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Delayed Top 10 of 2010!

Well, here's my favorite films I saw last year. There's a few notable titles that I haven't seen yet, namely Blue Valentine, Never Let Me Go and Get Low, but I figured I better get this list over with before it's 2012. :P

1.Black Swan

This film comes as close to perfection as any I've seen this year. Darren Aronofsky's direction is complex and gripping yet succinct, depicting a downward spiral into madness that rivals Roman Polanski's Repulsion in many ways. Natalie Portman gives what I imagine will be the performance of her career, and is supported astonishingly well by Mila Kunis whose acting talent I formerly had little respect for. Top notch cinematography, even when nothing particularly important is occurring on screen it always demands your attention, and it comes to one of the most breathtaking finales I've witnessed. The score beautifully meshes c|assical compositions with Clint Mansell's original work, and raises the films potency that much more. As far as my all time favorite thrillers go, this one ranks high.

2. Inception

First off, I would like to come right out and state that the "confusing" properties of this film are dramtically overstated. It is a brilliantly crafted heist film at it's core, with alot of plot depth, but it's not confusing or mind-boggling (though the Zero G hallway fight is mind BLOWING). The cast, while not given particularly strenuous work to be done fit their roles wonderfully providing a likable and colorful crew. The film will keep you on your toes with magnificent action sequences and a powerful score from the one and only Hans Zimmer, and is sure to leave you begging for more when the credits start to roll. One of the best science fiction films in years.

3. True Grit

The Coen Bros never fail to make some of the most outright enjoyable films to sit down to, and True Grit certainly doesn't break that pattern. While it lacks in their trademark mysticism and metaphors, the bulk of the film is distinctly Coen, giving a gritty, biting spin on the Western c|assic. Jeff Bridges and Hailee Steinfeld are equally impressive in their roles, with a great supporting cast including the Josh Brolin and Barry Pepper. True Grit is just fun for any movie-goer.

4. Let Me In

Anybody with the faintest notion of doing a remake should take note; this is how it's done. Improvements to both the depth and flow of the screenplay, superior performances out of the two leads (Chloe Moretz and Kodi Smit-Mcphee really impress) and a much more noteworthy supporting cast, gorgeous cinematography and a haunting score. This has become one of my absolute favorite vampire and horror films, but it is so much more then that. A truly touching tale of a cursed romance. Do not miss this film based on preconceptions about American remakes. I loved the original, but Let Me In has won my heart.

5. The American

This film released to little critic or audience praise, I would blame in large part to it's terribly misguided advertisement campaign. Don't expect Bourne type action here, but instead a beautifully crafted, slow burning, introspective look at a lonely, tortured assassin. George Clooney does a fantastic job along with the rest of the cast. This film had some of the best dialogue of the year, ocasionally even managing to make me tear up out of nowhere. :P

6. Kick-Ass

Fun. That's really the only word I need to describe Kick-Ass. It's loud, raucous and hilarious. Easily one of the best spins on the super hero genre ever with a lovable cast of characters and a great soundtrack to boot. This is a film I expect to revisit on many occasions.

7. Winter's Bone

One of the more original films of the year thematically. I can't recall many films with a similar subject or tone. It gives you a look into a terribly bleak, harsh lifetsyle, yet all the while remaining hopeful thanks in large part to the terrific performance by Jennifer Lawrence. John Hawkes also delivers a superb supporting performance.

8. The Kids Are All Right

A witty, well-acted dramedy. Something that's fairly hard to come-by if you ask me. Julianne Moore and Annete Bening steal the show, but the rest of the cast does a great job aswell and are all remarkably beliveable as a family. This film will have you laughing, aswell as tug at your heartstrings a little (provided you have a heart. :P)

9. Shutter Island

This was one of my most anticipated films going into 2010, and while it ended up being mildly disappointing, it's effectiveness is undeniable. The great performances (especially Dicaprio, Kingsley and the ever-unsettling Jackie Earle Haley), haunting imagery and booming score will suck you in, the only problem being that you can see the "twist" coming from a mile away which will leave a bit of a bitter taste in your mouth when the credits roll. Not one of Scorsese's best, but an enjoyable thriller in it's own right.

