Wednesday 16 Apr

Holy Ghost People

Holy Ghost People examines two sisters whose bond is torn — but by what? After her sibling has been missing for more than a year, Charlotte (Emma Greenwell, TV's Shameless) intends to find out.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

No Holds Barred

RLJ Entertainment's new Blu-ray for No Holds Barred begins with what seems like dozens of trailers for movies starring pro wrestlers from the WWE talent pool. Each flick went direct to home video, but once upon a time — aka 1989 — one had to go to the multiplex to catch such a spectacle.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

Knights of Badassdom

In 2008, the third act of the guy comedy Role Models used LARPing — live-action role-playing, that is — as a backdrop for our protagonists' lessons learned. Today, Knights of Badassdom extends that half-hour into a full feature, to the point where viewers are left not smiling, but exhausted. 
04/02/2014 | Comments 0

Switched on

Not everything on television has to appeal to mass audiences. In fact, with the further fractioning of viewership thanks to alternatives like Netflix and VOD, more series can afford to become more niche. Here are five examples of shows both past and present — and new to DVD and/or Blu-ray — that encompass some of the more outrageous ideas ever to go beyond boardroom discussion.
04/02/2014 | Comments 0

Confession of Murder

Seventeen years after slaying 10 women and getting away with it, the charismatic serial killer Du-sok (Park Si-hoo) comes clean with a Confession of Murder, in this 2012 South Korean crime thriller. He does so by publishing a book that dishes all the grisly details.
04/02/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Movies · Features · Thirty for ’10

Thirty for ’10

Rod Lott January 12th, 2011

Want to know what movies knocked the socks off the Oklahoma Gazette film crew this year? Too bad!


If you haven’t noticed, 2010 has proven volatile for our country, and the same goes for cinema. It’s been an off year. Need proof? My list of the 10 best from the last 12 months has two — count ’em, two — movies starring Mark Wahlberg! (Could that be real or is the top still spinning?)

1. “Inception” — In the theater, I was wowed. On Blu-ray, I was wowed again. What’s most impressive about Christopher Nolan’s mind-crime caper is its diabolically creative script. Finally, a movie driven by pure story, enhanced by expert visuals, and not the other way around.

2. “Four Lions” — The year’s bravest movie is also its most uproarious. In these times (or any), I never thought we’d see a comedy about terrorists, but here it is, and it’s whipsmart funny. Yes, I said “comedy about terrorists.” It has yet to play this city.

3. “The Red Riding Trilogy” — While Sweden’s “Dragon Tattoo” trilogy got all the buzz and bucks, Britain’s three-film exploration of the real-life Yorkshire Ripper case played out in chapters each set in a different year, from 1974 to 1983. Whether watched in part or in whole, the results are absorbing and addictive.

4. “The Social Network” — After reading the god-awful book last year on which this Facebook origin tale is based, I thought, “I hope David Fincher knows what he’s doing.” He did.

5. “Exit Through the Gift Shop” — This is either the year’s most exhilarating documentary or entirely a hoax merely posing as one. (If it’s the latter, that means Banksy’s gifts as a filmmaker are that much greater.) Never has the subject of street art and its guerilla creators been mistaken for suspense.

6. “The Fighter” — In general, I detest sports movies, so that should tell you how good this one is. Christian Bale delivers the year’s best performance, lead or supporting, as far as I’m concerned.

7. “The Other Guys” — I understand some people don’t like Will Ferrell, but with lines like “I was so drunk, I thought a tube of toothpaste was astronaut food,” I can’t figure out why.

8. “Make-Out with Violence” — You haven’t heard of this microbudgeted, Tennessee-lensed effort, but it’s as if Wes Anderson directed a wry rom-com involving 18-year-olds in the summer before college ... that just happens to have a zombie in it. Different? To say the least. Never played here, or much of anywhere. Seek this out!

9. “True Grit” — To worry about what the Coen brothers’ remake does to the John Wayne original is to miss some brilliant dialogue, some stunning photography and one incredible performance by 14-year-old Hailee Steinfeld.

10. “OSS 117: Lost in Rio” — It could be argued this French spy spoof isn’t as funny as its predecessor, 2006’s “OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies,” but my smile was too big, dumb and genuine to notice a difference. Viva la France!


In 2010, no good films were better than I thought they’d be, but several I had high hopes for were disappointments. The biggest stinker should be “Skyline,” but there’s just something about the hack cutesiness of “Valentine’s Day” that makes me want to hurl a used Whitman’s Sampler all over it. And with that charming visual in mind, let’s proceed.

I’m presenting not necessarily the 10 movies I think were the best of 2010, but the 10 I liked best and may watch again. This is completely subjective. I don’t always dislike what’s bad; in fact, I frequently enjoy it more than what’s good.

1. “True Grit” — Are the Coen brothers subversives and nihilists who use American movies to tell us how they don’t really like America or movies? Or do they love both things, but recognize how immature they are and ripe for kidding? As someone said about the novel “True Grit,” it is both a parody of the traditional Western and a perfect example of it. This is a consistently funny film that didn’t make me laugh out loud until Mattie’s final words to Frank James. And I haven’t stopped laughing since.

