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My 12 Days of Christmas Countdown: Eighth Day

On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me; two black swans, one kick-ass tween and a country-singing queen bee. ๐Ÿ™‚ Welcome back to another day of My (quite ambitious) 12 Days of Christmas Countdown. If you’re getting bored with this already, I’m sorry. But it’s not my fault that it’s 12 Days of Christmas instead of three. Anyway, I’ve covered the 10 Movie Screen Scorchers yesterday so naturally today is all about the ladies. Who are this year’s most fabulous big screen actresses? Let’s get right to it.

My Top 10 Fabulous Big Screen Ladies of 2010

1/ Natalie Portman, Black Swan.

This time last year, Sandra Bullock was the talk of Hollywood. Her performance in The Blind Side impressed the critics so much that she was getting a much-deserved Oscar buzz. Now, it’s Natalie Portman’s turn. Her performance in Black Swan got everyone a-buzzin’ and she’s pretty much got the Oscar nomination in the bag. And that’s why she’s our number one lady. She’s always been immensely talented, I remember seeing her in The Professional and being utterly amazed by her tour-de-force performance. She was only about 13 at the time. I knew winning an Oscar was only a matter of time for this Harvard graduate, and the time could be now. And if she doesn’t, hey, at least she’ll have something else to look forward to. Mazel Tov, Natalie!

2/ Mila Kunis, Black Swan.

Natalie Portman isn’t the only actress from Black Swan getting rave reviews and award nominations, and I couldn’t be happier for our number two lady. Not only is she one of my girl-crushes, she’s also a terrific actress who can nail both dramatic and comedic roles with such ease and grace. Kunis got her start in the hit Fox comedy That 70s Show, but when the careers of other That 70s Show stars seem to have stalled (even Kutcher’s), Kunis’ star continues to rise. I don’t know if she’s going to get an Oscar nomination, unlike Portman, her Globes and SAG nominations come as a total surprise, but even without it I have no doubt she’ll dominate the big screen. She’s beautiful, talented and surprisingly low-key. And those are all great qualities to have in this business.

3/ Chloe Grace Moretz, Kick-Ass/Let Me In.

I’m not usually a big fan of child actors. I find most of them, especially the girls, precocious and grating. But when I saw this tween actress in Kick-Ass, I changed my mind completely. She. Was. AWESOME. Some of my girl friends were horrified watching her violently kill people and fluently use coarse language (including the C-word) in the movie, but she totally rocked my world. And then I saw her in that vampire film Let Me In, the American adaptation of the Swedish movie “Let The Right One In”, and I was just in awe of her. I mean, she really put R-Pattz and his band of sparkly vampires to shame. She was tortured and evil at the same time, it’s amazing. And to think, she’s only 13! She may not be a “lady” yet, but she’s so fabulous she deserves a spot in this list.

4/ Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine.

When she started out on Dawson’s Creek, I don’t think we all quite expected that she would be the one with an impressive career – since the show was all about Katie Holmes’ Joey. But Katie Holmes is nothing more than Tom Cruise’s wife now while Michelle Williams is an Oscar-nominated actress, and a critics’ darling. Sure, most people pay attention to her because of Heath Ledger and his untimely death, but before and after Ledger, Williams have shown she’s an actress to be taken seriously. Now with Blue Valentine, I won’t be surprised if she gets nominated for another Oscar. And I bet it won’t be the last.

5/ Julianne Moore, The Kids Are All Right.

We may tease her fake Boston accent when she guest-starred in 30 Rock as Jack Donaghy’s long lost love, but we can’t deny her amazing performance in The Kids Are All Right. As Jules, she is funny, confusing, often frustrating and yet very likable, even after she cheats on her wife with Mark Rufallo. She takes a complex character and plays her in a very human way, giving us access and room to relate. And that’s just one of the reasons why she’s so fabulous. I don’t know if she’ll be nominated for an Oscar, but I have a feeling she might take home the Globes. You hear that HFPA? Give that trophy to Jules already!

6/ Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right.

