According to Movieweb, there were 651 films released in 2010 and no, I didn’t see them all. In fact, there are some movies still on my to-watch list that I know will affect this article (including The Fighter and The Kids are All Right), but I hope to see them soon and add some additional commentary at that point. For now, however, I figure I saw maybe 100-150 new films this year, both clunkers and superb examples of all that cinema has to offer.
I attended a preview screening of Gulliver’s Travels about a week prior to it opening nationally. Most film screenings are theaters full of families who have scored free tickets through newspaper advertisements, radio promotions or similar, with a small number of seats reserved for us critics. The more base and crude the film, the more this can feel like the studio manipulating us reviewers: critics generally prefer complex, sophisticated films that tap into the rich language of cinema, but jam a theater full of people seeing a movie for free and it’s date night, paid by Paramount, Universal, Fox, Miramax, or similar.
The original True Grit was released in 1969 (see my review) was one of the films that marked the end of the Western in cinema. Primarily about the relationship between hard-as-nails teen Mattie (Kim Darby) and grizzled old marshall Rooster Cogburn (John Wayne, in an Academy Award winning performance), it worked because Mattie was fearless and dogged in her pursuit of justice for the ranch hand who murdered her father, and because Cogburn was a down-on-his-luck alcoholic with a desire to do well.
I’ve been on a bit of a soundtrack binge in the last few months and am finding it a fascinating way to expand my appreciation of films. In more than one case, it’s even making me really want to watch the movie again. It’s not the soundtracks of films like Pirate Radio [my review of Pirate Radio] — which I really enjoyed — but soundtracks known as “OST”, original soundtracks, in the industry, soundtracks where the music has been composed specifically for the film and the scenes within.
WIth the impending release of the Coen Brothers remake of True Grit (starring Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon and Hailee Steinfeld), it seemed like a good time to go back and watch the original 1969 True Grit, directed by Henry Hathaway and starring John Wayne, Kim Darby and Glen Campbell.
Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie! Is there anything else people needed to know about this movie to make The Tourist a success? Actually, yes, and while it was reasonably enjoyable to see two of the brightest stars in Hollywood finally share the screen, it turns out that the film has garnered lots of bad – and perhaps unjustified – reviews. Rotten Tomatoes, for example, shows an aggregate score of 20%, making it the most disliked film currently in the theaters.
When I sat down to watch Black Swan I really had no idea what to expect, and frankly wasn’t too enthused about a film about dancers. Yes, there’s lots of drama and politics in a dance troupe – after all that’s where “prima dona” comes from — but would the prospect of watching Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis compete for the lead in a performance really be entertaining?