2. “Shutter Island” — Martin Scorsese started the year off right with the most entertaining, trickiest and thought-provoking thriller of 2010. This is not only one I want to see again, but have to see again, as many more times as it takes to put all the pieces together. It’s a thriller with brains and a production design that’ll knock your socks off.

3. “Alice in Wonderland” — I like this one, but I wanted to love it. No cigar there, but I want to see it again. More eccentric wackiness from the Tim Burton/Johnny Depp/Helena Bonham Carter triumvirate.

4. “Splice” — This was the most interesting almost-horror film of the year, mainly because it wasn’t pure horror. It’s a love story, family story and American Dream story wrapped up in a mad scientist story, and it’s just as thoughtful as it is scary.

5. “The A-Team” — Quit spluttering in disbelief. This is the only real competition for “The Expendables” in the silly, macho, over-the-top adventure genre, and you’re not telling me that you prefer the Stallone gab-fest to this, are you? Are you?

6. “How to Train Your Dragon” — Best animated movie of the year, at least among the ones that played in this market. Come on, admit it: Aren’t you getting a little tired of Pixar’s warm fuzzies? This year’s offering is the second calf of the “Toy Story” cash cow. Going, going, sold!

7. “Iron Man 2” — Saved by Garry Shandling in sarcastic mode and Scarlett Johansson in black Lycra.

8. “Let Me In” — Hammer’s return to filmmaking is a thoughtful vampire story that makes you more uneasy the more you think about it. Its 13-year-old star Chloe Moretz had three good films in 2010 — also “Kick-Ass” and “Diary of a Wimpy Kid.”

9. “Piranha 3D” — If you don’t know, I can’t explain it.

10. “Red” — Geezer espionage with a subversive sense of humor.


It’s worth noting that 2010 was unusually strong for documentaries, with “The Tillman Story,” “Waiting for ‘Superman,’” “Exit Through the Gift Shop” and “Restrepo” deserving all the acclaim they received. Is reality the new black?

1. “The Social Network” — Before its release, a movie about the origins of Facebook sounded like a colossally bad idea. But screenwriter Aaron Sorkin and director David Fincher elevated the story of wunderkind Mark Zuckerberg to Shakespearean tragedy. Like its antihero, “The Social Network” is brilliant, acerbic and surprisingly humane.

2. “The Fighter” — After “Raging Bull,” I didn’t think boxing had another great movie in it. I was wrong. Based on the rise of welterweight champ Mickey Ward (Mark Wahlberg), it is more interested in the figurative psychological punches thrown outside the ring. Director David O. Russell has a knack for making family dysfunction entertaining.

3. “Toy Story 3” — Pixar’s third installment of the franchise that launched it all is a spot-on send-up of a prison-break flick. More impressive is that the CG-animated movie tackles themes — impermanence, aging, death — usually reserved for brooding Swedish filmmakers.

4. “The King’s Speech” — Its wonderfully crafted storytelling might wind up attracting a little hipster backlash since its subject matter, of monarchs and male camaraderie, is ideal for awards season. But the film is as superb as its hype. Colin Firth delivers an Oscar-worthy performance as George VI, who reluctantly ascended to the British throne while trying to conquer a lifelong stammer.

5. “127 Hours” — Danny Boyle accomplished the seemingly impossible: making a movie that wrings energy and excitement from the most claustrophobic and horrific of events. James Franco is pitch-perfect as Aron Ralston, who amputated his arm to free himself from a boulder. It’s as inspired as it is inspirational.

6. “Inception” — You might have to go all the way back to “2001: A Space Odyssey” to find another innovative blockbuster head trip like this. In his caper set amid the world of dreams, writer/director Christopher Nolan demonstrates sizable ambitions matched by commercial instincts. It isn’t flawless, but dreams rarely are ... at least not the ones you can talk about.

7. “The Ghost Writer” — International drama surrounding Roman Polanski overshadowed his masterful triumphant return to thrillers. Ewan McGregor does a fine job as the titular character who stumbles into a labyrinthine conspiracy of political intrigue, sex and murder — the best kinds, you know.

8. “Mother” — In this riveting South Korean suspense/horror mash-up, Kim Hye-ja is memorable as the most devoted matriarch since Norman Bates’ mother. When Kim’s mentally challenged son is accused of murder, the dutiful mom sets out to prove his innocence, with wholly unpredictable results.

9. “Let Me In” — I loved Sweden’s original “Let the Right One In,” and, like many fans, didn’t see the point in an American remake two years later. But give credit where credit is due. Writer/director Matt Reeves fashioned an outstanding kid-vampire flick with serious chomping potential.

10. “Broken Embraces” — As Pedro Almodóvar movies go, the (purposely) overheated melodrama of “Broken Embraces” is not among his best. Still, subpar Almodóvar is better than almost anything else, and this conjures up a mesmerizing spell of pop culture, romance and suspense.

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5