This year has seen some truly great films emerge, thankfully most of them being very original and creative. We’ve been taken into an expertly designed world of dreams (no I’m not talking about the Nightmare on Elm Street remake), played with old toys, seen James Cameron become king of the world once again with Avatar‘s worldwide intake of $2 Billion and experienced some 80’s nostalgia with the likes of The A-Team and The Expendables. Some would say it has been a mixed year, especially seeing the likes of the boring and surprisingly unimaginative Alice in Wonderland cross the $1 billion mark, but it’s been enjoyable. I know we’re not quite at the end of the year yet, but I don’t think I’m going to see anything new before we see 2011 begin, and everyone else seems to be doing Top 10 stuff online. And I’m bored. So, without further ado, here are my Top 10 films of the year in descending order.
Probably one of the least action-packed movies of the year is my number one movie of the year. And when you take a look at it, it’s not hard to see why. It is a brilliantly written character study which is also an incredibly well crafted insight of society and the basis of a social life that exists today. Fincher’s gritty yet sleek style is perfectly suited to the quick-witted and sharp writing stylings of The West Wing’s Aaron Sorkin. It also features two of the most surprising performances of the year; Jessie Eisenberg showing a much different insensitive side then we’ve seen in the likes of Zombieland, and Justin Timberlake actually making me, and I’m sure many others, take him seriously as an actor. With Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ atmospheric score accompanying the true story of the creation of Facebook we have here an intelligent, witty and important piece of filmmaking that more than deserves its place on many Top ten lists of this year, and hopefully some awards to boot as well. Check out my full review here: https://andygaudion93.wordpress.com/2010/10/19/review-the-social-network-andrew-gaudion-likes-this/
2. Inception- Dir: Christopher Nolan
It was very hard trying to choose between this and The Social Network for the top spot, the former edging its way ahead I think because it has more to say about the real world, rather than the world of our dreams, no matter how real they feel. Inception has become the success that it is because it’s a summer blockbuster that doesn’t treat its audience like idiots. It takes a complex idea yet manages to structure an engaging, action packed ride that leaves you breathless. It’s amazing to think that most of the effects here are done practically, yes even the corridor scene. It’s innovative filmmaking, that doesn’t rely on 3-D (take that Cameron!) to astound. It was certainly the most anticipated film of the year, with no one really having much of a clue as to what it was about until its release, and it certainly lived to the hype, mostly because even after viewing the film, there is still a sense of mystery surrounding it, not helped by that ending at all. And that’s the beauty of it. Check out my full review on: https://andygaudion93.wordpress.com/2010/09/06/review-inception-believe-the-hype-this-film-is-amazing/
Another highly anticipated movie of this year that didn’t fail to match up to its expectations. Toy Story 3 was both a welcome return and a heartfelt goodbye to Woddy, Buzz and the gang. It gave an incredible sense of nostalgia that felt good whilst the film lasted, but kind of left a saddening effect at the thought of mine and a generations childhood coming to an end. You may think all this sounds a bit too deep for a kids movie, but I don’t think I was alone with this response. It rounds off a perfect trilogy that has spanned 15 years, with a story that echoes of The Great Escape and The Shawshank Redemption. It certainly shows Pixar is still THE studio for computer animated movies, maintaining their expertise in both visually stunning animation and masterful storytelling. Not quite as inventive as Inception or as fresh and captivating as The Social Network but it certainly earns a place on any Top 10 lists for the year, and even the decade, being the most successful movie of the year and animated movie of all time. Check out my full review here: https://andygaudion93.wordpress.com/2010/07/20/toy-story-3-goodbye-woody-and-co-farewell-childhood/
4. Kick-Ass- Dir: Matthew Vaughan
This more than earns its place for having the balls to be a completely unconventional superhero flick, with mega-violent action, which is mostly dished out by an 11-year old girl. It may have seen its fair share of controversy, courtesy of the Daily Mail, but who cares when the film is made with huge style and confidence. It almost didn’t make it to cinema screens, as it had great trouble finding a distributer, with most of the budget for the movie coming from Matthew Vaughan’s own pocket, who also agreed not to be paid for the film in order to see it made. That’s dedication! Thank God he stuck by this project as it has given Vaughan the film of his career, so far, and has allowed him to move into Hollywood with the upcoming X-Men: First Class. This also gets extra points for allowing Nicolas Cage to go off on any Adam West tangent he wanted and for establishing both rising stars Aaron Johnson and Chloe Moretz as the next big thing. Hopefully we’ll soon see the return of them in the planned sequel set for 2012. For my full review click here: https://andygaudion93.wordpress.com/2010/09/14/dvd-review-kick-ass-wait-until-you-get-a-load-of-this/
Otherwise known as the other Leonardo DiCaprio movie that deals with the mind and dreams and what is real and what is not, whilst also featuring a pestering dead wife who just won’t seem to leave him alone. Despite some similarities between this and Inception, there is a great difference between the two films. Shutter Island is much more of a haunted house ride, drawing from inspiration from 1950’s B-Movies yet managing to present it in a glossy Hollywood fashion, as you’d expect from its A-List star and director. I personally don’t think Scorsese has made a more interesting and challenging movie in terms of filmmaking. It certainly goes against the stylings of his crime noir flicks like Taxi Driver and Goodfellas which gives the film a certain freshness to it. I also think that DiCaprio puts across a much stronger and involving performance in this then he does in Inception, which did play as a bit more of an ensemble piece. It doesn’t pack the same excitement levels as Inception, but also manages to present a mysterious ending that is satisfying in a weird way. Once again, check out my review on: https://andygaudion93.wordpress.com/2010/08/26/dvd-review-shutter-island-leonardo-is-taking-over-the-asylum/
6. Nowhere Boy- Dir: Sam Taylor Wood
Now this technically came out last year, December 26th as you may be able to see on the poster, but I think I can justify its place on this list. I saw it in February. It came out on DVD this year. It only came out in America two months ago. And it’s bloody good. Nowhere Boy tells the story of the young John Lennon, as played by Kick-Ass’ Aaron Johnson, following him in his early days as a rebellious youth in Liverpool. The film charts the relationship he had with his Aunt who raised him and how he dealt with the reappearance of his mother who abandoned him as a small boy. We also see the roots of his music career with the establishment of his first band The Quarrymen and witness the meeting of the young John and Paul McCartney. The film is beautifully shot by photographer turned first time director Sam Taylor Wood (who’s 40, and about to have a kid with Aaron Johnson) and the story is engaging on all the right levels. With an amazing 50’s Rock and Roll soundtrack to boot, this is one of the most enjoyable movies I’ve seen this year that has certainly left a lasting impression on me. Unfortunately there is no full review to read as I saw it before setting up my blog, but I think you can tell from my words above that this is most definitely a 5 star film in my eyes. Highly recommended.
