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Howard”'s top 10 movies of 2010

King's Speech

Howard McQuitter II
Movie Corner
HowardMcQuitterii@yahoo.com

King”'s Speech

The King”'s Speech is this year”'s favorite film for me after pondering on it hours and even days later. Colin Firth (nominated for best actor in a “Single Man” in 2009) plays King George VI. He ascends the throne in Great Britain in 1936, when his brother King Edward VIII (Guy Pearce) abdicates the throne rather than sever his marriage to twice-divorced American socialite Wallis Simpson (Eve Best). His marriage causes a constitutional and ecclesiastical crisis for the United Kingdom and the Dominions. Before George VI takes the throne, he is Duke of Cornwall.

George VI has one stumbling problem: he stammers. He”'s sent to a rather unorthodox speech therapist, Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush) who, after a number of hurdles with George, achieves success. George VI”'s wife Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter) encourages him to continue to see Lionel. George VI ascends the throne concurrently with Hitler beginning to move aggressively across Europe.

“The King”'s Speech” was nominated for best director (Tom Hooper), in addition to best picture as well as Colin Firth for best actor, Helena Bonham Carter for best supporting actress and Geoffrey Rush for best supporting actor.

Inception

Inception is arguably the most imaginative big film of the year. What irks me though is the Academy conveniently snubbing director Christopher Nolan for nomination in the best director slot. True, “Inception” received eight nominations, but Nolan is disgracefully excluded. Why and how “The Fighter” director David O Russell is chosen over Nolan borders on scandal.

That said, “Inception” is full of illusion and perception, starring Leonardo DiCaprio as James Cobb. He is on a path of labyrinths because he has the “gift” of inserting ideas into people”'s dreams. His challenge is to successfully insert in the hopes of getting the person to think it is his or her own idea. Cobb is wooed by a shrewd Japanese businessman, Salto (Ken Watanabe). Cobb”'s memory of his wife (Marion Cottilard) haunts him and he wants to reconnect with his children. Arthur (Joseph Gordon Levitt), Ariadne (Ellen Page) and Earnest (Tom Hardy) work with Cobb in pursuit of business magnate Robert Fischer (Cillian Murphy).

Nolan”'s “Inception” (also of “Memento”, “The Prestige”, “The Dark Knight”) is a fine-tuned, convoluted, intelligent piece of work. As such, Nolan”'s hand is solid, the prejudicial Academy”'s hand is not.

The Red-Riding Trilogy

Three films are inspired by the true story of the Yorkshire Ripper. Vacillating between a “Silence of the Lambs” and an Agatha Christie formula, three films by three different directors Julian Jarrold (Number one in 1974), James Marsh (Number two in 1980) and Anand Tucker (Number three in 1983), respectively build on a cold case of a serial killer who may have been deliberately pigeon-holed by law enforcement in the West Riding district.

Julian Jarrold”'s “Red Riding in the Year of Our Lord 1973” sets the tone. It stars Andrew Garfield as a young journalist, Eddie Dunford, trying unsuccessfully to solve the mystery of at least one little girl”'s disappearance. Jarrold”'s 1973 story is the best of the three, but the following two (Paddy Considine, Sean Harris, etc.) are still very good to see.

Animal Kingdom

Except for Jacki Weaver getting an Oscar nomination for supporting actress for “Animal Kingdom” (Australia), this little gem of a film probably went unnoticed by most moviegoers. The Machiavellian grandmother goes by the name “Grandma Smurf” aptly played by Weaver, whose 17 year old grandson Josh (James Frecheville) stays with her and is surrounded by her criminal ”“minded sons. Josh has little desire to join his uncles”' crime sprees, monitored closely by “Grandma Smurf” in Melbourne, Australia, in the 1980s. Detective Leckie (Guy Pearce) believes he can nab the uncles by way of Josh.

Inside Job

As far as documentaries go, the genre tends to preach to the choir. Director Charles Ferguson”'s “Inside Job” presents the worldwide financial crash, how and why it happened; which affects us all regardless of our political persuasions. The rapaciousness of Wall Street served under the watches of Reagan, Clinton, two Bushes , and faces an uncertainty with Obama. Ferguson continues to say many of the principal players for the financial crisis are still on the scene: Timothy Geitner, Lawrence Summers, Ben Bernanke, Alan Greenspan, embraced to varying degrees by Obama.

Ferguson says we must restore our financial world by way of honesty. Then, he says we have to hold those accountable for the disaster. “Inside Job” is an impressive body of work that transcends the political webs of undue bias.

Winter”'s Bone

The year”'s dark horse film which I said deserves an Oscar nomination along with the new kid on the block, Jennifer Lawrence. Lord and behold both the movie and the actress received Oscar nominations.

Director Debra Granik”'s “Winter”'s Bone” is a conglomeration of mystery, road movie, thriller and familial configuration. Jennifer Lawrence as 17 year old Ree Dolly is taking care of a mother who is mentally ill, and a younger brother and sister. Following the arrest of her father, Ree is on a quest to find him before their house is taken away. It is set in rural Missouri where old cars and discarded motors dot the neighborhood.

The Social Network

Director David Fincher”'s film is about Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg who is played by Jesse Eisenberg. The biopic of a brilliant nerd at Harvard in 2003 with Facebook to his credit, rips off the Winklevoss twins (Arnie Hammer and Josh Pence) who worked on Facebook. Touted as a strong candidate for winning best picture, in recent weeks the momentum has shifted to “the King”'s Speech.”

Vision

Visionary Benedictine abbess Hildegard von Bingen, lived in the 12th century. She wrote spiritual books, composed music and knew much about herbal medicine. Her visions of God often clashed with the church hierarchy but even there she won the respect of many. Hildegard von Bingen is played by Barbara Sukowa while the director is Margarethe von Trotta.

True Grit

This is a remake of Henry Hathaway”'s 1969 film “True Grit” starring John Wayne (won his only Oscar) as Rooster Cogburn and Kim Darby as Mattie Ross. This is the first true western by the Coen brothers. Jeff Bridges is the new Rooster Cogburn which earns him an Oscar nomination. Hattie Steinfeld as Mattie Ross steals the show, also winning a best supporting actress slot.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione Granger (Emma Watson), and Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) are on the run from the Horcruxes in the seventh series. This book is split into two films and is directed by David Yates. Harry Potter continues to grab our attention.

 

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