Not many movie years out there like this one. It started off extremely slow, but once the summer was half over, it felt like it was going to be a landmark year for cinema. There were a few disappointments, but overall, there were lots of breathtaking pieces, and a shocking number of them were about REAL PEOPLE and REAL EVENTS! 2010 gave us a hefty package of comedy, drama, action, spectacle, and mystery, and I haven't even seen everything out there (as usual on filmicability, these lists are a work-in-progress, changing as I see new things). Anyway, with only a picture and a 15-word review limit for each title, here are my choices for the best movies of the year:
1) Greenberg (Noah Baumbach)
Doing nothing takes a lot of effort. Performance of the year: Greta Gerwig.
2) Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (Apiachapong Weerasethakul)
Sunken jewels, red-eyed ghosts, a talking catfish, a life passed, and temporal shifts.
3) Another Year (Mike Leigh)
Passage into middle age, with a great filmmaker's coterie of MVPs.
4) The Social Network (David Fincher)
Being social while in a bubble of his own.
5) The Fighter (David O. Russell)
An old story made anew by a top-flight acting ensemble under crisp direction.
6) Inside Job (Charles Ferguson)
How the mess we're in happened.
7) Inception (Christopher Nolan)
Time, dreams and movement vivisected. The visual experience of 2010.
8) Boxing Gym (Frederick Wiseman)
Punches thrown and footwork nailed in a spot full of heart.
9) Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World (Edgar Wright)
Put your quarter in and see if you can love again.
10) The Ghost Writer (Roman Polanski)
What we're up against if we want to get to the truth.
11) The King's Speech (Tom Hooper)
A leader finds a voice in a brilliant piece of old-time entertainment.
12) Please Give (Nicole Holofcener)
NYC upper-class guilt gets a workout.
13) The Kids Are All Right (Lisa Chodolenko)
The comedy of the year, the likes of which we rarely see.
14) Mother and Child (Rodrigo Garcia)
Conception and choices made in regret and hope.
15) Black Swan (Darren Aronofsky)
Perhaps the year's most chance-taking picture. Portman and Kunis spar for top billing.
16) Silent Souls (Aleksei Fedorchenko)
Incredible cinematography adorns this haunting piece from Russia.
17) Frozen (Adam Green)
Real tension, literally, found in icy climbs.
18) Tuesday, After Christmas (Radu Muntean)
A marriage's dissolution, told straightforwardly.
19) A Letter to Elia (Martin Scorsese and Kent Jones)
The fan letter we'd all like to compose for our filmmaking idols.
20) Aurora (Cristi Puiu)
What is this man up to?
21) Carlos (Oliver Assayas)
Gangster or freedom-fighter? You decide...
22) My Dog Tulip (Paul and Sandra Fierlinger)
The best animated film of 2010, about a subject that needs to be plumbed more.
23) The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu (Andrei Ujica)
Such opulence, and so poorly spent.
24) Marcel The Shell With Shoes On (Dean Flischer-Camp and Jenny Slate)
The most addictive film of the year: I've seen it fifty times, at least.
25) Youth in Revolt (Miguel Arteta)
Michael Cera can keep his schtick going for a while, given this and Scott Pilgrim.
26) Exit Through The Gift Shop (Banksy)
Is this a joke? God, I hope it is.
27) Certified Copy (Abbas Kierostami)
Edward Albee and Richard Licklater meet in a mash-up.
28) Dogtooth (Giorgos Lanthimos)
From Greece, what might be the most difficult, but original, film of 2010.
29) I Am Love (Luca Guadagnino)
30) Toy Story 3 (Lee Unkrich)
Not as good as Part 2, but even lesser Pixar can make a year-end list.
31) You Don't Know Jack (Barry Levinson)
Al Pacino returns to form with one of his finest showings in a decade.
32) Winter's Bone (Debra Granik)
Saying hello to a new acting presence: Jennifer Lawrence.
33) Four Lions (Christopher Morris)
Didn't know terrorism could be so funny, did ya?
34) Animal Kingdom (David Michôd)
A crime family, and a loving mother.
35) Multiple Sarcasms (Brooks Branch)
A 70s-flavored character study, with stupendous acting by all.
36) Temple Grandin (Mick Jackson)
A great mind finds her place in the world.
37) Monsters (Gareth Edwards)
District 9 done right.
38) Hot Tub Time Machine (Steve Pink)
The oldsters put up a fight.
39) Splice (Vincenzo Natali)
Somewhere Mr. Cronenberg is smiling...
40) Leaves of Grass (Tim Blake Nelson)
Edward Norton delivers a terrific double-time comic performance.
SPECIAL MENTION: A Prophet (Jacques Audiard)
Seen by most in 2010, this would be near the top of the list if I hadn't seen it last year. One of the greatest gangster/prison pictures ever made.
MOST OVERRATED MOVIE OF THE YEAR: 127 Hours
WORST MOVIE I SAW THIS YEAR: Year One
WORST STUDIO FILM I DIDN'T SEE IN 2010: Alice in Wonderland
WORST INDIE FILM I DIDN'T SEE IN 2010: The Human Centipede
More individual awards to be seen at the turn of the year. 2011 is gonna rock. Best year ever. And I hope you agree. Have a happy one--glad to be back, myself.