Waiting for a Miracle: 2010 Cinema in Review

If you looked at this year’s output by the major studios, would you believe that these people once gave the green light to classics like Ben-Hur, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Lawrence of Arabia, Star Wars, and Amadeus? Sure, not all movies from those periods were good, but would you believe that these movies were produced under a system that allowed The Last Airbender to go into production with that script? A system that would allow the production of Little Fockers and How Do You Know to get so out of hand that the budget went over 100 million dollars for a simple comedy? A system that would allow a the latest film by a master filmmaker like Peter Weir to go unnoticed?

I know I wouldn’t.

I know that Hollywood is not the only system that makes good movies, but living in the middle of Nowhere, USA, I rely mostly on Hollywood to deliver movies that not only deliver quality entertainment, but also some sort of food for thought. But this year, with the exception of a few movies, they failed. Just look at the top 10 highest grossing movies of the year. In there, there are only two original movies, Inception and Despicable Me, and only one of them is good, and one that although based on an existing property, was not a brand name. The rest are sequels and remakes, varying in quality from a masterpiece, and a very good movie, to a bunch of above average or mediocre titles. If you extend that to the top 20, there are a few other original movies, but the only ones I liked were Tangled, TRON Legacy, and The Other Guys, The others are merely entertaining or pure crap.

So what did I have to do to watch those movies that only the lucky people in New York, Los Angeles, and other major cities could easily see? Well, I

pretty much had to do anything to get them. But the biggest thing I had to do was wait and be patient to rent them or buying them on DVD, and I don’t like this. Given the current quality climate in Hollywood production, it feels like it is the perfect chance for specialty studios to release the good movies they acquire from foreign country or festivals. For example, I believe, that given a proper marketing push, Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Micmacs could have grossed some 30 million dollars. That doesn’t sound like , a lot given that Jeunet’s Amelie grossed over 100 million dollars, but given the fact that there is no Miramax type of studio that does their best to get films of all kinds to big audiences (not even The Weinstein Company), it would have been great. Other films that would have killed financially with a proper push would have been Agora, Animal Kingdom, 127 Hours, Rabbit Hole, and Never Let Me Go, but instead, they got stuck with poor studios that did not have the budget to promote them, or studio that did have the funds, but didn’t know how to market them properly.

Evidence of what good marketing and word of mouth produces can be found in the success of Black Swan. Before anyone laid their eyes on it, people thought it was going to be very much an art house movie, given its premise of “a psychological thriller set in the world of New York City Ballet, “ from the director of four art house movies. But once it had its premiere at the Venice Film Festival, and its consequent showings the Toronto and Telluride film festivals, and its eventual U.S. premiere at the AFI festival, the world of mouth exploded. Yes, it was very much an art house sexual psycho-horror thriller, but it became one of the most anticipated movies among cinephiles. In fact, it went beyond cinephiles, and that made the studio give the movie an unanticipated wide release in its third week, and it kept on going and it reached the 100 million dollar mark. Not bad for a movie about a ballerina losing her mind.

So you see, Black Swan’s success story, combined with the box office numbers for the dialogue-driven The Social Network, and of the puzzling and hard-to-follow Inception, shows that people truly want good, original, or non-brand name adaptations. But as long as studios keep shoving down those other movies down people’s throats and leave the movies by ambitious filmmakers that have potential to be big and be known by the masses, I’m afraid shit will continue to rule the economy.

So, my lists reflect this. Although I do have two big Hollywood movies in my  10, and in the top three, the rest is made up of movies that could have been and should have been successful, but weren’t for the reason I mentioned above. So, anyways, on with the lists!

Note: Like last year, I have listed the also-rans, which are movies that I loved, but are not top 10-worthy, as well as the honorable mentions, which are movies that were at some point in my top 10 or would have been in it had it not been for some others. From then on I list my top 10 movies of the year, the superlatives, where I list my top 5 picks for categories like Best Director and Best Cinematography. Plus I have other categories like Best Directorial Debut, and Best Scene. And we conclude with the worst movies that I saw in the year.

The Also Rans

The American by Anton Corbjin People hated it because it was sold as an action-packed thriller, but they got something different. Instead, it is a gorgeous, quiet, and tense look at what could be the last days of a hitman as he is preparing his last job.

