This was not a particularly great movie-going year for me. I just realized that I haven’t seen a single movie in the thick of the Oscar discussion for the overall picture, director, and actor/actress awards. I’ve leant strongly toward comedies, which makes this seem a bit of a more base list than I’d like, but it’s still worth a recap.
Here’s a look at all of the movies first released in 2010 that I happened to see — either in theater or otherwise — with a rundown of my thoughts. Movies are listed in order by release date.
with Amy Adams, Matthew Goode, and Adam Scott (a personal favorite of mine)
Released to Theaters January 6. Seen on HBO in November.
In most ways, Leap Year, is an utterly predictable and fairly uninteresting romantic/road-trip comedy. Amy Adams is always wonderful to look at and plays the two traits of her role, well. Matthew Goode, who I know very little about, is perfectly great as the Irishman that wins her heart. It’s upsetting to see Adam Scott playing such a tool, here, but he’s good at it, and there’s the quick inclusion of Always Sunny’s Kaitlin Olsen. Anything that has any amount of Sweet Dee earns a few notches.
This was cutesy and well worth catching on cable. For its positives and generally vanilla lack of negatives, I give it 3 shamrocks of out 5.
with Timothy Olyphant and Radha Mitchell
Released to Theaters February 26. Rented from Blockbuster (and subsequently returned late, which they still call me about) in August.
This being a George A. Romero production and a remake of a Romero classic, I had much much much (is that enough muches, yet?) higher hopes for this zombie-like-but-not-quite-zombie movie. There’s a contamination in the water source turning people in a podunk town all sorts of… get this… crazy. And who’s going to deal with them? The Sheriff, of course. If I’m being honest, this is a perfectly passable horror movie, with a handful of great scenes and sequences. Plus, there’s the whole “figure out if a member of our group is infected” thing, which is always a mind-bender… but this ain’t even a good zombie movie, let alone good movie.
Here’s to hoping they try harder on the next remake of Romero classic. I give The Crazies 2 out of 5 military containment officers.
Hot Tub Time Machine
with John Cusack, Rob Corddry, Clark Duke, and Craig Robinson. Plus Chevy Chase!
Released to Theaters March 26. Seen in theater on March 26. And again on HBO recently.
Having now seen this “film” for a second time, I can be more objective, but I’ll start by saying this movie gave moviegoers what it advertised: lots of 80′s references (both direct and sneaky), lots of stupid 80′s jokes, and lots of crude, juvenile humor. And you know what? It’s freaking fun to watch. It’s not a great time-travel movie. It’s not a great 80′s movie, which I suppose it only sort-of is in the first place. On the surface, it makes you feel like John Cusack grabbed some friends to go to the well for some cash, but there’s enough percolating in here (like everything involving Crispin Glover, the ski patrol kids mistaking the guys for Russian spies, or the many 80′s movie homages) that make you think it’s a real effort. And it’s pretty funny. If you bring your most critical eye, you’ll find every flaw, but if you sit back and enjoy the ride, you’ll be cracking up all the way through Rob Corddry’s Motlue Crue video in the end credits.
It’s worth a spin. I give it 4 russian energy drinks out of a possible 5.
Toy Story 3
with the voice talents of Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, and many more including Kristen Schaal!
Released to the world June 18. Seen in Bakersfield, CA while moving across the country on June 29.
The verdict on this one seems like it’s been settled since before or perhaps immediately after it’s release. Every critic and every fan seems to think this is Pixar’s finest movie and possibly one of the finest animated feature films ever. While I don’t disagree that it’s a great movie, this is not the best animated film ever made. It’s probably not the best Pixar movie and it may not even be the best Toy Story movie. BUT, all of that said, this is a great movie that — in true Pixar fashion — has layers that work for the kids, layers that work for the parents, and layers that work for people like me that are neither of the before stated categories. Seeing this in Bakersfield for something like $6 a ticket was a sweet plus, too! There’s not much to say that hasn’t been said, and I’m sure you’re familiar with this Toy Story business, already. If you’ve seen 1 and 2, go see this one. If you haven’t seen the prequels, check those out and make it a point to see this quite great final chapter.
Give it a look as soon as you find yourself in the mood. 4 and 1/2 potato heads out of 5.
Knight and Day
with Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz
Released to theaters June 23. Seen in theater in Flagstaff, AZ on July 1.
This movie apparently did not do well in US box office, but recouped expenses and much more internationally. It’s a shame it didn’t get seen by more people, because this movie was freaking great. This movie broke my long-lasting dislike of Tom Cruise, though my disdain was crumbling a bit after Tropic Thunder. The stunts, the sights, the love story, the action elements, and generally everything except the old man chewing popcorn loudly near me were great about this movie. I don’t even typically like Cameron Diaz, but this movie was really fun and exciting. It’s well-written, well-acted, and has a few great twists to keep you going. If a certain Scott Pilgrim hadn’t hit theaters later in the summer, this would have easily been the “funnest” movie I saw in 2010.
I highly recommend it, regardless of your feelings for or against Tom Cruise. I give it 5 out of 5 motorcycle chases. Seriously.
I might as well get this out of the way. Despite my best intentions, I did miss the following summer biggies, which I’d fully hoped to see, during the busy July stretch. I hope to catch them, soon:
Back to the next (and last) movie from 2010 that I actually did see:
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
with Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jason Schwartzman. Kieran Culkin steals many a scene, as well.
Released in theaters August 13. Seen in theaters on August 13. Then again a week later.
In know — Michael Cera’s probably worn out his welcome in your household, too. I mean, he’s always playing the same character and it’s rarely as likable as good ‘ol George Michael Bluth, am I right!? Not so, it turns out. This movie, done by the impeccable Edgar Wright of Hot Fuzz and Shawn of the Dead fame, is a re-imagining of a comic book series that actually draws direct inspiration from the panels on the comic pages. They did cram six full graphic novels into one movie, which leaves some plot lines unfinished and makes you feel it’s a big frayed around some edges, but the visuals, spot-on reproductions of the comic book characters, and killer soundtrack more than make up for it. Even if Michael Cera is making you queasy these days, you can look past some of his weird mannerisms and concentrate on the hilarious, witty, and fun interpretation of the absurd situations Scott Pilgrim gets into.
This movie didn’t get even make back its budget at the box office, which is a freakin’ shame. Grab the DVD or catch this on Netflix ASAP. I give it a full 5 out of 5 shipments from Amazon.ca. What’s the website for that, again?
Awesome. The funniest thing about this year may be that I didn’t see another movie after Scott Pilgrim. I’ve been cruising through the list and can’t find another one I did see. There were ones I’d hoped to see, but I suppose I just didn’t set my watch to walk up and pay $10 for the “privilege” of trying them out.
In September, The Town and Easy A both happened, which I intended to see. Let Me In, a fun-looking Americanization of Let the Right One In, dropped in October, along with The Social Network, which is getting all sorts of praise. I missed them all. While I’m at it, I’ll point out that I also wanted to see Nowhere Boy and Red, but couldn’t tell when they were coming out form their trailers. Into November, I missed Harry Potter 7, which is pretty radical for someone who has seen all Harry Potter movies within a week of their opening. Love and Other Drugs looked good, but got lost in the holiday season along with Black Swan and that new Disney farce. I will soon enough see The Fighter and True Grit, which came out in December, though probably not in that order. They both look spectacular.
So there you have it! A look back at a lackluster year of moviegoing from your’s truly.