Friday, December 31, 2010

The 10 Best & Worst Movies of 2010

As 2010 comes to an end, let's celebrate the best and worse cinematic experience. Here's my top 10 movies that been screened in a Singapore Theatre (or other form of public screening) from the 1st Jan 2010 to the 31st Dec 2010. It's not possible for me to catch all the movies that out in Singapore and my selective nature might have prevented me from catching some others gems (or duds) of 2010. Nevertheless, here my list of Best and Worst 10 of 2010 ...

The 10 Best Movies of 2011

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo | Män som hatar kvinnor - Who would expect a Swedish Film about a 40 year old cold case could be this good. It's so good that there's two sequels and a Hollywood remake (by David Fincher) coming soon. The thriller is compelling and rather graphic (specially when it depicts rape). The characters are intriguing and the actors (Michael Nyqvist & Noomi Rapace) were terrific in their respective roles. It's a pity that the following two sequels pale in comparison.

Triple Tap | 鎗王之王 - As a sequel to Double Taps, Triple Tap offered something new and something old. It once again flash out the engaging psychological rivalry between two sharpshooters and even offer linkage to the original with Alex Fong returning as the wise mentor who had been scarred from the experience in the original movie. The psychological case here is twisty and keep the viewer guessing what's the criminal mastermind up to. Triple Tap get a lock in my top ten due to it's ability to retain the flavor of the original movie while branching out to something new.

the social network - Facebook currently the biggest social networking platform in the net. Who would have guess that the formation of Facebook would packed so much drama and emotions? Leave it to David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin to craft out one heck of a movie that in most movie fans' top ten of 2010.  Awesome performance by Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield and Justin Timberlake. and Not forgetting the soundtrack by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross ... currently receiving plenty of playbacks on my mp3 player.

Flowers フラワーズ - Beautifully shot with various styles that define the different era of Japanese movies, Flowers focus on the struggles of six ladies from the 1930s till modern times. The movie brings out the various hardship and difficult decisions that they might face. They reacted differently but yet still retain a certain gracefulness that admirable. Kudos have to be given to the filmmakers and the cast for making their respective segment memorable when they have only so limited time to shine.

Confessions 告白 - The best vengeance movie of 2010. How do you extract revenge on people who simply apathetic with other people's lives? How do you teach the self centered generation about the pain of others?  This beautifully shot movie did it in the most disturbing way and in a way brilliant. It hooked you with the opening intro and never let go until the final dialogue fades away with the blackout. It reveal confessions upon confessions, digging to the truth of what's really in the mind of those involved. Bold concepts and eerily relatable.

Liar Game: the Final Stage ライアーゲーム ザ・ファイナルステージ - My friend been recommending Liar Game TV series to me and although this is my first introduction to the world of Liar Game, it's not hard to see why it's worth recommending. Completely accessible to newbies, Liar Game: the Final Stage is constructed on simple rules to test one's greed and deviousness. It does not conveniently abandon the rules (like a couple of other movies that I saw) and the unconventionally thinking to get around the game were a delight to follow.

Shutter Island - In many ways, Shutter Island felt rather similar to Inception. Beside having the same leading man, the protagonists that leading the operations weren't really in the right frame of mind. Both are plagued with their own dreams and obsession with their wives. While many embraced Inception, Shutter Island would be the flick that's in my top ten. The emotional trauma and the revelation felt more realistic and poignant to me.

Summer Wars サマーウォーズ - An interesting blend on family bonds and the internet realm.

Not many anime / movie could achieve the fine balancing act of bringing those two elements together. Summer Wars not only combine both elements well, it bring a rousing performance that's able to bring a strong emotion affection even on the second viewing.

One of the Best Japanese animation have to offer in 2010 and it just reaffirms that Mamoru Hosoda (who also directed The Girl Who Leapt Through Time) is one guy to watch out for.

Up in the Air - Technically a 2009 movie and a contender for the last Academy Awards, Up in the Air was release theatrically in Singapore on March 2010 and remained etched as my top 2 favorite 2010 movies. Up in the Air is about a man who fly all over to assist with corporate downsize. A movie that invokes thoughts on our daily trivial pursuits and our jobs. It's about perspectives in life and how you don't always get what you want. It's funny, it's informative, it's interesting, it's heart breaking and last but not least it offered a glimpse of hope.

Fish Story | フィッシュストーリー - An Epic tale of Apocalyptic proportion...  told in a series of irrelevant and non-chronological stories. Childhood dreams, friendship, courage, faith and passion for music, this is what the 20th Century Boys tried to achieve in their trilogy but somehow fumble and made a mess with the materials at hand.

