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In Mid 2011, The Rake’s 2010 Film Rankings List

In Mid 2011, The Rake’s 2010 Film Rankings List

Timely as it might seem, this post is long overdue. The delay of putting together a complete list of 2010 films, in order of preference, is largely due to not being able to see all of the movies that were worthy of making this list (primarily a few award contenders) by the start of the year. As I have said in year’s past, these lists are difficult to put together in a true order due to various factors. Time, experience, viewing environment, viewing pleasure, mixture of genres, outside influences, all of these can start to play with someone’s mind while compiling such a list. Nevertheless, here is a list of the best movies of 2010, as well as the worst of the year, from top to bottom, that I have seen. I peppered some of the list with comments here and there, so thanks for reading and chime in with your thoughts if you feel so compelled. You can of course rehash our 3rd Annual Platinum Nest Awards for award winners if you so choose as well.

Inception

The only truly transcendent film of the year and the best film I have seen in half a decade. Holds up to multiple viewings. Complete ingenuity and creativity which pushed the boundaries of what a blockbuster can be. Hollywood should take note.

The Fighter

The Town

Shutter Island

The Social Network

Never Let Me Go

An underrated little gem that was beautiful and poetic. Tragic, but with heart.

True Grit

Black Swan

Green Zone

I’m Still Here

A classic roasting of the media. Hilarious in a lot of ways, regardless of the questions about its motivation and who was in on it. Joaquin Phoenix is a genius for pulling this off as far as I am concerned.

Exit Through The Gift Shop

Another great movie that asks some excellent questions about art, celebrity and the world’s denizens response to, and acting as, copycats.

The King’s Speech

Micmacs

The latest from Amelie director is a worthy follow up to that now classic French romantic comedy.

Jack Goes Boating

The Ghost Writer

Solitary Man

Get Low

Animal Kingdom

After The Last Round

Harry Brown

Drug dealer smokes crack from tip of a gun. One of the best acting scenes of the year.

Blue Valentine

Youth In Revolt

Knight and Day

Cyrus

The Company Men

Kind of only scratched the surface of what it could have been, but still displayed the dramatic realities for some who have been affected by this era’s depression/recession.

Buried

Experimental, but a little boring ultimately. A tough task to shoot a whole film in a coffin, so it gets marks for its creative attempt.

Takers

Get Him to the Greek

Kick-Ass

Dogtooth

A half brilliant movie that ends too soon. This tells (half) the tale of a sick, sordid life for tragically sheltered kids. Breaks off just when it could have gotten real, real interesting.

Rabbit Hole

Book of Eli

Iron Man 2

Greenberg

Brooklyn’s Finest

Stone

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

A music video turned into a film. Visually impressive.

Edge of Darkness

The American

127 Hours

Catfish

Lacked punch. More of a sad, pathetic tale than a thriller which it was billed as.

Nice Guy Johnny

Supposedly made for $25,000, Ed Burns is going independent all the way as a filmmaker here.

Chloe

The Other Guys

Salt

Unstoppable

The Next Three Days

The Bounty Hunter

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

The Losers

Love & Other Drugs

The A-Team

Alice In Wonderland

Hot Tub Time Machine

“Are you crying?” “Nah, baby. Some water just splashed in my eyes from all the f*ckin.” Only real worthy moment in the film.

Eat Pray Love

Surrogates

The Expendables

The Wolfman

A movie that sounded great when it was announced almost 3 years ago. Benicio delToro in the lead role? Nice. Oh, but what a tragically lame movie.

Cop Out

Hereafter

Easily the worst experience at the movies of the year and one of the worst I can remember seeing in a theater in recent years. Such a let down. Slow, plodding, highly uninteresting and with one of my favorite actors (Matt Damon) and respected directors (Clint Eastwood) to boot. What more can I say?

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Cedar Rapids Movie Review Starring Ed Helms and John C. Reilly

Cedar Rapids Movie Review Starring Ed Helms and John C. Reilly

Director Miguel Arteta’s Cedar Rapids Movie Review – Starring Ed Helms, John C. Reilly, Isiah Whitlock Jr. and Anne Heche

The title for the film Cedar Rapids (movie trailer) makes it sound like a potentially wild, rafting movie, until you look at a map and realize it is instead based on the city of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Here, Cedar Rapids serves as a big, intimidating locale for Tim Lippe, a middle-aged, small town insurance salesman, who has never even been on a plane before. A yearly insurance convention, the AMSI, is the reason for the gathering and Tim’s boss desperately wants him to win the prestigious 2-diamond award for their tiny Brown Valley insurance company.

