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Colin’s Top Ten Movies of 2010

I’m starting this post pretty late, so I hope I won’t be tempted to just write about how tired I am.  Then again, I guess these lists are more about the rankings of the items on the lists rather than what we have to say about them.  But anyways, I saw 29 movies over the course of 2010, which seems like less than most years, but I’m not really sure.

Honorable Mentions:
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
The Fighter
Winter’s Bone
Black Swan

10. Please Give

Not really a film that’s gotten a whole lot of recognition, but i guess the world’s already had it’s share of Catherine Keener indie comedies, or at least you would think so.  Fortunately, Keener plays a slightly more quirky and nuanced version of the typical mom roles she usually plays, plus there’s a great supporting cast to boot.  With it’s New York setting and somewhat neurotic characters, it’s easy to compare Please Give to golden era Woody Allen, but the film’s humor, warmth, and interesting characters make it more than worthy of the comparison.

9. Greenberg
A film that pretty much no one saw, and I’m sure half of those who did see it didn’t really latch on to Greenberg. But I guess that’s the kind of response Noah Baumbach usually expects, as he seems to have no problem in making his characters as unlikeable and unpredictable as possible. I wish Ben Stiller had followed this up with something better than Little Fockwads, because Greenberg shows that he can be damn compelling when he wants to be.

8. True Grit

The Coen Brothers are simply good at making their own brand of whatever the hell genre they feel like tackling for their yearly movie.  They don’t necessarily stretch themselves too much with True Grit, but it’s got more than it’s share of memorable quintessentially Coen Brothers-esque moments, as well as great breakout performances from Hailee Steinfeld and that bright-eyed up and comer, Jeff Bridges.

7. The Kids Are All Right 

It’s always nice to see a film that feels very much a product of it’s time and place, but also doesn’t feel like it’s trying to be topical or make some sort of statement, and that’s about what The Kids Are All Right feels like to me.  It’s just a shame that Hollywood has grown more and more wary of making smaller, character-driven films like this in the wake of the economy’s current state.

6. A Prophet
I think this film was nominated for the 2009 Best Foreign Film Oscar, but wasn’t released in the States until 2010, so I’m counting it as a 2010 film.  Either way it would have been on my top 10 of 2009, as it’s easily one of the grittiest crime dramas I’ve seen in years.  I know prison isn’t exactly the most unique source of subject matter in film, but A Prophet is nonetheless a brutal, insightful, tragic, and very well-made piece of French cinema.

5. The King’s Speech 

Geoffrey Rush and Colin Firth always seemed like two very talented actors, but I’d never really seen anything that either of them had done that would lead me to appreciate their abilities as performers.  Well, The King’s Speech swiftly killed those two birds with one stone for me, because both of them give tremendous performances and are perfect foils for each other in this splendid period drama.  Plus, you got to love any movie that let’s you see Britain’s king say “fuck, fuck, fuck”.

4. 127 Hours

I feel like I’m usually against the use of the hyper-stylized filmmaking that seems to be plaguing a lot of Hollywood films, and then I see something like 127 Hours.  Danny Boyle turns this familiar story into an adrenaline rush of a film, and never really lets you go.  I’m not sure “life-affirming” is a term I would use lightly to describe a lot of films, but 127 Hours comes pretty darn close to it.

3. Inception

I’ve seen Inception three times now, and every time I see it I always notice something really cool about it that I didn’t notice before, but then I also notice a few things about it that don’t really work for me about the story as a whole.  But I guess that’s what makes Inception, well Inception.  It’s a film filled with all these little details that you can pick and pull apart as you choose, which makes for a film that’s far from perfect, but is an amazing achievement nonetheless.

2. Toy Story 3

The expectations where high for Toy Story 3, and it seemed almost inevitable that Pixar would at least meet them, which they certainly did.  I probably wouldn’t say it’s quite as good as the first two, but man the second half of this movie has some heartbreakingly tender shit in it.  It kind of makes me feel spoiled that Pixar has given us such an impressive run of films, and all we have to look forward to next year is Cars 2.  Oh well.

1. The Social Network

The main reason I’m posting this so late is because I wanted to see The Social Network again, which came out on DVD today.  I really had no interest in seeing a movie about Facebook when I first heard about this film, but I guess that just goes to show you that if you have the right elements, you can make a great film about anything as long as it’s done in a fresh and compelling way.  The Social Network also shows us just what a fantastic filmmaker David Fincher can be when he gets a hold of a good script.  Hell, he can make a decent film even with a somewhat lousy script (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), but luckily Aaron Sorkin provided him with one for the ages.