The Movies Of Fall 2010

Everyone loves a good recap don’t they? I know I do, and I know people enjoyed our ‘Movies Of Summer 2010 Recap‘ that we posted a while back. Now that the fall season is over, and a good slew of the Oscar contenders have come and gone, let’s take a look back at the movies of fall 2010. The winners, the losers, the surprises, the letdowns and more. Join us as we recap the movies of fall 2010.

Starting things off in September were a couple interesting films. Firstly we had Machete, the Robert Rodriguez film starring Danny Trejo. The film was a throwback to the B grade, 70′s exploitation films. It’s way over the top, has more than enough blood and violence, and overall it’s fairly entertaining. In our review, we said:

Machete is a fun film. It slows down in parts and becomes redundant at times but it excels in the action and violence. The film’s witty sarcasm and good sense of humor helps to keep things moving and overall it turns out to be somewhat enjoyable. Just go in knowing what to expect and you’ll find yourself satisfied at the end.

Pulling in $33 million at the box office, it didn’t make a whole lot. Despite this, a sequel is near inevitable and I’m sure this isn’t the last we’ve seen of the machete wielding hero.

Releasing the same weak was The American, the new George Clooney film. The American is an odd film. A lot of people were just confused, it didn’t exactly turn out how it was advertised. At least not in my opinion. When I saw it, I got a very different film than I expected, and not in a good way.

The American moved way too slow for me and I just couldn’t get into it. It was well shot but I couldn’t help but to feel bored for most of it. Apparently our reviewer, Blake, didn’t agree with me as he said in his review:

The American belongs in an arthouse theatre, and I’m guessing that there will be a fair amount of people unamused that this film is being marketed as a summer blockbuster. Sure, you may be disappointed if you’re expecting one thing and getting another.  But I promise you, what you actually get is much more interesting than anything else you could have seen at the cinema. Both Clooney and Corbijn have earned a new level of respect from this viewer.

No one expected this movie to make much but at $60 million, it tripled its budget. I suppose this is just a film that’s not for everyone. I know a lot of people who were really turned off by it. Have you seen The American? If so what did you think?

The last major release that week was Going The Distance. Starring Justin Long and Drew Barrymore, Going The Distance was an average romantic comedy with some genuinely funny moments but nothing that would make it stand out in a crowd. I enjoyed it when I watched it but it’s not something I would watch again. I’d recommend it for a one time viewing though, perhaps with a girlfriend or wife.

The film did pretty crummy in theatres, only bringing back 26 of its $32 million dollar budget. Perhaps DVD sales will help it, who knows?

Other releases this week worth mentioning are the fascinating documentary The Tillman Story and the second part of the electrifying French film Mesrine, Mesrine: Public Enemy # 1. I really enjoyed both Mesrine: Killer Instinct and Mesrine: Public Enemy #1. In my review, I said the following:

Mesrine: Public Enemy #1 is an excellent way to end the two part biopic. As a separate entity, it takes a different approach than Killer Instinct but it is equally as compelling and gripping. As a whole, the two part biopic is superb. Cassel is tremendous in the role and Richet directs everything almost perfectly. It’s an epic gangster film that deserves to be placed amongst the best.

Don’t let the subtitles deter you from seeing this one, it’s a fantastic film and Cassel’s performance alone is worth the viewing. It’s an incredible gangster flick and I highly recommend it.

Moving on, the next week saw, among others, the fourth instalment in the Resident Evil series, Resident Evil: Afterlife. Arguably the worst film in the series, it opened to poor reviews but that didn’t stop it from pulling in close to $300 million at the box office. In his review, Blake said that:

Since we’ve literally seen all this before, it’s only occasionally entertaining, and rarely interesting. It’s not hard to link Milla Jovovich’s sexual masquerades to directors willing to put her in their films. Anderson is no exception. Nothing is required of Ms. Jovovich except to look angry, shoot guns, and emasculate the men in the cast by… looking angry and shooting guns.

I for one didn’t hate the film but I didn’t particularly enjoy it either. I thought the 3D was fine, and there were a few neat scenes but overall, it lacked the punch that the previous three delivered.

Also releasing that week was the faux-documentary I’m Still Here, that focused on Joaquin Phoenix. I always thought the film was stupid to start with but it was even worse when director Casey Affleck announced that it was all fake. What was the point of it then? It wasn’t even like it was entertaining.

In his review, Will said that:

Had it been any good or had anything to say about the state of acting or the music industry it might be forgiven. As it is, the film is smug, self indulgent, badly put together and painful to watch and moreover, it is a waste of print about a person which nobody cares about. I’m Still Here, obviously referring to the only idiot left in the cinema watching this after all the sensible people leave and go next door to watch something else.

I couldn’t agree more. This film was a complete waste of time and I would highly advise against going to see it.

The next week was notable, with a few interesting films releasing. The first of which was the highly anticipated film from director Mark Romanek, Never Let Me Go, based on the novel of the same name. Featuring some very strong performances from the three leads (Andrew Garfield, Carey Mulligan and Keira Knightley), the film failed to live up to its expectations.

I never did get around to seeing it but I still want to, despite it failing to live up to expectations. It didn’t get particularly bad reviews, it just wasn’t as well reviewed as predicted. In his review, Blake said that:

In the end, the film fails to reach its lofty ambitions. And it’s painful to think of how good Never Let Me Go could have been at the hands of a better director.

Also releasing that week were four other films. Devil, The Town, Easy A and Alpha and Omega.

