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September 06, 2011 - Image 41

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com


Tuesday, September 6, 2011 - 7D

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ByDAILY STAFF i Jan. 5, 2011

Best of TV2010

1. "Toy Story 3" Wayne film, Joel and Ethan Coen
take an old fashioned story about
Threequels aren't supposed to courage and turn it into some-
work. Just ask Francis Ford Cop- thing more. It's not just another
p(a, Sam Raimi, Robert Zemeck- washed-up Western with south-
is, George Lucas or that guy who ern drawls, ghost towns and gun
made the "Blade" movies. But fights.
when you learn that our gold star "True Grit" avoids the tra-
of the year has been helmed by ditional mold because of the
the flawless Pixar - who 16 years strength of the actors. Matt
ago took a bunch of hard, plastic Damon adds humor to an oth-
faces and breathed not just life, erwise desolate landscape as
but love into them - the situation LaBoeuf, a Texas Ranger who
changes. is proud of what he is and lets
So where did it all go right? everyone know it. Newcomer
Maybe it was during those old Hailee Steinfeld's portrayal of
film reels of Andy's jubilant smart, overconfident Mattie Ross
adventures with Sheriff Woody, - a girl on a quest for real justice
the evil Dr. Porkchop and a bri- - guides the story with force.
gade of swarming monkeys. Or And she manages to hold her own
maybe it was the moment when against Jeff Bridges's character,
the attic ladder slides shut behind Rooster Cogburn.
the unmarked bag of toys beside But creating memorable char-
it, dooming them forever to the acters has always been something
incinerator. the Coen Brothers have been good
'Toy Story 3" transcends the at. What's particularly impres-
ordinary not just because it's a sive is their transformation of the
clever parable about commercial- story. They don't try to modern-
ism, but because it asks genuinely ize it or jazz it up - none of the
stirring questions about aging. characters speak using contrac-
What happens when those that tions - but the story does become
loved us must let us go? How do edgier and more haunting under
we carry the remnants of our past its rendering. The film takes the
relationships while preserving audience to a world where the
our independence? Woody and boundary between good and evil
Buzz might not be part of Andy's isn't clearly defined, which raises
college life, but they've certainly questions about the nature of jus-
found their way into ours. tice and redemption in the world.

acter (Ewan McGregor), meets show - particularly with Bale,
his newest client, a former British who delivers the most unsettling
Prime Minister who finds him- performance of his recent career.
self facing war crimes charges, he From a distance, it doesn't seem
quickly finds himself caught ina like the most original picture,
web of intrigue. Polanski's direc- but a closer look reveals a more
tion ratchets up the tension ina sophisticated, layered story.
sweeping crescendo, ending with - ANKUR SOHONI
a haunting, poignant reveal.

2. "The Social Network"
There's a mesmerizing quality,
on current University students
and recently graduated alums, to
watching a movie about the gen-
esis of Facebook. Our generation
is as inexorably tied to its success
as is Mark Zuckerberg - if he was
the nurturing parent, we were the
Hollywood agent that realized its
potential and made it a society-
changing phenomenon.
The release of "The Social Net-
work" in the midst of Facebook's
golden years made for delicious
irony, as thousands updated their
statuses to profess their love for
the film - an expected reaction,
since the "The Social Network"
was such a supreme amalgama-
tion of expert writing, direct-
ing and acting that not declaring
adoration for the film to the world
could result in a minor stroke.
Aaron Sorkin's diabolically
good script was consistently
laugh-out-loud funny, nullifying
theinherent drabness of lawsuits,
venture capitalism and (shudder)
computer programming. Direc-
tor David Fincher created each
frame with a mama grizzly's care
and deserves an Oscar simply
for pulling a tremendous perfor-

5. "Black Swan"
Acclaimed director Darren
Aronofsky's tale of Nina (Natalie
Portman), a young ballerina given
the lead in Tchaikovsky's "Swan
Lake," turns the delicate art of
ballet into something riveting.
The best aspect of Aronofsky's
work is its enthralling predictabil-
ity. Strange as thatmay sound, the
imminent demise he constructs
for his protagonist demands a
nontraditional interpretation
that draws our eyes to the light-
ing, staging and cinematography
rather than the plot. It's another
tragic time bomb in the vein of
"The Wrestler" and "Requiem
for a Dream," and we're helpless
to do anything but count the sec-
onds until the glorious explosion.
No longer will the impression-
able masses indulge in heroin,
professional wrestling or suicidal
ballet routines. However, they
may very well continue to indulge
in Aronofsky. His vision - paired
with Portman's flawless execu-
tion - will transform his career,
and may winthe pair a few Oscars
to boot. - TIMOTHYRABB
6. "The Ghost Writer"

7. "Winter's Bone"
The best suspense film of the
year is a family movie at its core,
though its chilly, remorseless tale
of children suffering for their
parents' actions isn't likely to
make your heart feel all warm
and fuzzy. "Winter's Bone" sends
its protagonist, Ree Dolly (Jen-
nifer Lawrence, in an unflinching
performance), outcon the hunt
for her meth-cooking, authority-
ditching father in the heart of the
Ozarks, confronting her vicious
extended family along the way.
There's an uncomfortable truth
buried here: The illusion of kin-
ship, the love we all count on to
get through life, protects no one
in a lawless world.

