Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Rewind Series - 2010 Edition

     So, you may have noticed that TheMovieFrog has not had quite the output in May that I wrote in the several months least not yet.  Part of this has been due to some general housekeeping and catching up on my part.  Part of this has been due, however, to a lack of new films coming out on DVD that I planned to review.  I've decided to use this as an excuse to catch up on some of the films that I never managed to see in previous years beginning with 2010, the year before I started publishing TheMovieFrog.  I had, however already begun viewing a bevy of the year's most important films and grading them in preparation to write it.  As such, there are only a handful that I have not already seen.  There are some years that I caught a pitiful few of the really innovative and essential pictures. Rewinding through those years (this means YOU, 2007) will be epic by comparison.  As of now, my 2010 rewind agenda includes:

  1. Aftershocks - A Chinese disaster movie about one family's recovery after a real life earthquake during the seventies.
  2. Angel of Evil - Italian crime thriller about the notorious outlaw Renato Vallanzasca.
  3. Barney's Version - This best make-up nominee at the Oscars didn't get the most glowing write-ups but it does star Paul Giamatti and Dustin Hoffman.  Even when actors of this caliber stumble, it is worth watching to note that we are all mortal...and who knows, I might LOVE it.
  4. Children of Invention - This Chinese language feature sounds heartwarming in a way that doesn't make me feel nauseous so it's in.
  5. Daddy Longlegs - This itty bitty almost unknown flick got JUST enough attention from the Gotham and Independent Spirit awards to make this list.
  6. The Edge - Russia's 2010-2011 Oscar submission may have failed to garner a nomination but it certainly sounds like a unique film...
  7. Enemies of the People - This tale of a man seeking revenge against the Khmer Rouge sounds like the (highly) rare documentary that plays like a thriller.
  8. Film Socialisme - French living legend Jean-Luc Godard is always worth checking out, even when his directorial efforts sound as potentially convoluted as this one.
  9. I Love You Phillip Morris - I wonder what sort of muggy expression Jim Carrey has come up with to represent "Gay Lust".  This film may have gay themes, but I expect the Human Rights Campaign appreciates the light it shone on these issues in much the same way that PETA valued Ace Ventura.  If Downey, Jr. caught hell over Tropic Thunder, how is Carrey not criticized for doing this film in "gay face".
  10. Idiots and Angels - This feature from cult classic French animator Bill Plympton is an allegorical tale of how a man can change.
  11. Lebanon - This Hebrew language piece is easily one of the most universally acclaimed films I missed in 2010, it has been called the Das Boot of tank movies, which sounds far less ludicrous than "the Citizen Kane of talking pig movies" which Babe actually was.
  12. Life During Wartime - Director Todd Solondz's long awaited quasi-sequel to his much beloved 1998 film Happiness.
  13. Outside the Law - This one was an Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Language film, I believe representing Algeria.  It tells of three brothers caught up in that country's fight for independence.
  14. Passion Play - Writer/director Mitch Glazer did not get the BEST of reviews for this piece, but I can't resist a story about a gangster, an angel, and a trumpet player...especially with Bill Murray in the cast.
  15. Plan B - This Argentinian Spanish language film with Gay themes tells the story of a man who tries to come in between his ex-girlfriend and her new man.
  16. Post Mortem - Before he directed the Oscar nominated No, Pablo Larrain directed this other tale of Chile in the 1970's.
  17. Prodigal Sons - Kimberly Reed's documentary tells of the first time the transsexual film-maker returned a woman.
  18. The Tempest - Director Julie Taymor's reworking of Shakespeare's final play with Helen Mirren playing the lead as the wizard Prospera (re-named from Prospero to fit her gender).
  19. You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger - Woody Allen's yearly offering focuses on a recently divorced woman who seeks spiritual guidance from a psychic.

