Ultimate 2010s Blogathon: Frozen (2013) & Frozen 2 (2019) by Starry Traveler’s Road

There’s no doubt that Frozen was one of the biggest phenomenons of the 2010s. Phoebe from Starry Traveler’s Road reviews the 2013 original and its 2019 sequel. Head on over to Tranquil Dreams to check it out!

Tranquil Dreams

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Next up in Ultimate 2010s Blogathon is from my Battle of Ingredients co-host, Phoebe from Starry Traveler’s Road sharing with us a double feature of a popular Disney animated film and its sequel, 2013’s Frozen and 2019’s Frozen II. After you check out her review, head over to check out her blog where she does event recaps, DIY crafts and recently her updates in from jewelry school. Check out her blog HERE.


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Frozen (2013) & Frozen II (2019)

(sing to “Do you want to build a snowman?”) Do you want a movie review? Husband, Miss Bun and I got one just for you! We plan to discuss Frozen 1 and 2 as it really makes sense. We really need to send a BIG thank you to Kim and Drew for hosting us… (tick tock tick tock) for the Ultimate 2010s Blogathon!

Our little family saw Frozen during a long…

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Ultimate 2010s Blogathon: Denis Villeneuve: Defining a Decade using Shades of Grey by Police Entertainment Network

Welcome to week 2 of the Ultimate 2010s Blogathon! Today’s entry is not a review like all the entries last week but rather a retrospective. A retrospective of Denis Villeneuve, a decade-defining director of the 2010s, and three of his biggest works that were released during the 2010s. This retrospective comes from Jordan, founder and head writer of Police Entertainment Network. Jordan and his writers cover not only movies and other cinema related topics but topics about on duty police officers as well. It is a unique site that is well worth checking out. But before you do that, here is Jordan’s look at a decade of Denis Villeneuve.


(Spoilers ahead for Prisoners, Sicario, and Arrival)

The 2010s are incredibly difficult to define when it comes to the films released in the decade. If you look at box office alone, it’s easily the best decade of all time with 8 of the top 10 grossing movies coming out in the last 10 years. If you expand that to the top 25, a whopping 22 of them came from this period of time. It was clearly the pinnacle of blockbuster filmmaking. We got 21 out of the 23 MCU movies, 5 Star Wars movies, a whole bunch of Disney “live-action” remakes, a resurgence of the Mission Impossible franchise, and a surprising number of great war films. Even if you just take the blockbusters, creating a Top 10 Movies of the Decade list was a daunting task. Add in the rest of the movies that came out, and it became nearly impossible.

I forced myself to really focus on the films that stuck with me in more ways than just pure entertainment. What I noticed was a lot of the films in contention were ones that posed a morally tough question to the audience and allowed us to decide who was in the right. While this genre is not new, there were quite a few of these films that came out this decade, possibly reflecting where we were in society. And in reviewing these films in contention that fell into this category, I noticed an interesting pattern. Denis Villeneuve directed three of them.

Prisoners, Sicario, and Arrival are easily three of my favorite movies not only of the decade, but ever. All three films place their protagonists in fascinating moral dilemmas and each allows the audience to decide for themselves if they make the right decisions. They are as thought provoking as they are entertaining. Each is expertly crafted, beautiful, and masterful pieces of art in their own way.

2013’s Prisoners features Hugh Jackman as a father who has every parent’s worst fear realized- his daughter is kidnapped in broad daylight in front of their home. Jake Gyllenhaal plays the lead detective on the case. Jackman, not content with the speed at which the police are investigating the case, takes matters into his own hands. He kidnaps the primary suspect and tortures him mercilessly to try and obtain the whereabouts of his daughter. This may seem like an extreme measure, and the movie doesn’t shy away from the fact that it is, but it’s also really hard to blame him. Most parents would probably do whatever it takes to save a child, if given the chance to do so. But I’m also able to see it from Gyllenhaal’s point of view. As a police officer or detective, it is your responsibility to make sure an investigation is thorough and within the confines of the law so that you can not only save this child, but also successfully prosecute the suspect to prevent it to happening to other children. Though it may be hard to blame Jackman’s character from acting in emotion, it’s also pretty clear he is in the wrong. I think even he understands that. But it’s also interesting to think about how you would react in the same situation.

