Movies of the Year 2010

The usual disclaimers: there are still some potential releases that could have made the list that I just did not get around to seeing – Four Lions, Another Year, Mother, Restrepo, Waiting for Superman. An overall poor year for film that had me scraping the barrel somewhat. Still, a handful of flicks I’d be happy to revisit:

Dogtooth
Dogtooth
Three twenty something siblings living in a very pleasant Greek country house play games all day and seemigly want for nothing…but it turns out they have never left the house: their knowledge of the outside world formed by the increasingly bizarre lies their parents invent to keep them pure and unspoilt. Things only start to get out of control when an outsider is brought in to ‘service’ the sexual needs of the young brother.

DoubleTake
Double Take
What to make of this strange piece? Part examination of Hitchcock screenplays, part paranoid retelling of the cold war. Using archive footage and clips from Hitch’s own films we are told time and again by the master film maker ‘on meeting one’s double you should kill him lest he kill you’.

Inception
Inception
A total mind-bender that probably needs a university course in metaphysics and causality to fully explain it, Inception is proof the hollywood machine still occasionally cranks out action films you can care about.

The Killer Inside Me
The Killer Inside Me
As controversially violent as billed which made at least two scenes very difficult to watch, this embodied the jet black cynicism typical of Jim Thompson’s work while still exploring the rather touching love affair between Alba and Affleck.

Monsters
Monsters
Making the list for achievement more than anything (microbudgeted, the director, small crew and two actors drove through Guatemala and Mexico with no script and shot whatever caught their fancy) this was the best SciFi film of the year. Really believable character arcs and a weirdly mundane sense of dread throughout.

A Prophet
A Prophet
Beautiful and compelling rite of passage tale following a young offender trying to keep his head down yet still becomes a key player in French crime circles both inside and outside prison.

Secret in Their Eyes
The Secret in Their Eyes
Fluidly moving between Argentina’s dictatorial ’70s & laid back ’90s and between chronicles of unrequited love & unmet revenge. The ending was so fulfilling I could barely move when the credits rolled.

Social Network
The Social Network
The dream team of Sorkin and Fincher lived up to the hype and delivered the story of the genesis of Facebook in spades. The central narrative core took in two complimentary court cases, while the larger story effortlessly time-shifted between drunken college high jinx, corporate backstabbing and, er, the Henley Regatta.

Still Walking
Still Walking
A warm hearted family saga that contains, in the guise of a seemingly benign grandmother, the most cold-blooded and vengeful character on screen this year.

Toy Story 3
Toy Story 3
Perfect last act of a near perfect trilogy. Woody and his pals face retirement with a great deal more dignity than last summer’s street fighting Greeks.

Winter's Bone
Winter’s Bone
Amongst the bleak, unforgiving Ozark hills Jennifer Lawrence is desperate to find her father. Channeling Philip Marlowe she discovers there is much, much more going on than a simple missing person case.

————————-

Just Missed Out
Exit Through the Gift Shop
The White Ribbon
Of Gods and Men
The Kids are Alright
Catfish
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
Predators (well, more of a guilty pleasure really)

————————-

Recently Discovered in the Archives
Thief of Baghdad
Overlord
Seven Days in May
Spy Who Came in from the Cold
The Blue Dahlia
Fantastic Planet
Mystery Street
The Misfits
The Day the Earth Caught Fire
Unfaithfully Yours
The Night of Counting the Years
Hell is a City
I Live in Fear
Whatever Happened to Baby Jane
Track of the Cat
Zero Focus
L’Enfance-nue
Chase a Crooked Shadow
Nightfall
Stagecoach