Tim is portrayed by Ed Helms, who prior to this I have seen in one film role ever, via 2009’s The Hangover. He plays the exact type of character one would expect, a semi-single, lonely, straight arrow with nothing but good intentions in his heart. Tim has been thrust into the role of representing the agency after the sudden death of a colleague. Once Tim arrives at the convention, conventional hi-jinks ensue.

While Tim is treating the AMSI as a serious business trip, convention veterans from other insurance companies come to whoop-it-up and let loose, to escape their lives for a few days. At the convention we meet Dean “Deanzie” Ziegler, Ronald Wilkes and Joan Fox. The plot essentially revolves around the veteran outlandish trio taking conservative Tim under their wing to show him the ropes of the convention.

Cedar Rapids Movie pic

Ann Heche's Joan sees something in Ed Helms's Tim in the comedy Cedar Rapids.

The Cedar Rapids Cast Has Palpable Chemistry in this Broad Comedy

Tim eventually loosens up with the help of John C. Reilly’s Deanzie, who serves as the primary source of comedy, with his loud, brash, endearing and interfering ways. Isiah Whitlock Jr., best known for his role in the hit cop-crime drama “The Wire,” plays the sexually ambiguous Ronald, with a wink-wink to the audience and serves as a good yin to Deanzie’s yang. Anne Heche’s Joan brings the foursome together while naturally engaging in some sexual fun with Tim. All the characters bring their own baggage to the convention, with the possibility of seeing it disappear. Mix in a hooker with a heart, some untold truths about the 2-diamond award and the story can find its legs.

If you couldn’t tell, Cedar Rapids is primarily a fish out of water, coming-of-age story with morality undertones, which works well enough. It’s a tale we’ve seen a thousand times before, but it still has its endearing moments. Director Miguel Arteta (Star Maps, Youth In Revolt) lets the actors serve the story without interfering with any technical camera tricks. What makes the film work is the general realism of the situations the characters find themselves in, even if their way out of those situations might not be common.

Rapids will surprise no one but it has a few laughs and the cast generates enough chemistry to propel the film forward towards its completely expected climax. Despite the lack of thrills, you can’t help but root for Tim, and it’s to Helm’s credit and a pretty smart script by first-time big screen scribe Phil Johnston, that it all holds together. Supporting players like Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Root and Rob Corddry are welcome additions. Tim’s journey wouldn’t be complete without them.

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Watch 5 Minutes of Banksy & M.B.W.’s Oscar Nominated Documentary Exit Through The Gift Shop

Watch 5 Minutes of Banksy & M.B.W.’s Oscar Nominated Documentary Exit Through The Gift Shop

Watch the First 5 Minutes of Banksy’s Oscar Nominated Documentary Exit Through The Gift Shop

Warning: Possible spoilers in this post.

Banksy is MBW, that is the biggest rumor percolating about one of the films with the most Oscar heat right now, infamous street artist Banksy’s Exit Through The Gift Shop documentary, a movie he directed and “starred” in. I say starred in, because there are all sorts of rumors flying around about this film, a simple google search for “banksy exit through the gift shop” or “banksy and mbw” will turn up all sorts of information and theories.

banksy mr. brainwash oscar art

This Banksy Oscar art may be the work of MBW, who may be Banksy.

In brief, the film was supposed to originally be about the infamous street artist Banksy but was flipped by Banksy as he decided to direct Theirry Gueta who ultimately becomes rich and famous street artist Mr. Brainwash, aka MBW. So the main theory is that Banksy is Mr. Brainwash and that the whole doc was an opportunity for Banksy to gain more exposure, without exposing himself…since he never reveals himself. You need to see the film for yourself to make a decision on your own. Knowing that these are possibilities shouldn’t truly ruin the film for you, since it hasn’t been proven, and there is still a lot to see. Shepard Fairey, the man who created the Obey clothing line and the famous Hope poster for President Obama is a key contributor to the project as well. Enjoy the first five minutes in hopes of whetting your appetite for one of the best films of 2010. For facebook fans, you can check out Mr Brainwash’s page here… http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mr-Brainwash/71176505357