9. "The King's Speech"
"The King's Speech" is a power-
ful, funny and historically accu-
rate masterpiece. Colin Firth
and Geoffrey Rush play King
George VI and his quirky speech
coach, respectively, who at first,
couldn't be less compatible. Firth
wants a quick, impersonal fix to
his impediment, but Rush knows
his issues have less to do with
his tongue than they do with the
King's mind and heart. It's rare
that a film so artfully enhances
a true story into something this
moving, but the performances
and writing in "The King's
Speech" make it an instant clas-
10. "Harry Potter and the
Deathly Hallows, Part I"

By DAILY STAFF Jan. 5, 2011
1. "Community," Season 2
With classes on space flight,
dorms with elaborate blanket
forts and stop-motion class-
mates, Greendale Community
College is, without a doubt, the
coolest place to get your degree.
On the surface, "Community"
details the misadventures of
a diverse study group at com-
munity college. In actuality,
the show is a love letter to our
favorite movies and TV shows,
with episodes recreating "Mean
Girls," "The Secret Garden"
and zombie flicks. Augmenting
the pop culture references is a
meta self-referential humor that
hasn't been seen since "Arrested
As is often typical with televi-
sion, the show's ratings haven't
reflected its awesomeness.
"Community" fights against
CBS's powerhouse "The Big
Bang Theory" in Thursday's
8 p.m. timeslot. Despite being
snubbed at the Emmys, fac-
ing regular threats of cancella-
tion and struggling through its
financial woes (KFC even spon-
sored an episode, during which
Senor Chang exclaims, "I'm
trying to buy us some time with
these Doublicious sandwiches"),
"Community" has still garnered
a cult following of media junkies
and pop culture-obsessed col-
lege kids. Just like its characters,
"Community" is quirky and lov-
able. And it's the Daily's pick for
the best TV show of 2010.
2. "Boardwalk Empire,"
Season 1
Once upon a time, there was a
show on HBO that combined
gangland violence with symbol-
ism, intelligent stylization and
incredibly powerful acting. That
little fairy tale was "The Sopra-
nos," which came to the most
ambiguous ending in television
history in 2007.
This year, "Sopranos" veteran
Terence Winter and director
Martin Scorsese united to bring
this winning formulabackto TV.
They shifted "The Sopranos" to
the Prohibition era, moved it to
Atlantic City and voila, we have
"Boardwalk Empire" - a bloody,
symbolic peried-correct crime
drama. It's "The Sopranos"
with a loud pinstripe suit and a
tommy gun.
Really though, it's a bit "The
Sopranos," but almost as much
"The West Wing," as central
character Nucky Thompson,
the treasurer of Atlantic City,
toes the line between running
the local political machine and
supplying the underground
speakeasies with booze. His
interactions with some of the
period's most notorious crimi-
nals make for an incredible
viewing experience and contrib-
ute to some of the most complex
stories currently being told on
3. "HowI Met Your
Mother," Season 6
Ted gets the opportunity of his
career when asked to design the
new headquarters for Goliath
National Bank, Barney comes a
bit closer to discovering the real
identity of his father and Mar-
shall and Lily make their first
attempts to start a family. The
gang gains a member in the form

