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Off The Couch And Into The Theater: December 2010

Where did 2010 go? I am going to have step up my game seeking out those year-end Oscar bait flicks to round out my calendar year cinema experience because November's in-theater viewings were largely fruitless. Due Date was even more dreadful than The Hangover despite having RDJ instead of Bradley Cooper, Fair Game was actually more interesting than I could ever have imagined but there was nothing monumental about it as Doug Liman just did what he always does with the shaky cam, and Unstoppable, while brilliant, is just a hair away from being official top-ten-list material. But the final month is here, so I cannot but live in the moment and try my best to catch up. Here are the final releases of 2010 (with "Do I Wanna See It?" percentages in parentheses)...

Dec 3rd: The only wide release in this first week of the month is The Warrior's Way (33%) starring Kate Bosworth as, I'm not essing you, an assassin that tries to hide out in the plains of middle America when she refuses one of those assassin assignments that's, you know, more evil than the other ones. Leaving (4%) stars Kristin Scott Thomas in once again a French-speaking role, as she's apparently too good for English/American ones anymore, where she gets involved in a boring love triangle for the thousandth time since The English Patient. Marwencol (79%) is one of the few documentaries to come out in the latter half of 2010 that looks honestly unique and promising, about a man who suffers a terrible physical assault and copes through crafting a miniature collection of recreations of WWII scenes in his backyard. Weird and stranger than fiction docs can be fascinating, but also can be overly quirky, so it could go either way.

Dec 10th:
Johnny Depp looks the most normal in a long while in The Tourist (29%), but with Angelina Jolie and a boilerplate spy plot in tow, normal will likely just equate to boring rather than refreshing. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2%) comes out as well and I honestly didn't even realize this franchise was still going strong. Sorry fantasy genre, I doubt I'll ever understand your appeal. The Company Men (83%) is this year's Up in the Air, focusing on the American downsizing epidemic, this time through three different characters, all white men - Ben Affleck, Kevin Costner, and Tommy Lee Jones. Oh well, the subject is still vaguely affecting. Likewise, The Fighter (74%) is this year's answer to The Wrestler, but with a way bigger budget and too many subplots. I seriously can't tell if the focus is Mark Wahlberg's romance with Amy Adams or his turmoil-laden relationship with his brother Christian Bale. Speaking of Aronofsky, Black Swan (1000%) arrives as well and I like the rest of the film nerdery contingent, cannot wait. Insanity, a Clint Mansell score, and gritty camera work? Drool. And no, that percentage is not a typo. Queen of the Lot (11%) is a Z-grade indie lampooning and humanizing the Lindsay Lohans of the world with Noah Wyle as a love interest. Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (47%) is a weird Finnish holiday treat, part comedy and part fantasy, about a group of guards that make sure no one discovers Santa Claus's headquarters. Once again, could be quirkily cute or quirkily ugly.

Dec 17th: The odd excitement behind TRON: Legacy (96%) is so tempting to latch onto, but many have expressed a very valid concern - that the original just isn't good. I remember thinking it was cheesy as a little kid watching the Disney Channel, and that could go either way if re-watched today. Daft Punk though! Yogi Bear (Hey Boo Boo, Shoot Me!%) also brings back some half-formed memories from childhood but there's no question about whether this one will capture the magic. James L. Brooks' new one How Do You Know (62%) looks saccharine as usual, but I'm kind of a sucker for his whitewashed humor and faux-existential drama. Casino Jack (50%) is Kevin Spacey's latest vehicle, so you know it's going to be obnoxious, but add in the fact that this is a political thriller-slash-comedy and you know it'll be doubly obnoxious. Julie Taymor decided Spider-Man the broadway musical wasn't quite enough, so she also filmed The Tempest (86%) but I'll give in because it's my third-favorite Shakespeare play. Ewan McGregor and Jim Carry get controversial in I Love You Phillip Morris (92%), about two men who fall in love in prison, and I am kind of sexually attracted to Oscar bait, so here we go! White Material (17%) is a French film about racial strife amongst families in Africa, which sounds generic, but has some stunningly colored and deliciously hazy direction, so that might be enough. And Made in Dagenham (61%) is a dramatization of the 1968 Ford women's strike over discrimination, which isn't much, but Sally Hawkins and Bob Hoskins suddenly make it not only watchable but exciting!

Dec 24th:
The commercials for Little Fockers (13%) are bombarding us with reminders that this is the third installment in the grand and epic Meet the Parents trilogy, which is sad in a number of ways. True Grit (100%) is sure to be another hole-in-one by the COen Bros., but if I had one reservation about it, I must suggest that no matter who does a remake, it's still a remake, and that makes me feel uneasy regardless of who's at the helm. Gulliver's Travels (6%) apparently is coming out and it's all family friendly and 3D and what have you, starring Jack Black and sure to include so many wild facial expressions from the celebrity that once was. Also, this is the first time I'm hearing about it so I only have the proof of IMDb that it actually exists. All Good Things (73%) stars Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst in a re-telling of some kind of famous NYC murder mystery, but I'm too lazy to Wikipedia it. Tevs, I like murder and Gosling and Dunst. I'll buy a ticket. Yes, Hollywood, it's that easy. Similarly, Rabbit Hole (65%) gives us Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart as a couple that loses a child. Not quite as immediately appealing, but I'll take it. Plus, Oscar buzz. And finally, The King's Speech (82%) should be the most boring movie ever, but I'll be got damned if the trailer doesn't make a stuttering guy preparing for a harangue look inspiring and epic. Go Colin Firth - I officially don't care if every woman wants you anymore.

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  1. Blogger DoktorPeace | 5:21 PM |  

    I used to love the fantasy genre, but I grow more bored by it every year, especially now that story has been so sacrificed in favor of effects. Too much emphasis is put on creating an "awesome" world, and too little on the characters within.

    As usual, however, the box office disagrees.

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