Sicario is my second favorite film of the decade. It’s a beautiful yet disturbing look at the ugly world of drug cartels and the War on Drugs. As a police officer, I’m involved in that war every day. I see the results of drug addiction and the devastating effects it has on families and on the community at large. I like to think I’ve made a little bit of a difference but I also understand any drug seizure I can realistically make only actually affects a small number of people. The people that have the biggest effect are those on the frontline, like the DEA or FBI as depicted in Sicario. They are the ones, in addition to their counterparts in Mexico, that can actually fight the evil that is the Cartels.

While I believe the fight against drugs is necessary, Sicario draws a clear line that most people would feel uncomfortable crossing. Emily Blunt stars as a young, somewhat naïve FBI agent named Kate who is also a stand-in of sorts for the audience. When she is called on a special task force to take the fight to a cartel, she is eager to do so. She is somewhat taken aback at the actual horrors of life in a Cartel controlled city, which I think initially lessens the blow of the extreme techniques fellow task force members, played by Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro. However, as the movie plays out, the measures become more extreme, and true motives are revealed, Kate becomes more uncomfortable with the whole operation, as does the audience. This leads to a final confrontation between Del Toro’s hitman and the Cartel boss. Del Toro executes him, as well as his wife and children. This very clearly is crossing a line, but we also learn that Del Toro’s character’s wife was murdered at the hands of that same boss. This adds a lot of depth in a way that the audience might not agree at all with what he did, but many will be able to empathize with him, just as they did with Jackman’s character in Prisoners.

Each character is so layered that each member of the audience will draw their own line on the lengths the task force should have gone to. This is evident in one of the last scenes where Kate is forced to sign off on the operation, declaring it only used legal methods, by Del Toro at gun point, but can’t pull the trigger on him as he’s leaving. I think that she, like the audience, is questioning how much evil, if any, should be used to fight a greater evil, and therefore is struggling with where to draw the line herself.

Lastly, we get to 2016’s Arrival. This film sees Amy Adams as a linguist forced to try and learn an alien language in order to decode messages and figure out their intent. As the movie goes on, she begins to have dreams and visions about a life that doesn’t appear to be hers, in which her daughter dies at a young age due to an incurable illness. We eventually learn that knowing the alien language allows her to see time in a non-linear fashion and that those dream are actually her life in the future. With this new knowledge, Adams’ character decides to still get married and have the child, despite knowing her devastating fate. It’s fascinating to think about the concept and the morality of being able to see your future and change it in the past. Are the good experiences and memories you have with people worth it, even if it ends eventually? Would you change certain events in your past or future, knowing that those events have a strong impact on who you are as a person? Villeneuve makes you think about those options by presenting both sides of the argument in Adams’ and Jeremy Renner’s characters.

My first cinematic loves were Star Wars and Jurassic Park. We got several entries into each series this decade, with varying degrees of quality. I’ll always look forward to new installments of those series, as well as things like the MCU and DCEU. However, these three films from Denis Villeneuve and others like Ex Machina, Whiplash, and Hell or High Water defined a decade with their thought provoking shades of grey. I can’t wait to see if this trend continues as we move into the 2020s, or if something else takes its place.


If you’ve missed any of the blogathon entries, you can find a list of them all here.

Ultimate 2010s Blogathon: The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box (2013) by 18 Cinema Lane

Ending week 1 of the Ultimate 2010s Blogathon is from Sally Silverscreen of 18 Cinema Lane, who shares her review the lesser known film The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box. Head over to Tranquil Dreams to check it out! See you next week. 🙂

Tranquil Dreams

Wrapping up the first week of Ultimate 2010s Blogathon is a review of 2014 fantasy-adventure film, The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box by Sally Silverscreen of 18 Cinema Lane.