Remember when Annette Bening used to only be famous for being Warren Beatty’s wife? No? Neither do I, because this Mrs. Warren Beatty has been nominated for so many awards over the last decade that no one even seems to remember who she’s married to. There are only a few actresses in this world that can sell a movie to me (as in, I’ll watch the movie simply because she’s in it and no other reason), and Annette Bening is one of those few. I’m actually surprised she hasn’t won an Oscar yet, she shines in every role. If only both her and Julianne Moore can win in that Best Actress Comedy category at the Globes… ah, that would make me one very happy camper.

7/ Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone.

She’s still considered a newcomer now, but considering her critically-acclaimed performance in Winter’s Bone and the fact that she’ll be in the next X-Men movie, I’m thinking she’ll be a mega star before long. I actually didn’t know this girl before I saw Winter’s Bone, but now I’m totally in awe of her. Hollywood is filled with troubled and not that talented young actresses, so seeing this relative unknown carry an intense movie and a difficult role with such conviction just gives me hope that Hollywood is not lacking in talent after all.

8/ Emma Stone, Easy A.

If you thought Emma Stone was charming and fun in Superbad, you’re going to fall in love with her, like majorly, in Easy A. She wasn’t only charming, she was funny, self-assured and brilliant. Yeah, sure, playing a seventeen-year-old dealing with nasty high school rumors may not seem like a stretch, compared to, feather-plucking ballerina for example, but as Lindsay Lohan proves in Mean Girls, it’s not that easy either. And this redhead succeeds where Lohan failed, she actually can act. If Tina Fey ever thinks of writing another teen comedy, she should have Emma Stone’s number on speed-dial.

9/ Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World.

She wasn’t on my radar before Scott Pilgrim, but after seeing her rock a blue (and sometimes green and red) hair in the film, I have a major girl-crush on her. She has primarily been called a “scream queen” thanks to her roles in various horror films like Final Destination 3 and The Thing, but I think she can move up to comic book hero any time soon. Have they cast the new Mary Jane for Spiderman yet? She and Andrew Garfield will so burn up the screen!

10/ Leighton Meester, Country Strong.

I know Gwyneth Paltrow is the star of the country music drama, but just like her character in the movie, Ms Meester is slowly stealing the spotlight. First of all, despite her failed attempt at being a music star, she actually sounds amazing in the soundtrack, which got me thinking that she should’ve gone country instead of all pop R&B with Robin Thicke in the first place, and second, she already said that her contract with Gossip Girl is ending in two years, which means, considering the steady drop in quality, she’ll be free to star in more movies soon. Besides, we’ve already established that she’s a way better actress than Blake Lively. She’s the queen bee after all.

And that wraps up my Top 10 Fabulous Big Screen Ladies of 2010. I hope you’re still enjoying my 12 Days of Christmas series, I’ll be back tomorrow with the Top 10 Worst Movies of 2010. Don’t worry, I won’t forget to include The Tourist. ๐Ÿ™‚

Until then,

xoxo

Binky Bee

 

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My 12 Days Of Christmas Countdown: Sixth Day

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me… one black swan, two geeks a-typing… and I can’t do this. The rest of the movies in my list just can’t be fit into that stupid song. ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope you’re still enjoying the holidays with good cheer. I’m back with more lists to end the year with, and today we are going to the movies. 2010 hasn’t been a great year for movies, but even in a crappy year, there are some films that stood out and made us want to watch over and over again. One will make history come Oscar time by winning the coveted ‘Best Picture’ category, and the rest will live on forever in our memory, and our Netflix account. What are those movies for me? Well, read on, please.

My Top 10 Movies of 2010

1/ Black Swan, directed by Darren Aronofsky; screenplay by Mark Heyman, Andres Heinz and John McLaughin.

There were reports of this film’s ineligibility to enter the Oscars race, but I’m hoping they aren’t true, because I think Darren Aronofsky’s psychological thriller is quite possibly the best movie of 2010. Not only were Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis amazing in their roles as ballet dancers Nina and Lilly, the story is just so mesmerizing – it’s dark, haunting, and psychotic, which is exactly how I like my ballerina movie. ๐Ÿ™‚ Sure, it has been accused of being a tad sexist, but I think it’s not about that at all. It’s all about the darkness that lives inside everyone’s minds… though in most cases, we don’t all start spouting feathers.

