Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Films of the Year 2010

Hi folks, it's the end of the year, so I thought it was time for my FILMS OF THE YEAR 2010. Like last year, it was actually quite hard to find a top ten, so maybe I'll switch to a top five next year (down to a mixture of not going to see enough films and going to see crappy films when I did go). Not that I didn't see a lot of films that I really enjoyed and admired, but you want these lists to be compiled of ones you loved.

Many of the films I thought would be on this years list (Never Let Me Go, Black Swan, True Grit, 127 Hours, The Fighter) are out in the US already, but have slipped into next years scheduling for the UK. So I can't put them in this list, but I will probably have forgotten about them by the time it gets to December next year so they might miss next years...

Anyway, feel free to ridiucle my choices, but here it goes (in a kind of order that's open to change at any moment)...

1. Inception
I think the hype surrounding it's supposed intelligence is starting to go against it, but taken as an event movie, I don't think it disappoints and I loved it. Yeah there's some dodgy plot holes here and there, but as an intelligent (in it's blockbuster field) action adventure, with spectacular visuals  and a stunning (and often overwhelming) score by Hans Zimmer, it surely ranks as one of the best of the year.  I rarely go to see a film twice at the cinema, but I made an exception here.  I think that was almost a joke...anyway... 

2. The Social Network
A fantastic blend of extremely talented people, this film is hugely impressive. David Fincher's restrained direction, Aaron Sorkin's witty dialogue and Trent Reznors energetic soundtrack combine with a great cast to produce a film that defies it's dry subject matter to become a must see movie.  I'd recommend this to anyone and everyone.

3. Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call - New Orleans
Nicolas Cage, Werner Herzog, lizards and break dancing spirits, what's not to love?  Cage is in crazy mode (in a good way) and gives a hugely watchable performance. Constantly entertaining, it's hard not to love Herzog's non-remake/remake about, in his own words "the bliss of evil." 

4. Four Lions
Perfectly balanced for such controversial subject matter, this is a triumph from Chris Morris.  Creating funny but believable characters, he manages to make us laugh without ever making the act of terrorism a joke.

5. Kick-Ass
A great twist on the super hero story, with another fun Nicolas Cage performance.  The film starts as a realistic view of what would happen if a normal person donned a costume to fight crime, but ends as a wish fulfillment fantasy romp.  This switch in direction annoys some people, but you have to admit it's great fun and has some of the best filmed fight sequences I've seen in years.  It's nice to see the director Matthew Vaughn not over using the shaky cam and delivering sequences that you can follow. 

6. A Prophet

I saw this right at the beginning of the year, so my memories a bit light on details, but this is a gripping look at Europe's organised crime through the eyes a young convict climbing to the top.  A fantastic performance from the lead Tahar Rahim, which includes one of the most visceral killings I've seen on screen in a long time.  It also has my favourite final scene in any film this year (I won't ruin it for you). 

7. Toy Story 3
A fitting end to the trilogy, it delivers on nearly every level and is one of the most emotionally fulfilling films of the year.  Still very funny, it's comedic moments balance out the tear jerking ones.

8. A Single Man
I really enjoyed this slick debut from director Tom Ford.  Colin Firth is brilliant, and brings emotional depth to a stylised film that may have lacked warmth without his performance.  Also, it really made me want to wear a suit more often.

9. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
I didn't love this film as much as I'd hoped but it's still a fast paced exciting film experience.  I could have done without some of the strict adherence to the comic visuals of the excellent graphic novels, as I feel the mediums should play to there individual strengths, but found the cast, humour and action sequences more than made up for this. Kieran Culkin steals the film as Scott's flatmate Wallace, while Brandon Routh reappears from the Superman wilderness in a great comic turn.

10. How To Train Your Dragon
Mainly on the list as it's such a surprise package, it's not quite Pixar, but not far off. The film is brimming with charm and it was apparently spectacular in 3D (which is easy to believe from the soaring dragon rides). I'm still kicking myself for not seeing this at the cinema. 


I'd liked to have had The King’s Speech and Animal Kingdom on this list, but I saw them in previews at Cinecity and they will only go on wide release next year.

Worthy Mentions
Not quite on the main list...
Down Terrace (Brighton based black comedy), The American (a stylish look at familiar character types), Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (strangely uplifting), Nowhere Boy (interesting view of a young Lennon), Winter’s Bone (great performances in a gritty story. What's with the squirrels though?), Shutter Island (get's better and better as it goes along), The Kids are All Right (very close to being in the top ten, it's a top notch family comedy), Up in the Air (some great scenes in this enjoyable dramedy) ,The Illusionist (beautiful but slight), Of Gods and Men (an interesting look at religions role in society), Monsters (looks great for the budget)


These are mainly films I enjoyed, but weren't as good as I'd hoped...
Iron Man 2 (enjoyable but cluttered with references), Harry Brown (some great scenes, like the gun dealer, but too morally and politically simplistic for me) , The Expendables (disappointing, except Stallone's fleeting erotic glance over at Arnie), The Wolfman (a bit of a mess except for the fantastic Hugo Weaving), Predators (not bad, but should have made more of it premise),
Youth in Revolt (more French Cera needed), I’m Still Here (An interesting start but wears very thin by halfway through), Monsters (only the last third, which fails to add tension when events escalate), Enter the Void (I was with it for the first hour and a half, but ended up hating it by the end. I know your heading for the light!!! Just go there!)

The ones that got away...
I'm still annoyed I missed so many of these -
Exit Through The Gift Shop, Splice, Green Zone, Let Me In, Easy A, The Town, Buried, Mesrine, Robin Hood, Greenberg, Piranha 3D, Another Year, The Killer Inside me, Perrier’s Bounty, Centurion,  Cyrus, Heartless, Cemetery Junction, Fish Tank, Made in Dagenham, The Ghost Writer, Tron: Legacy (although I'll see it next week, along with Catfish)

Hope you enjoyed reading my breakdown, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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