Belated: The best movies of 2010
Now that the holidays are over and school’s back in swing, I finally have the motivation to get back into blogging (ie. a desperate need to procrastinate). So, without ado, my favourite movies of 2010, sticking to the exactly-50-words format that’s worked so well before.
Heartbeats may turn off some with its depiction of lust and rivalry amongst hopelessly cool Franco-bohemians, but the Fitzgerald-via-American Apparel aesthetic is stunningly watchable. The film doesn’t pull punches, knowing that the unlikeability of its characters is their appeal, and Xavier Dolan’s direction crackles with an almost voyeuristic energy throughout.
- The Social Network
Fincher and Sorkin break little ground in their biopic of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg (aside from impressively integrated special effects, that is), but like their subject, The Social Network is ruthlessly efficient. There are no weak performances or unnecessary scenes, just a steady stream of small betrayals and rising tension.
- Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
The most visually exhilarating movie of the year. Being a 20-something Canadian male with limited social skills may be key to appreciating the gamer and music geek references, which would explain the abysmal box office, but if you’re in that demographic, you won’t likely be pandered to so perfectly again.
- True Grit
Nowhere near as bleak as I was expecting, but then, when are the Coen Brothers not funny? (Alright, maybe No Country…) The story is minimal – like all great westerns – but the cinematography is flawless, the performances strong, and the dialogue lush with language you want to live in.
- Exit Through the Gift Shop
The “is it real” element gives this “Banksy doc” its hook, but truth and fiction are irrelevant in Exit. Kind of funny and kind of horrifying, the rise of Mr. Brainwash could be either the death of art or the re-birth of Warhol, if there’s even a difference.
- Black Swan
After the gut-punch realism of The Wrestler, Aranofsky returns to loftier subject matter with his ballerina story. Critics aren’t wrong to say the movie’s philosophy isn’t unique, but as a visceral representation of the artistic process – and the fine line between creativity and madness – it’s still remarkably effective.
Not as narratively complex as some made it out to be, but that’s largely owing to Christopher Nolan’s talent for portraying multilayered action as straightforwardly as possible. Few directors can match his ability to create popcorn flicks with genuine depth – here’s hoping it becomes the trend, not the exception.
- The Town
On paper, The Town sounds about as middle-of-the-road as a movie can get. A heist flick about a con with a heart of gold pulling one last job before going straight? Affleck makes it work, showing a surprising knack for directing action and re-affirming his talent for playing loveable mooks.
- Taylor’s Way
Rene Brar’s directorial debut has elements of a thriller, a romance and a coming-of-age story – not to mention the natural beauty of a nature doc, one of the benefits of filming in the Canadian wilderness, but it’s the slow-building dread and the incredible restraint that will stick with you.
- Toy Story 3
I went in with low expectations (well, low for Pixar, anyway); I should have known better. Anyone who can make it through the ending without tearing up a little has no heart. Between this and Up, no one handles the bittersweet aspects of ageing and maturity quite like Pixar.
The Kids Are All Right
I Saw the Devil