2/ The Social Network, directed by David Fincher; screenplay by Aaron Sorkin.

Now speaking of a sexist movie, this based-on-true-events-though-not-exactly-accurate film has also been accused of being one, and I don’t necessarily disagree. Aaron Sorkin wrote a brilliant screenplay for this movie, but it almost seemed like he focused everything on the male characters: Zuckerberg, Saverin and the Winklevoss twins, especially. The female characters seemed like an afterthought or merely a plot-driving device. However, in terms of quality you have to give it to Fincher and Sorkin. Every scene, every dialogue, every argument just sucks you in, quite like what Facebook does, and you somehow don’t want the movie to ever end. Zuckerberg may not like the movie so much, but hey, I’m not him.

3/ย  Blue Valentine, directed by Derek Cianfrance, screenplay by Derek Cianfrance, Cami Delavagne and Joey Curtis.

This movie was first screened at the Sundance Film Festival to rave reviews, and it’s set for limited release in a few days, making it the most depressing movie to watch this holiday season. I’m kidding. Only a little though. ๐Ÿ™‚ Any movie that chronicles the unraveling of a marriage is quite depressing to watch this time of the year, but the acting of both Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams is something you won’t want to miss out on, so I definitely recommend it. It’s not for the fainthearted however, as with most independent flicks, you rarely get neat plot resolutions and a promise of happily ever after, so make sure you’re in the right mood before you head out to the theaters to see it.

4/ Winter’s Bone, written and directed by Debra Granik.

Like Blue Valentine, this film also premiered in Sundance and instantly received rave reviews from critics. It also won the Grand Jury Prize for Dramatic Film on Sundance, as well as a slew of other awards from various international film festivals. I have to admit at first I wasn’t sure if I wanted to watch it, after all movies about poverty in rural areas – in this case the Ozarks – usually make me depressed, but the heroine in Winter’s Bone, the amazingly strong, determined and self-sufficient 17-year-old Ree Dolly (played by newcomer Jennifer Lawrence) made me change my mind. It’s such a powerful story about a girl fighting for her home, her life and her family, without being sappy and Lifetime original movie-ish. If you haven’t seen it, I suggest adding it to your Netflix queue. You won’t regret it.

5/ The Kids Are All Right, directed by Lisa Chodolenko; screenplay by Lisa Chodolenko and Stuart Blumberg.

In a slow movie year like 2010, sometimes you really have to turn to independent, low budget, limited-release movies if you want quality. And this heartwarming yet heartbreaking comedy definitely has it. Both Annette Bening and Julianne Moore were fantastic as married couple Nic and Jules, and Mark Ruffalo, the former rom-com king that he is, was endearing as always. Even the kids totally stole the movie, including that girl from Alice In Wonderland. Whatever your sexual orientation is, you can truly appreciate this movie that takes a long look at marriage, relationship and most of all, love.

6/ Inception, written and directed by Christopher Nolan.

Before he took over the Batman franchise and making it dark, edgy and cool, Christopher Nolan made Memento, a movie that first introduced me to the term “short-term memory loss”. I saw it with two of my girl friends, and they didn’t get the movie at all. It was frustrating having to explain to them the essence of the movie. So when Inception came out and immediately had a polarizing effect on the critics, I knew Nolan had returned to his Memento roots, only on a much grander scale, and I was right. The Twitter-verse was in a frenzy for a few weeks after the movie was released, and the term “mind-fuck” kept being repeated. Until today, there is still a debate on the ambiguous ending, so much so that Betty White made fun of it in the show Community. This movie has a rare combination of big budget, special effects and brilliant story – and even though it’s only number 6 on this list, it’s the one that I’ll watch over and over again.

7/ The American, directed by Anton Corbijn; screenplay by Rowan Joffรฉ.

