Archive for December 27th, 2010

Top Ten Movies 2010

  1. Inception: When was the last time you saw a big budget summer blockbuster that didn’t treat its audience like idiots. Strangely enough it was two years ago and the movie was The Dark Knight, Christopher Nolan has done it again. Inception is an intelligent and thoughtful movie with sublime acting, fantastic photography and a plot with just enough ambiguity to emphasise the existential themes. Not only the best but probably the most talked about movies of the year.
  2. The Secret in Their Eyes: Don’t be put off by the subtitles, this really is one of the best movies of the year, it was the surprise winner of the Oscar for Best Foreign Language film and only the second movie ever to receive five stars on this very website (the first is at number one on this list). Set against a backdrop of the political instability in Argentina following the death of Perón this is as much a political history as it is a thriller but that enhances the plot not detracts from it. It also features the most impressive (seemingly) single take shot ever, even outdoing Snake Eyes.
  3. Monsters: I went into this movie expecting to see a great movie for the miniscule budget, what I got instead was a great movie. Blending the themes of an existential road movie, a monster movie, an allegorical tale about war and a love story, it could have been a mess but not only is it brilliantly constructed it also appears strangely effortless in its delivery. To quote Ross McG “there wasnt really any part of the film that didnt work”
  4. Winter’s Bone: Director Debra Granik has crafted perfectly paced taught and gritty thriller, Cinematographer Michael McDonough manages to find a strange beauty in the dark and hostile landscapes of The Ozark Mountains where the movie is set but it is Jennifer Lawrence performance that really makes this movie sensational. It isn’t a movie that you will want to watch frequently but it is certainly a rewarding experience.
  5. Kick-Ass: What would happen if an ordinary everyday person decided to become a supper hero? Haven’t we seen this one before, it was called Watchmen and it failed to find the audience it deserved last year. Kick-Ass has a lot in common with Watchmen but is also very different from it, it is these contradictions that make it so good. It isn’t really a superhero movies and it isn’t a spoof of superhero movies either. It isn’t a comedy and but it is extremely funny at times. It is a coming of age drama, a satire on human nature and modern society and a violent bloody action movie. It is also the most fun movie of the year, or is it?
  6. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: No this isn’t the other contender for the most fun movie of the year, with images of rape and violence the film is often difficult to watch, but don’t be put off by this. It is a great movie and the most shocking and violent scenes however brutal are integral to the plot. Based on a novel by Stieg Larsson, the Hollywood remake is already in production but it is worth seeing this Swedish version for one simple reason: Noomi Rapace, having read the books I couldn’t imagine any actress bringing the character of Lisbeth Salander to life, now I have seen it I can’t imagine anyone else playing the part.
  7. The Social Network: This may not be the best film of the year but it is certainly the best written and the best directed. How they made a movie from the subject matter is a surprise, how they made such a fantastic movie is a minor miracle. The casting is nothing short of perfection with Jesse Eisenberg and Andrew Garfield giving the performances of their careers and like so many of David Fincher’s previous movies I suspect this one that will get better with time and repeated viewings.
  8. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: Depending on your point of view Scott Pilgrim Vs The World is either the coolest movie of the year or a flashy over edited mess that is trying too hard. Well it made it to my top ten movies of the year but only the lower reaches so I guess that says it all, I’m leaning towards the very cool argument but can see the imperfections of the movie. The casting is spot on and the action brilliantly choreographed, the script is cutting and funny but above all it is great fun, yes if you haven’t guessed this is the other contender for the most fun movie of the year.
  9. The Road: I know this is a 2009 movie but it came out in 2010 in the UK and that’s my criteria. Early on in the movie the voiceover tells us “The world gets colder week by week as the world slowly dies” This is a bleak movie but it isn’t a depressing movie. Think of it more as an exploration of mortality than a warning of impending doom. Look at the way “The Boy” has absorbed the life and moral lessons taught to him by his farther and is now able to pass them back to his farther and the audience providing a moral compass for the movie and a glimmer of hope for humanity.
  10. The Ghost: Directed by Roman Polanski with a script by Polanski and Robert Harris, the author of the book on which the film is based, The Ghost is a timely story. Released in the UK around the time of the Chilcot Enquiry it tells the story of a controversial former British prime minister as he attempts to write his autobiography with the help of a ghost-writer. All this is rolled up in an old-fashioned murder mystery thriller. The movie received some unfair (in my opinion) reviews and was moderately successful, this could have as much to do with its controversial director as the movie he has produced.

Honourable mentions or The movies I found it hardest to miss off the top ten

  • Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
  • Another Year
  • Shutter Island
  • Up in the Air
  • A Prophet

A note on the selected movies. All movies received a UK cinema release in 2010 and where seen by me in a cinema.

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