Friday, 31 December 2010

Metacritic Top 200 in 2010

I always like to check in on the scores over at Metacritic at the end of the year, to temper the popularity vote that IMDb Top 250 list seems to have, but also because it's one place where I still find titles I've never heard before. The formatting and design have changed over at the site so the info I pulled is every so slightly different from last year, but overall it's more rather than less info. Interesting to see that 8 titles from 2010 made it to their all time list of best reviewed films, which now feels like it includes lots and lots of re-releases. Any way I look at it, I like it though because it gives me more films to add to my own lists!

2010 Movies on the Metacritic Top 200 as of Dec 31, 2010
24. The Social Network
33. Sita Sings the Blues
134. Inside Job
135. A Film Unfinished
150. 45365
151. The King's Speech
190. The Kids Are All Right
198. Last Train Home

Metacritics 100 Best Reviewed films from 2010 as of Dec 31, 2010
1. The Social Network
2. Sita Sings the Blues
3. Carlos
4. Toy Story 3
5. Children of Tokyo
6. A Prophet
7. Winter's Bone
8. Inside Job
9. A Film Unfinished
10. 45365
11. The King's Speech
12. The Tillman Story
13. The Kids Are All Right
14. Last Train Home
15. Lebanon
16. Exit Through the Gift Shop
17. Vincere
18. Restrepo
19. Secret Sunshine
20. Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench
21. Boxing Gym
22. Animal Kingdom
23. Neil Young Trunk Show
24. Mademoiselle Chambon
25. 127 Hours
26. Ajami
27. Marwencol
28. Change Nothing (Ne Change Rien)
29. White Material
30. The Secret in Their Eyes
31. The Secret of Kells
32. Fish Tank
33. The Illusionist
34. Waiting for 'Superman'
35. Blue Valentine
36. True Grit
37. From Selma to Soweto
38. Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work
39. Mother
40. IMAX: Hubble 3D
41. Let Me In
42. I Am Love
43. Hadewijch
44. The Fighter
45. Racing Dreams
46. Please Give
47. Waste Land
48. Black Swan
49. Teza
50. Another Year
51. Mugabe and the White African
52. Alamar (To the Sea)
53. Red Riding: In the Year of Our Lord 1983
54. In Search of Memory
55. The Ghost Writer
56. Father of My Children
57. Get Low
58. Still Bill
59. Undertow
60. The Army of Crime
61. Room and a Half
62. Vengeance
63. Living in Emergency: Stories of Doctors Without Borders
64. Soul Kitchen
65. A Mother's Courage: Talking Back to Autism
66. Greenberg
67. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
68. Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo
69. The Art of the Steal
70. Anton Chekhov's The Duel
71. The Two Escobars
72. Oceans
73. The Square
74. Pranzo di ferragosto
75. Prodigal Sons
76. Terribly Happy
77. Go Get Some Rosemary
78. Rabbit Hole
79. Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child
80. Inception
81. Farewell
82. Stonewall Uprising
83. The Town
84. Cyrus
85. Ahead of Time
86. How to Train Your Dragon
87. Cropsey
88. See What I'm Saying: The Deaf Entertainers Documentary
89. Blue Beard
90. Tibet in Song
91. Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould
92. Harlan: In the Shadow of Jew Suess
93. Amer
94. Easier with Practice
95. Mesrine: Public Enemy No. 1
96. The Company Men
97. Let It Rain
98. Easy A
99. The Oath
100. The Lottery

Metacritic Top 200 films as of Dec 31, 2010
1. Balthazar (re-release)
2. Lawrence of Arabia (re-release)
3. The Godfather
4. The Leopard (re-release)
5. The Conformist (re-release)
6. Sweet Smell of Success (re-release)
7. Fanny and Alexander (re-release)
8. Superman II
9. Seven Samurai (re-release)
10. The Night of the Hunter (re-release)
11. Army of Shadows
12. Pépé le Moko (re-release)
13. Pan's Labyrinth
14. Metropolis (re-release)
15. Rififi (re-release)
16. 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days
17. The Adventures of Robin Hood (re-release)
18. The Producers (re-release)
19. Days of Being Wild (re-release)
20. The French Connection (re-release)
21. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
22. Ratatouille
23. Modern Times (re-release)
24. The Social Network
25. A Hard Day's Night (re-release)
26. Days of Heaven (re-release)
27. The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
28. Spirited Away
29. E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (re-release)
30. Pulp Fiction
31. Killer of Sheep
32. The Hurt Locker
33. Sita Sings the Blues
34. WALL-E
35. The Battle of Algiers (re-release)
36. Sideways
37. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
38. Carlos
39. The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie
40. Reversal of Fortune
41. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
42. Schindler's List
43. Taxi Driver (re-release)
44. La Dolce Vita (re-release)
45. Frantic
46. Amadeus
47. Yi yi: A One and a Two...
48. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
49. The Class
50. Raging Bull
51. 35 Shots of Rum
52. Umberto D (re-release)
53. Masculine Feminine (re-release)
54. There Will Be Blood
55. Beauty and the Beast (re-release)
56. Toy Story
57. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
58. Werckmeister Harmonies
59. Toy Story 3
60. Moolaadé
61. The Fast Runner (Atanarjuat)
62. Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope
63. Le cercle rouge (re-release)
64. The Triplets of Belleville
65. The Queen
66. Repulsion (re-release)
67. Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion
68. 68
69. Beau travail
70. Do the Right Thing
71. Waltz with Bashir
72. Secrets & Lies
73. Patton
74. No Country for Old Men
75. Raiders of the Lost Ark
76. After Hours
77. The Crying Game
78. Ran (re-release)
79. Saving Private Ryan
80. A Prophet
81. Winter's Bone
82. L.A. Confidential
83. Bloody Sunday
84. Apocalypse Now
85. My Voyage to Italy
86. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (re-release)
87. La commune (Paris, 1871)
88. Solaris (re-release) (Tarkovsky)
89. The Sweet Hereafter
90. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (re-release)
91. Topsy-Turvy
92. Being John Malkovich
93. Before Sunset
94. The Incredibles
95. American Splendor
96. Hannah and Her Sisters
97. Almost Famous
98. Gosford Park
99. United 93
100. Capturing the Friedmans
101. The Truman Show
102. The Passenger (re-release)
103. Persepolis
104. Lost in Translation
105. The Best of Youth
106. The Lives of Others
107. 4 Little Girls
108. House of Flying Daggers
109. Funny Girl (re-release)
110. Man on Wire
111. Still Walking
112. Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
113. Finding Nemo
114. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
115. No End in Sight
116. Goodbye Solo
117. Stop Making Sense
118. In Cold Blood (re-release)
119. Goodfellas
120. The Piano
121. Quai des Orfèvres
122. Piccadilly
123. High Noon (re-release)
124. Letters from Iwo Jima
125. Once
126. The Last Waltz (re-release)
127. Superman
128. Ghost World
129. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
130. Brazil
131. Capote
132. Tulpan
133. Overlord
134. Inside Job
135. A Film Unfinished
136. The Blue Angel (re-release)
137. Time Out
138. Eyes Without a Face (re-release)
139. On the Waterfront (re-release)
140. Thelma & Louise
141. Band of Outsiders
142. Away from Her
143. Mafioso
144. The Fallen Idol (re-release)
145. Chicken Run
146. Donnie Darko: The Director's Cut
147. Blade Runner
148. Up
149. Y tu mamá también
150. 45365
151. The King's Speech
152. Toy Story 2
153. Nobody Knows
154. L'Enfant
155. Little Women
156. The Spirit of the Beehive
157. Shakespeare in Love
158. Gomorrah
159. I vitelloni
160. The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara
161. Quiz Show
162. Howards End
163. Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
164. Crumb
165. Serpico (re-release)
166. Maria Full of Grace
167. Fateless
168. Tootsie
169. Brokeback Mountain
170. Shine
171. Tarnation
172. Murderball
173. Grizzly Man
174. The English Patient
175. All About My Mother
176. Aliens
177. Marooned in Iraq
178. Sex, Lies, and Videotape
179. To Die For
180. The Wind Will Carry Us
181. The Conversation
182. The Tillman Story
183. Slumdog Millionaire
184. Million Dollar Baby
185. 42: Forty Two Up
186. Say Anything...
187. To Be and to Have
188. The Straight Story
189. Rushmore
190. The Kids Are All Right
191. Dead Ringers
192. Boys Don't Cry
193. Easy Rider
194. Chinatown
195. Ten
196. In the Bedroom
197. Je rentre à la maison
198. Last Train Home
199. The Beaches of Agnès
200. Russian Ark

