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December 26, 2010: "The 2010 Autopsy" 
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Post December 26, 2010: "The 2010 Autopsy"
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Sun Dec 26, 2010 9:42 pm
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Post Re: December 26, 2010: "The 2010 Autopsy"
I find it interesting that you compare 2010 to 2007 as a failure in film quality. I believe that many critics and film lovers consider 2007 (With No Country For Old Men, There Will Be Blood, and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) as the best year of the decade.

I agree that the Hollywood blockbusters were poor quality this year, but I never had any expectations for them.


Sun Dec 26, 2010 10:28 pm
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Post Re: December 26, 2010: "The 2010 Autopsy"
I'd agree, James, that 2010 was a pretty bad year for movies in general. Not as bad as 2009 (which was perhaps the worst year I can imagine since I started watching movies on a regular basis), but not much better either. I hope 2011 is a little better.

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Sun Dec 26, 2010 10:54 pm
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Post Re: December 26, 2010: "The 2010 Autopsy"
I personally thought this was a pretty good year moviewise the most part, I didn't hate any of the films I saw in a theater this year, in fact I throughly enjoyed most of them, though there were a few films that were somewhat dissapointing like Iron Man 2. Also i'm glad to see that this 3-D conversion trend isn't making much money, because everyone is getting sick and tired of it, hopefully the spectacular failure of Gulliver's Travels(only 7.2 million over Christmas weekend! :shock:)will convince studios to stop with the post-production 3-D conversions.


Sun Dec 26, 2010 11:13 pm
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Post Re: December 26, 2010: "The 2010 Autopsy"
Sexual Chocolate wrote:
I'd agree, James, that 2010 was a pretty bad year for movies in general. Not as bad as 2009 (which was perhaps the worst year I can imagine since I started watching movies on a regular basis), but not much better either. I hope 2011 is a little better.


I have trouble making a judgment since I see so few films at the theater--most of the movies from 2010 won't grace my eyes until next year. I saw Black Swan and the Social Network, and found both to be very good. I'll be seeing the King's Speech, and possibly 127 Hours, in the next week or two. We didn't get a top notch sci fi film, like we did last year with Moon. I never expect the summer blockbusters to be worth watching, but this year Inception was quite good.

All will not be right with cinema until a sequel to Serenity is made.

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Sun Dec 26, 2010 11:29 pm
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Post Re: December 26, 2010: "The 2010 Autopsy"
It seems that many of the best movies to come out this year were smaller, less heard of releases. Since you decided to write reviews more out of the joy it brings then any sort income it might bring, have you maybe thought about reviewing some more rewarding fare that you might find on a website like Slant Magazine?


Sun Dec 26, 2010 11:53 pm
Post Re: December 26, 2010: "The 2010 Autopsy"
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Mon Dec 27, 2010 12:01 am
Post Re: December 26, 2010: "The 2010 Autopsy"
Well said James.

Week after week I have surveyed the new releases and skipped a trip to the movies.

Your analysis of BO numbers is spot on. 2010 will finish a smidgen behind 2009 but ticket sales are down significantly.

I'd add another factor to my decline in cinema going. The audience. In the Bay Area outside indi movies it is a joke. On weekend evenings there a hordes of kids rushing from screen to screen, people texting, I just can't be bothered to pay $10 for this experience.

Now add that so many movies are hardly worth renting.

Rob


Mon Dec 27, 2010 12:05 am
Post Re: December 26, 2010: "The 2010 Autopsy"
firefly wrote:

All will not be right with cinema until a sequel to Serenity is made.


Unfortunately, we will never see a sequel to that. SERENITY and X-FILES: I WANT TO BELIEVE have both killed a lot of tv-show-to-movie hopes, seeing as both were huge disappointments in the box office (SERENITY is also cursed with a loss of its two great characters, which was a poor decision if they really wanted to turn the 'Verse into a franchise). So alas, the ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT and VERONICA MARS movies will never be made.

What's admittedly unsurprising, yet still unfortunate, is Hollywood's lack of regard for what moviegoers would want. I loved TRON, but what excitement is there for a 28-year-late sequel? Why did they expect NARNIA to be a tentpole? I am curious of the lack of HARRY POTTER, however - I personally am not a fan but am surprised at the lack of megahype.

Looking at the future slate makes me worried, especially in the blockbuster realm. I'm excited for COWBOYS AND ALIENS, yet may be in the minority there, TINTIN (which looks phenomenal and will likely do well in the B.O.). The Marvel movies look very underwhelming, all necessary stepping stones to THE AVENGERS, which I am excited for (although the Whedon-scripted Buffy: Season Eight comics have made me a little anxious as to its quality). There's STAR TREK and DARK KNIGHT RISES, but for every one of those, theres a SPIDERMAN reboot, a Zack Snyder SUPERMAN, and XMEN FIRST CLASS. And then... CARS 2. Which could be amazing (newer previews look promising) but why CARS? One of the least deserving PixAr movies to get a sequel? Why not INCREDIBLES?

