swan No film this year approached the ambition of Darren Aronofsky’s “Polanski on PCP” descent into madness. A totally intense, emotionally charged, absolutely committed piece of filmmaking.

4. The Secret in Their Eyes With several of the most striking, memorable (and with any justice, iconic) scenes of any movie this year, Juan José Campanella’s film is a remarkable work, made more powerful by its assured, classy and often brilliant direction. A jaw-dropping film at times. 

5. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World Hyper-stylized and extraordinarily fun, Edgar Wright’s film is the perfect romantic comedy for a generation raised on Adderall and video games. Michael Cera be damned.

6. Mother Wonderfully quirky and odd, in a year of excellent thrillers, Joon-ho Bong’s film is the most idiosyncratic — and maybe the most beautifully heartbreaking, too. 

7. The Town One review of this crime drama called director/star Ben Affleck “Hollywood’s new Clint Eastwood.” If only Eastwood had ever made something this smart and taut. 

8. The Ghost Writer Vintage Roman Polanski. Here he takes a straightforward political thriller and turns it into an examination of paranoia and identity, all coated in an overbearing sheen of dread. An old master making it all look so easy. 

9. Micmacs Signature Jean-Pierre Jeunet: effortlessly stylish and imaginative, with a plot that runs like clockwork. A movie that never forgets it’s a movie, and is all the more wonderful because of it. 

10. The Extra Man A sometimes eccentric, often hilarious, surprisingly touching movie about loneliness and friendship. Sad, yet hopeful, witty, yet introspective, it’s a nice little movie that has been overlooked.

Souther’s 10 worst

1. Skyline A couple of meatheads decide to make science fiction, but instead make a stupid, unoriginal, unimaginative amalgamation of every big sci-fi film from the past decade and cross it with a rap video. It’s like Michael Bay without the budget or Uwe Boll without the charm. My heart has broken just a little each time someone, anywhere, has bought a ticket to go see it.

2. Flipped Speaking of meatheads, Rob Reiner made a movie. It sucks — no surprise there. But it’s the lazy plotting and the schmaltzy take on growing up that pushes the film into the realm of the teeth-grindingly obnoxious.

3. N-Secure They tried for Tyler Perry and ended up with Tommy Wisseau.

4. Takers In the “dumbest casting of the year” category, Hayden Christensen plays a tattooed, tough-guy greaser. He at least gets shot in the movie, which shows that at least somebody in the chain of command had some sense.

5. Sex and the City 2 Two-and-a-half more hours of talking about shoes and orgasms. But no elaborate diarrhea jokes this time around? You’ve come a long way, baby! 

6. The Virginity Hit No “10 Worst” list would be complete without yet another lazy mockumentary/found-footage entrant. This year the genre has been advanced to the point of dick and fart jokes. Well done, gents, you do your boring genre proud. 

7. Chain Letter It’s like Saw, but stupider. Yes, this is possible.

8. MacGruber So someone decided to make a really bad spoof of MacGyver? So now how do I get my Airwolf parody made, huh? 

9. The Last Song Honestly, I don’t remember much about this movie except that Miley Cyrus and a raccoon are in it. I don’t think the raccoon ever bit her, but in my mind, I like to pretend it did. 

10. Alpha and Omega I’m sure Yogi Bear and Marmaduke are worse, but by the grace of the Almighty, I managed not to review either. So instead, this year’s unfunny, annoying talking-animal movie goes to Alpha and Omega. Congrats.

 

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142 thoughts on “2010 at the movies

  1. clkwrkred

    Hmm, to think this year didn’t look so bad after all. I retract my other comment on another board that spoke of the decline in quality year after year. To think, I missed one by Jeunet, one of my favorite filmmakers. Come to think of it, I missed a good portion of these, I guess Greensboro isn’t the right market for some. Thanks!

  2. RKate

    TAKERS is on MY TOP 10 LIST, it was a very stylized, well acted, great action movie with LOTS of male actors who made it most enjoyable!
    The action was immense, the style very cool and Hayden Christensen was fantastic in his role as AJ. Pity, you guys don’t know what a good movie is but then you’re only internet writers who ALWAYS have an ax to grind in one form or another.

  3. Ken Hanke

    Come to think of it, I missed a good portion of these, I guess Greensboro isn’t the right market for some.

    I would have thought it was big enough to accomodate all these. Well, there are always DVDs, though they’re a poor second to seeing a movie in a theater.

  4. Ken Hanke

    Shutter Island? Really?

    Really. And we arrived it as no. one independently.

  5. Ken Hanke

    The action was immense

    What does that even mean?

    Hayden Christensen was fantastic in his role

    I haven’t even seen the movie, but I’d bet that’s not true.

    you guys don’t know what a good movie is

    Don’t tell me — you’ve never liked any movie we have and neither have any of your friends. Right?

    you’re only internet writers

    Actually, we’re published in honest-to-goodness print, too.

    who ALWAYS have an ax to grind in one form or another.

    Looks more like you’re the one with the ax to grind from here.