IMDB Top 250 in 2010

Time to look at how 2010 sized up on the IMDb Top 250 List, and I'm a little surprized that only 7 titles managed to land on the the hit the Top 250 list, although that is one more than 2009's list which had 6 titles.

I always find these entries interesting because it always seems to be a mix of fandom picks, acclaimed directors (usually with fanboy followings) and and exceptional films. This year that combination of films holds strong yet again. Side-note, am I the only person who *hasn't* seen Toy Story 3?

Looking for a more critical eye? Check out how Metacritic weighs in at the end of 2010.

2010 additions to the IMDb Top 250:
6. Inception
26. Toy Story 3
51. Black Swan
150. The Social Network
173. How to Train Your Dragon
199. True Grit
239. Kick-Ass

IMDb Top 250 (as of December 31, 2010)
1. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
2. The Godfather (1972)
3. The Godfather: Part II (1974)
4. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
5. Pulp Fiction (1994)
6. Inception (2010)
7. Schindler's List (1993)
8. 12 Angry Men (1957)
9. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
10. The Dark Knight (2008)
11. Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
12. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
13. Seven Samurai (1954)
14. Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)
15. Fight Club (1999)
16. Goodfellas (1990)
17. Casablanca (1942)
18. City of God (2002)
19. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
20. Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
21. Rear Window (1954)
22. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
23. Psycho (1960)
24. The Usual Suspects (1995)
25. The Matrix (1999)
26. Toy Story 3 (2010)
27. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
28. Se7en (1995)
29. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
30. Memento (2000)
31. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
32. Sunset Blvd. (1950)
33. Forrest Gump (1994)
34. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
35. Leon: The Professional (1994)
36. Apocalypse Now (1979)
37. Citizen Kane (1941)
38. North by Northwest (1959)
39. American Beauty (1999)
40. American History X (1998)
41. Taxi Driver (1976)
42. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
43. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
44. Vertigo (1958)
45. Amélie (2001)
46. Alien (1979)
47. WALL·E (2008)
48. The Shining (1980)
49. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
50. Spirited Away (2001)
51. Black Swan (2010)
52. Paths of Glory (1957)
53. Double Indemnity (1944)
54. The Pianist (2002)
55. A Clockwork Orange (1971)
56. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
57. The Lives of Others (2006)
58. M (1931)
59. The Departed (2006)
60. City Lights (1931)
61. Aliens (1986)
62. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
63. Requiem for a Dream (2000)
64. Das Boot (1981)
65. The Third Man (1949)
66. Reservoir Dogs (1992)
67. L.A. Confidential (1997)
68. Chinatown (1974)
69. Modern Times (1936)
70. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
71. Life Is Beautiful (1997)
72. Back to the Future (1985)
73. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
74. The Prestige (2006)
75. Pan's Labyrinth (2006)
76. Raging Bull (1980)
77. Nuovo Cinema Paradiso (1988)
78. Singin' in the Rain (1952)
79. Some Like It Hot (1959)
80. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
81. Rashômon (1950)
82. All About Eve (1950)
83. Amadeus (1984)
84. Once Upon a Time in America (1984)
85. The Green Mile (1999)
86. Full Metal Jacket (1987)
87. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
88. Bicycle Thieves (1948)
89. Inglourious Basterds (2009)
90. Braveheart (1995)
91. The Great Dictator (1940)
92. The Apartment (1960)
93. Downfall (2004)
94. Up (2009)
95. Gran Torino (2008)
96. Gladiator (2000)
97. Metropolis (1927)
98. The Sting (1973)
99. The Maltese Falcon (1941)
100. Unforgiven (1992)
101. The Elephant Man (1980)
102. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
103. Sin City (2005)
104. Oldboy (2003)
105. On the Waterfront (1954)
106. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
107. Rebecca (1940)
108. Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983)
109. Die Hard (1988)
110. The Great Escape (1963)
111. Batman Begins (2005)
112. Mononoke-hime (1997)
113. The Seventh Seal (1957)
114. Jaws (1975)
115. Hotel Rwanda (2004)
116. Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
117. Blade Runner (1982)
118. Fargo (1996)
119. No Country for Old Men (2007)
120. The General (1926)
121. Heat (1995)
122. The Wizard of Oz (1939)
123. Touch of Evil (1958)
124. For a Few Dollars More (1965)
125. Yôjinbô (1961)
126. Ran (1985)
127. Witness for the Prosecution (1957)
128. Smultronstället (1957)
129. Snatch. (2000)
130. The Sixth Sense (1999)
131. Hotaru no haka (1988)
132. District 9 (2009)
133. Annie Hall (1977)
134. Donnie Darko (2001)
135. The Deer Hunter (1978)
136. Cool Hand Luke (1967)
137. Strangers on a Train (1951)
138. High Noon (1952)
139. The Big Lebowski (1998)
140. It Happened One Night (1934)
141. Avatar (2009)
142. Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)
143. The Lion King (1994)
144. Platoon (1986)
145. Into the Wild (2007)
146. There Will Be Blood (2007)
147. Notorious (1946)
148. Million Dollar Baby (2004)
149. Toy Story (1995)
150. The Social Network (2010)
151. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
152. Gone with the Wind (1939)
153. Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927)
154. Trainspotting (1996)
155. The Gold Rush (1925)
156. The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
157. The Wrestler (2008)
158. The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
159. Scarface (1983)
160. Ben-Hur (1959)
161. The Big Sleep (1946)
162. Groundhog Day (1993)
163. The Graduate (1967)
