Plus! The year's most unlikely couples, and crunchiest action sequences|
by The Guardian, published on Saturday, December 18, 2010
Hit Girl from Kick Ass
Putting the cuteness back into screen violence, Chloe Moretz's 11-year-old hellcat could have skewered The Expendables, The A-Team, The Losers, The Takers and all the other man-meat thrown at us this year into one unsavoury testosterone kebab before the school bus picked her up. Sweet, foul-mouthed and dangerously psychotic, she's the daughter Quentin Tarantino never had, the Christian right's worst nightmare since The Exorcist and the fancy dress costume parents really shouldn't contemplate.
She might have the physique of a malnourished sparrow, but Angelina Jolie's ambiguous rogue agent somehow demolished all pretenders to pick up the Bourne baton. Her role was originally meant for Tom Cruise, but all it took was a nasty Chinese burn from Angelina and he handed it over. And you've got to say, she looked the part, even if you had to take some of her more far-fetched fist fights with a pinch of ow! Let go! OK, OK you're great Angelina! Let go now, please!
Peggy Olson, Mad Men
2010 (well, 1965) was the year that Peggy really came into her own at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. She dumped her dippy boyfriend (by phone!), held her own in a boozy all-nighter with Don (let's just say she wasn't the one waking up with a puke-covered shirt), avoided getting busted by the fuzz at a hipster party, fended off Stan Rizzo's meathead advances and saved the firm with a new account.
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Stomping her way through 2010, the collective groin of evil Swedish masculinity and the odd hornet's nest, the Girl Who Didn't Smile Very Much has certainly given computer hacking a face. Being an illegal discipline entirely dependent on anonymity, computer hacking probably didn't want a face, to be honest, but hey, it was this or Julian Assange's.
Astrid, How To Train Your Dragon
This Viking alpha female took a double-bladed axe to Disney's flouncy castle full of princesses, and became the animated object of athletically challenged boyhood desire in the process. But with her proto-Ugg boots, thick blonde plait and leather skirt adorned with skulls, Astrid's fashion is so totally 2011, honey; student protesters take note.
Ree Dolly, Winter's Bone
Like a bottle of Cristal on a shelf of Pabst Blue Ribbon, Jennifer Lawrence's self-reliant, irrepressibly radiant Ree stood out a country mile in this lawless Ozark landscape of Cro-Magnon meth cookers and manky-toothed matriarchs. She chops wood, she shoots straight, she looks after the kids, she faces down scary mountain folk who look like they might eat her alive, and she still has the complexion of a supermodel; put that in your bulb and smoke it, Sarah Palin!
The Girls of Whip It
Drew Barrymore's roller-derby flick didn't exactly tear the roof off the multiplexes, but it reassured small-town girls that there's more to life than beauty pageants. Future generations could look back on it as the Expendables of anti-Hollywood role modelling: Juliette Lewis, Kristen Wiig, Ellen Page, Eve, Drew herself. Their rink names said it all: Smashley Simpson, Bloody Holly, Maggie Mayhem, Babe Ruthless. The Hurl Scouts were proof that feminism and bone-crunching bitchiness can peacefully co-exist. Well, co-exist, anyway.
Lol, This Is England '86
"WOODY!" Vicky McClure managed to pour all her character's frustration, desperation and world-weariness into the way she sighed her fiance's name. Lol was at the heart of the TV sequel to Shane Meadows's film, pretty much the only adult in a gang who spent most of their time wilfully arresting their development. The problems piled up: caught between an abusive father, a mother who blamed her for him leaving, a boyfriend who jilted her at the altar (and then pretended he didn't), and a crappy bedsit, she somehow rose above it all.
Unlikely screen couples of the year
Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman (The Switch)
Forget chemistry, these two didn't even have biology. Yes, it's possible to have a relationship, and even a family, without actually having sex, but when it comes to romantic beginnings, artificially inseminating someone by stealth doesn't exactly melt the heart. A happy finish isn't the same as a happy ending.
Taylor Lautner, Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson (The Twilight Saga: Eclipse)
Threesomes are supposed to be, like, totally hot, which is perhaps why this chastity-fixated franchise contrived to get Stewart and her beaux together in a snowbound tent. Two movies to go and they've barely got to second base. Bella is the Mount Everest of virginity.
Cameron Diaz And Tom Cruise (Knight And Day)
Fatally mistaking date rape for tender seduction, Cruise's man of mystery repeatedly drugs Cameron Diaz and leaves her to wake up somewhere else, with no memory of what happened. If anything "romantic" was going on here, Diaz was asleep at the time. So was the audience.
Robert Downey Jr And Gwyneth Paltrow (Iron Man 2)
A warning to male suitors out there: even when you're a billionaire superhero like Iron Man, it's not cool to treat your girlfriend like your nanny. And making her CEO of your company is no substitute for flowers. Poor Pepper Potts. Go and hang out with Angelina, Gwyneth you could be Salt and Pepper.
Cate Blanchett And Russell Crowe (Robin Hood)
Sean Connery and Audrey Hepburn were in their mid-40s when they played the over-the-hill couple in Robin And Marian. Crowe and Blanchett are only a few years younger. Lord knows how the deathly glum Crowe attracted a retinue of merry men.
Johnny Depp And Angelina Jolie (The Tourist)
A late entry in the running, and proof that putting Hollywood's two most exotically beautiful megastars on a collision course won't necessarily rend the fabric of the romantic universe, especially if they're both trying to seduce the camera instead of each other.
The year's best action scenes
Toy Story 3D
The trash incinerator scene, in crisply rendered 3D and surround sound. You could almost feel your eyeballs melting.
Did they raise the bar for action? Lower it? Or just whack each other in the crotch with it? Steve-O's outside loo bungee was easily the bravest stunt of the year.
It was all in the anticipation with this jet-set terrorist epic. The scene in which Carlos is fingered by a traitor during a party in Paris was one of several exquisite exercises in stretched-out tension.
Considering the movie was basically one long action scene, there had to be some good bits. The zero-gravity hotel corridor was something genuinely new; the Where Eagles Dare snow bit gave you time for a toilet break.