|

The Best of the Blockbusters: Summer 2010

____

With October upon us, it’s been more than a month since the glorious summer season came to a close.  Kids and office workers alike have been returned to their desks, getting back into the swing of work and routine.

Similarly, the late autumn and winter months are also a key moment of transition in Hollywood. After the weekly onslaught of action, comedy, and family films throughout summer, studios typically release more serious, adult-oriented fare from September to December, as they prepare for the Oscars at the end of the year.  Although there are exceptions, it’s safe to say that filmgoers can finally walk into their local cinema without expecting an explosion every two minutes.

What a relief, hey?

With that in mind, we’ve decided to list the best films of summer 2010. Although the quality of Hollywood’s mainstream output has been disappointingly uneven this year, there are still plenty of quality movies out there for every box-office bomb.  So without further ado, dim the lights and grab a bag of popcorn as we take a trip down memory lane and recount the year’s biggest hits to date.

20.  Clash of the Titans

3 out of 4 stars

Genre:

Action, Fantasy

Cast:

Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Gemma Arterton

Plot:

Perseus (Worthington), a soldier in Ancient Greece with mythical powers, must use all his strength to stop the tyrannical gods Zeus (Neeson) and Hades (Fiennes) from destroying Greece and laying waste to the mortal world.

Review:

With its tongue-in-cheek acting, massive CGI battles, and goofy 3-D visuals, ‘Clash of the Titans’ is brilliant camp entertainment for those seeking two hours of low-IQ monster slaying and swordplay.

19.  Shrek Forever After

3 out of 4 stars

Genre:

Family, Adventure

Cast:

Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, Antonio Banderas, Walt Dohrn

Plot:

After being tricked by the evil sorcerer Rumpelstiltskin (Dohrn), Shrek (Myers) must escape from an alternate reality where ogres are hunted for sport and he has never met his wife Fiona (Diaz) or his friends Donkey (Eddie Murphy) and Puss in Boots (Banderas).

Review:

It may not compare to the original, but ‘Shrek Forever After’ is still funny and entertaining throughout, and should please both adults and younger fans of the series.

18.  The Wolfman

3 out of 4 stars

Genre:

Horror

Cast:

Anthony Hopkins, Benicio Del Toro, Emily Blunt, Hugo Weaving

Plot:

When actor Lawrence Talbot (Del Toro) is bitten by a strange wolf-like creature while visiting his father in the English countryside, he begins a journey of terrifying self-discovery, unlocking the secrets of his family’s dark past.

Review:

Even if it doesn’t capture the emotional drama of the 1941 classic, ‘The Wolfman’ is still one of the better horror remakes in recent memory, thanks to its superb cast, haunting visuals, and moody atmosphere.

17.  Iron Man 2

3 out of 4 stars

Genre:

Action, Adventure

Cast:

Robert Downey Jr., Mickey Rourke, Don Cheadle, Gwyneth Paltrow, Sam Rockwell, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson

Plot:

When the tyrannical villain Whiplash (Rourke) places a claim on Iron Man’s life, billionaire industrialist Tony Stark (Downey) must once again assume his superhero alter-ego and do battle against the forces of evil.

Review:

Although its plot lacks direction, Robert Downey Jr. and the action sequences still shine in this high-powered superhero sequel.

16.  Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

3 out of 4 stars

Genre:

Fantasy, Adventure

Cast:

Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton, Ben Kingsley, Alfred Molina

Plot:

When Dastan (Gyllenhaal), a prince in ancient Persia, is falsely accused of murdering the king, he must expose the schemes of his father’s villainous advisor Nizam (Kingsley), who plans on unleashing a mystical force that could destroy the entire world if released.

Review:

Thanks to the charming performances of its stars, ‘The Sands of the Time’ is a rousing adventure story from start to finish, resembling an inspired cross between ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ and ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’.

15.  The A-Team

3 out of 4 stars

Genre:

Action

Cast:

Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Quinton Jackson, Sharlto Copley

Plot:

When an elite group of U.S. soldiers are framed for a crime they didn’t commit, they are forced to go on the run from the authorities and bring the enemies that betrayed them to justice.

Review:

Based on the 80’s TV series of the same name, ‘The A-Team’s strengths include truly inspired action set pieces, a razor-sharp sense of humour, and a genuine buddy vibe between its main stars, easily making it the best men-on-a-mission film of 2010.

14.  Salt

3 out of 4 stars

Genre:

Action

Cast:

Angelina Jolie, Liev Schreiber, Chiwetel Ejiofor

Plot:

When CIA officer Evelyn Salt (Jolie) is accused of being a Russian double agent, she is forced not only to go on the run from the authorities, but to uncover a dangerous conspiracy theory which threatens the fate of the entire free world.