164. Life of Brian (1979)
165. Amores perros (2000)
166. Finding Nemo (2003)
167. The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
168. The Terminator (1984)
169. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
170. The Kid (1921)
171. Stand by Me (1986)
172. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)
173. How to Train Your Dragon (2010)
174. The Thing (1982)
175. Ikiru (1952)
176. Casino (1995)
177. V for Vendetta (2006)
178. Twelve Monkeys (1995)
179. The Wages of Fear (1953)
180. Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
181. The Secret in Their Eyes (2009)
182. Ratatouille (2007)
183. Les diaboliques (1955)
184. Gandhi (1982)
185. Star Trek (2009)
186. 8½ (1963)
187. The Princess Bride (1987)
188. Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)
189. The Night of the Hunter (1955)
190. Tonari no Totoro (1988)
191. The Incredibles (2004)
192. The Hustler (1961)
193. The Killing (1956)
194. La strada (1954)
195. Good Will Hunting (1997)
196. Network (1976)
197. The 400 Blows (1959)
198. In Bruges (2008)
199. True Grit (2010)
200. The Wild Bunch (1969)
201. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
202. The Battle of Algiers (1966)
203. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007)
204. Stalag 17 (1953)
205. The Exorcist (1973)
206. Persona (1966)
207. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
208. The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)
209. Children of Men (2006)
210. Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)
211. Dial M for Murder (1954)
212. Ed Wood (1994)
213. Fanny and Alexander (1982)
214. All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
215. Let the Right One In (2008)
216. Rocky (1976)
217. Big Fish (2003)
218. Magnolia (1999)
219. Manhattan (1979)
220. Mary and Max (2009)
221. Mystic River (2003)
222. Barry Lyndon (1975)
223. Festen (1998)
224. Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004)
225. Rosemary's Baby (1968)
226. Nights of Cabiria (1957)
227. Patton (1970)
228. Duck Soup (1933)
229. Roman Holiday (1953)
230. His Girl Friday (1940)
231. The Truman Show (1998)
232. Infernal Affairs (2002)
233. Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)
234. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
235. The Philadelphia Story (1940)
236. Howl's Moving Castle (2004)
237. In the Mood for Love (2000)
238. Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)
239. Kick-Ass (2010)
240. Harvey (1950)
241. Sleuth (1972)
242. A Christmas Story (1983)
243. Crash (2004/I)
244. Sherlock Jr. (1924)
245. Three Colours: Red (1994)
246. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)
247. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984)
248. Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring (2003)
249. Rope (1948)
250. Bringing Up Baby (1938)

Film Fan Fridays for Friday December 31, 2010

Hello Film Fans and Fanatics!

Welcome to Film Fan Fridays for Friday December 31, 2010! It is just about time to hand those yearly reins from 2010 to 2011 but before we do I always like to look back over the year in film and reflect. I'm been planning and plotting at this for a while, but luckily I've shifted to actually writing these lists and now you can enjoy them too! I check in on the results of my 2010 Most Anticipated Films of 2010, muse over my favourite Movie Memories of 2010, Fresh New Faces & Ones to Watch, a 2010 Reading Wrap Up on my Book-to-Film Reading Challenge and a newly style "Best of" list that this year I'm deeming as The Perfect List. That's lots to keep you busy reading, which is a good thing as it's a light week for releases!

This week we have a really quiet week of releases, with two films out on Thursday Dec 30, 2010 at Lightbox: Gasper Noé's Enter the Void which I've heard fantastical things about for ageas and am thrilled to see that it's sneaking out right at the end of the year. Our second releases is Jean-Luc Godard's Film Socialisme, which I'll admit I've only heard horrible things about ranging from self-indulgent to incoherent. Tough sell on that one!

No wide wide releases this week, and in fact no Friday releases at all. I guess that's what happens when it's a Friday New Years Eve, one of the few times of the year though even being a holiday, people don't usually head to theatres. I'm going to tuck into a SciFi triple bill to ring in the new year with 2001: A Space Odyssey (scary!), 2010 (Helen Mirren with Russian accent!) and Blade Runner (fingers crossed it's no-voice over version!), because it doesn't feel like New Year's without seeing at least a little be of Blade Runner. See you in 2011!

Have a great weekend!


Thursday December 30, 2010 Releases

Enter the Void
Dir: Gaspar Noé (Irreversible)
Cast: Nathaniel Brown, Paz de la Huerta, Cyril Roy, Olly Alexander
Limited Release
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer

Film Socialisme
Writer/Dir: Jean-Luc Godard (Breathless, Alphaville, Pierrot le fou)
Cast: Catherine Tanvier, Christian Sinniger, Jean-Marc Stehlé
Limited Release
Official Film Site & Trailer, IMDb Page

**please note this list of releases reflects first run film released in Toronto, Ontario, Canada as of December 31, 2010**

Thursday, 30 December 2010

The 2010 Perfect List

Okay, it's time for the end-all, be-all list for 2010 films. The Best Of 2010 list. I've done this list a few different ways since my first list in 2006, and I'm sticking to the parameters of it any regular Toronto theatrical release qualifies to be one the list (I've seen 146 of the 353 releases), but beyond that I'm doing something a bit different this year. So, this is not a list of 10 because we had more than 10 great films. This is not a ranked list because something weird happens when I try to do that for than 10 films (although I caved and I'll give you my top 5). So, what the heck is this list, if it isn't all these other things I mentioned.