The inclusion of this film is not to make me look cultured and say ‘hey I watch foreign films’, there are other reasons too. It is truly an original war movie, something that’s been a hard feat since everyone seemed to try to copy Saving Private Ryan for a good few years. It has an intriguing concept, setting all its action inside a tank with a group of soldiers in during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982. What also makes it great is how personal it is. This is Moaz’s story, he’s showing us an extremely important period of his life, and this film is a way for him to make sense of it all, whilst also giving us a tense, engaging and claustrophobic war thriller that deserves to be seen. I do have a full review for this one which, guess what, you can check out here: https://andygaudion93.wordpress.com/2010/10/17/dvd-review-lebanon-man-is-steel-the-tank-is-only-iron/
Here we have one of the funnest movies of the year, but also one of the years biggest box office failures, with a $60 million budget, yet only managing to make back $45 million in its box-office takings. Which is a shame really as there is so much imagination and creativity behind it that it really shouldn’t go un-seen. I think it’s the sort of film that will find its place on DVD (out December 27th for those that are interested) and perhaps even gain a cult status. Part of the reason it may have failed is because people simply didn’t get it, as there is a lot going on. But that’s the main attraction of this film, you just need to sit back, enjoy and follow in the mad-cap and massively random adventures of Scott Pilgrim, who must face the wrath of seven evil ex’s in order to win the heart of the girl of his dreams Ramona Flowers. It certainly won’t be to everyone’s tastes, but there was enough here to keep me entertained and earn it a place on my top films of the year. And would you believe it I have a link to my full review right here: https://andygaudion93.wordpress.com/2010/09/07/review-scott-pilgrim-v-s-the-world-this-is-edgar-wright-and-hes-here-to-make-awesome-films-and-totally-entertain-us-and-stuff/
This earns a place here because it managed to keep me interested in it right from when I first read about it in a coming soon feature in Empire Magazine at the end of last year. It’s the concept which interested me, 8 candidates, 1 job, 80 minutes, 1 answer, no question. It’s a twisty thriller which never leaves the exam room and goes in real-time with the countdown clock. It takes turns that you wouldn’t expect and the largely unknown cast ground things in reality and makes you question, what would you do in order to win a job. The ending is slightly disappointing but only because the build up is so expertly constructed by another first time British director. It is an interesting sci-fi-ish thriller, one critic described it as The Apprentice meets Saw and it’s a pretty good way to describe it and is definitely worth checking out. No review I’m afraid, sorry to disappoint.
10. Predators- Dir: Nimrod Antal
One of the other films of this year that was a satisfying sequel/reboot whatever you want to call it. It is the follow-up that the Arnold Schwarzenegger action classic deserves with the kick-ass action that the Alien V.S. Predator franchise sorely missed, along with tension, good acting, standard story and any other qualities that makes a film, you know, decent. It mirrors the first movie in all the best ways, appearing familiar yet managing to be fresh and original with the concept of a Predator game reserve planet, which has opened up many possibilities for the future of the franchise, which hopefully drowns out any possibility of future Alien V.S. Predator installments. Adrien Brody proves that he convince as an action hero and would happily see him take on this franchise and see more Predator action that 2010 has given me a taste for. Hopefully 2012’s Alien prequel will do as much justice to the franchise as this has done for Predator. Oh yeah, check out my full review on this link, how could I forget: https://andygaudion93.wordpress.com/2010/07/21/review-predators-goooo-get-to-da-chopper-the-franchise-is-back-on-its-feet/
There you have it, my top 10 films for the year that was, 2010. I hope you’ve managed to experience some of these movies as they’re the ones that have come to characterise this year of film for me, intelligent, thought-provoking, nostalgic, action packed, mysterious, heartfelt, personal, mad-cap, original and predatory. I hope you’ve enjoyed this year as much as I have, here is a brilliantly edited video that displays some of the films that have been released this year, with some of my top 10 included. Hope you all have a great Christmas and an awesome New Year and bring on 2011!