What surprised me in 2010 were movies which flew relatively under the radar, like SOCIAL NETWORK, EASY A, and BURIED, all of which are sequel-proof. Hopefully those will resurface in 2011 (and, if lucky, TGWTDT will be as good as LET ME IN).


Mon Dec 27, 2010 12:37 am
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Post Re: December 26, 2010: "The 2010 Autopsy"
I honestly think 2011 will have elements of 2007 and 2008's summer months. I personally think Marvel's dual film lineup of Thor and Captain America will end up grossing Iron Man numbers each, if audiences light up to them. Add to it sequel helpings of Pirates of the Caribbean, Kung Fu Panda, Transformers and Hangover, plus the final Harry Potter film -- the theaters will get record numbers just from May-August 2011 alone.

Of course, there is the inevitable factor that several of these films will struggle (Green Lantern, Cowboys & Aliens, et al) just because a lot of them are competing for the same kind of demographics.


Mon Dec 27, 2010 1:57 am
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Post Re: December 26, 2010: "The 2010 Autopsy"
Don't get me wrong james, you see a lot of movies, but maybe you should attempt more showings of smaller movies before dismissing a whole year as "weak". Some of my favorite features you have not even reviewed, including: Daddy Longlegs, Mother and Child, Animal Kingdom, Trash Humpers, Soul Kithchen, Delta, Howl, Carlos, Inside Job, Thorn in the Heart, Enter the Void, Exit Through the
Gift shop, and others.


Mon Dec 27, 2010 2:03 am
Post Re: December 26, 2010: "The 2010 Autopsy"
I realize that a critic who sees films out of obligation probably can't do this to the same degree as the everyday viewer can, but to me, a great movie year is measured purely on the basis of the great films it produces and never on the basis of the bad films. There's a slew of awful movies released every year, and most of them i avoid. I'd say that a movie that produces two or three masterpieces (4-stars or whatever your equivilant is) and a dozen or more 3 & 1/2 star films, then it's done it's job and can be called a very good year.

There's a couple I haven't seen yet that I need to, but I'm ready to call this year a dud overall; with, as James stated, a lot of very good films and no great ones.


Mon Dec 27, 2010 2:39 am
Post Re: December 26, 2010: "The 2010 Autopsy"
James is more generous than me with 4 stars - My last ones were three years ago
Rob


Mon Dec 27, 2010 2:42 am
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Post Re: December 26, 2010: "The 2010 Autopsy"
Even though I too haven't given out any movies 4 stars either, I've actually found this to be a great year. The best since 2005.

2007, 2008 and 2009 just barely had enough great movies for a top 10. This year I actually have nearly twice the amount.


Mon Dec 27, 2010 4:04 am
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Post Re: December 26, 2010: "The 2010 Autopsy"
James Berardinelli wrote:
This is only the second year in which I have not doled out at least one four-star rating. The other year, 2007, was similar.


See, this is something I don't get. 2005, 2007 and 2010 are considered really weak years around here because there were a lot more bad movies then normal, but there were also a number of better movies in these years then in other years around them. 2005 had Brokeback Mountain and Cache; 2007 had Lust, Caution and No Country for Old Men and 2010 had The Ghost Writer, Inception and The Social Network all of these films among numerous others. If I view these years as anything its not for the lack of generally good films but for the wealth of truly great ones. Jim Emerson thinks '05 and '07 are the two best years for films in the last decade and these two years have the highest number of films on his best of the decade list with No Country for Old Men, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, Cache and Zodiac comprising his top four, and The Descent, A History of Violence, I'm Not There, Man Push Cart, Grizzly Man and The New World making it on the rest of his list. All good to great movies from what I've seen.


Mon Dec 27, 2010 5:05 am
Post Re: December 26, 2010: "The 2010 Autopsy"
Is it possible that Avatar may damage the industry in the long run? As James pointed out, people are not warming up to 3D. Cameron promoted it as a once in a lifetime experience, so audience were willing to pay a little extra. But imagine their anger and frustration when Hollywood tries to apply the 3D "magic" to every other big thing they release. Avatar is the kind of thing that works ONCE and once only. If Hollywood relies on that sort of thing again, it may cause irreparable damage. It was these same kinds of overblown epics that people got tired of in the 1960s, and which ultimately led to the temporary death of Hollywood. Studios would be smarter to continue to rely on superhero flicks for a while, which thankfully will start happening again in 2011 (let's hope they're better than Iron Man 2). People were a little weary of the 7th Harry Potter, but the last one should do great business.

2010's mediocrity was disappointing and dreary, but there was something that disturbed me even more, and that is that The Social Network should have made more money domestically. James was right not to give 4 stars to anything else, but Social Network deserved it a few times over. The best straight Hollywood drama in many, many years stands as a beacon of light for the future of movies. I think it will go down as the first masterpiece of the new decade, and so far it has zero peers. Hollywood needs to start coming out with a couple movies per year that are this good, but they also need to get people to see them. I think the problem in this case was poor advertising. The trailers and tv spots simply weren't omnipotent enough, and when they did show up they were misleading. The main trailer for the film makes it look like something in between product placement for the site and a pretentious indie. It conveys none of the excitement and energy of the actual film. Perhaps it had been so long since Hollywood made a film like this that they forgot how to promote it? Anyway, I think 2011 will at least offer some solace for 2010, even if it isn't spectacular.


