MSN's Glenn Whipp discusses this year's lumps of coal
Here's his piece on 2010's Cinematic Bummers:
"We've arrived at the time of the movie year where the big studios release their holiday crowd-pleasers and their indie counterparts haul out hopeful Oscar contenders. It'd be easy to sit here and count our blessings and check off the 101 reasons why we think 'Black Swan' is the best movie of the year. But where's the fun in that? Instead, let us examine the lumps of coal in this year's stockings as we present the 10 biggest movie bummers of 2010."
He begins with ...
"Backlash to Jennifer Aniston backlash
"When critics expressed a certain fatigue with Jennifer Aniston in August upon the arrival of her second awful comedy of the year, there arose a backlash and charges of misogyny. If critics could not appreciate Aniston's effortless comedic work in 'The Bounty Hunter' and 'The Switch,' then they must hate women, too, not to mention rainbows, sunsets and puppy dogs.
But what if there's another option? What if these people just don't like bad movies starring actresses whose limited talents are much better suited to the small screen? What if moviegoers have seen Aniston make a dozen of these affronts and are developing the small sense that Aniston's name on the marquee is the equivalent of the skull-and-crossbones warning on that bottle of weed killer sitting on the garage shelf?
"I don't hate Aniston. But I laughed more during a single TV episode of Courteney Cox's 'Cougar Town' than in the three hours I spent watching Aniston on the screen this year. And I'm not optimistic that her next movie, a romantic-comedy with (shudder) Adam Sandler, is going to change my thinking on this. She's not exactly stretching herself, is she? At least Renée Zellweger gave us a mean Granny Clampett imitation and spun it into Oscar gold for 'Cold Mountain.' Where's your Granny Clampett, Jen? I know you have it in you."
George Clooney to star in Alfonso Cuaron's space thriller
I also keep thinking of Clooney in "Solaris," where he was very good, so ... well, this is probably a great choice. I'm hopeful.
Here's more from EW:
"George Clooney has landed at 'Gravity.' The actor's rep confirms to EW that he will star in Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures' 3-D space thriller 'Gravity' as an astronaut that lives through a disaster.
Terrence Malick's stunning trailer
John Cameron Mitchell's study of grief
It's tough to recommend because if you've ever survived a death in the family, you will feel things you may not want to revisit or think about. And you will think about them. The story of a couple (played by Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart) attempting to navigate their way through grief (they lost their young son less than a year ago) is told without pointing fingers, even at characters we find annoying, and without a one-way attempt to treat grief. Support groups are not for everyone, God is not always the answer, but then if that's a comfort, fine. Sometimes, in one wonderfully realized scene, science makes a person feel more alive.
The movie says that however you deal with grief is just how you do it -- and you have to figure out if it's healthy or not. And no one should judge you.
John Cameron Mitchell and Nicole Kidman were interviewed about the film in the NY Times, and here's what the director had to say:
"You can't tell someone they're going to have an experience that's useful to them. Whether we like it or not, at some point we're going to be dealing with loss, and if you don't have tools — you're not given tools by your religion, by your parents, by whatever — all we have is stories to help us. This is not throwing you into the abyss and destroying you and reminding you that life is horrible, we wouldn't want to make it if that was the case. We already know things can be rough.
"This was necessary for me to revisit some feelings I never dealt with as a kid because we weren't supposed to talk about stuff in the ’70s. I think going through fire by watching a movie is the safe way, doing it vicariously and experiencing what the Greeks call catharsis. You can be cleansed, you can be purged and you can be ready for life. That is the point of art."
The legendary director passes away at age 88
Rest in peace, Blake Edwards.
More from TheWrap:
"Blake Edwards, the man who put 'The Pink Panther,' 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' and '10,' among many other films, up on the silver screen has died at the age of 88.
"The veteran director passed away at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, CA, late on Dec. 15 from complications of pneumonia. Julie Andrews, Edwards' wife of 41 years, and the couple's five children were with the Honorary Oscar winner."
'The King's Speech' leads the pack
Here's a partial list of the nominations:
— Picture, Drama: "Black Swan," "The Fighter," "Inception," "The King's Speech," "The Social Network"
— Picture, Musical or Comedy: "Alice in Wonderland," "Burlesque," "The Kids Are All Right," "Red," "The Tourist"
— Actor, Drama: Jesse Eisenberg, "The Social Network"; Colin Firth, "The King's Speech"; James Franco, "127 Hours"; Ryan Gosling, "Blue Valentine"; Mark Wahlberg, "The Fighter"
— Actress, Drama: Halle Berry, "Frankie and Alice"; Nicole Kidman, "Rabbit Hole"; Jennifer Lawrence, "Winter's Bone"; Natalie Portman, "Black Swan"; Michelle Williams, "Blue Valentine"
— Director: Darren Aronofsky, "Black Swan"; David Fincher, "The Social Network"; Tom Hooper, "The King's Speech"; Christopher Nolan, "Inception"; David O. Russell, "The Fighter"
— Actor, Musical or Comedy: Johnny Depp, "Alice in Wonderland"; Johnny Depp, "The Tourist"; Paul Giamatti, "Barney's Version"; Jake Gyllenhaal, "Love and Other Drugs"; Kevin Spacey, "Casino Jack"
— Actress, Musical or Comedy: Annette Bening, "The Kids Are All Right"; Julianne Moore, "The Kids Are All Right"; Anne Hathaway, "Love and Other Drugs"; Angelina Jolie, "The Tourist"; Emma Stone, "Easy A"
MSN film writers list their picks
Here's how we did it, as described by our senior producer at MSN Entertainment, Dave McCoy:
"Welcome to the fourth annual MSN Movies top 10 films poll. We are continuing our tradition of presenting multiple viewpoints from all of our writers that add up to some sort of hodgepodge representing the best movies of 2010. This year, we've increased the number of writers from 10 to 13. The method is simple: 13 critics vote for their 10 favorite films. Films are assigned points based on their ranking, and -- BAM! We have a list that no one is TOTALLY happy about but sure causes much heated debate, at least among ourselves and hopefully with you as well.
"Many called 2010 an awful year for movies. We're not going to make such a sweeping, shortsighted statement, but we will say this: As a group, we ended up naming 56 different films on our lists. Does this mean 2010 was a great year? No. It just means that there were great movies if you looked for them. Hopefully, this list will celebrate films that you, too, love, but also introduce you to new titles.
"If you want to jump to the individual lists, you can do so. But we hope you count down the top 10 with us. And then write in and let us know what we missed."
Read our entire list here.
The actor will be starring in Simon West's newest
According to ComingSoon via Heat Vision, the actor will star in director Simon West's newest action film, "Medallion."
Given that I'm a huge fan of "Con Air," also directed by West -- a movie in which Cage and John Malkovich chew up and spit out the scenery with such relish that it's impossible to not enjoy yourself ("Put down the bunny!") -- I'm hoping this is another one of those crazed action films everyone says they hate, but secretly love.
Here's more from ComingSoon: