nside Pulse has given me several opportunities during 2010 to discover the new and exciting film. At the Dallas International Film Festival, I got to experience Brotherhood, a film shot in the Dallas area that remained in my Top 10 for most of the year. At Fantastic Fest, I got to see such films as the South Korean gory revenge drama I Saw The Devil, and the delightful musical terrorism comedy from Sweden, Sound of Noise. Both movies were in my Top 10 at some point during the year. Now that 2010 is coming to a close, many film critics are saying that 2010 was a disappointing year for film. But really, they say that every year.
In 2010, I kept a rotating Top 10 list that changed almost weekly. At the time this is written, I still have yet to see True Grit or Blue Valentine, two of which I expected to land a spot in my Top 10. My Top 10 lists usually are determined by which movies made me connect with its characters, which movies pulled on my heartstrings, which movies made me swoon, cry, laugh, applaud. I AM the only girl here, after all.
10. The Kids Are All Right – This portrait of a modern unconventional family, starring Annette Bening and Julianne Moore as a married couple with children, shows one of the most accurate depictions of marriage ever captured on film. The Kids Are All Right is moving and incredibly relatable, with top notch award worthy performances by the entire cast.
9. Splice – Sadly, the latest film by Vincenzo Natali (Cube) flew almost completely under the radar during its release this summer. Adrian Brody and Sarah Polley are genetic scientists who attempt a breakthrough in technology, the splicing of human and animal DNA. Their creation, Dren, grows at an alarming rate and the two scientists have their hands full with her. The film features enough twists, turns, and comedy to keep you glued to your seat. Splice is one of the best science fiction movies in the past few years, and worthy of looking up now that it’s on DVD.
8. Tangled – Disney finally returns to the quality of films during its heyday during the 1990’s with Tangled. The return of Alan Menken has a lot to do with it; the songs are amazing. Mandy Moore voices Rapunzel and Chuck’s Zachary Levi voices the charming Flynn Rider. Tangled is joyous, features the best use of 3D, and is the best family film of the year.
7. Let Me In – Fans of the original Swedish movie and book Let The Right One In have been sending negative internet vibes about the American remake Let Me In since it was announced. But it was the perfect way to do an American adaptation of a foreign film. Hopefully David Fincher took lots of notes while watching this film, since he’ll be helming the American remake of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. A dark movie about a 12 year old vampire, Let Me In kept all of the characters, the tone, and the look of the original movie completely intact. In fact, personally, I think I like it better than the original.
6. Black Swan – I’m a huge Darren Aronofsky/Clint Mansell fan, so it was a given that I would fall in love with his latest project, Black Swan. Natalie Portman gives a riveting performance as Nina, an overachieving ballerina (are there any other kind?) who has just been cast as the White Swan/Black Swan in her company’s production of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. She begins a downward spiral as she prepares for the role, and rival ballerina Lily (Mila Kunis) may or may not be helping her slip further down into her psyche. Mila Kunis’ performance has been praised, but I didn’t think she played the character any different from any other she’s portrayed. The standout performance to me was Vincent Cassel as the ballet company’s artistic director. Black Swan isn’t for everyone, it’s a very dark and disturbing movie. But as an Aronofsky fan, I wasn’t disappointed.
5. The Fighter – With a simple title that reminds audiences of 2008’s The Wrestler, The Fighter might not appeal to very many people. Based on a true story, The Fighter was a passion project of Mark Wahlberg’s. He grew up idolizing the real-life boxer “Irish” Micky Ward, and has been training for the role while filming his past six movies. But the movie is just as much about Micky’s journey as it is his brother Dicky’s (Christian Bale) and his mother’s (Melissa Leo). These two actors steal the show and are sure to gain Academy Award nominations to add to their Golden Globe nominations. The Fighter starts slowly, but before you know it, you’re sucked in. The screening audience applauded and cheered at the end. I never thought I’d say this about a Marky Mark movie, but The Fighter really is brilliant.
4. Inception –After his work breathing new life into the Batman canon, Nolan returns to his amazing original work with Inception, a film just as mind-boggling as Memento was. The story is nearly impossible to summarize, just simply see this movie. Leonardo di Caprio stars, but Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy, and Marion Cotillard all shine the brightest in their supporting roles. The visual effects are stunning. Inception is not to be missed.
3. Scott Pilgrim vs the World – Another film that tragically underperformed at the box-office, Scott Pilgrim vs the World already has enough of a cult following to become a favorite for years to come. It doesn’t fall into any specific category or genre, but it perfectly captures the essence of youth. Not in the way that Justin Beiber does. It does so in the way that people of all ages can watch it and remember how freeing it was to meet the girl of your dreams and have no other obligations but to play rock music in your garage.
2. I Love You Phillip Morris – Just like The Kids Are All Right was the perfect onscreen marriage, I Love You Phillip Morris is the year’s best love story. Based on the true story of con artist Steven Russell (who is still serving time in Texas), I Love You Phillip Morris chronicles his path from overly religious married man to out gay con man. While serving a prison sentence, he meets the man of his dreams, Phillip Morris (Ewan McGregor), and will do anything to be with him. His cons affect everyone around him, including Phillip. But the lengths Steven will go to in order to prove his love are incredibly romantic. Jim Carrey’s performance is comical and heartbreaking at the same time. Thank goodness it finally got a US release.
1. 127 Hours – Danny Boyle’s latest masterpiece 127 Hours is known mostly for its hard to watch scene at the end, but everyone who knows the true story of hiker Aron Ralston already know what’s coming. What makes the film so unique and memorable is the journey that we go on while Aron (played by James Franco) is pinned literally between “A Rock and A Hard Place” (the name of his book). We learn about his past, his shortcomings, and what he wants to look forward to if he escapes. The score by A.R. Rahman is spellbinding and Oscar-worthy, as is James Franco’s performance. Hopefully he’ll walk away with the golden statue as he hosts this year’s Oscar ceremony.
Tags: 127 Hours, Black Swan, Christian Bale, Dallas International Film Festival, Danny Boyle, Edgar Wright, Fantastic Fest, I Saw the Devil, Inception, James Franco, Let Me In, Let the Right One In, Oscar, Scott Pilgrim vs The World, Splice, Tangled, The Fighter, The Kids Are All Right