*List void on January 1st when I’ll surely change my mind about a few of these.
TOP 10 (IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER)…
At face value a gimmick of a film, but so much more in the hands of Danny Boyle. By turns contemplative, visceral, epic and intimate, “127 Hours” added up to one of the more moving pieces of cinema this year (and, by the way, I’ll take this over “Slumdog Millionaire” any day).
My name is Josh, and I’m a Darren Aronofsky groupie. Warning signs include welling up at the end of “The Fountain” and naming “The Wrestler” your best film of 2008. The deliciously demented Aronofsky summoned all his powers to shock, titillate and amuse me with “Black Swan.” Someone get a DVD of this to Brian DePalma because he needs to be put on notice. He’s going to have to wrestle Darren off his throne now.
We can argue until you respond to your last outstanding friend request whether it was all on the up and up, but I believe in “Catfish.” Most of all I believe in its power to talk about loneliness and truth in the strange (and shifting) world that was 2010.
What more can be said about what Christopher Nolan is bringing to big budget mass-market moviemaking? Did “Inception” make a ton of sense to me the first time I saw it? No way. Does some of the earnest exposition between Cobb and Ariadne (blech, those names…) make me cringe? Sure. But this was the action-adventure ride of the year. That kick-ass opening sequence? Tom Hardy and Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s wit and charm? Marion Cotillard’s sultry femme fatale? Oh and Hans Zimmer’s concussive score… more than enough to make my top 10.
Without a doubt the best pure moviegoing experience I had this year was at the SXSW premiere of Matthew Vaughan’s postmodern take on the superhero genre. Featuring some of the best action sequences of 2010, an instantly iconic turn by Chloe Moretz and, yes, another bizarre and brilliant performance by Nic Cage, “Kick-Ass” more than lived up to its moniker.
“LET ME IN”
Count me among those who consider this interpretation superior to the 2008 Swedish version. “Let Me In” is the vampire movie Spielberg never made in the Amblin era. A truly haunting and poignant 180 from director Matt Reeves. Plus three riveting performances at the center. Count how few lines Richard Jenkins actually has for a master class in how to deliver a moving, nearly silent portrayal of a serial killer.
Featuring two of the best performances of the year, “Rabbit Hole” is a beautiful piece of work. In lesser hands this could have turned into a maudlin overwrought effort. In the hands of John Cameron Mitchell and an impeccable cast (Dianne Wiest!), David Lindsay-Abaire’s play was brought to the screen impeccably, with a much-needed dose of humor and humanity.
If you’re going to have your mind f*&*ed by anyone, give yourself over to a master like Martin Scorsese. “Shutter Island” grew in power exponentially for me in subsequent viewings and now it’s taken a spot for me among Scorsese’s best. High praise indeed, I know, but I love the paranoia and profound sadness that surrounds this great work. Possibly my favorite performance of Leonardo’s thus far. And every scene with him and Michelle Williams just about wrecks me.
“THE SOCIAL NETWORK”
If you were a guy actor under 30 and you didn’t make the casting call for “The Social Network,” chances are you didn’t get one of the juiciest roles of the year because this film has no less than three of them (four if you count the Winkelvi and five if you want to toss in Sean Parker). If you were the writer or director of a movie as entertaining as “The Social Network,” you would have written or directed “The Social Network.”
By the second time I’d viewed this I was pretty sure “True Grit” was one of the best Westerns ever made. This is what I consider a near perfect film. There’s not a bad note in the whole thing. Throw Mattie’s negotiation scene up against Anton Chigurh’s “No Country” “call it” scene and you might have a draw for Coen brothers showdowns. I’m a sucker for the old fashioned heroism on display at the end by the leads. Pure moviemaking at its best.
10 MORE THAT NEARLY MADE THE CUT…
“BEST WORST MOVIE”
“EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP”
“THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO”
“THE KING’S SPEECH”
“SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD”
“THE TILLMAN STORY”
What do you think of this list? What were your favorite flicks of 2010?