2015年12月30日 星期三

Movies of the Early 2010s (Revised as of December 27, 2015)

It's the end of 2015, and in just one day it'll be 2016.  Five years goes by pretty fast.

Can't think of much with regard to personal developments during this time.  Maybe that's good?  I'm still living in Taitung, Taiwan, still living in the same place, and still doing the same job.

Political developments during these five years are also hard to pinpoint, probably because we're still so close to the period under discussion.  I'm sure that in five more years we'll have formed very different opinions about what was important from 2010-2015, so the paragraph below is only an attempt at historicity, not the thing-in-itself.

This said, the early 2010s continue to be the era of Obama and Putin, of tensions between the US and China, and of our continued obsession with mobile devices.  The US is still stuck in Iraq and Afghanistan, Russia seems poised for a venture into Ukraine, and China has declared most of the South China Sea its personal swimming pool.  In the wake of the Paris attacks, there is also the remaining concern over terrorism.

Biggest Movies of 2010: Toy Story 3, Alice in Wonderland, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, Inception, Shrek Forever After, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, Iron Man 2, Tangled, Despicable Me, How to Train Your Dragon

Inception is a great movie.  Maybe Christopher Nolan's best. 

Honorable Mentions: The King's Speech, Black Swan, The Fighter, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Book of Eli, Edge of Darkness, Shutter Island, Brooklyn's Finest, Hot Tub Time Machine, The Losers, The Human Centipede (First Sequence), A Nightmare on Elm Street, Get Him to the Greek, Predators, Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World, Machete, The Town, Red, Due Date, I Love You Philip Morris, True Grit

Black Swan is an excellent film.  Perhaps the best film of that year.

I know a few people who can't stand the Human Centipede movies, but I liked this film.  Dieter Laser is super creepy.

I Love You Philip Morris was overlooked at the time, but it's one of the few Jim Carrey vehicles in which he's not completely irritating.

Biggest Movies of 2011: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1, Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol, Kung Fu Panda 2, Fast Five, The Hangover Part II, The Smurfs, Cars 2

None of these movies are very good, though Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol was alright.  With the exception of The Smurfs, all the other blockbusters of 2011 were sequels.

Honorable Mentions: Barney's Version, The Company Men, The Adjustment Bureau, Limitless, Source Code, The King's Speech, X-men: First Class, Super 8, Bad Teacher, Larry Crowne, Horrible Bosses, Captain America: The First Avenger, Crazy Stupid Love, Contagion, Moneyball, The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence), Tower Heist, The Descendants, A Dangerous Method, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

I found The Company Men particularly moving.  I was in the States when the economic implosion was well underway, and this movie reminded me of many things from that time.

The Adjustment Bureau is a great film.  

I didn't think I'd like Moneyball (I'm not a baseball fan), but I liked this one a lot.

The Descendants is an excellent film starring George Clooney.

A Dangerous Method is one of the lesser-known movies from that year.  It's another Cronenberg picture.

Got a strong stomach?  Then the second Human Centipede is for you.  I've already seen the third Human Centipede, and the second is still the grossest.  Those unimpressed by Human Centipede (Full Sequence) are hereby directed to a Japanese film called Grotesque.  And if that movie doesn't gross you out, nothing will?

Biggest Movies of 2012: The Avengers, Skyfall, The Dark Knight Rises, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: Ice Age: Continental Drift, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2, The Amazing Spider-Man, Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, The Hunger Games, Men in Black 3

Judged by its blockbusters, it was a good year for film.  The Avengers, Skyfall, The Dark Knight Rises, The Amazing Spider-Man, and Men in Black 3 were all very watchable.

...and in case you were somehow incapacitated, The Avengers was a very popular film.

Honorable Mentions: Haywire, The Cabin in the Woods, The Dictator, Antiviral, Prometheus, Searching for Sugar Man, The Master, End of Watch, Argo, Wreck-It Ralph, Silver Linings Playbook, Killing Them Softly, Promised Land

I really liked Haywire.  Gina Carano actress should feature in the Wonder Woman film.  I realize that another actress (Gal Gadot) has already been cast in this role, but Gina would be so much better.  She's in the upcoming Deadpool, but that's not enough for me.

Antiviral introduces a future where we're all dying to get the most famous diseases.  One of the weirder movies out there.

Prometheus isn't that good, but there's some good gore in it.  I'm hoping the sequel will be better thought out. 

I've seen The Master so many times.  I've always been fascinated by L. Ron Hubbard, and the performances in this movie were exceptional.

Argo was a terrific film, based on real events.  Affleck won the Oscar for it, and I think his win was well-deserved.  This film, and the film it is about, has a fascinating backstory.

Anyone who grew up in the 80s will find a lot to like in Wreck-It Ralph.

Biggest Movies of 2013: Frozen, Iron Man 3, Despicable Me 2, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Fast and Furious 6, Monsters University, Gravity, Man of Steel, Thor: The Dark World

Iron Man 3 wasn't very good.  What?  Is he Tony Stark or Jackie Chan?

I liked Gravity, but anyone who raves about that movie should see Apollo 13.  I think that as a story of space survival, the latter movie has much more to offer.

Thor: The Dark World was a vast improvement over the first Thor.  I am eagerly awaiting Thor 3. 

Honorable Mentions: Gangster Squad, Broken City, Evil Dead, Oblivion, Pain & Gain, The Purge, Jodorowsky's Dune, Only God Forgives, This is the End, The Bling Ring, The Wolverine, Jobs, Rush, Prisoners, Captain Philips, 12 Years a Slave, Dallas Buyers' Club, Philomena, Nebraska, Inside Llewyn Davis, American Hustle, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, Her, The Wolf of Wall Street, August: Osage County

Gangster Squad and Broken City are in some ways very similar movies that would go well together.  That scene where Mark Wahlberg finds out the truth about his girlfriend really hit me in the chest.

