Lisa Marie Picks The 50 Best Films of The Past 3 Years


Black-Swan_400

As of this month, I have been reviewing films here at the Shattered Lens for 3 years.  In honor of that anniversary, I thought I’d post my picks for the 50 best films that have been released in the U.S. since 2010.

Without further ado, here’s the list!

  1. Black Swan (directed by Darren Aronofsky)
  2. Exit Through The Gift Shop (directed by Banksy)
  3. Hanna (directed by Joe Wright)
  4. Fish Tank (directed by Andrea Arnold)
  5. Higher Ground (directed by Vera Farmiga)
  6. Shame (directed by Steve McQueen)
  7. Anna Karenina (directed by Joe Wright)
  8. The Cabin In The Woods (directed by Drew Goddard)
  9. 127 Hours (directed by Danny Boyle)
  10. Somewhere (directed by Sofia Coppola)
  11. Life of Pi (directed by Ang Lee)
  12. Hugo (directed by Martin Scorsese)
  13. Inception (directed by Christopher Nolan)
  14. Animal Kingdom (directed by David Michod)
  15. Winter’s Bone (directed by Debra Granik)
  16. The Artist (directed by Michel Hazanavicius)
  17. The Guard (directed by John Michael McDonagh)
  18. Bernie (directed by Richard Linklater)
  19. The King’s Speech (directed by Tom Hooper)
  20. Bridesmaids (directed by Paul Feig)
  21. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (directed by Thomas Alfredson)
  22. Django Unchained (directed by Quentin Tarantino)
  23. Never Let Me Go (directed by Mark Romanek)
  24. Toy Story 3 (directed by Lee Unkrich)
  25. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (directed by Niels Arden Oplev)
  26. Young Adult (directed by Jason Reitman)
  27. Sucker Punch (directed by Zack Snyder)
  28. The Master (directed by Paul Thomas Anderson)
  29. Incendies (directed by Denis Villeneuve)
  30. Melancholia (directed by Lars Von Trier)
  31. Super (directed by James Gunn)
  32. Silver Linings Playbook (directed by David O. Russell)
  33. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World (directed by Edgar Wright)
  34. The Last Exorcism (directed by Daniel Stamm)
  35. Skyfall (directed by Sam Mendes)
  36. Easy A (directed by Will Gluck)
  37. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Parts 1 and 2 (directed by David Yates)
  38. The Avengers (directed by Joss Whedon)
  39. How To Train Your Dragon (directed by Chris Sanders and Dean DeBois)
  40. Win Win (directed by Thomas McCarthy)
  41. Les Miserables (directed by Tom Hooper)
  42. Take This Waltz (directed by Sarah Polley)
  43. Cave of Forgotten Dreams (directed by Werner Herzog)
  44. Rust and Bone (directed by Jacques Audiard)
  45. Cosmopolis (directed by David Cronenberg)
  46. Ruby Sparks (directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valarie Faris)
  47. Brave (directed by Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman)
  48. Martha Marcy May Marlene (directed by Sean Durkin)
  49. Jane Eyre (directed by Cary Fukunaga)
  50. Damsels in Distress (directed by Whit Stillman)

Song of the Day: Don’t You Forget About Me (by Simple Minds)


While I was trying to get myself to sleep I was finishing up watching the Emma Stone film Easy A on cable when the song at the end brought back some major high school memories. This effect made me choose this song as the latest “Song of the Day”.

Simple Minds was one of the big new wave, pop rock bands of the 1980’s. They were especially big with the junior high and high school kids of the day. It’s not a big surprise really since one of their biggest hit became the unofficial anthems for many junior high and high school graduation classes. This song I speak of is “Don’t You Forget About Me” and it became really popular when John Hughes picked it to be the signature song for his teen drama, The Breakfast Club. I really got into this song in my senior year of high school which was six years after the song came out. It definitely fit my mental state at that time as it was the end of a phase in my life as my high school days gradually came to an end.

This is the song which always brings back both fond memories and even the ones which brought heartache, but in the end they were still things I would look back fondly on. Friends were made and some stayed with me even to this date while others have faded to just memories. I don’t know anyone who has grown up listening to this song who do not feel the same in some fashion. It’s a timeless tune which probably has made fans with teens of this generation and probably the next. All thanks must go to both Simple Minds and John Hughes for making this a timeless teen classic anthem.