It's the PERFECT list. It's the list of the films I saw this year that felt were perfect. The films where I never felt anything was off, unfinished, unclear, too clear, underdone or overdone. Everything about the film was perfect. It was not too long nor too short for the experience it needed to be. The acting was spot on, the story was compelling and complete. Beauty, vision, message, ideas and action were all exactly as they should have been.

How or why did I come up with this lists? Well, I don't rate, grade or score films when I review films because I like to align audiences to films through clear, direct recommendations ("If you like thrillers... you'll like..."). But, this year I did actual rate all the 2010 release I saw out of 10. Then while giving them a number out of 10, I realized I wanted to define in words what that number meant so it would be more definitive and less subjective number. For 10/10 I wrote "10 is perfection". That's pretty freaking definitive! It has one qualifier: perfection. So, not only are these films that enjoyed (because if I didn't enjoy it, it wasn't perfect), but I also thought they were well done, but it also meant there was was nothing 'off' and nothing I would change or want to see changed. They are also all films that not only met but often exceeded expectations, even when those expectations were high. The list is long clocking in at 37 titles, but by that clear a definition it just isn't right to omit any film that meets such high a standard.

Due to the fact that so many titles can be rather overwhelming I will give you my top 5 films, then list all 37 titles alphabetically.

Shannon the Movie Moxie's Top 5 Films of 2010
1. I Am Love
2. Frozen
3. Last Station, The
4. Wild Hunt, The
5. Grown Up Movie Star

The 37 PERFECT films from 2010
  • Animal Kingdom: Pitch perfect, beautifully understated Australian crime/coming of age film.
  • Best Worst Movie Hilarious documentary with a 'where are they now' vibe to the people involved with the 'worst movie ever' Troll 2 and the surrounding fandom. Troll 2 knowledge completely not required to enjoy this film.
  • Burlesque This film is exactly what you would expect it to be from the trailer: firey, fun-spirited and fantastic.
  • City Island Rarely has a comedy taken me in so completely. This is a real actor-centric/appreciative film that will have you laughing and crying and the amazing juxtaposition of belief and disbelief.
  • Despicable Me Absolutely delightful family flick centred on evil guru and 3 of the cutest little girls, ever.
  • Disappearance of Alice Creed, The Perfect thriller. Literally perfect. Perfect script, perfect acting from 3 of my faves: Eddie Marsan, Martin Compston & Gemma Arterton. Definitely has harsh content, but it's very much worth the journey. Don't find out anything about more about it, just see it.
  • Donation, La / The Legacy A lovely completion of Bernard Émond's humanist trilogy exploring Faith (La neuvaine), Hope (Contre toute espérance) and now Charity with La Donation. Quietly beautiful and profound with a stellar performance from Élise Guilbault.
  • Down Terrace UK family crime drama that reads equally as brilliant as a dark comedy as it does as a family crime film.
  • Eclipse, The Understated Irish supernatural drama starring Ciarán Hinds that has a lovely everyday people feel to it.
  • Fish Tank Amazing coming-of-age film set amongst gritty UK apartment complexes featuring fantastic performances by both Katie Jarvis and Michael Fassbender. It's a hands-down must-see.
  • Frozen The total definition of a small horror film that could, and it not only coulds but it does. Simple premise, brilliant execution. Fantastic performances, real human drama & relationships amongst the horrors of the elements. Loved it.
  • Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The / Män som hatar kvinnor Gains entry for if nothing else but by making me see that mystery films can be fantastic, and also for having a great double protagonist team. Slightly bittersweet entry considering the disappointment of Part 2 (Girl Who Played with Fire, The / Flickan som lekte med elden) and Part 3 (Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, The / Luftslottet som sprängdes) of the trilogy, but still makes the list as Dragon Tattoo can been seen as a stand-alone film experience.
  • Good, the Bad, the Weird, The I finally got to see this South Korean western after 2 years of waiting, and it was just as good as everyone said.
  • Grown Up Movie Star Lovely East Coast Canadian coming of age film. I have to say it's so exciting to see so many great coming of age films this year telling girls stories from women directors, where the stories ring so true.
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 I almost didn't even consider that this film could exceed my expectations considering it was my most anticipated film of the year, but I loved it, especially how they honoured the friendship of Harry, Hermione & Ron and are not rushing the story. I can't wait until Part II.
  • How to Train Your Dragon Charming, positive, open-hearted and ... dragons.
  • I Am Love This Italian drama starring Tilda Swinton is my#1 of the year for being an absolutely, truly beautiful film about love. Gets me verklempt just thinking about it.
  • J'ai tué ma mère / I Killed My Mother Xavier Dolan's coming of age directorial debut is just as impressive as everyone said.
  • Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work What an amazing documentary. Joan Rivers is an inspiration. Fearless, workaholic and hilarious woman.
  • King's Speech, The Primed for being a big awards film this year, and thankfully completely deserving!
  • Last Exorcism, The Plays like a faux doc yet wins you over with human drama. Brilliant.
  • Last Station, The This Tolstoy biopic blindsided me on being actual about the beauty & power of love. Great performances from Helen Mirren, James McAvoy and Christopher Plummer.
  • Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole Still fresh on my mind from seeing it this week, I loved the emphasis on the power of story, belief and the animation is gorgeous to boot.
  • Losers, The Easily my most re-watched film of the year with a fun-spirit, great ensemble cast and the fact that these losers are really heroes.
  • Love at the Twilight Motel Powerful documentary exploring centred on the lives of people who frequent by the hour motels in Miami.
  • Mao's Last Dancer Sensitive and emotional biopic on ballet dancer Li Cunxin, following his live from a very early age training in China through to travelling in the States in the early 80's.
  • Misfortunates, The / De helaasheid der dingen Flemish mullets, inappropriate language and extreme drinking and just the tip of the iceberg of this Belgian beauty centred on finding the heart in the harshness of family drama.
  • Mr. Nobody I call Mr. Nobody my Inception from 2010, a smart science fiction film that asks a lot of questions, and has a lot of heart.
  • My Dear Enemy / Meotjin haruLovely unconventional South Korean road movie following two exes and collecting an old debt.
  • Never Let Me Go I only believed in my wildest dreams that the adaptation of the Kazuo Ishiguro novel could actually work. But it does. This one I highly recommend reading the book first - a book which I'd widely and highly recommend, as I do with the film.
  • Nowhere Boy This early days John Lennon biopic starring Aaron Johnson knocked it out of the park.
  • Prophet, A Fascinating yet harsh crime drama following that aptly portrays power dynamics, resilience, organized crime and drive.
  • Square, The This thriller is yet another entry in the awesome Australian films of the year.
  • Trigger Great dual protagonist film as two women of rock catch up after many years of a strained but true friendship with the back drop of Toronto and a unique shared history.
  • Trotsky, The Quintessentially Canadian film with Jay Baruchel portraying a Montreal high school student who is convinced he is the re-incarnation of Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky.
  • Unstoppable One of the happy surprizes of the year was the fun, high octane runaway train ride with Chris Pine and Denzel Washington.
  • Wild Hunt, The When role playing and the real world collide we see the beauty in vulnerability, the brutality of restrain and above all else extremely powerful storytelling.

