Thursday, 16 December 2010

My Top 10 Films of 2010

Chris’ Top 10 Films of 2010

It’s that time of year again, and as always, I sit down and reminisce about the films that have filled our screens over the last 12 months, and which of these are worthy enough to land a space in my list of favourite movies this year.
2010 has been pretty tough; there have been some outstanding pictures and a fair few stinkers, but it’s fair to say, this year has been stronger than 2009. I’ve been head-scratching and brain-racking, but I finally have my top 10 of the year, and here they are….

10. ‘Kick-Ass’ (dir: Matthew Vaughn, Cert: 15)

Offensive, gory and down right extraordinary. Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) is a lonely and unpopular high school student who spends his days reading comic books with his few friends. He dreams about becoming a super-hero and decides to make his dream a reality. he becomes 'Kick-Ass; a hero with no powers and no responsibilities. After a video of him fighting crime is uploaded online, Kick-Ass is the current hot topic and everyone wants a piece of the action. His new found life inspires others around the city to become super-heroes and soon enough, he is joined by Hit-Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz), Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage) and Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) whose actions arent all what they seem. Kick-Ass is a carnival of blood, foul language and hilarious clichés on the super-hero movie. Moretz is my actress of the year and shes stunning as Hit-Girl; her potty mouth and her incredible killing skills are an utter delight to watch. Cage gives one of his two amazing performances of the year here. An excellent and side-splitting picture.

9. ‘The Town’ (dir: Ben Affleck, Cert: 15)

Ben Affleck’s second picture as director throws it’s audience into Charlestown, Boston; a city that’s ruled by it’s criminal underworld. Doug MacRay (Affleck) is a bank robber who after performing a job, realises he has feelings for one of the bank’s managers, Claire (Rebecca Hall). His best friend and partner James (Jeremy Renner) is obsessed with the next job and it’s getting suspicious of Doug’s actions. Now MacRay has to balance his friends, his love-life and steer clear of the FBI agents trying to bring him down. ‘The Town’ is a exquisite feature that blends grit, emotion and realism to create a compelling and believable Crime Thriller. Renner gives an utterly outstanding performance which is worthy of a Oscar nomination, and Affleck’s précised and accurate direction makes this film an absolute stunner. Ben’s definitely proved himself to be better behind the camera.

8. ‘Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call - New Orleans’ (dir: Werner Herzog, Cert: 18)

Nicolas Cage stars as Terence McDonagh; a corrupt police detective working in post-Katrina New Orleans. His life is fuelled by his raging drug and gambling addictions, and his ‘love’ for his prostitute girlfriend Frankie (Eva Mendes). McDonagh is investigating a series of murders but his policing duties become less important when he spirals further downwards leading him to join forces with a group of notorious drug dealers.
This is an outstanding film on so many levels; Herzog continues to impress me, he really is a genius filmmaker and this is as crazy as his work with the wonderful Klaus Kinski. Cage has given his two best performances this year (the other being in ‘Kick-Ass’) since ‘Leaving Las Vegas’ (1995). He is incredible in this picture; his warped and manic behaviour is something of rare genius and is fantastic to watch. Cage is my actor of 2010 for sure. Rapper Xzibit also gives a hilarious and enjoyable performance as drug lord Big Fate. This film is a breath of fresh air that was a sheer delight to watch; it’ll offend, it’ll appal and it will certainly entertain.

7. Unstoppable’ (dir: Tony Scott, Cert: 12A)

Denzel Washington reunites with directing pal Tony Scott for this fabulous runaway train Action-Thriller. Frank Barnes (Washington) is a veteran railroad engineer who is paired with conducting rookie Will Colson (Chris Pine) for a day’s work on the tracks. What starts out as an average day soon takes a turn for the worst when a runaway train is located on their tracks without a driver. The train, numbered 777 is under full power, carrying vast quantities of toxic chemicals and hurtling towards the highly populated town of Stanton. Now the pair must join forces and embark on a heroic adventure against time to stop this machine before it destroys all in it’s path. ‘Unstoppable’ is an incredibly tense and adrenaline-inducing rollercoaster ride that uses gallons of tension rather than mindless pyrotechnics to thrill it’s audience. It’s Scott’s best film in years and sports great performances from the two leads. It’s the most fun you’ll have at the cinema all year. Period.

