Alright, so the dust has settled on 2010 and now that I'm back from vacation, I had plenty of time to mull over my favorite films from last year. I felt like 2010 was a decent year for cinema. There were several really amazing films that came out and I'm more than sure they will be greatly rewarded come Oscar time. With that said, I'm gonna leave out BLACK SWAN, TRUE GRIT, THE FIGHTER, INCEPTION, THE SOCIAL NETWORK, and THE KING'S SPEECH. I look forward to some very promising films in 2011(stay tuned for my Most Anticipated List). I came up with some films that may have flown under the radar this year.
10. HOT TUB TIME MACHINE
Sure this movie was completely over the top, silly, and absurd but it was also incredibly fun. I had nearly given up on John Cusack (the last decade has been grim for Lloyd Dobler), but this movie reminded me that he is still a great comedic actor. How many of you dream about going back to the 80s? For the most part, I myself have already been living in another decade. I'm not Internet savvy, I watch reruns of ALF, and listen to Rick Springfield records.
9. SHUTTER ISLAND
Some people really slammed this film. I thought it was pretty good. I really enjoyed the film adaptations of GONE BABY GONE and MYSTIC RIVER which were originally books by the same author who wrote SHUTTER ISLAND (Dennis Lehane). Say what you will about Leo, but the Leo/Scorsese collaboration has worked consistently. I don't really buy all those people who called it predictable. I just love how beautifully this film was shot.
This documentary surprised me and it made me feel a little uneasy. It started out addressing an age old urban legend and turned into an investigation of a convicted murderer. It begs the question: Is the boogeyman a real person?
7. EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP
I could care less whether or not Mr. Brainwash was real or fake. I am not well versed in graffiti art or art in general. I don't know a lot about Banksy either but I do admire his message. It's really interesting to see something that one man created to be the antithesis of capitalism and corporate greed being eaten up by the very people he opposes. Is it ironic that Christina Aguilera has a Banksy piece? This doc also shows how easily people are influenced by pop culture.
6. HUMAN CENTIPEDE
I've raved enough in previous posts about this little gem.
I think everyone knew the minute they saw the trailer for MACHETE during GRINDHOUSE that it was going to be badass! Hometown hero Robert Rodriguez pulled no stops with this outrageous piece. It was released at the perfect time when immigration rights became a hot topic. Ironically, the De Niro character closely resembles our very own Governor Rick Perry. I absolutely loved this film and I'm not just saying that because it was shot in Austin.
4. PIRANHA 3D
Again, another campy ridiculous film that makes no apologies for itself. Out of the two Eli Roth produced films of 2010, this was far superior. This film is filled with great kills and great boobs! At the midnight screening, Eli Roth recounted a story of how he was convinced he got eye herps from motor-boating some tits during the filming.
Some of my favorite horror films are Korean. I especially love MEMORIES OF MURDER and THE HOST, both films directed by Bong Joon-ho. So when I heard about MOTHER, I knew I was in for something unimaginable. This film has a really quirky/dark sense of humor that resonates in his other films. I promise the ending will not disappoint.
2. THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES
This film won Best Foreign Picture for Argentina at The 2009 Academy Awards, but it wasn't released in the US until 2010. I had seen THE WHITE RIBBON already and like many others was convinced it would win The Oscar. THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES surprised us all, but not nearly as much as the ending surprised me. This film is truly astonishing!
1. THE GHOSTWRITER
I am a Polanski superfan so I may be a bit biased. This was his first major film since THE PIANIST, so I anxiously anticipated it. Due to legal woes, the completion of this film was put on hold, but it was well worth the wait. The cast is great and the Tony Blair references are very tongue in cheek. What I love most about this film is the Hitchcock vibe it exudes.
Note: This list excludes Takashi Miike's 13 ASSASSINS because it has yet to be released in the US.