Don’t be fooled by the picture above, just because it’s George Clooney playing an assassin, doesn’t mean the movie is all Bourne Identity-like. Instead, it’s a quiet, introspective art-house cinema type that not everyone can get into, but one I absolutely love. The American tells the story of Jack, an assassin/custom arms maker, who goes into hiding in a sleepy Italian town, where he befriends – out of all people – a priest and a prostitute. It has the paranoia of any spy thriller, but without the fast cars/guns ablazing action. Instead, it relies heavily on the surprisingly subdued performance of Clooney. And what a nice change from the usual Clooney alpha male characters! This movie sheds another light of this mega movie star, and proves to the naysayers that there’s a reason why he’s the most appealing actor in the world. He is just that good.

8/ Easy A, directed by Will Gluck; screenplay by Bert V. Royal.

Yes, that’s right, the movie at number eight is a teen comedy. But before you make that vomit sound, I suggest you go buy the DVD and watch it. You’d be surprised, and in a very good way. Easy A tells the story of a 17-year-old high school student, Olive Penderghast, who finds herself the victim of her school’s “rumor mill” when she lies to her best friend Rhiannon about a weekend tryst with a fictional college freshman. When word spread of her supposed promiscuity, a bullied gay student comes to her for help and she agrees to help out by pretending to sleep with him. Of course, this is high school so the lies escalate up to the point where she has to quickly do damage control to save what’s left of her reputation. It’s such a fun, hip and goofy comedy with a very likable and surprisingly self-aware and confident heroine and a great homage to John Hughes’ iconic teen comedies. Emma Stone is nominated for the Globes for her performance, and I think it’s very well-deserved. If you love Tina Fey’s Mean Girls, you’ll totally fall in love with this one, and what makes it even better than Fey’s brilliant Mean Girls: no Lindsay Lohan. ๐Ÿ™‚

9/ Kick-Ass, directed by Matthew Vaughn; screenplay by Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman.

When this movie came out in theaters, I begged my friend The Benevolent Psychopath to see it with me, it’s just right up his alley. But he wasn’t convinced, because he’s never into comic book adaptation. However, when he finally saw the movie, he admitted that he was wrong. The movie, just like its title, is totally kick-ass! Not only does it have McLovin aka Christopher Mintz-Platz and the geeky sexy Brit Aaron Johnson, it successfully makes Nicolas Cage cool again. And the best part of the movie is one Chloe Grace Moretz, who plays Mindy Macready/Hit Girl. She is both sweet and violent, innocent and dangerous, the kind of kid I would love to be friends with. And even though this movie generated controversy for its profanity and violence performed by the underage Moretz, it still kicked ass in the box office. But if you’re a parent, you might want to steer clear of this one.

10/ Scott Pilgrim Vs The World, directed by Edgar Wright; Screenplay by Edgar Wright and Michael Bacall.

Our last movie didn’t do well in the box office, but I think it’ll achieve a cult status very soon. It’s already doing much better on DVD sales, and it has a rabid hipster/gamer/geek fanbase, yours truly included. Based on a graphic novel series, the movie tells the story of Scott Pilgrim, a young Canadian musician living in Toronto, who meets the girl of his dreams Ramona Flowers, an American amazon.ca courier, at a party only to find out later that in order to date her, he has to defeat her “seven evil exes” who are coming to kill him. It’s awesomely fun, with great soundtrack and the charming performances of Michael Cera, Kieran Culkin and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. The best part has to be Ramona’s “seven evil exes”, which includes Chris Evans, Superman’s Brandon Routh, Parenthood’s Mae Whitman and the king of quirky oddballs Jason Schwartzman. I recommend watching it right after Kick-Ass, and you’ll be geeking out in no time.

And there you have it, My Top 10 Movies of 2010. Some are award-worthy and some are just crazy fun, but one thing is for sure, these are the movies you’ll remember for years to come. Come back tomorrow, I’ll be counting down the top ten movie screen scorchers of 2010. Which hottie makes the cut? You’ll have to wait and see!

xoxo

Binky Bee