The year is coming to a quick close, with only 2 weeks left and the unlikely possibility that some movie is going to come out and blow my mind away, the only movie that I foresee making this list would be the Coen Brothers True Grit, but that’s a remake and that angers me greatly. So I’ve compiled this list, wrote down some key points about each movie, include some pretty pictures and maybe a trailer, and we are off to the races!
Directed by: Matthew Vaughn
Starring: Aaron Johnson, Mark Strong, Nicholas Cage, Christopher Mintz-Plasse
Release Date: April 16
Rotten Tomatoes: 76% (FRESH)
Kick-Ass kicks off our list because it was a good comic film. Very well shot and acted but the thing that pisses me off is how poorly translated it was from novel to script. They felt like they could change the ending and other important parts of the film just so they can sell it to Hollywood. I was livid. But the rest of the film is well done and no one said movies had to live up to some kind of moral code where kids can’t run around and like fucking kill people violently. Hey it’s better than the Expendables
14. Despicable Me
Directed by: Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud
Starring: Steve Carrell, Jason Segel, Miranda Cosgrove, Julie Andrews
Release Date: July 9
Rotten Tomatoes: 81% (FRESH)
The first animated film to crack this list. The colors are so vibrant. The story is saddening and heartwarming. The voice acting is impeccable. This film is near perfection but at the same time there are some flaws. The multiple plots that are being developed that never get fully resolved, the fact that they give us the big twist too close to the end for us to fully grasp the severity of it all. This film is good but won’t get any credit in the animation department with the two big guns being toted out earlier this year.
13. The Karate Kid
Directed by: Harald Zwart
Starring: Jackie Chan, Jaden Smith
Release Date: June 17
Rotten Tomatoes: 67% (FRESH)
As a movie this one is not awful but not great, as a remake it’s impressive. The director of this film seems to nail the original’s almost flawlessly shot for shot. Jackie Chan takes the role of mentor to a whole new level, darker and more modern and realistic. It’s intense at times and at others more comical. I didn’t like Jaden Smith as much though but he’s better than the original actor so there’s that. Let’s just hope they don’t do the rest.
12. Easy A
Directed by: Will Gluck
Starring: Emma Stone, Thomas Haden Church, Stanley Tucci, Lisa Kudrow
Release Date: September 17
Rotten Tomatoes: 87% (FRESH)
Emma Stone is a super hottie. I am going to say that right away. She reminds me 100% of my pal Lauren except Stone is more attractive. Her role as Olive or the town bicycle is what should help her stand out from that oh she was in Superbad persona. Stone though doesn’t really have sex with anyone in the film it’s just a rumor. The film though itself is a parody on the classic novel turned Demi Moore flick The Scarlet Letter. While performances from the rest of the cast are far from amazing they help establish Stone’s performance in a more impressive way. Stanley Tucci gets a shout out for being like the super hippy dad in this film and I loved that. This is director Will Gluck’s second film (Fired Up was his first) and it shows either that he loved John Hughes growing up or he just hates him and wants to be the next one.
11. The Town
Directed by: Ben Affleck
Starring: Ben Affleck, Jeremy Renner, Jon Hamm, Blake Lively
Release Date: September 17
Rotten Tomatoes: 94% (FRESH)
Let it be known that I don’t like Affleck as a director or an actor. He is not that good. This movie survives on it’s script and performances from Hamm and Renner. Those two have developed into solid actors over the last few years and make no mistake they are good mother fudgers. The script is solid as is most of the acting. The best part about the film is the scenes at Fenway Park, as a Red Sox fan I am a sucker for anything in Boston or Fenway. God dammit, Ben Affleck you son of a bitch.
10. How To Train Your Dragon
Directed by: Chris Sanders and Dan DeBois
Starring: Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Jonah Hill, America Ferrara
Release Date: March 26
Rotten Tomatoes: 98% (FRESH)
This is only one of two films to crack the top ten that are kid oriented. HTTYD is a phenomenal animated film for the whole family. The animation is fluid and solid as well as the voice acting. This should be film the whole family enjoys. It’s been a while since I’ve seen it so my comments aren’t going to be as great but it’s a shame Pixar had to trot out it’s biggest and baddest film this year otherwise this would be a serious contender for animated film awards, but sadly it won’t be.
9. Get Him To the Greek
Directed by: Nick Stoller
Starring: Jonah Hill, Russell Brand, P. Diddy
Release Date: June 4
Rotten Tomatoes: 73% (FRESH)
Easily the funniest movie of the year with little to no competition from anything else. This movie delivers the laughs at an almost non stop rate. Hill is awkward and dedicated to his idol who will stop at nothing to ruin and destroy what Hill is trying to do. Brand is that rock and roll stereotype and he fits it perfectly and the comedy duo that is Brand and Hill seem to work exceedingly well in almost all circumstances and I’m amazed by how well Brand can sing on the soundtrack.
