2010 mid-year report

One thing that has been very frustrating about 2010 is the lack of quality on display. As I’m writing this very article, only Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island stands out as a possible nominee (even though many would wholeheartedly disagree with me). Roman Polanski’s The Ghost Writer came out to rave reviews in the spring but so did controversy & the infamous situation the director found himself into.

Paul Greengrass released Green Zone, audiences and critics yawned. Ridley Scott tried to revive Robin Hood for a generation that probably doesn’t even know who Kevin Costner it, that bombed. Mel Gibson counted on Edge Of Darkness to mark his acting comeback, did he even read the screenplay? Tim Burton & Johnny Depp struck out with their overwrought adaptation of Alice In Wonderland & Atom Egoyan failed remaking of kitschy French film Chloe with former nominees Liam Neeson and Julliane Moore. Do you sense a trend going on here? Disappointment after disappointment came to your local movie theatre, which would explain the Box office drops weekend and after weekend nationwide. The blockbusters were no fun & so was the more serious fare.

Expect the same old same old right up until July 16th, which is when Inception comes out. Christopher Nolan’s bold futuristic picture about dreams & their consequences. Toy Story 3 might also cause a little buzz this weekend, which could fare well in a 10 nominee field. Anything with Pixar should be considered a serious contender and –since we are living in the golden age of animation- academy voters are gaining more and more respect for a genre that is supposedly just for kids. Then there’s Debra Wanik’s Winter’s Bone which, an independent film that could just be this year’s In The Bedroom- but the buzz must reach further than just L.A and New York. As it goes wider and wider in the coming weeks we will know for sure what its chances truly are but make no mistake about it, Winter’s Bone is the best reviewed movie so far this year and that can carry it far.

We are already halfway through 2010 and contenders are sparse. There were –however- a few movies that caught my attention. Scorsese’s Shutter Island & Polanski’s The Ghost Writer are on the short list, with their undeniable mastery of the classic Hollywood form. Closing it out are Jacques Audiard’s great gangster movie Un Prophet (Foreign Language loser last year & better than eventual winner The Secret In Their Eyes), Andrea Arnold’s mesmerizing Fish Tank from the U.K & Matthew Vaughn’s Hollywood superhero product Kick-Ass, featuring a great performance by Nicolas Cage & horrible ending notwithstanding. What are yours? Did I miss a movie you are passionate about? Do you disagree with something I said? Chime away !