Best films of 2010 in no particular order

I’ve done my worst of list, my most disappointing list, so now I’ll put my list of the best films I saw on the blog as well. Rather than number the film as I did with previous lists (which in hindsight I think is a bit of an error), I’ll just list the films, what I liked about them and why I think they’re the best films that I saw in the last year. Simples.

Unfortunately there are quite a few films that weren’t released in the UK that came out in the US last year so there will be no 127 Hours, Never Let Me Go, Black Swan, The Fighter, True Grit, Animal Kingdom, The King’s Speech, Blue Valentine, Biutiful, Rabbit Hole. All of these films are being released in a ridiculously short amount of time (little over a month or so, starting from Friday), so I doubt I’ll be able to see this films whithout spending a ridiculous amount of money.

Anyway,onto the best films of 2010!

Up in the Air – this was released in the UK in January of last year and I though it was a fantastic film. Reitman seems to get a lot of stick for coming across as a bit of douche in interviews but he does make some good films. I’m not crazy about Juno, I doubt outright hate it but I don’t love it either. Up In Air features better performances and a better story in my opinion with an ending that feels just right.

How to train your Dragon – Saw this on DVD and not in the cinema and judging by other people’s reaction to this film I may have missed something. The film looks stunning and I can imagine it would look even better on the big screen. A film that doesn’t rely on obvious humour and stereoypical characters (well not so much), they’re likable, funny and voice acting really fits each character. A well told story that doesn’t use cheap tricks to get a reaction from the viewer.

The Other Guys – A little bit patchy but in terms of comedy in film in 2010 its far and above the best the comedy I saw in the last year. Some hilarious jokes, others a little worn and overplayed but it’s one of the rare films that does comedy as well as it does action.

Easy A – I’m not sure it ever, truly overcame the conventions of the teen genre. It did highlight and subvert a few and I’m more than grateful for that especially when teen films seem to be getting entrenched by more ridiculous ideas and conceits and poor execution. Emma Stone as Olive Penderghast was terrific to watch, as were her parents and her performance gives me some hope for the Spider-Man reboot.

Black Dynamite – Terrific blaxploitation spoof, it starts off in ridiculous manner and never lets up constantly making laugh at just how audacious and crazy it all was. It’s deliberately cheap looking and that’s part of fun. Deserves more attention (it’s released in the UK on Blu-Ray DVD on 24th January – Pre Order It!

Cyrus – The film that led me to believe that Jonah Hill can do more than just play the rather rotund and rude character. Actually he’s still a little bit big and obnoxious but in this film it feels very natural. In fact that can be said about all the characters. It’s understated which may lead people into thinking it’s not quite as good as it is but it’s very funny and touching.

The Kids are All Right – A drama about an unconventional set of relationships that shines a light about how difficult it is to raise a family regardless of what kind of relationship the parents are in. One of the few films that dived into the modern sexual politics and did so with a keen eye for character.

The Town – I like Ben Affleck as an actor, I can’t say I’ve seen most of his films (not seen Paycheck, Jersey Girls, his Jack Ryan films among others) but I definitely like his style as a director. Gone Baby Gone was a confident debut which showed he was more interested in character and emotional storytelling than histrionics and ‘Hollywood’. With The Town he probably steps it up a bit more adding more of a genre tint to the film but doesn’t lose sigh of character or emotional constructs in the story. It’s pacy, taut and the action is well done. It’s been done before but that doesn’t make it any less than impressive feat for smaller budget films.

Winter’s Bone – If there is one thing I got out of Winter’s Bone it’s that I would not like to live there. Set in the Ozark Mountains in South Missouri it’s a grim, almost oppressive setting that creates the mood for the rest of the film. It’s a dangerous place and Jennifer Lawrence’s performance is superb as she tries to get to the bottom of what happened to her father. An unsettling environment filled with unforgiving character’s makes for intriguing film.

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans – Crazy, mad, weird, baffling, shoddy, brilliant.

Un Propete (A Prophet) – I haven’t finished watching this film but it gets on the list regardless, that’s how good a film it is. People have mentioned similairities to The Godfather and it’s easy to see that connection. Watching Tahar Rahim ascend from the bottom of the criminl barrel is terrific, from an uneducated man who protests his innocence at the start he gradually becomes corrupted by those around him. Terrific film (so far!)

Somewhere – In my review I wrote that there is “plenty to enjoy by just letting the film wash over you. The film may not be revelatory in any sense and you may come out of it aggrieved at the ending; it’s just a pleasant, diverting trip that takes its time and only asks the audience to have a little faith in its storytelling.” Somewhere is a beguiling film, at times slow but all the better for it. It takes it time getting to where it wants to be and I enjoyed being in its company for two hours.