Batman: Under the Red Hood by Brandon Vietti A straight-to-video animated adventure that plays like a 90-minute episode of Batman: The Animated Series, and that alone makes it one of the best animated movies of the year.

Easy A by Will Gluck Emma Stone and a clever script make what would be an above-average high school comedy into one of the funniest and smart comedies of the last few years.

El Secreto De Sus Ojos by Juan Jose Campanella Although the outcome we are all looking forward to is silly, it’s still an unpredictable, smart, and thrilling mystery with outstanding performances and cinematography.

The Fighter by David O. Russell Thank’s to Russell’s direction, great performances, a compelling first-half, and the power of the real story, this manages to avoid being just another cookie-cutter boxing biopic.

The Ghost Writer by Roman Polanski The way that we find out the truth is something that Nancy Drew would have solved in two minutes, however everything before it and after is pure Polanski, which means it is great

Greenberg by Noah Baumbach By teaming up with Ben Stiller, giving his best performance, Baumbach has created his most accessible and best film yet with a great, if irritating character study.

Hot Tub Time Machine by Steve Pink Yes, it is disgusting, crude, and very un-PC,and that is just what I was expecting from a movie with such title, thus I had a lot of fun with it.

The King’s Speech by Tom Hooper Beautifully produced, and it features two of the best performances of the year, but its style becomes intrusive towards the end, and the events that lead to the speech are pretty unremarkable.

TRON: Legacy by Joseph Kosinski Kosinski managed to make one of the most visually awesome and exciting movies of the year out of crappy script. As good a sequel as you could expect from the original.

True Grit by Joel Coen and Ethan Coen The Coen’s biggest hit is their most un-Coen. However, it is a great western, with awesome lead performances and as great a production as any other Coen, which is always welcome.

Unstoppable by Tony Scott I’m not a huge Tony Scott fan, but he wowed me with this one. It could have made for a boring movie, but thanks to his frantic camera work, and believable performances, this is the best action movie of the year.

Youth in Revolt by Miguel Arteta Michael Cera gives his best performance in this off-beat, clever, and sometimes hilarious movie about split personalities. Sometimes it is too precious for its own good, but the good outweighs the bad.

Honorable Mentions

David Michôd’s Animal Kingdom This movie is the best crime drama in a while. Led by great performances from the entire ensemble, especially Jacki Weaver, who rightfully got an Oscar nomination, and top-notch writing and direction, this is one of the most surprising movies of the year.

Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan Under the direction of any other person, this movie would have been campy and laughable. However, thanks to Aronofsky’s direction, and Natalie Portman’s performance, this was one of the most bizarre and intense movies of the year.

Henry Joost & Ariel Shulman’s Catfish Is it real or is it fake? I don’t know, but either way, this is one of the most effective movies of the year. It starts with the premise of a thriller, but in the end it turns into a rather sad look into the lives of, well, desperate human beings.

Raymond De Felitta’s City Island Based on what I had seen and read about it, I was not expecting what I ended up seeing. This movie is a cleverly writter, greatly acted look into a family put in an odd situation. Had it not drifted into predictability from time to time, it wold have ended up in the top 10

Banksy’s Exit Through the Gift Shop It starts out as a documentary about a guy that wants to document the street art movement. What follows is one of the most entertaining and ultimately puzzling movies about the way people look at art. You have to see this to experience the greatness.

David Yates’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 The next-to-last entry is the Harry Potter saga is it’s best so far. Although it was a financial decision, by splitting the final book in two, the filmmakers got the chance to let the plot breath and to give the series a proper send off.

Dean Dubois & Chris Sanders’ How to Train Your Dragon The filmmakers behind Lilo & Stitch have given Dreamworks their best CG animated movie. Beautiful cinematography and animation, a rousing score, and inspired voice performances elevated this “me & my dog” story to new heights.

Luca Guadagnino’s I Am Love I watched this just to see the great Tilda Swinton do what she does best although people said the movie sucked. But by the time it was over, I could not see why they would hate it. Yes, it is extremely melodramatic, but the story calls for it, and every single aspect of the production is beautiful

Christopher Nolan’s Inception Despite its flaws in the script, I loved this ambitious summer spectacle. In this movie we get to see something that we rarely get to see in blockbusters lately: passion, creativity, and smarts. This is all thanks to Nolan for assembling such a top-notch production

Matt Reeves’s Let Me In Now, this is how you do a remake. Rather than dumbing down the story and sacrificing quality in order to draw a wide audience, Reeves has crafted a movie that is not only respectful to the original novel and movie, but also stands apart on its own qualities. The end result is, frankly, a superior movie.