  6. Ken Hanke

    I’m sure Yogi Bear and Marmaduke are worse, but by the grace of the Almighty, I managed not to review either.

    “The grace of the Almighty,” huh? I’ve been elevated to deity level. It’s also worth noting that you blackmailed “the Almighty” with threats of resigning if you had to review Marmaduke.

  7. Justin Souther

    It’s also worth noting that you blackmailed “the Almighty” with threats of resigning if you had to review Marmaduke.

    So? It worked, didn’t it?

  8. Film fanatic

    Good choices here, loved all the top ten easily. I still think that ‘machete’ and ‘Black Dynamite’ needed to squeeze in around 11 and 12 on the ‘best’ list. lol. Too funny. And um, ‘Takers’? Seriously? That thing was terrible!! Any movie with Chris Brown is a joke and that plot has been done 20 million times before, yep pretty original. But, everyone has an opinion I guess. Good reviews Ken and Justin, we look forward to reading them each week.

  9. I prefer Justin’s list, because I’ve seen four of his picks, where I’ve only seen three of Ken’s.
    Many of these haven’t opened in Oz yet.
    Glad to see the underrated and wonderful SHUTTER ISLAND in both top spots, and especially pleased to see SCOTT PILGRIM on Justin’s list.

  10. Steven Adam Renkovish

    Excellent lists, guys! I’ve seen just about all of these, except for THE EXTRA MAN, THE GHOST WRITER, and THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES.

  11. Ken Hanke

    So? It worked, didn’t it?

    It won’t work when that Smurfs movie comes out. That’s why I watched Yogi Bear.

  12. Ken Hanke

    Good reviews Ken and Justin, we look forward to reading them each week

    Thanks. You keep reading, we’ll keep writing — till we’re forcibly restrained.

  13. Ken Hanke

    Many of these haven’t opened in Oz yet.

    You might check the DVD releases on some of them. I can see a few of these titles not getting a theatrical shake everywhere.

  14. Ken Hanke

    except for THE EXTRA MAN, THE GHOST WRITER, and THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES.

    I’m pretty sure those are all on DVD now.

  15. DrSerizawa

    So you guys snubbed Machete? Doesn’t sound like the elitist bastards I know. Oh well, there’s still hope for the Academies!

    I haven’t seen most of those movies yet. Though I would have a hard time putting Scott Pilgrim ahead of Inception. Not that SP doesn’t deserve a high spot on the year’s list. I’d put Shutter Island on top for the year too. And I’m pretty sure I will never find out about Takers. At least I have a nice list of films to que up on Netflix now. I wish I had had more free time to see these in a theater. Thx.

    Maybe you guys could add a little mp3 sound to your webpage of an ax being ground for our edification.

  16. Ken Hanke

    So you guys snubbed Machete? Doesn’t sound like the elitist bastards I know.

    Hey, it got an also-ran from me. I don’t what Justin was thinking.

    I wish I had had more free time to see these in a theater.

    From what you’ve said, I’m not sure all this films played in your neck of the woods. I think we — as in all of Asheville — don’t entirely appreciate the fact that we have two theaters that actively work on cultivating an “art house” audience.

    Maybe you guys could add a little mp3 sound to your webpage of an ax being ground for our edification

    Perhaps Messrs. Shanafelt and Shope could work on that.

  17. dpewen

    I loved Winter’s Bone … what did you think of that movie Ken?

  18. Ken Hanke

    I loved Winter’s Bone … what did you think of that movie Ken?

    I admired it greatly, which surprised me because it sounded like the last thing on earth I would want to watch. Here’s my original review:

    http://www.mountainx.com/movies/review/winters_bone1

    Now, you may wonder why it’s not on my list. It simply hasn’t stayed with me the way others did.

  19. Jason

    I was surprised not to see Never Let Me Go anywhere. Your review of it convinced me to catch it while I could, and I was really impressed by it.

  20. Ken Hanke

    I was surprised not to see Never Let Me Go anywhere. Your review of it convinced me to catch it while I could, and I was really impressed by it.

    Not being on here is not an indication that the film wasn’t good — just that it didn’t stay with me like the others did.

  21. luluthebeast

    The best thing about top ten lists is that it gives me something easy to carry into the video store to catch movies that never made it to the frozen tundra. Some good choices from the both of you!

  22. Ken Hanke

    catch movies that never made it to the frozen tundra.

    Well, if you’d leave the land of cows and tundra…

  23. chalkbox

    Alright the next rental will be Shutter Island. That nightmares from Shutter Island can’t be any worse the recurring dream of having paid ten dollars to see The Inception. Leonardo Dicaprio owes me ten bucks or a good movie.

  24. Ken Hanke

    Alright the next rental will be Shutter Island. That nightmares from Shutter Island can’t be any worse the recurring dream of having paid ten dollars to see The Inception

    It might be as well to remember that one of us (me) came very close to having Inception on the Top Ten list.

  25. Ken Hanke

    Did HOWL play here Ken? I think that you would like that one.

    No, it didn’t play here. I haven’t seen it.

