Sunday, May 3, 2015

MrMovieETC's TOP 10 FILMS of 2010

While 2011 was a year dominated by comedies, in my opinion, 2010 offered a nice mixed bag with drama ultimately ruling the day. Really, 2010 was a pretty outstanding year for film overall. It had its fair share of blockbuster sequels and remakes to be sure, although some of its best came from new and upcoming directors that each made the most of their particular styles. Another thing that 2010 lacked, and what worked in its favor, was the absence of superhero films. Don't get me wrong, I've loved what MARVEL has done the past few years, but that being said, I'd be perfectly content to have another year like 2010 where other filmmaking ideas get to shine. Looking ahead at Disney's future menu, that's not going to happen anytime soon, though, again, no serious complaints on my end.

I don't really have much more of an intro to include here, so I'll get write to business!

Here is my list of Top 10 Films of 2010:


This was one of those films where I saw the initial trailers online and thought it was a spoof in the same family as "Scary Movie" or "Freddy vs. Jason". It wasn't completely without merit as spoof comedies were still a thing at the time and the comic world was still having its giddy soul massaged by "The Dark Knight" from a few years prior (and the film was probably still cutting a profit in 2010). I was not aware or familiar with "Kick-Ass" as its own comic series, and in some ways, I assume it could be considered as somewhat of a riff on comic film adaptations due to the series creator being compared to that of a cynic as I understand it. As far as the movie itself, it's one of those that is so nutty that it works. C'mon, Nicholas Cage plays a Batman look-alike, what's not to love? More importantly, cynical or not, the film knows what it is and that's a quality that always positively gets my attention. A group of teens take their superhero geekdom to a lethal level and try to clean up the streets of their city to mostly adverse results. The film is often times hilarious, and yet, knows how to punish to keep the adrenaline pumping. All of those combined, to me, made it worthy of a Top Ten spot.


One may not find it all difficult to find something more terrifyingly enticing in the horror genre than the remake of Romero's "The Crazies", and I wouldn't have much to stand on to argue the contrary, but I'd also be making a liar of myself if I didn't say that I love this movie. Timothy Olyphant was a strong choice for the lead, the filmmakers took a novel idea and minimized the use of cliche and telegraphed jump scares, and it has the nice government conspiracy to tie it all in. The latter, I feel, is what garners the majority of the suspense and terror - the feeling that something like a contamination cover-up is not beyond the realm of possibility and that you'd be screwed no matter how fast or far you run. What I also feel raises this film a few pegs above many of the rest is its well-played double threat; not only is there the shady government tactics to keep the main characters trapped, but they also must escape the not-so-dead, yet complete murderous hordes that have gone mad from said contamination.

It's not very often there's an opportunity for horror to break my Top Ten list, so I really didn't have to grapple with adding "The Crazies" to the prospects. Definitely check it out if you haven't done so!


Speaking in terms of financial success, "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" is the epitome of a fun, creative idea that was a little too late to its own party. Many blamed it on the "World is tired of Michael Cera" Syndrome, and that could partially be true, but, in my mind, this film was a victim of bad marketing. I was aware of its existence when the film began its theatrical run, but there was little word of mouth or legitimate advertising on its behalf. All of which is a shame because "Scott Pilgrim" is a hell of a good time to watch. Built upon a sort of colorful, comedic "Mortal Kombat" staging, Scott Pilgrim (played by Cera) gets a chance to win the girl of his dreams. And if you want to talk about the ideal role for somebody like Michael Cera, this would be that role. His character is nerdy, naive, and yet has that sort of asshole-esque attitude that makes him entertaining.

That's really all I can say about it. The movie transitions from straight up romantic indie comedy to a romantic indie comedy video game. It certainly has a cult following by now, and for good reason. It's a winner.


I may have mentioned in one of my previous lists that back in 2010 I was a bit of a Pixar snob and scoffed at anything DreamWorks Animation has to offer because it seemly had nothing better to do than drag every last penny out of the Shrek series. Ironically, I'm still trying to come to terms with the fact that we're getting "Toy Story 4" and how that will possibly be any different. Anyway, with that kind of attitude, you can imagine my skepticism after seeing a title like "How to Train Your Dragon". I do like my dragons, but that sounds like something a parent would take their 5-year-old to see on a rainy Sunday. The other half of that story is that I actually love being humbled, proven wrong, and having my preconceived notions put to shame when it comes to movies. Why not? I want all movies to be good, and "How to Train Your Dragon" shames the definition of good to the degree of putting it in the dirt. I'm a sucker when it comes to gorgeous animation and "Dragon" has that in spades. It's additionally nice to have a competent story and characters to go along with it and, guess what, this movie has all of those, too. Like I said, the animation is its own wow-factor, the comedy is on point, the story has feeling in all the places that it should, and in my own perspectives, this series beats anything "Shrek" had to give. It was inventive. It was well-made. It was fantastic!


This film is still somewhat notorious from being ragged on by audiences for what they felt was a lackluster ending and having a twist that "everyone could see coming". You know what? Some of that is fairly true. You know what else? I do not care. "Shutter Island" is easily one of my favorite suspense thrillers from the past 10 years. It has Scorsese written all over it - from the gritty to the emotion - yet it's not signature Scorsese. It's certainly not a huge sidestep like "Hugo" a few years later, but refreshing just the same. Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, and Ben Kingley were terrific as the leads, the atmosphere kept the tension in full-throttle mode throughout the whole duration, and I personally thought the ending was exceptionally fitting to the text of the story of paranoia and delusions. Sure, if you pay attention, you can see it coming from a mile away, although in the way it was delivered, I don't think it really hindered the overall outcome. The bullet was in the final message, and for me, that bullet was right on target.


