I have been hesitant about making any sort of top-ten list for 2010 for the simple reason that there are so many key films from the year I still haven’t seen, including A Prophet, Carlos, Somewhere, Blue Valentine, Mother, Trash Humpers, Biutiful and Mesrine, as most have still yet to come around my area and some I still just haven’t gotten around to. I did want to go ahead and construct a list of my favorite films from 2010, if just to close my book on the year. My complete list of films I saw from this past year can be viewed at this post for those interested. These were my absolute favorites:
1. The Fighter: David O. Russell has been one of my favorite filmmakers since I first saw his glorious Flirting With Disaster back in the mid-nineties and he has yet to let me down. The Fighter is as good as anything he has ever delivered and is, to my eyes, THE great film of 2010. Featuring Oscar worthy performances by Mark Wahlberg, Amy Adams and Christina Bale, The Fighter moved me more than I can possibly express. With three masterful films now under the belts, Russell and Wahlberg have become my favorite director and actor team in modern film. I can't wait to see what they do next.
2. Let Me In: Few American remakes of classic foreign films are as good as the original and even less manage to top them, but Matt Reeves’ haunting Let Me In manages to do both. Featuring superlative turns from child-actors Chloe Grace Moretz and Kodi Smit-McPhee, Let Me In is an absolutely mesmerizing work that I think tops Reeves acclaimed Cloverfield in every way and establishes him as one of the major voices in modern American film. Of all the films on my list, I believe Let Me In might end up being viewed as the essential work of 2010 in the years to come.
3. The Social Network: I’m not sure what I can say about David Fincher’s masterful The Social Network that hasn’t already been said. Fincher continues to create masterpiece after masterpiece and The Social Network is an absolutely stunning achievement worthy of all of the attention and praise it has been getting.
4. Black Swan: Darren Aronofsky’s stunning companion piece to The Wrestler is an unforgettable head-trip that recalls works like Polanski’s Repulsion and Zulawski’s Possession and yet it feels totally unique. More award worthy performances from the likes of Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis (WOW) and Winona Ryder are on hand and, with Black Swan, Aronofsky again reminds us as to why he is one of the most necessary young American voices in all of modern cinema.
5. Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World: Edgar Wright is now three for three with a film destined to become one of the major classics of 2010. It's such a pity that so many chose to ignore it during its brief theatrical run. On an additional note, this film has my vote for the Blu-Ray of the year as the extras are incredible.
6. The Promise: The Making of The Darkness on the Edge of Town: Thom Zimny’s exhaustive look at Bruce Springsteen’s greatest album (in my opinion) is not only one of the best documentaries of the year but also one of the best films. Mixing remarkable home movies shot during the creation of the album and new interviews with Bruce and all involved, The Promise is a stirring work and one of the best films of its kind I have ever seen.
7. The Town: Proving that Gone Baby Gone was no fluke, Ben Affleck shows himself off as a major director with this exceptionally realized work that stands as one of the best acted, directed and scripted crime-dramas in years. Absolutely marvelous...
8. The Girl Who Played with Fire: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo might have gotten all the acclaim but I was more taken with Daniel Alfredson’s searing follow-up film which, to my eyes, was one of the most perfect films released in American theaters in 2010. I suspect Fincher’s American versions are going to be quite masterful but he has a lot to live up to.
9. Malice in Lalaland: Imagine if David Lynch, Terry Gilliam and Alex Cox got together to make an adult version of Alice in Wonderland and you would have Lew Xypher’s off the wall and surreal Malice in Lalaland. Produced by the ambitious Miss Lucifer Productions, shot on 35mm and starring Sasha Grey, Malice in Lalaland is, simply put, one of the best and most imaginative adult films since the golden era of the seventies. Featuring a fantastic score, startling animation and a wickedly delicious turn from Grey, Malice in Lalaland is an essential work for more adventurous and open-minded film-watchers. Keep a look-out especially from scene-stealing Andy San Dimas as the beautiful and brutal Black Queen.
10. Resident Evil Afterlife: I have already written on my great admiration for Paul W.S. Anderson's audacious and extremely underrated film so I will just let my article stand for my thoughts on it.
And the ten films that would round out the top twenty in Alphabetical Order:
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Knight and Day
The Killer Inside Me
The Next Three Days
The Other Guys