Sunday, January 16, 2011

Ten Best Films I Saw This Year

Obviously there are several movies I didn't get to see that came out in 2010.  These movies are the best ones that I saw in no particular order:

Winter's Bone

I saw this in Houston when Sean and I took a road trip during the summer.  We went to the zoo, suffered some unbearable humidity then got soaked by a rain storm.  We were still soaked when we went into the theater and just got colder as the movie progressed.  There is not a single misstep in this movie.  Every performance is perfect, especially John Hawkes as Uncle Teardrop.  It also confirms every creeping suspicion you ever had about the Ozarks.

The Social Network

This movie reminded me of Michael Mann's The Insider in that it was a really well made movie about a subject matter that I cared little to nothing about.  Crafting a story about a bunch of self important assholes arguing about who started Facebook must have been hard work but Aaron Sorkin's script is one of the best of the year.  Solid performances all around and David Fincher continues to propel himself to the forefront of American directors.

True Grit

This was pretty much guaranteed to make the list as soon as it was announced.  In no way did it disappoint.

A Prophet

Did everyone forget about A Prophet?  It sure feels like it.  Initially a lot of critics compared it to Goodfellas which I think is a little lofty but this is still a good film and one of the best crime dramas of the last ten years.


Greenberg was by far the funniest movie of the year.  It also boasts Ben Stiller's best work since his short stint on Curb Your Enthusiasm and before that the Royal Tenenbaums.  Greta Gerwig is also becoming one of my favorite actresses and one of the few good things to come out of mumblecore (ugh, fuck).


I'm still not entirely sure what to make of this movie.  It is brazen and hilarious but still something of a mystery.  Also I'm pretty sure it's the only Greek movie I have ever seen.

Black Swan

This is Natalie Portman's best performance by a long shot.  Her film choices are slightly perplexing and she never quite seems to deliver all I think she can deliver.  Before Black Swan I think her best acting was in V for Vendetta which I thought was just okay.  I found her riveting in this film.  And Mila Kunis was tolerable which is a big step up.

The Red Riding Trilogy

The Red Riding Trilogy flew under the radar of most people this year.  Based on four books by David Pease the trilogy is British crime at its best.  All three of the movies have different directors but were all written by the same screenwriter, Tony Grisoni.  I've only read the first book but the first movie captured the tone, all the dark and grit, quite well.  Paddy Considine is in the second one giving probably the best performance of the trilogy.

White Material

The stunning look of this film accompanied by Isabelle Huppert's amazing performance easily landed it on my list.  When you combine her performance in this movie with the one she gave in The Piano Teacher as well as a slew of other great roles I expect you may find that she is one of, if not the, best actress working today.  It's a shame she isn't more well known in America.

Last Train Home

This is the only documentary on my list.  It's also the saddest and most beautiful.  If I had to pick a favorite film of the year this would probably be it.  Just watch it.

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