Toy Story 3 – Best film of the year outright? It’s definitely close to being so and even though I haven’t watched it since I saw it in the cinema, I have to say it’s one of the best experiences I had in a theatre last year. The moment where it looked like Woody, Buzz et al were in the incinerator I was thinking “surely they wouldn’t do that, would they?” That brief moment of doubt that I felt was more than enough to put this brilliant and delightful film on my list. The fact that I’d invested into these characters, something I’ve been doind since the original came out when I wa seven and was worried about their fortunes is something that films rarely ever do for me. Toy Story 3 provoked a reaction out of my cold, hard shell and I felt disappointed at the end not through of any fault of the film but in the knowledge that I knew there wouldn’t be another film (and more to the point there shouldn’t be another). Three films, fifteen years, it’s been a fantastic journey.

The Social Network – The film almost lost me in the first few minutes. Having not watched Aaron Sorkin’s previous work apart from Charlie Wilson’s War, I wasn’t ready for the rapid pace and verbose dialogue that seemed to shot out of the actor’s mouths. To me that was the point, straining to keep up with a conversation, feeling as if I was eavesdropping on something I shouldn’t be listening to. The Social Network is a dense and throughly engaging film and the idea to have the depositions at the centre of the narrativ is brilliant. Each person has their own view of their story, maybe their all wrong or all right but it makes for riveting drama. I’m not a big fan of Facebook but Zuckerberg’s achievement shouldn’t overlooked because Facebook is ‘hawt’ and ‘cool’ now. What’s important if that The Social Network never tries to be cool and never loses the focus on the characters. It may not be completely true but its completely fascinating, who woulda thunked that from a movie concerning Facebook?

Shutter Island – What better place to go crazy than in a secluded mental hospital? Visually it looks stunning and I love some of the touches that Scorcese brings to the film. It’s rich in colour and mood but at the same time tragic and melodramatic. It wears its influences on its sleeve but it doesn’t care. A movie most films aspire to be but never reach, a twisty, turny narrative that makes sure to impart to its audience that the twist doesn’t make the film but instead encourages further viewings. You could see it coming but it doesn’t matter, the real heart of the film is DiCaprio’s performance, haunting, irritable and highly strung. A detective that won’t give up until he’s unearthed the truth.

Kick Ass – “Kick Ass is brazen, audacious and hilarious and holds in deep contempt any sense of morality.” It turns what you expect from the comic book genre on its head. Filthy, debauched and in some places completely mental, there’s an almost violent, sadistic glee it derives from depicting its action. The best scenes? Too many to count but any scene involving Hit-Girl will invoke uncomfortable laughter.

Catfish – A brilliant documentary, again like so many other films the debate seems to be about whether it’s real or not but as I said in my review, that doesn’t matter. Catfish is a perceptive look into relationships formed in our modern culture, a touchstone about where we are at this moment in time.

Let Me In – unfairly overlooked. I’ll admit, I saw no point in remaking the original not because it wouldn’t be able to reach the heights of the Swedish version, rather the story itself would never cement itself in the mainstream conciousness. Alas it didn’t but we did get the rarest of things, two takes on a story that are as good as each other. If all remakes were this good we wouldn’t bemoan them as much as we do.

Buried – Being stuck in coffin must suck. For one you can’t move, can’t see anything and can’t do anything remotely physical because of the confined space which makes Rodrigo Garcia’s film all the more miraculous for its inventive ways of keeping the audience’s attention. Ryan Reynold’s best performance so far never relying too much on his comedy schtick, he as to be our focal point in the film and he never lets the viewer down. I’m surprised there isn’t more buzz over his performance as it looks like it’ll be overlooked. Regardless it’s a great performance in tense, consistently grim film which overcomes the limitations of its setting.

Scott Pilgrim Vs the World – I still think the ending could be better but eveyrthing that leads up to that moment is stunning, visually, aurally, in every way. It’s niche and quirky but hilariously funny and touching. My brother was hesitant in watching the film because he thought he wouldn’t get it, he texted me saying that it’s really funny. It may not have gained an audience now but hopefully it will gain a following in the future, it’s a film that deserves to be seen by everyone as director Edgar Wright bends film as much as he can. It has some great music, my favourtite being black sleep and the editing and the action and the dialogue and performaces?!!!! Uniformally great.

Inception – The film I watched man, many times last year. It’s one of my favourite films of the last few years. A lot has been said about it, some have even said it loses its impact on the smaller screen. For me it just concentrates more on Cobb’s dilemna. A compelling and fascinating film with some glorious images. I was enraptured by the story, the music the visuals, everything. The best way of determining whether a film had an impact is an audience reaction and the two times I saw this, the audience knowingly cheered at the ending. It left you wanting more but to watch it once was an intense of enough experience, the fact that I keep coming back to it is a testament to how well the film was constructed. Go deeper.

At there you have it, the best films I watched last year, I hope you enjoyed reading it and come back to read other stuff on the blog.


Posted on 06/01/2011, in Lists and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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