Well, another year, another gaggle of films to decipher and ruminate upon.
Below are my 11 favorite films that I viewed in 2010.
As you all know, I don't go to the theater that often, so I missed the biggies including The Black Swan, The Social Network, True Grit and other critical darlings such as The King's Speech, Hereafter and The Fighter.
That's why most of these films are available on DVD, HBO and On Demand. And, due to my extensive Netflix DVD queue, some of these weren't even released in 2010.
Now, with that disclaimer, I give to you my 11 favorite films of 2010 (in no particular order):
What a fun, entertaining super-hero film. A bit gory for the younger lads. But, this is a truly refreshing take on the boring super-hero franchise that's exploding in Hollywood. Director Matthew Vaugn puts together a fun, faithful adaptation of Mark Millar and John Romita Jr's graphic novel of the same name. Check ' er out in all it's gory glory.
Look, I know the dream thing has been done before (i.e. DREAMSCAPE, NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, BRAINSTORM, STRANGE DAYS, etc), but man, was I ever impresssed with this movie. The Nolan brothers created a fantastic, creative film that makes you think one day, two weeks, a year after you watch it. It's these type of creative movies that gets me pumped up about the future of the movie industry. This may not be the Best Movie of the Year, but it should be commended for it's brashness, creativity, special effects intricate plot - not to mention fantastic ending. Check 'er out!
I'm a fan of creative, thought-provoking time travel movies such as TIME BANDITS, BACK TO THE FUTURE, 12 MONKEYS and PRIMER. TIME CRIMES is another great movie to add to the list. Rather than focusing on a big spectacle of a film, Director Nacho Vigalondo uses his modest budget to create an intimate, thought-provoking look into the intricacies and eventual pitfalls of time travel - with only four actors! I'll admit I was a little hesitant and dubious when I read the critical praise and positive reviews. But this film exceeded expectations. NOTE: If you rent this DVD, choose the Spanish-language version with English subtitles. I'm not a big fan of Dubbed English. Check 'er out.
The Kids Are All Right
Great story, plot, screenplay and direction. However, it's the acting that makes this film stand apart from a lot of the crap out there today. Watching Annette Bening, Julienne Moore and Mark Ruffalo ply their trade is worth the rental alone. Writer/Director Lisa Cholodenko has created a very original film about a very unique family. Highly recommended.
Toy Story 3
Fresh new story to make this one of the best trilogies of all time. Great story. Great direction. Fantastic animation and art direction. Phenomenal flick. However, take the kids with a small warning, this is the darkest of the three. However, that's probably why I enjoyed it so much. Also, this is the only movie of 2010 that I almost cried. I said almost.
Fantastic Mr. Fox
I'll admit, I was a bit wary at the beginning of this film. The animation didn't look click for some reason. However, in less than five minutes, I completely fell in love with this film. This movie is vintage Wes Anderson in animation form with his cast of regulars lending their voices. Great, witty script by Anderson, Baumbach and - of course - Roald Dahl truly adds that special touch to the film that hurdles it over the three-star quagmire. Possibly after a couple viewings, it may sneak into a five-star film. Just a wonderful animated film that's on-par with anything Pixar or Disney has ever created.
Dark, bleak, depressing and horrific - but it's a damn good movie just the same. Director John Hillcoat once again knocks a movie out of the ballpark. And cintematographer Javier Aguirresarobe is dead on. Exactly what I pictured when I read McCarthy's book (three times!) As the book states, this movie defines what it means to be a father. However, this movie isn't for everyone. Some people watch movies to escape the drudgery of life. The Road forces you to face your humanity and, possibly, pull yourself up and fight for one more day. One of my favorite books of all time. Pretty damn good movie too.
I'm not sure where all the haters were coming from with this movie (could it have been the side plot about the children?), but I thought this was not only a great Scorcese film, but a great film...period. Great acting, directing (of course!), editing by long-time Scorcese editor Thelma Shoonmaker and plot by Dennis Lehane's suspenseful novel. Lest I forget fantastic cinematography by veteran shooter Robert Richardson (KILL BILL, BASTERDS and WALL STREET). The final scene prior to credits adds another dimension that wasn't present in Lehane's book. Let the head scratching begin. Check 'er out.
Fantastic documentary. If this doesn't wake you up about humanity and what's going to happen when we run out of oil, I'm not sure what will. Take a break from your bubble-gum comedies, vampire dramas and sci shoot-em ups and watch this film. As the front of the DVD states...Superb. Riveting. Mesmerizing. And very frightening.
The Ghost Writer
Polanski does it again. Great political thriller that is both entertaining, easy to understand and surprisingly fun! Reminded me of a Kubrick film. Great acting all around, too. Kim Catrell does a good job in an non-SEX AND THE CITY role - with all her clothes on, too! Ewan, Pierce and the rest of the cast come together to make a splendid film with a fantastic ending. Check er' out.
Fantastic film. Great directing cinematography, acting and story. In a way, this movie reminded my of Capatin Willard searching for Colonel Kurtz in APOCALYPSE NOW. But, it's a truly unique film that gives an unflinching look at poverty, deadbeat dads, drug abuse and family. Jennifer Lawrence carries this film on her shoulders as Ree Dolly. Just like 2009's under-the-radar breakout film THE HURT LOCKER, this film is not to be missed.
Well, there you have it. I'm sure it would have changed had I seen The Social Network, The Black Swan, and the other above mentioned films. But these were my personal best of 2010. Hopefully this will motivate you to check some of these flicks out that you may not have seen.
Tomorrow: The 10 Worst Movies I viewed in 2010.
Monday: The 10 Best Books I read in 2010.