Film fancies of 2010
Here we present you with Gaelick’s films of 2010 – and a couple extra. Have you watched ‘em? Have we missed any? What tops your list from this year?
- The Four Faced Liar
There’s a tower-clock in Cork city upon whose four faces there are four different times displayed. Its nickname is the local bar in this film and gives it its title, but the four faces of lies are actually the four central characters.
- Viola de Mare
Angela loves Sara, but her father isn’t too sold on the idea. He hates women anyway, and wanted a son. Lightbulb moment! Why not make Angela into Angelo and everyone is happy? This true story is gorgeous but avoid the ending.
- Don’t Stop
Cathy DeBuono and Jill Bennet play partners, Dyna and Kit, who both work as relationship counsellors. They just happen to be having relationship problems of their own and are seeing therapist Susan (Suzanne Westenhoefer), to try to work things out. Just as they decide to split, their book How to Succeed in Marriage without Even Trying comes out and is a huge success. Our couple have to pretend to be living in bliss in order to sell the book.
- The Kids are All Right
There are potentially two good stories that could have been told in this film: one about a difficult time in a relationship between two women, and one about their kids finding their sperm donor. And Annette Bening is outstanding. But what the hell is the story with this film’s plot?
A film about depression. You’re just racing to see where you can get it, aren’t you? Excellent that this deals with depression as something other than a disease-of-the-week film. Plus, there’s Ashley Judd. Nuff said.
Follow four girls over three days in two cities as they ponder the one chance that has landed on their laps. 184.108.40.206 isn’t going to strain too much of the old gray matter, but it’s great fun. Plus, for some reason, Kerrys, her girlfriend and Cassandra spend most of the film in their underwear. Is anyone complaining?
- The Town
Let’s face it, these days the cinemas are mainly full of rubbish, and that’s not just the isles. It’s rare you get to see a film with – wait for it – a good plot and fine acting. The Town is one of the exceptions. Ben Affleck wrote, directed and starred in this gem.
- The Runaways
Thankfully, The Runaways delivers. From start to finish, the movie brings to life the story of the girls that soon became the stuff of legend: Joan Jett and Cherie Currie. It’ll have you whirling your head around screaming along to your favourite anthem and leave the cinema with the full intention of forming the best band in the world.
- The Last Exorcism
How do we define a horror anymore? Is a good horror movie defined by its use of gore? Of obscuring the “baddy”? Of providing constant situations of “jumpy bits”? Horror nowadays seems to fall into a new genre of “Torture porn”.
Angelina Jolie plays Evelyn Salt a CIA agent who may or may not be a Russian spy. Those damn Russians! It turns out that the wiley Russians have sleepers assassins all over the mighty U S of A, ready to take out a target when required. Is Evelyn one of these agents or has she been set up? If she is a Russian spy, why is she wearing a ushanka?
- Stonewall Uprising
Screened during Dublin’s annual GAZE film festival this year, Stonewall Uprising is a documentary about the Stonewall riots of 1969. You may expect it to be good. It is amazing.
Another feature in 2010’s GAZE festival, this film is an unusual ghost story set on the Peruvian seaside. A married fisherman struggles to reconcile his devotion to his male lover within his town’s rigid traditions.
Again from GAZE, Miss G is a teacher in a really rather awfully spiffing English boarding school in the 1930s. She is gorgeous, sophisticated and all of the girls adore her. Some more than others, and many have (or “cracks”) on her. One such pupil is Di, who is also the captain of the school’s diving team and head prefect. Di expects everyone to heed her word, and revels in the attention Miss G gives her.
- And Then Came Lola
More from GAZE, And Then Came Lola is a blast of a film. This is what happens when, after years of some great lesbian films but mostly awful lesbian films, the viewers get involved. Ellen Seidler and Megan Siler were obviously watching films and thinking “Jesus, I could do better than that!”
- Highly Strung
There is something about French film-makers, Sophie Laloy included, they seem to have an innate understanding of the words between the lines, blending unexpressed emotions and mood into a seductive web. Laloy brings a sexiness and, eventually an uneasiness to Highly Strung, that is tempered with a smart twist.
- Hannah Free
Oh, lesbian films. How do you disappoint us, let us count the ways! Let’s think back: Go Fish, High Art, Bound, and of course the “classic” of the genre, Claire of the Moon. Thankfully with Hannah Free those fears are unfounded.
- Butch Jamie
An utterly charming, gentle film about being yourself. Michelle Ehlen takes this cheesy cliche and turns it into a delicate souffle of a film. The whole film centres around her and she strolls through the piece, at once witty and self-depreciating, then sensitive and tender.
- Producing Adults
There is a Finnish saying that goes something like grown-ups produce children, then the children turn them into adults. Anyone who has ever cared for a child for more than a night will understand completely. Producing Adults is a contemporary tale of one woman trying to get pregnant and becoming an adult along the way.
At its most basic, this film is based on the anxieties of a woman (Julianne Moore) over her seemingly womanizing husband (Liam Neeson), and a son who has alienated her from his life. When she becomes convinced that her husband is having an affair, she enlists the help of a call girl, Chloe (Amanda Seyfried), to “test” his fidelity. This starts off a chain of events which eventually culminate in tragedy affecting her whole family.
- Shutter Island
Another Martin Scorsese movie filled with great atmosphere and great acting by the master’s new favourite, Leonardo DiCaprio. This one gets the thumbs up from Gaelick’s Gooner.
- A Single Man
There are always a excellent few film releases at Oscar time of year when the red carpet is rolled out, and so it was in 2010. Gooner challenges anyone to find a better film that Tom Ford’s “A Single Man”, a wonderful and moving story of love and loss.
- I Love You, Phillip Morris
On the poster for I Love You Phillip Morris, Carey looks camp and gay for laughs, but blame the distributors and don’t let it put you off. This is a complicated, layered film full of laughs but not at the expense of the love and heat between the guys. For a gay audience it’s such a huge relief.
- Whip It
Drew Barrymore is not like her ancestors. They were serious actors, artists dedicated to their craft. Drew seems to be happy once she’s having a good time, something that is most definitely happening in her directorial debut, Whip It.
Rated as one of the films of the year as early as February, Precious is a tough film by any stretch of the imagination. For all its depictions of tough times, it was rewarded with an Oscar win.
- Scott Pilgrim
Among Pilgrim’s paramour’s exes is one Roxanne “Roxy” Richter (Mae Whitman) – her fourth evil ex and only ex-girlfriend – a self-conscious half-ninja lesbian.
- The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
The film adaptation of Steig Larsson’s book, released in Irish cinemas in 2010. Lead character, Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace), for whom gender is not among the considerations in choosing a sexual partner. And she’s gorgeous and weird!
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1
Another adaptation, this time JK Rowling’s series, features incidental (and tres important) gay characters, right enough. Plus, of course, universal themes of good and evil, life and death, as well as an array of magical capers.
Honourable movie mentions:
- Michael Dwyer (1952-2010)
Michael Dwyer, film critic for The Irish Times and co-founder of the Dublin Film Festival, died in January at the age of just 58. Dwyer was much-loved by all cinema fans for his honest yet considerate reviews, and for his tireless championing of Irish and gay cinema. He is survived by his partner, Brian, his mother, Mary, and sisters, Anne and Maria.
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