Crazy Heart: Jeff Bridges abides as grizzled, fizzled, Dude-like country star. Story's not new, but natural performance is all-time great.
Shutter Island: Marty, Leo create, sustain tension. Edge-of-seat, mind-blowing thriller/horror/noir. Genre pic? (Sure.) Masterpiece? (Same.)
Alice in Wonderland: Typical Burton, atypical Alice. Too much fantasy, not enough riddles. Wonderland looks wonderful, tho.
She's... My League: Wish-fulfillment for men, unless they wish for character development. Too Maxim. Too middling. But Baruchel is likeable.
Green Zone: Political thriller more poly than thrilling. Damon/Greengrass try too much. Noble attempt at grownup entertainment.
Greenberg: Baumbach, Stiller make unlikeable protagonist likeable.
Hot Tub Time Machine: Actual film lives up to, but doesn't trancend, best title ever. Dumb fun for your Easter afternoon.
Ghost Writer: Somewhat slow, but wow. Just wow. Expertly scripted, edited, acted. Tension crescendos to perfect final shot. Masterpiece.
Kick-Ass: Splatter-heavy ode to better comic films (Spidey, Kill Bill, Watchmen). But cute lil Hit Girl totally slays.
Date Night: Rom-com, action flick, both, or none? Merely enjoyable when all of the above, hilarious when Fey/Carell are verbally sparring.
Runaways: Girls start band, cut LP, tour world. Sex & drugs & singer's ego. But Fanning & Stewart are incendiary cherry bombs.
Shrek 4: Cartoon It'sAWonderfulLife, as R'stiltskin steals Shrek's life (& the show). Re-told fairytale is sad, fun, but less magical.
Cyrus: Tomei radiates, Hill creeps out, Reilly exudes both calm & chaos. Film typifies indie quirk, sorely needed in summer of blah.
Toy Story 3: Not as much fun as 1 & 2, but deeper, more poignant, profound, almost perfect. For CGI toys, those things sure emote!
Inception: 2 nights of fitful sleep later, it's clear: film of the yr so far. A maze u want to get trapped in forever. Better than a dream.
Youth in Revolt: Cera plays self & antiself too. Mindless fun, but who's the audience? Also, Cera, try a new role.
Salt: The type of flick I hated in the 80s. Action-packed, but incoherent. Jolie's hot, in a vacant way. Trailer promised more intrigue.
Scott Pilgrim: Flashy mashup of comics, games, indie music, Cera-ness truly zings. By geeks 4 geeks.
Dinner for Schmucks: Lots of laughs, but too sweet to sting. Needs more meanness, less Hollywood schmaltz.
The Other Guys: Hot Fuzz did it first & better, but funny, if scattershot, buddy cop parody. Farrell's committed to idiocy, hilarity.
Get Low: Slow, understated, character- and story-driven showcase for great Duvall. Coulda been quirky; glad it wasn't. Shoulda been a play?
The Town: Affleck continues artistic redemption w/ gritty, tense, tightly wound heist film. Shootouts thrill; nun masks terrify.
Easy A: Easily the best teen comedy since Mean Girls. A for literary aspirations, Emma Stone's star-making moxie & LOLs f'realz.
Social Network: Overhyped. Not best film of yr. Girl-who-got-away motivation seems forced...
...but these are my only, admittedly minor, quibbles. Pitch-perfect writing, directing, acting, editing. Film flies by; hands grip armrest.
Inception: Still the movie of the year so far.
If I wasn't clear, The Social Network is a masterpiece. It isn't perfect, tho, just almost.
MacGruber: Severely flawed (failed?), w/ like 2 or 3 chuckles. Differs from other skit/films by being explosive. Satirizes... self?
Hereafter: Thoughtful, tender, poignant, but... 3 characters don't quite gel, despite/b/c coincidence. Praises 2 Eastwood, Damon 4 trying.
