I'm Breathless: Fall/Holiday Season 2010
White Material - Easily one of our greatest filmmakers and greatest stars
A - Agonized and fearless, eerily sympathetic, formally electric
LIKE A PRAYER
Black Swan - Requires a lot of trust in Portman, but who isn't fascinated?
B - Works as schizo freakout, but resorts to too many cheap tactics
The Illusionist - No such thing as a review of this that isn't a heartfelt paean
Inside Job - No End in Sight rocked, and this seems even mightier
B+ - Strong! Just as compelling as No End, if more testily self-righteous
Another Year - I'm guessing I'll like but not love it, which is plenty
Blue Valentine - Could collapse in flames of pretense, or could invigorate
Buried - I am all for a well-played gimmick, and reviews have all been kind
C - Enervating and implausible in all the wrong ways
Enter the Void - Inevitably self-indulgent, but his visuals entrance
pass - Inconvenient length and showtimes plus bad word-of-mouth kept me out
The Fighter - A sharp cast and a director who's always worth trusting
For Colored Girls - I like Perry, and I love this text, and many of the women
C+ - Very worth seeing for power of best bits, but troubling and ill-integrated
Last Train Home - Everything I've read is a rave; Up the Yangtze redux?
pass - Saw first half and had to leave on work-related emergency! Was going fine...
Monsters - Came sailing out of Edinburgh fest; seems genuinely unusual
B - Excitingly odd, great lensing and production, but ratios way off
Mugabe and the White African - A buzz builder for over a year
C+ - Both essential and disappointing (full review)
Rabbit Hole - Somebody buy this! Seems ideal for Kidman, especially
B - Uneven and limited, but affecting and smartly performed
The Social Network - Very intriguing, but lots of room for error
B+ - Fleet, sharp, engaging, impressive, just a bit too deoxygenated
The Town - The promise of Gone Baby Gone, minus the cheese?
B+ - Muscular, absorbing pulp; unexpected tenderness and humor
Valhalla Rising - I'm all for nutso, heightened historiography
C+ - Gruff, deadpan, and proudly bizarre (full review)
The Way Back - I didn't get Master & Commander right away, but now I'm sold
GIVE IT 2 ME
The American - The studio just knows we'll hate it, so I'll probably like it
B - A bit clichéd but subtle and insinuating (full review)
Burlesque - Cher in a film is an event. One of our most underused actresses
Carlos - Festival notices hadn't been raves, but Assayas is unmissable
Fair Game - Cannes notices didn't inspire, but the story bears repeating. Sean!
Love and Other Drugs - Zwick and all, but Hathaway shimmers in the ads
Never Let Me Go - I'm mystified by the book, but I still feel drawn to the film
C+ - Mix of pros and cons re: already shaky book (full review)
Night Catches Us - Mackie and Washington; surely one has to go bonafide soon?
Somewhere - I'm curious, but will her next be called Deck Chair? Drifting?
PROMISE TO TRY
Country Strong - Welcome back to the 5 & dime, Gwynnie P, Gwynnie P!
Easy A - Emma Stone charmed even in Superbad, and this looks scrumptious
C+ - Stone's aces, plus some good sidebar moments; film's a breezy mess
Hereafter - Clint whiffed three in a row, but it's an important career
pass - I'll see it eventually. Maybe. Probably. It just sounds so lame.
How Do You Know - I'm not a Reese guy, and I still found the trailer inviting
Howl - Neither of Franco's pics looks like a sure thing, but I'm curious
C - Ginsberg on Ginsberg, a trial about Ginsberg, all indirect and choppy
It's Kind of a Funny Story - Boden & Fleck compel respect, but are we suuure?
pass - Sounds increasingly clear like they're off their game, and I don't want to see that
Leaving - Could be juicy vehicle for Scott Thomas, who says final cut surprised her
Nowhere Boy - I'd avoid it if the reviews for the actresses weren't so strong
Soul Kitchen - Please tell me this is genuinely winning, and not just pandering
pass - Had every intention, but I, like the distrib, thought it would catch on longer
The Tempest - Taymor isn't trustworthy, but the elements still scintillate
The Tillman Story - My brother took this story really hard, so I feel compelled
B - Sober, effective storytelling with many-sided characters
The Tourist - Wasn't a Lives of Others fan, but this could be smart, or taut
True Grit - Dubious match of Coens to shaky material, but can't be ignored
Vision - Von Trotta's an interesting case, and I work with a Hildegard expert
SOONER OR LATER
127 Hours - I'd put it lower, but I'm sure I'll still wind up seeing it
C+ - Very capable with local details but awfully fuzzy on larger ideas
All Good Things - Much delayed, but Gosling, Wiig, Venora are big draws for me
Biutiful - I don't think González Iñárritu or Bardem has lived up to potential
Bran Nue Dae - Glenn at Stale Popcorn has been beating this drum for a while
pass - People who saw it doubted whether it was my thing; I'll wait for DVD
Conviction - We'll know from the first reviews if we really need to bother
C+ - Unremarkable filmmaking, hugely patchy script, but leads sell the heck out of it
Down Terrace - Tim Robey gave it a very admiring review in the Telegraph
Jackass 3-D - Call me a groundling, but I loved the first, seems perfect for 3-D
pass - ...though not enough, apparently, to get me to commit another $15
The King's Speech - It reads sort of ludicrous, but I might feel obligated
Let Me In - Unlike most others, I don't hold the original sacred
pass - Sympathetic as I was to chance of improvement, I didn't care to investigate
Making the Boys - The subject can't help but move me, but how's the film?
