Top 10 Films Of 2010!

Happy New Year!  Going into 2010 a lot of people were saying that 2010 didn’t look promising for films. I was feeling the same way but 2010 turned out to be quite a good year for films, at least in my opinion.

Before I post my top 10 of 2010 I would just like to note that I did not get to see Blue Valentine, True Grit and The King’s Speech which is why those 3 films will not be in the honorable mentions and the Top 10 list itself.

Honorable Mentions:

The Fighter: This is one film that I kept taking on and off my Top 10 List.  In the end I decided that I liked this film a lot but not enough to be in my top 10.  My one problem with it is Mark Whalberg. Whalberg is not horrible, he gives a good performance in the film but not enough to carry The Fighter. The Fighter is supposed to be about the character of Irish Mickey Ward.  The viewer is supposed to care about Ward and his struggles to become the champion.

Unfortunately the way Whalberg portrays Ward I just don’t care as much about his characters as I do about Christian Bale who plays “The Pride of Lowell” Dickey Eklund.  Bale in every scene with Whalberg steals the scene.  In fact the same could be said for both Amy Adams and Melissa Leo who share scenes with Whalberg.  Whalberg when his character is upset just puts on the puppy dog eyes and makes that whiny voice he does in other films.

Whalberg does a good job, just not good enough to carry a film with that kind of supporting cast.  I did enjoy this film and it’s a film that you should see. Just not top 10 worthy.

Let Me In: When I heard that there was going to be a remake to the brilliant Let The Right One In (2008, Alfredson) I immediately questioned why?  The original Swedish film is beautiful and there was no reason other than to capitalize on the Vampire craze to remake it.  While I still prefer the original film, the remake is very good.  Chloe G. Moretz as the young vampire Abby does an amazing job.  She’s only 13 years old but her performance alone makes this film a must see.  It’s unfortunate that nobody went to see this film. I hope when the DVD/Blu-Ray comes out this year more people will discover this film.

Somewhere: This was another film that was on and off my top 10 list.  Ultimately I felt that it was a good film, but nothing great.  It’s shot beautifully with long takes and some great wide-shots that are not just establishing shots.  Stephen Dorf and Elle Fanning give good performances but I just felt the story was weak and at times the film just lags.  Still Sofia Coppola directs a good movie, if it’s playing near you, go see it.

Kick-Ass: This was a fun, great take on the Super-hero movie.  It’s different from any other recent comic book film that’s for sure.  The breakout star of the film is Chloe Moretz as the foul mouth Hit-Girl who will charm you with her smile just before she blows your brains out.  Unfortunately Kick-Ass didn’t make a whole lot of money while in theaters but did find its audience on video.

Top 10

10) Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 1: Without a doubt Deathly Hallows is the best film in the series so far.  It’s certainly the darkest of the series with Harry, Hermione and Ron on the run from the evil Lord Voldermort for the entire film.  Beloved characters die.  It captures the book great.  I also enjoyed the scene with Harry and Hermione dancing in the tent. The music is beautiful and the performances by Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson in that scene does a great job in showing the relationship between Harry and Hermione.   Even though I have read the book many times, I was 100% into the story and cannot wait to see Part 2 this summer.

9) The Town: Ben Affleck directs a great heist film.  He also stars in this film.  While it tries a little too hard at times to be Heat, the shootouts and the chase scenes are well done, exciting and keep you on the edge of your seat. Jeremy Renner does a great job in this film, as does Rebecca Hall as the victim of a bank robbery that was kidnapped by Affleck’s crew and has now fallen in love with Affleck, not knowing that he was one of the robbers.  The Town has been compared to Heat and the connections are there, but for me the love story between Affleck and Hall is much better than the one between Robert De Niro and Amy Brenneman.  I had a little problem with the ending but that is no reason not to see The Town.

8) Toy Story 3: Growing up I was never a big fan of animated films.  For whatever reason I just could never get into them.  The only animation studio that gets me excited for its next film is Pixar.  I still remember going to see the original Toy Story in theaters.  This was a new day in animation.  I just could not get over how “life-like” the animation was.  Since seeing Toy Story, I’ve seen every Pixar film and for the most part enjoyed everyone.  What I like about Pixar, especially the last few years is that they make films for everyone, not just the children.  Toy Story 3 continues that tradition.  The opening montage is such a great example of storytelling.  Toy Story 3 is much more than talking Toys, it’s a story of growing up and moving on, while not forgetting your childhood memories.  Andy is going to college, he’s outgrown his toys and does not have much use for them anymore.  The toys feel neglected and want to move on.  Woody, voiced by Tom Hanks still thinks of himself as Andy’s toy.  He believes Andy needs him, not realizing that he needs Andy.  The ending is very touching and if you don’t feel something, get to a doctor and get your pulse checked.  Toy Story 3 does a good job of closing the franchise.

