July 2024



Clash of the Titans (2010)

DIRECTOR: Louis Letterier


Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Gemma Arterton, Alexa Davalos, Mads Mikkelsen, Jason Flemyng, Liam Cunningham, Hans Matheson, Nicholas Hoult, Pete Postlethwaite


I don’t look back on the original Clash of the Titans through rose-tinted nostalgic glasses. I probably watched it a hundred times when I was a kid, and thought it was great, but in hindsight, it’s campy and hokey, with laughably wooden acting, led by a poofy-haired Harry Hamlin and Laurence Olivier on autopilot, and Ray Harryhausen’s stop-motion animation was state-of-the-art in its heyday in the ‘50s and ‘60s but compared to 1977’s Star Wars made the 1981 Titans look significantly older than it was.  While unnecessary remakes abound in Hollywood, this is the kind of movie that could actually benefit from a remake with better acting and updated visual effects. Continue reading

The King’s Speech (2010)

HD wallpaper: the film, actors, Geoffrey Rush, Colin Firth, The King's  Speech | Wallpaper Flare

DIRECTOR: Tom Hooper

CAST: Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, Guy Pearce, Jennifer Ehle, Michael Gambon, Derek Jacobi, Timothy Spall, Claire Bloom


The King’s Speech from director Tom Hooper and screenwriter David Seidler is proof that the “buddy movie” formula can be applied to things other than cop comedy-dramas, even to a historical docudrama about a decidedly odd couple friendship between King George VI and his speech therapist. To that end, it’s a handsome, stately period historical drama bolstered by strong acting and strong chemistry and the dynamic between two very different men who under different circumstances would never have met.

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Red (2010)

redDIRECTOR: Robert Schwentke

CAST: Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Mary-Louise Parker, Karl Urban, Brian Cox, Richard Dreyfuss, Rebecca Pidgeon, James Remar, Julian McMahon, Ernest Borgnine


Red is a prime example of how a high quality acting ensemble can elevate a movie from otherwise straight-to-DVD generic action-comedy fare into a moderately enjoyable romp.  It doesn’t do anything spectacular on either the action or comedy fronts, but the game cast makes it more fun than tedious to sit through. Continue reading

Salt (2010)

DIRECTOR: Phillip Noyce


Angelina Jolie, Liev Schreiber, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Daniel Olbrychski, August Diehl, Andre Braugher, Olek Krupa


Equal parts The Bourne Identity and The Manchurian Candidate, Salt is a dizzyingly-paced whiz-bang action thriller that contains enough spectacular stunts to dazzle in the immediate present, and enough twists and turns to avoid making the viewer feel like checking their brain at the door is a prerequisite to their enjoyment.  In fact, Salt requires a level of the viewer’s attention. Continue reading

Inception (2010)

DIRECTOR: Christopher Nolan

CAST: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Ken Watanabe, Ellen Page, Cillian Murphy, Tom Hardy, Dileep Rao, Tom Berenger, Lukas Haas, Michael Caine, Pete Postlethwaite


Christopher Nolan (Memento, Insomnia, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Prestige) reportedly spent ten years writing his screenplay for Inception. Watching the film, one can see how it might have taken so long. Some will no doubt find Inception confusing. It definitely is not a movie where you can take a trip to the restroom, and requires a commitment of close attention and concentration, but I don’t see that as a bad thing. Continue reading

Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010)

DIRECTOR: David Slade


Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Billy Burke, Peter Facinelli, Ashley Greene, Jackson Rathbone, Nikki Reed, Kellan Lutz, Elizabeth Reaser, Gil Birmingham, Bryce Dallas Howard, Dakota Fanning, Xavier Samuel


It took three movies, but they’ve finally gotten it right, or as right as it’s going to be. Continue reading

Winter’s Bone (2010)

Winter's Bone" examines rural poverty | MPR News

DIRECTOR: Debra Granik

CAST: Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes


The third film from director Debra Granik and already an indie awards darling at the Sundance Film Festival, based on the novel by Daniel Woodrell, Winter’s Bone is a slow burn drama with some thriller elements whose indie sensibilities shine through loud and clear. Were this a sudio product, this would be pumped up with more conventional thriller elements, but here there’s no action sequences. There’s no overt straightforward conventional “villains” (albeit quite a few unsavory individuals), and the lead character isn’t an action heroine, just a 17-year-old girl with no extraordinary abilities beyond her wits and guts.

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Letters to Juliet (2010)

DIRECTOR: Gary Winick


Amanda Seyfried, Vanessa Redgrave, Christopher Egan, Gael Garcia Bernal, Franco Nero, Oliver Platt



Letters to Juliet is a pleasant, unchallenging little story that doesn’t offer any plot turns that aren’t possible to see coming a hundred miles away but serves up enough sweetness to be an adequate morsel for those seeking something to whet the appetite of their inner romantic. Continue reading

Iron Man 2 (2010)

DIRECTOR: Jon Favreau


Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson, Mickey Rourke, Sam Rockwell, Samuel L. Jackson, Jon Favreau, Paul Bettany (voice)


Jon Favreau’s Iron Man 2 doesn’t surpass the first installment, and might fall short in a couple areas, but the sequel largely provides plenty more of the same to make it worthwhile summer entertainment. Continue reading