Trends I've noticed from the list are really embracing the love of great storytelling and the power of story, films about love, coming of age films and biopics. Thrilled at the high proportion of Canadian film, we really had a great run this year and also happy to see we are getting more and more great Australian film.

While the list is mostly limited releases over wide, I'm sure the wide release on my list are very different that other lists kicking around. I did see Black Swan, Inception and The Social Network, but none of them met the perfect criteria, although Inception was the closest. There are a few I've not yet seen (The Tempest, The Fighter, Rabbit Hole & 127 Hours), but it's a lot fewer that I've missed than previous years. I feel like I had a very different year in terms of film experiences from many of my friends & colleague, but I loved 2010 and think that any way you slice it, it's been a great year for film.

And a Few, Not-So-Perfect
I also had a few not so perfect film moments this year. Three films I went to theatrically had major problems with them. The White Ribbon stopped twice, The Man From Nowhere has subtitles that were unreadable if there were 2 lines of text and Resident Evil: Afterlife stopped 15 minutes shy of the ending. I also missed the end of The Other Guys as I watched it on the plane home from San Francisco but ran out of time. Because of all those oddities, none of those films I felt like I could review, which is too bad as I did quite enjoy each of them in very different ways.

Favourite Films Seen in 2010 that Weren't Quite 2010 Films:
Finally got to see The Fall and adored it, the campy goodness of Canadian vampire film Suck, the awesomeness of Michael Jai White in Blood & Bone, the sweet spirited Bandslam and Australian drama Somersault. Also enjoyed 101 viewings of Boondock Saints, Rebecca (1940) and Godzilla. DVD releases that wowed me include action flick Hunt to Kill, espionage drama Espion(s) / Spy(ies) and dark comedy Perrier’s Bounty. Festival films that are yet to be release that blew me away include Ip Man 2, Heartless, Strella: A Woman's Way and documentaries Freetime Machos, This Way of Life, Steam of Life / Miesten vuoro, Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls and Regretters.

Those were my perfect films of the year. What made your list?

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Movie Memories: 2010

Last year in anticipation of the turn of a new decade I did a series of "Movie Memories" by year, highlighting notable film watching experiences from 2000 - 2009 (you can see each year by clicking though the years here 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009) and as we come to the end of 2010 I though, why would I stop at this tradition? I mean, it was a lot of fun coming up with all of those this so I can eek out another list of 10 films that saw and had strong, positive film-going experiences in 2010.

My original parameters for the lists is films seen theatrically, no series included and films are listed in the chronological order in which I saw them. I was going to break a few rules, but decided against it although I did add some extra films at the end to include a film in a series, a straight-to-DVD and two festival-only films. Plus, remember this is a list of favourite movie memories not a best of list although there may be some crossover.

Dear John
I'm feeling like a bit of a softy leading with a film 'based on a Nicolas Sparks novel'. But one of the reasons I saw this was because people use that term *all the time* and I wondered, why not see the films (and read the book) before always lumping them in that category and not looking further. And look what happened - I totally fell in love with the film. It was quite the stir too as I saw it on the same day as Shutter Island (which I didn't love) and was at a pub night that same day with my film buddies, whom didn't quite agree with me on those respects! But I stand by them.

The Kids Are All Right and The Sorcerer's Apprentice (Birthday Double Bill)
I totally lucked out this year with my birthday falling on a Friday, therefore a primo day for heading out to the movies - twice! Well, I headed there just once, but stayed for two films. Started off the day with my buddy Danette having breakfast and tons and tons of coffee and then we say The Kids Are All Right together, which was so much fun! And then it was family time with my sister Jamie, her husband and my Mom as we watched The Sorcerer's Apprentice in the big AMC7 with extra pixels and all that jazz, and it was worth the extra pixels! Super fun day.

Step Up 3D and Street Dance 3D
Who knew my fave 3D films of the year would be 2 dance films? Okay, so that isn't really a stretch if you know my love of dance films. But this summer we had not 1 but 2 dance films, and they both have lovely ensemble casts, whole different-sides-of-the-tracks-working-together thing, and of course awesome dancing. Really, really enjoyed both of them.

The Last Exorcism
Okay, tonal shift time eh? This one kind of sneaks in as I saw it for the Toronto After Dark Film Festival, but it had it's theatrical release around the same time. So, first - I really enjoyed the film itself and it completely won me over with it's sort of tongue in cheek feel to it, but I also got to meet and interview actors Ashley Bell and Patrick Fabian and producer Eli Roth which was freaking amazing. I still smile with glee when I think about it, they were all so great and I had so much fun.

The Tooth Fairy
And now another tonal shift and one of the biggest surprizes of the year. I actually considered seeing this one in the theatre but ended up passing and then got it out of my local library on a lark because it was available. Turns out, it's totally awesome. I mean, it's The Rock (Dwayne Johnson) and he has to be a Tooth Fairy to learn that being a meanie-realistic/dream quasher isn't nice thing. So, it's kind of about the power of dreaming. Yep. That's going to get me. Every time. Plus, it is really funny and The Rock is charming as always. Biggest surprize of the year.