6. ‘The Illusionist’ (dir: Sylvian Chomet, Cert: PG)

Another dazzling animation from French filmmaker Chomet. A French illusionist finds himself out of work as a rock and pop band take his spot at his local venue, so he decides to pack up and head for Scotland. On his travels he meets a young woman called Alice who becomes his companion as he entertains in various pubs, clubs and social venues throughout rural Edinburgh. Their adventure changes his perception of life, and indeed his actual life forever. This is without a doubt, the most beautiful and heart-wrenching film I’ve seen for years; the film is practically silent, yet Chomet’s score washes through it’s audience leaving you bursting with joy and wallowing in sorrow. If you see one foreign film this year, please make it this one. Life-affirming, visually absorbing and emotionally challenging. A marvellous animation.

5. ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1’ (dir: David Yates, Cert: 12A)

Harry’s final tale has been divided into two feature films and 2010 saw the release of the first. Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) have left Hogwarts and have headed out alone into the big bad world. The trio are fulfilling the late Dumbledore’s task of finding all of Lord Voldemort’s (Ralph Fiennes) Horcruxes and destroying them to finally defeat him and save the wizarding world from evil. During their quest, they become familiar with the term, ‘Deathly Hallows’ and it’s origins. This term refers to three objects which collectively, will give a wizard ultimate power and possibility.
Harry’s latest outing is a stunning piece of cinema. Yates’ direction makes it’s audience feel visually arrested by the beauty of the landscapes, the vast spaces and the emptiness of our heroes world. The group all give fantastic performances, the film sports a gorgeously grim animated sequence for the telling of the ‘Three Brothers’ tale and the film leaves you craving for the second part released in July. Visually masterful, spiritually haunting and incredibly entertaining. Yes, it is the ‘darkest’ one yet.

4. ‘Easy A’ (dir: Will Gluck, Cert: 15)

Emma Stone shines in this hilarious and unique Teen Comedy. Olive Penderghast (Stone) is a anonymous teenager attending a local high school. After spending a weekend avoiding her best friend Rhiannon’s camping trip, she is forced into lying about a ‘date’ she never had. A white lie arises about her losing her virginity and soon enough she is the talking point of the school. Not long after, Olive is asked to help average guys who can’t get a girl and need a confidence boost. She starts pretending to sell sex for various favours and she is soon labelled by her fellow students. Olive begins to wear a red ‘A’ on her clothing to symbolise adultery which only makes matters worse. Blinded by trying to help others not get hurt, Olive soon realises the only person hurting is herself.
‘Easy A’ is the most original Comedy of the year and it’s hysterically funny. Stone’s comic timing is perfection and her sarcastic manner is immensely pleasing. The supporting cast give wonderful performances, especially her father played by Stanley Tucci. This is an incredibly smart, wildly entertaining and enjoyable comedy romp that’s rooted in 80s teen culture. It’s a John Hughes movie without Anthony Michael Hall. A real treasure of a feature.

3. ‘The Social Network (dir: David Fincher, Cert: 12A)

Fincher's Facebook fable was one of the surprise films of 2010 for me. The film tells story of Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) and how he, along with Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) created Facebook. What started out as drunken cyber-bullying in 2003 turned into one of the most profitable websites in history; it's currently estimated at a staggering $50 billion. This great story is about friendship, betrayal and all in between. Eisenberg gives a marvellous performance as Mark; he's the perfect anti-hero who can be so charming and pleasent, but he bares an acid tongue that whips and spits. Fincher's direction is fantastic and certainly sure-footed, but the real star of the show is Aaron Sorkin's masterful screenplay which is easily the best of the year. The film's punchy and often side-splitting dialogue binds this brilliant picture together. 'The Social Network' achieves what many pictures strive for; simplicity. There are no tricks, quirks or gimmicks here; this is just pitch perfect storytelling and filmmaking.