10. Easy A

This film really came along and took apart my preconceptions of the "teen comedy". An awesome script packed with razor sharp wit delivered perfectly by Emma Stone, with an amusing concept inspired by The Scarlet Letter. This one had me laughing a hell of a lot.

____________________________________________

Next blog will have a ranked list of all 41 films I saw from 2010.

Thanks for reading (or at least skimming :P).

Oh my, it has been a while, hasn't it?

Since I've felt the urge to blog here. Probably about time to get around to that before I'm forgotten completely. :P

It seems I let my 3 year anniversary here on GS slip right by me last month, so that's cool I guess. Rather then naming people individually and in the process forgetting somebody important, I'll just say thanks to everybody who has made this place such an enjoyable, memorable, and often times unpredictable experience. You know who you are. :P

In gaming news, I picked up Dead Rising 2 on day one and have since completed it twice. The zombie slaughtering is just so addictive that I lose myself in it for hours. It's really cut into my sleep schedule. The new combo system for fusing weapons is brilliant, allowing you to make such devastating devices as boxing gloves with bowie knives taped to them, electric wheel-chairs equipped with machine guns, and drill operated pitchforks. The possibilities are exponential and always satisfying.

The story is really nothing to write home about (as was the case with the original), but it serves as a decent motivation behind the gory carnage, which is what anyone playing this game is after in the first place. At least it comes to a fulfilling conclusion, and has multiple endings to keep you coming back for more. One mustn't forget the psychos and their well done cutscenes/backstories. Some of them are downright disturbing even to a jaded horror fan like myself. :P Highly recommend this game to most of you out there. It's just pure fun.

I also picked up DJ Hero for $40 brand new. It's great fun for the first few hours as most rhythm games are, but the music alone keeps me coming back to it. Some of the mixes are damned good. I figure the controller was worth the $40 alone since they will be releasing the sequel soon, probably at $100. This way I can pick up the standalone software when it is taking up space on clearance shelves later down the road. :P

On the first I got in to see Let Me In. A remake of the highly-praised 2008 Swedish film "Let the Right One In". Let the Right One In had earned it's seat on my favorite films of all time list the minute the credits rolled. I fell in love with it completely. When I heard they were planning a remake, I was more stunned then disappointed, and when I heard the cast, I anxiously awaited it's arrival. I'm not someone that can't enjoy a remake if I've enjoyed the original. In this instance my open-mindedness payed off beautifully, as this film was better in virtually all regards in my opinion. Cinematography, screenplay, and most especially acting. Chloe Moretz, Kodi Smit-Mcphee, Richard Jenkins, Elias Koteas... they all knocked it out of the park.

There were many changes, some subtle, some drastic, and each of them were an improvement (the only thing I will say has taken a hit is the title. Let Me In does not pack the same punch as Let the Right One In. :P). Gone was the cheesy cat scene from the original, and added is one of the greatest scenes I've seen in a film in years. I'll just say it involves a car accident, filmed from the inside. :P

Purists are still up at arms, believing that the remake must be a failure as it's American, and refuse to see it. It's a bit frustrating to me to think that a genuinely well made, painstakingly crafted film like Let Me In will be passed off as "just another remake" and subsequently forgotten. I urge you to check it out.

That's about it for me. Hope everyone's doing well. :)

Novio

Well, this is the second time I've been tagged for this, so I guess there's no getting out of it now. Thanks rocketfox129 and Jazz_Fan. :P

  1. "Put Your iTunes (or other music player) on Shuffle.
  2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
  3. You must write down the name of the song no matter how silly it sounds!
  4. Put any comments in brackets after the song name.
  5. Tag at least 10 friends.
  6. Anyone tagged has to do the same, because fun pointlessness spreads like a virus."

Here goes.

1.If someone says, "Is this okay?" You say

Protest Song '68 - Refused (I guess that's a no. :P)

2. How would you describe yourself?

Seven Nation Army - White Stripes (interesting...)