Marmaduke: Not worst film ever, but doesn't quite clear bar for CGI-talking-dog (w/ flat-human-"characters") comic adaptations.
GetHim2TheGreek: Brand rocks, but film falls flat. Too much improv, not enough comedy. Or music. Or memorable phrases for Diddy to bark.
It'sKindOfAFunnyStory: It's the kind of quirky indie comedy you've seen before. But it is funny, in small doses, w/ a sweet aftertaste.
Wall Street 2: Flashy, fun op-ed piece. You already know if you'll love it or hate it. Confession: I loved it.
When Oliver Stone wants to show you a domino effect, HE LITERALLY SHOWS DOMINOES FALLING. #subtle
HarryPotter7: Now that I've slept on it (briefly), best Harry Potter movie ever?
HarryPotter7: Truly, this film has it all. Hilarious, touching, scary, action-packed, w/ panoramic landscapes. Completely satisfying.
Winter's Bone: Bleak tale of meth, murder & a dad's mysterious whereabouts in Missour-uh. "Wintry," as in "stark & chilling."
Secretariat: So the horse can type, what's the big deal?
Secretariat: Disney sports film doesn't surprise, but positively pleases. Lane is solid. Horses amaze.
"Every few years America gets the horse movie it deserves."
Due Date: Dudes being dudes across America. You've seen it before, but you'll laugh a few times. Zach G: overexposed?
Leap Year: Irish countryside is green & beautiful. Amy Adams is so cute she almost redeems unlikeable heroine. Nothing else to see here.
Iron Man 2: Sequelitis. More flash, more noise. (More cash, more toys.) Hell, even more damn Iron Men. Less excitement, less fun.
Unstoppable: Can't go wrong w/ a premise like that. Simple thrills. Simply thrilling.
C'mon the train. And ride it. (Choo choo.) #SongLyricsOrUnstoppableTagline
She's got a ticket to ride. And she don't care. #SongLyricsOrUnstoppableTagline
Runaway train never going back, wrong way on a one way track. #SongLyricsOrUnstoppableTagline
Love & Other Drugs: Fun sexy romp becomes deep romantic drama. Anne Hathaway's body of work here wows.
"Body of work," get it?
The Fighter: Knockout performances (esp. crackhead Bale) & strong sense of place redeem generic plot. Family hits harder than boxers.
Black Swan: Natalie Portman dances, obsesses, kisses a girl (& likes it), goes insane & gives performance of lifetime. Visceral. Essential.
127 Hours: As gripping as a rock on your arm in a cave. 1-man show makes the hours fly by. Even when Franco's stuck, he soars.
Saw the underwhelming Cars 2 trailer the other night. This is the least excited I've ever been about a new Pixar movie since, well, ever.
Tangled: Plucky princess, dashing (but dopey) petty thief/boyfriend, pretty pictures, fairy tale plot... Decent, but the magic is gone.
King's Speech. Brit historical drama about stutter king is straight up Oscar bait. It's also straight up entertaining. Brilliantly acted.
KidsAreAllRight: Overrated? Mature love story (w/ lesbians!) left me cold. Benning & Moore act... comfortably? Maybe I'll like when older.
Exit Through The Gift Shop: Real or a hoax, this film is fascinating. Watch it today, debate it tomorrow.
Country Strong: Music strong. Performances strong. Script weak.
Green Hornet: Uneasy mix of humor & action. Diverting as hell, but completely unsubstantial. I craved more of Gondry's whimsy.
Rewatched The Watchmen. The Comedian isn't that funny, ya know?
True Grit: Classic filmmaking from Coens? True. Gritty debut from Hailie? True. Completely engrossing, but not transcendent? Also true.
By request, I rank my favorite* Oscar best pic noms. *Not necessarily the best.
1-Inception 2-SocialNetwork 3-BlackSwan 4-ToyStory 5-TrueGrit 6-127 Hours 7-Winter'sBone 8-Fighter 9-King'sSpeech 10-KidsAreAllRight