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The Film Nest’s 3rd Annual Platinum Nest Movie Awards 2010

The Film Nest’s 3rd Annual Platinum Nest Movie Awards 2010

This is the third year that annual movie awards have been given out here at The Film Nest, and I think this year had the best overall top picture of any that we’ve had in that time period. You can see the 1st Annual Platinum Nest Movie Awards here and the 2nd Annual Awards here (from last year). For past lists of all the movies I’ve seen released since 2006 (give or take a few), you can visit the Film Rankings link in the sidebar. This year, the voting was left up to me, myself and I, so without further ado, here you go. Let me know what you think. (Note: I reserve the right to amend the list based on a few movies from 2010 that I have yet to see. Those would theoretically be seen within the next few weeks if they are to change any of my picks – perhaps unlikely, but maybe).

3rd Annual The Film Nest Awards

Best Picture

Inception

Best Director

Christopher Nolan – Inception

Best Actor

Joaquin Phoenix – I’m Still Here / Leonardo DiCaprio – Shutter Island

Best Actress

Natalie Portman – Black Swan

Best Supporting Actor

Christian Bale – The Fighter

Best Supporting Actress

Melissa Leo – The Fighter

Best Doc or Mockumentary

Exit Through The Gift Shop/I’m Still Here

Best Screenplay (Original or Adapted)

Christopher Nolan – Inception

Best Foreign Film

Micmacs

Movie You Missed But Shouldn’t Have

Harry Brown

Most Underrated Movie

Never Let Me Go

Most Overrated Movie

Buried

Worst Movie

Hereafter

Top 5 Movies

Inception

The Fighter

The Town

Shutter Island

The Social Network

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David O. Russell’s The Fighter Movie Review

David O. Russell’s The Fighter Movie Review

As a boxing fan, director David O. Russell’s new movie The Fighter has long been one of my most anticipated screenings at the cinema this year. The story, based on real life events surrounding boxer “Irish” Mickey Ward and his crazy family, was one of the more compelling that film’s had to offer in 2010. The film is more drama than action, but is both riveting and wild. Upon viewing the movie, it is easy to say it is one of the top films released this year.

Mark Wahlberg stars as Ward, the boxing warrior who (in the film) is a bit down on his luck, drives a beat up vehicle and is attached to one of the craziest film families we’ve seen since the brief glimpse we got at Brad Pitt’s gypsy family in Snatch. Mickey’s brother Dicky Eklund is a crack addict and former local boxing legend himself, and Christian Bale breathes more life into the character than Dicky inhales crack smoke. And yes, that is saying something. Meanwhile, Ward’s mother Alice is acting as a fight manager to Mickey, while being in constant denial over Dicky’s issues. Dicky has an HBO film crew following him around which only serves to add to his thoughts of local heroism, but he believes it to be more about his boxing prowess (he knocked down the famous “Sugar” Ray Leonard once) than his crack addiction. It’s not.

the fighter pic

Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale play brothers in The Fighter.

One night, Mickey’s father-in-law sets him up with educated bartender Charlene (Amy Adams), who eventually becomes Ward’s girlfriend. To say that his family accepts Charlene with open arms would be a monumental lie. Ward’s five sisters are ready to brawl at a moment’s notice and every family scene is riveted with heavy doses of the exciting unknown. Ward is trying to get his shot at boxing glory and win a title, but with all the drama going on around him, his training suffers and he takes fights that he shouldn’t. He needs to get his life, in the ring and out of it, on track.

The Fighter boasts some incredible acting, primarily from Bale, who in my estimation is a shoo-in for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar award. He’s captivating from the very first frame of film that O. Russell shoots; long gone is the superhero he is known for and in his place is a transformed actor at the peak of his craft. Wahlberg is solid, not showy; Adams, brazen and bold, and Melissa Leo as Ward’s mother is insanely noteworthy as well. O. Russell doesn’t add tons of visual flair to the proceedings but his lighting is superb and the fight portions of the film feel like a real boxing broadcast. Great work by his cast and crew here.

It’s been said that this film boasts some of the most realistic boxing ever captured on celluloid. It seems that critics are quick to point this out in almost any new boxing film of quality that comes along. Clint Eastwood’s brilliant Million Dollar Baby and Michael Mann’s Ali come to mind. After The Last Round this is not, but the action (though fairly limited) is quality and Wahlberg sports a striking resemblance to the real life Ward in the ring; hair sweaty and body chiseled.

