Thursday, December 30, 2010

Top Ten of 2010

It should go without saying this is my personal list, and more of a "favorites" than a "best of" selection. That said, let's go ahead and delve into my Top Ten of 2010.

I literally had The Town in this spot as I was typing this list, but something came over me at the last second to change it. That's how close those two movies were battling for a spot here, and I think the emotional core of The Fighter gave it the slight edge over Ben Affleck's solid heist film. The Fighter features fantastic performances from every member of the cast, with Christian Bale being the clear standout, well on his way to an Oscar nomination. On a personal level, it also helps that I saw the world premiere of this movie at Grauman's Chinese Theater, walked the red carpet, Wahlberg introduced the film to us, and Robert Duvall sat right behind us.

9. Buried
I remember reading someone write that Buried is more of an exercise than a film, but I respectfully disagree: this was one of the most entertaining movies of the year for me because it strips storytelling down to its rawest form. One man, buried alive in a coffin, and the camera never leaves the coffin for the entire run time. Ryan Reynolds gives the performance of his career, and director Rodrigo Cortes showed us that a concept as bold as this can be interesting if it's guided by the correct person. I wasn't so hot on the ending, but the rest of the movie made up for it.

8. Shutter Island
Martin Scorsese's most recent team-up with Leonardo DiCaprio was a return to classic filmmaking, influenced by classic film noir with a tinge of horror thrown in for good measure. A showcase of great performances across the board, Shutter Island is a movie in which the atmosphere could almost be considered a character, highlighting Scorsese's ability to know exactly what we need to see and when we need to see it.

7. How To Train Your Dragon
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the year for me was How To Train Your Dragon, a Dreamworks Animation film that I now consider to be one of my favorite animated movies of all time. The flying sequences are breathtaking, the story is a lot of fun, and the final battle sequence is one of the coolest (and most competently choreographed) action scenes of the year. Really spectacular stuff, and I hope Dreamworks can recapture some of the wonder of this movie in their upcoming sequels.

6. The Social Network
In my eyes, this is David Fincher's most watchable movie. It's a story built for my generation, a Shakespearean tale involving digital connectivity and the humanity of the people who strive to reshape it. Jesse Eisenberg gives a towering performance as Mark Zuckerberg, blisteringly spitting Aaron Sorkin's sharply-written dialogue and making us really feel for his character in the process. This very well could win Best Picture, but I've got a few more that I liked better.

5. True Grit
My review may not have fully revealed the amount of love I have for this movie. In the Coen's most recent foray into the western genre, the outstanding Jeff Bridges is outshined by relative newcomer Hailee Steinfeld. She delivered a wonderful performance as the 14-year-old Mattie Ross, out to bring her father's killer to justice. The movie is way funnier than I thought it'd be, due mostly to the well-written script and comically stilted delivery of many of the actors (including a surprisingly funny Matt Damon).

4. 127 Hours
Director Danny Boyle infuses his energetic style of filmmaking into the real-life story of Aron Ralston, a man forced to amputate his own arm in order to survive. Much in the way Ryan Reynolds defined Buried, James Franco completely dominates this movie and gives the best performance of his career. Like Boyle's previous Slumdog Millionaire, this movie deals with some heavy subject matter but is ultimately an uplifting celebration of life. This is a truly great movie.

3. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
This is the most fun I've had at the movies all year. The video game references, the fantastic casting, Edgar Wright's visual style, and the script based on Bryan Lee O'Malley's comic come together in a phenomenal way here, making this one of the most original movies I've ever seen. The action was great, the storyline was perfect, and I wouldn't change a single thing about it. Not a lot of people saw this movie, so please check it out if you avoided it in theaters. For more details about my amazing experience with this movie, click here.

2. Black Swan
An utterly intense experience, Black Swan is a haunting meditation on the perils of perfection. This list is populated with many actors giving what I consider to be their best performances, and Natalie Portman is no different. Her astounding work as Nina combined with Aronofsky's natural filmmaking style makes it all the more shocking as her sanity rapidly deteriorates in the movie. The last 30 minutes are completely spellbinding.

1. Inception
Anyone who knows me should have pegged this from the get-go. One of my favorite directors teaming with my favorite working actor and a staggeringly good supporting cast, all to make a completely original heist film that makes the audience think instead of just wowing us with visuals? Forget about it. DiCaprio was spectacular, Nolan's direction was spot-on, Wally Pfister's cinematography was brilliant, and the story exceeded my expectations in every way. A totally immersive experience, Inception stands apart from everything else on my personal favorites list.

Honorable Mentions: The Town, The King's Speech, Toy Story 3, Catfish, Exit Through the Gift Shop

That's it for this year. How does your list compare to mine? Anything you would have switched, added, or taken away? Let me know in the comments section.

1 comment:

mister mayagi said...

Respectfully, my Top 10
1. The Social Network
2. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World
3. 127 Hours
4. I Love You, Phillip Morris
5. Inception
6. Black Swan
7. Exit Through The Gift Shop
8. A Prophet
9. True Grit
10. The Fighter