Hey Gang. A little later than usual this year, but at last I’ve compiled my Top 10 Movies List of 2010. As always, please note that this list is a combination of the movies I simply enjoyed the most, and would want to watch again, fused with those that I thought were technically superior.
With that, here’s my list:
10. Inception: For a movie that has multiple mind- and time-bending layers, the narrative is surprisingly easy to follow. Crazy special effects fused with a journey through mind and spirit, Inception requires multiple viewings to follow all the threads and symbols. Some of the scenes dragged on too long, but it’s a crazy, fascinating ride.
9. Cyrus: A quiet and understated movie in which John. C. Riley and Jonah Hill (who really acts in this one) square off for the affections of Marisa Tomei (Riley’s new girlfriend; Hill’s mother). On the surface it’s pretty simple, but the nuanced performances make this a compelling watch that drew me in from start to finish.
8. Black Swan: Natalie Portman’s Golden Globe was well deserved. This psychosexual thriller takes you through the fragile mind of Portman’s ballerina, who unravels as the pressure of leading Swan Lake comes to a head. Dark, trippy and intense.
7. Kick Ass: For pure adrenalized fun, this is my favorite movie of the year. Geeks trying to be superheroes with an actual story, wicked fight scenes and a breakout star in Hit Girl. Not for everyone, but if you like the genre, this one’s a keeper.
6. The Social Network: Slightly overrated, it’s still an awesome window into the evolution of Facebook and the players that pulled it all together. How much is fact and how much is fiction, I suppose we’ll never really know, but Jesse Eisenberg carries the movie, with a script that unfolds more like a legal thriller than an historical document — in an era that is still defining itself.
5. Ghost Writer: This mystery thriller from sick pup Roman Polanski starts out being one movie — Ewan McGregor is hired to “ghost write” the memoirs of Pierce Brosnan’s questionable former British Prime Minister — and as it unravels, very much becomes another. Stick with it until the very last frame. You won’t be disappointed.
4. The Kids are All Right: A family dramedy for our strange modern times about a middle-aged lesbian couple, whose teenaged kids track down the donor father they never met and disrupts their lives. The performances are pitch perfect about a family that is anything but. Hilarious and poignant, this movie resonates on multiple levels. A winner.
3. How to Train Your Dragon: One of the best animated movies ever. Thrilling and fun, Dragon is a rip-roaring adventure that had me laughing, cheering and calling out for more. A classic.
2. True Grit: The Coen Brothers did it again. They have mastered the art of juxtaposing silent tension with abrupt violence, with just enough pauses in between to let you breathe. There’s nothing complicated about this tale of revenge, but it was amazing to watch the determination of 14 year old girl win over a craggy old gunslinger to bring justice to those who deserve it.
1. The King’s Speech: Colin Firth gives an amazing performance as a quiet man thrust into the radio spotlight — while forced to overcome a tormenting stammer — all as the specter of World War II hovers. The characters don’t know just how devastating Hitler will one day become, but as the audience, we do, and that tension puts this otherwise character driven tale over the top.
The Town – Another good effort from Ben Afleck, who has now proved that he’s a total pro behind the camera. An action packed hiest movie with great performances. Could have easily cracked my top ten. And on a second viewing, it just might.
Green Zone: Matt Damon delivers again with this political action thriller that brings the intensity of the Bourne movies to the international chaos of the Middle East. Heart pounding battles in a dark desert maze that’s continually tied in knots.
The Fighter – Christian Bale gives a great performance, although overall I found this to be Rocky without the theme music. A quality movie for sure, but not as rousing as I had hoped.
Worst of the Year:
The Expendables – I truly wanted to like this movie. 80s action stars blowing stuff up real good. What’s not to like? And yet …
I’ve heard all the talk that it’s supposed to be a wink-wink to those cheesy classics we loved with Arnold and Sly and Bruce Willis, but this is just a loud, horribly acted, horribly written dud. One of the worst movies I’ve seen in a long time.