A place for thoughts, pictures, experiences, and more during my year in Taiwan.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

And Now for Something Completely Different...

As 2010 draws to a close, I figured I would cease my political ramblings for a post and engage in every blogger’s favorite year end activity: best of 2010 entertainment picks! It was a fine year for media and I will do my part for the blogosphere and throw in my two cents on the issue. Please remember that these are merely my humble opinions, and should you be offended by my choices and feel the need to vent, go the hell back to the forums where you belong.

Best Movie of 2010- Toy Story 3

This choice surely comes as a surprise to many, when this year produced a variety of blockbusters like Nolan’s ‘Inception,’ and more dramatic fare like ‘The Social Network’ or ‘The King’s Speech.’ The truth is however that ‘Toy Story 3’ was as pure a cinematic experience as one could ask for. Not only does it bring the hallmarks that Pixar has become know for: fine voice acting, clever writing, and wonderful characters, but beneath its childish veneer lies a touching story of both loss and rebirth. The film is ultimately about transition, and how all good things must come to an end. But despite the pain that accompanies loss and however much we think we can’t live any other way: life goes on. Add to this fact a near perfect ending (as well as a side-splitting performance by Michael Keaton), and you have what is certainly the finest film of 2010, and certainly among Pixar’s best efforts.

Best Album- ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’ – Kanye West

Now pretty much anyone who knows me is well aware of the fact that I don’t care for Mr. West. I find his public shenanigans and egoism annoying, and his last album was laced with enough auto-tune to kill musk ox. On his most recent outing however, he dropped the bad and played up the good and really hit one out of the park. Instrumentally, the album showcases West’s production skills at their best. The beats are tight, the samples diverse (the Aphex Twin on ‘Blame Game’ is particularly good), the each guest brings just what is needed. While on the mic, West holds his own (goodbye auto-tune!) and both analyses and revels in his own ego and public persona. The album gives a perfect picture of who West really is: an arrogant ass but a damned talented one at that. It is the year’s best album and has put Kanye back on top of the music world. At least until Radiohead releases another album.

Best Game- Mass Effect 2

2010 was truly a flagship year for gaming. It produced blockbusters (COD: Black Ops), long awaited sequels (Startcraft 2), and a host of solid indie and platformer hits (Super Meat Boy). But when all is said and done, one game towered above all others: Bioware’s ‘Mass Effect 2.’ A continuation of the epic tale of space marine Commander Shepard, Bioware improved upon the original in almost every way and delivered what is perhaps the purest role-playing experiences around. Gone is the item looting and level grinding, and in its place is choice. Mass Effect 2 is a game where choices matter in a truly noticeable way, and as a result nearly no two play-throughs are identical. Add to this a beautiful graphics engine, a start studded voice cast featuring stellar performances from Martin Sheen, Tricia Helfer, and Jennifer Hale, and some of the most fully realized characters in recent memory and Mass Effect 2 is an easy choice for game of the year.

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