Don’t You Forget About Me

Hey, hey, hey ,hey
Ohhh…

Won’t you come see about me?
I’ll be alone, dancing you know it baby

Tell me your troubles and doubts
Giving me everything inside and out and
Love’s strange so real in the dark
Think of the tender things that we were working on

Slow change may pull us apart
When the light gets into your heart, baby

Don’t You Forget About Me
Don’t Don’t Don’t Don’t
Don’t You Forget About Me

Will you stand above me?
Look my way, never love me
Rain keeps falling, rain keeps falling
Down, down, down

Will you recognise me?
Call my name or walk on by
Rain keeps falling, rain keeps falling
Down, down, down, down

Hey, hey, hey, hey
Ohhhh…..

Don’t you try to pretend
It’s my feeling we’ll win in the end
I won’t harm you or touch your defenses
Vanity and security

Don’t you forget about me
I’ll be alone, dancing you know it baby
Going to take you apart
I’ll put us back together at heart, baby

Don’t You Forget About Me
Don’t Don’t Don’t Don’t
Don’t You Forget About Me

As you walk on by
Will you call my name?
As you walk on by
Will you call my name?
When you walk away

Or will you walk away?
Will you walk on by?
Come on – call my name
Will you all my name?

I say :
La la la…

If Lisa Marie Determined The Oscar Nominees…


With the Oscar nominations due to be announced this week, now seems like a good time to indulge in something I like to call “If Lisa Marie Had All The Power.”  Listed below are my personal Oscar nominations.  Please note that these are not the films that I necessarily think will be nominated.  The fact of the matter is that the majority of them will not.  Instead, these are the films that would be nominated if I was solely responsible for deciding the nominees this year.  Winners are listed in bold.

Best Picture

Animal Kingdom

Black Swan

Exit Through The Gift Shop

Fish Tank

Inception

The King’s Speech

Never Let Me Go

127 Hours

Somewhere

Winter’s Bone

Best Actor

Patrick Fabian in The Last Exorcism

Colin Firth in The King’s Speech

James Franco in 127 Hours

Andy Garcia in City Island

Ben Stiller in Greenberg

Best Actress

Katie Jarvis in Fish Tank

Jennifer Lawrence in Winter’s Bone

Natalie Portman in Black Swan

Noomi Rapace in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Emma Stone in Easy A

Best Supporting Actor

Christian Bale in The Fighter

Aaron Eckhardt in Rabbit Hole

Andrew Garfield in Never Let Me Go

John Hawkes in Winter’s Bone

Ben Mendelsohn in Animal Kingdom



Best Supporting Actress

Elle Fanning in Somewhere

Rebecca Hall in Please Give

Chloe Grace Moretz in Kick-Ass

Hailee Steinfeld in True Grit

Jacki Weaver in Animal Kingdom

(That’s right, everyone.  It’s a tie between the youngest nominee and the oldest nominee.  Don’t you just love the Oscars?)

Best Director

Andrea Arnold for Fish Tank

Darren Aronofsky for Black Swan

Danny Boyle for 127 Hours

Sofia Coppola for Somewhere

Christopher Nolan for Inception

Best Original Screenplay

Animal Kingdom

Black Swan

Fish Tank

Inception

The King’s Speech

Best Adapted Screenplay

Never Let Me Go

127 Hours

Rabbit Hole

Toy Story 3

Winter’s Bone

Best Editing

Black Swan

Exit Through the Gift Shop

Inception

127 Hours

Somewhere

Best Cinematography

Black Swan

Somewhere

True Grit

Twelve

Winter’s Bone

Best Art Direction

Black Swan

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One

Inception

The King’s Speech

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

Best Sound Mixing

Black Swan

Inception

Secretariat

Stone

Toy Story 3

Best Sound Editing

The Expendables

Inception

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

Secretariat

Toy Story 3

Best Costume Design

Black Swan

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One

Robin Hood

The Wolf Man

Best Original Score

Black Swan

Inception

Machete

127 Hours

Tron: Legacy

(Yes, I know that the Academy has ruled that the original score for Black Swan is not eligible to be nominated.  However, these are my nominations and I make the rules.)

Best Visual Effects

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One

Inception

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

Splice

Tron: Legacy

Best Makeup

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One

Let Me In

127 Hours

Splice

The Wolf Man

Best Song 

“Better Days” from Eat Pray Love

“Bound Together” from Burlesque

“Dear Laughing Doubters” from Dinner For Schmucks

“Sticks and Stones” from How To Train Your Dragon

“You Haven’t Seen The Last of Me” from Burlesque

Best Documentary Feature

Best Worst Movie

Exit Through the Gift Shop

Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work

Restrepo

Winnebago Man

Best Animated Feature

How To Train Your Dragon

A Town Called Panic

Toy Story 3

(Again, I am aware that the Academy ruled that A Town Called Panic isn’t eligible and again, I don’t care.)