18 Cinema Lane is a beautiful movie blog which shares a variety of movie-related posts, not just reviews. While Sally reviews a lot of variety of movies, she does cover a lot of Hallmark movies due to her appreciation for them. Be sure to head over to check out her blog if you haven’t already and give her a follow HERE.


The Adventurer

Take 3: The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box Review

Because I wrote an editorial for the Ultimate 2000s Blogathon, I decided to write a movie review for the Ultimate 2010s Blogathon. The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box is a film I had never heard of until I researched titles for this event. Since…

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Ultimate 2010s Blogathon: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) Review by Box Office Buzz

We’re almost done with week one of the Ultimate 2010s Blogathon but we’re not quite there yet. Today’s entry comes from Ashley, who has recently retired her blog, Box Office Buzz. Even though she is no longer contributing to her personal blog, she is a frequent writer for Earth Station One podcast network and Story Geeks, which are linked below. There is no doubt that Star Wars has been a decade-spanning phenomenon. In 2015, Disney brought us back to the galaxy far, far away in their first film since acquiring Lucasfilm in 2012 in Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens. This film is very special to Ashley but I will let her explain that herself.


Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens movie poster

When I started thinking about what film from the 2010s had influenced me the most, the answer came easily: I’d have to pick “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

I’ve been a hardcore Star Wars fan since high school/college, but for a long time, I assumed that Star Wars Episodes I-VI was all we’d get. It was fun to daydream and speculate about what Episodes VII-IX could be like, but I never really got my hopes up. I thought that even a Star Wars live-action TV show was a far-fetched dream.

That’s why I’ll never forget the moment, back in late 2012, when I found out that Disney had purchased Lucasfilm. It almost didn’t seem real at first, and I remember being giddy with excitement. I would actually get to return to my favorite galaxy “a long time ago” and “far, far away.”

While I’ve enjoyed pretty much everything from the Disney era of Lucasfilm, “Episode VII: The Force Awakens” will always hold a special place in my heart. It was the first film from the Disney/Lucasfilm era, and it introduced a number of new characters who now rank among my all-time favorite characters in the Star Wars franchise.

I remember going to see “The Force Awakens” with a group of friends on opening night in 2015, buzzing with anticipation, anxiety, and excitement. What would this new era of Star Wars be like? Would it capture the same magic as the original films? Or would it feel like something entirely different?

Over the years, I’ve heard criticisms that “The Force Awakens” is essentially a remake of “A New Hope,” but I’ve personally never seen it that way. Sure, it starts on a desert planet and features a young protagonist discovering their Force powers, but I’ve always felt that “The Force Awakens” has its own special kind of magic.

The Star Wars sequel trilogy is all about grappling with the past while also figuring out how to move forward into the future. I’m sure it was so tempting to just tell a straightforward story, with familiar heroes like Han, Luke, and Leia riding in to save the day once again. Instead, these beloved characters are given more nuanced, complex arcs, with plenty of mistakes and flaws.

As we know from real-life history, winning a war doesn’t mean an automatic happily-ever-after. Even though the Rebels beat the Empire, they didn’t defeat all of evil for all of time. That’s not the way the world works. However, it’s important that we keep defending what is right, and we can trust that good WILL win out in the end.

In terms of the film’s newer characters, Rey has come to mean a lot to me as a fan. I now have not one, not two, but three different cosplays of this character, and I love her arc across the three sequel trilogy films

We’d seen female Jedi in the past in live action movies, but they were more in the background. This time, Rey gets to be the star of the whole show, and that was really important to me as a female fan.

I still get a little teary-eyed when I watch that scene with her and Kylo in the snowy forest on Starkiller Base, when Kylo is trying to call the Skywalker saber to him using the Force, but it flies past him and snaps into Rey’s hand instead.

