Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Ten best movies I saw in 2010

Yes, some of these movies did not come out in 2010. But these were the ten best movies I saw this year. I saw some in the theater, some on planes, many on Netflix but the rule was that I had to see if for the first time in 2010. This list has documentaries, independent darlings, comic book adaptations, and a movie that features the most bizarre sound track since South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut.
1. The Kids are All Right – I hope Mark Ruffalo gets at least an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor.
2. It Might Get Loud – one of the twenty best films of the decade. If you like guitar solos and you have not seen this quit reading this and update your Netflix Que.
3. The Joneses - this quirky comedy about the dangers of materialism and how we evaluate the success of our marriage and our life while examining the subconscious "who has the bigger MALE BODY PART in the suburbs” phenomena. It also makes us determine if we "need" a riding lawnmower with a TV to become a complete person.
4. Ghost Writer – the second of two Roman Polanski films on this list.
5. Kick Ass – a dark, dark, dark, dark, comedy about vigilantes. It will probably go down as Nicholas Cage’s last good movie.
6. Get Him to the Greek – it is not a great film, but it is fun. Props to P. Diddy for basically doing a very funny imitation of himself.
7. Mysterious Skin – this was the first film I watched strictly because Joseph Gordon Levit was the star. It will not be the last. The subject matter is disturbing but Levit is amazing. After watching him in 3rd Rock from the Sun, I never thought he could act nearly this good.
8. Death and The Maiden / Law Abiding Citizen – these two films both were about revenge on rapists. They were done very differently and both were amazing. In both films, you do not know who the good guy is and who the bad guy is. If you are deciding between the two go with Death and the Maiden. Sigourney Weaver and Ben Kingsley are better than Jamie Fox and Gerard Butler.
9. Up In the Air – if you are a consultant it is a documentary of our life. George Clooney is perfect. Easily one of his five best films and top three performances!
10. The Social Network – only down side is that expectations were too high. I thought Charlie Wilson’s War was better written. I thought Seven, Fight Club and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button were directed better.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Top 25 Movies of 2000s: 13: The Namesake (2007)

Who am I? Am I a product of my environment? Am I a continuation of my culture and my namesake? Am I my own person? These are the questions presented in the massively under viewed “The Namesake.” The Namesake stars Kal Pen, which is a good thing and a bad thing. Primarily know for his Harold and Kumar go to White Castle films, in The Namesake he showed an amazing depth of ability, pain of a character and showed me more than I thought he was capable of as an actor. Unfortunately, most fans of Harold and Kumar would not want to see a coming of age film about a first generation Indian-American. Most art house film fans would automatically dismiss a film from the guy in “that stupid stoner film who was on House.” Both groups would miss out on a great film. Kal Pen can act!!!
We have all taken a job to pay a bill. Actors take jobs to pay their bills. See George Cloney in “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes”. See Denzel Washington in “Carbon Copy.” See Natalie Portman in “The Phantom Menace.”
There is an amazing scene (SPOILER ALERT) after Penn’s father died. At the time, Penn, newly out of college, was dating a rich white, blonde woman woman and essentially embracing her upper class lifestyle and completely ignoring his family. Then he gets the shocking news. His father dies. The scene follows with him shaving his head while great rap music plays in the background. The scenes blends a flashback with Penn’s own father shaving his head after his father died. This blend shows Penn returning to his heritage. This transformation foreshadows how he will address the relationship with his girlfriend and all future relationships.
The Namesake shows how someone evolves. He was the loyal son. Then he was his own person. They he became the person his family wanted him to be. The film concludes with no obvious answer. He realizes that his life journey does not have a map. Like most people in their 20s, he does not know what the right thing is for him, but he is discovering what is NOT the right path. This does not provide full enlightenment, but it does help to shape the person that he is becoming.