Friday, December 31, 2010

The Best of 2010

Without much ado, here are my choices for the ten best films of 2010

1) The Social Network
2) Black Swan
3) The Killer Inside Me
4) Shutter Island
5) I Am Love
6) Hadewijch
7) Blue Valentine
8) Winter's Bone
9) Enter The Void
10) Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

and since any self-respecting Top 10 list needs a second half

11) White Material
12) Carlos
13) The Temptation of St. Tony
14) Never Let Me Go
15) Dogtooth
16) The American
17) Easy A
18) Life During Wartime
19) Tiny Furniture
20) Machete

I suppose if one wants to keep going and tack on some obligatory runners-up, one would be so inclined to include (in no particular order) Fish Tank; Animal Kingdom; Catfish; Making Plans for Lena; North Face; Bluebeard; Mid-August Lunch; Splice; Vincere; True Grit; The Runaways; Wild Grass; The Fighter; I'm Still Here; Inception; The Kids Are All Right; Howl; Heartbreakers; Piranha; Amer; The Other Guys; Lourdes; Jack Goes Boating; Ondine; Greenberg & City Island.

To add some other cinematic things of note (both good and bad):

Three films that ended up being better than expected, but still not so good as to reach the above runners-up spot (again, in nor particular order): Love & Other Drugs; Let Me In & Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.

A few films that I expected a lot more out of than what I got - these are not necessarily bad films (some are actually rather good) but still a lot less that what they should have or could have or would have been otherwise, which is why I am subtitling this the coulda, shoulda, woulda category (and again, no particular order): Solitary Man; Please Give; The Town; Get Low; All Good Things; Kick-Ass; A Woman, a Gun & a Noodle Shop; Survival of the Dead; the French double feature of Mesrine: Killer Instinct and Mesrine: Public Enemy #1 and the Millennium trilogy of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire & The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest.

The "what's all the hubbub, bub?" category: In no way did I find Roman Polanski's The Ghost Writer to be a bad film (I quite enjoyed some of it and completely loved the ending) but I still do not get pretty much every other critic's rabid love for it.  I would say it is better than average, with a few moments of cinematic intensity, and leave it at that.  Then again, who am I to complain, it could be Macgruber all the hubbub is about.

The five best performances of the year belong to Casey Affleck in The Killer Inside Me; Tilda Swinton in I Am Love; Julie Sokolowski in Hadewijch and Michelle Williams & Ryan Gosling in Blue Valentine.

Other well-deserved acting accolades go to Isabelle Huppert in White Material; Edgar Ramirez in Carlos; Christian Bale in The Fighter; Jesse Eisenberg in The Social Network; George Clooney in The American; Melissa Leo in The Fighter; Andrew Garfield in Never Let Me Go; Natalie Portman & Barbara Hershey in Black Swan; Carey Mulligan in Never Let Me Go; Emma Stone in Easy A and Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes & Dale Dickey in Winter's Bone.

As for the worst of the year, unlike past years where I tried to see enough obvious bad movies to fill up a proper Worst 10 list, I successfully avoided most of the rabble from the year.  Still, I did see some pretty awful films in 2010.  Some of these are the obvious films like Macgruber, Clash of the Titans & Robin Hood, but the worst three (by some pretty substantial margin) are The Wolfman, Alice in Wonderland and the remarkably, but inevitably terrible M. Night Shambalambadingdong's The Last Airbender.

To end on a high note, two films that I first saw at the New York Film Festival, Abbas Kiarostami's Certified Copy and Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, will be getting proper US releases in Spring 2011, and therefore will become early frontrunners for the Best of 2011 (since I loved them both - and what a day that was to see them back-to-back as I did).  I will be back in a few days with my "Most Anticipated Films of 2011" list to see what possible compatriots those two films could have on said Best of 2011 list.

Editor's (final) note: Since I have not yet had the opportunity to see either Mike Leigh's Another Year or Sofia Coppola's  Somewhere (I did not take my annual late December trip to NYC to catch up on all those releases that usually trickle out wider after the new year) I reserve the right to alter this list after I do finally see these two films (Jan. 15th-ish it looks like).  Actually I will not alter the list so much as tack on an addendum, but whatever the case, I hereby reserve the right to do so.

Here is yet another take on the Best of 2010: My column for a local alt called The Burg (this is a copy of said column on my website, The Cinematheque, to see the actual column you would have to pick up a January 2011 copy of the actual paper).  This is a somewhat outdated Best of list, since I had a deadline of Dec. 15, and had yet to see several films that would eventually make my list above.

Happy New Year..... 

*01/17 Addendum (re: Sofia Coppola's Somewhere):  I said above, that I reserved the right to include Somewhere on this list when the time finally came to see the film (which was yesterday).  I suppose in the end though, I enjoyed the film well enough, but only well enough to include it in my runners-up category.


The Taxi Driver said...

Excellent list although no less was expected. I cherish any list especially that doesn't feature Inception and/or Toy Story 3 in a top spot.

Kevyn Knox said...

I did like Inception (at least parts of it) enough to put it in my runners-up list, but it is by no means the supposed "game-changer" so many have called it.

As for Toy Story 3, I haven't even seen it (nor part 2). I have never been much of a Pixar fan - though I will end up seeing it (in the next few weeks) since it will prob be up for best pix at the Oscars (now that there are 10 noms) and I must see every nominee.