8. Iron Man 2
Directed by: Jon Favereau
Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johnansson, Gwyneth Paltrow
Release Date: May 7
Rotten Tomatoes: 74% (FRESH)
Granted IM2 is not as compelling as the Jeff Bridges starring first one but it still packs a serious punch. Although they crammed so much Avengers BS down your throat the film itself if you ignore that stuff is still a wild and entertaining ride, worthy of a summer flick. It’s a shame IM3 won’t be featuring Favereau as director (see article) but this one he leaves in tattered ruins as most films cannot even survive in the sequel compared to the original, but this one can stand alone with very little being tied in to IM1 other than Downey admitting he is Iron Man and what not. Since this is a super hero movie it won’t get any nods cause it’s not The Dark Knight and no cast members died.
7. The Social Network
Directed by: David Fincher
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Justin Timberlake, Andrew Garfield
Release Date: October 1
Rotten Tomatoes: 96% (FRESH)
This is a movie that will clean up at awards season. Granted it’s solid and well done, it’s screenwriter Aaron Sorkin’s credit that this film is so phenomenal. Sure Eisenberg may have captured the true ways of Zuckerberg the creator of Facebook, and sure Timberlake and Garfield had above average acting but it’s the script and Fincher’s directing that drove this movie, that and since it’s about Facebook everyone goes ape shit over it. I kid you not, anyone who uses Facebook is by law required to love this movie. It should take home some serious gold at the awards season but it doesn’t deserve them all.
6. Shutter Island
Directed by: Martin Scorsese
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Sir Ben Kingsley, Michelle Williams
Release Date: February 19
Rotten Tomatoes: 68% (FRESH)
At the beginning of the year we generally get films we are supposed to forget about when the later films come out. This is not the case with Shutter Island. Driven by a top performance from DiCaprio and a strong support from Ruffalo this film’s story is leaving you with a feeling in your gut that just won’t go away. I loved the style of shots the aging director has taken in the film in certain scenes to get you the vibe that it’s a semi-horror story in the same fact that it’s a drama/thriller. DiCaprio won’t get best actor nods and Scorsese won’t get best director nods but they should.
5. Black Swan
Directed by: Darren Aronofsky
Starring: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Winona Ryder
Release Date: December 03 (Limited)
Rotten Tomatoes: 88% (FRESH)
Natalie Portman drives this movie home for anyone who has or hasn’t seen it. A retelling of the “Swan Lake” ballet by the great Aronofsky slowly displays one who strives for perfection and her slow descent into the maddening world of insanity. Portman drives this film with her compelling acting while Kunis delivers a relishing side role that she should get remembered for but won’t. The big thing other than Portman’s acting to note is the perfection that Aronofsky took when it came to directing this feature. So well thought out and carefully planned. Will get serious Oscar consideration.
4. Toy Story 3
Directed by: Lee Unkrich
Starring: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Michael Keaton, Don Rickles, Joan Cusack
Release Date: June 18
Rotten Tomatoes: 99% (FRESH)
Some people feel that this film should get serious consideration for best pic this year. I disagree. While this film was heartwarming and nostalgia inducing I didn’t get best picture vibes from it. This being the last animated film to crack the list, I am surprised though by the fact that the film was so good after nearing 15 years between sequels. The statement would be more true about some of the other films on this list. Granted TS3 featured a strong voice cast, adult humor and an average plot that centered on loss and acceptance. The darkest moment came near the end in the incinerator. Scary stuff went down there man.
3. TRON: Legacy
Directed by: Joseph Kosinski
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Jeff Bridges, Garrett Hedlund, Oliva Wilde
Release Date: December 17
Rotten Tomatoes: 49% (ROTTEN)
You guys already think this list is bull so I am throwing Tron up in a top spot. I loved this movie. I adored this movie. I got boners from this movie. I don’t care what you all say, the computer world in this film was superior looking than the unobtainium that James Cameron crafted in AVATAR: GREATEST MOVIE EVER. This film while it seemed lacked in script had the visuals but it had heart behind the visuals. Not only that but all the themes (read my review) were just mind numbingly awesome. Perfection being unobtainable? You don’t see that in kids movies these days. Sham though Jeff Bridges is an awesome human being too.
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Cillian Murphy
Release Date: July 16
Rotten Tomatoes: 87% (FRESH)
Inception has to make the list, if not just because it’s Nolan but also because of the way he throws conventional storytelling out the window. Throwing 3 separate events happening at the same time in different places with the same people all while they are on a plane is just intense. This is Nolan’s Inglorious Basterds in the fact that it took him soooo long to just write the script let alone put this masterpiece together. Inception deserves serious nods from the Academy come March but like Nolan’s past efforts it should be in vain.
1. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World
Directed by: Edgar Wright
Starring: Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth-Winstead, Jason Schwartzman, Brandon Routh
Release Date: August 18
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 80% (FRESH)
Why does Scott get the first place? Is it my fanboy-ism ruining this list? No it’s not. This film truly stands out from virtually every other film in the pack for obvious reasons. Look at the style of each shot. Every single shot is well placed and thought out. It slowly is looking like either this is the future of cinema or it’s going to be well a forgettable blunder to Universal. I raved about this film on both Facebook and my review here (first post ever) and I wasn’t wrong. The effects drive this film, even if they are subtle (in most cases they are not). In a film that is as nerdy as me it’s likely that I’ll fall in love. I only wish Wright got more chances to make films that should revolutionize cinema.