of Zoey (Jennifer Morrison,
"House") and a new Robin Spar-
kles video is revealed. Sound
like alot? Throw in the fact that
each episode moves effortlessly
from dramatic to slapstick, and
it's understandable why these
carefully crafted storylines have
landed season six of "HowI Met
Your Mother" onthe Daily'saBest
of 2010 list.
The series progressed this
past year, but while maintaining
the light, playful humor we've
come to know and love. Where
this beloved series will head
remains a mystery, but one thing
is certain: Co-creators Carter
Bays and Craig Thomas have
succeeded in making a tradition-
al sitcom fresh and original - a
plot-driven show that strives to
serve the story.
4. "Mad Men," Season 4
For better and worse, Don Drap-
er has gone wild - better for the
faithful and verdant "Mad Men"
audience; likely worse for its
dapper hero. Season four of the
hit AMC drama took our favorite
angry gents in a new direction,
as a new look and new charac-
ters gave the series a fresh, if
sometimes jarring, start. But of
course the alcohol and fornica-
tion are along for the ride.
With its new beginnings,
everything in the series was
taken up a notch - the emo-
tional highs have soared higher,
and the lows have become more
depressing and pitiable. In the
undeniable triumph that was
"The Suitcase," Don Draper's
late-night meltdown gave audi-
ences a raw look at the troubled
boy we always knew was hid-
ing behind the aloof faade. But
what made "Mad Men" truly
great in 2010 is just what made
it great in its three past years.
The writing is masterful, slowly
luring in viewers instead of hit-
ting them over the head. The
performances are true-to-life,
differentiating the series from
a caricatured period piece. The
stories are complex and volatile
while still contained in a small
space, both physically and tem-
porally. It's one of the smartest
shows on television.
5. "30 Rock," Season 5
There's a reason why this show
continuously wins comedy
awards - it just doesn't getmuch
better than Liz, Jack, Tracy,
Jenna, Kenneth and the rest of
the "30 Rock" crew. Over the
years, the show has become the
gold standard in comedy. Season
highlights included Liz Lemon
finding her favorite pair of jeans,
Matt Damon's kooky airplane
pilot character and Tracy Jor-
dan's career as a "serious" actor
in "Hard to Watch." True, the
jokes and situations are often
unrealistic, but because of the
amazing cast, they work almost
every time. When the show
chooses to go the route of real-
ism, it attacks both conservative
and liberal ideas, sparing noth-
ing from the line of fire.
With Alec Baldwin's retire-
mentcfrom playing Jack Donaghy
imminent, let's hope that season
six is just as good, if not bet-
ter, than the rest. One thing is
for sure, though - the show is
bound to go out with a bang. It's
just so hard to pass up the work-
place of 30 Rockefeller Plaza.

mance out of Justin Timberlake. To paraphrase Eric Cartman,
But when it came to the stellar Roman Polanski may have date
cast, Jesse Eisenberg rose above raped an underage model, but
all, playing Zuckerberg as a geek he knows how to make a thriller
yearning for acceptance in our - keeping his films old-school
increasingly disconnected world. despite box office pressure from
Wait ... where's the "like" button thrillers filled with shaky-cam.
on this newspaper? In "The Ghost Writer," the vet-
- KAVI SHEKHAR PANDEY eran director uses subtle cues
like beautiful cinematography
3. "Inception" and extended precise takes with
the camera to create an anxious
Christopher Nolan's auteuristic atmosphere. After the title char-
drama-meets-mindfuck thrill-
er created a storm of hype in
the months before its release,
only to be outdone by the social
impact of the film itself. "Incep-
tion" cemented Nolan's dual
status as a virtuoso of the smart
blockbuster and our generation's
most bankable director. It was
start-to-finish captivating, from n.) Pizza
the brilliant temporal presenta-
tion of the dreamworld to the
engrossing compound action
sequence that constituted the Tt! VJA1A'
second half of the film.
The logistics of the film's (o*4 C
dream-stealer plot still elude, but
figuring it out is half the experi-
ence. Despite Nolan's best efforts r54iLXW
to deceive the audience, those
who switch off for a minute and
take the film as what it is - a
visual presentation - will notice
that the single moment may be I MAAD
the most telling. A widower's
ringless hand, the persistent -- -
spinning of a top - are these keys
to the story? Maybe. But if the
film left you breathless, you're
halfway there.
4. "True Grit"
In this adaptation of a John

8. "The Fighter" For those who waited anxiously
for their Hogwarts acceptance
"Raging Bull." "Rocky." "Cin- letters, consolation lies in the
derella Man." Boxing has latest "Harry Potter" movie. The
become an Oscar-bait sideshow. franchise has tried to capture
"The Fighter," however, differs the magic of Hogwarts but, out-
magnificently. Managed by his side of bedazzling special effects,
pushy mother (Melissa Leo) the movies have disappointed
and trained by his crack-addict many fans - which makes the
half-brother, a former boxer deeper, more mature "Deathly
(Christian Bale), title character Hallows" all the more reward-
Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) ing. The film stays true to the
struggles to find the sport's book, even if it means watching
glamour. Ward struggles toward the emotional aspect of the plot
the top while flirting with the unfold ina tent in the middle of
idea of quitting altogether. The nowhere while our heroes tryto
film focuses as much on the destroy a Horcrux. It's a much
family dynamic as the fighters darker movie that's made for a
themselves, as Ward searches for generation that can't be dazzled
individuality. by Quidditch matches anymore.
Wahlberg's endearing per- It gives them exactly what they
formance is among his best, but want.
it's the ensemble that steals the - EMILYBOUDREAU

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