  26. Rkate

    Well, CRANKY Hanke – I’ll try to “enlighten” your tiny mind. When you go to an “action” movie, you want action – in TAKERS it was the bank robbery scenes, the scenes with Chris running from the cops, the shoot out scenes with the Russians which was OFF THE HOOK GOOD, the shoot out at the airport. You don’t appreciate a good action movie like TAKERS, not because I haven’t seen movies recommended here because I have, but rather did you even give TAKERS an honest chance? I realize that some internet writers are published but that doesn’t make you an expert. I have written articles and books that doesn’t make ME an expert either. YES YOU DO HAVE AN AX TO GRIND otherwise you wouldn’t be so opinionated regarding other movies readers recommend. NOW, Cranky, just be open to the fact that some people like OTHER movies different from what you like okay?

  27. shadmarsh

    I have written articles and books that doesn’t make ME an expert either.

    ARE THEY ALL WRITTEN IN CAPS?

    otherwise you wouldn’t be so opinionated regarding other movies readers recommend.
    I don’t want to go too far out on a limb here, but I think Mr. CRANKY might actually be paid to have– and share– an opinion on films.

  28. RKate

    BOY, Mr. Cranky, I lIKE emphasizing in caps so there! Isn’t it nice you “get” to have a top 10 list that you can “recommend”, does that give you more authority on a movie than anyone else…I think NOT.

  29. shadmarsh

    Perhaps alcohol and the internet are not a good mix for you.

  30. shadmarsh

    Not in the least…You do realize that Mr. Hanke and I are entirely separate entities right?

  31. Ken Hanke

    Well, CRANKY Hanke – I’ll try to “enlighten” your tiny mind.

    Your incredible level of critical literacy — “OFF THE HOOK GOOD” — and apparent inability to even realize that I didn’t review the damned movie you’re so het up about says as much as I need to know.

    I have written articles and books that doesn’t make ME an expert either

    Oh? And what might these be? And did you use phrases like “OFF THE HOOK GOOD” in them?

    YES YOU DO HAVE AN AX TO GRIND otherwise you wouldn’t be so opinionated regarding other movies readers recommend.

    Excuse me, but no reader has recommended Takers. Not one single person came in to defend the film against the original review. Just because you came in here ranting, raving, snorting and apparently tussling with a broken “Caps Lock” key isn’t the same thing as recommending it. In fact, all it is is a textbook example of someone with an ax to grind.

    NOW, Cranky, just be open to the fact that some people like OTHER movies different from what you like okay?

    You don’t know me well enough to call me “Cranky.”

    Now, you can either calm down and put the kibosh on the insults or your posts in the movie section are going to start being deleted. Your choice.

  32. Ken Hanke

    Not in the least…You do realize that Mr. Hanke and I are entirely separate entities right?

    I think there are lots of things he doesn’t understand.

  33. Ken Hanke

    MAYBE the use of CAPS as EMPHASIS in your posts gives off THE IMPRESSION OF AN ANGRY TONE!

    Whatever the case, I have deleted Mr. Kate’s last two outbursts, since he was becoming increasingly vituperative and incoherent. It appears he thinks that Justin, Shad, and I are some sort of single being. I will continue to delete his posts until I see any reason not to.

  34. It appears he thinks that Justin, Shad, and I are some sort of single being.
    Doesn’t he know you’re all Richard Valley?

  35. DrSerizawa

    Awww. You HAD to go and delete the IDIOT just as he was becoming an EXCELLENT example of the dangers of STRONG drink.

    And I STILL don’t want to see Takers. Even despite Justin’s classic quip about Hayden Christensen making Paul Walker look sentient.

  36. Ken Hanke

    Damn, now I have to see TAKERS.

    Well, it’s “OFF THE HOOK GOOD,” I hear.

  37. Ken Hanke

    Doesn’t he know you’re all Richard Valley?

    Yeah, so are you. (No one will understand this.)

  38. Ken Hanke

    Awww. You HAD to go and delete the IDIOT just as he was becoming an EXCELLENT example of the dangers of STRONG drink.

    Or of being an immature 12-year-old. I concede his marginal value as an OBJECT LESSON, but he was becoming tiresome, too.

  39. No, it didn’t play here. I haven’t seen it.

    I think we have a candidate for a future Tuesday Film Society screening. Franco could be nominated for this one as well.

  40. Ken Hanke

    I think we have a candidate for a future Tuesday Film Society screening.

    I’m game to watch it. How many are on the list of things I need to see now to that end? Or the THPS end?

    Franco could be nominated for this one as well.

    Not likely. It received too little release and not good enough press. Also, it’s almost never in your favor to get two nominations.

  41. Ken Hanke

    I’m proud to say I didn’t spend a thin dime on any of the films on the “loser” list.

    Probably a wise move.

  42. chalkbox

    I DON”T WANT TO DWELL ON A LOST TOPIC, but really Inception on the almost top ten list? When the wife and I get a date night we always leave with the intention of going to see a movie, but somehow end up at a bar instead. So this is one of three movies since Coraline. I was lost from the get go. It felt like a movie that should have stared Keanu Reeves but somehow landed Leonardo Dicaprio. Thankfully one out of the three was True Grit. That one stuck with me for a few days. SO THERE!