Review:

Even with its flimsy plot cobbled together from other movies, Angelina Jolie once again proves herself as the most magnetic actress in Hollywood, giving a powerhouse performance which propels ‘Salt’ to popcorn movie glory.

13.  Dinner for Schmucks

3 out of 4 stars

Genre:

Comedy

Cast:

Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, Zach Galifianakais

Plot:

Just before his upcoming promotion, corporate high-flyer Tim Conrad (Rudd) receives a bizarre ultimatum from his bosses: bring the biggest idiot he can find to the upcoming company dinner, and his new job at the firm is secured. Unfortunately, the idiot in question, nerdy loner Barry Speck (Carell), also has the ability to instantly ruin everything in his sight, almost destroying Conrad’s life within hours of meeting him.

Review:

With its refreshingly original premise and inspired punch lines, ‘Dinner for Schmucks’ is an amusing and occasionally hilarious black comedy which should easily satisfy fans of its two stars.

12.  The Last Exorcism

3 out of 4 stars

Genre:

Horror

Cast:

Patrick Fabian, Ashley Bell

Plot:

When a professional exorcist (Fabian) grows tired of his profession, he films his final exorcism in order to expose the fakery behind the process, only to encounter his first genuine case of possession.

Review:

Shot in a faux-documentary style similar to ‘The Blair Witch Project’, ‘The Last Exorcism’ is a tense, atmospheric thriller which relies on storytelling and mystery to scare its audience rather than violence and gore.

11.  Robin Hood

3 & ½ out of 4 stars

Genre:

Action, Adventure

Cast:

Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett, Mark Strong

Plot:

When English soldier Robin Hood (Crowe) returns home from the crusades to find his people oppressed by the tyrannical King John, he forms a gang of outlaws and takes the law into his own hands, all the while preparing for an imminent invasion of England by the French.

Review:

Although history buffs might disapprove of the legend’s re-imagined plot, everyone else should thoroughly enjoy the gorgeous visuals, epic battle scenes, and winning performance from Crowe in director Ridley Scott’s latest historical epic.

10.  The Runaways

3 & ½ out of 4 stars

Genre:

Rock Biopic, Drama

Cast:

Dakota Fanning, Kristen Stewart, Michael Shannon

Plot:

A real-life story of the world’s first all-female rock band,  ‘The Runaways’ tells the stories of teenage friends Cherie Currie (Fanning) and Joan Jett (Stewart) as they rise from regular high school kids to rock superstars amidst the 70’s glam rock revolution.

Review:

Don’t let the presence of two ‘Twilight’ stars fool you: ‘The Runaways’ is a gritty, provocative, and thoroughly exciting coming-of-age tale which doesn’t shy away from the darker side of the music industry.

9.  How To Train Your Dragon

3 & ½ out of 4 stars

Genre:

Family, Adventure

Cast:

Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse

Plot:

In the ancient Viking land of Berk, where dragons are hunted down for sport, a young boy called Hiccup (Baruchel) becomes the first human to befriend a dragon, changing the way the creatures are viewed by their Viking hunters.

Review:

With a plot that cleverly reflects current real-life issues, ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ consistently enchants with its poignant blend of humour, action, and heartfelt drama.

8.  Predators

3 & ½ out of 4 stars

Genre:

Sci-Fi, Horror, Action

Cast:

Adrien Brody, Topher Grace, Alice Braga, Laurence Fishburne

Plot:

When a group of the world’s most dangerous killers are dropped on an alien planet, they must band together to defeat an extraterrestrial enemy stalking their every move.

Review:

Spearheaded by an iconic anti-hero performance from Adrien Brody, ‘Predators’ is a violent, high-octane thrill ride that equals the original Schwarzenegger classic in its seamless mix of testosterone and white-knuckle tension.

7.  The Karate Kid

3 & ½ out of 4 stars

Genre:

Drama

Cast:

Jaden Smith, Jackie Chan

Plot:

When Detroit teenager Dre (Smith) moves to Beijing and becomes the target of school bullies, he enlists the help of retired kung fu master Mr. Han (Chan) to master martial arts and stand up for his rights.

Review:

With its touching story and powerful performances, ‘The Karate Kid’ is not just a worthy reboot of the franchise, but also one of the most heartfelt and gripping martial arts movies in recent memory.