3.What do you like in a guy/girl?

Glass and the Ghost Children - Smashing Pumpkins (:?)

4.How do you feel today?

Paper Gangsta - Lady Gaga

5.What is your life's purpose?

Little Lovers So Polite - The Silversun Pickups

6.What is your motto?

Could've Gone Mad - Poe

7.What do your friends think of you?

Hotwax - Beck (:o)

8.What do you think of your parents?

Gallows - Atreyu ( Nu-uh! I love my parents! :P)

9.What do you think about very often?

There is a Light That Never Goes Out - The Smiths

10.What is 2 + 2?

Love Like Winter - AFI...

11.What do you think of your best friend?

Two as One - From First To Last :shock:

12.What do you think of the person you like?

The Undertakers Thirst for Revenge is Unquenchable - Chiodos (How romantic)

13.What is your life story?

I of the Mourning - Smashing Pumpkins (:()

14.What do you want to be when you grow up?

Rammstein - Rammstein (Yikes.)

15.What do you think of when you see the person you like?

Here Come the Bombs - Ima Robot

16.What will you dance to at your wedding?

Devil's Haircut - Beck (Um, no)

17.What will they play at your funeral?

These Things - She Wants Revenge (Not very appropriate. :P)

18.What is your hobby/interest?

Helicopter - Bloc Party (Helicopters make me ill...)

19.What is your biggest fear?

Janglin' - Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

20.What is your biggest secret?

Austere - The Joy Formidable (not at all...)

21.What do you think of your friends?

Human After All - Daft Punk

22.What will you put as the title?

Novio - Moby

I never tag back, so if you want to do it, consider yourself tagged. :P

You mustn't be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling.

Inception.

A movie I've been anticipating for a great many months. I got in to see it on Saturday, and as soon as it was out I went to the ticket booth, bought another ticket and walked right back in. I enjoyed it even more the second time, which for me is a fairly rare prospect.

The movie blew me away in all regards, acting, story, and the mind-warping action scenes, specifically one that takes place in zero gravity (Matrix who?). The score gave me chills at just the right times. The ending left me with something to think about, rather then hold my hand.

I've heard complaints about the characters feeling hollow or emotionless, but I just cannot understand why you would need anymore about the characters then whats given. I cared about each and every one of them, without knowing their life's story, which to me was perfect.

I personally believe this to be Christopher Nolan's best, and one of my favorite films I've ever seen. The 2 hour, 28 minute run time seemed to be over in a flash. I intend to watch it at least one more time in the theater. I highly recommend you check it out if you haven't already. ;)

Wall o' text.

Been a long while since I blogged. Just some more movie impressions and such. I'm a one trick pony. :P

Films!

Seen a number recently, but I'll only be able to go over a few for now.

First up is Robin Hood. Not much I can say about this stinker that hasn't already been said. Boring, ridiculously bloated, oddly humorous and nearly unwatchable. I did not enjoy this film in any way. Even Russell Crowe was completely underwhelming as the great Robin Longstride. I'm not sure how many more of these generic, sword clanging, painfully inaccurate depictions I can watch from Ridley Scott. 3/10 because the sets/costumes were well done. :P

Shrek 4... provided a nice 1 1/2 hour nap...

The Road. Finally something decent. Really captivating depiction of the most hellish life imaginable after a mysterious cataclysmic event has sent the world into utter chaos. A man and his son struggling to survive against all odds. Some fantastic set pieces and truly impressive acting from Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-Mcphee to be had here. This movie had a very large impact on me afterwards, inspiring a near depression actually. It's quite powerful, and at times can be oppressive. Still easily recommendable. I'd give it an 8.5/10

The Daybreakers. Nonsensical plot, ridiculous script, and really odd casting choices (Willem Defoe's character acts like a teenager...)couldn't stop this movie from being entertaining as hell. Great special effects and an interesting visual sty|e kept me focused on the screen till the conclusion, and by the end I felt satisfied. Could have been great with some changes but it's still well worth a Friday night rental. 6.5/10

