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10 out of 10: The Ten Best Movies of the Year

Contrary to popular opinion, I was actually relatively impressed with 2010 as a year in cinema. It was no 2008, with a consistent string of impressive hits (both big and small). However, it wasn’t as bitterly disappointing as 2009 was, with letdown after letdown. Sure, there weren’t that many hugely successful sequels or reboots, but the vast majority of them weren’t soul-destroying wastes of film. So I’m quite happy. This year I actually had to cut several items from the list to get it down to a perfect ten.

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Best Picture Poster Porn…

Here’s a little treat to get you in the mood for this evening’s festivities. BAFTA hired artist Tavis Coburn to basically design retro-style posters for their own awards – you know, like Turner Classic Movies did last summer. Since there’s significant overlap between the Oscars shortlist and the BAFTA shortlist, it’s a nice way to get yourself geared up for an interesting night. It’s a shame there isn’t an Inglourious Basterds poster, as that movie is arguably the best suited to a retro reimagining, but I guess the recent charity redesigns will have to do.

The posters are below. Click for bigger versions.

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Non-Review Review: Up In The Air

Sometimes a movie lands (pardon the pun) at the right time. If you had told me that a movie about a guy looking to earn 10,000,000 frequent flyer miles in first class would be arguably one of the most interesting explorations of the recession that Hollywood would offer, I would have laughed in your face. But, against all odds, it works. That the guy in question is George Clooney and the man behind the camera is Jason Reitman undoubtedly helps.

It isn't plane-sailing for Ryan...

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Reaction to the Best Picture Oscar Nominations…

Well, it’s been a week since the nominations were announced. I think I’m as adjusted as I’ll ever be to this year’s crop of Oscar contenders. Am I happy? Relatively. Am I delighted? No. Am I as filled with disappointment and rage as I was last year? Not nearly. Does this mean we can judge the ten horse race a success? I’m not so sure. Let’s take a look at the good, the bad and the worse of this year’s nominations, snubs and just inexplicable nods. I’ll be taking a look at the acting nominations later in the week, because this post just ballooned. Rather fitting given the expansion of the category, no?

Let the speculating and analysis and moaning begin...

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And The Oscar Nominees Are…

The Oscar nominees have just been announced. In the next few hours, in-depth analysis from all manner of sources will take place and discussions will begin on whether the conversion of the Best Picture Oscar to a ten horse race has made the nomination phase anymore exciting. I don’t think it has – we’ve all been talking about the big five like it were any other year – Up In The Air, Inglourious Basterds, Avatar, The Hurt Locker and Precious – and that doesn’t really seem to have changed. However, there’s been a whole heap of discussion about the remaining places on the list. Though that doesn’t exactly ‘shake up the Oscar race’. Once we get a taste for how the Oscars choose the next five (and I suspect it will be on the same basis as the first five), picking ten will seem as simple as picking five did. But I digress. Nominees and  preliminary analysis below. Note I’ll probably offer a more in-depth look at the race tomorrow.

It's that time of year again...

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How Is Hollywood Dealing With Recession?

Hollywood. It’s the place where dreams come true. Where normal things like traffic don’t bother heroes like Jack Bauer, credit ratings and mortgage payments don’t halt Carrie’s spending spree and Bruce Willis never has to fill out an insurance claim form. No wonder they used to call it Hollywoodland, like some sort of fairytale kingdom (in actuality it was to advertise a housing development). This magical quality (or, if you’re cynical, ‘disengagement’) means that Hollywood can take its time in reflecting the tastes of the common people and the issues that really affect them.

High-flying corporate executive...

High-flying corporate executive...

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