  43. chalkbox

    “I found Inception suprisingly easy to follow”
    Maybe I should start with something easier like The Takers. Orbit did you like this movie? It has been awhile since I have seen this movie, but it felt like characters jumped out of the blue to fill roles (like the prized young student). The kiss between her and the kid from The Third Rock seemed forced, like the rest of the movie. Then a snow scene from nowhere. Nothing flowed, it felt like a bad Keanu Reeves movie. I think I need to watch the trailer again to jog my memory. I just remember saying to myself atleast ten times “Oh come on, are you kidding me?” I don’t know, maybe I need to dream about it.

  44. shadmarsh

    I enjoyed Inception much more than Shutter Island, and I liked them both, but I just felt a bit too manipulated by SI.

  45. Me

    So the Pootie Tang award is good or bad? It was directed by the great Louie C.K. and is a cult favorite.

  46. Rkate

    Chalbox – yes Inception was easier to follow, you could guess from the start where it was going. If you would just see Takers you would know why Stephen King put it on his top 10 best movies of 2010. It is a smart, sophisticated, stylized action movie…all boy fun, period. Starting with Takers would be a step up from Inception.

  47. Steven

    [b]Stephen King put it on his top 10 best movies of 2010[/b]

    Stephen King also included [i]2012[/i], [i]The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3[/i], [i]Law Abiding Citizen[/i], [i]Jackass 3D[/i], [i]Lakeview Terrace[/i], [i]Death Race[/i] and [i]The Ruins[/i] in his “best movies of..” lists.

  48. Sean Williams

    Shutter Island suggests to me that he is as good as ever — and possibly better.

    At the risk of excommunication, I have to admit that I like Scorcese’s current films better than his older work. I’ve always admired his direction on a purely theoretical basis, but I’ve never really loved his movies until the last two decades.

    In any case, I heartily agree with your selection of Shutter Island as best film of the year.

  49. Ken Hanke

    I enjoyed Inception much more than Shutter Island, and I liked them both, but I just felt a bit too manipulated by SI

    My problem with Inception is strictly grounded in the fact that the damned thing just doesn’t stick with me. I thought it was terrific when I first saw it. Two weeks on and a lot of it had evaporated. Then I pretty much let it slide from thought. A little while back, the studio sent me a copy of it and I watched it again — and I realized how very good it is all over, and how surprisingly emotionally resonant it is. But guess what? A couple weeks later and it was the same thing all over again. It fades for me. That’s something Shutter Island never did.

  50. Stephen King also included 2012, The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, Law Abiding Citizen, Jackass 3D, Lakeview Terrace, Death Race and The Ruins in his “best movies of..” lists.

    lol

    For those with some time, here is my top 12. I’m still working on my bottom 12. These are titles that have been released on dvd in 2010.

    Click on listen…

    http://www.ashevillefm.org/reel-talk

  51. So the Pootie Tang award is good or bad? It was directed by the great Louie C.K. and is a cult favorite.

    Louis’ concert film comes out next week. Can’t wait.

  52. Ken Hanke

    Stephen King also included 2012, The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, Law Abiding Citizen, Jackass 3D, Lakeview Terrace, Death Race and The Ruins in his “best movies of..” lists.

    Kinda says it all, doesn’t it? I’m not sure what Mr. Kate is trying to prove, but he’s not proving it.

  53. Orbit did you like this movie?

    Yep. In my top 5.

    Just watched PRETTY MAIDS ALL IN A ROW. Wish I watched in 2010 cause that could be the wrongest film Hollywood ever made.

  54. JonathanBarnard

    All the films I’ve seen on your best lists I liked a lot–except one. And fortunately I haven’t seen any of the films on your worst lists.

    Only one area of disagreement: I found Scott Pilgrim vs. the World disappointing (at least based on the raves it was getting)and gimmicky. I found its characters too two-dimensional for a romantic comedy. I actually much preferred Kick Ass, which I know some people compare it to and which I probably would put on my personal best list.

  55. Ken Hanke

    So the Pootie Tang award is good or bad? It was directed by the great Louie C.K. and is a cult favorite.

    It’s for the most jaw-droppingly bad comedy of the year. I’ve given it every year for years now. I do not consider “Louis C.K.” great and there are a lot of “cult favorites” that are rubbish. This is one of them. I admit that it’s unique rubbish, but it’s still rubbish. I’ve watched it twice — the second time because Justin picked up a copy in a dump bin. There won’t be a third time.

  56. Ken Hanke

    At the risk of excommunication, I have to admit that I like Scorcese’s current films better than his older work.

    It’s an uncool view, but it’s one I share with you. I would never deny Scorsese’s importance as a filmmaker, nor his technical prowess. And I share a lot of enthusiasms with him — like his assertion that Richard Lester is every bit as good and important as Messrs. Godard and Truffaut. But it’s only been in his more recent work that he’s tackled stories and characters I cared anything about.

