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2010 Best and Worst

2010 will probably go down as the year of 3-D.  Almost every other commercial film this year seemed to be given the 3-D once over in an effort by an industry keen on obtaining the viewer’s cash.  But there were some good films to be had if you found them with the traditional block-buster and independent film-making sector merging like never before.
 

So here are the ones that deserve a holiday to a tropical island and here are those deserving of a trip to the local scrap-yard…….
 

THE BEST
 

10.          The Social Network
 

9.            Kick-Ass
 

8.            Up in the Air
 

7.            Me and Orson Welles
 

6.            A Simple Man
 

5.            The Ghost Writer
 

4.            The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
 

3.            Brothers
 

2.            The King’s Speech
 

1              Inception
 

What I said then:  Inception is daringly different mainstream fare with the director’s determination to think outside the square a bravely imaginative bold stroke.
 

What I say now:  A great example of the continuing blending of mainstream and independent style movie-making, Inception was a great action film forcing the viewer to think as well as be excited by its stunning visuals.
 

Honourable Mentions:
The Hurt Locker, The A-Team, Toy Story 3, Green Zone, Robin  Hood, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, The Town, Winter’s Bone, Let Me In.
 

 

THE WORST
 

10.          Charlie St. Cloud
 

9.            Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief
 

8.            The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
 

7.            Prince of Persia: Sands of Time
 

6.            Dear John
 

5.            Sex and the City 2
 

4.            Cop Out
 

3.            Eat Pray Love
 

2.            Killers
 

1              The Spy Next Door
 

What I said then:  The Spy Next Door represents a complete betrayal of everything Jackie Chan once stood for.  Sliding comfortably into middle age with sugar coated dreck, this terrible movie further sinks his once glossy reputation.
 

What I say now:  It was a horrible film when I saw it and it’s an awful film still – Jackie Chan needs to bow out gracefully before anymore shockers like this one puts another nail in his career coffin.
 

Dishonourable mentions:
Paranormal Activity 2, Matching Jack, Nine, Twilight: Eclipse, Alice in Wonderland, I Love You Too, Clash of the Titans.
 

That’s the end for another year.  Thanks for reading and I wish everyone a happy and enjoyable holiday.  As usual when another year of films begins I’ll be there watching and reviewing……….
 

 

 

 

 

Tron: Legacy

One of my earliest cinema-going memories was seeing Tron in 1982.  Already a burgeoning sci-fi fan, viewing its computer generated imagery was a dazzling spectacle for my nine year old imagination.  It seemed I wasn’t the only one impressed as it went on to become one of the most influential films of all time.  Despite howls of derision from critics saying CGI-reliant films would never work, Tron has had the last laugh with its sequel proving just as innovative as the one I saw seemingly a lifetime ago.
 

Twenty years after his disappearance, Kevin (Jeff Bridges) still haunts the dreams of his son Sam (Garrett Hedlund).  When Kevin’s old friend Alan (Bruce Boxleitner) asks Sam to investigate some strange happenings in Kevin’s old computer arcade he accepts.  While there he is suddenly transported to The Grid, a digital world where his father is trapped.  Helped by soldier Quorra (Olivia Wilde), they attempt to escape and evade the deadly machinations of CLU 2 (a de-aged Jeff Bridges) a hacking program determined to keep them in the realms of cyberspace.
 

Although Tron’s visuals were stunning, to be honest its story was somewhat risible.  It was essentially a children’s fabled dressed in techno-hardware.  Tron: Legacy is more adult in approach with an involving story and striking look blending perfectly.  Whilst this doesn’t always work – the pacing occasionally drags with too much exposition – for the most part Tron: Legacy is a wild ride whose scope is only limited by the writers’ imagination.  Importantly it maintains the ‘wonder’ of its unique world whilst updating it for modern audiences.
 

Chief to its success are great action sequences fully embracing its concept.  Anything can suddenly happen – which it does – thereby keeping viewers on their toes.   This is superbly highlighted by Daft Punk’s amazing synth-heavy soundtrack which enables Tron: Legacy’s cyber-scenery to come spectacularly to life.  The actors manage to mostly withstand this sea of CGI effects to provide some good performances even if it’s unusual seeing an older Jeff Bridges going to battle against himself!  Two of them means twice the acting gravitas of course with his co-stars gamely attempting to match his range. 
 

Tron: Legacy is a more than passable sequel to a memorable film.  It’ll be very interesting seeing how it travels in the following years and whether it carves out its own reputation in an industry reliant on the CGI wonder it bravely pioneered. 
 

Rating out of 10:  7