The Academy Awards have just passed, which means now is as good a time as any to document my favourite 10 films I watched on a cinema screen in 2010. These sorts of posts are usually found in December (which always seems odd to me, because worthy films are released after this arbitrary cut-off date), but I’m nothing if a little different and very late.
Disclaimer: these films are the ones I thought were good and enjoyed the most last year. It is highly personal, obviously, and I haven’t seen everything (because I’m not a professional film critic or anything).
There were a few films that didn’t make the cut – I almost did a Top 15 (but that sounded a bit silly) – so I just wanted to make special mention of the following films that almost made the list: Green Zone, which was an intelligent action film with a point; Up In The Air, which was timely and poignant and had a great turn from George Clooney; Buried, which was a great idea that was well executed and had a terrific turn from Ryan Reynolds; The Kids Are All Right, which was a smart and funny drama that happened to be about lesbian mothers; Whip It, which was a great directorial debut from Drew Barrymore and earns bonus points for being a film about women that doesn’t pander to silly romantic notions or the Hollywood concept of ‘sisterhood’; and Monsters (which I haven’t written about yet), which was an amazing piece of cinema that is even more amazing when you realise that the special effects for this micro-budget film were done by the novice director on his home computer but look like a Hollywood blockbuster.
On to the list. In reverse order:
10. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
I told you this was personal. Despite the fact that it’s not a complete film, I thought it was a great adaptation of the book, with a shadowy look and a perfect feel.
9. Winter’s Bone
This film really stuck with me, with its amazing central performance from Jennifer Lawrence and capturing the reality of life in the Ozarks; I didn’t expect it to but that’s the power of this movie.
8. A Single Man
The role for which Colin Firth should have got his Oscar, and a beautiful and emotional directorial debut by designer Tom Ford. Sublime.
7. The Town
A gripping tale of bank robbers in Boston starring and directed by Ben Affleck, who is shaping up to be a talented director. It’s a good story, well told, with good performances and some Heat-inspired gun sequences.
6. Four Lions
I never thought I would see a film about suicide bombers that (a) I would actually want to see and (b) would be hilarious, but Christopher Morris doesn’t pay attention to rules and created a really good film with another directorial debut.
Despite my dislike for Mark Millar’s comic book output of late, this was so joyously over the top and yet maintained a perfect tone for its ultraviolence and costumed vigilantism that I couldn’t help but enjoy it.
4. Scott Pilgrim Vs The World
The best comic book adaptation of the year went to this film: Edgar Wright did an amazing job of turning the source material into something was exactly like the book but was a film in its own right. It was the only film I saw in the cinema twice this year, just to ensure I saw everything (because there are so many things happening on screen at the same time).
3. The Social Network
When I heard that Aaron Sorkin would be writing and David Fincher would be directing the film about Facebook, I was disappointed that they would be wasting their talents. I was glad to be proved wrong: this was an incredible cinematic interpretation of recent world-changing events that was also entertaining and full of brilliant dialogue.
2. Toy Story 3
The three Toy Story films are all five-star genuine classics – how did Pixar do it? This was another film that I wasn’t particularly looking forward to because I thought it was a cash-in sequel, and another film where I was so wrong. It is absolutely perfect and, no, I didn’t cry but that didn’t stop my enjoyment.
The best movie of 2010 was also my favourite movie of 2010. Stunning, dazzling, brilliant, amazing, enthralling, smart, entertaining – the list of hyperbolic adjectives could continue. Christopher Nolan wrote and directed the most original, most absorbing, most rewarding action blockbuster I have ever seen, and it’s a crime that he wasn’t even nominated for best director at the Academy Awards.