  57. Ken Hanke

    Just watched PRETTY MAIDS ALL IN A ROW. Wish I watched in 2010 cause that could be the wrongest film Hollywood ever made

    It would still be from 1971. Ages since I saw it, but I admired its oddness without actually liking it.

    There really should a separate list for “Ten Best FIlms Seen This Year.”

  58. Ken Hanke

    I actually much preferred Kick Ass, which I know some people compare it to and which I probably would put on my personal best list.

    I can’t weigh in on this because I didn’t see Kick-Ass. My major problem with Scott Pilgrim is the Michael Cera factor. That’s pretty insurmountable for me.

  59. DrSerizawa

    Maybe I’ll change my mind about Takers. According to Justin, and I quote: “most spectacular….some powerful crime drama, filled with grit and Shakespearean backstabbing and double crosses and poetic tragedy….a tour de force…”

  60. Ken Hanke

    Maybe I’ll change my mind about Takers. According to Justin, and I quote: “most spectacular….some powerful crime drama, filled with grit and Shakespearean backstabbing and double crosses and poetic tragedy….a tour de force…”

    Now, I could be wrong, but I have a feeling that the missing words may tell a slightly different story.

  61. RKAte

    Ken Hanke…just give it a chance, I believe you will enjoy it far more than you think you will. There are no “lulls” and the drama is strong, the acting great, the filming sylized and unique, and the direction was quite different from any other crime drama out there.

  62. RKate

    JP – I see you actually like my “off the hook good” comment. I felt it describes a movie story line and action sequences quite uniquely!

  63. RKate

    Ken – Shutter Island is strongly akin to a movie made in the 60’s that was a true story about a General in WWII. It’s story line was not only familiar to me but a “fantasy” story of the original. It does grip your interest but I really could see what the ending was long before it was revealed. Inception, on the other hand, is one of those movies that just doesn’t seem to make any sense and the end is so predictable. There’s so much CGI anymore, film-makers seem to think it’s the be all, end all, and it really turns me off in this type of a film…maybe that’s why it’s forgettable.

  64. RKate

    Steven – GO ahead, see Takers, you too will be quite surprised! It was number one at the box office and it surpassed the horror movie prdicted to be number one and lost the spot to Takers. And it was in double the amount of theatres that Takers was booked into.

  65. dpewen

    sounds like someone is really taken by Takers!! I am not interested in it … sounds too violent!
    I will stick with Ken’s list thank you.

  66. Ruth

    Come on now, think “outside of the box”, don’t be a “sheep” and strictly follow the suggestions of Ken Hawke (even though he has some good suggestions – they are suggestions after all) Let your own personality, likes and dislikes come into play. Takers is in no way as violent as a Stephen King movie! It has a PG-13 rating, so take a chance!

  67. DrSerizawa

    Looks like satire goes entirely over the heads of certain people.

  68. dpewen

    hey Ruth, you do not know me … a sheep? Ridiculous statement! Stop attacking people who do not agree with you!

  69. RKate

    It is not my intention to shame anyone into improvement but rather allow them to make choices for themselves, allowing them to find their own likes and dislikes, to find their own voice. I wasn’t making them laugh in order to make them think. Aristophanes would be proud of this type of “satire” if that’s what you want to call it. I’m just saying following like a sheep is not someone who has found their own voice and take a chance on movies that are not “recommended” as a way of expanding your mind and horizons.

  70. Tomislav Hadeon Perun

    This Christmas season, I am filled with magnanimity. I would like to offer Ruth Kate the opportunity of a lifetime: viz., the opportunity to apologize to Ken Hanke, Justin Souther, and the Mountain Xpress readership at large.

    I suggest you take that opportunity. Now.

  71. luluthebeast

    After watching the trailer for TAKERS, it just looks like the same old stuff, hardly worth spending any money on. Maybe when it hits cable.

  72. Shawn

    Although I found the photography in Shutter Island to be superb, the climax of the film was predictable. I remember sitting there and thinking, really? Another character with a split personality/psychotic break? Now that would not be a big deal if the film wasn’t hinged on being a psychological thriller, but it is. So the discovery of his madness is not really a Revelation. It has some definite merits, but I was sorely dissappointed…

  73. dpewen

    Ruth, you really are full of yourself!
    Take a breath and tell yourself … mind my own business! I am not better than everyone else … keep repeating over and over.

  74. Ken Hanke

    Although I found the photography in Shutter Island to be superb, the climax of the film was predictable. I remember sitting there and thinking, really?

    I figured that out from the trailer, but, for me, that isn’t what the film is about and it’s not the real twist.

  75. Ken Hanke

    I’m just saying following like a sheep is not someone who has found their own voice and take a chance on movies that are not “recommended” as a way of expanding your mind and horizons.

    No, you just want everyone to follow you like sheep, since you seemingly are obsessed with this Takers movie and insist on constantly spamming this thread with your incessant prattle about it.

    And just for your information, since apparently you can’t figure it out, people are making fun of you when they use “off the hook good.” What are you? 12 or 14? You act like it.

