Saturday, 29 January 2011

The Top NINE Films of 2010

Trivial post year thumbs up to rich and important people who do not know or care; that’s right, it’s yet another Top 9. Why top 9? Because when compiling lists I’m alway stuck on number 10 as there are always 5 films I could put in it’s place. Further more there is no number 1 in the conventional sense of being THE top of 9, just the closest to it, as 2 and 3 are also. And of course this is the 2010 for UK releases so IMDB’s dates might disagree with my own criteria.

9. Invictus

(Directed by Clint Eastwood)

Morgan Freeman finally performs the inevitable role of former South-African president Nelson Mandela as he uses rugby as a way to unite a nation split by racial tension. On the surface it’s a by the numbers sports drama of the underdogs winning the championship, which reads very cliche but in actual fact is what really happened, instead making it a well acted historical piece.

8. Machete

(Directed by Robert Rodriguez)

Robert Rodriguez casts Danny Trejo and co to fight Steven Seagal and co with big knifes and even bigger guns... need I say more?

Ok fine. While many films of it’s kind despite all “fun factor” are in actual fact very bad pieces of cinema (some not even being released in one). What sets this apart, crossing the line into “good film” territory is the the self-referential feel it has with all this being done by a good director and even a few good actors. On top of that it’s one of the best films to touch on immigration in recent time... if you find that an odd notion, take it up with cinema in general, its their fault. Though it’s mostly pure over-the-top violent fun, plain and simple.

7. Toy Story 3

(Directed by Lee Unkrich)

The final chapter in Pixar’s animated sensation that even with all the childish antics appeals to film-goers of all ages, after all like the character Andy, the original audience of the first and second are grown up themselves now. It’s hard to explain but the best way to describe it’s appeal is that it’s pits memorable characters in dire situations while at the same striking a perfect balance between comedy and drama (plenty of the former)... and the current children of this generation can still get onboard.

6. Kick-Ass

(Directed by Matthew Vaughn)

Based off the graphic novel no one had read, with “graphic” having multiple meanings, this clear cut action comedy is strikingly brutal since after all, vigilantism isn’t a clean and noble practice. With numerous break out performances for multiple new and upcoming actors, and one of the best from the mixed bag veteran Nicolas Cage, pretty much every character gets room to breath resulting in plenty of varied and humorous scenes... also did I mention it was brutal?

5. Crazy Heart

(Directed by Scott Cooper)

A limited release of a 2009 American film that was mostly known for one simple achievement: it finally earned Jeff Bridges an Oscar. A simple story about an aged-washed country musician and his new found relationship with a young journalist, Jeff Bridges really steals the show as the believable yet entirely fictional Otis “Bad” Blake who despite his alcoholism and sex antics quickly shows his true colours as an old man down on his luck who just wants the normal family life. If only the Dude got the Academy's respect.

4. Inception

(Directed by Christopher Nolan)

Modern Batman director takes a walk down the beaten path with an original science-fiction thriller with a script than can in the most professional terms can be best described as a “mind-fuck”. Despite in all honesty having to watch it twice to completely understand every other detail... and twist... and revelation, the plot itself is at the end of the day fairly straight forward. It’s just quite simply the thinking-man’s action film and to produce that successfully in the age of style over substance CGI, it’s a genuine achievement.

3. Four Lions

(Directed by Chris Morris)

Brass Eye’s Chris Morris dips his toe... dives head first into the world of amateur(?) Islamic terrorism in the UK. Despite all the crude humor and slapstick comedy, this bold grounded comedy actually depicts these four Stooges as just the sort of people extreme ideals can prey upon, the main cast themselves knowing little about the cause they “fight” for. Despite the balls the film has, the characterization and humor fits in and thankfully doesn’t participate in shock comedy with a sensitive theme, which most of the time is just for the sake of it.

2. Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World

(Directed by Edgar Wright)

Based off the series of graphic novels that weren’t even complete when this film was in production, Edgar Wright still manages to to geek out in the best way possible with a coherent plot in a world that works on retro video game conventions. Yet despite all the flash and references to popular culture, the story itself is actually more than a modern story of fighting for the princess but rather reflecting a young adult’s not yet perfect mindset and relationship issues. And if the best way to convey someone trying to workout their relationship in a proper dignified manner... is to portray that through a series Street Fighter fight sequences, well then, that’s just good entertainment.

1. The Social Network

(Directed by David Fincher)

In the modern age where the internet knows all and sees all, with Facebook currently as its church, David Fincher explores the thought process behind this simple (and to an extent sad) fact. Even though many have claimed that the narrative and characterization is noticeably dramatized from the real life story, that being the case is actually why this piece of film-making is so compelling to watch, showing just how innovation can quickly shape and break people’s lives. Further more to its credit is the lack of any noticeable protagonist or “hero”, myself and others still wanting to see how events unfold and just who will come out on top... the short answer is no one. In addition to a brilliantly composed soundtrack by Trent Reznor, the pacing and narrative flows perfectly with all the personal turmoil and back stabbing practices.

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