     Of course, I am open to adding films if readers request them, but I am trying not to go back over films I've already seen (although if I get several requests to re-watch something and review it, of course I will).  The list of 2010 productions that I have already watched (which as I mentioned, is extensive), and the grades that I gave them (for practice since I wasn't up and Frogging QUITE yet), are as follows:

     5 star films:
  127 Hours
  Animal Kingdom
  Black Swan
  Exit Through the Gift Shop
  How To Train Your Dragon
  In a Better World
  Mary and Max
  The Social Network
  Winter's Bone

     4 1/2 star films:
  Another Year
  Blue Valentine
  Day and Night (short)
  The Ghost Writer
  The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
  Inside Job
  Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work
  The Kids Are All Right
  The King's Speech
  The Oath
  True Grit
  Waiting For Superman
  Waste Land
  White Material

     4 star films:
  The American
  Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky
  Despicable Me
  Easy A
  Enter the Void
  Fair Game
  The Fighter
  Four Lions
  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One
  Jack Goes Boating
  Let Me In
  Let's Pollute (short)
  The Lottery
  Love and Other Drugs
  Mesrine: Public Enemy
  My Name is Khan
  My Name is Maria (short)
  Never Let Me Go
  Nowhere Boy
  Of Gods and Men
  Peepli Live
  Please Give
  Precious Life
  Rabbit Hole
  Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll
  Shutter Island
  The Tillman Story
  The Town
  Toy Story 3
  Wild Grass

     3 1/2 star films:
  44-Inch Chest
  8: The Mormon Proposition
  Animated History of Poland (short)
  Around a Small Mountain
  Blood Done Sign My Name
  Book of Eli
  Cemetery Junction
  City Island
  Dinner For Schmucks
  Eat, Pray, Love
  The Eclipse
  Everyone Else
  Get Low
  The Girl Who Played With Fire
  The Gruffalo (short)
  Harry Brown
  The Karate Kid
  Lovely, Still
  Morning Glory
  Night Catches Us
  One Thousand Pictures (short)
  Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
  Tiny Furniture
  Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
  The Way Back
  Welcome To the Rileys
  Women Without Men

     3 star films:
  Blue Beard
  Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
  Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Elliot Spitzer
  Confession (short)
  Countdown to Zero
  The Crazies
  The Disappearance of Alice Creed
  Dust Kid (short)
  Everything Strange and New
  The Experiment
  Fish Tank
  For Colored Girls
  Going the Distance
  The Greatest
  Holy Rollers
  Iron Man 2
  The Killer Inside Me
  The Last Exorcism
  Leaves of Grass
  Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole
  Letters To Juliet
  Love Ranch
  Made in Dagenham
  Mademoiselle Chambon
  Monica and David
  Mother and Child
  My Own Love Song
  Shrek Forever After
  A Solitary Man
  The Sorcerer's Apprentice
  Tamara Drew
  The Twilight Saga: The Eclipse
  William Kuntsler: Destroying the Universe

     2 1/2 star films:
  The Art of the Steal
  Barking Island (short)
  Cairo Time
  Casino Jack and the United States of Money
  Clash of the Titans
  The Company Men
  Coyote Falls (short)
  The Exploding Girl
  Green Zone
  La Mission
  Percy Jackson and the New Olympians
  Prince of Persia
  Smash His Camera
  Tron: Legacy
  Valentine's Day

     The lists get shorter from here on out.  I try to avoid films of less than two and a half star quality whenever possible, but a few always sneak through (and one is usually up for an Oscar).  Two star films:
  Alice in Wonderland
  All Good Things
  Death at a Funeral
  Eccentricities of a Blond Haired Girl
  The Expendables
  Extraordinary Measures
  It's Kind of a Funny Story
  The Last Airbender
  Robin Hood
  The Tourist
  Why Did I Get Married Too

     One and a half star films:
  Cique du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant
  The Extra Man
  The Temptation of St. Tony

     One star films:
  Charlie St. Cloud
  Jonah Hex
  The Lost Thing (short)
  Sex and the City 2
     Whew!!!  I'm going to do my utmost to try and see you back here tomorrow for the first three in the rewind.

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