2. ‘Toy Story 3’ (dir: Lee Unkrich, Cert: U)

The toys are back for one last adventure in this incredible movie. Andy is heading to college and it’s time for him to put his childhood behind him As he is preparing to leave, Andy places the toys in a bag that’s meant to go in the attic, unfortunately they are accidentally taken to Sunnyside day care centre. The group believes they were abandoned by Andy and it’s up to Woody (Tom Hanks) to convince them they weren’t. Buzz (Tim Allen) and Jessie (Joan Cusack) believe they can start a new happy life at the centre but things take a turn for the worst when head toy Losto (Ned Beatty) starts to notice that a plan for escape might be being hatched.
As many know, Pixar is my favourite film studio, and I can say whole-heartedly, this film is an utter masterpiece. It’s unbelievably well-crafted, has a pitch-perfect narrative and it’s deep emotional themes rush through it’s audience leaving tears in your eyes. The film is blissfully funny too; Michael Keaton’s Ken is the star of the show and the funniest character of 2010. This is by far the best computer-animated film of the year, and indeed one of 2010’s best pictures in general. The ‘Toy Story’ franchise proves that you can actually make a successful trilogy, and this is most probably the greatest film trilogy in cinema history. A marvellous and incredible achievement.

And the Winner is…

1. ‘Inception’ (dir: Christopher Nolan, Cert: 12A)

The winner by a country mile. Nolan’s latest is utterly astonishing. Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is an ‘extractor’; a highly skilled thief who is able to access information from subjects through their subconscious whilst they dream. Desperate to return home to his children, Cobb is given a final shot at redemption which involves him and a crack team to perform the act of ‘inception’; to plant an idea into a subject’s mind and allow them to fill it with their subconscious. They must build a dream map which consists of various levels in order to create the perfect crime. But just when things couldn’t get any more complex, Cobb is battling with the demons of his past that are affecting his work, his life and the others around him.
This film is worthy of being called a masterpiece, simply because it is. ‘Inception’ is ground-breaking, awe-inspiring, visually impeccable and extremely intelligent. This is no popcorn flick, this is a brain-bashing journey deep into the mind and the human psyche. DiCaprio gives an outstanding performance as the deeply troubled Cobb. Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy and Marion Cotillard also present wonderful performances.
Nolan truly is one of the finest filmmakers in modern day cinema, and the fact that he’s British is only more pleasing. This is a big-budget blockbuster where the money wasn’t wasted on stupid amounts of CGI, or hurdles of dumb stunts, the majority of the money was spent on building sets, yes that’s right, the majority of what you see in this film was actually made, not green-screened. The rotating hallway, the exploding café, the demolishing fortress and so much more was built for the film. If you haven’t seen ‘Inception’, watch it instantly and revel in it’s masterfulness. I will remember 2010 for this film.


‘Shutter Island’ (dir: Martin Scorsese, Cert: 15)

‘Cherrybomb' (dir/s: Lisa Barros D'Sa/Glenn Leyburn, Cert: 15)

'The Killer Inside Me (dir: Michael Winterbottom, Cert: 18)

‘Scott Pilgrim vs. the World’ (dir: Edgar Wright, Cert: 12A)

‘Brothers’ (dir: Jim Sheridan, Cert: 15)

‘Up in the Air’ (dir: Jason Reitman, Cert: 15)

‘Salt’ (dir: Phillip Noyce, Cert: 12A)

‘Let Me In’ (dir: Matt Reeves, Cert: 15)

‘Whip It’ (dir: Drew Barrymore, Cert: 12A)

‘A Single Man’ (dir: Tom Ford, Cert: 12A)

1 comment:

  1. I liked your list. We share some of the same picks, but I've got a couple unconventional favorites of my own. They are here: in case you're interested.