Friday, December 31, 2010

My Top Ten Films for 2010

Okay, here are the rules.

I) The film had to be released in U. S. theaters in 2010. (Which ruled out things like the amazing restoration of 1927’s “Metropolis” or the purely imaginary adaptations of my Bill the Warthog books.)

II) I had to see the film in the 2010 calendar, in theater or on DVD. (I haven’t seen “Black Swan” or “The King’s Speech” and others that might have broke into the top ten, but I really think “Waking Sleeping Beauty” is the only film that probably would break the top five.)

So here they are from the bottom up.

10) “Daybreakers” – I’ve always loved vampire fiction, from Bela to Barnabus to Buffy, so if you come up with a new angle, I’m easy to please. The idea of this film is that vampires have taken over the world but now they’re running out of humans and therefore out of food. I liked the little creative touches like blood baristas and daylight proof cars with cameras and screens that allow vamps to drive. Ethan Hawke is a solid lead, but the real fun is seeing Willem Defoe and Sam Neill bite the scenery like it was a tasty neck.

9) “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World”- Director Edgar Wright did very creative, innovative work in this film (though I didn’t like this film as much as his “Shaun of the Dead” or “Hot Fuzz”.) But though this film is adapted from a graphic novel, it is arguably the first decent video game adaptation.

8) “The Fighter” – It just seems right that Christian Bale steals this film in the supporting role as the crack addicted brother of true life boxing champ, Micky Ward. After all, Heath Ledger stole “The Dark Knight” from him (partly because of his death, but chiefly because it was a fantastic performance.) The true story is an inspiring one, but there are a few too many Jerry Springer stereotypes on the screen.

7) “Winter’s Bone” – One of the great things about this film is the opportunity to a part of the country that films rarely, venture to, the Ozarks. A sad tale of the meth culture in this destitute region, but the hope is supplied by the courageous character of the young girl, Ree, played very well by Jennifer Lawrence. Looking forward to more from writer/director Debra Granik.

6) “The Town” – The MA accents in “The Fighter” were fun, but even better are the Boston, MA accents in this Ben Affleck directed crime flick. Based on a very good Paul Hogan novel, this film has good performance and some excellent action sequences. Who would have thought after “Gigli” that we would be looking forward to Ben’s next flick (along with Debra’s.)

5) “Inception” – Even better action sequences than in the town (especially in the gravity hallway) than in “The Town” and fun mind games, too. Christopher Nolan has yet to make a film I didn’t like (his “Momento” is one of my all time favorites.) I wrote about it here:

4 ) “Toy Story III” – It’s hard to make a good Number III as the Godfather, Spiderman and Mad Max will testify. But James Bond assured us it could be done. Pixar does it with this return to the adventures of Woody and Buzz Lightyear. Very funny and yet also with an ending that is ripe with sniffles. Sure to win Best Animated Feature.

3) “The Social Network” – Many people scoffed at a Facebook movie, but computer geeks have a vast impact on our day to day lives. But this movie isn’t just about playing Farm and Mafia Games online, but about greed and genius, loyalty and friendship and many other very important things. May well win the Best Picture Oscar, which would not be a bad choice. David Fincher has come a long way from “Aliens 3”.

2) “True Grit” – Remakes are often scorned and rightly so. Even good directors have made bad remakes. (Did “Psycho” really color, Gus Van Sant? Did “Planet of the Apes” need monkey Abe Lincoln, Tim Burton? And is James Marsden a great replacement for Dustin Hoffman in “Straw Dogs”, Rod Lurie? Oh, that’s right Rod, I was talking about good directors.) The Coen Brothers sure screwed up their remake of “The Ladykillers”. But they do it right with this film that made me laugh more than any other film this year. Jeff Bridges has the really tough job of taking the John Wayne role and he pulls it off. People often slam Ethan and Joel Coen of being cold, but I found the last third of this film very moving. And the spiritual content of the Charles Portis novel was not forgotten.

1) “Get Low” – Two favorite actors, Robert Duvall for drama and Bill Murray for comedy. And they’re together. In a very Christian film. I’m happy.

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