Keith’s Top Ten Movies of 2010

And now, the moment you didn’t know you were waiting for: my top ten movies of 2010!

2010 produced 248 movies that were eligible for the Best Picture Oscar; I saw 38 of them, down from 52 the year before.  Been busy, I guess.  Below are the ones that stood out for me.

#1: Exit Through the Gift Shop


Richly ambiguous, slyly humorous, head-spinningly subversive – so good that it’s hard to believe its events are real. This is the first documentary I’ve ever really loved.

#2: Inception


Unnecessarily complicated?  Maybe.  Guilty of redundant action?  Yes.  Bracing, brilliant, and heroically ambitious?  Absolutely.

#3: The Ghost Writer


Smart, ruthless, and deliciously paranoid – a lesson in mercilessly exact filmmaking.

#4: How to Train Your Dragon


A bold and lovely fairytale – proof that really good movies are immune to the cheapening effects of 3D.

#5: Shutter Island


A sweaty, feverish nightmare fantasia with a secret weight of real-life horror.  No one does melodrama with as much mad conviction as Martin Scorsese.

#6: Winter’s Bone


Lean, spare, sinewy quest movie, with a vivid setting and coldly beautiful images.  John Hawkes is extraordinary.

#7: The Social Network


Elegant brain candy for nerds and geeks of all stripes.  The movie’s distinctive pleasure is watching really bright people ridicule fairly bright people in elaborate, unanswerable ways.

#8: Buried


For those of you who haven’t heard, this is literally a feature-length movie set inside a coffin.  And no, it’s not boring.  And yes, it’s harrowing.  And yes, Ryan Reynolds is terrific.

#9: True Grit


When it works, it works like hell. The first act of this movie is sensational on every level. After that, it starts to meander.  Still, an accomplished film, with a marvelous performance by Hailee Steinfeld.

#10: Restrepo


Another documentary on my top-ten list?  Am I getting soft in my old age?  This one is much more straightforward than Exit — just a penetrating ground-level portrait of soldiers coping with boredom, isolation, fear and grief — and in many cases, coming back for more.

*     *     *

Worst Movie: Cop Out

Most Overrated: Black Swan

Most Underrated: The Tourist

*     *     *

For the record, here is the full list of 2010 movies I’ve seen:

ALICE IN WONDERLAND
THE AMERICAN
BLACK SWAN
BLUE VALENTINE
BURIED
CATFISH
COP OUT
DATE NIGHT
DESPICABLE ME
THE DRY LAND
EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP
THE EXTRA MAN
THE FIGHTER
GET HIM TO THE GREEK
THE GHOST WRITER
GREEN ZONE
HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART 1
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON
HOWL
INCEPTION
IRON MAN 2
JACK GOES BOATING
THE KING’S SPEECH
KNIGHT AND DAY
MEGAMIND
MORNING GLORY
127 HOURS
RESTREPO
THE RUNAWAYS
SHUTTER ISLAND
THE SOCIAL NETWORK
THE TAQWACORES
THE TOURIST
THE TOWN
TOY STORY 3
TRUE GRIT
WINTER’S BONE
YOU WILL MEET A TALL DARK STRANGER

Published in: on March 3, 2011 at 11:30 am  Leave a Comment  

Knight & Day

(James Mangold, 2010)

alone, on DVD at 1681 3rd Ave., 3/2/11

6

Knight & Day takes the old “can’t hit the hero” rule of movie marksmanship to ludicrous extremes.  At times it’s not entirely clear whether we’re watching an action movie or a parody of action movies.  I do like the film’s offhand use of explosions and car crashes; instead of being lovingly slo-moed from an indulgent variety of angles, they often happen in the background, without warning, and are glimpsed only briefly before the scene moves forward.  Nice.  Tom Cruise is very good, as usual — playful and alert, with shades of melancholy edging in when appropriate.  I wish this movie had been just a little more grounded, but it’s adroit and endearing and plausibly witty.  Would have been more fun in a theater, of course …

Published in: on March 3, 2011 at 8:29 am  Leave a Comment