The Fighter is a special story, not about boxing as much as family, but one that captivates from frame one and doesn’t let go. Based on a true story, this is one that should be seen by all fans of film and sport. It’s a surprising holiday movie that is sure to become a major awards contender as well. Like a comeback that Ward would have made in the ring, I like it’s chances.

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Quick Reviews of Latest Movie Rentals / Movies Seen From My Netflix Queue

Quick Reviews of Latest Movie Rentals / Movies Seen From My Netflix Queue

This is the latest update in my ongoing series of mini-reviews, quick thoughts on the latest movies I have seen from my Netflix queue.

Spread

The epitome of a bored night for me – just trying to watch something, I took a chance on this Ashton Kutcher led film about a playboy/con-man with few friends trying to make it in Los Angeles. He hooks up an affair with older woman played by Anne Heche and subsequently moves around from lover to lover until he finds love in another con-woman/playgirl. This was incredibly stupid, and very poorly done, despite access to some great locations. Kutcher just doesn’t move me on the big screen, despite from all indications, being a good guy off of it. There is a morality tale in there somewhere, but I’ll leave it to you to find it should you decide to waste your time with this. 1 out of 5 stars

Runaway

Granted, this was not from my rental queue, but rather a short 30 minute film by Kanye West that I saw online. Kanye directs a story by acclaimed video director Hype Williams. Shot in Prague, Kanye and model Selita Ebanks star as a couple, one man, one phoenix (a bird). Interesting visuals, great music, but an incoherent “story.” This was an art-house short if I’ve ever seen one. Kanye shows a flair for color and subtlety for directing with strong camera angles. Worth watching if you are a fan of his music, or the truly avant-garde art house films. (no rating given)

The Square

An Australian film in the vain of “noir” that would make the Coen brothers jealous. This tense, taut thriller about a married man who wants to steal away with his young, trophy lover (also married) and gets caught up in having two schemes going on at once. Expertly handled direction with a great story to boot. All sorts of subplots abound and it does get difficult deciphering what will happen next, in part due to some occasionally tricky Aussie accents. A killer ending, to say the least. This one will stick with me for a while. 5 out of 5 stars.

Solitary Man

Michael Douglas and Jesse Eisenberg in Solitary Man.

Michael Douglas stars as a man who burns every bridge in his life, completing a near epic collapse of fallen successful businessman to down on his luck, womanizing loner. This is a coming of age tale of sorts for the 50’s to 60’s set. A lot can be gleaned from this type of film, especially for men of a certain age. The grass is not always greener would be applicable here. Susan Sarandon, Jenna Fischer, and Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network) co-star. The movie hit home (perhaps a little too closely) for me, so it earned a few extra points there, although nothing out of the ordinary really happens. 3 out of 5 stars

Alice In Wonderland

Tim Burton and Johnny Depp combos don’t often do much for me and this was really low on my radar but a woman in my life wanted to see it, so I sacked up. Visually interesting but little else, even Depp’s performance failed to captivate and he usually wins raves for this type of thing. (I saw the original Pirates of the Caribbean years ago and his Jack Sparrow was far and away the best thing in it). There is really nothing noteworthy to report about this movie. I was surprised that I didn’t bash this movie harder and was actually able to make it through. 2 out of 5 stars

The Groomsmen

Director, writer and actor Edward Burns put together this largely overlooked movie and his experience with it has since spurred him to go the super-indie route with his latest Nice Guy Johnny. This one is about five friends struggling with their lives and relationships as they come together for the marriage of Burns’ lead character. Equal time is given to all five men and some work better than others. There are some heavier themes that I was happy to see explored, especially amongst men, but not enough to recommend it. This movie was marred by the difficult to stomach Jay Mohr, who’s over the top antics made him so unlikable it affected my opinion of the film. 2 out of 5 stars

The Losers

A smash ‘em up mess that features Chris Evans, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Idris Elba and Zoe Saldana among a crew of bandits in an action-thriller where Jason Patric wants to destroy the world. This was a preposterous movie that was more fascinating to see because of how far Patric’s career has fallen than any other reason. He was once a star to be but is now doing these hack roles, and not particularly well I might add. The cast had enough names, and my Netflix queue was depleted enough, to give this a go, but it wasn’t worth it. The explosions meant nothing – despite Evans, Elba, and Morgan’s best efforts to give it something more – it didn’t work. I might have been generous with this one. 2 out of 5 stars