Jessica Hausner’s Lourdes A Beautfully shot, slow-burning, miracle of a movie. It is one of the best movies about religion that I have ever seen, and it is a well thought-out and non-biased study of what may qualify as a miracle, and how the believers and non-believers react to it. Just gorgeous.

Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Micmacs There may not be too much going on story wise, but what it lacks in that department is made up with Jeunet’s usual visual inventiveness. His vision, combined with the interesting but minimal plot makes for one of the most fun movies of the year.

Bong Joon-ho’s Mother Having only seen the director’s previous feature, The Host, I was very pleased and surprised with what I saw here. This movie is a thriller that would have made Alfred Hitchcock proud. Kim Hye-Ja’s great performance drives the movie, and when the time comes to deliver the “twist” she does it amazingly.

Mark Romanek’s Never Let Me Go This is just about as good as a movie adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s amazing novel is going to get. Although it lacks the novel’s subtlety, like the book, it keeps its emotions at bay, building up to the finale that just grabs you and crusher your soul.

Adam McKay’s The Other Guys It’s as stupid as you might expect from aWill Ferrell- Adam McKay collaboration, but it’s more in the vain of Anchorman than the awful Step Brothers. Like the former, it keeps the laughs coming for just about every 30 second of its running time, and most of the time the jokes stick. My favorite comedy of the year.

Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World Edgar Wright took everything that made the graphic novels great, molded it to fit his vision and made a movie out of it. The result: one of the movie inventive, and sense-affecting movies to have been released in a while. Shame people ignored it when it came out.

Alain Resnais’s Wild Grass On the surface, it is a love story, but since this is a Resnais film, it is much more than that. Using his usual hypnotic editing and gorgeous cinematography, he crafter a movie that takes on the conventions of the romantic comedy and turns it into one of the most delicious, and the most puzzling, movie of the year

Top 10

10. The Illusionist

Directed by Sylvain Chomet

Time passes, and as it does, things we once loved are taken away. At that point, all we can do is either accept it and move on to other things while having fond memories of those times, or we can get left behind and hope that what we love makes a comeback. This theme is at the heart of Sylvain Chomet’s beautiful follow-up to The Triplets of Belleville. This is told through the story of an illusionists who goes around England putting on shows that no one really pays attention to, as well as through a father-daughter relationship that springs up between him and a maid he met in his travels. What follows is a funny, endearing, and ultimately sad story as we see the illusionist’s act fades further and further as other things, such as rock bands, take the stage. There is a glimmer of hope once the girl comes in the picture. However, that is not what Chomet, and Jacques Tati for that matter, wanted to show. And by not surrendering to convention, this movie gets stronger, and in the end is one of the most mature movies of the year. This is yet another great example of how animation doesn’t not necessarily have to be for family-friendly movies, and that through that medium we can have stories as compelling, if not more, as live-action ones.

9. Somewhere

Directed by  Sofia Coppola

Coppola is in familiar territory here.  Once again she tells a story about a famous actor, living the life, but empty on the inside as he has no one to love and what happens when an unexpected arrival turns his life around. However, it feels completely different, not only because it is about a father-daughter relationship, but because you can see how much she has grown as a director, The way she directs her actors, and how she  worked with her entire production team gives us a feeling of complete isolation, even when the shot is filled with people. Only once Cleo arrives, do get any sense of joy in the movie. A lesser director, given he or she had Coppola’s script, would have been tried to make it into a melodramatic story about a dad and the child he neglected for all those years and would have added much  more dialogue. But under her watchful eye, we are given a very quiet and subtle movie with only two dramatic scenes, and they do not drew attention to themselves, but feel natural. And those scenes work not only because of Coppola, but because of Elle Fanning and Stephen Dorff’s amazing performances.

