Thursday, January 13, 2011

2010, A Year in Review - Part 5

The final part, the end to the whole enchilada. Today is when I list off my 10 favorite films that I saw in 2010. While there are many movies that were released in 2010, many I haven't gotten to see till 2011, because they haven't opened in my area till then, or something like that. Which is why I have yet to see such big Oscar contenders like The King's Speech or 127 Hours, but I think I saw enough good movies in 2010 to make a respectable top 10 list. Without further ado, my favorite movies I saw in 2010:

10. The Karate Kid (Dir. Harold Zwart)
I am typically all against remakes, and I don't know how to explain why I liked this movie. It is essentially the original film just set in China and he studies Kung Fu, but the biggest difference between this movie and the original, is that they didn't try to make Jackie Chan Pat Morita's Mr. Miyagi, instead they made him a serious, deeply tragic character that was more of a father figure than comic uncle.
(Last year: An Education)

9. Mao's Last Dancer (Dir. Bruce Beresford)
There is another ballet movie that came out in 2010 that got way more press, but if you ask me, this was the better film. The movie was about a Chinese ballet dancer who tries to stay in the States after coming over to dance, soon realizing that he no longer believes in his Communist views. However, complications come when he is defected by the Chinese government. This was such a powerful, and emotionally moving film, and so subtle yet also extremely straightforward at the same time. It is sort of schmaltzy, but it's a feel good movie, and it made me feel good enough towards it to make this list over that other ballet movie.
(Last year: Avatar)

8. The Book of Eli (Dir. The Hughes Brothers)
This was a really daring movie for a Hollywood studio, handling religious subject matter that you rarely see in a studio production, and that is primarily why I loved it so much. It was a fairly standard post apocalyptic, nuclear fall out action flick, but the idea that Eli has the only surviving copy of the bible in the world is such a unique concept, and is executed so grittily, yet beautifully in the end, that it was hard for me not to like it.
(Last year: Sherlock Holmes)

7. It's Kind of a Funny Story (Dir. Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck)
Bar none, the funniest movie of the year. The movie about a teen who checks himself into a psych ward is what the result would be if John Hughes had made a teen comedy set within a mental hospital. Like the great movies of John Hughes, this movie has actual emotion behind it, blending heart, and sometimes even seriousness. While much of the humor is farfetched, albeit hilarious all the same, the emotions of the characters are real, and that is what made this movie so affecting.
(Last year: Up)

6. The Social Network (Dir. David Fincher)
It is rare for a movie that is really topical, to actually catch my eye, and this movie about the founding of facebook did just that. Thing is, this movie was actually entertaining. It was at times humorous, and at others heartwrenching. It is really a movie about friendships, in particular the friendship of Mark Zuckerberg and Eduardo Saverin, the co-founders of the famed company, and now ex-friends. It's a modern day Shakespearean tragedy, without all of the murder, but with a ton of emotional backstabbing, that's why it's so brilliant.
(Last year: Ponyo)

5. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows-Part 1 (Dir. David Yates)
Kind of funny, I gave Harry Potter this same slot last year, but the quality of the latest installment is about the same. While these past two Potter films aren't as brilliant as the first three installments, they've been the best in the series since the third film. Both this and last year's movie were solid adventure yarns with all of the charm and elegance that is Harry Potter, and they have helped remind us, the audience, as to why we should still invest ourselves in the stories of the Boy Wizard.
(Last year: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince)

4. TRON: Legacy (Dir. Joseph Kosinski)
I feel real weird being one of the few people who actually thought that TRON: Legacy actually lived up to all of the hype, but what can I say. This is a stellar adventure yarn that actually takes time to develop the world, let you drink in all of the fantastical, never moving at a breakneck pace and it tells a coherent and succinct story while also innovating and always creating imagery unlike any you've ever seen. Daft Punk's score does help a little.
(Last year: Up in the Air)

3. How to Train Your Dragon (Dir. Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders)
There was no other movie this past year that was this cool, or just this much fun. Whenever I see a movie and hum the music, reminisce the finale in my mind, or wish to all get out that I could own a dragon as a pet, that is when you know you love a movie. The movie had stirring action scenes, the best of the year, but it also was a surprisingly emotional experience that made one almost think of E.T. Just a fantastic movie that all who are a fan of movies should see.
(Last year: (500) Days of Summer)

2. Toy Story 3 (Dir. Lee Unkrich)
Two animated flicks make the top 3 spots! But seriously, would this one not show up so high on the list? I grew up with these movies, and it is so befitting to see that Pixar has actually allowed the characters that made them household names age and mature, as the viewers aged with them, creating a deep emotional connection that goes beyond just this one movie, but spans all three.
(Last year: Departures)

1. True Grit (Dir. The Coen Brothers)
Okay, first thing to get straight, I typically despise Westerns, and I really don't know what it is about the Coens' latest that swept me away so. The performance of Hailee Steinfeld is the best of the year, not to mention this is the Coens' most refined work as directors. They kept it simple, never doing unnecessary camera moves or cuts. I think the main reason I loved True Grit though, is that it still has enough of the Coens' trademark flare to appeal to their fans, but it is mostly them branching out and making a movie with an actual soul behind it, rather than their usual cynical spin, and that is why it was so memorable.
(Last year: Star Trek)

And that does it for 2010, a mediocre year of movies at best, but that top 5 would have been worthy in any spectacular year. Here's hoping for 2011!

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