Tuesday, March 29

The Best of 2010...finally.

     Well, it's nearly the end of March, and I have finally finished my best of 2010 list. Sorry for the delay but I always have difficulty trying to categorize all the films I watch throughout the year. And day to day my favorites change, however the films below are some of my favorites, ones that I found intriguing, entertaining, or creative. Enjoy.

1. Black Swan

I announced mid-year that nothing would be better than Inception this year. Then, I watched Black Swan and felt the foot-in-mouth feeling I dread. This film is remarkable. Natalie Portman is magnificent. Aronofsky is again one of the most underrated directors in film. All these are true, but there is so much more to this film, it’s the subtleties that complete this film. The supporting cast, the beautiful art direction, the wonderful cinematography, the score, all the elements that complete a film are near perfect in Black Swan. 

2. Inception

Funniest film comment I heard this year was from a group of double daters leaving Inception. The comment made was, “that film makes you feel smarter”. Christopher Nolan is the master of utilization. The way he utilizes script to complement cast, cinematography to complement script, and money to complement design makes him the best managing director in film. Inception is a great experience, a complex film that excels at making the audience part of the adventure. Where Nolan’s great Memento tried to challenge audiences at times with uneven results, Inception accomplishes with a well written script and proper execution. 

3. Exit Through The Gift Shop

Art vs. exploitation takes on new meaning in this film. One of the best documentaries that I have seen in a long time, this film might not blatantly ask difficult questions, but it does make the viewer ask a few of their own, a surprising result from a film that starts with a fairly straightforward narrative. I have talked at lengths with fellow film buffs about this film, and every time a new question is proposed. All topics from consumerism, obsession, hype, quality, and always “what is art?” are asked in different ways of the viewer. It’s a pure pleasure when a film exceeds my expectation, and this film has exceeded by leaps and bounds.

4. 127 Hours

Spoiler alert. I wanted to start this off with some kind of joke about cutting your arm off, but everything I thought of was lame. I have never been more pleased with a film about a guy, a rock, and a knife. It’s like Titanic, but much better, we all know what’s going to happen, we are waiting for it, some probably came to watch just for it, but ultimately we all know he’s going to cut his arm off. That’s why I found it funny that people fainted during this film, like cutting your arm off with a dull knife can be portrayed any different than it sounds. Maybe switching to black and white like Kill Bill? Danny Boyle does a great job of a taking a skin and bones (ha) script and making it extremely enjoyable to watch every second.  Also, do yourself a favor and don’t watch this entire film just to look away when he finally does cut his arm off.

5. Shutter Island

I have waited for Martin Scorcese to indulge in this kind of film for a while. Lots of different elements floating around in this film, Scorcese handles all of them with ease. It all fits together so nicely, the dreamlike story and the underlying mystery, Shutter Island excels when it indulges in itself. DiCaprio is getting better and better with every film he does, he is certainly making a career for himself.

6. Mother

It was an unexpected film to encounter, totally caught me off guard. Whether it was the mood of the day or the empty theater I watched it in, Mother was an experience. The story is simplistic enough, but the fierce performances send it over the top. A mother's love is strong thing and it makes this a strong film.

7. Dogtooth

I didn’t discover this film until the DVD came out, which I reckon makes it much more engrossing due to the fact that you have to seek the film out, it becomes an event for me. Waiting days for the copy to arrive and immediately opening and watching it, the film is disturbing in parts, but mixed with a sense of humor and humanity, it really transcends the realm of exploitation to becoming a real work of art.

8. True Grit

I really like the Coen Brothers and when I heard they were going to remake True Grit I immediately saw great potential. This film could have Matt Damon’s strongest performance, including a career making performance from the young Hailey Steinfeld. The Coen quirks are inherent throughout the entire film, and they fit perfectly amongst the western archetypes.

9. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

First, I’m completely over Michael Cera and his brother Jesse Eisenberg. Second, Scott Pilgrim is great even with one of them. It completely embodies everything that a comic book loving bassist would envision in his life. Edgar Wright really makes this film come to life. What could have been a standard film becomes an interactive comic book world that you can drown in.

10. The Wild Hunt

It might be hard to find this film, but do everything you can to find it when it comes out. The Wild Hunt is a mix of Shakespeare and the world of interactive role-playing, it’s a very difficult combination to pull off, but this low budget film does it masterfully. The touches of Shakespearean symbolism and the infatuation of being someone else in the world of the role player works perfectly when reflecting the world of old to the world of today.

11. The Ghost Writer

Political thrillers have been done before, some with more action than suspense, others with more character than mystery, but regardless, it’s a difficult form to master. Polanski does an amazing job of keeping the mystery of the story and characters, keeping the audience guessing, and maintaining a consistent hold on the suspense. It has a sense of dread that lingers the entire film, and that’s masterful when dealing with a horror film let alone a political thriller.

12. Toy Story 3

Returning to familiar ground in an animated film is difficult especially after more than a decade of time off. The Pixar wizards are great at developing the relationship and humanity of their animated characters, and it’s the same here with Toy Story 3. It’s a fitting, though somber, farewell to the characters that changed the world of animation.

13. The Good, The Bad, and The Weird

This eastern homage to the western is a delight from start to finish. Playing on characters from the Sergio Leone original, this film creates a different atmosphere for the western to play itself out in. The ballet gun fights, the train robbery, the cross the desert chase all seem so familiar yet so different when viewed from the foreign eye.

14.  I Am Love

Tilda Swinton might not always portray emotions, she at times seems too seasoned and refined, however, she is amazing at embodying those emotions and making them come to life through subtle mannerisms and body gestures. I Am Love is a film of contrast and loss, it examines the relationships of rituals and emotions, both familiar and unfamiliar.

15. The Social Network

It’s a scary truth examining the world we live in; many times at the end of the exploration the truth we find is enough for many to never journey again. The Social Network works in that same way; it’s an examination of the world that we live in today, and the world that will consume us in the future. Sorkin has written a brilliant film and Fincher has finally mixed his dark and enlightening side together in one film. This film might not stand the test of time, but currently it is cruel reflection of the society we live in.

Honorable Mention
-         Animal Kingdom
-         Enter The Void
-         Kick Ass
-         Winter’s Bone
-         Carlos
-         The Fighter

     -Monte Yazzie


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