Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Top 10 Films of 2010

Turns out I only saw 20 new films last year, which means a full 50% made my top 10 list, not a very discriminating percentage. Films 1-7 are worthy contenders. Films 8 & 9 make the list because I'm an unapologetic fanboy. Film 10 is a kind of a surprise for squeaking its way into the last spot. I imagine had I seen either 127 Hours or Black Swan, the list would have look a little different.

10. How To Train Your Dragon (3.5 Stars) - Dreamworks brings its A-game with this one. A lot of fun. Character design still inferior to Pixar, but the action-adventure here is pretty great.

9. Tron: Legacy (4 Stars) – A surprisingly satisfying sequel to a 28-year-old classic that in no way needed a sequel. You can pick apart the story, but it looks and sounds truly unique. The Daft Punk score made the film.

8. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (4 Stars) – You can enjoy all the Harry Potter films without actually knowing what’s going in them. Same thing this time, only worse. (What’s the deal with Voldemort? Who cares.) There were about a dozen places in this one where, if I had not recently read the book, I would have been lost. The film’s breakneck pace, in an attempt to cram in as many details from the book as possible, causes it to rush past some major emotional beats and brush over important plot details. They could have benefited from the clarity brought by a bit more exposition. While heavy exposition is usually a bad thing, this is undoubtedly a nerd movie and nerds eat exposition for breakfast. Why not pour it on?

All that said, this is perhaps my favorite of the Potter flicks so far. It’s an amazing feat that they kept this cast of child actors and major British thespians together for a full decade of 8 films. Also amazing that they’ve let what started as a kiddie movie franchise get this mature and dark.

7. True Grit (4 Stars) - Jeff Daniels and Matt Damon depict a couple most fun-to-watch movie characters I've seen in ages. The kid's pretty great too. Wonderful dialogue. The climax (or lack thereof) is a little less than satisfying. It's my theory the Cohens' bleak philosophy doesn't allow the fulfillment of the little girl's revenge plot to have the emotional weight it deserves.

6. Kick-Ass (4 Stars) – One of the coolest most fun films in a long time – that is until I saw Scott Pilgrim. A foul-mouthed 11-year old girl inflicting massive violence ain’t for everyone, but if you’re down with that, this is a raucous deconstruction of the superhero film.

5. The King's Speech (5 Stars) - A small little story, very well acted, beautifully shot, delightful and uplifting. Deserves the great buzz it's getting. However, I feel that people are giving it "Best Picture" credit simply because no one makes movies like this very much anymore, not because it's actually the best picture of the year. Colin Firth does deserve Best Actor through.

4. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (5 Stars) – This movie slipped though the cracks without getting the credit it deserves – quite possibly changing the game for what we can expect from visual effect. This film was a non-stop special effects onslaught, and all the effects are perfect and super stylish. Not only was it cool but it was tons of fun and actually quite funny.

3. Toy Story 3 (5 Stars) – This is the part where every year I marvel about how these Pixar dudes are able to pull it off again! This is the third film in the Toy Story franchise and manages to possibly be most heart warming. Sad, scary, and fun in all the right places.

2. The Social Network (5 Stars) – Morally complex. At various points in this movie I picked sides with everybody, I wanted each character to screw the other characters out of the deal. It was like a modern day strike-it-rich oil tycoon tale, but instead of finding oil, the protagonist creates the next Internet sensation, something many a modern businessperson dreams they could do. The film deftly traverses the pitfalls of working in a speculative and creative business.

1. Inception (5 Stars) – What more can be said about Inception? It looked cool, right? It didn’t change my world immediately upon viewing as much as it did for others. However the following days and weeks filled with discussions and articles, impressed on me just how intricate and thoughtful the movie really is. Chris Nolan has got to be the most impressive working director of the last five years or so.

And, of course, here are some of the titles I need to see:

127 Hours, Black Swan, Never Let Me Go, Alice in Wonderland, Despicable Me, Tangled, The Expendables, Date Night, Due Date, The Book of Eli, Prince of Persia, Get Him to the Greek, The Runaways, Hot Tub Time Machine, Date Night, Machete, Wall Street 2, Buried, Frozen, Twilight Eclipse, Let Me In, Exit Through the Gift Shop.

1 comment:

Annie McMillan said...

I was going to do a top 10 list too, but then I also realized I hadn't seen nearly enough movies to make it worth it. Good list, did you really like Tron that much? We haven't seen it yet but I've been hearing very mixed reviews.

Mine would be top 5 to be fair, I guess.

5. Inception
4. Tangled
3. Social Network
2. Black Swan
1. Toy Story 3