Many despise the Evil Dead remake.  I don't.  Honestly, the original wasn't that good anyway.

Jodorowsky's Dune is a documentary about the greatest science fiction movie never made.  I don't agree with the conclusion drawn by the film makers, but it's still interesting.

That bar confrontation in Only God Forgives is so over-the-top it's worth seeing.  That is one policeman I wouldn't want to fuck with.

Prisoners features Hugh Jackman and Jack Gyllenhaal.  It's a great (and at times profound) movie.

The Wolf of Wall Street has some truly hilarious scenes.

August: Osage County is one of the best movies to come along in years.  Meryl Streep deserved another Oscar for that one. 

Biggest Movies of 2014: Transformers: Age of Extinction, The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies, Guardians of the Galaxy, Maleficent, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, X-men: Days of Future Past, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, The Amazing Spider-man 2, Interstellar

I thought Captain America 2 was good, but not as good as some made it out to be.  It was just trying too hard to make a point.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was decent but forgettable.  Too much CGI.

I think X-men: Days of Future Past was one of the best superhero movies ever.  I say this as someone who was not a big fan of previous installment.

Both the most recent Transformers and the most recent Hobbit are excellent if you are having trouble sleeping.  How can people sit through that crap and remain interested?  Ditto for the Hunger Games, but in a way the Hunger Games is worse, because it reminds me of so many similar movies that are much better.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was... OK.

Guardians of the Galaxy was on par with Captain America: The Winter Soldier.  Entertaining, but not great.

Interstellar was a crushing disappointment.  I was SO excited to see that film, and it just dragged on, and on, and on.  There are some great bits in it, but it was trying to do too much at one time.  The ending also doesn't make a great deal of sense.

Honorable Mentions: Edge of Tomorrow, Cesar Chavez, Robocop, The Lego Movie, Mr. Peabody and Sherman, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Draft Day, The Rover, Foxcatcher, 22 Jump Street, Get On Up, Birdman, The Imitation Game, The Judge, Nightcrawler, St. Vincent, The Equalizer, The Theory of Everything, Gone Girl, Inherent Vice, John Wick, Fury, Big Hero 6, American Sniper, Kingsman: The Secret Service

I thought Edge of Tomorrow was quite good.  Not spectacular, mind you, but good.  Who doesn't want to see Tom Cruise killed over and over again? 

Cezar Chavez is a good movie, but it's not great.  It seems to me that it could have touched more upon contemporary themes, and upon problems that continue to plague our society today.  As it is, it gets bogged down in the details of Chavez's life.

The Robocop remake could have been much better.  I think that if they'd dispensed with the family drama, they might have made a much deeper film.  The scene where Michael Keaton and Gary Oldman discuss whether he's a man who thinks he's a machine or a machine that thinks its a man could have been expanded upon to much greater effect. 

There were almost too many good movies in 2014.  I'm having trouble coming to any conclusions about them.  I've seen all of the above movies more than once.

If I had to pick a "best of 2014" though, I think I'd settle on either Nightcrawler, American Sniper, or Foxcatcher.  I loved all three of those films.

Biggest Movies of 2015 (so far, though the year isn't quite over yet): Jurassic World, Furious 7, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Minions, Inside Out, Spectre, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, The Martian

The above list is out of order.  Star Wars: The Force Awakens has already surpassed Jurassic World as the highest-grossing movie of 2015.  Star Wars - exceedingly formulaic as it is - continues to make truckloads of money.

Jurassic World was a lot better than I thought it would be.  I think it might be my favorite in the series.

Avengers: Age of Ultron was an extreme disappointment.  Not nearly as good as the first Avengers.  That movie was just too busy.  Spectre was also a disappointment.

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation and The Martian are probably my favorites out of the blockbusters this year.  Both require a suspension of disbelief, but both are good.

Honorable Mentions: Ex Machina, Slow West, Hot Tub Time Machine 2, Focus, Chappie, Danny Collins, Get Hard, Dark Places, Mad Max: Fury Road, Spy, Southpaw, Ant-Man, Self/less, Straight Outta Compton, Creed, The Revenant

Ex Machina, Chappie, and Self/less are all good sci-fi movies for completely different reasons, though all three deal with the nature of consciousness.  The first is a suspense film, the second is an action movie, and the third is somewhere between the two.  Ex Machina is by far the best of the three.

Slow West and Dark Places are two overlooked dramas from this year.  Neither are exactly mind-blowing, but they're pretty good.

A lot of people I know despised Hot Tub Time Machine 2.  I liked the first one, but I thought the sequel was much funnier.  Maybe they just haven't seen the unrated version?

Get Hard was a return to form for Will Farrell, who has been mostly unfunny of late.  I hear his newest movie, Daddy's Home, isn't all that great.

I would say that Mad Max: Fury Road was the best movie to come out this year, but after having seen The Revenant I'm not so sure now.  Both films feature Tom Hardy, and both are excellent.

If you liked Rocky Balboa you'll also like Creed.  It feels a bit more forced than the previous installment, but it's still well done.  While you're at it, a double feature with Southpaw might be a good idea.

(Dis)honorable Mention: The Hateful Eight.  That movie is boring AND stupid.

Why Not Go Back to the Future?  There are Certainly a Lot of Good Movies There!

Movies of the Late 2000s
Movies of the Early 2000s
Movies of the Late 90s
Movies of the Early 90s
Movies of the Late 80s
Movies of the Early 80s