Saturday, December 25, 2010

Top 10 Movies: 2010

Like so many other years, film goers found themselves under a deluge of crappy films throughout the beginning of 2010. It was an eclectic year for film, but beside the mediocre sequels and brainless comedies, there were a few gems scattered throughout the year.

I haven't seen everything, so there may be films that deserve to be on the list that I've missed - but overall I felt 2010 had a lot to offer. (And a lot that should never have been offered.)

Top 10 films of 2010:

1. Social Network - Aaron Sorkin and David Fincher make a potent combination; the dialogue crackles with raw energy, and there is nothing more topical at the moment than Time's person of the year Mark Zuckerburg and the advent of Facebook.

2. A Prophet - Technically released in 2009, this modern day (and more realistic) Scarface story about a no name's rise to prison kingpin is compelling, brutal, and so freaking cool! Yeah, it may be from France, but don't hold that against this gem of a film.

3. True Grit - D. H. Lawrence once wrote that the essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic and a killer, and no one seems to understand that better than the Coen Brothers. True Grit isn't just a film, it's an homage to the Western and the legends of the Silver Screen.

4. The Town - Ben Affleck's second directorial debut about a Boston gang of bank robbers is taut, cunning, and full of brutal action. But the scene where Jeremy Remner goes down in a hail of gun fire surrounded by police is praise worthy of James Cagney in White Heat.

5. Toy Story 3 - Lovingly crafted, Pixar has made a film that is by turns sweet, funny, and full of danger. It's a shame that many adults dismiss animation, because no one should feel they need to have a kid in tow to watch this delightful and brilliant film.

6. The Fighter - Down on his luck fighter finds girlfriend who helps him learn to believe in himself and gives him the heart of a champion. Yeah, we've seen this before, but the performances by both Amy Adams and Christian Bale are terrific, the fight scenes are tense, and Melissa Leo and the six sisters are unforgettable.

7. Inception - Christopher Nolan's movie about stealing ideas from people's dreams is a time piece of intricate writing, pace, and action that makes his former film Memento look like a wind up watch. Never pandering to the audience, Inception is cinematic surrealism of revolving stairs, there is no one correct way to interpret this film.

8. The Ghost Writer - Yeah, it's directed by Roman Polanski, but this old school Hitchcockian thriller is an ominous web of film noir that spirals Ewan McGregor into further and further peril. Pure suspense at its best, this film is a treat for anyone who has an attention span longer than sixty seconds.

9. The King's Speech - Think the Madness of King George III meets the Miracle Worker, this showcase for Colin Firth as a stammering prince terrified at the thought of having to give a speech is a masterpiece of acting. Geoffery Rush ain't too shabby either.

10. Easy A - A tribute to eighties comedies, Emma Stone hits one out of the park in a break out role that could easily land her on the "A" list. Witty and delightful, its always a blessing when there is a film about teenagers that doesn't view adults as perennially clueless and stupid.

Films that were pretty good, but didn't make the list: Iron Man 2, The Other Guys, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Megamind, Date Night, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, SALT, Kick-Ass, The Expendables...

Films that shouldn't have been made...
(I can't include Sex and The City 2 because I didn't see it, but I bet if I did it would be on this list.)

5. Knight and Day - Here's an idea, let's throw Cameron Diaz and Tom Cruise into some mish mash spy adventure and hope it all works out. Well, it didn't.

4. Robin Hood - Hey, let's tell the story of Robin Hood but cast Russell Crowe, one of the most serious and stoic of all actors as one of the most jolly and flippant of all heroes. There aren't any merry men to be found in this monstrosity that is only colossal in it's dullness.

3. Alice in Wonderland - I like Tim Burton, I do. I like Johnny Depp, I like Helena Bonham Carter - but this bizarre, goth faerie tale is Alice in name only. Someone needs to reign Tim Burton in, first Willy Wonka, and now this. Burton's remakes are defacing classic art.

2. Jonah Hex - I knew it wouldn't be good, but I had no idea it would be so bad either. How does a film like this happen? I blame the terrorists.

1. The Last Airbender - I loved the cartoon series, which is why watching this boring, ponderous, piece of crap was all the more painful because the crap was flying into my eyes because it was 3-D . M. Night Shymalongadingdong - the jig is up. Quit!

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