Best Film Performances of the 2010s

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CREDIT: YouTube Screenshots

Back in April, I revealed my lists of the best podcasts, TV shows, TV episodes, albums, songs, and movies of the 2010s. I declared that that was it for my Best of the Decade curating for this particular ten-year cycle. But now I’m back with a few more, baby! I’ve been participating in a series of Best of the 2010s polls with some of my online friends, and I wanted to share my selections with you. We’re including film performances, TV performances, directors, and musical artists, so get ready for all that.

First up is Film Performances. Any individual performance from any movie released between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2019 was eligible, whether it was live-action, voice-only, or whatever other forms on-screen acting take nowadays. For actors who played the same character in multiple movies, each movie was considered separately.

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Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. the Reverend: Jmunney Log #1

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CREDIT: Netflix

I’m a little skeptical about choose-your-own adventure stories, but I’m not skeptical about Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, so I happily watched the UKS choose-your-own-adventure special Kimmy vs. the Reverend. I am planning on watching it some more times in the future and choosing different story branches. I will then log my selections after each viewing. Here is Log #1

-LK-9
-Fun dress
-Go to the gym
-Plan wedding
-Donna Maria
-Gretchen
-Call Cyndee
-Take Titus
-Get down to beeswax
-Lillian sings
-Walk to town
-The script
-He knows it
-Karate
-Go with Lillian
-Lose it
-Babysit
-Read to the baby
-Woodland banquet
-‘Splode him
-Spare him

In ‘Guns Akimbo,’ Daniel Radcliffe Discovers That EVERYTHING’S Gone Akimbo

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CREDIT: Saban Films

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Samara Weaving, Natasha Liu Bordizzo, Ned Dennehy, Rhys Darby

Director: Jason Lei Howden

Running Time: 95 Minutes

Rating: R for Big Booming, Bloody Effective Gunfire and An Awkward Attempt to Use the Toilet

Release Date: February 28, 2020 (Limited)

If some goons bolted a couple of huge black pistols to your hands and then forced you to fight in a live-streaming death match, what would you do? That’s the setup for writer-director Jason Lei Howden’s thought experiment/action bonanza Guns Akimbo. Presumably, for many of us, the answer to this question would be what happened to Daniel Radcliffe’s video game developer character Miles, which is to say: run around in a panic, get really stinky while struggling to put on pants and go to the bathroom, and maybe survive for a little while by relying on instinct and adrenaline. What is perhaps less likely is where Miles ultimately ends up, which is summoning all he’s got to turn the tables on the freaks running this game. Maybe most people in this predicament would wind up dying within five minutes, but that’s why this story isn’t about them.

With movies about these sorts of illicit underground sensations, I always wonder about the larger context. Is the rest of the world just carrying on normally, or this some sort of dystopia, or maybe a mini-dystopia in a town that can’t think of anything better to do than have its citizens kill each other? The game in Guns Akimbo takes place wherever its players go, so there is a vibe of massive violence occurring in plain sight. Actually, it’s not a vibe so much as an actuality. To wit, when Miles goes to his office to get one of his co-workers to help him out with something, there ends up being a massacre with plenty of collateral damage. There’s not a whole lot of context-setting, but I think we get just enough to understand that the deadly consequences are unpredictable and indiscriminate, though only a small percentage of the world is obsessed with the carnage.

Keeping Miles on his toes is his opponent Nix, played by Samara Weaving in a profoundly disaffected style that’s miles away from her wonderfully hysterical work in Ready or Not. She’s got herself constantly numbed by drugs, all the better to keep herself focused on blasting away any comers with panache and to not be overcome by the emotional scars of her tragic backstory. Eventually, she and Miles realize they have more in common than they thought, and that leads to a fairly satisfying climax. But really, the main attraction is seeing how Miles figures out how to do fairly simple tasks with huge pieces of metal blocking his hands. At one point, a homeless man played by Rhys Darby offers him a hot dog but refuses to slip it into his mouth, and you can never know how cruel that is until you see it. How Miles was not constantly fainting from the pain, we may never know. The human body’s fight to survive can be quite resilient.

Guns Akimbo is Recommended If You Like: Embracing that scuzzball lifestyle

Grade: 3 out of 5 Handguns

This Is a Movie Review: Swiss Army Man

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SWISS ARMY MAN (2016) Daniel Radcliffe and Paul Dano

Swiss Army Man is a lot like the recent X-Files episode, “Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster,” in that a human-esque creature learns the rules that govern human civilization and then offers a rejuvenating perspective to a fully human companion. In this case, that creature is the corpse of Daniel Radcliffe,henceforth known as “Manny” (not unlike Rhys Darby as “Guy Mann”), whose presence revitalizes suicidal Hank (Paul Dano), most strikingly with the propulsive power of his flatulence. But there is so much more to Manny. He combines a blank slate, sophistication, and bluntness for a new form of wisdom. As Manny develops the ability to talk, his and Hank’s conversations tend toward the discomfort (both physical and social) of bodily urges and functions, but they are treated with the tenderness worthy of deeply connected friends. Swiss Army Man threatens to lift the veil of its fantasy, but it keeps its corpse fart-engine running, because magic exists.

I give Swiss Army Man 721 New Uses for the Human Body out of 1030 Possibilities.