Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2010, A Year in Review - Part 1

As a whole, 2010 was a come down year from one of the finer years of cinema in my young lifetime. 2009 was a solid year with nearly ten A+ ratings, purely out of the movies that I managed to see, which I would only place that number at about twenty to twenty-five movies, and the same goes for this year. The difference this year, I've only seen five A+ movies. While some of that can change in the next few days as I plan on catching up on The King's Speech, Winter's Bone, and The Kids Are All Right, it's still not enough to redeem this lackluster year. Regardless, it's that time of year again, time to look back and see where we have come within a year and see how many resolutions were fulfilled, and to award those movies that even in a dry year, managed to bear fruit and be worth conversation. Like last year, this is going to be an epic, five part series, and this is only part one! So rather than round out the year with my usual awards, today is simply going to be looking back at 2010 and reminiscing about my own year in filmmaking, reminiscing about anything great or disturbing that occurred within the film industry this past year, and seeing how many of the stuff on my 2010 Most Anticipated list from back in January actually hit and stuck. But I wanna get things started talking about my own filmmaking experiences over the past year...

I started out last January shooting a film, Lost & Found. I got it shot, edited it, put titles to it, but never completed it. All the movie lacks is an A+ musical score, and I still have yet to get to that, but to be fair, I got distracted by Heaven's Touch, my student film that consumed my entire Spring semester this past year. Both Lost & Found and Heaven's Touch were disappointments for me, they just didn't quite live up to my vision, and it's frustrating to spend so much time making a film and not be satisfied with the end result. Though, I think I learned an invaluable lesson from these films, and in some ways they've helped me grow as a filmmaker. In this past year, I have completely changed my philosophy from wanting to be an auteur minded director to being a studio director who makes marketable films. I really don't see my own movies as art anymore, but as entertainment, and that's what I think I'm better at anyway. I mean, my first movie I directed (and completed) was Mr. Failure, and sure I have a few things that I would like to go back and change if I could, but as a whole it is way more enjoyable to go back and rewatch than any other film I've done so far, and the hand drawn animated film, Cooties, that took up my entire Fall semester of school this year, falls into the same category. I was very satisfied with Cooties, so satisfied in fact that it's the first film I've ever made that I wanna submit to film festivals, which is why I have yet to share it online. But that's enough about me. Aside from my own personal journeys as a filmmaker, the film industry as a whole went through some ups-and-downs this past year(depending on who you ask).

3-D became an even bigger staple after Avatar in 2009, leading to a renaissance at the box office through 3-D minded films like: Alice in Wonderland, How to Train Your Dragon, Toy Story 3, and many more 3-D features. For better or worse, 3-D is succeeding where the film industry wanted it to, and I'm afraid it's here to stay, at least for the time being. Any reader of this blog knows how much I despise 3-D, but there seems to be no stopping it when it's making so much money. Regardless, good things did come out of Hollywood this year. While MGM started out the year in the bankruptcy dumps, in just the past month or two it has rebounded and has been saved from extinction, allowing films like The Hobbit and James Bond 23 to get back on track towards someday reaching a cinema near you. As well, 2010 showed the Library of Congress adding 25 more films to its National Film Registry to forever preserve these 25 movies that have been deemed important artifacts of American culture. The list this year includes stuff from Airplane! to The Exorcist, to the big win, my favorite movie of all-time, The Empire Strikes Back. What a great way to end a year, knowing that Empire will be around for generations to come so that they can forever enthrall to the further adventures of Luke Skywalker. So those were to me the biggest stories of this past year in regards to the film industry, so now it's time to go back over my 2010 Most Anticipated list and see what lived up and what didn't...

Well, my number 10 sorta happened, we know Christopher Nolan is coming back to direct Batman 3 now known as The Dark Knight Rises, but other than a Summer of 2012 release for the film and the casting of Tom Hardy, nothing is known about the story or the characters that will be in it. Speaking of C-Nol, my number 2 most anticipated last January was Inception and I hate to say, while it was good, I was disappointed; same goes for my numbers 5 and 8, Iron Man 2 and Shutter Island. My number 9, the Smallville-Absolute Justice 2-hour movie, hit and was a rousing success, and the same can be said for my numbers 7 and 1, TRON: Legacy and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows-Part I. My number 4, the final season of LOST, had some good moments, but ultimately found itself as the weakest season of 'em all, but the rousing series finale made up for any missteps. Then, my number 3, to finish my film Lost & Found and submit it to the Sidewalk Film Festival, well that one sure didn't happen, and my number 6, 127 Hours, I have still yet to see cause studios just don't think us guys out here in Birmingham, AL, wanna see an awesome movie.

So looking back, 2010 was a year where the anticipated disappointed, and the sleepers pleasantly surprised. I mean, a year ago last year I put little stock into both True Grit and The Social Network, and both delivered, so anything can obviously happen within 12 months. While not my best year as a filmmaker, nor the best year as a filmgoer or enthusiast, there is still enough to award, and that's what we will be doing over the course of the next week or so. So stay tuned to the Unicellular Review for Part 2 of "A Year in Review"...

I give 2010 in Film a C+!

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