8. Agora

Directed by Alejandro Amenabar

10 years ago, Hollywood studios would have fought to have the privilege to make a smart historical epic with blockbuster potential like this one. Now, these kinds of movies are neglected to tiny theatrical releases by tiny studios that don’t have the money to push it to the mainstream audience. That’s a shame really, as this movie is easily the best “event” movie of 2010, or would have been. Alejandro Amenabar directed this epic about how religion can get in the way of the advancement of civilization through science when in fact they could get along easily. Amenabar, known mostly for his relatively small dramas, shows that he can handle a movie like this perfectly, as this movie features not only a gorgeous and realistic production, but also some of the most thrilling battle scenes of the last few years. It also features a career-best performance from Rachel Weiz as the philosopher Hypatia. There is such a passion and sense of wonder in her work that you forget that you are watching an actress wearing a costume and reading lines. Hopefully as the years go by more people will discover the movie and enjoy what it has to offer. Please, seek it out as soon as possible.

7. 127 Hours

Directed by Danny Boyle

The story of adventurer Aaron Ralston’s survival after being stuck in a canyon for five days with his arm crushed between a rock is one of the most incredible survival stories of all time. But when I heard that Danny Boyle was going to take this story to the big screen I had my doubts. However, after watching it, I learned that just about anything can be made into a movie, as long as the right people are behind it. Every frame of the movie is filled with Boyle’s signature energy, frantic editing, and creative cinematography, therefore there is never a dull moment. But the biggest reason it works is James Franco’s performance. He pretty much has to carry the whole film on his shoulders, and he excels at it.

6. Rabbit Hole

Directed by John Cameron Mitchell

Movies about parents grieving the loss of their child, while excellent showcases for actors, if they are not handled by the right director they can either be too melodramatic, or too laughable. But this is not the case with this movie. Starting with David Lindsay-Abaire’s script, based on his play, which is unlike any of its kind. He takes on the character when they have gone through the worst of it all, and are seeking to move on. He shows how each parent copes differently, and he does it with grace, and with a nice touch of humor. Director John Cameron Mitchell, then took this script, and embedded it with his own visual signature, but without drawing attention away from what is going on with the characters. And by making it rather glossy and warm, he further tells us that this is not a depressing movie, but one that we can learn from. But the thing that puts this on my list is the work of the cast. Aaron Eckhard, Diane Wiest, and Miles Teller deliver good performance that fit their character and help the story. But Nicole Kidman owns it, as she delivers one of the best performances of her career.

5. Blue Valentine

Directed by Derek Cianfrance

Like Rabbit Hole, this movie takes a subject that has been done to death (the crumbling of a marriage) and makes it fresh once again. After fighting 12 years to get the movie into production, Derek Cianfrance turned in a passionate and raw movie looking at the rise and fall of a relationship between people. The script has great, realistic dialogue, and realistic situations that do makes us understand to some extent why these two people who we thought were once so in love. Also, the structure on which the story is built is brilliant. Rather than presenting it linearly, the focus is on the present, with some flashbacks that could sort of represent what any regular person would do when they are in a tough situation, that is thinking of the good times. Cianfrance’s direction while not very stylish, is perfect for the movie. And even with such a low budget, he managed to make an aesthetically beautiful movie. But the main strenght lies withing the performances. Ryan Gosling gives the performance of the year, as pretty much a loser who doesn’t wan anything out of life other than his family. Michelle Williams rightfully got an Oscar nomination for her fantastic portrayal of both a woman seemingly in love as well as one on the verge of a meltdown. Were it not for the performances, I doubt the movie would have gotten as much attention, even with the earnest work the director put into it.

4. The Social Network

Directed by David Fincher

Is this the movie that will define our generation? No. Is this even David Fincher’s best movie? No. But that doesn’t mean that this is not a master work. Rather than delivering a movie about a website where you can post embarrassing photos or take care of a virtual farm, screen writer Aaron Sorkin delivered a smart character study of a man with little social skills and using those technological skills he did have to create a new social experience, one that he could easily be a part of. And once this took off, how the life he had came crumbling down thanks to greed and outside influences. This, combined with his unique dialogue, makes it easy to see why he won every writing award possible for Adapted Screenplay (although I’m more partial the adapted script of of my #1 2010 movie). David Fincher once again steps out of his comfort zone and once again delivered a signature Fincher movie, despite the fact that this movie is only about friendships, greed, and money. And the cast, filled with the young talent of Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, Armie Hammer, Max Minghella, and Rooney Mara, shines thanks to their ability to keep their heads under Fincher’s working condition, being able to spit out Sorkin’s dialogue, and by getting deep into their characters.

