The best movies of 2010
Published: December 30, 2010
1. The Social Network – What threatened to be merely “the Facebook movie” was instead fashioned by director David Fincher, writer Aaron Sorkin and an impeccable ensemble into a surprisingly timeless, sharply funny look at what happens in an age when achievement and betrayal are just a mouse click away.
2. True Grit – The Coens’ seemingly straight-forward take on the Western thrills and amuses in its old-fashioned approach, but lurking just beneath the surface of stellar performances and period-perfect dialogue is a moral ambiguity every bit as relevant in our day and age. (now in theaters)
3. And Everything is Going Fine – Crafted by Steven Soderbergh as a tribute to the late Spalding Gray, this pastiche of interviews and recorded performances builds into an abstractly moving testament to how stories and lives must be shared in order to be valued. (now on VOD)
4. Dogtooth – Replace Michael Haneke’s sense of disdain for his audience with a dark sense of humor and you have a rough idea of what to expect from this thoroughly unique Greek tale of unconventional parenting. (on DVD Jan. 25)
5. The Good, The Bad, The Weird – Like the bastard child of The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly and Kung Fu Hustle, this South Korean homage to the spaghetti Western offered up the most go-for-broke popcorn thrills of any action movie this year with its mid-point horse/tank/truck chase as perhaps the most exhilarating action sequence of the year. (now on DVD)
6. The Red Riding trilogy – This epic three-part crime drama unfolds with the scope of a great novel, but its first segment, “1974,” is arguably the best of the bunch: A steadily gripping investigation into what at first appears to be a serial killer case. (now on DVD)
7. Black Swan – Darren Aronofsky’s fever dream of a film focuses on a psychologically fragile ballerina, played by a never-better Natalie Portman, and volleys from being a ripe showbiz melodrama, a disturbing sexual awakening and, ultimately, a beautiful demonstration of the strife that art often requires. (now in theaters)
8. The Square – A crackling directorial debut by Aussie Nash Edgerton, this neo-noir tightens the screws on a desperate couple whose plans to take the money and run unravel in spectacular fashion. (now on DVD)
9. The Tillman Story – In what can easily be considered an exceptional year for documentaries, one of the finest – an infuriating look at the deceptive decoration of football-player-turned-solider Pat Tillman – was unceremoniously dumped in Orlando on only one screen. (on DVD Feb. 1)
10. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World – Edgar Wright took the typical rom-com onscreen baggage between young lovers and brilliantly literalized it in his live-wire adaptation of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s graphic novels.
And the worst film of the year? Standing Ovation, which snuck onto more than 600 screens the same weekend Inception opened and showcased dozens of shrill moppets as they competed for stardom in Atlantic City. If it had merely been crammed to the gills with limp musical numbers and mind-boggling slapstick (which it totally is), that would’ve been one thing; what’s even worse is that the film espouses all the worst notions of modern celebrity. To call these girls “devils” seems a bit harsh, but the all-American myth of fame being valued over talent could stand to be perpetuated a little less by their parents.
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