Comparing this to "Noah" may not be entirely fair to Aronofsky, mainly because they're not remotely alike, but I cannot help but believe that "Black Swan" and how much I enjoyed the hell out of it had something to do with my feelings of disappointment toward "Noah". This film is absolutely stunning; everything from the cinematography, to the superb and well-earned award winning performance from Natalie Portman, and how Aronofsky was the perfect director to bring an already dark story of "Swam Lake" to the big screen. Truly a horror film in its own right, "Black Swan" tells of a star ballerina that pushes her limits to achieve perfection to the point of borderline psychosis, and then full psychosis as her instabilities begin to project on to the world around her. Of course, it's not all her own doing with an overbearing mother and sadistic dance instructor that typically lead to a disastrous recipe. I realize many people do not care for Aronofsky with his unique style, and sometimes undeniable sense of self-importance; however, if he can make films as engaging as "Black Swan", I'm willing to forgive the flaws. I wouldn't recommended "Noah", but this one is certainly a keeper.


I vividly remember when I saw the first trailer for "The Social Network" in the theater. First, there was the slideshow of random Facebook posts, then quickly followed a haunting choir rendition of Radiohead's "Creep" in the background, and wrapped up with the film's title and my immediate thought of "A Facebook movie? Good God, why?" Remember when I said a few paragraphs up that I like being humbled? Well, a funny thing, or string of things, happened. As more information came out, I found out that this was being directed by David Fincher. Hey, I really like David Fincher. Shortly after, I learned that the score was being written by Trent Reznor. I love music by Trent Reznor. Those two facts took me from skeptical to sold, followed soon by seeing the film, which naturally, led me to loving the film. It's rather difficult to explain too, because a *mostly* factual biography about Mark Zuckerberg should not be that interesting, yet somehow it totally was. It doesn't hurt that the story unfolds the slow decline towards disaster for a guy that's hard to cheer for because he's an egotistical prick. One can't help but get behind him a little bit, however, because he's so good at it. A genius that is confident in said genius and makes those not-as-smart feel like insects does make for some genuine entertainment. The film is not for everyone, I can safely assume, but I highly recommend it nonetheless.


Come now, Ben Affleck was hanging onto his career for dear life and him getting behind the lens and making a great drama like "Gone Baby Gone" was pure luck - one time luck for that matter - and there's no way he can do it again, right? Well, the best way I describe "The Town" in a few words is "Here is Ben's middle finger". I could not care less that this almost dangerously panders to Scorsese's signature style, because you know what, "The Town" is outstanding. The characters are well-developed, the climatic suspense easily rivals "Argo", and it maintains a gruesome pace that never really relents. I don't know where this version of Affleck was during the 90s and early 2000s, and where and when he discovered he had a talent for this, but all I can say is "Keep it coming!" It's been a few years since I've revisited this film, and the timing is good because I've got a serious itch to watch this one again. I remember walking into the theater with high expectations of whether or not Affleck would make lightning strike twice, and he did that and then some. Many film fanatics are more than familiar with the bank heist scenario, but Affleck did the concept justice by tapping into his own Boston background to make this easily one of the best thrillers in recent years.


Or as I like to call it, "The film that Nolan has yet to top." No disrespect to "The Dark Knight Rises" or "Interstellar"; both films have that trademark Nolan ambition, it's just that they were not executed quite as well as "The Dark Knight" or "Inception". I realize that "Inception" is mainly a fancy-dressed heist thriller. What I fail to understand is why that matters in the first place? A straight forward heist film can easily be entertaining, there's no serious debate there; however, taking an idea that simple and giving it a fresh perspective is one of the true definitions of creative thinking, is it not? Acknowledging the fact that it's impossible to make every viewer see it that way, for the more positive way of thinking, "Inception" is one of the more creative endeavors in recent years and is completely suited to Nolan's style of filmmaking. Emotional impact is not his strong suit (See: "Interstellar"), although there is just enough of it here that Nolan is able to make the audience care about the plight of the characters. DiCaprio once again does a great job in the lead role, and Nolan makes the most out of his supporting crew as well.

To me, the twists and turns that "Inception" offers takes something ordinary and makes it extraordinary. By now, I've seen this film multiple times and have enjoyed it more with each repeat.

And finally, my Top Film of 2010 is:






What very well be the first and only time I would give a second sequel the top spot, "Toy Story 3" was a fairly easy decision for me. The first installment broke new ground in the animation universe, the second one spotted noticeable improvements in the art, and this final one (for now) wrapped up the trilogy so perfectly that it deserved the #1 place for that only. This is also one of the few trilogies in existence where, try as I might, I cannot pick a favorite. Each one has an absorbing story, the characters get more lovable with each production, and all 3 films go for the gut emotionally each time and always lands the punch. Why is that so impressive? The film(s) make you forget that the you're looking at toys - inanimate objects - and you care for them to the degree that during the climax of "Toy Story 3", you're trying not bawl like a toddler. Disney fan or not, animation fan or not, it does not matter in this case. This is filmmaking at its finest. I'm skeptical, and even partially pissed off, that Disney found a need for a 4th, but who knows, right? "Toy Story 3" did end the story arc but also left the door wide open to new adventures with new characters. I have a feeling I won't be able to stay away from it. The series is just that good.

Thank you for reading! I'll see you next week with my Top Ten of 2009!

No comments:

Post a Comment