2010 brought many wonderful cinematic happenings to our screens. In between brilliant tales of love, lust and friendship in the form of The Social Network, and 500 Days of Summer, and the Scott Pilgrim finally getting the girl in a fight against evil of epic proportions, it is hard to pick even a few highlights from 2010. With Oscar nominations coming in for all the big names over the last 12 months, including the stunning Inception and joyous How to Train Your Dragon, The EDGE look at just a few who have been tipped to be picking up an award this year.
When you think of Leonardo DiCaprio’s contribution to the film world in the last 12 months, the feature that will no doubt come to mind is smash hit mind-boggling thriller Inception. But take a minute to consider another 2010 release with Leo as the leading man, Shutter Island. No, it was not the highest grossing film in 2010, nor did it snap up any awards, but it was still a storming piece of cinema, and one that is undoubtedly worth a view, if not several.
With legendary Scorcese at the directing helm, Shutter Island is psychological cinema at it’s best. It opens with Edward ‘Teddy’ Daniels’ (DiCaprio) arrival at the Ashecliffe hospital for the criminally insane, having been summoned to the remote location with his partner to investigate the disappearance of patient Rachel Solando. It appears she has escaped from a locked cell, her psychiatrist is missing, and the overseeing head psychiatrist Dr John Cawley (Ben Kingsley), is less than helpful in accommodating Daniels’ requests. He refuses access to the hospital’s personnel files, alongside general questionable behaviour, making Kingsley the audience’s prime suspect. But like any good thriller there are twists and turns along the way that lead you all over the shop – we look in lighthouses, clifftops and hospital wards for the missing patient, only to find that somebody else (and not who you think) is also missing… Excellent direction, excellent acting, and a truly unexpected twist at the end.
Toy Story 3
A sequel that surpasses both its predecessors in terms of quality is a notable achievement in itself. That the entire series is wholly original makes Toy Story a real landmark achievement. Toy Story 3 may round out the trilogy, but it’s packed with more imagination and fresh ideas than most new movies out there.
The opening is ingenious, showing us how Andy’s imagination completely transforms the reality of playtime. It’s both epic and hilarious at the same time. Pixar’s latest film isn’t just funny, or pretty, or playful. It’s also a truly emotionally satisfying experience. The characterisation of the toys is incredible, and that’s why it’s so affecting when they’re in peril. Thespian Hedgehog Mr Pricklepants and Barbie’s toyboy Ken make great additions to the already superb ensemble cast.
It takes skilful scriptwriting to mix themes of impermanence and rejection while still retaining a light and humorous mood – and Toy Story 3 pulls it off brilliantly. It’s the most fun I’ve had watching a movie in a long time, and has a much more fitting and joyful ending than I could ever have predicted.
Alice in Wonderland
Cast your mind back to March and you will recall the sensation caused by Disney’s release of Alice in Wonderland, directed by Tim Burton, which ended up becoming the second highest-grossing film of the year worldwide. Arriving just as the excitement surrounding 3D was reaching its peak, the film was widely admired for its stunning visual effects, which clearly leant themselves well to this new cinema phenomenon. The big names on the cast list, including Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter and Anne Hathaway, also undoubtedly contributed to the film’s box office success. However, the merits of the film in its own right should not be underestimated.
Far from being a remake of the former 1951 Disney movie, nor even of Lewis Carroll’s original 1865 novel, the new film instead imagines a return of Alice to Wonderland (or ‘Underland’), ten years later. This older Alice, now a young woman, must help restore the good White Queen to her place as rightful ruler, through a series of altercations and battles with the Red Queen and her followers.
Overall, the film provides a convincing and compelling sequel to the original story of Alice; it is exciting, thought-provoking, and often very funny.