Tuesday, Nov 19, 2019
 
search SGN
SERVING SEATTLE AND THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST FOR 37 YEARS!

click to visit advertiser's website


Javascript DHTML Drop Down Menu Powered by dhtml-menu-builder.com

Last Weeks Edition
   
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
 
 
 

 

[Valid RSS]

click to go to advertisers website
Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, December 24, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 52
Movie Reviews
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
  next story
Sara Michelle's 2010 movie recap
by Sara Michelle Fetters - SGN Contributing Writer

Who are we? What makes us what we are? How do things combine to produce the perception we put forth for the world to see? Essentially, what is self, how is it defined and how do we maintain a balance between sanity and insanity as we go about figuring it all out?

If any theme in 2010 has risen to the top of cinema, self perception and how it is created has to be it. Filmmakers from around the world have tackled it this year, and from Shutter Island to Black Swan, Enter the Void to Inception, The Fighter to Carlos, Mother and Child to The Social Network, Winter's Bone to Eat Pray Love, picture after picture (including numerous more I don't have the space to name) has attempted to show insights into the human condition speaking to the very nature of who we are and what we hope to become.

Why this year? Was there something in the air and everyone just took it upon themselves to reach for that particular bauble not knowing other filmmakers would be doing the same? Does it really matter? The simple truth is that, while I'm not going to say 2010 has been a great year at the multiplex, thanks to so many writers and directors taking these sorts of intensely psychological challenges, it's still been a quite wonderful one. Over the past twelve months I've seen films that have challenged me, moved me, taken me to heights I could never have imagined beforehand, and even if the finished product didn't always leave me breathless, the journey itself was one I was continuously eager to be a part of.

With that in mind, here are a few of 2010's motion pictures that truly got my blood racing. While it is impossible to see everything, I still feel pretty comfortable about my highs and my lows as far as this year is concerned. Whether or not you care to agree is, like all choices in life, completely and uniquely your own decision.

THE BEST

Winter's Bone
Director Debra Granik's sizzling adaptation of author Daniel Woodrell's marvelous backwoods novel is an intensely satisfying character-driven thriller I haven't been able to get out of my mind since I first saw it during the Seattle International Film Festival. Superbly acted across the board by Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes and Dale Dickey, this movie digs into corners and crevices impossible to let go of.

Carlos
Olivier Assayas' five-plus hour Carlos is the kind of crazy, wildly exuberant and exhilaratingly audacious achievement most directors dream of attempting but would never in their right mind actually make. The story of international terrorist Carlos 'The Jackal,' the movie is an historical whirligig of intrigue, emotion and action, everything grounded thanks to a titanic central performance by Édgar Ramírez. When they say they don't make them like the used to, this is the kind of movie that puts that saying to shame and shows that, when the right filmmaker puts their mind to it, they still can; brilliantly at that.

The Ghost Writer
Roman Polanski's ingenious cat and mouse political noir could possibly be the legendary Oscar-winning filmmaker's best in almost three decades, recalling past masterworks like Repulsion, Rosemary's Baby and most obviously Chinatown. Building to the year's most indelibly awesome climactic image, this little thriller is so of the here and now you can see the ghosts of political leaders British and American in every frame. Ewan McGregor, Pierce Brosnan and especially Olivia Williams give superlative performances deserving of far more recognition than they've sadly been given.

Toy Story 3
Just when you think they can't possibly do it again, the folks over at Pixar go about and prove everyone wrong, crafting another instant classic people will be talking about for generations. This third chapter in the story of Woody, Buzz and the rest of the toy box gang is as pure and as emotionally honest as anything released this year. Melding an exquisite story with picture-perfect animation, Pixar took me on a journey right into the very heart of my own childhood memories, proving once again sometimes going home against isn't such a bad thing after all. ?

The Social Network
Who knew a movie about Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg could end up being one of the most fascinating and intriguing character studies released in ages? Director David Fincher for one and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin for another, the two joining forces to craft a modern day Citizen Kane. This is a movie about genius, creation and the price of not being able, or maybe not even wanting, to relate with people on an emotional level, the irony being the man who figured out how to connect the world together on the internet at the end of the day is the loneliest one of all.

The King's Speech
Watching Tom Hooper's The King's Speech for the first time might have been the most fun I had sitting in a theatre in all of 2010. A delightfully old fashioned period piece done as only the British can do it, this story of King George VI and the Aussie speech therapist who helps him get over a stutter is a total, blissful joy, featuring arguably the best ensemble cast (Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter, Geoffrey Rush, Guy Pearce, Michael Gambon) of the year, all of whom are working at the top of their respective games.

Black Swan
Director Darren Aronofsky's psycho-sexual head-trip takes the elegant heartbreak of the ballet classic The Red Shoes and then brazenly crosses it with the surreal emotional insanity of 1999's Fight Club. It goes into internal places of the subconscious that trigger all-too-real transformations. Part Kafka, part Tchaikovsky, all Aronofsky, the movie is a dynamic sensory experience that ravishes the mind and pummels the soul, all of it coming together in a climactic series of events that are as exhilarating as they are tragic.

Inception
Chris Nolan's impressive mega-budget thriller is like a James Bond adventure set in the interior of the human mind. The deeper and deeper it descends into the dream world the more the adventure becomes more emotionally complex and dazzling, everything building to a final sequence of events that grows in power and intensity the further into the subconscious it falls. Unforgettable, Nolan proving again he just might be the most adventurous Hollywood director working today.

No One Knows
? About Persian Cats

Freewheeling and off the rails, this Rock and Roll journey into the heart of Tehran and into the lives of young musicians in the throws of their own kind of revolt is a refreshing underground miracle made with precision and skill by noted Iranian director Bahman Ghobadi. It is a movie that grants intimate insights into a world, a culture and a people we here in the U.S. hardly ever get the chance to see, showing once again that a mean guitar lick or the right emotional lyric is enough to plant the seeds of revolution all on their own.

127 Hours
The saga of Aron Ralston is far more than that of a man who, after a solo climbing accident gone hopelessly wrong, cut off his own arm in order to save his life. Danny Boyle's latest is instead a kinetic and viscerally euphoric story of survival, of how the act of asking for help can be the most difficult and yet triumphant victory of them all. It is a story told through the eyes of a man whose own sense of self is rapidly trying to escape his mental grasp, the final tendons keeping him in purgatory not the ones within his arm but instead the ones wrapped malignantly around his mind.

A SECOND TWENTY
? (in alphabetic order)

The American, Cairo Time, The Crazies, Cyrus, Fair Game, The Fighter, Get Low, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Going the Distance, Greenberg, How to Train Your Dragon, I Am Love, The Kids Are All Right, Morning Glory, Paranormal Activity 2, Rabbit Hole, The Secret in Their Eyes, Soul Kitchen, Tangled, True Grit

TOP FIVE DOCUMENTARIES
? (in alphabetic order)

The Art of the Steal, Exit Through the Gift Shop, Marwencol, The Tillman Story, Waiting for 'Superman'

THE WORST
When in Rome
A movie that ripped my heart out, stomped on it than fed it to some rabid dogs somewhere in a dark Italian alleyway. Everyone involved should hang their heads in shame.

Little Fockers
So many talented actors. So little worthy of anyone's time. Tasteless, vile and ultimately pointless, this is one sequel the whole cast should immediately start acting like it doesn't exist.

Life in Wartime
Some will tell you that writer and director Todd Solondz is some kind of visionary wunderkind. I am not one of those people, the filmmaker's latest a horrible excuse for a drama that's false, facile and annoying.

Cop Out
Kevin Smith's 1980's-style cop comedy calamity with Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan that's only notable for just how unfunny and forgettable it ultimately is.

Clash of the Titans
Poorly scripted remake of the 1981 family favorite that offered up few thrills, little action and even less romance and also had the ignominy of being the worst 2D to 3D conversion of the year.

The Human Centipede
A new low in B-movie horror, this detestable midnight excursion into the subhuman is a trip no one, gastronomically accurate or no, should ever allow themselves to take.

The Expendables
Sylvester Stallone's star-studded action romp ends up being a total waste of time filled with poor visual effects, worse fights and fewer reasons to exist.

Skyline
Silly and senseless science fiction spectacle that's as illogical as it is irrelevant. A waste of time building to a cliffhanger conclusion that had the audience in jeers.

Remember Me
An almost solid drama with a surprisingly good performance from Twilight heartthrob Robert Pattinson undone by a 9/11 conclusion that was as nonsensical as it was in poor taste.

Dinner for Schmucks
Lackadaisical excuse for a comedy that plays like a series of poorly thought-out vignettes, everything building to a climax that's so ineptly staged it's almost indefensible.

DIS-HONERABLE MENTIONS
(in alphabetic order)

Alice in Wonderland, The Back-Up Plan, The Bounty Hunter, Brooklyn's Finest, Buried, Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, Chloe, Dear John, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Due Date, Eat Pray Love, Faster, Flipped, From Paris with Love, Grown Ups, How Do You Know, Jonah Hex, The Last Airbender, The Last Song, Legion, Life as We Know It, Lottery Ticket, Megamind, Middle Men, The Next Three Days, A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Oxford Murders, Repo Men, Robin Hood, Saw 3D, Sex and the City 2, Shutter Island, The Spy Next Door, Step Up 3D, Takers, The Tourist, TRON: Legacy, Valentine's Day, Vampires Suck, The Warrior's Way, Yogi Bear


Jeff Bridges takes on John Wayne in True Grit reboot
by Scott Rice - SGN Contributing Writer

True Grit
Now Playing


My father is certain that everything you need to know about being a real man can be learned from two sources: The Bible and John Wayne movies.

