As promised the second half of my top ten, because I survived skiing. I recommend you watch all the films in the list. Only girls aren’t allowed to see #5.
05. Expendables, The (2010)
What to write about this picture? I looked forward to it like a rabid doberman looks forward to biting calves. I mean, Stallone, Statham, Rourke, Li, Lundgren, Austin, Roberts and even Willis and Schwarzenegger in one action flick? Who cares that there are a few names left out? If the Van Dammes, Norisses and Seagals had been added to the mix this project would have literally exploded. A film strip can not hold that much testosterone without breaking. I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed after seeing the film the first time though, because the group of muscles seem like a collected bunch of actors without a tight bonding. Not at al like the military teams from Predator or Aliens. Now there are some soldiers that made me believe that they had gone to hell and back with each other. But as the plot thickens (gheh…), this film warps us back to the eighties. It has a modern look but a good ole’ old fashioned feel. And a lot of gunpower. Praise Stallone. He may be old in years but he seems to be the only one left who knows how to approach the eighties properly and play a leading role as action hero still. Fans who haven’t seen this one yet: Shame. On. You.
04. Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)
Snappy and well made are the two terms to sum up this stop motion picture. Leave it to Wes Anderson to blend sarcasm and wittiness to a cocktail that immediately tastes like more. Based on the novel by Roald Dahl, it is about a fox stealing from three local farmers. In their turn they try to outsmart the fox. Bad idea of course. The stop motion of this films looks a bit stiff perhaps, but that is actually the most charming bit. The audience doesn’t have to believe that they are looking at something real as if this were Pixar animation. As usual Anderson took his pick from a great bunch of actors. Although George Clooney will always sound like George Clooney he makes a great Mr Fox. He has the right feeling for the dialogue. It is hard to approach a film like this the right way, because it is actually a children’s story written for an adult audience. The director knew exactly what the strength of the story was though and he grabbed it by the nuts.
03. Shutter Island (2010)
Martin Scorsese is a good filmmaker. There is no doubt about that. But his last couple of pictures haven’t been as good as his early work. Shutter Island is. It is dark, claustrophobic and unheimisch. It is about an FBI agent investigating a case in the fifties. A special case, since it is on a well fortified island full of mental patients. At first it seems like one angry complot that he is where he is, but after an autumn storm makes his return to the mainland impossible, it begins to look like he is both literally and figuratively trapped on the island. Scorsese then starts playing a game of Cluedo with the audience. DiCaprio is believable in his part of the agent. The big twist of Shutter Island is predictable and badly written though (the film is based on the novel of overrated author Dennis Lehane, although no bad picture has been adapted from his books), but it are the second, third and fourth viewings that make up the strength of this film. It is good to know how it ends and then see it again. There are so many fine details to discover, including the incredible acting.
02. Social Network, The (2010)
I had some doubt about this film before I saw it. I think many people did. Director David Fincher made me hope for the best, but a film about Facebook? With Jesse Eisenberg, the B-version of Michael Cera, as the male lead? By god I like it when I am proven wrong. The best way to see a film is to have your low expectations blown away by a very good movie experience. And this is that exactly. Writer Alan Sorkin wrote this script as tight as a steers backside during a rodeo. It is witty, a bit sarcastic and above all very smartly written. Fincher transformed this into the picture about how Facebook came to be. The characters all have their motives, but in the end greed nor friendship seem to be the driving matters behind the legal quarrel that drives founders Zuckerberg and Saverin apart. It is up to the viewer to be the judge on this case. Eisenberg plays Zuckerberg as if he were him; an Oscar can only be the best conclusion for this role. He suddenly became the A-version of himself.
01. Road, The (2009)
Did I already mention I like post apocalyptic films on my blog? Well I do. I like them loads. Especially when they are well made and thought out well. That last point should not be underestimated if the theme is approached realistically. Director John Hillcoat did not underestimate it, although the book he based this project on was a good starting point. Perhaps The Road can be compared best with Michael Haneke’s Le Temps Du Loup, but this picture is less pessimistic about the human race after the fall of modern society. Not that this film is optimistic, oh no. It is dark, muddy and very pessimistic indeed. Survivor Viggo Mortensen has to stay alive together with is son, while overcoming disease and the loss of his wife. It is, as the title suggests, a road movie. The Road searches for the human psyche in the darkest of hours and I think it is one of the most believable films in the genre. Therefore it holds a well deserved first place in my top ten.