6.  Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

3 & ½ out of 4 stars

Genre:

Comedy, Adventure, Romance

Cast:

Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jason Schwartzman, Anna Kendrick

Plot:

When average teenager Scott Pilgrim (Cera) falls for punk chick Ramona Flowers (Winstead), he must accomplish the impossible: defeating her seven evil, super-powered ex-boyfriends in combat.

Review:

A truly inspired homage to superhero movies, video games, and teen culture rolled into one hilarious head trip of a film, ‘Scott Pilgrim’ is the kind of quirky, offbeat experience that truly needs to be seen to be believed.

5.  The Ghost Writer

3 & ½ out of 4 stars

Genre:

Thriller

Cast:

Pierce Brosnan, Ewan McGregor, Kim Cattrall, Olivia Williams

Plot:

When an esteemed ghost writer (McGregor) agrees to complete the memoirs of a disgraced former British Prime Minister (Brosnan), he swiftly finds himself drawn into a tangled and dangerous web of murder, deceit, and secrecy.

Review:

Arguably the most tense political thriller of the decade, director Roman Polanksi’s latest outing benefits from an outstanding script, nail-biting scenes of suspense, and two career-defining performances from its lead actors.

4.  Kick-Ass

3 & ½ out of 4 stars

Genre:

Action, Comedy

Cast:

Aaron Johnson, Chloe Moretz, Nicolas Cage, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Mark Strong

Plot:

When lonely teenager Dave Lizewski (Johnson) becomes fed up with his suburban life, he decides to make a difference by fighting crime vigilante style using his very own superhero alter-ego: Kick-Ass.

Review:

As well as being the funniest film of the year, ‘Kick-Ass’ is surprisingly moving as well, mixing a touching coming-of-age story in between its outrageous black humour and slapstick action violence.

3.  Shutter Island

3 & ½ out of 4 stars

Genre:

Horror, Thriller

Cast:

Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Michelle Williams, Emily Mortimer, Max Von Sydow, Jackie Earle Haley

Plot:

When U.S. marshal Teddy Daniels (DiCaprio) and his partner Chuck Aule (Ruffalo), are assigned to track down a missing patient from Shutter Island, a maximum security insane asylum off the coast of Boston, they discover a truth about the asylum’s activities more horrifying than they could have ever imagined.

Review:

With its brilliant direction from Martin Scorsese and haunting lead performance by DiCaprio, ‘Shutter Island’ is a terrifying depiction of one man’s descent into madness, equalling horror classics such as ‘Cape Fear’ and ‘The Shining’ with its  unrelenting tension and twisting storyline.

2.  Toy Story 3

4 out of 4 stars

Genre:

Family, Adventure

Cast:

Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Ned Beatty, Michael Keaton

Plot:

When Woody (Hanks) and his gang of toys are donated to an orphanage for toys, they hatch a daring escape plan in the hope of being re-united with their owner Andy.

Review:

With its breathtaking animation, epic story, and moving emotional subtext, ‘Toy Story 3’ is not just the best film of the trilogy, but also the most satisfying and heartfelt film made by Pixar to date.

1.  Inception

4 out of 4 stars

Genre:

Sci-Fi, Action

Cast:

Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Ken Watanabe, Cillian Murphy, Marion Cotillard

Plot:

Dom Cobb (DiCaprio) is one of the world’s most notorious corporate thieves and an expert in the dangerous art of extraction: physically entering a person’s dreams and stealing their ideas during their sleep.

When a mysterious client gives Cobb the task of planting a memory in a target’s mind instead of stealing one however, he and his team must begin a surreal journey into the depths of the human mind like none they have ever experienced, as they edge closer to the most difficult task of all: inception.

Review:

Easily the best sci-fi film since 1982’s ‘Blade Runner’, ‘Inception’ is simply one of the most viscerally affecting experiences of the decade, interweaving a mind-bending storyline and explosive action with a tragic love story that will resonate with viewers long after the film’s credits roll.



Comments are closed

The Contributor

Damien is a talented, up-and-coming writer building his career in the media industry. His hobbies include playing guitar, listening to music, and watching films!

    Connect with Damien:
  1. - AIM: d.draxler@gmail.com
  2. - Jabber / Google Talk: d.draxler@gmail.com
  3. - Email: Click here

Have Your Say!

What is the BEST investment over the next 5 years?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

  1. how can i merge google plus and facebook: Another critical feature to recognize at Plus One headquarters is...
  2. W.P: Your mother is a great woman!I hope I can have a mother like her!
  3. Sophia yu: Totally agreed that money doesn’t buy happiness
  4. Joe Hung: I think your composition is good.It is inspirational.I think you are hard working when you do this...
  5. Sugar: Thanks!