Friday, December 31, 2010

Top 10 Movies of 2010

Image courtesy of Fox Searchlight

Ladies and gentlemen, we are mere hours away from welcoming 2011 and starting a brand new year. And as Oscar season really revs up, it's time to look at the best of the best of 2010.

Here's my list of the Top 10 movies of the year. Some of them critical darlings, some of them box office flops and some of them are just plain fun. Check out the list after the jump...

#10 - The Fighter
I'm not usually one for movies that take place "in the ring" (no, I haven't seen Million Dollar Baby, The Wrestler or Cinderella Man), but I am thrilled I made an exception for The Fighter. Melissa Leo and Amy Adams gave wonderful performances and Christian Bale completely transformed himself to take on the role of Dicky. As for the critics who claim the characters are all "cartoons," they clearly haven't visited some of Massachusetts' seedier 'burbs.

#9 - Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
As someone who spent hours on end watching my brother play video games, watching an actual movie that looked, acted and sounded like a video game was everything I could've asked for. And let's not forget Kieran Culkin's hilarious (and boyfriend-converting) Wallace.

#8 - The Kids Are All Right
A lot of what made The Kids Are All Right so extraordinary was in its normalcy—at its very core, this family was no different than any other. They weren't incredibly wealthy or famous or quirky... they were just a family. Annette Bening and Julianne Moore were both fantastic and we can only hope there is room for both of them come Oscar time.

#7 - Despicable Me
Fine. I saw it two times in theaters, and then squealed when I got it on DVD for my birthday. This unexpected gem had heart, soul and one helluva funny bone. From Margot, Edith and Agnes to Gru to Vector and, of course, the Minions, this anti-hero comedy was one of the best animated features of the past several years.

#6 - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
This franchise of movie adaptations has had its major ups and downs, but as it nears towards ultimate conclusion it has never felt better. Gone were brightly lit halls of Hogwarts with flying ghosts and talking paintings. Gone were complaints about Potions class and who the new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor would be. No, Deathly Hallows, Part 1 thrust our three main characters into the bleak wilderness as fugitives on the run, and they each delivered memorable, emotional performances. Although certainly the slowest of the movies so far (we know it's all setting up for the Part 2 finale), I savored every second.

#5 - Inception
In a sea of Fasterssss and Furiouserssss 7 and mindless shoot-em-up sagas, this intellectual action thriller was a breath of fresh air. The intricate realm of dreams that Christopher Nolan set up was beyond our wildest imagination and opened the door to hours of debate following its conclusion: Was it all a reflection on how films are made? Did the top fall? Were those kids even real? Whose dream were we really in—Leonardo DiCaprio or Marion Cottilard? And why can't I get that music out of my head?!

#4 - The King's Speech
A political war-time drama has never had so few guns or bombs. But the real battle of The King's Speech is in the head of newly crowned King George VI as he attempts to overcome his stammer to deliver a historic address to his people. Colin Firth is beyond amazing and deserves every award imaginable, all with excellent supporting performances from Helena Bonham Carter and Geoffrey Rush. The perfect blend of humor, drama and inspiration.

#3 - The Social Network
It went from "that Facebook movie" to one of the most talked about movies of the year, and it all started with that brilliant trailer that set the tone for a dark, angry, seething look back at the creation of what has become our virtual mecca. As our lives become more and more connected (and less and less private), The Social Network forced us to reflect on why we even bother to tag pictures or "like" statuses in the first place.

#2 - Toy Story 3
It's becoming harder and harder to imagine that each Pixar film can be better than the its predecessor. And after the emotional triumph that was 2009's Up, the fact that the third part of a trilogy could continue the trend is a testament to the studio's brilliance. Of course, this is no ordinary trilogy. Stretched over the span of 15 years, my generation has grown up with Woody, Buzz, the green aliens and the rest of Andy's toys. We knew Andy would eventually grow up the same way we all did, but I don't think any of us predicted the send off would be so heartbreaking, beautiful and yet still rip-roaringly funny. "To infinity and beyond" indeed.

#1 - Black Swan
Hypnotizing, beautiful, thrilling, sexy and terrifying at pretty much the same time, Black Swan is a movie that stays with you. Even though you're never quite sure if what you are seeing is real or imagined, there's never a doubt that it is an artistic wonder. Natalie Portman was, in a word, perfection—a word that has complete new meaning after Nina Sayers' dizzying spiral into the world of the Swan Queen.
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