pass - Never came anywhere near me, assuming it opened at all
The Next Three Days - Crowe is always worth it, and Haggis retains potential
C - Embarrassing start, watchable and sometimes great in middle, infuriating end
Paranormal Activity 2 - I might not have learned my lesson at Book of Shadows
B - Enjoyment predicated on fondness for first movie, but I went for it
Waiting for 'Superman' - Even if it overstates the obvious, I feel implicated
pass - The critics I care most about seem all but agreed that this is thin soup.
JUSTIFY MY LOVE
Barney's Version - The IMDb plot précis gave me a genuine twinge of acid reflux
Machete - I still can't decode the reviews. Should I go? For Trejo?
pass - I'd have gone in a different season, but fall's too crowded as is
Morning Glory - An inspired grouping of cast members, but ads are groaners
D - Some yuks, but a sinkhole of incoherence. McAdams deserves better
Stone - Wouldn't stand a chance, but written by Junebug scribe!
pass - Sounds mildly unusual, but not enough to entice me back to De Niro or Norton
Welcome to the Rileys - These three actors are a tough combo to ignore
You Again - Seems like something I'd skip, but lotsa great ladies
pass - Oh, so it's Mean Girls meets Bride Wars with dumb jokes? Oh.
The Company Men - If it's "Up in the Air but 'not quite as good,'" I'm out
Due Date - I chuckled once or twice at the trailer, but mostly groaned
pass - Reviews, especially A.O. Scott's, didn't tell me anything I want to hear
Heartbreaker - Reviews and business in France have been pretty spectacular
pass - Couldn't see appeal, but imagine what French think of Hitch
I'm Still Here - I am not fascinated by the shenanigans of the weird and privileged
pass - Some praise mixed with the pans, but nothing turned me around
Made in Dagenham - Maybe if Sally Hawkins is the real deal, but awfully light
Mademoiselle Chambon - Seems pretty anonymous, but it's got Lindon and a César
pass - In a very crowded season, I just couldn't justify the time
Red - Only if reviews signal it as more than an arbitrary stunt
pass - Reviews confirmed worst fears, and I'm Mirren'd out at the moment
Secretariat - Only if I'm having one of those pint-of-Häagen-Dazs days
pass - Critical scuffles have been intriguing, but I haven't bought a ticket
TRON: Legacy - Only if the reviews are above Speed Racer
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps - Carey Mulligan and Josh Brolin, but still...
pass - Checked in on Carey for Never Let Me Go. Why visit twice?
LOVE DON'T LIVE HERE ANYMORE
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt.1 - Dropped Harry, don't regret it
pass - Exactly what I already said
I Want Your Money - And I want a doc that doesn't just preach things we know
pass - I don't think this ever showed up, and I think Inside Job satiated me
Jack Goes Boating - Loved Synecdoche but can't take much more schlub
pass - Reviews more encouraging than I expected, but I'm still just not ready
Legendary - What will I do for Patty Clarkson? Attend a wrestling pic?
pass - Only opened in northern suburb! I'm not traveling for this thing
Megamind - Only if the reviews are above Despicable, and doubtful even then
pass - If anything, reviews are more muted than for D-Me, so I'm out
My Soul to Take - For Wes Craven, I need Freddy, or else Meryl on fiddle
pass - Already clear this won't be my thing
The Sicilian Girl - Ever hear about the Sicilian movie about the Mafia?
pass - Preview even more rote than what I had imagined; no peep from critics
Skyline - This seems Dean Koontzy to me. Is it Dean Koontz?
pass - I thought so.
Tangled - "Alex, I'll take 'Completely Charmless Trailers' for $1000..."
The Warrior's Way - An unexpected cast, but I bet I'll still pass
Wild Target - Nighy? Blunt? Everett? Atkins? Enough to reserve judgment
pass - Can already tell from trailer that this won't be my cuppa
You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger - Still haven't liked an Allen in 13 years
pass - Reviews, especially A.O. Scott's, have confirmed all my fears
Case 39, Faster, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, Gulliver's Travels, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole, Life As We Know It, Tamara Drewe, Unstoppable, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Yogi Bear
(i.e., confirmed postponements)
Brighton Rock - Unless reviews curdle, I'll want to see if they nail the nastiness
The Conspirator - Forget box-office poison; Robin is like distributor poison
The Debt - I liked Munich, twice, but will this measure up?
Hesher - Gordon-Levitt indifference persists, but script by Animal Kingdom guy
London Boulevard - Lots of potential but are we positive it's opening?
Miral - I'm expecting a bit of a slog, but I'm curious to follow Schnabel
Passion Play - Rourke's first post-Ram gig that offers real opportunity
Red Dawn - Must every damn thing be remade? Now, if it were Red Sonja...
Tree of Life - As if anyone needs me to explain my hopeful ardor
What's Wrong with Virginia? - Rare gig for scripter behind camera really hooks me
Labels: Movies of 2010