Let’s not waste any time….
10. The Ghost Writer -
Photo by Guy Farrandis, Summit Entertainment
The best Roman Polanski film in many years, probably since the Piano. Didn’t have much of a distribution in the states but worth checking out. It’s understandable that Polanski doesn’t get much love, most likely due to the rape charges for which he fled the states and still can’t return. He is best known for ‘Rosemary’s Baby’, the death of his wife by the hands of Charles Manson and his crew, and the aforementioned rape charges. This film is one worth checking out.
9. The Social Network -
Photo by Merrick Morton
Everyone hailed it as the next Citizen Kane. It was good, mostly because of the script by Aaron Sorkin (West Wing), the daft direction by David Fincher ( Fight Club, Seven, Benjamin Button), and a soundtrack by Trent Reznor (NIN). We didn’t love it that much, largely due to the fact that everyone in the film is an asshole; there’s no one to root for despite being impressive on so many other levels. Perhaps one reason why this film has been so critically acclaimed is that reviewers such as Kenneth Turan or Roger Ebert, who don’t understand the zeitgeist of this generation are trying to stay “hip”. Hey great movie, I “like” it. No, you don’t.
8. Tron -
The Visual FX are ridiculous, they should be being 3+ years in the making by Venice’s own Digital Domain. They used what was done very sparingly in Benjamin Button and blew it up to an entire feature, having a young Jeff Bridges play against his older self. The story received a nice face lift as well, but the real star is the the action, especially the bike scenes. Quite an upgrade from the video game that came out 25+ years ago. And with a score by daft punk it all comes together for first time director Joseph Kosinski.
7. The Fighter -
Photo by Paramount Pictures
Directed by David O. Russel who, literally went to blows with George Clooney on the Three Kings set, got on famously with the cast and even the town of Lowell, MA where this film was shot. The film doesn’t shy away from the White Trashness of it’s characters, but rather plays it up so hard that it ceases to be over the top. Christian Bale will probably win a best supporting actor award for his role as Micky Ward, the crack addicted trainer to his half brother Dickie, a welterweight from the wrong side of the tracks. Originally Aronofsky was to direct, he stayed on to produce, and you can see a dark edge in there that might not have been there if it was all Russell. The fight scenes are shot exactly like an HBO fight which is cool too.
6. Let Me In -
A remake of the 2008 Swedish film ‘Let the Right One In, it tells the story of a young bullied tween in the 80′s who is befriended by his mysterious neighbor of the same age. While falling for her, he comes to realize that she is a vampire. It’s not ‘True Blood’ and it’s def not ‘Twilight’, but it is scary and surprisingly touching. It didn’t get much box office love, but check it out, you may be surprised. This is a remake which is actually better than the original, thanks to a higher production design, better cinematography and a score by Michael Giacchino, of LOST fame.
5. True Grit -
Simple, The Coen Brothers. They are quality, and they continue to put out great films. The Mild mannered Minnesota boys do some of the quirkiest, darkest stuff out there and everyone lines up to be in their films because the are consistently putting out gems. True Grit is a remake of an old John Wayne vehicle that is now told through the eyes of the young girl in the story, who seeks revenge for the slaying of her father. Jeff Bridges teams with the Coen brothers again and it works. It has some action, but is a lot funnier than you would expect.
4. The Town -
Surprisingly good, very good. Makes you almost want to like Ben Affleck again. Almost. It’s not Heat, but it’s great, and the Rebecca Hall story works. Renner is a bad ass as usual, and the late Pete Posthelwaite is always tremendous. Chris Cooper is no slouch in his one scene also. It should be up for best picture but won’t be.
3. 127 Hours -
Danny Boyle is a master film maker. He is on a short list of film makers that haven’t had a crap film. He doesn’t stick to one genre either, from Trainspotting to 28 days later to Slumdog; they’re all quality, and are stylish while maintaining strong content. It’s challenging to make a film about a guy stuck in one place, who eventually has to cut off his own arm. He explores the fears and dreams of someone in that world, with dream sequences and interesting techniques that don’t stretch too far. He pulls it off, with heart.
2. Black Swan -
Is the yin to ‘The Wrestler’s yang. It takes the world of competitive ballet in NYC, and turn it into a horror movie, complete with a sexually repressed, smothered by her mother, schizophrenic Natalie Portman. It is uncomfortable and beautiful at the same time. The performances are great and you either like it or you hate it. WeLoved it. Portman is also our pick for winning best actress.
1. Inception -
Rarely can a film be an action movie and cerebral. It is a masterpiece because it can pull off both of those things and do it with style. Christopher Nolan is another director who brings it. Yes, it is very layered, moves fast and is extremely dense. What’s wrong with a movie that makes you think? It isn’t all action, there are some very wistful moments as well. I’m not going to get metaphysical on you, it would take to long. It was a big blockbuster but the aesthetics were not wasted Michael Bay style, they were used to tell the story not just blow you away. For WeloVenice this takes the #1 spot.
HONORABLE MENTION -
Our list is just our opinion. If you love it tell us, if you think we’re full of shit, tell us. We would love to hear your thoughts and your opinion. There are some movies we haven’t seen, such as Blue Valentine, Biutiful and The King’s Speech. There are some movies we saw and just didn’t get what the big deal was, such as Toy Story 3, and The Kids Are Allright. But again, it’s just our opinion.