Friday, December 31, 2010
My top ten of 2010
I only saw 24 movies released in 2010. So when it came time to come up with the traditional "Best of the Year" list, I had slim pickins. It was a great year for kids movies, but too many other "prestige" kinda movies I've not seen to tell what I think about the year overall. Every year gives us wonderful movies though, and 2010 was no exception. I've written full reviews of seven of the movies, so their entries are a little smaller. Still, it is tradition, so here it goes:
1. Toy Story 3
The fact that I don't think Toy Story 3 is Pixar's masterpiece really speaks to the quality of work they've put out over the past 15 years. The culmination of the story of Woody and Buzz and the gang is as good as their original tale, and much better than the lackluster second entry. I wrote about it back in August, and re-watching it on DVD recently only affirmed those feelings. I didn't think I would've put it as my #1 of the year, but when it came to putting together this list, it was the movie that I would've taken over any of the others.
2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, part 1
Now, I wrote about this one just last month, and without a re-watch I can't think of anything new to wrote about it, so if you wanna know my feelings on it, just look back at last month's write up.
3. Leaves of Grass
Another that I just wrote about last month, Leaves of Grass was a movie I needed to watch a couple of times before its rough edges got smoothed over for me and I could stand back and admire its brilliance. Some websites have it listed as a 2009 release because of its premiere at the Toronto Film Festival last year, but it wasn't released in theaters (for about 15 minutes) or on DVD until this year, so I'm counting it that way.
I haven't had a chance yet to check out Chris Nolan's newest blockbuster again now that it's out on DVD, but I will soon. I've seen all of his movies multiple times, and don't expect Inception to be any different.
5. Shutter Island
DiCaprio entry #2 on the list, and marking his fourth collaboration with the legendary Martin Scorsese, Shutter Island is a sad, thrilling, slightly off kilter (in an intentional way) movie that I loved every minute of. It's fun to see Scorsese making big Hollywood movies after most of his career making smaller, more character driven, independent type films. Many people complain about that very thing, wishing he'd go back to the way he used to do it. But I think, he's already done that, let the man try a different way of filmmaking, he's earned it by now. Although it was supposed to be released around this time last year, for awards consideration, and eventually released in February, I wouldn't be too surprised if it still hung in the minds of some awards voters and made it into a few of the categories. Here's hoping.
6. Despicable Me
The concept of a villain being the hero of a story is a good one, especially in this movie's case, where Gru (Steve Carrell) is disappointed that another villain has stolen one of the Pyramid's of Giza, thereby making all other villains, including Gru, look lame. Gru goes on a wacky adventure involving his innumerable minions, 3 orphan girls, a man eating shark, a freeze ray, ballet recitals, his discouraging mother, a shrinking ray, and the Moon and brings us along for the ride. It doesn't quite explore the villain-as-hero thing as much as it probably could have, but it's a wonderfully enjoyable movie with a terrific voice cast all doing voices! As in, not just recording their own voices speaking lines, but actually creating characters and coming up with new voices for them (Carrell says he based Gru's voice on a cross between Ricardo Montalbon and Bela Lugosi, and yes it does sound as delightful as that combination would lead you to believe). Thankfully, it was a big hit, so we should be seeing more of Gru on the big screen in the future.
7. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
What an odd, terrific, and insane movie this is. Director Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead) brought the creation to life from the comic book series Scott Pilgrim, and it's just unlike any other movie I've ever seen. It takes some inspiration from the world of video games, but in a very literalistic way that was hysterical to me (when a bad guy is dispensed by our hero, for instance, he turns into coins, just like in the more innocent video games of my youth). I thought it had a lot of imagination, humor, and I think its failure at the box office could be attributed to its weirdness. I thought it was a lovable little oddity though.
Again, wrote about this one not long ago and haven't seen it again so I doubt my feelings have changed any about this movie. See it!
9. How to Train Your Dragon
I recently re-watched my #9, and although I didn't quite love it as much as on the first go round, I still thought it was a terrific movie, beautifully animated, well written, and a rousing adventure story executed at a very high level.
10. Easy A
Easy A is a "teen movie", sure, but it is one that's done with the care and intelligence any movie should be made with. Emma Stone gives wit, charm, and a wonderful chemistry with her parents (the infallible Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson) to Olive, our heroine, who tells a tiny little lie to make her friend leave her alone, which rumors its way around high school (as these things do) until Olive is the harlot of her small California town, with comical and not so comical results for her and her loved ones. Stone's is so comfortable in her performance, and the movie itself acknowledges John Hughes and his influence, that I was reminded of Matthew Broderick in Ferris Bueller's Day Off. I think it's a star making performance and we'll be seeing this delightful actress in many more movies in the years to come. And I'll be happy to see her.
There are still a bunch of movies I've yet to see that I think would have a possibility of making it on the list:
The Social Network
I Love You Phillip Morris
The King's Speech
Let Me In
Never Let Me Go
I Am Love
So as usual I still have a lot to catch up with, but this is where my list stands for now. To be continued...