Well, here's my favorite films I saw last year. There's a few notable titles that I haven't seen yet, namely Blue Valentine, Never Let Me Go and Get Low, but I figured I better get this list over with before it's 2012. :P
This film comes as close to perfection as any I've seen this year. Darren Aronofsky's direction is complex and gripping yet succinct, depicting a downward spiral into madness that rivals Roman Polanski's Repulsion in many ways. Natalie Portman gives what I imagine will be the performance of her career, and is supported astonishingly well by Mila Kunis whose acting talent I formerly had little respect for. Top notch cinematography, even when nothing particularly important is occurring on screen it always demands your attention, and it comes to one of the most breathtaking finales I've witnessed. The score beautifully meshes c|assical compositions with Clint Mansell's original work, and raises the films potency that much more. As far as my all time favorite thrillers go, this one ranks high.
First off, I would like to come right out and state that the "confusing" properties of this film are dramtically overstated. It is a brilliantly crafted heist film at it's core, with alot of plot depth, but it's not confusing or mind-boggling (though the Zero G hallway fight is mind BLOWING). The cast, while not given particularly strenuous work to be done fit their roles wonderfully providing a likable and colorful crew. The film will keep you on your toes with magnificent action sequences and a powerful score from the one and only Hans Zimmer, and is sure to leave you begging for more when the credits start to roll. One of the best science fiction films in years.
3. True Grit
The Coen Bros never fail to make some of the most outright enjoyable films to sit down to, and True Grit certainly doesn't break that pattern. While it lacks in their trademark mysticism and metaphors, the bulk of the film is distinctly Coen, giving a gritty, biting spin on the Western c|assic. Jeff Bridges and Hailee Steinfeld are equally impressive in their roles, with a great supporting cast including the Josh Brolin and Barry Pepper. True Grit is just fun for any movie-goer.
4. Let Me In
Anybody with the faintest notion of doing a remake should take note; this is how it's done. Improvements to both the depth and flow of the screenplay, superior performances out of the two leads (Chloe Moretz and Kodi Smit-Mcphee really impress) and a much more noteworthy supporting cast, gorgeous cinematography and a haunting score. This has become one of my absolute favorite vampire and horror films, but it is so much more then that. A truly touching tale of a cursed romance. Do not miss this film based on preconceptions about American remakes. I loved the original, but Let Me In has won my heart.
5. The American
This film released to little critic or audience praise, I would blame in large part to it's terribly misguided advertisement campaign. Don't expect Bourne type action here, but instead a beautifully crafted, slow burning, introspective look at a lonely, tortured assassin. George Clooney does a fantastic job along with the rest of the cast. This film had some of the best dialogue of the year, ocasionally even managing to make me tear up out of nowhere. :P
Fun. That's really the only word I need to describe Kick-Ass. It's loud, raucous and hilarious. Easily one of the best spins on the super hero genre ever with a lovable cast of characters and a great soundtrack to boot. This is a film I expect to revisit on many occasions.
7. Winter's Bone
One of the more original films of the year thematically. I can't recall many films with a similar subject or tone. It gives you a look into a terribly bleak, harsh lifetsyle, yet all the while remaining hopeful thanks in large part to the terrific performance by Jennifer Lawrence. John Hawkes also delivers a superb supporting performance.
8. The Kids Are All Right
A witty, well-acted dramedy. Something that's fairly hard to come-by if you ask me. Julianne Moore and Annete Bening steal the show, but the rest of the cast does a great job aswell and are all remarkably beliveable as a family. This film will have you laughing, aswell as tug at your heartstrings a little (provided you have a heart. :P)
9. Shutter Island
This was one of my most anticipated films going into 2010, and while it ended up being mildly disappointing, it's effectiveness is undeniable. The great performances (especially Dicaprio, Kingsley and the ever-unsettling Jackie Earle Haley), haunting imagery and booming score will suck you in, the only problem being that you can see the "twist" coming from a mile away which will leave a bit of a bitter taste in your mouth when the credits roll. Not one of Scorsese's best, but an enjoyable thriller in it's own right.
10. Easy A
This film really came along and took apart my preconceptions of the "teen comedy". An awesome script packed with razor sharp wit delivered perfectly by Emma Stone, with an amusing concept inspired by The Scarlet Letter. This one had me laughing a hell of a lot.
Next blog will have a ranked list of all 41 films I saw from 2010.
Thanks for reading (or at least skimming :P).