Best Foreign Language Film

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (Sweden)

Mother (South Korea)

OSS 117 – Lost in Rio (France)

Police, Adjective (Romania)

A Prophet (France)

(While the Academy considers one submission per country for this award, I’m simply using it to recognize the best foreign language film released in the U.S. last year.  Or, at least, the best one that I got a chance to see.)

So, since I love lists, here’s a final tally of films by nominations:

10 Nominations — Black Swan

9 Nominations — Inception

7 Nominations — 127 Hours

5 Nominations — Somewhere, Winter’s Bone

4 Nominations — Animal Kingdom, Fish Tank, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, The King’s Speech, Toy Story 3

3 Nominations — Exit Through The Gift Shop, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Never Let Me Go, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

2 Nominations — Burlesque, How To Train Your Dragon, Rabbit Hole, Secretariat, Splice, Tron: Legacy, True Grit, The Wolf Man

1 Nomination — Best Worst Movie, City Island, Dinner For Schmucks, Easy A, Eat Pray Love, The Expendables, The Fighter, Greenberg, Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, Kick-Ass, The Last Exorcism, Machete, Mother, OSS 117 — Lost in Rio, Please Give, Police, Adjective, A Prophet, Restrepo, Robin Hood, Stone, A Town Called Panic, Twelve, Winnebago Man

0 Nominations — The Social Network

And lastly, here’s a tally by imaginary Oscars won:

5 Oscars — Black Swan

2 Oscars — Toy Story 3

1 Oscar — Animal Kingdom, Burlesque, Exit Through The Gift Shop, Fish Tank, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Inception, Never Let Me Go, 127 Hours, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, Somewhere, Tron: Legacy, Twelve, Winter’s Bone, The Wolf Man

0 Oscars — The Social Network

(One final note: A big thank you to my sister, Erin Nicole Bowman, who created the banners used in this post.)

Film Review: Easy A (directed by Will Gluck)


For some reason, I didn’t see Easy A during its initial run even though it was one of those films that, every time I saw the commercial, seemed to be beckoning me to come down to the theater.  All of my girlfriends saw it and loved it and told me that I had to see it because apparently they sat through the whole movie going, “Oh, that’s so Lisa.”  And then, before long, every guyfriend of mine ended up seeing the film and they all came back to me and said, “You have to see this film because my date kept going, ‘Oh, that’s so Lisa!'”  Of course, when I heard that, it was time for me to start doing the whole talk-to-the-hand motion  and going, “Oh no, she didn’t!” because that’s what you do when a guy says that his girlfriend was talking about you.  Anyway, I got so busy pretending to be on Maury that I ended up missing my chance to see Easy A in a real theater.

Instead, I had to settle for seeing in a dollar theater on Thursday and can I just get off topic here for a few minutes?  Can I?  Will you indulge me for just a second for me to speak the truth?  Okay, I know that some people kinda think I’m a film snob because I’m always raving about the Angelika and finding excuses to mention that I don’t have the read the subtitles when I go to a French film.  Well, so be it.  Call me a film snob because I am now convinced that Dante’s Inferno is a dollar movie theater.  Seriously, until I saw Red and Easy A this week, I just assumed that people with really bad hygiene just didn’t go to the movies.  Now, I see that they just hang out at the dollar theaters.  And here’s the thing — even though they’re only paying a dollar, they still can’t show up for the freaking movie on time!  Seriously, what is the deal with these dumbfug toadsuckers who just want to come in to the theater 30 minutes late and then spend 10 more minutes wandering around in the dark looking for a seat.  Look, you can look in a newspaper, you can look online, you can call the mutherfracking theater — IT IS NOT THAT HARD TO FIND OUT WHEN YOUR FREAKING MOVIE IS STARTING, PEOPLE!    And then, you  not only show up late but you bring your own food with you because, of course, who doesn’t want to spend an hour listening to you trying to open up one of those loud, crinkly bags of Sun Chips while everyone else is trying to pay attention to the movie?  I mean, you’re already late, you only paid a froking dollar to get in — JUST BUY SOME FRICKING POPCORN, YOU SELF-CENTERED, MYNA BIRD-LOOKING, DUMBFUG MOTHAFRACKER!  I MEAN…GAWD!

I’m sorry…where was I?

Oh yeah, Easy A.  It’s a good movie, probably one of the best high school films I’ve ever seen.  How good was this movie?  I still loved it even though I was watching it in Dante’s Inferno.