I think out of all the films I saw this year, I had the most fun watching Burlesque. I went with my sister Jamie (we saw the preview during something earlier in the year and knew we had to go together!), and oh my - what fun. Cher. Glam. Music. Feathers. Dance. Dreams. Goodness. Optimism. Willing to do the work (most people miss that one!) and overall fun times. Love the movie, love the soundtrack, can't wait to see it again.

TRON: Legacy
I'm a little surprized that this one is making the list, it was on my most anticipated films list and even though the hype waned just a little short of the release date I still was really looking forward to it and I ended up really, really enjoying it. One day I'll have to do a blue-movie-marathon, because I really have an odd love for films that have a lot of blue in them and we see that here. Even without the 3D ness, I loved watching the film because it understood and showcased 3D with a grander understanding of 3 dimensions conceptually than any other 2010 film I saw. And I really loved the characters and story. Plus, the soundtrack... oh my. Could be the best of the year and seeing it in AVX was worth it for the rumbling goodness.

Legends of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole
Although this one came out earlier in the year it places at the end as I got it for Christmas! What a treat! It was pretty much the only film this year that I felt like "Aw.... I missed that one!" and then there it was for me to enjoy on Christmas Day (thank you Jamie!). It's also a beauty story, and highlights the power of story - which is something I've really been enjoying this year. I also loved that it's full of lovely accents (lots of familiar voice too!) and great characters. Plus, the animated owls are gorgeous! Another big surprized this year.

Bonus Films - Because I Couldn't Not Included These 4 (that didn't qualify by my own rules):
  • The Woman with the 5 Elephants (Festival Film, seen at Hot Docs 2010) this film has really stuck with me throughout the year, mostly as the woman it follows who is a translatress, has been doing what she's been doing (translating) for so long and it's treated with value. The value of longevity of working on one thing was something I had pretty much dismissed given that we live in a world where people have several careers, vocations and entrepreneurship. But what if we didn't? What is there really was value in sticking with one thing? Wow. I think about it often.
  • Rubber (Festival Films, seen at Toronto After Dark Film Festival 2010) nothing was like seeing this film about a killer tire with the crowd from Toronto After Dark. One of the funniest and most fascinating movies I've seen all year.
  • Hunt to Kill (DVD Release) This action film was a huge, happy surprize under the radar hit for me. Steve Austin stars in a Texas-set but BC shot in the wilderness action with a fantastic supporting cast of Gil Bellows, Michael Eklund, Gary Daniels and Eric Roberts. Totally fun action film.
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (Series Film) This one will easily be one of my faves of the year but the experience of seeing it early in the morning, even after quite a kerfuffle, was extraordinary. I absolutely loved that they are taking their time with the last films and giving them the pace, tone, and attention they deserve. Love it.
Those were my favourite movie memories of the year. What were yours?

Movie Blogger Survey = Free DVD

Simple enough to explain...if you are a movie blogger check out this survey from PriceMinister and write about the survey and you can get a free DVD. They look very UK to me so keep that in mind when having a look around their site! They have films lots of my fave genres from horror films, thriller flicks , sci-fi lover to classic film and adventure movies.

As a bonus, the blogger with the highest follower participation will win a BluRay Player - now that's shiny! Good luck :)

Movie Moxie Podcast 20: True Grit & Westerns as a Genre

On this weeks episode and last of 2010 Shannon the Movie Moxie takes a look at the latest from the Coen Brothers with the release of True Grit, as well as westerns as a film genre and looks back a bit at 2010 as a whole.

MP3 File

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0:00 – 1:45 – Introduction
1:45 – 5:15 - News
5:15 – 15:45 – True Grit Review
15:45 – 17:25 – Listener Feedback
17:25 –52:30 – Westerns as a Genre
52:30 – 54:00 – DVD releases – And Soon the Darkness
54:00 – 1:03:30 – Looking back at 2010
1:03:30 – 1:04:59 – Outro

Show Notes
2010 Lists & Challenges Mentioned
Upcoming Lists
  • Favourite/Best of List (this week)
  • Favourite Movie Memories (this week)
  • 2011 Book to Film Play-Along Challenge (next week - get your recommendations in if you have any!)
Westerns as a Genre Show Notes
  • Westerns as defined by Wikipedia "The Western is a genre of art that may be found in film, television, radio, literature, painting and other visual arts. Westerns are devoted to telling stories set primarily in the latter half of the 19th century in the American Old West. Some Westerns are set as early as the Battle of the Alamo in 1836 but most are set between the end of the American Civil War (1865) and the massacre at Wounded Knee in 1890. There are also a number of films about Western-type characters in contemporary settings, such as Junior Bonner set in the 1970s and The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada in the 21st century. Westerns often portray how primitive and obsolete ways of life confronted modern technological or social changes. This may be depicted by showing conflict between natives and settlers or U.S. Cavalry or between cattle ranchers and farmers ("sodbusters"), or by showing ranchers being threatened by the onset of the Industrial Revolution. American Westerns of the 1940s and 1950s emphasize the values of honor and sacrifice.[citation needed] Westerns from the 1960s and 1970s often have a more pessimistic view, glorifying a rebellious anti-hero and highlighting the cynicism, brutality and inequality of the American West. Despite being tightly associated with a specific time and place in American history, these themes have allowed Westerns to be produced and enjoyed across the world."