Girl Interrupted. Going a bit older with this one... Wynona Rider and Angelina Jolie play 2 of the many patients of a mental hospital. The film depicts their very odd friend/foe relationship, how these patients effect each others lives while in such fragile positions, and eventually the road to their recovery. Really interesting and enjoyable movie for me. Great acting, especially from Angelina Jolie (who also one an Academy Award for her performance in this film). 8/10

I also watched The Machinist, but I intend to do a more in-depth review of that before long. All I can say is that I enjoyed it immensely, and have a new found respect for Christian Bale. I was convinced he was a mediocre actor after his role as Batman, but the man does have great talent.

Music!

I was recently introduced to a great group called The xx. Not a band that I think everyone would have a taste for, but I recommend you give them a listen anyways. My personal favorite songs of theirs;

VCR

Infinity

Also was directed towards another interesting band, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. They're fronted by Alex Ebert, the vocalist for one of my favorite groups, Ima Robot. Very interesting sound to this massive 10 person ensemble.

Home

40 Day Dream

Gaming!

Nothing much going on here. Completed RDR, amazing game, yadda yadda yadda. Really tough to decide between this and Bayonetta for my favorite game of the year.

Purchased Alan Wake, but I need to buy a new Xbox 360 controller so I haven't given it any love and instead have been playing Fallout 3 GOTY in anticipation of Fallout: New Vegas.

Life!

I've been helping my sister get packed up to move, which is an absolute trial. People just have too. much. ****. Me included. I'm seriously considering downsizing just for the hell of it. I've got a lot of boxes in my garage that could disappear right now and I wouldn't shed a tear. :P

Also recently completed 3 more of my pre-req courses for entering LVN training. So that's neat I guess. :P

That does it for me. Hope everyones doing well, and survived this massive boring blog. :D

A Beautiful Day...

...for a blog.

Update on that gaming slump. I just got through burying it in a shallow grave recently when I picked up both Left 4 Dead 2, and The Saboteur. Left 4 Dead 2's casual fun yet hardcore co-operative mechanics were just enough to pull me back into gaming, and get me to playing again. I stumbled on The Saboteur for the ridiculously cheap price of $20 and couldn't pass it up. In my opinion, the game is phenomenal. Severely underrated and under-appreciated. Fans of free roam games should most definitely grab this for such a meager price tag.

Movies.... where to start. I guess I'll list my recent movie purchases.

  • The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus (blu-ray)
  • Avatar (blu-ray)
  • Ghost World (dvd)
  • Fargo (dvd)
  • The Descent 2 (dvd)
  • Interview with the Vampire (dvd)
  • The Straight Story (dvd)
  • The Wrestler (dvd)
  • Drag Me To Hell (blu-ray)

Last night I watched The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus. I found it to be a brilliant movie, just chock full of imagination and creative genius. In case you don't know much about this movie, it's directed by Terry Gilliam, and stars Christopher Plummer, Johnny Depp, Jude Law, Colin Farrel, and the late Heath Ledger. Thanks to HTML Errors, I can't post a synopsis because it won't allow me to use spoilers, so I refer you to it's wikipedia plot page.

I highly recommend this movie. At least for a rent. There are so few movies these days that attempt something truly unique, and this is definitely one of them. It left me with the same feeling I had after watching Pan's Labyrinth for the first time.

As for movies that are out in the theater, I saw Kick-Ass a couple weeks ago. Another truly fantastic film, though for completely different reasons. For one, this is easily one of the best comic book adaptations yet. I personally enjoyed it more then the comic book thanks to a few key changes they made to the plot that allowed it to flow better in movie form just making a tad bit more sense then those in the book. The action scenes are excellent, rivaling any movie in a similar genre I've seen, it's chock full of laugh out loud humor, the acting is spot on, especially from Aaron Johnson (Kick-Ass), Chloe Moertz (Hit-Girl), and Nick Cage (Big Daddy he was actually the biggest shocker for me), the soundtrack fits the movie to a T, and it is just all around a fun, edge of your seat type action movie but with alot more substance then your average beat'em up.