  76. RKate

    Isn’t it nice to know that out here in “anonymous land” there are those who will make fun of you. How delicious. You obviusly don’t “get it” in regards to having your own individual voice, I believe that is what America was founded on. I am not spaming about the movie Takers only merely making a suggestion that it be viewed…simple. Since you insist on calling me names, making fun of me, and putting me down, please realize this tactic doesn’t work with me, I rather enjoy the sparing.

  77. Ken Hanke

    As a possible point of interest — though I don’t think anyone is seriously considering it — Takers has a 28% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Out of 100 reviews, 78 of them were bad reviews.

  78. shadmarsh

    You obviously don’t “get it” in regards to having your own individual voice, I believe that is what America was founded on.

    A)Shouldn’t “having your own voice” not relay on spitting out cliched phrases like “off the hook?” B)I’m pretty sure America was founded on a dollar and a dream (or at least a few dead Indian parts and something about tea).

  79. Ken Hanke

    Isn’t it nice to know that out here in “anonymous land” there are those who will make fun of you. How delicious.

    Get over yourself. You are just as much anonymous here as anyone. No one knows who you are.

    I am not spaming about the movie Takers only merely making a suggestion that it be viewed…simple

    Fine, you’ve made it. Now you can move on.

  80. RKate

    Are these guys gods or something that you feel you have to choose the way they do? It is only Cranky hanke and Justin Southers opinions of what 2010’s best movies were…not rocket science! The only one eliciting responses here are the disenting voices, praise be! You live in a tiny town in North Carolina where I go in the summer, is this the reason you’re abusive? I don’t expect you to think like I do, but only to think, to think for yourself and bring to the conversation table your opinions of 2010’s best movies whether they coinside with theirs or not. It makes for better conversation and we will agree and disagree on certain movies…period.

  81. Ken Hanke

    is this the reason you’re abusive?

    People are “abusive” to you because you’ve been nothing but rude, abusive, obnoxious and childish since you showed up out of the blue. Your first post includes:

    Pity, you guys don’t know what a good movie is but then you’re only internet writers who ALWAYS have an ax to grind in one form or another.

    In your next post you set out to “enlighten” my “tiny mind.”

    Get a clue.

  82. shadmarsh

    I generally–with a very few exceptions– find “Action Movies” to be puerile, formulaic and insulting to the intelligence of the audience. If you like bad dialogue, flat characters, and stuff gettin’ blowed up more power to you, just don’t expect that others are going to share your enthusiasm for schlock.

  83. Sean Williams

    Ha ha ha, Tomislav Hadeon Perun…no thanks!

    Ma’am, with all due respect, I suggest you accept his offer. He is being uncharacteristically generous.

  84. Ken Hanke

    Ma’am, with all due respect, I suggest you accept his offer. He is being uncharacteristically generous.

    And that’s putting it mildly.

  85. RKate

    Oh, okay Daddy, I wouldn’t want to make you angry or anything. I might just get a spanking for thinking on my own. I have found that “purists” are obnoxious, abusive, etc. so I tend to “jump the gun” first, my bad. Why is it men when you say they have a “tiny” anything get all flustered? Like I have said this “article” about 2010 best or worst movies is NOT rocket science and yet you insist on treating it that way. I WILL take your lead Sean, not because I’m being an obedient little girl for the “big boys” but rather your conversation has too much “I’m the authority here” testosterone in it to make it worthy of good conversation.

  86. Ken Hanke

    your conversation has too much “I’m the authority here” testosterone in it to make it worthy of good conversation.

    You should go find conversation that’s worthy of you.

  87. Sean Williams

    I WILL take your lead Sean, not because I’m being an obedient little girl for the “big boys” but rather your conversation has too much “I’m the authority here” testosterone in it to make it worthy of good conversation.

    I’m sorry you got that impression, ma’am. It certainly wasn’t my intent to sound testosterone-crazed.

    I was merely hoping to spare you from the wrath of Tom.

  88. Ken Hanke

    It certainly wasn’t my intent to sound testosterone-crazed.

    You can’t help yourself, but I’m not entirely sure the comment was directed at you.

  89. Sean Williams

    You can’t help yourself

    Do I really sound testosterone-crazed all the time, Mr. Hanke?

  90. luluthebeast

    The wrath of Tom; is that like The Wrath of the Wicked Wedgie Woman?

  91. Sean Williams

    The wrath of Tom; is that like The Wrath of the Wicked Wedgie Woman?

    Noooooo comment…

  92. Ken Hanke

    Do I really sound testosterone-crazed all the time, Mr. Hanke?

    I wouldn’t go that far.

  93. Mike

    Pssst, hey Ken… don’t feed the troll.

    Nice list. Didn’t think enough of The Extra Man after watching it last night to rate it as highly as you did (despite the best efforts of Mr. Kline), but can understand why it made your top ten. At the very least its inclusion, along with other off-the-beaten-path fare such as Nowhere Boy, serves to introduce audiences to a wider variety of films; never a bad thing. Both you and Justin do a great job and I look forward to your reviews the coming year.

