A Few 2010 Movie Selections

I’ve seen a couple of good movies over the last week and that got me to thinking that I should start making notes of the good ones that I’ve seen so far this year. I’m sure I’m already forgetting something.

Written and directed by Christopher Nolan who also made Memento, this one is as much of a mind game as Memento but it is written in a way that will be more accessible to the mass summer audience it is targeted at. It reminds me more of The Matrix, in that much of the action takes place inside the mind where the rules of our physical world don’t necessarily apply.

The visual effects were nice, but not central to the story in the way that they were in The Matrix. I think that parts of the plot felt a little forced. I counted 5-7 different Very Bad Things that would happen (some invalidated others) if the protagonist failed in his mission. Characters with a more simple and focused motivation might have made that part of the story feel a bit more natural. The writing really did manage to balance several layers of interdependent action in a way that was relatively easy to follow. No small feat when you consider all that is going on. This was probably the best “summer blockbuster” I’ve seen in a while.

Winter’s Bone
This is one of the best movies of the year so far. The setting is a poor rural area of Missouri and it is shot in a way that even the few scenes where the sun is shining feel dark and cold. I don’t think there’s a bright saturated color to be found anywhere in the film.

The story follows a young 17 year old girl who is caring for her two younger siblings as well as a near-catatonic mother. She has one week to find her absent father before the family property is seized.

This is my favorite kind of character, fictional or not. The person who is tasked with bearing much more of a burden than any human should have to suffer, and who manages to carry on and do what needs to be done. The role is played by Jennifer Lawrence and she does the best acting job I’ve seen in a long time. She looks like a good friend of mine to boot.

This was a somber, but deeply affecting story. It will stick with me for a while.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
This movie is NOT for everybody. Know two things before you attempt to watch it: The original Swedish title for the movie is “Män som hatar kvinnor” (translated: Men Who Hate Women) and it has not been rated by the MPAA. this is certainly because it would receive an NC-17 rating. I did not know either of these things before seeing the movie.

It has a very powerful character in it, but you may never get that far. I can’t really recommend this movie. I can just give you some of the facts and you’ll have to decide for yourself. I know of two people who could not watch it past a certain scene and they both mentioned the fact that they had no warning about the content.

This is your warning.

The scene in question, to put it bluntly, is a rape scene. It is not gory or sexual in any way. It’s just violent, disturbing, and really brutal to see on screen. Being a Swedish import it goes far beyond the level of anything that Hollywood would try, and they ARE remaking it. It’s one of those things about the character that probably should have been suggested rather than shown, but there you have it.

If you can make it past that scene, the victim goes on to get her revenge and becomes a central character in the movie. She’s a true badass and is played by a fantastic actress, Noomi Rapace. Other than that one scene the movie is a very dark whodunit thriller chasing after the kind of twisted persona that brings Hannibal Lecter to mind.

Remember, you’ve been warned.

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