3. Dogtooth

Directed by Giorgos Lanthimos

Dogtooth is very unique experience. Deep down it is just a study of how far a parent will go to protect their children’s innocence. But it is also a very strong movie about how you can not tame the human spirits and its curious nature. But what made it so great is how it is portrayed. Yes, there are shocking scenes of violence and sex, but Lanthimos handled them with a sense of irony and satire. His direction is very held back, as if he just wants us to be looking into the life of this family through a window as outsiders seeing something that we have not seen before (and we haven’t). The end result is something that stays in your mind not only because you have just witnessed cat murder, incest, prostitution, self mutilation, and brain washing but because it was so damn entertaining. Had it not been handled as gracefully as it was, and performed by the actors with such conviction, it might have been a vile exploitation film. This is not a movie that I can recommend to everyone based on what happens on the screen, but if you are open to seeing those things (obviously these things are simulated, or at least the cat murder was), then you might actually have a good time.

2. Another Year

Directed by Mike Leigh

Mike Leigh makes a certain type of movies that no one else seems to be able to make. Whether it is set in the early 1900s during the staging of a would-be-popular opera, or in London where a broken-down white woman meets the daughter she gave up for adoption, who also happens to be black, he makes realistic, extremely character driven movies that draw you in as you go deeper into the lives of his subjects that end with a bang. His latest is no exception. This time around, Leigh takes on the subject of aging, and how life is not always kind to everyone as they grow old, throughout the course of one year. It might sound boring, and yes, nothing really exciting happens other than Leigh’s trademark delicious awkward moments, but the truth is, that thanks to the characters that he and his actors have crated, as well as his incredible direction, it isn’t. You are put in the middle of the lives of these people, but you don’t feel alienated because you know at least one of them. Whether it is the nice couple next door, the self-centered loner, the drunk loner, or your pregnant co-worker, you know these people, which makes it even easier to get into this world. And I must also mention that the cast is the second-most important reason why this movie is so great. Jim Broadbent, Ruth Sheen, and especially Lesley Manville deliver knock out performances, the likes of which you are only going to see in a Mike Leigh film.

1. Toy Story 3

Directed by Lee Unkrich

OMG! I am so predictable! Yes, my love for this was made obvious by the fact that it was my most anticipated movie of the year, I did a countdown 10 days before its release, I’ve stuck with it until recently as my prediction for what would win the Oscar for best picture, and it is the only movie from this year that I put in my Cinematic Heaven series straight out of the gate. But why did I love this so? I guess I could partly blame it on nostalgia as I grew up with the first two movies and I had always wanted another one to complete the trilogy. But it is mostly because it is a perfect exercise in filmmaking. The whole cast, well almost, returns to their roles, and slip back comfortably, and deliver their lines just as if they were making a live-action movie, without irony or self awareness. Pixar’s signature great animation was startling, as we see those character in a new light thanks to the advances of the medium. Lee Unkrich took the reigns of the franchise from John Lasseter, and while he is true to the first two, he injects his own style into it. Michael Arndt’s screenplay is hilarious, intense, sentimental, and filled with great insight into the prospect of being alone after being with someone for so long, tyranny, and the prospect of facing our mortality at the most unexpected times. Those final 15 minutes were gracefully realized by Unkrich, and contain more humanity than more than half of the movies that were released this year. As I walked out of the theater that one night in June, I thought to my self that it would be hard for any other movie to top it as my number one of the year. And even though some great movies came out, none came close.

