2010 wasn’t a great year for movies. Normally it’s easy for me to come up with a list of 10 movies that I thought were great, but 2010 had a lot of ups and downs. Therefore, I give you my Top 7 movies of 2010. And of these 7, I only think that the first one will be remembered as a great film in the future.
7. Green Zone
Interesting movie about the war in Iraq. Matt Damon takes some of his Bourne identity into this role about a cover-up surrounding WMDs. Directed by Paul Greengrass who also directed the second and third Bourne movies. There’s something to be said for directors and actors having chemistry. Speaking of…
6. Shutter Island
Thriller from Martin Scorsese that takes twists and turns. It’s made very creatively, taking you in and out of thinking you know the whole story. Leonardo DiCaprio is fantastic. Scorsese and DiCaprio have worked together on Gangs of New York, The Aviator, and The Departed.
5. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
I’m not a comic book reader, so I didn’t have a lot of ideas about Scott Pilgrim before seeing it. Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz) does a great job of manufacturing the feel of a comic jumping between the reality and the super-reality.
I love Noah Baumbach. I saw Kicking and Screaming back in 1996 and remember rewinding the VHS tape and watching it again immediately. Also notable from Baumbach are Margot and the Wedding, The Squid and the Whale, and his writing of Wes Anderson’s Life Aquatic. Ben Stiller is great as the mostly crazy title character, and the cast that surrounds him is also super.
3. The Social Network
Certainly a timely movie. Certainly a movie about the world we live in. This film about the creation of Facebook is well written (Aaron Sorkin) and well directed (David Fincher). Justin Timberlake will probably surprise me every time he shows up in a movie, because he does a great job. Jesse Eisenberg is incredible. I especially liked seeing the way they documented the process of Zuckerberg producing Facebook. As a process guy, it’s always interesting to see the conception, design, and end product.
2. The Town
I’m unapologetic about liking Ben Affleck. He’s made some strange choices in roles through the year, but to me he’s an ideal movie star, commanding your attention on the screen. When I go back and watch Good Will Hunting, some of his performances are the best in the film. The Town is raw and organic and I credit Affleck’s directing. The acting from Affleck, Jon Hamm, Rebecca Hall and Blake Lively takes you right into Charlestown.
The feeling I had when I watched Inception reminded me of when I first saw The Matrix or Fifth Element. The term is speculative fiction. Create a world that feels like ours but introduce something new that changes everything. From the moment I first saw the trailer to the time I actually sat down in the theater, I had no idea what the movie was about, but I knew it was a big, epic idea. The story is the star of the film, but between Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy, and Ken Watanabe, the cast helps drive that story. I like the complexity, the multiple plot points, and especially the ambiguity of the ending. Christopher Nolan created an idea and executed it with superb direction.
Just enough flaw to keep them off the list:
The Book of Eli
I’m a sucker for post-apocalyptic stories. There isn’t much wrong with this movie. Denzel Washington might be the only part of the movie that I didn’t like.
A beautiful movie directed by a photographer in the European style didn’t resonate too much with Americans. I enjoyed it a lot, but the slow pacing and predictable nature of the main plot took away from the effort.
I wanted to feel good about liking this movie, but I couldn’t. It’s a story that’s been told so many times it’s hard to keep track of what the “real” story of Robin Hood is. I liked Russell Crowe’s performance and I thought it was well made. Some of the other characters were a little light and the big battle scene was pretty weak compared to the rest of the film.
5 Movies I haven’t seen yet, that I’m sure belong on a list like this:
Fun movies worth seeing, despite not having much substance, great for an excuse to eat popcorn or chuckle:
The Other Guys
Dinner For Schmucks
Knight and Day