Breathless

Jean Luc Godard’s 60’s revered French new wave film was shot in all black and white as you would expect. The tale of a con man who can’t connect himself to anyone and his lover who for some reason wants to be with him desperately (though it never really comes across in the film at all). I was hoping for a more involving movie than this. I appreciate the simplicity of some of the scenes and the lead had a few semi-amusing moments, but again, there is not enough here for me to recommend. It really was like what is referred to nowadays as a mockumentary. The movie reminded me a bit of watching the Man Bites Dog mockumentary but not quite as fun. 2 out of 5 stars

Get Him To The Greek

Puffy steals a scene from Jonah Hill in Get Him To The Greek.

The early year comedy was billed as a sequel to the forgettable Forgetting Sarah Marshall, with only a few of the characters in tact. Russell Brand plays the enigmatic musician Aldous Snow with Jonah Hill a fledgling music exec charged with picking him up in England and bringing him back to LA where he was to play a concert that might resurrect Snow’s career and launch Hill’s. Sean P. Diddy aka Puffy (that’s what I will always call him) Combs plays Hill’s boss, a music mogul searching for much needed talent. Combs’ is by and large the scene stealer of the film and largely what makes it worth watching. I didn’t expect that this would be quite as entertaining as it turned out to be. But it beats the original film on Combs’ performance alone. 3 out of 5 stars

Irreversible

This was a very controversial film upon its Cannes premiere screening which saw more than 200 people walk out on it. The movie is Gaspar Noe’s hammering look at a rape, choices, irony and consequences, told in reverse order. I had a difficult time watching this movie, but respect its audacity and ambition quite a bit. There is a grotesque murder where a gay man is beaten to death with a fire extinguisher (and the camera lingers plenty for you to witness his head separating). Worse still is the absolutely beautiful Monica Bellucci, being raped in a horrific scene that has to be seen to be believed. (At the same time, it was easily among the most painful scenes I have EVER witnessed on film. Makes Pulp Fiction‘s gimp scene look tame). I rated it lower because Netflix asked whether I “like” the film or not. I answered no, I “didn’t like it,” but I am still somewhat fascinated by it, I respect it, and this may be one to own at some point. The ending makes the beginning all the more tragic, believe me. I was in near tears describing a scene in the film a day later. Brutal. 2 out of 5 stars

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Andrew Garfield Stars in I’m Here, Movie Trailer & Short Film by Spike Jonze

Andrew Garfield Stars in I’m Here, Movie Trailer & Short Film by Spike Jonze

The videos below are director Spike Jonze (Where The Wild Things Are) short film and movie trailer, I’m Here (not to be confused with Jo Phoenix’s I’m Still Here). The film is broken up into three 10-minute parts, and stars the new Spider-Man Andrew Garfield (The Social Network) and Sienna Guillory (Resident Evil: Afterlife). The movie is a love story between robots apparently, and I’ll be watching it shortly so that we can share in the experience together.

We previously posted the Spike Jonze short film Fairytale, starring hip-hop star Kanye West. Kanye of course recently shot and starred in his own short film, Runaway, so in a weird way it’s all coming full circle.

Famed movie critic, I guess the most famous movie critic alive, Roger Ebert, posted this material on his online journal. Thanks to R.O.S. for the heads up. Give it a watch and let me know what you think.

I’m Here Movie Trailer

I’m Here Short Film – Part One

I’m Here Short Film – Part Two

I’m Here Short Film – Part Three

Holla at ‘cha boy and we can discuss. Later.

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Justin Timberlake, Jesse Eisenberg, David Fincher in The Social Network BTS Videos

Justin Timberlake, Jesse Eisenberg, David Fincher in The Social Network BTS Videos

Here are two videos from David Fincher’s The Social Network known as B-Rolls, essentially behind the scenes, alternate camera looks at the filming process which feature Justin Timberlake, Jesse Eisenberg and other cast members during the shooting of the movie. These are the types of clips you might see end up on the extras of the DVD or Blu-ray disc release for the film.

The two videos are roughly 5-minutes each and feature footage that was used in the film, albeit often from different camera angles than you saw in the movie. You’ll see Fincher directing, the actors interacting with one another and other general insight into the filming process. Thanks to /film for the info. Enjoy the clips.

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