Next movie I intend to buy is The Lovely Bones.

I'd like to hear your opinions on any of these movies guys. :)

Now for something completely different. Anyone a fan of Paramore? Then you should join the newly formed union by my friend DaBlastaMasta devoted to them! ParaMOAR! :lol:

And finally, I leave you with a decision. I've been intending to do a series of blogs for... oh, a year or two, about either my top favorite musicians, game's/game characters or movies of all time, but I just have not gotten around to assembling a list that I would be happy with for more then 5 minutes. Which one of these would you be more interested in seeing?

Well, that's all for me. Wish I had something more interesting for you, but alas... Hope everyone is doing well. ;)

Gaming Slump

It's been quite some time since me and gaming have been on such shaky ground.... I've found myself increasingly less interested in gaming with each passing day, even opting to leave my copy of Final Fantasy XIII still in it's shrink wrap, after waiting to play the darn game for years. The thought of starting a long video game honestly makes me cringe for some reason. My PS3 has been seeing more use as a blu-ray player then anything else.

As for the movies I've watched lately, too many to count really. I'll list some of the more noteworthy ones.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Seriously, I have seen this movie more times then I can recall, and it never loses it's charm for me. Truly a timeless classic, if you haven't seen it yet you really must pick it up.

Ponyo. While it doesn't live up to some of Hayao Miyazakis previous work such as Spirited Away, it's one of the more charming, beautiful, and downright touching animated films I have seen in a long time. Some of the imagery is simply breathtaking, very glad I decided to get the blu-ray instead of the DVD.

The Men Who Stare At Goats. Wasn't really sure what to think of this one prior to seeing it...seemed like a very out of nowhere type of film, and any excitement I had for it was pretty well killed by it's lukewarm reception from audiences and critics alike. But I found it on sale for a great price and bit the bullet. I ended up quite enjoying it actually. A very off beat movie, and quite funny and entertaining at times. It's got a number of boring stretches in it, and it does kind of feel like a soulless attempt at making a Coen Brothers-esque film, it is definitely worth a rental for most people. I loved George Clooney and Jeff Bridges in this movies.

Inglorious Basterds. One of Tarantino's finest, definitely. The dialogue in this film never ceases to amaze me, nor do the performances from Christopher Waltz and Melanie Laurent as Hans Landa and Shosanna Dreyfus respectively. It's an outlandish premise but I can't help but get excited about the thought of what they're goal is. :P To bad it couldn't have really occurred in a similar fashion in reality.

I also picked up the Kick-Ass graphic novel in anticipation of the upcoming film adaptation, and I was not dissapointed... finished it in about 2 settings, and thoroughly enjoyed every page of it. One of the freshest take on super heroes I have ever had the pleasure of reading, with a cast of truly lovable characters. I cannot wait for this films release now after finishing the graphic novel.

Well, just a slight update... not to exciting... :P Just a heads up, if you are a fan of Lady GaGa and would like to join a union devoted to her full of fellow fans, check out The Little Monsters! Newly formed by yours truly. :) No need to comment on this aspect of the blog if your not a fan. ;)

Hope everyone is doing well and had/is having a nice spring break. :)

A rainy gift.

It's been a few days now, not sure why I haven't posted this sooner, but my mom gifted me with a brand new PS3 slim, and Heavy Rain. I had just mentioned to her on the phone that my PS3 was broken, and she didn't really seem to care or anything, nor did I expect her too. Then she showed up the next day at my house with the PS3 and game... I was stunned. :P Asked her why, and she really didn't have anything to say. Guess she was just feeling generous. I'll more then likely end up paying her back for it, but I'm still thrilled to have a PS3 again, and much earlier then I imagined.

