Thursday, January 06, 2011

Top 10 Movies of 2010

Following the precedent set by my list of Top 10 movies for 2009, this year's list shall only consist of movies that are eligible for the 2010 Oscar and that I also saw in 2010, not just Oscar-eligible movies that I saw whenever or non Oscar-eligible movies that I saw in the last calendar year. Anyway, here is MadProfessah's list of Top 10 movies for 2010 (you can select film names to read my reviews):
10. The TownThis is Ben Affleck's second feature film that he has directed, following an excellent debut with Gone, Baby, Gone. This time he also co-wrote the screenplay and is the lead actor. Affleck wisely cast Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker) in the pivotal role as Affleck's character's childhood best friend. The Town features some broad Bostonian accents and some thrilling heist and chase sequences well-executed and well-directed. It is the love story at the heart of the film which makes an indelible impression, however.
9. The FighterDirected by David O. Russell and starring Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale as brothers with Amy Adams and Melissa Leo as their girlfriend and mother, respectively. The Fighter at first glance would appear to be a quotidian example of yet-another boxing film attempting to ape Rocky, but it is energized by an incendiary performance by Bale as a quirky, crack-addicted, former boxing champ who is trying to train his older brother to a world title. Leo and Adams are also excellent in their somewhat confined roles, while Wahlberg is surprisingly very good indeed. And it's based on a true story!
7. True Grit. Who in their right mind would try and adapt an Oscar-winning classic Western and cast an unknown in their debut movie role in the film's central character? The Coen Brothers, of course! True Grit stars Jeff Bridges in the role which John Wayne won his Oscar and Matt Damon plays the second male lead. Introducing Hailee Steinfeld (remember that name) as the 14-year-old girl who wants revenge for the murder of her daddy and who gets more than she bargained for. The cinematography is stunning and the language of the original book the movie is based on is highlighted in a delightfully entertaining way.
7. The King's Speech. Appears to be genetically designed for Oscars: a period picture (London between World War I and II), more legendary British actors than you can shake a stick at, a lead character with a personal disability he needs to overcome in order to succeed at his job and a quirky supporting character who helps the lead character achieve his goal. Of course, "the job" Colin Firth has to succeed at is public speaking, because he is the King of England. And the quirky supporting character is played by the always delightful Geoffrey Rush. The film is bolstered by Firth's remarkable performance; he makes the audience feel sympathy for a monarch, never an easy task.
6. 127 Hours. This was the movie which had the most visceral impact on me during the entire year. How could it not? James Franco depicts the real story of a guy who got trapped for more than 5 days and nights in a canyon and hacked his own arm off (with a dull implement, no less) in order to surviver and have the movie of his life directed frenetically by the Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle. I admit that I looked away from the screen during those scenes but I defy you not to watch this film without your heart racing at some point.
5. The Kids Are All Right. Lesbian moms who watch gay porn as foreplay?Ohhhhh- kay. What really makes this surprisingly affecting film is the verisimilitude of the depiction of the relationships and mistakes the characters make as they deal with an emotionally fraught situation: teen-aged kids get in contact with the sperm donor their very different lesbian moms used to create their family. Annette Bening and Julianne Moore are equally wonderful as the two leads, but Mrs. Beatty is finally, deservedly, receiving the overdue acclaim (and possibly the statuette) that Hilary Swank has previously denied her (twice!).
4. Waiting for Superman. After seeing this documentary you will be enraged by the way we handle education in this country and the devastating impact this has on children and their (and our) future. The one time I cried in a movie theater all year was in despair realizing that a real person's potential was being disposed of right before my very eyes and there was nothing that I could do about it. Emotionally powerful filmmaking.
3. The Social Network. Film-making of the highest quality: every element just works. From Jesse Eisenberg's annoying "punk genius billionaire" persona, to David Fincher's suspenseful direction of Aaron Sorkin's incredible script punctuated by Trent Reznor's score, The Social Network was the film of the year for 2010. It seizes you from the opening scene and never lets you go.
2. Toy Story 3. Pixar again! Now they are really just ****ing with the rest of Hollywood. Not satisfied with a string of unprecedented successes (11 and counting!) Pixar is now showing that they can make sequels of sequels and they will still be better than 99% of the what the rest of the industry produces.Toy Story 3 in my estimation, is actually the best of the Toy Story films and is in the very top tier of all Pixar films (The Incredibles is still #1 in my book). Even though it is is "just" cartoons, the film's story pack an incredible wallop which allows all members of the audience to either remember their own childhood and the joy of playing with toys, or to experience the film as a delightful romp of toys coming to life. How they are able to repeatedly, unerringly come up with brilliant stories, impeccably executed is one of the wonders of the world. All you can really do is sit back and enjoy the ride for as long as it lasts.
1. Inception. Christopher Nolan is my favorite director, and has been since his feature film debut with Memento. Most of the world knows him for his fantastical box-office success with Batman Begins and The Dark Knight but I love his films (like The Prestige) for the brilliant puzzles, spectacular direction and always, ingenious originality he brings to every endeavor. Even with his reputation I was still dazzled by Inception. A dream within a dream within a dream? A triple ticking-time bomb? Are you kidding me? Inception has all the brilliant film-making of elements of The Social Network and then combines it with a visual feast and a mind-bending screenplay that significant fractions of the tens of millions of people who have seen the film still do not understand. My question is, do you think the top stopped spinning?
The most important (final) scene in Inception
Honorable Mentions: Shutter Island, Kick Ass, How To Train Your Dragon, Winter's Bone.

Oscar Contenders Not Seen in 2010: Black Swan, Inside Job, Carlos, Biutiful. 

1 comment:

Supercords said...

I liked your list. We share some of the same picks, but I've got a couple unconventional favorites of my own. They are here: in case you're interested.



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