Emma Stone plays Olive, a high school student who — in order to get out of going on a weekend camping trip with her best friend — tells a lie about having a date with a boy named George.  (And I can’t blame her because seriously, camping?  BLEH!)  The next Monday, Olive is asked for the details of her imaginary date and her inability to give anything more than the vaguest of details is interpreted to mean that she lost her virginity over the weekend.  (Vagueness being interpreted as sluttiness happens far more often than most of us like to admit.)  Olive’s story about losing her V-card is overheard by Marianne (Amanda Bynes) and soon the entire school is aware that Olive is no longer hymenally challenged.  In short, Olive is now … a girl with a reputation! (Cue ominous music and Vincent Price laughter.)

Soon, Olive — previously a perfectly content wallflower — is the most notorious student at school.  Popular boys want to talk to her.  Unpopular girls want to be her.  At first, Olive tries to tell people the truth, that she was just telling a story.  After people refuse to believe her, Olive starts to go with the flow and enjoy the benefits that come from being extremely popular.  After her gay friend asks her to pretend that she had sex with him in order to help him survive the homophobic world of high school, Olive finds herself being given money and giftcards from other boys in school, all of whom are paying for the right to say that they’ve had sex with her.  Olive decides to embrace her new role of faux-fatale by dressing like she’s on the CW and stitching an A (a la the Scarlet Letter) on all of her clothes. 

And then, she starts to discover the truth about having a reputation in high school.  A reputation makes you both popular and an outcast at the same time and Olive finds herself trapped in a web made up not so much by her lies as by everyone else’s assumptions.  Can Olive escape and find happiness?  Can she find true love with Todd (played by Penn “Oh. My. God! He’s so freaking hot!” Badgley)?  Will she get a chance to have the pointless musical number that she assures us, at one point, her story truly does need?  Will Emma Stone receive an Oscar nomination for her performance as Olive?

Well, the answer to that last question is probably no (though she did receive a Golden Globe nomination) because Easy A is not the type of movie that usually gets nominated for Oscars.  And that’s a shame because Stone gives one of the best performances of the year here.  In the comedic scenes, she manages to generate a hundred more genuine laughs than Annette Bening did in The Kids Are All Right and in the dramatic scenes, she proves herself to an actress of true range.  If you want to see some truly great acting, just consider the scene where Olive goes on her first actual date since becoming known as “the school slut.”  Staring out nervously talking too much and giddily laughing at her own private dates (one of the many scenes that made me go, “Oh my God!  I do that too!”), Stone effortlessly transitions to having an emotional breakdown in a parking lot after discovering that her date has no interest in her and is only with her because he heard she would be an easy lay.  I don’t think there’s a girl over the age of 15 who doesn’t know how painful that feels, to be reduced only to what strangers think of you.  It’s a pain that stays with you and Stone captures it perfectly and, silly as it may sound and at the risk of going all girl power here, I almost felt that when I saw Olive triumphing over it that there was hope for me and for everyone else.

Easy A rang very true to me, not the least because I was one of the girls with a “reputation” while I was in high school.  Then again, I don’t think there’s many girls who didn’t have a reputation for something in school.  Some of us had a reputation for doing it and some had a reputation for not but in the end, it was usually all used to keep us in the same prison of insecurity, resentment, and entrapment.  To its credit, Easy A not only captures the negative side of having a reputation but also realizes and show that having a reputation can be fun and liberating as well.

Even beyond such larger concerns, Easy A is an entertaining, funny movie that not only rings true but is genuinely likable in way that a similar film like Juno never was.  I mean, I loved Juno but in the end, you couldn’t hep but feel that the film was mostly about screenwriter Diablo Cody trying to make herself into a cooler teenager than she actually was.  (And that’s not meant as a criticism, just an impression.)  Juno was almost too perfect and too brilliantly sarcastic.  You liked her but never quite believed in her.  Olive, as played by Emma Stone, is a normal teenager who doesn’t always say the perfect thing and, who most of the time, is just as much of a dork as the rest of us.  My favorite sequence in the whole film is one where Olive ends up spending a weekend growing obsessed with the song “Pocketful of Sunshine” and it wasn’t because it fed into some sort of wish-fulfillment fantasy.  Instead, it was because it was a scene that made me very honestly think, “Oh my God, I’ve done that so many times.”

Easy A is a surprisingly thoughtful and intelligent movie that just happens to be disguised as a breezy, teen comedy.  That high school, in general, is a world full of fucked up ideas and attitudes about sex is no great secret but Easy A is smart enough to realize that the real world is pretty much just one big high school.  I saw the movie too late to include it on my list of the Top 25 Films of 2010 but it is one of the best films of 2010.