Naturally, this list will be kind of limited. There are still films from this year I'm going to see soon (King's Speech on the 1st) and a bunch of others I want to see but won't get to for a while (The Fighter comes to mind, as does The American). But these are the top 10 2010 films that I saw this year.
Hey look, Scott made it after all. Give him a big round of applause. Sure, Scott Pilgrim was far from a perfect movie, but it was exciting, enjoyable and occasionally touching. Hell it was good enough that I forgot I hated Michael Cera for 2 hours, and if that isn't a recommendation I don't know what is.
It must be said, the bar for over-the-top actioners of the new decade has been set and it has been set high. Danny Trejo finally manages to be a star in his own right, as opposed to playing opposite Antonio Bandaras (and it took him a while; would you believe he's over 60?) and Robert Rodriguez puts out what is easily his best film since Sin City. Come for the kitschy violence, stay for the just-as-kitschy (but relevant) political commentary.
Despite the serious style and subject matter, this film has more than a little in common with tall tales. With a solid supporting cast all around and a FANTASTIC lead performance from Robert Duvall. He's doing the same kind of work he did in the flawed, but touching Secondhand Lions but this time in service of a better movie...that no one saw. Oh well, it's still a great movie and worth your time and attention.
The first of a series of improbably good movies. This one is far better than any movie about the founding of Facebook has any right to be. With a fantastic screenplay, a group of great performances and some great directing (not to mention the best twinning technique I've ever seen) The Social Network might not be relevant 2 or 3 years down the line, but right now it's a great film and one you should definitely see.
The second improbably good movie, comes to use courtesy of Danny Boyle (come to think of it Slumdog Millionaire was also improbably good...hmmm). You wouldn't think there's a good movie in the story of a guy trapped under a rock for 5 days, but you'd be wrong. James Franco is high on my list of candidates for Best Actor as he gives a rock solid (pun intended) performance. Ignore the deceptive trailers and just see it, so you can be that guy going “Ohmigosh you gotta see it.”
This is how important this movie? It's subheading has a subheading. A near complete turnaround in style and technique (not to mention quality) from the last 3 that chased away all my fears and made me excited for a Harry Potter movie again. In fact, I'm gonna call it now: If Part 2 lives up to what Part 1 has set up, we might just have a modern classic on our hands. Welcome back Mr. Potter. We missed you.
Christopher Nolan blows the roof off with what is easily his best original movie and second only to Dark Knight in his career. If you haven't seen it (which judging by it's box office take means you're living under a rock) you OWE it to yourself to get out there and see it. One of the best action movies in years, with a fantastic lead from Leonardo Dicaprio (and once again, I take back everything nasty I said post Titanic).
And he's AWAKE goddammit.
HAIL STIEG LARRSON! HAIL THE VICTORIOUS DEAD! So Played With Fire and Kicked the Hornet's Nest weren't up to snuff, who gives a shit? This is still a tightly made thriller, with a great lead from Noomi Rapace and an incredibly interesting plot and a high frontrunner for Best Foreign Film. Easily the best foreign films since Pan's Labyrinth (if you haven't seen Pan's fix that NOW!). Now can we PLEASE not fuck up the American version?
Hey, a pair of fantastic directors took a team of great actors and an incredible script and made a great film. Are we shocked? Featuring some great performances from Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon and a great amount of talent shown in newcomer Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit isn't westerns the way they used to be. It's westerns they way they SHOULD be.
If there was any evidence in Requiem for a Dream or The Wrestler that Darren Aronofsky had a movie of this caliber in him, I certainly missed it. I really can't say anymore than I already did in my review; there's no bad reason to see Black Swan. There is, simply put, nothing out there quite like it, now see it, before someone close to you sees it and spoils it for you.