The comedic gem Easy A, opened to pretty positive reviews and pitted actress Emma Stone with director Will Gluck. This was another film I missed but a film I’ve been meaning to see. In his review, Blake said:

All compliments and complaints aside, the thing I loved most about Easy A (excluding Stone), was the wildly fresh script that kept me laughing out loud over and over. Credit is due to Bert V. Royal here, whose only other writing credit (according to IMDb) is one episode of Gigantic in 2010. There’s a humor and intelligence in the crisp writing that I haven’t heard in a comedy since, well, for a long time. This film is well worth anyone’s time and I suggest you get yourself to the theatre sooner rather than later.

Easy A pulled in close to $65 million at the box office and considering its low budget, those numbers are pretty good. Stone will be reteaming with Gluck and hopefully their next project turns out just as good.

Devil, the new horror movie from the mind of Hollywood’s biggest hack, M. Night Shyamalan, actually didn’t look that bad, I’ll be honest, I did want to see it at first. After viewing it though, my mind was changed, Devil wasn’t a good film, it wasn’t even a decent film. Blake wrote in his review that:

Devil may not be as hacky as, perhaps, Lady in the Water, but there’s nothing here that is new, exciting, or a suspenseful. The physical limitations of the main characters could have been a tremendous asset of the script and Nelson has proved he can do much with little like in Hard Candy. But everything falls short and flat. Devil will be a distant, and faded memory by the time you get to your car.

The Town, while it may be gone (at least from theatres), it is not forgotten. Still one of the best movies I saw in 2010, The Town is a very strong directorial effort from actor/director Ben Affleck. As a follow up to his last film, Gone Baby Gone, The Town, like the aforementioned film, also deals with crime and it’s a gripping and compelling film. In his review, Rob Cox writes:

To be sure, The Town’s gritty Boston locale certainly recalls The Departed, as does its attention to character development (another way in which it recalls Heat, too). While both films are crime dramas, the similarities end there. The Town is its own, unique storytelling triumph, with zero need to sell itself using gimmicky comparisons. That fact will become especially clear when Oscar nominations are announced. This one is one of 2010’s true must-see titles.

I couldn’t agree more. This is one of the strongest films of 2010. Boasting superb performances and a powerful story, this is a must see. I can’t wait to see what Affleck does next.

Lastly, we have Alpha and Omega, an animated film that is apparently better than most give it credit for. While I haven’t seen it myself, our reviewer Andrew Benage, said the following in his review:

Though this film lacks action and dips into rather cliché comedy at times, the complex conflict schemes emerging from the rarely used man vs. society convention as well as the intertwined romantic nuances and breathtaking melodies of the music score make this a film you won’t want to miss.

Perhaps it wasn’t the strongest animated effort in 2010 but can you really blame it? 2010 is a year that saw films like Toy Story 3 and Despicable Me. I know a few people who did enjoy Alpha and Omega and I’ll be checking it out when it hits DVD/Blu-Ray.

Rounding out the week were a few smaller releases including Jack Goes Boating, Catfish (which I thought was very overrated) and Leaves of Grass.

The last week of September gave moviegoers quite an array of choices to choose from. Arguably the biggest one was Oliver Stone’s return to the cutthroat streets of New York with Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps.

Bringing back one of the most iconic film characters, Gordon Gekko, Stone is back to hammer home his message and give us his opinion on the recent US financial meltdown. Starring Shia LaBeouf, Carey Mulligan and Josh Brolin, I had high expectations for this one. Unfortunately, myself and everyone else, seemed somewhat let down. In his review, Will Chadwick said:

This should have been the film which defined 2010. It should have given us insight into the financial crisis while still coming off as dramatically engaging and coherent. As it is, it’s a subpar effort for Oliver Stone and one of his limpest works, the biggest problem from a directorial standpoint being the imbalance between the emotional and economic storylines. His politics seem to have oddly cooled down, which is a shame because whenever there was a time for him to be angry at the world, it’s now.

It’s very true. This should have been one of the defining films of 2010. Instead, it turned out to be lame, dull and nowhere near as good as the original, which is a shame because I really had high expectations for this one.

Releasing alongside Stone’s failed effort were Buried, Legend of the Guardian: The Owls Of Ga’Hoole, Waiting For Superman, Enter The Void and You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger. A busy week indeed.

Buried was an interesting film, essentially taking place in one location, a coffin, it stars Ryan Reynolds as a man who is buried alive. While it seemed like it would make for an effective thriller and expectations were certainly high, it opened to mediocre reviews but ultimately was labelled as a let down. Blake Griffin said in his review that:

Director Rodrigo Cortés’s job was to make the inside of a coffin both interesting enough to watch or over an hour and a half, as well as to make it feel claustrophobic. In this, he both succeeded and failed, as the film is interesting enough not to be bored. However, Neil Marshall did a better job at making me squirm at the idea of small spaces in The Descent. In fact, at times, the space in Buried seems quite roomy.

Despite the mediocre reviews, I’m still eager to see this one. I’m a fan of Reynolds’ work and the concept is pretty intriguing. Hopefully it’s not too long until this one gets a DVD/Blu-Ray release.

The smaller films that week included Waiting For Superman, You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger and Enter The Void.

Having not seen any of the aforementioned films I can’t comment a whole lot. Waiting For Superman looks like a great documentary, exploring the American education system, and is definitely on the to see list. I’ll probably avoid You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger, having never been a Woody Allen fan and as for Enter The Void, well Gasper Noe’s name is enough to pique my interest. I’ve only heard good things about this one, especially from our reviewer Blake Griffin who said in his review that:

Noé provides his shocks and provocations.  There’s no shortage of them.  But every now and then, all of the wildly unrestrained facets of the film converge and the cacophony of it all gets quite.  Then there are, quite literally, revelatory moments that make Enter the Void exhaustively interesting, and completely unforgettable.

Click here to continue reading and to see the healthy amount of Oscar contenders that hit theatres in October.