Monday, December 27, 2010

Best Films of 2010

I wasn't ecstatic about any films this year (of course I saw only a handful of films). The neurotic, affluent, white urban worlds of The Kids Are All Right, Please Give and Greenberg were among my favorites. Winter's Bone and I Am Love, both of which I liked at the time, faded into the background, the emotional resonance didn't last.

I"m looking forward to seeing Black Swan, Carlos, Another Year, Blue Valentine and Tiny Furniture.

Roger Ebert's Best of Films of 2010
The Social Network
The King's Speech
Black Swan
I Am Love
Winter's Bone
The Secret in Their Eyes
The American
The Kids Are All Right
The Ghost Writer

Stephen Holden's List
4. CARLOS Olivier Assayas’s 5 ½-hour docudrama about the life and times of the notorious terrorist Carlos the Jackal is a study of swaggering, lethal narcissism with an imposing lead performance by the Venezuelan actor Edgar Ramírez. Its great set piece reconstructs the kidnapping of OPEC oil ministers in Vienna in December 1975.
5. ANOTHER YEAR The English filmmaker Mike Leigh is a contemporary, cinematic offshoot of Charles Dickens. His newest group study portrait of humble working-class lives is one of his best movies and features indelible performances by Jim Broadbent, Lesley Manville and Ruth Sheen.
6. VINCERE Marco Bellocchio’s portrait of Ida Dalser (Giovanna Mezzogiorno), Mussolini’s mistress who claimed to be his first wife and was imprisoned in a mental hospital, is a tragicomic little opera of a movie that savagely mocks the vainglorious Italian dictator.
7. WHITE MATERIAL In this Claire Denis film, Isabelle Huppert gives a typically crackling performance as the white French co-owner of a coffee plantation in an unidentified African country, who refuses to leave when civil strife erupts.
8. THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT What does it say about our changing times that Ms. Cholodenko’s portrait of a nontraditional clan headed by a lesbian couple is the most believable and heartfelt film about an American family of the last several years?
9. TRUE GRIT Not a remake of the John Wayne classic, the Coen brothers’ adaptation of the Charles Portis novel leaches out most of the boisterous humor to treat the story as a stately black comedy with breathtaking cinematography by Roger Deakins.
10. MY DOG TULIP Narrated by Christopher Plummer, the exquisite hand-drawn screen adaptation of J. R. Ackerley’s 1956 memoir chronicles his late-life 15-year relationship with a beloved dog, devoting much attention to her bathroom and mating habits.
RUNNERS-UP (in no order): “The Ghost Writer,” “Fish Tank,” “A Prophet,” “Mid-August Lunch,” “Greenberg,” “Exit Through the Gift Shop,” “The Secret in Their Eyes,” “I Am Love,” “Toy Story 3,” “Winter’s Bone,” “Lebanon,” “Animal Kingdom,” “The Tillman Story,” “Boxing Gym” and “Blue Valentine.”

AO Scott's Best Films of 2010

1. INSIDE JOB (Charles Ferguson) The crisis of finance capitalism as a great crime story.
2. TOY STORY 3 (Lee Unkrich) The triumph of consumer capitalism as an epic love story.
3. CARLOS (Olivier Assayas) The failure of global revolution as farce, melodrama, erotic thriller and music video.
4. SOMEWHERE (Sofia Coppola) An eccentric, perfect poem about fame, loneliness and cross-generational need.
5. THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT (Lisa Cholodenko) An eccentric, perfect comedy about love, betrayal and cross-generational confusion.
6. GREENBERG (Noah Baumbach) A deliberately imperfect comedy about an eccentric fleeing from love, running from betrayal and wallowing in cross-generational confusion.
7. 127 HOURS (Danny Boyle) It’s all fun until someone loses an arm. And then, strangely enough, it’s even more fun.
8. LAST TRAIN HOME (Lixin Fan) The future of global capitalism, in China and elsewhere: a family tragedy in the form of a documentary, as full of anger, dignity and pathos as a play by Arthur Miller.
9. SECRET SUNSHINE (Lee Chang-dong) A family tragedy from South Korea, in the form of a melodramatic crime story. As dense and gripping as a great novel.
10. EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP (Banksy) All of the above. None of the above. Everything and nothing. An elaborate art-world stunt in the form of a documentary. Or vice versa.

RUNNERS-UP “And Everything Is Going Fine,” “Another Year,” “Black Swan,” “Boxing Gym,” “The Father of My Children,” “The Fighter,” “A Film Unfinished,” “Fish Tank,” “Four Lions,” “The Ghost Writer,” “Howl,” “I Am Love,” “Let Me In,” “Please Give,” “Solitary Man,” “Tangled,” “Tiny Furniture,” “Vincere,; “White Material,” “Winter’s Bone.” 

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