When I walked out of the theater after watching “The Force Awakens,” I felt like I was floating on a cloud. I was so excited that Star Wars was back, and I couldn’t wait to see what came next. Now, five years later, I’m still just as excited, and while I don’t know what’s ahead for Star Wars post-“The Rise of Skywalker,” I’m eager to find out.

Note: Even though I’ve now retired my WordPress blog, Box Office Buzz, you can find me writing for the Earth Station One podcast network at https://esonetwork.com/author/boxofficebuzzab/ and the Story Geeks at https://thestorygeeks.org/author/ashley/!


If you’ve missed any of the blogathon entries, you can find a list of them all here.

Ultimate 2010s Blogathon: Train to Busan (2012) by John Rieber

Our first guest of the Ultimate 2010s blogathon is John Rieber who reviews one of my favorite foreign films of the decade: Train to Busan. Head over to Tranquil Dreams to check it out!

Tranquil Dreams

The first guest review of Ultimate 2010s Blogathon is for 2016 South Korean zombie film, Train to Busan by John Rieber, who runs a blog under his own name. He covers a lot of really fun topics from movies, TV and all things pop culture along with spectacular food and travel. Its truly a wonderful one stop for a lot of variety of topics and he always has a nice and refreshing angle in how he shares it! Remember to stop by to check out his blog and give him a follow HERE.

Train to Busan

The Terrifying “Train To Busan” Is Now Departing!

Looking back at a decade of great cinema, I’m always interested in seeing films that take an established genre and bring something fresh to the table.  That is certainly the case with “Train To Busan”.

South Korean Director Sang-ho Yeon delivers a modern zombie classic, blending…

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Ultimate 2010s Blogathon Kick-Off: Eighth Grade (2018) Review

Hello, friends!

Welcome to part 2 of the fifth Ultimate Decades Blogathon! Since it is the start of the new decade, this year the blogathon is looking back at the one that just wrapped up: the 2010s. My co-host Kim from Tranquil Dreams shared her kick-off post and her review of The Wandering Earth and discusses the impact streaming services like Netflix have had on international and indie films.  Head over there an check that out if you haven’t already. Now it is time for my kick-off post and review of the coming-of-age film Eighth Grade.


Eighth Grade movie poster

Synopsis
Kayla (Elsie Fisher) prepares for her final week of eighth grade.

Review
Before getting into my review, I wanted to highlight some ways that Eighth Grade is an incredible snapshot of the 2010 decade:

  1. Instagram and Snapchat. Maybe these app will still be very popular in the coming decade, but as of early 2020, seeing the characters in this film use Instagram so much is such a 2010s thing. Same with Snapchat, a popular messaging app. Instagram was released in 2010 and Snapchat in 2011, so having them be such a prominent part of the movie instantly places the movie in the 2010 decade.
  2. Every kid has a smart phone. I remember when I received my first cell phone. In high school. Back when all they did was make calls and play the game Snake. In this film, every kid has a cell phone. And not just any cell phone, a smart phone .
  3. BuzzFeed quizzes. How many BuzzFeed quizzes have you seen and/or taken about what kind of pizza topping are you or what character from a specific movie or TV show? The site didn’t begin offering these quizzes until the early- to mid-2010s.
  4. Language and behavior. Every decade has their own slang and behavior quirks. For instance, during a sex education video, the speaker used the phrase “it’s gonna be lit,” which was even out of date by the time this was released in 2018. At one point the principal dabbed, a move made popular by professional football player Cam Newton in 2015. Several teens can be seen doing the floss, a dance move popular among children and teens, which has been seen as early as 2010 but gained popularity in 2017 thanks to “the backpack kid” performing the move on Saturday Night Live.
  5. Strong message about self-image. Numerous coming-of-age films over the decades have dealt with being yourself and being confident in who you are. However, I feel it wasn’t until the 2010s that this genre really dealt with self-love and being positive with your self-image, especially with young women. It’s great to see such an important topic getting the attention it deserves and Eighth Grade is the best of them.

