It’s that time of year again. The end. So it’s time for us to have a look back at what we think are the best films of 2010. There’s been a great variety this year from films about Facebook and same-sex marriage to vigilante superheroes, city-bending mind-games and explosive birds. 2010′s also arguably been one of the best years for animation with Toy Story 3 appearing on nearly everyone’s best of list.
We’d fight like cats in a sack if we tried to come up with a unified list, so we’ve decided to make separate ones. We’ve all got differing tastes (trust Jamie to pick Trash Humpers….sheeesh), so there’s a bit of a mixed bag here but everything here is worth catching (and you might find one or two gems that you’d missed). So without further ado, in no particular order…
1. Toy Story 3: Despite it being 11 years since Toy Story 2, the third instalment in the franchise managed to pull out all the stops to create an animated masterpiece; one that’s exciting, funny and heartbreaking all in equal measure. Simply wonderful.
2. Up In The Air was a timely comedy drama which was the perfect vehicle for George Clooney as a corporate angel of death that combines cracking performances from Anna Kendrick and Vera Farmiga, witty dialogue and a razor-sharp script.
3. The Kids Are All Right: A comedy drama which tackles the difficult subject of same-sex marriage and adoption, The Kids Are All Right in the hands of a lesser cast could have come across as flat and maudlin but instead is frequently hilarious, moving and never over-simplified. Should win awards aplenty in January.
4. The Social Network: A film about Facebook didn’t seem like a good idea on paper but David Fincher’s direction paired with Adam Sorkin’s excellent dialogue and winning performances from its young cast make this story of greed and ambition one of this year’s highlights.
Masturbation jokes and marijuana are usually the last subjects you would expect to find in your average swords and sorcery adventure, but then Your Highness isn’t your average fantasy film. Following their f-bomb littered R-rated trailer of last month (“But what if he had butt-f**cked her?..”) this profanity-free version still leaves us with no confusion as to the tone of this silly quest comedy. James Franco, Natalie Portman, Zooey Deschanel and Danny McBride star. Your Highness is set for UK release on 24th June 2011.
In the press notes for Love & Other Drugs, it is asserted that one of the film’s unique selling points is the inversion of the conventional love story; a relationship initiated by sexual desire which culminates in mutual love. Broadly speaking, this is true of the rom-com genre, which relies on varying degrees of chastity in favour of presenting a slutty image; sex only ‘validated’ once the pair have made a firm and solid commitment to one another, if indeed they aren’t already planning to get married.
However, Love & Other Drugs is not strictly a rom-com in the same way Slumdog Millionaire wasn’t the feel good film of last year; it might have a happy outcome but the journey along the way is far from cosy or easy-going. Suffering from the early onset of Parkinson’s disease, Maggie (Anne Hathaway) finds the foundations of her world rocked by the arrival of Jamie (Jake Gyllenhaal), a slimy drug company representative who inexplicably puts her under his magic spell; an unconvincing concoction of arrogance and supposed charm which leaves every woman with the capacity to breathe dribbling with desire in his wake. Maggie proves to be a stronger force than Jamie’s average bedfellows and, for the first time, he falls in love but with a woman afflicted by an incurable disease who may well be unrecognisable within twenty years. Read more
I have to be careful about saying anything about Christian Bale these days lest I get savaged by psychotic fans but he’s signed up for an epic historical feature in the shape of Zhang Yimou’s Nanjing Heroes.
It will tell the story of the Nanjing Massacre which involved the slaughter of thousands of Chinese citizens by the Japanese in 1937. Bale will be playing a priest who helps many people escape with the aid of a German businessman called John Rabe.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Zhang Yimou stated, “I met Christian in America and was impressed with his serious book research for the role. It’s the overall strategy for Chinese cinema to approach the world and broaden its influence but casting Bale was a coincidence because the script happened to have an English-speaking part in the lead.”
The director is planning to spend $90m on the film which is fairly substatial stuff (reportedly about the same as John Woo spent on Red Cliff which was suitably impressive). No word on shooting yet, but it’ll probably be after Bale has finished his stint in the third outing of The Caped Crusader.