The Superlatives

1. Mike Leigh, Another Year

2. David Fincher, The Social Network

3. Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan

4. Christopher Nolan, Inception

5. Derek Cianfrance, Blue Valentine

1. Ryan Gosling as Dean in Blue Valentine

2. James Franco as Aaron Ralston in 127 Hours

3. Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network

4. Leonardo DiCaprio as Dom Cobb in Inception &  as Teddy Daniels in Shutter Island

5. Mark Wahlberg as “Irish” Mickey Ward in The Fighter

1. Nicole Kidman as Becca in Rabbit Hole

2. Michelle Williams as Cindy in Blue Valentine

3. Rachel Weiz as Hypatia in Agora

4. Sylvie Testud as Christine in Lourdes

5. Natalie Portman as Nina Sayers in Black Swan

1. Christian Bale as Dickey Eklund in The Fighter

2. Andrew Garfield as Eduardo Saverin The Social Network & as Tommy in Never Let Me Go

3. Vincent Casell as Thomas Leroy in Black Swan

4. Rhys Ifans as Ivan Schrank in Greenberg

5.Miles Teller as Jason in Rabbit Hole

1. Lesley Manville as Mary in Another Year

2. Jacki Weaver as Janine “Smurf” Cody in Animal Kingdom

3. Kimberly Elise as Crystal in For Colored Girls

4. Saoirse Ronan as Irena in The Way Back

5. Amy Adams as Charlene Fleming in The Fighter

1. Another Year by Mike Leigh

2. Dogtooth by Giorgos Lanthimos & Efthymis Filippou

3. Blue Valentine by Derek Cianfrance, Cami Delavigne, & Joey Curtis

4. Inception by Christopher Nolan

5. Somewhere by Sophia Coppola


1. Toy Story 3 by Michael Arndt based on the characters created by John Lasseter, et al.

2. The Social Network by Aaron Sorkin based on the book “The Accidental Billionaires”

3. Rabbit Hole by David Lindsay-Abaire based on his play

4. 127 Hours by Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy based on the book “Between a Rock and a Hard Place”

5. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World by Edgar Wright and  Michael Bacall based on the “Scott Pilgrim” graphic novels by Brian Lee O’Malley

1. Toy Story 3

2. The Illusionist

3. How to Train Your Dragon

4. Tangled

4. Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole

1. Dogtooth (Kynodontas)

2. Lourdes

2. I Am Love (Io sono l’amore)

3. Wild Grass (Les Herbes Folles)

4. Mother (Madeo)

5. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (Män som hatar kvinnor)

1. Exit Through the Gift Shop

2. Waiting for “Superman”

3. Catfish

4. Inside Job

3. Restrepo

1. Wild Grass, Eric Gautier

2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallow, Part 1, Eduardo Serra

3. Agora, Xavi Gimenez

4. Black Swan, Matthew Libatique

5. Inception, Wally Pfister

1. Agora, Dario Marianelli (Oustanding track: The Skies Do Not Fall)

2. The Ghost Writer, Alexandre Desplat (Outstanding track: The Truth About Ruth)

3. Black Swan, Clint Mansell (Outstanding track: Perfection)

4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1, Alexandre Desplat (Outstanding track: Snape to Malfoy Manor)

5. TRON: Legacy, Daft Punk (Outstanding track: The Game Has Changed)

1. “Ramona” from Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

2. “Threshold” from Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

3. “You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me” from Burlesque

4. “We Belong Together” from Toy Story 3

5.”Alice (Underground)” from Alice in Wonderland

1. Agora

2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1

3. Micmacs

4. TRON: Legacy

5. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

1. Alice in Wonderland

2. Agora

3. I Am Love

4. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

5. TRON: Legacy

1. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

2. Inception

3. 127 Hours

4. The Social Network

5. Black Swan

1. TRON: Legacy

2. Inception

3. Black Swan

4. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

5. The Social Network

1. TRON: Legacy

2. Inception

3. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1

5. Micmacs

1. Alice in Wonderland

2. TRON: Legacy

3. Agora

4. The Wolfman

5. The Way Back

1. Another Year

2. The Social Network

3. For Colored Girls

4. Animal Kingdom

5. The Fighter

1. Lee Unkrich, Toy Story 3

2. David Michôd, Animal Kingdom

3. Banksy, Exit Through the Gift Shop

4. Joseph Kosinski, TRON: Legacy

5. Gareth Edwards, Monsters

Other Categories

Biggest Surprise

•Animal Kingdom

Heard nothing about it before watching it, and it blew me away.

Agora

After hearing mixed things about and poor distribution, I had forgotten about it. But one day, out of boredom I gave it a shot, and it was one of the most amazing movies I had seen in a long time.

Biggest Disappointment

Green Zone

Everyone behind it is so talented, but a shitty screenplay and uninspired direction brought it way down.

Most Interesting Failure

The Crazies

Although its a remake, it was a perfect movie to make today due to its timely plot. The cast was fine, but the directing was very by-the-numbers. Still, the plot and some of the performance made it interesting.

