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Palo Alto Weekly

Cover Story - January 7, 2011

Good vs. evil

The standout heroes and villains from 2010

Last year's cinematic offerings gave viewers an array of characters to smile or sneer at. "Toy Story 3," for instance, provided everyone's favorite cowboy with an outlet for valor, while a wretched witch cast spells of fear in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1."

Here are 10 of the most virtuous and vile characters caught on screen in 2010, chosen by Weekly film critic Tyler Hanley.

Heroes

Elastic Girl (Julie Ferrier), "Micmacs" Daring was all in a day's work for the flexible, no-nonsense lass who helped topple a pair of money-hungry weapons dealers.

Hit-Girl (Chloe Moretz), "Kick-Ass" OK, so this adolescent vigilante had the mouth of a sailor. She also had the moves of a warrior born. Hit-Girl fought through injury, overwhelming odds and emotional trauma for the sake of justice.

Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), "The King's Speech" Thanks to unwavering guidance from the quirky and likable Logue, King George VI conquered his longstanding stammer just in time to deliver one of the most important speeches in England's history.

Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera), "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World" Love equaled bravery for underdog Scott Pilgrim. The geeky gamer protected (and impressed) the woman of his dreams by courageously battling her seven evil exes.

Woody (voice of Tom Hanks), "Toy Story 3" Woody demonstrated such admirable traits in "Toy Story 3" that it's difficult to list them all: loyalty, courage, generosity, compassion and resolve, to name a few. He staged a daring rescue of his imprisoned pals and brought joy to a vivacious little girl.

Villains

Bellatrix Lestrange (Helena Bonham Carter), "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1" Torture, intimidation and murder were only a few of the trespasses wrought by the cackling and maniacal Lestrange. Her gnarled teeth and knotted hair only accentuated the sinister impression.

Hades (Ralph Fiennes), "Clash of the Titans" The haunting Hades spoke with a heavy tone and moved on a shroud of thick black smoke. Is it too apropos to include the Greek god of the underworld in a top villains list? Nah.

James Coughlin (Jeremy Renner), "The Town" Coughlin made a simple Notre Dame "Fighting Irish" tattoo downright intimidating. The trigger-happy Charlestown criminal valued greed and glory well above human life.

Lots-O'-Huggin' Bear (voice of Ned Beatty), "Toy Story 3" Never has a stuffed pink bear been so sinister. Lots-O's tyrannical reign featured abuse, deceit, kidnapping, threats and, ultimately, cowardice.

Clu (Jeff Bridges), "Tron: Legacy" A misguided despot is dangerous enough, but Clu's CGI-developed facial expressions made the cloned character come across as cold, inhuman and unsettling. Clu's Hitler-esque machinations included inciting violence, genocide and foreign invasion.

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