Recommended Westerns from Twitter Folk & Facebook Friends:
  • Unforgiven, The Outlaw Josey Wales, High Plains Drifter, Pale Rider, The Searchers, Silverado, The Good, The Bad The Ugly, Shane, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Once Upon a Time in the West, The Magnificent Seven, Fistful of Dollars, Stagecoach, High Noon, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, McCabe & Mrs. Miller, The Shootist, Tombstone, The Quick and the Dead, Lonestar, The Proposition, Blazing Saddles, Fievel Goes West, My Name is Nobody and The Great Silence
IMDB Top 50 Westerns (as of Dec 28, 2010)
1. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
2. Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
3. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
4. True Grit (2010)
5. The Wind (1928)
6. Unforgiven (1992)
7. For a Few Dollars More (1965)
8. The Gold Rush (1925)
9. High Noon (1952)
10. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
11. The Ox-Bow Incident (1943)
12. The Wild Bunch (1969)
13. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)
14. Rio Bravo (1959)
15. The Searchers (1956)
16. The Emigrants (1971)
17. Per un pugno di dollari (1964)
18. Dances with Wolves (1990)
19. Hud (1963)
20. Stagecoach (1939)
21. Red River (1948)
22. My Darling Clementine (1946)
23. The New Land (1972)
24. 3:10 to Yuma (2007)
25. Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)
26. The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)
27. The Gunfighter (1950)
28. Destry Rides Again (1939)
29. The Great Silence (1968)
30. The Magnificent Seven (1960)
31. The Big Country (1958)
32. Winchester '73 (1950)
33. Shane (1953)
34. Way Out West (1937)
35. McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
36. Dead Man (1995)
37. Blazing Saddles (1974)
38. The Mark of Zorro (1940)
39. 3:10 to Yuma (1957)
40. Lonely Are the Brave (1962)
41. Giant (1956)
42. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)
43. Little Big Man (1970)
44. Johnny Guitar (1954)
45. Giù la testa (1971)
46. The Shootist (1976)
47. Fort Apache (1948)
48. Tombstone (1993)
49. The Westerner (1940)
50. El Dorado (1966)

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

2010 Reading Wrap Up

With 2010 just a few days away from coming to a close I'm revisiting the year in many different ways, from favourite films to movie memories to what I've seen but also what I've read and a lot of what I read this year was influenced by my 2010 Book to Film Challenge List. I actually did very well with this challenge, finishing all 20 books (albeit the last Lord of the Rings I put on hiatus for several months) on the list and overall reading over 80 books this calendar year and hope to sneak in 2 more before 2011 chimes in. Although I haven't been writing about the books as much as I'd like to along the way, I'd like to rectify that now with the remaining books on the challenges list and also touch on some the great books and things I've noticed this year.

If you are a book to film fan, be sure to swing back here in early 2011 as I'll be announcing my play-along 2011 book-to-film adaptation challenge. It's gonna be fun and I hope you will play along!

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
Lots of things surprized me when reading this 5th book in the Harry Potter series, I obviously didn't retain tons from the first read (or more likely the film imprints stronger with me) and there were way more changes book to film or ... shifting I should say than I remembered - but a lot of it is done really well and some of the non-plot but important character things were shifted to Half-Blood Prince. I did really enjoy re-reading this one, but it is where it certainly where things gets harder and harder. But there is still a lot of great foreshadowing for later, I think that's the thing I like most about re-reading the books is that I get more and more out of them every time, seeing more about the characters, their motivations, and their histories can be clearer. And I know it's a small part of it but I love the character of Frieze. Wish they kept him in the film. Ah, well!

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
This is a bit of a weird on for me because I know I re-read it in 2009 in anticipation for the film so this is the 3rd read for me but I don't seem to retain that much from it. I actually love the film adaptation and it pulls out very different themes an focuses than I imagined, and so that highly influenced my re-reading of it this time. I do stand strong on the fact that it feels like one of the oddest titles of the series, because it doesn't feel that important of a focus although that could be intentional. Not my fave of the books by far, but still an enjoyable read.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
I really left this one to the last minute, literally finishing the book at 4am when I was seeing the film Part 1 at 9:45am. But technically, I guess I didn't have to finish it considering the films are part I&II but I didn't know how they were splitting them. I actually am really glad that I re-read The Deathly Hallows, I read it so quickly the first time round I didn't retain that much and I was so worried / focused on what would happen that I wasn't enjoying the journey getting there. This time I enjoyed the journey and I actually really enjoyed the focus on the trio in this book, which although the omnipresent ominous world around them is giving no safe place to turn it feels great to see them stand on their own 2 feet (times 3). I enjoyed it much more than the first time round and would honestly, whole-heartedly re-read the series again and again, although (thankfully) won't feel the need to do for Deathly Hallows Part II!

The Tempest by William Shakespeare
I'd be totally lying if I said that I understood all, or even most, of The Tempest. I found it a challenge to get what was going on from simply reading the lines of the play. I did switch to reading a bunch of it aloud, but that felt kind of silly - although I did understand it a lot better when I did that. Ha! Proof that silly is efficient! That's awesome. Anyhow, I kind of got the gist of what was going on in grand strokes and am now very much looking forward to seeing the film adaptation from someone who understands it much better than I! I might re-read it afterwards to see what that's like too. If nothing else it was the shortest of my reading entries this year at 84 pages!

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the Kings by J.R.R. Tolkien
The last 'to read' on my 2010 challenge and I was kind of dreading it, which feels awful to say for such a beloved book. I was downtrodden from not reading back when I projected in April, I had started it already so I was picked up mid-story, plus in terms of the book-to-film-ness, the film is one that I almost can't bear to watch because I just want to cry because so much is sad in it. So imagine my surprize when I started reading the book and was immediately drawn back in and felt strongly centred in the war of Middle Earth, feeling ridiculously familiar with the characters, their journeys and the tasks at hand. Could be the biggest surprize of the year that I really *enjoyed* reading this one. The fact that I've read a lot more througout the year might have something to do with it as well, being more comfortable in general.

Learnings & Leanings
  • Non-Fiction: Where did the Non-fiction go? I want to read more Non-fiction. I don't 'track' my NF reading as much because I tend to not 'read' the whole thing therefore it might not go on my read list or in Good Reads, especially for education/reference stuff like knitting. But this year I didn't work though almost anything that was an a work book, or anything with exercise, and that makes me kind of sad because I like books like that and I love learning. I LOVE it. I might have to actually set aside time a week to work on/read non-fiction because unlike fiction you need time away from it, and I tend to read things straight through. Hopefully I'll be bringing more non-fiction into the mix in 2011.
  • YA/Kids Books - Although I love YA and kids fiction, I want to add more adult fiction to the roster, especially after reading books like the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Never Let Me Go where the writing is so strong, it made me realize a lot of the YA stuff out there is crap. Enjoyable crap, but still crap!
  • Series - As of early December 2010 I noted that I was in the middle of 18 (!) different book series. This feels more than a little ridiculous, even in the light of reading over 80 books over the year and the fact that I love tracking things, it just feels kind of crazy. Some are on hiatus, some are not all yet even written and there is even one series I hope to finish by the end of the year (yes, I know it's Dec 28th, but there is still time!). Anyhow, I'm having the strong urge not to start any new series until I've completed a different series, unless I really feel drawn to them and/or if they are already written in completion. Not that I'm against series as a concept but some seem never to know when to call it a day, and really drag things out (House of Night felt like this for sure), or even seem to continue after their projected book numbers. I prefer to know what I'm getting into from the beginning, and knowing I'm a completist by nature I want to know how long I'll be on the journey. That feels like a huge disclaimer as the next thing I'm going to say was that there were several series that I absolutely adored and therefore wanted to share the love on them.
So, read a lot. Learned a lot. Didn't write about it as much as I thought I would have throughout the year, but I'm going to highlight a few of the best, most interesting, enjoyable and/or influential books I read in 2010.

