As a prelude to our 'top ten films of 2010' The 405 brings you The 405 Film Awards, our little way of shining the online spotlight on the more esoteric, niche, or down-right abysmal films that you might otherwise have passed on for the glitzy thrills of the big hitters like Avatar(!). The awards will be as follows: Best Use Of A Tiny, Tiny Budget Best Poster Most Disappointing Best Ridiculous, Hilarious and Overtly French Animation Biggest Surprise Most Unnecessary Film So without further ado, please imagine a topical celebrity of your choice reading out the following:
Best Use Of A Tiny, Tiny Budget // Most Misleading Title
Winner: Monsters

Danny futurises: Monsters is a brilliant film, and one I enjoyed immensely. Notably, it was also made for peanuts (reportedly a production budget of just $15,000), had only two professional actors (who are also an item), won 'Best British Independent Film'...and isn't really about Monsters. Unless, of course, the title doesn't refer to Edwards' incredible (and scientifically plausible) CGI beasts... Either way, this is more Before Sunrise than Godzilla, a road-movie, travelogue, social commentary, romance, buddy's certainly not a horror, an action movie or a monster movie, as some of the pre-release materials suggested. Hell, it's not even-post apocalyptic! Still, it's a highly entertaining and frequently arresting film that makes me highly optimistic about both Edwards himself but also the future of UK Sci-Fi.

Best Poster:

Honourable Mention: TRON: Legacy

Runner-up: Black Swan

Danny: Art-deco posters need to make more of a comeback. These are gorgeous, and hark back to a day when film posters were more than just tacky, photoshopped-to-oblivion typographical embarrassments.

Winner: Buried.

Dylan observes: Despite being a little self-congratulatory, it managed to perfectly sum up the themes of the film without giving anything away. The grey and black is very stylish, and the font wonderfully harsh and angular. Perfectly sums up a man on the edge of oblivion, and who quite simply, looks buried.

Most Disappointing Film

Runner-up: The Wolfman

Dylan Spicer growls: A huge muddle of contradictions and half-baked ideas. Although it looked gorgeous in places, it also looked stagey and false. The ending felt tacked on, and irrelevant to most of the plot. Everyone from director to costume department seemed to be simply going through the motions, and the result was a dull hodgepodge of genre conventions. A movie that fell down the cracks.

Winner: Avatar
Danny Wadeson purrs: Well, it sold a lot, so I guess it didn't disappoint any of the cast or crew. On the other hand, we were promised a mind bending, technological marvel, and even though there were moments of visual beauty that brought quite literal tears to my eyes, the film itself was over-long, over-wrought, and favoured entirely the wrong Zoe Saldana/Sam Worthington ratio. I left the IMAX after the credits feeling horribly conflicted; and not just because I wasn't sure if it's appropriate to be aroused by giant blue cats.
Best Ridiculous, Hilarious and Overtly French Animation
Winner: A Town Called Panic

Danny neighs: Ok, you guessed it, we made up the title of this award with one particular film in mind. Since seeing Hammer & Tongs' A Town Called Panic at the cinema I've subsequently struggled to both recount how utterly entertained I was by it, and also what it actually is. Well, here goes nothing: It's the absurd, surreal, truly irreverent and hilarious, tale of Cowboy, Indian, and Mr. Horse (or Msr. Cheval to give him his proper title) and their house collapsing under the weight of ten million bricks. It's the story of an aquatic teenager stealing the subsequently re-built abode. It's the story of a hungry, very brusque farmer. It's the story of a no-questions asked totalitarian policeman. It's unique and the closest thing I can think to compare it to would be a Gallic re-imagining of an episode of Robot Chicken crossed with Adam and Joe's Toy Movies on crack. C'est tres bon!

Biggest Surprise
Runner-up: Bad Lieutenant
Danny trips: First shock: Nicholas Cage's thrilling return to form as drug-addled but ultimately, morally grounded New Orleans detective Terence McDonagh Second: That Werner Herzog was able to make such a narrative-driven, hilariously depraved and still 'Herzog-ian' film. "Why the fuck is there an iguana on my coffee table?!" If you've been hankering for a film that wears its heart on its sleeve, is depraved, brilliant and has a great ending, don't miss out on this one. It has its flaws and is a little over-long but there are moments in this film quite unlike anything else you've probably ever seen.
Winner: The Social Network
Dylan updates his status: I love David Fincher, but a movie about Facebook? There was nothing about the plot that made me want to see this film. In fact, this turned out to be a brilliantly directed and very gripping look at friendship, college life, and betrayal. It was also surprisingly funny. If you have any doubts about this film, put them aside and watch it. Danny: Like Dylan says, I was in no way prepared for how hilarious this film is, and consistently so. In no small part due to Aaron Sorkin's incredible script which was almost screw-ball in places.
Most Unnecessary film
Runner-up: Robin Hood
Marya crowes: Another film that looks great on paper – Russell Crowe, William Hurt and Cate Blanchett under the direction of Ridley Scott. However, this my friends, was no Gladiator. Instead we got a mish-mash of legend mixed with “history” – although many liberties were taken with said “history.” – leaving a bad taste in the mouth of many an audience member who actually knows even the slightest bit about the time period. With all the great versions of this story out there – from Disney’s animated version (my favorite) to the one with Kevin Costner to Robin Hood: Men In Tights – it begs the questions, do we even need another version of this story? Let alone a franchise. Also, much like Clash of the Titans, this film was set up for a sequel and also like Clash, you will have to drug me to get me to watch it. An Honorable Mention goes to Tim Burton’s Alice In Wonderland, which was almost too-Burton for its own good. It felt stale and uninspired. Burton needs to take a step back, re-watch Ed Wood and Big Fish and bring something new to his next feature or he’ll start to alienate a lot of his previous fans.
Winner: Clash Of The Titans
Marya roars: Compared to 2009, 2010 has been a pretty lackluster year when it comes to the amount of fabulous films released. In fact, the ratio of utter crap to great films this year, some would argue, has been pretty high this year in favor of utter crap. One film in particular stands out to me as not being the worst thing ever, but at the same time being so lifeless, uninspired and downright mediocre that it falls under the category of “unnecessary.” For me this honor, or dishonor rather, goes to the big-budget remake of Clash of the Titans. I mean, the original was also not the best film ever, but it remains a revered cult classic. It’s campy and pretty much so bad it’s good. The remake, however, tried to be something greater – and failed miserably. On paper the supporting cast looks great – Ralph Fiennes Liam Neeson, etc.. But these great actors were wasted on a bad script and even worse direction. Anchoring the cast was leading man du jour Sam Worthington, who in my opinion has the screen presence of a wet mop. Actually, that’s not fair to mops; even the mop in those Swiffer ads has more presence than Worthington. I’m really not sure what’s worse: that the film grossed nearly $500 million at the box office or that it was clearly set up for a sequel. I guess when that film gets released it’ll be primed to become that “Most Unnecessary Sequel” of its year.