One Blogger's Opinion: Favorite Movies of 2010

1/01/2011 Posted by Admin

One Blogger's Opinion: Favorite Movies of 2010

By our guest blogger, Joel Crabtree

In 2010, established directors opted not to play it safe, taking unnecessary risks that really paid off. Martin Scorsese left his familiar (and loved) crime world after the Oscar-winning “The Departed” for an island of mentally unstable criminals; “Slumdog Millionaire” director Danny Boyle filmed the unfilmable; David Fincher gave us a twisted, semi-autobiographical look at the (evil?) genius behind Facebook; and Christopher Nolan traded in his black cape to hijack dreams. But nothing Nolan does should come as a surprise to anyone anymore.

Here are my 10 favorite films from 2010, each of which challenged and defied expectations:

10. Never Let Me Go: Mark Romanek’s cold, quiet look at what it means to be human is one of the most unsettling films that 2010 has to offer. “Never Let Me Go” establishes Romanek as more than just a music video director.

9. Toy Story 3: Not exactly where I saw the franchise going when I first watched “Toy Story” in 1995, but not unwelcome either. Even though there are moments when “Toy Story 3” gets weighed down in the now-mandatory Pixar woe, it still brings the series to a spirited yet bitter-sweet close.

8. Exit Through the Gift Shop: What starts as an engrossing documentary about street art turns into a look at Thierry Guetta, one of the most fascinating (and maybe even complex) characters on film this year.

7. The Social Network: Aaron Sorokin’s script, David Fincher’s direction and the timing of “The Social Network” is kind like a perfect storm. “The Social Network” is calculated, meticulous and one of the best-told stories of 2010, with Andrew Garfield’s turn as Eduardo Saverin giving the movie its legs--not to mention its conscience.

6. Shutter Island: Martin Scorsese leads his mouse, Leonardo DiCaprio’s Teddy Daniels, through a dark and twisted maze searching for an escaped patient from a hospital for the criminally insane. The film’s final moments are haunting, unshakable and open-ended, showing yet again why DiCaprio and Scorsese are one of the best teams working now in Hollywood.

5. True Grit: It has a candy-coated shell of a Coen Brothers-infused Western, with all of the filmmakers’ trademarks (quirky supporting characters, sharp writing, etc.) and three strong performances from Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon and Hailee Steinfeld. But when you bite into “True Grit,” there’s a somberness that is more in line with “No Country for Old Men” and “A Serious Man.”

4. A Prophet: Jacques Audiard treats prison more like a business in this film about a young Arab Malik El Djebena (Tahar Rahim), who rises to become a mafia kingpin while locked up in a French prison. It’s unlike any crime movie that has come before it. For a system that is meant to rehabilitate, you have to wonder whether Malik was better off before or after his stint behind bars.

3. The Fighter: Few films this year effectively lit a fire under its audience as well as “The Fighter” did.  Mark Wahlberg’s plays the sheepish, passive Micky Ward, a stepping-stone boxer who gets used by his family while they shower his drugged-out, washed-up brother Dicky (Christian Bale, brilliant) with praise. The movie is more about Micky’s relationship with his family than it is about his career in the ring--and that’s where it finds its footing.

2. 127 Hours: This risky, if not seemingly impossible, exercise in filmmaking from director Danny Boyle sticks James Franco between a rock and a hard place for nearly the film’s entire duration. Somehow, the “Slumdog Millionaire” director made this stationary story into one of 2010's most active films. Franco’s portrayal of Aron Ralston is worthy of an Oscar, and despite what may seem like a cruel fate for Ralston, when you come up for air after the credits, you feel strangely alive.

1. Inception: What is there left to say about “Inception” that every film writer or blogger hasn’t already covered? “Inception” pulls off what is generally considered inconceivable for a blockbuster, balancing layered, complex and deep storytelling while still managing to entertain. It’s a remarkable feat, and one that we will continue to expect from Christopher Nolan in the future. No pressure.

Honorable mentions:
Animal Kingdom, Fair Game, The Ghost Writer, Greenberg, Green Zone, How to Train Your Dragon, The Kids are All Right, Monsters, Mother, Valhalla Rising.

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