9.) The Hurt Locker
Generally, I’m not a fan of war movies. They usually either glorify the experience, the cause for the war, or the war itself.
Which is why The Hurt Locker is such a awesome film. It doesn’t concern itself with the war – it concerns itself with people who disarm bombs and IEDs for a living. And it takes a special kind of crazy to do this. There’s no romanticising, and no politics – just this one squad disarming the most insane explosives you’ve ever seen. (Seriously. Some of the things they get called out on are unbelievably crazy.) It’s absolutely, jaw droppingly insane. Katheryn Bigelow directs this extremely impressive film, one that showcases the strengths of her location shots and the excellent actors in her film. You vividly feel all of the stress that comes out of these situations, and you’re left wondering how on earth the men and women in “real life” do this on a day to day basis. It’s a fantastic film that I’d recommend to anyone, without hesitation – there’s no jingoism or politics here, just some men and women whose bravery borders on insanity. It’s also on track to be nominated for a slew of Oscars, so look for it come Acadamy Award season.
After checking out a particularily dangerous IED, Staff Sergeant James calmly removes all of his protective gear, explaining to his incredulous crew that “There’s enough bang in there to blow us all to Jesus. If I’m gonna die, I want to die comfortable.” And then go goes and disarms the bomb. Without protection.
I’m trying to keep up with this, but I get the feeling #7 may have to wait until Monday, since we are taking a rather spur-of-the-moment trip to my inlaws. They have four family birthdays in one month (this month!) and we are trying our best to make an effort to visit them more frequently since the Christmas play ate a large chunk (or all) of our autumn up. My little Apply lappy has display issues, so we don’t like to take it places unless we’re going to be gone more than three days, so we will not have our own comfortable desks and computers and environment to write reviews in. That, for me, is a good enough excuse to put it off. Which is probably why we never finish these top ten lists until March. But, for now, I’m on time and ready to hit you with another two movies.
A group of friends reunites at a party and seem to have only one thing still in common – their love of Star Wars. Since they were young, they’ve had a plan to drive to Skywalker Ranch (George Lucas’s home) and steal a rough cut of the new Star Wars movie coming out. (Episode 1) When the most distant of the group, Bottler, discovers one of the gang has terminal cancer and will most likely die before the movie is released, he agrees to go along with the plan in order to make amends. Thus commences one of the nerdiest, craziest, road trips and escapades in this galaxy. Starring Sam Huntington, Chris Marquette, Dan Fogler, Jay Baruchel, and Kristen Bell – this movie also has an incredible amount of cameos by sci fi fans and stars, including George Lucas, Seth Rogen, Carrie Fisher, Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith, Danny McBride, Billie Dee Williams, and William Shatner.
I am most definitely not as big a fan of Star Wars as my husband is. But, I do know enough about both the Star Wars and the Star Trek franchises/universes to grasp enough of the humor in this film to make it hilarious. All of the casting is perfection, especially the always effervescent Kristen Bell, who manages to add a touch of reality to these guys’ inane ideas. While this movie is most definitely on the Star Wars side of the ultimate geek battle, it doesn’t take itself seriously enough to not include a huge touch of the hat to Star Trek as well. Seth Rogen plays multiple parts in this film and manages to make every one of them hilarious. And I believe this is one of the few Star Wars projects that Carrie Fisher has been willing to lend her talents to in several decades. This film manages pacing and plot so well, that you feel right along with the characters how unfair it is that their best friend is going to die. It’s not quite lighthearted enough to be a full-on comedy, but nowhere near depressing enough to be a drama. If you’ve ever loved Star Wars in any way, you’ll probably enjoy this movie.
Please, PLEASE don’t hate me. It was a real toss up between this and several others (including Watchmen) making the bottom list. For those of you who haven’t seen/heard of this movie – Liam Neeson is a former CIA agent whose daughter is kidnapped by slavers while in Paris. He then goes on a rampage in order to get her back. It also stars Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen, and Katie Cassidy.
Technically, this is a 2008 movie, since it’s first release was in Feb 2008. But it wasn’t released in U.S. theaters until 2009, and therefore is categorized as such by Wikipedia in their film list and so – there you go.
Ok. Why did I dislike this movie? It was repetitive and boring. I’m not a very big action fan in general, unless there’s something thrown in to add an element of diversity – like science fiction, or magic, or … anything other than get info, beat up guys, get info, beat up guys, car chase, explosion, end. This movie was so repetitive that even the fact that Neeson is an incredible actor couldn’t save it. Every other character was so one dimensional that I lost interest within 10 minutes of the chase beginning. I thought the premise was good, and it was pretty impressive that Neeson is in his 50’s and still managed to pull off being a viable opponent for guys in their 20’s – but the movie lacked creativity. They didn’t even make the effort to throw in some witty one-liners here and there to lighten the mood. Just chase chase chase, and anti-climactic end. So. Fail.