Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Emporium Feature: The 25 Best Films of 2010 (10-1)

Here are my top 10 Films of 2010. Each film title has a link to my review of that film. 

10. Let Me In - A fantastic re-envisioning of Thomas Alfredson’s 2008 Swedish film, Let The Right One In. With the exception of the change of location, now set in New Mexico, the elimination of a few minor plot points, and a few other effective stylistic twists, Let Me In serves as an almost shot-for-shot re-imagining of Alfredson’s film. Let Me In is also marvelously shot, brilliantly capturing the atmosphere of the original but actually furthering the film’s intensity. Kodi-Smit Mcphee is outstanding. ****1/2

9. The Secret in Their Eyes - Winner of the Best Foreign Language Film at the 2009 Academy Awards, this Argentinian thriller is a complex tale of obsession and love. Set in 1999, the events of the film are told via flashback as Argentinian Federal Justice Agent, Benjamin Esposito (Ricardo Darin), begins to write a novel documenting his 1974 investigation into the brutal rape and murder of Liliana Colotto. The scene at the football match is the best of the year. ****1/2

8. Shutter Island - Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island is a complex, intriguing and rewarding experience on repeat viewings. Depending on the perspective of the character you follow, it can be interpreted in multiple ways. The performances are excellent, and the twist is unforgettable. ****1/2

7. Winter's Bone - Debra Granik’s bleak, unsettling tale of a young girl trying to find the whereabouts of her missing father in order to keep ownership of her property and keep her family together is full of fine performances, notably Jennifer Lawrence and John Hawkes who deserve Oscar nominations. ****1/2

6. Toy Story 3 - Pixar’s latest masterpiece is a fitting end to one of the greatest trilogies of all time. The 3D visuals are unlike anything I have seen in animation and there was barely a dry eye in the house by the heartbreaking conclusion. ****1/2

5. Blue Valentine - A devastating tale about the break-up of a marriage featuring flashbacks to early periods of the relationship. Director, Derek Cianfrance, utilizes hand-held camera and frames the characters in medium and close up to draw the audience into their world. It is gritty, raw and explicit but the performances from Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams are simply astonishing. ****1/2

4. Exit Through the Gift Shop - A really entertaining documentary into the world of street art as captured by Thierry Guetta, a crazy Frenchman, who befriends notorious street artist Banksy and obsessively films him and his fellow street artists at work. Throughout the second half of the film the camera is turned onto Thierry as he himself becomes the notorious street artist, Mr Brainwash, and we question whether we are in fact witnessing an elaborate hoax. A brilliant commentary on art appreciation and celebrity. ****1/2

3. The Kids are All Right - A touching family drama with fine performances from the entire cast. Lisa Cholodenko's film adopts a really fresh angle on the family dynamic as the two children of lesbian mothers seek out their biological father, who had provided the sperm for both of them. Mark Ruffalo makes it look easy, and Annette Bening is brilliant. ****1/2

2. Inception - Christopher Nolan’s greatest ever film is a masterpiece of temporality. This exciting tale of shared dreaming and self-conscious idea placement is made remarkably concise through Nolan’s intriguing screenplay. Hugely entertaining, the cast is great, the cinematography and editing second to none, and Hans Zimmer’s score is brilliant. *****

1. The Social Network - Not just a great film, but a film that perfectly defines the last decade of multimedia social interaction. Examining the origins of Facebook and tackling the dual lawsuits filed against the founder Mark Zuckerberg (a brilliant Jesse Eisenberg), this is a wonderful script my Aaron Sorkin. Every element of this film is exceptional, and while I haven’t seen Black Swan (which I have been told will blow my mind) this is my pick for Best Film of the Year! *****


  1. I agree that Shutter Island rewards the viewer on repeat viewings. It's one of those films where when the knowledge of the twist is known it actually works even better. A bit like The Usual Suspects.

  2. Yep. I was actually closely watching Ruffalo and Kingsley in the second viewing. It's a whole different film if you view the events knowing their real agenda from the start.