The Art of Non-Conformity by Chris Guillebeau
So, I didn't read tons on non-fiction, but I did read The Art of Non-Conformity by Chris Guillebeau, which I adored. Adored! So many times while reading this book I just wanted to find Chris Guillebeau and say "Thank you!" or "You understand" or "Yes!!!". If you have any interest in leading an unconventional life, changing the world, thinking big and doing all of that while being yourself and positively impacting the world around you - this book is for you! Out of the 80+ books I've read this year it has been the most influential and most inspiring. For fans and keeners, there is a unconventional book tour going for the book and has a bunch of Canadian stops in January 2011.

Darkest Powers Trilogy: The Summoning/The Awakening/The Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong I honestly think one of the reason I love this series is that it's only three books, and it uses those three books to tell it's story very, very well. It's a young adult paranormal fiction with romantic elements but the focus is very much on survival and not knowing or understanding what is going on at all. I loved the journey of discovery and the mystery vibe along with anti-establishment energy, and really loved the characters. I really cherished reading these books, they are high up there in terms of the fact that I'd put them as own & re-readers which is rare for library-centric me. I am looking forward to getting into Kelley Armstong's Women of the Underworld series, but I think I might leave that until I have lots of time on deck as I hear it's really absorbing.

Maximum Ride Series by James Patterson
I love the sheer audacity of the short chapters and everyday kid language in these books. I also love that it's a flock (literally, mostly) of make-shift siblings that are avian/human hybrids lead by out fearless leader and female protagonist, Max. There is lots off stuff in the books that are totally off the wall but I love the quick-witted, real-emotion, rag-tag family of the flock. Loved it. Although this kind of breaks the rule of series because it's 5 books then keeps going. I'll forgive it, because I continue to enjoy them.

Percy Jackson Series by Rick Riordan
Modern re-visioning of Greek Mythology in current day New York. These books are brilliant, great use of mythology and respinning it to the contemporary, and I also really liked the characters and their journeys. It's when I read books like this that are so smart and engaging, I know I won't just cut-off reading YA - because there is still a lot of awesome to explore out there!

The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
I have mixed feelings about these books as a trilogy. I adored The Hunger Games, I've rarely been as engaged in a book as I was during reading Hunger Games (top 5 pageturners, ever). I was surprized there was a sequel, but riproared through Catching Fire with almost the same intensity as Hunger Games. But Mockingjay wasn't quite for me, it was harder to get into and I was upset during a lot of the time reading it and the fact that felt intentional made me upset *and* mad. In a lot of ways I wish it was just a stand alone book with The Hunger Games - I would have been satisfied with just reading that sole book. It's a very dark post apocalyptic world and very brutal scenarios and young protagonists, so although it's certainly for a YA audience, I'd be hesitant to recommend it to non-adults. There is an upcoming film adaptation, so this one is worth checking out if you are a book-to-filmer as I'm sure we are in for lots of talk about it in the future.

The Saga of Darren Shan
This is the one that I'm trying to finish by the end of the year, and I started the 12-book series in 2009 and I've really enjoyed almost sauntering through this vampire kids series. I really like the character of Darren, who continues to be open, inquisitive, suprized and surprizing throughout the epic mixed with everyday saga.

Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead
O.M.G. Loved this series, and that's before even reading the last book which I got for Christmas. This is the perfect blend of YA intensity with actual good writing. I love, love, love the series. Strong female protagonist, vampires, romance, friendships and of course the weight of the world on her shoulders. Love it. Can't wait to see how it all gets summed up.

Worst Book: The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer
Most challenging read: Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë - I really wasn't sure I was going to get through it. But I did!
The one that really got me: Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Most varied results: House of Night - started off loving it, especially the matriarch structure and alignment to pagan beliefs, but my goodness it went on way too long and didn't like some of the places it went. And it didn't stop as there is and 8th book coming for the 7-book series.
Favourite book of the year: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
Favourite series of the year: Darkest Powers and Vampire Academy
Favourite non-fiction book: The Art of Non-Conformity by Chris Guillebeau

Wow, that was an epic long post! Thanks for making it to the end. For fellow book lovers, feel free to friend me over at GoodReads and keep an eye out here at Movie Moxie in early 2011 for my new play-along book-to-film challenge! If you know of upcoming book-to-film adaptations that you are interested in, let me know!

2010 CAST Awards

I'm excited to share the results of the 2010 CAST Awards (Cinema Appreciation Society of Toronto), and one of the reasons I'm excited is because I actually got to vote on them! James McNally of Toronto Screen Shots pulled together these results from asking many Toronto area film lovers and after 2 rounds of voting the results are now it.

Out of the results only 7 films I voted for ended up on the top 25, but I'm thrilled to see the love of films like Rubber, Never Let Me Go, Trigger and I Am Love. Overall, it's been a fantastic year for film and I'm loving reading all of the year-end lists.

See original post by James over at Toronto Screen Shots which includes link to a PDF of each of the individual voters lists.

1. Inception 411 22
2. Toy Story 3 311 20
3. Black Swan 307 16
4. Shutter Island 297 19
5. The Social Network 261 17
6. Scott Pilgrim 254 17
7. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 231 16
8. Winter’s Bone 180 11
9. I Am Love 165 9
10.The King’s Speech 149 11
11. Rubber 149 9
12. Never Let Me Go 147 11
13. Trigger 140 9
14. Fish Tank 134 9
15. Buried 134 9
16. The White Ribbon 130 7
17. True Grit 127 9
18. Chloe 124 8
19. Easy A 121 10
20. Marwencol 117 7
21. 127 Hours 115 9
22. A Prophet 114 8
23. Rabbit Hole 112 7
24. Blue Valentine 110 8
25. Heartbeats 110 7


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