Rewatching this film at home on Blu-ray is a thing of sheer beauty. Thankfully the rest of the movie lives up to its visuals. Edgar Wright deserves any number of accolades for bringing this rambunctious piece of video game art come to life for all to behold. Between this and Youth in Revolt Michael Cera proves himself leading man status and shirks his pigeon holing and Mary Elizabeth Winstead makes everyone chant “nom, nom, nom” but it’s Ellen Wong’s astounding portrayal of Knives Chau who steals the film. She truly is the hilarious epitome of teenage obsession. As for the rest of the film, everything from the opening 8-bit Universal logo (used at my own wedding this past 10/10/10) to the brilliantly realized “nega”-ending, if this film doesn’t shine from your HDTV you need to adjust your picture because it looks more amazing and is thereby far more engrossing watching at home and in some ways that says more than anything.
#4: 127 Hours
Danny Boyle may have won Best Director in 2009 for his over-direction of that year’s Best Picture winner Slumdog Millionaire, but it’s exactly that that keeps this film from beating out my top three. With another shoe-in for Best Adapted Screenplay, Boyle and Simon Beaufoy (who also won his own Oscar for Slumdog’s screenplay) have taken Aron Ralston’s book Between a Rock and a Hard Place and masterfully brought to the screen his accounting of 127 hours stuck in a canyon with limited resources and a fight to stay alive. You don’t have to cut off anyone’s arm either to guarantee a Best Actor nod if not win for James Franco who affectionately portrays a man willing to cut off his own arm to survive against his own ego’s best wishes.
#3: The Fighter
Having never heard of Micky Ward or Dicky Eklund prior to walking in to The Fighter, all it had going for it was its stars and director. David O. Russell has had me since Three Kings bursts into theaters. With its meticulous melting pot of war hijinks and a dose of hilarity for good measure I have been a fan even through I Heart Huckabees. With his one-two punch of his cast including Mark Wahlberg as Micky, Melissa Leo as contender for world’s most controlling mother, Amy Adams as a surefire Best Actress nominee if not winner and Christian Bale as Dicky, you’ve got one of the best ensemble pieces of the year. However, if Amy Adams somehow doesn’t nail down her award, there’s no one that can displace Bale from his. While at first you might be annoyed with the character of Dicky he portrays and think, “Wow, at least Bale took the Machinist route to get into character,” it’s during the closing credits where we see video footage of the real Micky and Dicky and the walls come tumbling down as we realize that what we just witnessed for 2 hours was a solid case of amazing acting. I expect big things to come about once the Oscars nominees are finally announced.