Most Wasted Potential

For Colored Girls

The classic source material is filled with powerful moments, and a cast with some of the most talented african-american actress (and one british), but due to Tyler Perry’s lack of talent, it’s get dragged down to mediocrity.

Most Overrated

By the public: The Karate Kid, Despicable Me

The former is not bad, but people really seemed to love it, and that puzzles me. The same goes for the latter, but it is actually bad.

By the critics: The Kids Are All Right, Winter’s Bone

Kids is fine with good performances and a fine script, but overall it was a very unremarkable movie. Bone, while it has outstanding  performances, was not something I could connect with, and therefore I did not enjoy it that much.

Most Underrated

By the public: Let Me In, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

Let Me In is the best vampire movie in ages, well since Let the Right One In, and yet, it only managed to make 12 million dollars. Vampires Suck made more money for God’s sake! Scott Pilgrim was the most original and creative movie of the year, but a movie with mostly action has-beens made more money. Shame.

By the critics: Agora, Never Let Me Go

I won’t say that these were ignore by the public because their respective distributors did a shitty job of getting them out there. But both of these are so much better than the critics made them out to be. They say that the latter lacks drama. But there is drama, it’s just not in your face. As for the latter, they clearly missed the point they were trying to make.

Best Lines

1. “So long, partner” from Toy Story 3

2. “You better lawyer up, asshole!” from The Social Network

3. This whole exchange from The Other Guys

Best Scenes

1. “You Always Hurt the Ones You Love” from Blue Valentine

2. “So long, partner” from Toy Story 3

3. The free-fall, hallway fight from Inception

4. The car crash in Let Me In

5. The Roxy fight from Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

Best Shots (Spoilers)

The last shot of The Ghost Writer

The beauty of this movie, and of Polanski’s work, is that he says so much by show too little. Here, we just learned the truth about Ruth, that she is a CIA agent and that she pretty much controlled her husband’s time in office. And when she realizes that the Ghost knows, we just see professor Emmet comforting her as the Ghost walks out. We follow him out of the book store, and he walks out of the frame, then we see a car speeding by, hear a crash, a scream, and then papers being carried by the wind. We know what happened, and it had an even great effect than if we had seen the act

The car crash in Let Me In

One of the reasons why I loved is how different the scene where Abby’s guardian deforms himself. Part of this is the build up to it. In this version, he is hiding in the back of a car of his next victim. However, a second person joins the guy, and so he can’t make his killing. In a gas station, the driver gets off, and eventually the other guy discover the man hiding. Since he has no choice, he proceeds to kill him infront of everyone, then steal the car. From then, we see everything as if we were inside the car in a single shot. And when the car is hit by another and it rolls off a cliff, we feels as if we were there, minus injuries, of course.

Nina’s transformation in Black Swan

The entire movie is beautifully shot, the ballet sequence in particular. Here, we finally see the struggle between Nina and her inner black swan come to its climax. That includes the struggle between Nina and Lily which may or may not have resulted in the latter’s death. After that, Nina fully embraces the black swan, and we see her, literally transforming into the swan in a shot where we see, little by little, her arms getting fully of feathers, and as she spins, she sprouts wings, which leads to one of the most striking images of the year.

Best Single Costume

Best Poster

Best Trailer

Best Soundtrack

Worst Movies of the Year

1. The Last Airbender– Not only we get to see the rape of one of the best shows to have ever graced television, but also the fall of a filmmaker who once had so much potential. At least it has a beautiful score.

2. When in Rome A rom com about stalking. Oh Kristen Bell, why do you continue to do this to your self?

3. The Bounty Hunter– The same question applies to you Jennifer Aniston. Why?

4. The Back-Up Plan– Painful, just painful.

5. Valentine’s Day– If you throw in some good actors with some good ones, some mediocre ones, and Taylor Swift, and a script written around being able to showcase their beuty, this is what you get.

6. Clash of the Titans– Pointless, with a good cast

7. Predators– Just pointless. Well, and boring, which is its biggest crime.

8. Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky– Pretty to look at, but the rest is just so damn pretentious.

9. Dinner for Schmucks– The actual dinner is pretty fun, the rest is awkward to the point of being painful.

10. Casino Jack– So over-the-top, which is not the way this story should have been told.

And so, that’s that for 2010. Share your thoughts in the comments section

3 thoughts on “Waiting for a Miracle: 2010 Cinema in Review

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