Thursday, December 23, 2010

2010 Movies

Instead of a top 10 list of best movies for 2010, I thought I would simply rank all the movies that I saw (or remember seeing). This turned out to be a difficult but worthwhile endeavor with the top and the bottom easy to define, but all the stuff in the middle sort of sits there like a giant bolus. The movies include theatrical releases (film festivals, box office) even though some were released in 2009, and any 2010 releases I saw on DVD or Netflix.

Exit Through The Gift Shop (covered here)
(covered in SXSW - see below)
(covered in SilverDocs - see below)

Yes I am putting three documentaries (in some cases presumed doc) at the top of my best movies list. Yes, they all have to do with art and the power of the creative force. Yes, they are all better than anything that was created in Hollywood this year.

White Ribbon (covered here)
Black Swan
(covered here)
(covered here)

The next three movies are darkly psychological and disturbing movies, some with fantastic performances. I wish Stone was getting more award buzz because it deserves it.

The Social Network

Cracking good tale by Fincher and Sorkin.

True Grit
Winter's Bone

Compare and contrast the two young female protagonists in these two movies. True Grit remake by The Coen Brothers Inc. of the original book, not so much the John Wayne flick - a classic western, and Winter's Bone - a look at life in the Ozarks.

How to Train Your Dragon (covered here)
Despicable Me

Two best animated features I saw this year. Dragon is better than Avatar, fantastic animation and 3D, and a great story. Me is creative look at bad guys who are not really bad (this and Megamind reminded me of the video games Evil Genius and Dungeonkeeper).

Inside Job

This doc is about the real bad guys, aka Wall Street, and the corrupt financial system.


Joon-ho Bong plays with maternal instinct.

Toy Story 3

Pixar puts the toys to bed.

The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers

Very topical with the WikiLeaks saga ongoing.

Winnebago Man

Internet fame, fall, redemption.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Have not managed to see the next two installments in this trilogy, but a great thriller from Sweden. If Fincher remakes this, I might have to see it.

RIP: A Remix Manifesto
Barbershop Punk

Copyright and creativity. Internet and rights.

35 Shots of Rum

Claire Denis, Paris, the ups and downs of a small intimate group of people.

All About Evil (covered here)

Hilarious horror movie. Some of the best one-liners since Schwarzenegger.

Into Eternity (covered in SilverDocs -see below)

What. Are. We. Doing?


Animated features that did not hit all the high marks.

The Road

Great book, ok movie.


Fun SNL character in a surprisingly fun movie.

Get Low

Robert Duvall.

Circo (covered in SilverDocs - see below)

Great intimate doc of a small circus in Mexico)

127 Hours

Bye bye arm.

Life 2.0 (virtuality)
Camp Victory, Afghanistan (it is not working - get out)
The People vs. George Lucas (this is a fan fic - the three part Red Letter Media deconstruction of the prequels is superior in every respect)
Richard Garriot - Man on a Mission (space tourists)
Saturday Night (behind the scenes of SNL)
Beijing Taxi (China)
Budrus (how peaceful protests in the occupied territories changed the Israeli's wall)

These docs were at SXSW (see below). I saw all of them there except Budrus which I saw later along with a discussion with the director).

Scott Pilgrim

Comic book tales (or video games, take your pick). A poor year for comic books. I saw Kick-Ass at SXSW.


Needed a real director.

Fair Game (the real story is more interesting than the adaptation - covered here)
Blue Valentine (I found this an incredibly boring tale of mediocre people (Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams) in a mediocre relationship - if you want to see passive aggressives get depressed -have fun)
All Good Things (really not liking Ryan Gosling who stars in another tale of another bad marriage, this one ending in the tragic disappearance of his wife - this one based on a real life story of real estate moguls in New York)
South of the Border (not very well told doc aboutSouth American leaders, especially Chavez, by Oliver Stone - covered in SilverDocs - see below))
Futurestates (made for TV - covered in SXSW - see below)
Cargo (low budget sci-fi - covered in SXSW - see below)
Freakonomics (a fun book becomes a not very well made doc by a mix of directors with only one standout part - the one on abortion - covered here)

Tron: Legacy in Wasted 3D

These last three were the worst movies I saw this year. Give me back my 6+ hours please.

Movies I Wanted To See:

The Last Station (China's far flung empire cracks at the seams)
The Secret of Kells (animated Academy Award nominee)
Hubble 3D (missed the start at SXSW due to traffic)
The Secret in Their Eyes (winner of Best Foreign Oscar last year)
Best Worst Movie (a look at Troll by one of the actors who made it)
Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo (bugs, and Japan)
The Trotsky (reincarnated Red Army hero)
Micmacs (also missed at SXSW)
I am Love (Tilda Swinton)
Cyrus (the mumblecore guys go big)
Dogtooth (sequestration)
Henri-Georges Clouzot's Inferno (self destruction)
Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child (the candle that burns so bright...)
The Tillman Story (about the manipulation of media by Dept. of Defense)
Machete (the fake trailers in Grindhouse come to life)
Waiting for Superman (from the director of An Inconvenient Truth - a look at the broken education system)
Four Lions (a slapstick look at a terrorist cell?)
Restrepo (a doc about one lone post in Afghanistan)
Carlos (the Jackal, the terrorist, the mercenary, the celebrity)
Buried (to see how it compares to 127 hours, plus the poster is brilliant)
Trash Humpers (because WTF is this?)
Enter the Void (surreal death)

Some of these films were shown at SXSW, and some at SilverDocs, which I covered:

There are lots of other lists out there:

Roger Ebert covers:
Best animated
Best foreign
Best features

Just do not ask him about best video games. Ask The Escapist instead for a year in review:
Escapist covers video games in 2010

Best Movie Posters:
Firstshowing covers best official

Best Canadian
Best viral videos
NWN has best SL machinima (I have not seen other best of machinima lists)
DocBlogs top docs
NYT films worth another look
Filmoculus has lists of lists, including many for film and DVD
A.O. Scott from NYT discusses 2010 cinema
Tarantino's favorites has pages and pages of links to other lists:
Dec 17
Dec. 18
Dec 30
Dec 30
Jan 1
Jan 4

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