For some reason we’ve both been super unmotivated to get this up and going this year. Possibly because 2009 has already been such a busy year for us, or possibly because we’re lazy. But anyway, here we go and we’ll try to get this done by the time Oscar nominations are announced.

#10: Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

Tagline: Every Woman Will Have Her Day
Directed by: Bharat Nalluri
Written by: David Magee and Simon Beaufoy
Starring: Amy Adams, Frances McDormand, Shirley Henderson, Ciaran Hinds, Lee Pace
Music by : Paul Englishby
Release Date: March 7, 2008
Rated: PG-13 for some nudity
Synopsis: A recently fired governess tries to avoid being forced to live on the streets by lying her way into employment by the precocious Delysia Lafoss. Miss Pettigrew is unused to Delysia’s wild and fashionable lifestyle but quickly comes to care for her young and confused charge. Delysia must decide in the course of one day whether she will live chasing the dream of fame or the dream of love – and Miss Pettigrew is there to help her in her decision making.

Why it made my top ten:
Mainly because of the superb acting. Per the usual, Amy Adams is completely adorable – at times sweet and vivacious, and at others heartbreaking. Her life is a perfect whirlwind of love and striving to fulfill dreams. Adams does a lovely job of portraying the struggle Delysia goes through in the course of mere hours to find herself and decide what she wants out of life. Equally impressive is the always great McDormand. Her acting in this film is subtle – you don’t realize just how amazing she is, nor her character, until afterwards. She becomes her role entirely. And Shirley Henderson does a grand job asthe slight villainess with her creepy childlike voice jarring with the polished fashion queen she plays.

Another great thing about this film is the complete submersion into the world of just prior to WWII. The costumes are breathtaking and slightly different – since we enter the world of women’s lingerie on a few occasions. The music, of course, is wonderful and we’re graced with the chance to hear Adams sing a song that for once isn’t a bouncy or sappy Disney number. While this isn’t a movie that’s really dramatic, or tries to say something, from the beginning it makes it clear it isn’t trying to be one of those films. It’s just a fun watch from start to finish.

Favorite scenes: The fight at the night club.

#10 The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian.

Tagline: Everything You Know is About to Change Forever
Directed by: Andrew Adamson
Written by: C.S. Lewis (book), Andrew Adamson, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Starring: Ben Barnes, William Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Skandar Keynes, Georgie Henley, Peter Dinklage, Sergio Castellitto, Liam Neeson
Music by : Harry Gregson-Williams
Release Date: May 16, 2008
Rated: PG for battle violence
Synopsis: The Pevensie children return to Narnia once again, only to find everything has changed. Narnia has been conquered by the Telmarines and the Pevensies must help the true King to fight off his evil uncle.
Oscar chances: None. Sorry, Narnia fans.

Yes, it’s based on my least favorite Narnia book. And yes, it’s very
clear by now that Disney saw this as their “Lord of the Rings”
franchise – despite the fact that the nothing about Narnia is anything
like the Lord of the Rings books. Action beats, special effects, large
battles – all of them are so influenced by LotR that you half expect
to see Frodo pop at any moment. It’s sad, frustrating, and just
doesn’t work (which is probably why Disney has given up and pulled out
the franchise altogether.)

Ok. Negativity done. Now, why did this make my top 10? Because every
single moment where they don’t try and turn this into “Lord of the
Rings Disney Edition” is absolutely fantastic. Even the things they
added fit in quite well with the rest of the series – Susan, in
particular, gets a very interesting and (in light of what’s to come
farther on) heartbreaking storyline. Reepicheep is just as great as
you’d expect, and Peter Dinklage works wonders, as usual. Yes, the
“big” moments often ring a bit hollow – but when you breath in all the
little moments, and lose yourself in the world and magic of Narnia…
well, you might catch yourself hanging around subway stations, or
checking the insides of wardrobes.

You know, just in case.