7) Shutter Island: A lot has been made of the ending, a lot of people saying it was predictable and saw it coming a mile away.  I didn’t see it coming until right before the big reveal.  Whether you insist you knew what was coming as soon as you walked in or you were surprised by the big reveal, one thing that cannot be argued was how great the journey was getting there and making the big reveal.  Scorsese proves in Shutter Island why he’s such a great director.  Leonardo DiCaprio continues to get even better with every film, especially with Martin Scorsese as his director.

6) Welcome To The Riley’s: It’s a shame that nobody really got to see this film.  It was in and out of theaters too soon.  Kristen Stewart is great as the 17- year old foul-mouthed stripper and prostitute Mallory.  Stewart continues to show that outside of Twilight she’s one of the best young actresses working today.  Co-starring in this film with Kristen Stewart is James Gandolfini and Melissa Leo who deliver great performances as parents who are still suffering after the sudden death of their 15-year-old daughter.  Director Jake Scott makes post Katrina New Orleans a character in the film.  Kristen Stewart’s stripper/prostitute is not the girl with the heart of gold.  She’s not selling herself to pay her way through school to be a doctor or supporting a child.  She’s simply doing what she has to do in order to survive.  It’s early in awards season but so far this film is being wrongly overlooked and it’s a shame. Hopefully more people will see this film when it arrives on video this year.

5) The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo: This film adaptation of the popular novel delivers 100%.   It’s got intrigue, action, suspense and an interesting love story.  It’s also very violent and not for the easily offended.  Noomi Rapace is brilliant and unforgiving as Lisbeth Salander.  Without a doubt the breakthrough performance of the year.  For her performance alone it’s worth seeing on blu-ray, dvd or on Instant Netflix.  We know that later this year the American remake with David Fincher comes out but don’t shy away from this film because of the subtitles.  Rapace deserves a nomination for her work in this film and it will have you thinking long after you see the film.

4) Fish Tank: Fish Tank came out very early in 2010 and seems to have been largely forgotten.  In my opinion it’s better than Winter’s Bone.  First time actress Katie Jarvis delivers an honest, true to life performance as Mia. This is a gritty film, great hand-held camera work, and leaves you wanting more but in a good way.

3) The Social Network: Before it came out it most people were simply calling this film “The Facebook Movie.”  Nobody really had any interest on seeing a movie about Facebook with Justin Timberlake and the “other Michael Cera” (Jesse Eisenberg).  I was included in that thinking, but was still interested since Aaron Sorkin wrote the film and David Fincher was directing. The Social Network far exceeded my expectations.  The dialogue is amazing, especially the opening scene with Eisenberg (who should never be called the other Michael Cera again) and Rooney Mara.  Justin Timberlake gives a memorable performance as Sean Parker, the creator of Napster.  While it may not define a generation like the advertisements say, it’s an interesting look at the start of the phenomenon of Facebook, which most of us use these days.

2) Inception: Yes there is a lot of exposition.  Having said that it did not at anytime make Inception any less enjoyable.  Christopher Nolan continues to show what a unique filmmaker he is with this film.  It’s shot beautifully and the acting is great, especially from Joseph Gordon Levitt and Tom Hardy.  Ellen Page gives her best performance since Juno.  And that Leo guy is pretty good in it too.  The ending is still confusing to many and there are so many different theories on it.  And you know what?  That’s good!  Yes, its refreshing that a film makes it’s audience think after seeing it.

1) Black Swan: Darren Aronofsky has been trying to make this film for almost a decade.  Thankfully he’s very persistent as it is truly a masterpiece.  Natalie Portman gives the best performance of the year, male or female and of her young but long career.  This is not just a movie about Ballet, it’s a horror film and a psychological thriller as well.  It also shows how immersing yourself 100% into your work can be a negative as by the end the pressure of being the lead in Swan Lake drives Portman’s character insane and by the end the audience, much like Portman has no idea what has happened but that in no way takes away from the film.  Mila Kunis gives her best performance to date.  Unfortunately Vince Cassel’s performance seems to be getting overlooked this year but it shouldn’t.  The handheld works, really adds to the feeling of being in Portman’s character’s head.

Well, that was my Top 10 of 2010.  Overall it was a great year for the cinema. Do you agree?  Did I completely miss something?  Let me know in the comments and here’s to a great 2011 at the movies!


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January 2011

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