Frankly, this wasn’t the most impressive year for films. A whole lot of mediocre and decent films were released with really only a few gems with the potential to be called “Classics” in years to come. The 3-D gimmick continued to plague our theaters like a bad rash people seem to be okay playing an extra five bucks for. More pointless remakes, remaginings, sequels and prequels were shoved down our throats by Hollywood, but a few talented folks still managed to bring their creative vision to the Silver Screen just the way they wanted so that we as film goers could have something, however few and far between, to be excited about. Sadly, I didn’t get to see all the films I wanted to, but of the ones I did see, here are my top ten.
Machete, The King’s Speech, The Fighter, Somewhere, I’m Still Here Most of these made this section only because I hadn’t seen them come publication time. However, having seen them later I thought them worthy of at least adding here.
10. All About Evil
My first Entry on 2010’s top 10 list is a independently made and released camp homage to Horror’s by-gone era from local San Francisco filmmaker and drag queen extraordinaire Joshua Grannell (or more infamously known as Peaches Christ). Grannell directs a great cast in his first feature film about a woman who resorts to killing people to keep her dying movie theater alive. It’s fun film filled with pleanty of camp, comedy and gore to please just about any horror fan. Check out my review here.
Okay, so not the greatest film ever, but I had a blast watching this in the theater! After one mediocre sequel and two horrible AVP films, I was excited to finally see a film that lives up to the original Predator. Adrian Brody is a solid leading action hero, which I wasn’t expecting and, well, a dude takes on a Predator with a samurai sword! Need I say more?
8. Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part 1
The only complaint I could possibly have about this film is that it’s only half a film. That it ends abruptly and leaves you wanting more. But if you saw the Part 1 in the title and didn’t know this was coming then you probably shouldn’t be watching movies to begin with. J.K. Rowling’s last book in the Potter Series is so dense that after reading it I knew the only way it would work in film series would be to break it up into two films, so I was very excited when I heard they’d done just that. Part 1 is a dark and intense entry in the series and can’t wait for Part 2!
7. Iron Man 2
While not as solid as part 1, Iron Man 2 is a fantastic sequel with some really memorable villains. It also manages to further the story of Tony Stark and Iron Man as well as continue to build on the Marvel Film Universe. That it does all this and is still a great film is a very impressive feat. And Mickey Rourke is pretty bad ass as Whiplash.
6. Toy Story 3
Despite loving parts 1 and 2, I had reservations about the third one. All that was forgotten after seeing what might just be the best Toy Story film yet! Having the toys leave the house and wind up in a school broadens their world in ways I couldn’t believe. The people over at Pixar managed to come up with yet another fantastic adventure for Woody, Buzz and all the rest. They were able to kick it up a notch as one usually expects in a sequel, however wherein most sequels fail to do what they set out to, Toy Story 3 succeeds admirably.
5. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
Shaun Of The Dead quickly made Edgar Wright one of my favorite new directors and Hot Fuzz just cemented the idea, so I was really curious to see what the British director would do with his first American film. Pilgrim is a very strange film. It’s an adaptation of a comic book that pays tons of homage to video games. So the film feels more like a video game movie than a comic book movie.
It helps that the film has a solid cast with Michael Cera, Mary Winstead, Kieran Culkin and Jason Schwartzman (among others) but it’s Wright that makes this film work. Sure, the plot of the comic gets severely, condensed (what do you expect?) but Wright makes the story his own and goes places no film has ever gone before which is really impressive in this day and age.
Even as a comic book fan, this film came way out of left field for me as I’d never read the comic. However, when I saw the Wondercon panel featuring the whole cast and saw a few clips I knew it was going to be an amazing film.
It’s a fantastic story about one guy trying to do good for his town and getting in way over his head. Aaron Johnson was fine as the lead, but what really put this movie on the list was Chloe Moretz as Hit Girl and Nicolas Cage as Big Daddy. This was by no means Moretz first film, but this is the one she’ll always be remember for, this his her Luke Skywalker role. Hit Girl was the greatest character to grace our Silver Screens this year. Oh, and Cage channeling Adam West was brilliant as well!
3. True Grit
As much as I’m sick of sequels, when I heard that the Coen Brothers were adapting the same novel that had been adapted in the 60’s with John Wayne I got very excited! With superb cast consisting of Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon and Josh Brolin my excitement grew. Yet still, I had reservations. I hadn’t been the biggest fan of the Coen’s previous film, would they strike out again or once again reach the heights of glory for which I love them. This film exceeded my wildest expectations. Not only was Bridges in top form delivering one of the best films of his career, but newcomer Hailee Steinfeld is the reason this film ranks up at number 3. Without her phenomenal performance this whole film would have fallen to pieces.
2. Black Swan
My first introduction to Aronofsky was when I saw Requiem For A Dream in the theater. That film picked me up, slapped me around, cut me open and poured lemon juice on it and I loved every minute of it. So when I had to wait six years for his next film I was a little disappointed with The Fountain. However, he more than redeemed himself with ‘08’s The Wrestler and managed to make the best film of his career with Black Swan.
This is such a dark brutal film, it’s one of the most visceral I’ve seen in a long time and it’s got plenty of the psychological mind f*ck to push it over the end. In a small way, I almost wish it hadn’t come out this year so I could be by #1 pick.
Hands down the great film of the year. Chris Nolan is my hero, not only has he made several amazing films in his career (with Insomnia being the only exception) but he gave Batman life again and gave other comic book films something to strive for. He has also fought the 3-D invasion which I give major kudos to.
With Inception Nolan did what any Hollywood studio would think impossible. He made an intelligent thought provoking film that was over two hours long and managed to make it the third highest grossing film of the year. And it did made all that money without the inflated 3-D ticket price. With a phenomenal story, great acting and more of that beautiful cinematography we’ve come to expect from Nolan’s films, Nolan has proved that he doesn’t need The Dark Knight to make a blockbuster hit (however, I’m still damn excited for The Dark Knight Rises!)
Closing: Well, there you have it. My ten favorite films of 2010. These really were the diamonds in the rough but man it certainly was worth sifting through all the crap to find these gems.