Sarah

#8 – Then She Found Me
#9 – Kit Kittridge: An American Girl
#10 – Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day

Tagline: Life Can Change in a Heartbeat
Directed by: Helen Hunt
Written by: Elinor Lipman (novel), Helen Hunt (Screenplay), Alice Arlen, Victor Levin
Starring: Helen Hunt, Colin Firth, Matthew Broderick, and Bette Midler
Music by : David Mansfield
Release Date
: May 2, 2008
Rated
: R
Synopsis
: A schoolteacher named April has her life thrown into chaos. Her husband and the man she’s loved for decades- and a fellow teacher, leaves her. Her adoptive mother dies suddenly, and her biological mother pops into her life, becoming intrusive and frustrating. Also, April finds herself attracted to the father of one of her students – a man struggling with his marriage’s recent breakup. To top things off, April is desperate to conceive a baby and is dismayed to find herself pregnant with her ex-husband’s child.

Why it made my top ten: I thought that I had seen Colin Firth at his best in Pride and Prejudice. But in this, he and Hunt are so amazing that I knew as soon as I finished it that this film would be somewhere in my top ten. You won’t even recognize Hunt at first – her character looks like a decrepit version of the lovely actress, and Hunt does a stellar job at communicating from the very beginning of the film how insecure her character is. And Colin Firth…there are not many words to describe his acting in this film. I’ve never seen a Firth like this, and while it was heartbreaking, it was also impressive. His character reaches unimaginable depths as he struggles with his pain from a recent divorce, his fear of failing as a father, and his attraction to the character of April.

This story is sort of a romantic movie – but from first viewing, you definitely wouldn’t classify it as such. This is the most darkly romantic drama I’ve watched in a very long time. Hunt’s character suffers incredibly – from having a habitual liar for a biological mother, to struggling with being adopted into the Jewish faith, to her fathomless yearning for a child. This film covers so many issues which could fill any movie easily, but it combines them into a drama that doesn’t seem overburdened with drama, but simply with life at it’s most painful and it’s most moving.

Favorite scene: I’m not sure if I could pick one.


Jason

#8 – Eagle Eye
#9 – Kung Fu Panda
#10 – The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian


Tagline: If You Want To Live You Will Obey
Directed by: D.J. Caruso
Written by: Dan McDermott, John Glenn, Travis Wright, Hillary Seitz
Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Michelle Monaghan, Billy Bob Thornton, Rosario Dawson, Michael Chiklis
Music by : Brian Tyler
Release Date
: September 26, 2008
Rated
: PG-13
Synopsis
: After returning from his brother’s funeral, Jerry Shaw finds his apartment filled to the brim with weapons, materials for making a bomb, fake IDs, classified government info, and a bank account stuffed with $751,000 in cash. He then gets a call from a woman who warns him that the FBI will be there in 30 seconds.

Craziness ensues.

In every situation, no matter how absolutely bat-crap insane things get, the woman on the phone is one step ahead. And she’s drawing others into the mix, as well – and no one knows who she is, how she’s doing this, or what she’s trying to do.

Why it made my top ten:

This movie rocks, and I will fight anyone who dares to disagree. D.J. Caruso crafted an expert roller coaster ride, one that slows down just long enough for you to catch your breath before yanking the floor out from under your feet once again. Shia LaBeouf is fantastic (as usual) as Jerry Shaw, showing that he’s capable of being more than just the quick-on-his-feet smart aleck kid that he’s usually been cast as in the past. Michelle Monaghan is, of course, utterly luminescent. (But the again, when *isn’t* she?) She’s quickly become one of my absolute favorite actresses working today. (Of course, “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” has quite a bit to do with that.)

Both of them do a great job of gaining the audiences sympathy, making us care about what the mysterious voice on the phone wants them to do, no matter how crazy things get.

And things get very, very crazy.

Many have dismissed the technology in this film as impossible, but I can assure you (as someone who works for a national lab) that it’s not as impossible – or as far off – as you’d like to think it is. Eagle Eye is a fantastic thrill ride, a breathless and fun escapist adventure that will make you want to throw away every piece of electronics you own.

Favorite scene: After being arrested by the FBI, Jerry is allowed his one phone call. Before he can pick the phone up, it begins to ring. A woman’s voice gives him new instructions, telling him to duck. In the background, a crane begins to swing towards the windows…

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