Subjected to innumerable television and screen adaptations since celluloid’s invention, Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels has often struggled to acclimatise to a non-literary format (with the exception of Ted Danson’s impressive contribution in 1996).
Living in New York, Gulliver (Jack Black), re-imagined as a lowly mail room worker of scant aspiration, inadvertently accepts an assignment from successful sub-editor Darcy (Amanda Peet) in a last bid to win her affection and admiration. Sent to the Bermuda Triangle, Gulliver is soon sucked into a watery vortex during a ferocious storm, soon to regain consciousness under the captivity of the inhabitants of Lilliput, initially perceived as a beast and later, via a series of events, a hero. Read more
According to TorrentFreak, the film was downloaded an estimated 16 million times through torrent sites and P2P connections. TorrentFreak claim this is a 33% increase on last year’s most pirated movie Stark Trek.
The blockbbusting Kick-Ass came second, earning 11.4 million illegal downloads while Leonardo DiCaprio (incidentally, this year’s best paid Hollywood A-lister) led films Inception and Shutter Island came in 3rd and 4th respectively.
The rest of the list looks like this:
1. Avatar – 16,580,000
2. Kick-Ass – 11,400,000
3. Inception – 9,720,000
4. Shutter Island – 9,490,000
5. Iron Man 2 – 8,810,000
6. Clash Of The Titans – 8,040,000
7. Green Zone – 7,730,000
8. Sherlock Holmes – 7,160,000
9. The Hurt Locker – 6,850,000
10. Salt – 6,700,000
In the list, annually released by Forbes, Shutter Island and Inception are cited as the keys to Leo’s success. Both films made £650 million, hence DiCaprio’s jealousy-inducing bank account.
Sharing second place were Johnny Depp and Mia Wasikowskam, both of whom enjoyed enormous triumphs at the box office. Starring together in the blockbusting Alice In Wonderland certainly helped add to the success of The Tourist and The Kids Are Alright.
The rest of the list is unsurprising except perhaps for Jayden Smith and Jackie Chan who took ninth and tenth place after the global popularity of The Karate Kid reboot.
The list emphasises, once again, the huge financial reliance of Hollywood studios on franchises with the majority of the best paid stars having earnt significant sums of money from sequels and relaunches.
The furore which surrounded The Green Hornet at this year’s ComicCon is growing again with the film’s release next month, and we are now starting to get a better look at Seth Rogen’s anti-hero (what’s going on with all these incompetent avengers at the minute?) We’ve already seen the trailer and today we got our greedy little mitts on this featurette – courtesy of Yahoo Movies – which takes us behind the themes of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s comedy. We also hear from Cameron Diaz, which is never a bad thing. The Green Hornet arrives in cinemas on 14th January..
In what would be an epic betrayal of Judas proportions, stories had begun to circulate that George Lucas, in collusion with Steven Spielberg and Ford himself, were planning to kill off the archaeologist to allow his son, Mutt Williams (Shia LeBeouf) to step into his shoes (if there were any traces left).
Insiders have reliably come out of the woodwork: “Harrison thinks it would be good for Indy to die and pass on his hat to his son in the next one.”
“George especially is resisting the notion but Steven is considering it. Funnily enough Harrison wanted the same for Han Solo in the final Star Wars but George put an end to it. This time he doesn’t have all the say though.”
According to statements from Ford’s agents, published in The Huffington Post, the reports are completely “false”.
After watching a series of screenwriters savage his best-selling novels in recent years, Dan Brown will finally get the chance to adapt his latest book for the big screen after Sony rejected the first draft The Lost Symbol from Eastern Promise scribe Steven Knight.
Brown has never written a screenplay before, but he should know the material inside out and has already proved himself to be a master storyteller.
And let’s face it, he can’t do worse than Akiva Goldsman and David Koepp, who co-wrote Angels & Demons. The marginally better Da Vinci Code was penned by Goldsman alone.
Incidentally, Koepp – who achieved great things with Jurassic Park earlier in his career – also penned Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in 2008. It was obviously a bad period.
Tom Hanks (who is expected to reprise his role as puzzle-busting Professor Robert Langdon) and director Ron Howard are rather busy at the minute, but we can probably expect a release date to be set next year.