Now bear in mind, some of these items might continue to be popular in the 2020s. So if you’re reading this in the future and are thinking to yourself, “those things are still around,” the reasons I listed above are through the lens of looking at this film in February of 2020, pretty much immediately after the closing of the 2010s. If I’ve learned anything from doing these decade retrospectives for the Ultimate Decades Blogathons, it’s that no two decades are alike and each have their own defining traits.

Every generation has their coming-of-age films. This generation is lucky enough to have Eighth Grade, which honestly probably has the rest of ours beat. Don’t get me wrong, there have been plenty of great coming-of-age films over the years but none have felt as authentic or genuine as Eight Grade. The young Elsie Fisher is the heart and soul of this movie. Under director Bo Burnham’s hand, Fisher gives a performance unexpected from someone of her age. She is awkward, she is funny, and her performance is both unflinchingly pure and awe-inspiring hopeful. I can’t compliment her enough for her acting in this film.

Outside of Fisher, the rest of the cast is there to be either a foil or support for Kayla, Fisher’s character. Every interaction Kayla has with the other characters are there to grow her in some way. Mark, Kayla’s father played by Josh Hamilton, acts as Kayla’s biggest supporter, even if she might not appreciate it at the time. Together, Hamilton and Fisher have one of the most emotionally charged scenes towards the end of the film. Kayla has two antagonists, for a lack of a better term, in Kennedy and Steph, played by Catherine Oliviere and Nora Mullins respectively. They are there to challenge her self-confidence and her image. Later on in the movie, Kayla befriends several high schoolers who become an example of the type of person she could be in just a few years. It is during one scene with one of these high schoolers that was one of the most gut-wrenching and impactful of the entire film for me. Again, it only proved what a capable actress Fisher is. Lastly, there are a couple of Kayla’s crushes thrown in for good measure. By the end of the film Kayla has grown tremendously, even for a film that takes place within the span of a week.

Score can play a big part in creating the emotion. In Eighth Grade, the score behaves rather uniquely. When it’s just Kayla or Kayla is moving or doing something, there is music accompanying it. However, whenever she begins conversing with someone, the score stops. This is a powerful technique because it puts the audience’s full attention on the characters. It is up to the characters alone to carry the movie. With a lesser lead, this could have failed dramatically. Instead, the fantastic performances from Fisher and the rest of the cast are only highlighted, especially during the more intimate moments.

I thought Eighth Grade was GREAT 😀 Bo Burnham’s script and direction is one of the purest explorations of being a teenager I have ever seen in cinema. Elsie Fisher carries the film with her sincere portrayal of Kayla. My only minor gripe is that a couple of the early storylines are dropped part way through as more come up. However, since this this story takes place within a couple of days and not everything in life gets closure quickly, it’s a small annoyance I can overlook. Coming-of-age movies can feel like a dime a dozen but one like Eighth Grade only comes about once a generation and is not worth missing.

Trivia
Filming began one week after actress Elsie Fisher graduated eighth grade (via IMDb).

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Bo Burnham – Director / Writer
Anna Meredith – Composer

Elsie Fisher – Kayla Day
Josh Hamilton – Mark Day
Emily Robinson – Olivia
Jake Ryan – Gabe
Daniel Zolghardri – Riley
Fred Hechinger – Trevor
Imani Lewis – Aniyah
Luke Prael – Aiden
Catherine Oliviere – Kennedy
Nora Mullins – Steph
Missy Yagger – Mrs. Graves


Stop by our blogs daily to see who shows up next and what they consider to be the ultimate 2010s film. Use the tag #Ultimate2010s to share your comments or entries for the blogathon on twitter. If you miss any of the entries, Kim is keeping an aggregated list on her site, which you can check out here.