Mon Dec 27, 2010 3:21 pm
Post Re: December 26, 2010: "The 2010 Autopsy"
James Berardinelli wrote:
animated fare are performing well, but perhaps not as well as in past years.

Hhm, Toy Story 3, Despicable Me, How to Train Your Dragon, Shrek Forever After, Tangled and Megamind beg to differ. In fact, with those first four, I think 2010 holds the record for having the most animated films to gross over $200 million. And there's a possibility Tangled could still attract plenty of family audiences during January to get it past $200 million (what with Yogi Bear and Gulliver's Travels bombing).

Last year, the only animated film to make over $200 million was Up. So, I think animated fare has performed better this year than in any previous hit in history. We've come a long way since Disney was the only one producing animated hits and nobody else.


Mon Dec 27, 2010 3:32 pm
Post Re: December 26, 2010: "The 2010 Autopsy"
estefan wrote:
James Berardinelli wrote:
animated fare are performing well, but perhaps not as well as in past years.

Hhm, Toy Story 3, Despicable Me, How to Train Your Dragon, Shrek Forever After, Tangled and Megamind beg to differ. In fact, with those first four, I think 2010 holds the record for having the most animated films to gross over $200 million. And there's a possibility Tangled could still attract plenty of family audiences during January to get it past $200 million (what with Yogi Bear and Gulliver's Travels bombing).

Last year, the only animated film to make over $200 million was Up. So, I think animated fare has performed better this year than in any previous hit in history. We've come a long way since Disney was the only one producing animated hits and nobody else.

I think his use of the word "perhaps" refers to the 3D surcharge. It's hard to say in terms of attendance if 2010 was really any better.


Mon Dec 27, 2010 4:48 pm
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Post Re: December 26, 2010: "The 2010 Autopsy"
This is only a microscosm. But the article linked below points out that maybe much of the problem is sequelitis or better yet productitis.

http://articles.cnn.com/2010-07-08/entertainment/summer.movies.bad_1_persia-box-office-movies?_s=PM:SHOWBIZ

Of course, movies like Marmaduke were going to bomb anyway. Movies like that that smell like s*** a mile away are s*** (or 50 miles away in this case of Marmapuke).

Overall I would say that 2010 is close to being on a par with 2009 as film years go. 2009 produced a fairly larger number of bombs than 2010 did from my perspective. 2010 produced a large number of stuff that I have yet to see. One thing that irritates me is that certain independent films don't get the distribution for south Florida that they really should. There's an independent film Night Catches Us that I really want to see. But I'll probably have to wait until Netflix gets it.

Of the movies released in 2010 that I actually saw, there were about three that I liked enough that I would want to own them on DVD. Those were The Social Network, Inception and The Town. I'll reserve commenting on 127 Hours, Black Swan or The Fighter until I get the chance to see them. Shutter Island worked well. True Grit reminded us the Coen Brothers are masters of their game and was a worthy re-boot of the John Wayne classic. Iron Man 2 was on okay sequel albeit not up to the level of the original. Machete was easily the year's most purely fun attempt at an exploitation flick. The underrated Kick Ass was the year's best comic book based film.

On the other hand, I've quickly forgotten most of Edge Of Darkness almost a year after seeing it. From Paris With Love was a personality free actioner. The Expendables was easily the year's biggest disappointment. It had the potential to be a throwback to the good action movies that came out of the 80s and early 90s. What it ultimately turned out to be was a supremely calculated piece of crud. The dialogue was weaker than anything I've heard in a direct to video piece of crap.

As far as 2010 vs 2007, I'd say 2007 overall was ahead in terms of good movies. When I was putting together a list of worst movies of the decade, 2002 stood out as the weakest year of the decade with only LOTR and a couple others saving it from being a year with no truly great movies.

2010 wasn't quite as bad as it could've been. There wasn't anything that had the pure fun of Inglorious Basterds or the punch to the gut impact of Precious. But the good ones I noted above made it worthwhile.

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Mon Dec 27, 2010 7:19 pm
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Post Re: December 26, 2010: "The 2010 Autopsy"
Jeff Wilder wrote:
As far as 2010 vs 2007, I'd say 2007 overall was ahead in terms of good movies. When I was putting together a list of worst movies of the decade, 2002 stood out as the weakest year of the decade with only LOTR and a couple others saving it from being a year with no truly great movies.

2010 wasn't quite as bad as it could've been. There wasn't anything that had the pure fun of Inglorious Basterds or the punch to the gut impact of Precious. But the good ones I noted above made it worthwhile.


2010 also didn't have a movie as funny as Precious. 2002 was a very weak year, where only a few films truly achieved greatness or close to it: The Two Towers, Minority Report, Femme Fatale, The Pianist, Spirited Away, Gangs of New York and Lilo & Stitch. There are a few others I haven't seen but those are the only ones that stand out on one level or another.


Mon Dec 27, 2010 8:15 pm
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