  94. Inception, on the other hand, is one of those movies that just doesn’t seem to make any sense and the end is so predictable.
    I had no trouble making sense of the film. And if it was so non-sensical, why was it so easy for you to predict the ending?

  95. Ken Hanke

    Pssst, hey Ken… don’t feed the troll

    Yes, I know.

    Didn’t think enough of The Extra Man after watching it last night to rate it as highly as you did (despite the best efforts of Mr. Kline), but can understand why it made your top ten.

    Funny thing is I wouldn’t have on a single viewing, but seeing it a second time — and with a good auduence — really sealed the deal. What surprised me was when it showed up on Justin’s list.

    At the very least its inclusion, along with other off-the-beaten-path fare such as Nowhere Boy, serves to introduce audiences to a wider variety of films; never a bad thing.

    I didn’t choose them with that in mind, but, no, it’s never a bad thing.

    Both you and Justin do a great job and I look forward to your reviews the coming year.

    Thank you. I only hope that Season of the Witch and Country Strong aren’t a sign of things to come.

  96. Ken Hanke

    I had no trouble making sense of the film.

    I usually stay out of things that deal with this particular criticism, since — apart from some really out there avant garde stuff — I can’t remember a film I had that much trouble following. I sometimes think I’m simply more willing to go with a movie than some folks, though that’s hardly a given.

  97. Justin Souther

    Is it too late to move Takers up to worst movie of the year?

  98. Me

    Your probably not familiar with Louie CK’s work because nothing else he has done is anything like Pootie Tang. He’s won a couple of Sundance awards for his short films.

    I have to admit its not the greatest film but the AV Club adding it to their Cult Cannon made me see it in a little bit of a better light.

    http://www.avclub.com/articles/pootie-tang,30745/

    I would love to see the first film he directed Tomorrow Night see the light of day.

    Tomorrow Night Trailer

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-k_Dq-NoVbI

  99. Ken Hanke

    Is it too late to move Takers up to worst movie of the year?

    Unfortunately, it probably is. However, it affords you the chance to establish the “Off the Hook Awful” award next year.

  100. Ken Hanke

    I have to admit its not the greatest film but the AV Club adding it to their Cult Cannon made me see it in a little bit of a better light.

    I’m just insufficiently hip.

  101. Me

    Ken, whats the chances of this area getting Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench?

  102. Ken Hanke

    Ken, whats the chances of this area getting Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench?

    Well, it’s from an unknown distributor, which drops the chances, but you never know. In any case, I haven’t seen it mentioned by either of the likely local venues.

  103. Me

    Im hoping Blue Valentine gets a run, it sounds like the ratings trouble its had is hurting it.

  104. Justin Souther

    Im hoping Blue Valentine gets a run, it sounds like the ratings trouble its had is hurting it.

    From what I understand, The Carolina is supposed to get it around the end of this month.

  105. Will Lugar

    Takers has a 28% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Out of 100 reviews, 78 of them were bad reviews.
    Ken, I fully support your battle against inarticulate and obnoxious commenters, but I am going to have to call you out on your bad math. Shame, shame.

  106. Your probably not familiar with Louie CK’s work because nothing else he has done is anything like Pootie Tang.
    I am fortunate enough to have been spared the experience of POOTIE TANG, but I did enjoy I THINK I LOVE MY WIFE, which he co-wrote with Chris Rock, and the bits of his stand up I’ve watched over the years has been pretty good.

  107. Shawn

    I went back and read Ken Hanke’s review of the Shutter Island after I made a post about the film’s predictability. I also read a few other reviews too. I respect your opinions so somewhere down the line I will watch it again.

    I still say that it’s not a very strong story, but there are plenty of films with mediocre plots that are otherwise very compelling. Ben Kingsley was quite good as well, probably his best role in a long time.

    Well, you know what they say about opinions!

  108. Ben Kingsley was quite good as well, probably his best role in a long time.
    What, better than his roles in THE LOVE GURU, BLOODRAYNE and THUNDERBIRDS?

    In all seriousness, I agree that Kingsley is terrific in SHUTTER ISLAND, although I think his best performance is as Dr. Watson in the criminally underrated WITHOUT A CLUE. I keep hoping some enterprising director will reteam him and Caine in some future project.

  109. Me

    Jeremy have you seen Louie? Its probably the most auteur show on tv. I hope that someday he can make a great film that he has as much personally invested in as that show.

  110. Jeremy have you seen Louie?
    Not yet, although I’ve heard good things. It doesn’t air here in Oz, so I’m awaiting the DVD release before I check it out.

    Its probably the most auteur show on tv.
    That’s a strong claim in the age of CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM, EXTRAS and THE OFFICE. You may well be right though. I’m not a fan of the term, but when someone writes, directs, produces and plays the lead in a series, they’ve got more claim to it than most.

    I do think the past decade has seen an incredible golden age of scripted television, beginning with THE WEST WING and THE SOPRANOS, and encompassing more recent shows like MAD MEN, BREAKING BAD, BOARDWALK EMPIRE, THE WIRE, etc.