About .00001 of second after she left, I had the PS3 hooked up and installing Heavy Rain. My god. Never have my emotions been toyed with quite as severely by a video game. Happiness, sadness, fear, anger, the full gambit. The ending I received actually brought tears(of joy). :cry: It seems impossible to me not to love this game. The story is superior to pretty much any movie in a similar genre, especially considering how much longer it is and how well it retains the players interest. The game mechanics are unique, engrossing, and in my opinion downright fun. Some of the chase scenes/action sequences can be bone shatteringly tense. Even the smallest of actions like starting up your car lend greatly to the whole experience. This is a game that I will be remembering and revisiting generations down the road, just as it's precursor, Indigo Prophecy/Fahrenheit is.

And on a different note, I've been watching quite a number of films recently including The Man Who Would Be King, Dead Man, The Duchess, Hard Candy, and Where the Wild Things Are.

I enjoyed and would recommend any of them, aside from Where The Wild Things Are... I really could not tolerate that movie at all. Some of the most inane and insufferable dialogue between the kid and the monsters that I've ever heard, and the movie in general just felt like a chore to sit through.

Well, that's all for me. Hope everyones doing well. :)

A dim yellow light marks the death of an old friend.

My 40GB PS3, still just a child in the scheme of things at 1 year and 9 months, has died. I went to play Avatar: The Game on Sunday morning, only to have the PS3 freeze on the start up screen, go black and give that yellow light along with a few red flashes and some beeps. :P

What bothers me the most about it is how well I've taken care of the damn thing over the years... limiting play time, cleaning around it frequently, kept it lifted off the surface of my entertainment center to help it stay cool any way possible. But alas, I have no hard feelings against Sony. Hardware failures are bound to happen, and I knew when I bought the unit that it wouldn't last forever.

I'll be getting a new Slim PS3 this month, probably around the 25th. Looking forward to it. As of now I've still got the 360 and the gaming rig to keep me occupied. Probably going to pick up Mass Effect 2 this week.

Well, that's all. Just wanted to share my misfortune. :P

Through Rapture and Hell, I prevail.

Hey there. It's that time again.

Over the last few days I've completed both Bioshock 2, and Dante's Inferno, so I just though I'd share my feelings on them.

Bioshock 2... where do I begin. The game is fantastic, in my opinion, and so far has been fairly underrated receiving mostly 8's from review sources (which while good, aren't good ENOUGH for a game of this caliber). The story is improved significantly in a few key respects, one being predictability. Right from the onset of the first Bioshock, I knew where it was headed. Atlas was just... fishy. The whole thing reeked. And in the end, those notions ruined the twist for me utterly, and sucked the wind right out of the impact the story had on me. This one kept me guessing until the end with it's eccentric cast of character and moral choices. It's also got quite a tear jerker ending, if that matters to you.

The gameplay has been tweaked to perfection, and the new weapon assortment was vastly more creative and interesting to me, yet on the other hand the plasmid assortment was moderately underwhelming. The few new plasmids they tossed in had extremely limited applications, and possibly none at all depending on how you play. Underwater portions seemed like a no brainer to me, and thankfully Bioshock 2 delivers. They are just the right length, and provide a unique way to break up the action. The new fights with Brute Splicers, Alpha Series Big Daddies, and Big Sisters provided a much needed enhancement to the combat aspect of Bioshock. Exploring every nook and cranny of the fabulously spooky Rapture for audio logs and hidden gear is just as compelling this time around.

In the end, I'd give it a 9.0. It's originality still shines, even being a sequel. :P I'm wondering If I will ever get tired of revisiting Rapture...

Dante's Inferno on the other hand is definitely a mixed bag. On one hand, I love the sickeningly twisted art style and level design, the theme, stunning cutscenes, the score, and the atmosphere (something it's supposed source of inspiration, God of War, lacks entirely in my opinion). And on the other, the in-game graphics themselves lack detail, and just in general look like something from early 2006 at best, the gameplay feels stale and derivative, the story starts of good, then completely nosedives towards the mid point, and it's got one of the most anti-climactic, obvious sequel milking (Were talking EA here....no surprsise) endings I've ever seen. Still, this game is a solid weekend rental or bargain bin purchase if the subject matter interests you.

If you've played either of these, please share your feelings.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to get back to work on a research paper/class presentation I've got to do before long. Hope everyones doing well. :)