Wayne and his penis won an Oscar for his 1969 performance in the Henry Hathaway adaptation of the much loved Charles Portis novel, True Grit. For the three of you who have never seen or read True Grit, it's the story of Mattie Ross, an impetuous fourteen year old girl from Yell County Arkansas with a penchant for vengeance and her unlikely hired gun, the always irascible and often drunk, Rooster Cogburn.

Wayne and his penis won the Oscar for playing the same character he had been playing since the '30s. He beat the likes of Richard Burton, Jon Voight, Dustin Hoffman, and Peter O'Toole. He actually won the Oscar because he had been around since the earth cooled and had been reliable box office bank pretty much the entire time. He and his penis did not win for playing the same character he had played in countless films since the '30s. And yes, I'm still bitter that Julia Roberts beat out Ellen Burstyn in 2001 for the same reason.

Jeff Bridges' take on Rooster Cogburn is the reason the Coen brothers 2010 reboot was made (and the main reason to see it). That's not written pejoratively. There have many movies made for poorer reasons. And Bridges doesn't let us down. He literally chews up the screen, reminding us, as if he needed to after last year's Oscar winning turn in Crazy Heart, that he is a national treasure and that he can actually act.

Bridges (and his penis) is a brave soul to take on the iconic John Wayne/Rooster Cogburn role. Wayne stamped his manly image all over the character. I wouldn't want to be the guy who had to utter the legendary line, 'Fill your hand you son of a bitch.' Rest assured, the line is uttered. And Bridges does indeed get away with it.

Another reason to see the latest Coen brothers flick is Hailee Steinfeld (that's Hailee with two 'E's, arrrrg!). Despite the tortured spelling of the '90s era girl name staple, Steinfeld is a force with which to be reckoned. She rocks the screen in a subtly darker (and more Lesbian) take on the fourteen year old protagonist, Mattie Ross. Steinfeld modulates determination and precociousness successfully in the role that could have easily slipped into tom-boy stereotype. When she finally takes Chekhov's gun out of the flour sack and takes aim at the dude who murdered her father, you believe her.

Josh Brolin gets little screen time: sad. Barry Pepper plays Ned Pepper: odd. Matt Damon sucks: bad (I know this should be the adverb 'badly' but that would screw up my rhythm).

It's not all Damon's fault. The film's actors, other than Bridges, have obviously been directed to speak with an odd cadence that makes the acting seem imbecilic. That's my politically correct way of saying retarded. I don't know why the Coen brothers would make this decision but it is mildly disconcerting and the only actor to come out clean is Steinfeld (Bridges opts out entirely). I suppose it's meant to sound 19th Century Arkansas-ee, but it just ends up sounding silly.

John Wayne and his penis acted in over 180 films between 1926 and 1976. He became the epitome of masculinity for a generation of men, including my father. He taught America that real men don't talk much and never cry. He taught America that real men shoot straight and ride hard and always get the bad guy. And in the case of Rooster Cogburn, they may have to bend the rules to get it done. This points to the only reservation I have about the 2010 Coen brother's take on the iconic film. Unlike their sublime reconstruction of the western landscape in No Country for Old Men, this version of True Grit doesn't do anything new for the genre. Still, Bridges alone is worth the ticket.






Wendy Ho skanks up Seattle for the holidays
------------------------------
John Cameron Mitchell enters the Rabbit Hole
------------------------------
Firefighters heat up Purr
------------------------------
An Unconventional Life: Author explores a life of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'
------------------------------
Phoenicia and Vic
------------------------------
The Men of Neighbours
------------------------------
Searing Rabbit Hole a poignant drama
------------------------------
A Dyke About Town: Burlesque, The Bobs and Pancho Sanchez
------------------------------

------------------------------
VIDEO - President Obama Signs Repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell
------------------------------

------------------------------
Sara Michelle's 2010 movie recap
------------------------------
Jeff Bridges takes on John Wayne in True Grit reboot
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------
Q-Scopes by Jack Fertig
------------------------------

------------------------------
Bette Midler, Makana, ABBA, Pearl Jam
------------------------------
Northwest News
------------------------------
Letters
------------------------------
Best of television 2010 - Glee, Mad Men and Man Zou were tops
------------------------------
Ten concerts that will matter in 2011
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

click to visit advertiser's website

click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
Seattle Gay Blog post your own information on
the Seattle Gay Blog
 

gay news feeds gay news readers gay rss gay
http://sgn.org/rss.xml | what is RSS? | Add to Google use Google to set up your RSS feed
SGN Calendar For Mobile Phones http://sgn.org/rssCalendarMobile.xml
SGN Calendar http://sgn.org/rssCalendar.xml
copyright Seattle Gay News - DigitalTeamWorks 2010

USA Gay News American News American Gay News USA American Gay News United States American Lesbian News USA American Lesbian News United States USA News
Pacific Northwest News in Seattle News in Washington State News