    They seem to exist in many ways a counterpoint to plot-driven feature films, where a protagonist is written as generically as possible to slot any available star into the lead role, and all the juicy stuff is given to the supporting characters.

    In contrast, show runners like Matt Weiner and David Chase have crafted dynamic, fascinating protagonists and then surrounded them with equally interesting ensemble casts.

    Often when I go to see a film these days, my favourite character is rarely the protagonist. In THE DA VINCI CODE, it was Ian McKellen’s character. He’s the one I want to follow home after the story ends. In THE DARK KNIGHT, it was The Joker. In THE GHOST, it was PM Adam Lang.

    The heroes in those films are either stock characters there strictly to serve the plot or have their personalities sacrificed in favour of serving a thematic purpose.

    Contrast them with John Ham’s Don Draper in MAD MEN or Bryan Cranston’s WALTER WHITE in Breaking Bad. While there are larger thematic concerns at work in both those series, the shows are about those characters and the audience comes back again and again because of the dynamism, unpredictability and individualism of those characters. And the performances – no one other than John Ham could be Don Draper. Same with Cranston and Walter White. Protagonists this exciting are rarely seen in cinema – Daniel Day Lewis’s Daniel Plainview in THERE WILL BE BLOOD stands as an example of the kind of character you could build one of these series around.

    And this makes sense in a lot of ways, I guess. If you only have to tell one story with a character, you build the character you need for that story. If you need to be able to tell 13 stories a year with that character, they need to have the possibilities for a lot of growth and the capacity to surprise you.

    This stands true for films I like also – I don’t mean it as a negative criticism necessarily, just an observation on the results of differing storytelling requirements. This distinction is true of some films I like a lot.

    Hmm. Didn’t actually mean to write an essay there. Hope it fits in the little grey box.

  111. shadmarsh

    Did Joe vs. The Volcano ever make it onto one of your best of lists?

  112. Did Joe vs. The Volcano ever make it onto one of your best of lists?
    Not to put words in Ken’s mouth, but he’s only been at the paper for 10 years, so that was a little before his list-making time. He may have been making them in unofficial capacity in 1990, but I would hazard a guess that that picture is unlikely to have made it into his 10 best. CRY BABY, THE GRIFTERS, MILLER’S CROSSING and EDWARD SCISSORHANDS would be more likely choices.

  113. Ken Hanke

    Did Joe vs. The Volcano ever make it onto one of your best of lists?

    I’m passing on all that TV and vaguely anti-auteur talk (we know that both are areas Jeremy and I do not need to tread with each other), but I’ll address this. I didn’t see enough new releases in 1990 to have a 10 Best list. I also saw Joe vs. the Volcano on a plane to the UK, which is no way to judge a film. I kind of liked it for its sheer oddness, but didn’t think it really worked that well. I’ve only seen it in bits and pieces since then, so I wouldn’t attempt a serious criticism of it.

  114. kimr71

    I found it very refreshing that neither one of you listed The Social Network or Inception in your ten best lists. I am curious as to what you thought of Greenberg. I thought it was wonderful, and it seems to have been overlooked by many critics. Perhaps it did not get wide enough release?

  115. Ken Hanke

    I just brought it up to see if Shanafelt was lurking.

    No, I think he’s hiding or practicing cursive writing in the snow.

  116. Lady L

    Oh, this was very good! I have been locked up in this snow-bound house for going on 7 days now and I have been miserably un-entertained until now. I just finsihed reading the comments and want to express my appreciation for the (I am sure, completely unintended) humor of rkate and her passionate defense of “Takers”. I haven’t laughed this much in days and believe me, after 7 days locked up inside with a 6 year old, anything that can make you laugh is greatly appreciated.
    As for the actual article on the best/worst movies I thank you, Ken and Justin, for your suggestions and have already loaded most of them up onto my Netflix queue. With all the movies I have to get through already, I figure I’ll be able to weigh in with some criticism in 2013.

  117. Ken Hanke

    As for the actual article on the best/worst movies I thank you, Ken and Justin, for your suggestions and have already loaded most of them up onto my Netflix queue.

    It is my fervent hope — and I think I can speak for Justin here, too — that your viewings are all OFF THE HOOK GOOD.

  118. Tomislav Hadeon Perun

    Contrary to my expectations, Ruth Kate took the hint. I’m disappointed. I visiting Muslim relatives over the holiday season and it’s been too long since I’ve devoured some swine.

    Merry Christmas, everyone.

  119. ashetj

    What about Toy Story 3 … It was by far the best movie in saw in ’10. Better than Inception or Ghost Writer. Just my opinion.

  120. Daniel Withrow

    I enjoyed Inception for its plot and for its visuals, and the protagonist and female leads were interesting enough. I was disappointed, though, in the supporting cast: there were too many characters who were insufficiently fleshed out for my tastes, and it made it difficult for me to tell them apart. In a movie with such a layered plot, not being able to tell them apart was problematic.

  121. luluthebeast

    How did that one sneak through?

    Not that I need any you understand!

  122. Ken Hanke

    Probably because I am the only one who actually reads this stuff before clearing it. You’ll notice it’s gone now.

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