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July 1, 2010
Everybody loves top ten lists and come December there will be a slew of top ten movies of
the year lists. The movie year is now just half over so I thought I'd get a jump on the
competition and give my take on the five best and worst of 2010. These may or may not end
up in my overall ten best and worst for the year as the film industry tends to save their
"Oscar bait" till November and December. Also we judges often have short memories and
tend to have the latest releases on our minds. This year I am including only films I saw at
the theater. Last year there was one film on my best list and two on the worst that I saw
only on DVD. Choosing the best and the worst proved more difficult this time. Of my top five
only two were definite, no-question-about-it choices. The rest were selected from ten or so
"second tier" movies - I'll let you decide for yourself which is which. The worst five were
really just a bunch of so-so films. There were no truly stand out awful films (so far). So here
they are in alphabetical order my choices for the best and worst.

The Best Movies for the first half of 2010

Alice in Wonderland


Letters to Juliet

Shutter Island

Twilight Saga: Eclipse

The Worst Movies for the first half of 2010

Extraordinary Measures

Furry Vengeance

Hot Tub Time Machine

Jonah Hex

The Spy Next Door
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Top 5 best and worst films of 2010  (so far)
by Roland Hansen
Despite the Disney tag, Make no mistake. This film
is NOT a kid's movie.  This Alice is very much
Burton's movie and he provides the same,
splendid shadowy frisson that he achieved in The
Nightmare Before Christmas and Edward
Scissorhands. The story was quite thrilling and
involving. Overall, I enjoyed it. Some bits of
animation weren't particularly smooth but overall
the dark and dirty feel of this movie was well
executed. It's fantastically colorful and weird and
very much displays Tim Burton's unmistakable
Chloe builds to a climax you may or may not buy.
But go along for the ride; it's one that's
alternately hot and chilling. The story itself is an
interesting neo-noir romantic thriller and like
Chloe herself, this movie is beautiful, surprising
and sneakily intelligent. At its best, it gets under
your skin, a pickup more arousing and more
luscious-looking than the average show. You will
not have to walk out of this one as both Moore &
Seyfried show enough flesh to keep the
adolescent boy in most men occupied and
Letters To Juliet is absolute fantasy in many
regards. Redgrave is one of those actors who
can take even the simplest material and invest it
with depth and feeling, and in many ways, there
are personal echoes here that have to make her
feel connected to what she's playing. Casting
Nero as the long-lost Lorenzo is a sort of genius
detail for the film, and it makes for some very
natural, lovely moments between the two once
they're reunited. As for Seyfried, she's a beautiful
young woman with plush 1940s-Hollywood looks,
and she is able to play smart and capable and
complex in the film. Seyfried's Sophie is made
complete by her own accomplishments in the film,
and any love she finds is simply an added bonus.
That idea alone takes this simple confection and
renders it nearly revolutionary.
Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island is the first great film of
2010. From the opening shot, Scorsese creates an
atmosphere of gloom and uncertainty that permeates
the entire film. He transports us to a frightening, alien
world populated by untrustworthy and dangerous
people. You’ll feel like you’re really inside a 1950s
asylum in Shutter Island, and that sense of authenticity
and ominousness. It is a well-acted, handsomely made,
old-fashioned haunted house movie. Shutter Island is a
film to be seen more than once - and a film to be
savored. It reveals new depths and undercurrents at
every turn. As far as the twist is concerned, don’t get so
wrapped up in it that you miss the double-whammy real
twist at the very end - and the moral ambiguity inherent
in it.
Excellently paced, the film feels slightly less than its 124
minute running time, but it packs in the story well. My
only major complaint is that I thought the final ten
minutes were a little clunky and would not feel out of
place in an after-school special. Yet Eclipse still
exceeded my expectations, and should enthral fans of
the series and have them chomping on the bit for the
final two movies.

And who knows? It might even pick up a few more fans
along the way.

Eclipse isn't great, in that “the Academy will be wetting
their pretentious pants over it” kind of way. But yes, I
thoroughly enjoyed it.  If you liked... Twilight and The
Twilight Saga: New Moon... then you will enjoy this.
Extraordinary Measures reads like little more than
a dramatized timeline. It's easy enough to get
caught up in Crowley's race against the clock, but
the presentation leans heavily on emotional
manipulation and a tear-wringing score. Brendan
Fraser has little to do but look angsty and
determined; Keri Russell, as his wife, is an
afterthought. Harrison Ford is an entertainingly
irascible scene-thief, but knowing he's just there
to spice things up throws seeds of doubt into
every moment of the film, undermining and
distracting from Crowley's real-life struggles.
Why make a hero of a man like John Crowley,
who inadvertently parlayed his fight to find a cure
for his two Pompe-inflicted kids into millions of
dollars in his own pocket? Crowley makes
profiting off of misfortune almost seem like a
religious experience. John Crowley got everything
he ever wanted. And it's enough to make you
Who could predict that action star Brendan
Fraser, star of The Mummy and its sequels, would
have two of the years worst movies? First, he
and fellow action star Harrison Ford starred in
Extraordinary Measures, a decidedly non-action
movie about a father who would do anything to
save the lives of his children from a medical
malady. Lousy reviews followed. Then he was the
subject of an Internet viral video for his awkward
clap at the Golden Globe Awards. If you haven't
seen it, just Google "Brendan Fraser Awkward
Clap" and you'll get it. His weird clap is funnier
than anything he does in Furry Vengeance, a sort
of live-action version of the much funnier
animated film Over the Hedge. Trust me, kids in
the theater were cracking up. For them, when a
raccoon bites a guy in the crotch or skunks squirt
people more times than can be counted, that's
funny. But we adults know better. And Fraser
should too.
The name of the film is pretty self-explanatory,
so there's no need to go too much into the plot.
Three 40-something men (John Cusack, Craig
Robinson, and Rob Corddry) and a nephew of
one of these men (Clark Duke) somehow find
themselves in the titular device and are
transported back to 1986. As with most time
travel movies, much of Hot Tub Time Machine
focuses on the "what could have been", and
asking the question "if I could live my life again,
what would I do differently?" That is the current
underlying the film and there's a bit of poignancy
to be found in there, but on the surface it's all
craziness and gross-out laughs, and of course,
making fun of the 80s. Hot Tub Time Machine is
funnier than the title suggests, but it's very very
hit and miss. And there's just too many misses
to make it a consistently enjoyable film.
The problem with Jonah Hex isn't necessarily that
it's not long enough. It's problem is that it's not
enough, period. There's not enough laughs, not
enough thrills, not enough confidence, and not
enough fun. Brolin, Fassbender, and some of the
more clever designs stop the movie from being a
total wash, but the completed picture is as
mangled as its protagonist's face. It's a bloody,
angry revenge flick that doesn't have any blood
and is trying to manage its anger. The result is
an uneven film that never feels true to itself and
does the bare minimumin order to get by. It really
is just a so-so movie.
The movie poster makes it look like Spy Kids
meets Kung Fu and they squandered the
opportunity to make the film like that. Early in the
film they brought up that Farren is into
gymnastics and Ian is super smart and reads
college chemistry books for fun. They had every
chance to exploit these concepts and have the
kids join in fighting the bad guys but chose to
ignore these easy set-ups. The kids personality
quirks become as pointless as Nora insisting on
wearing only pink. They are brought up as major
plot points and then completely forgotten. Jackie
Chan is always fun to watch with his comedic
brand of Kung Fu and there are a few well staged
fight sequences. It's a good thing, too, because
there isn't much else to recommend this
by-the-book action comedy, a mostly inoffensive
nothing of a film with one or two mild chuckles
and lots of chop-socky commotion.