Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Top 10 Movies of 2010 - So Far...

Now that we’re just over six months into the year, I thought I would take a look at the best movies of the year up to this point. How many will survive all the way to the end of the year? Check back in about six months and find out! Please?

10. “Shutter Island

Some complained that it was too predictable, and while I agree that pretty much everyone and their mother could figure out the twists long before they happened, it was refreshing to see a movie just go with what they built up to rather than throwing out something that doesn’t make sense just for the sake of a surprise. “Shutter Island” is just a sturdy thriller, really well directed (Martin Scorsese, of course), and acted (Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, and all the rest).

9. “Splice

This one was a little polarizing amongst the group I watched it with, but I thought it was an engaging sci-fi thriller. Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley add weight to characters that could have become hammy in the hands of lesser actors. This one isn’t for everyone but I thought it was really cool.

8. “How to Train Your Dragon

Aside from “Avatar” this is some of the most impressive 3D I’ve ever seen. The story is pretty standard but the voice actors do a great job of bringing the characters to life and the action sequences are really well done. It’s also beautifully animated, and a movie that deserves a sequel (and is getting one).

7. “The Karate Kid

Anyone who expected this movie to either be this good or make this much money is probably a liar. Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith make a terrific duo and are able to generate unexpected emotion throughout the film. This remake is almost beat-for-beat the same movie as the 1984 original (though not quite as good obviously), and director Harald Zwart is still able to make it thoroughly engaging and entertaining. A sequel is on the way for this one too, and once again I say bring it on.

6. “City Island

If there was any justice in the world, Andy Garcia would get an Oscar push for his brilliant performance here as prison guard and wannabe actor Vince Rizzo. This is one of those “wacky family” movies that seemingly has been done to death, but Garcia, as well as Dominik Garcia-Lorido (his real daughter), Alan Arkin, Juliana Margulies, Ezra Miller, and Emily Mortimer make the characters likable and believable.

5. “The Secret in Their Eyes”

This movie came in from out of nowhere to win Best Foreign Film at last year’s Oscars, over the more well known “The White Ribbon” or “A Prophet.” While I preferred both of those movies, “Secret” is a profoundly absorbing story with extremely well drawn characters that are perfectly acted. This is quite the gem from Argentina.

4. “The Ghost Writer”

In separating Roman Polanski the man from Roman Polanski the director, the fact is that “The Ghost Writer” is the work of a master. Ewan McGregor is terrific as the title character, but Pierce Brosnan gives a career best performance as a former British Prime Minister seemingly not so loosely based on Tony Blair. Kim Cattrall, Olivia Williams, James Belushi, Timothy Hutton, and Tom Wilkinson also do great work.

3. “The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo

If anyone tries to tell you that nothing good ever came from Sweden, you can offer this film as a retort. Noomi Rapace and Michael Nyqvist) play an unconventional duo trying to solve a decades old mystery. Director Niels Aarden Oplev keeps the 152 minute movie moving at a terrific pace, and his use of still photography is the most intriguing since “The Picture of Dorian Gray.” There are two more films in this series yet to come, and an American remake (directed by David Fincher) is on the way in 2012.

2. “Toy Story 3

Pixar rarely steers us wrong, and this is yet another stunning achievement in their unparalleled run of greatness. Woody, Buzz, and the rest of the gang prove that they’re more than just toys; they’re amongst the most memorable characters in cinema history. Combined with “Toy Story” (1995) and “Toy Story 2” (1999), this is one of the greatest trilogies of all-time.

1. “A Prophet

This film left my heart racing and my jaw hanging open for hours afterward. It’s one of the most viscerally entertaining and mind-blowingly perfect movies I’ve ever seen. It follows the prison life of a young inmate named Malik El Djebena, played with amazing depth and breadth by newcomer Tahar Rahim. This is a film that takes its time at 150 minutes but uses every single second to maximum effect. This is an unbelievably great film and I encourage everyone to see it.

I also really liked –

- “The Art of the Steal”
- “Exit Through The Gift Shop”
- “Get Him To The Greek”
- “The Joneses”
- “The Most Dangerous Man In America: Daniel Ellsberg And The Pentagon Papers”
- “The Runaways”
- “The Secret of Kells”

And by far the worst movie I’ve seen this year is “Clash of the Titans.” Granted I haven’t seen many bad movies this year (by design) so I’m sure there are worse, but that’s just the worst one I’ve happened to see.

1 comment:

  1. A Prophet has yet to appear before me but it's been on my list for a while. I will def have to check it out alongside Girl with Dragon Tatoos.