Author: Peter M. Hargrove

TOP 10 FILMS OF 2010

The year of 3D has been mainly a dud (outside of jacked up ticket prices especially for the faux-IMAX screens) – it’s the story, stupid. The best 3D film I saw is listed below (alas you’ll most likely never get to see it projected on a big screen like I did, twice). It’s adapted from the Jan Matejko painting, 10 x 17 feet, depicting the 1410 battle between the Teutonic Knights and an alliance of Poles & Lithuanians — it was the largest battle of the Middle Ages even dwarfing Agincourt.

BLACK SWAN

A cliché-ridden ballet film schizophrenically co-directed by a resurrected Edgar G. Ulmer and David Cronenberg. It’s as if Charles Busch reconceived Swan Lake and had it performed by Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo in a psych ward at Bellevue.

BURLESQUE

CHICAGO staged at New York’s Pyramid Club featuring an animatronic trannie (sorry Cher). The most campy film released by Hollywood since SHOWGIRLS, BURLESQUE will be a big hit among gays, women and the smart men who want more than a peck on the cheek goodnight — the female visuals are more than worthy if they don’t get lucky.

NYC SUBWAY FOLLIES (YET AGAIN)

New York City public transportation, once again, is getting shafted by city and state elected officials, political appointees and MTA board members. Whether lining their own pockets, their campaign coffers or kissing ass with NYC’s business elite and real estate developers, stupidity, more than corruption, rules the day. The latest moronic proposal on the table is to extend the #7 train to, of all places, New Jersey. Why? So NYC can attempt to tap into the federal dollars Governor Christie of NJ passed on to build a new rail tunnel between NY and NJ. Knowing MTA incompetence, there will be cost overruns.

FOUR LIONS

FOUR LIONS Akbar (if you have a subversive sense of humor). Al Qaeda meets Mr. Bean in this delightfully funny look at a group of bumbling UK wannabe jihadis who talk the talk but walk with two left feet that they trip over constantly.

127 HOURS

Some actors will give their right arm for a showy role, James Franco figuratively does so. Danny Boyle, Fox Searchlight’s golden boy director (SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, 28 DAYS LATER), misfires once again (see SUNSHINE) as he attempts to make interesting the true life story of a narcissistic engineer/weekend outdoorsman whose arrogance costs him more than his pride on a weekend jaunt through Blue John Canyon in Utah’s Canyonlands National Park.

EATING HEALTHY – QUICKLY & TASTILY

We all want to eat healthier, but time constraints and the alluring temptations of fast food outlets prevent many of us from joining the Slow Food Movement (www.slowfood.com, www.slowfoodusa.org, www.slowmovement.com). Thankfully, there are enough widely distributed products in the marketplace for everyone to have a delicious meal, done quick (I’m not talking microwave) all the while keeping the bad cholesterol away. Some of the companies below are able to fulfill mail orders for bulk purchases so stock up now for use today, tomorrow and for future camping trips and emergencies.

GOLDEN LOTUS

Torture and desire combine in Chinese history with the practice of binding feet. Considered by some to be erotic, bound feet was another way of instilling patriarchal law of obedience to family first, husband second and children third upon females, long considered to be, at best, second class citizens.

JONAH HEX

Another cult comic book comes to the big screen that should have been left under the bed. JONAH HEX makes Will Smith’s horrendous feature version of the classic tv series, WILD WILD WEST look like an Academy Award winner. The film seems to last longer than the Civil War. The director (a Pixar animator attempting to upgrade his job description) is trying very hard to emulate the hackneyed directing career of Uwe Boll.

TOP 10 FILMS OF 2009

I must be getting old, too busy or picky.  I’ve only seen 329 films in 2009 (then again, I had a really hard time coming up with 10 worthwhile films).  Difficult choice with Best Supporting Actors this year, many interesting performances, especially in smaller films.