Fish Story is defiant, invoking a sense of wonderment and a groovy punk rock song with the weirdest lyrics that hard to forget. It dealt with the process of creation and facing the uncertain future. Needless to say, I was elated when Fish Story won the audience vote for Best Film of the Japanese Film Festival (Singapore).

Other notable mentions for 2010 ... they are all great and 4 stars movies but just couldn't squeeze into my top ten for 2010.

Lala Pipo: A Lot of People, I Give My First Love to You, Fantastic Water Babes, Goemon, Little Big Soldier, Nodame Cantabile: The Final Score Part 1, Iron Man 2, Toy Story 3, Aftershock, The Joneses, Outrage & Air Doll.

The 10 Worst Movies 0f 2010

Vampires Suck - Who would expect a parody of a dreary teenage vampire romance series could be even more dreary? Only when it's Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer directing it. Yup the same duo who gave us the horrendous spoof like Disaster Movie and Meet the Spartans.

There are far more inventive and funny online spoofs of the Twilight franchise. This movie actually made me want to watch New Moon or Eclipse instead.


Phua Chu Kang the Movie - I don't remember the iconic Singapore Ah Beng (uncouth) renovator Phua Chu Kang being that bad when it was still a Singapore sitcom.

How did it became so juvenile, crude and unfunny? Phua Chu Kang the Movie is filled with tired old gags that are executed horribly bad that it's hard to even chuckle at them. There's also the juvenile Hokkien shouting match between Phua Chu Kang and Frankie Foo that goes on thru out the movie. It makes me forgot that there's a plot involving Phua Chu Kang's mom visiting them in Malaysia and some plotline about renovating an old folks home.

I would recommend that you pick up PCK the Singapore Television series instead. Never seen so much local talents wasted in such horrible manner.

I feel so bloated from bad scripting

City Under Siege - It seemed that the director's focus was on the special effects and came out with a meandering script that lacks any real motivation for the protagonist and villain. Resulting with the protagonist and villain stumbling upon a power source that turned them into superpower mutants. Literally floats the protagonist around and leaving the villain without any real objective to achieve. The awkwardly patch them together for a predictable finale.

Ironically the special effects ain't that great either and the best bit would be Aaron Kwok clowning around.

Clash of the Titians, Future X-Cops & District 13: Ultimatum - Their original story wasn't that great but CotT made it's mark in the movie special effects history and FXC / D13U were fun in their own rights. These remakes / reboots / sequel were a dismay bunch. While the original CotT modify it's tale from the mythology, this CotT mutated it into something that just sucks. Future X-Cops lacked the predecessor's star powers and all the real fun had been squeezed out for the China market. D13U is so weak and bland with it's storyline that it made the original one look like it's a work of genius. Even the free running stunts felt less impressive.

Valentine's DayHot Summer Days - Love Actually wannabes with all the stars but none of the sizzle. A blatant effort in cashing in on the celebrities' popularity and weak effort in creating a story segment that works. Watching a rerun of Love Actually would actually be more engaging when it comes to pulling heartstrings.

I Hate Valentine's Day - Is about Genevieve Gernier (Nia Vardalos) and her stupid crazy idea of dating the opposite sex for only 5 times so that the romance will not ends with miserable breakup. The movie played out in a formulaic and tired fashion. It's also laden with unfunny comedic elements and Nia Vardalos' acting which consist largely of  one smiley expression.
I Hate Valentine's Day just reeks of desperation that Nia Vardalos was trying to recapture the success of My Big Fat Greek Wedding to prove that she is not a one hit wonder. I Hate Valentine's Day just reaffirm that her My Big Fat Greek Wedding might just be a fluke afterall.

Legion - is the perfect example of how to think small when approaching the grand ideas of conflicts between God, Angels and other Demonic creatures. There's potential in the setup for Legion. An angel go against God to protect a special unborn child and the all important battle take place at a diner located at the edge of a desert with the remaining few survivors who are taking a stand with the fallen angel.

Getting an entry here means that somehow this movie managed to squander off it's potential. Legion is reduced to nothing more than a shoot'em up flick of people taking on angels and demons.

Or perhaps the movie's only concern was how to create as many supernatural special effects fights as they could on a limited budget. But then again, the special effects didn't really make much of an impression and the story impressively bland.

and the other movies that made me wanna bolt out of the cinema in 2010 were Armored, My Ex & Enthiran

That's all folks ... See you at the movies in 2011

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