Today: April 20, 2024

The Best Of 2010

In many ways 2010 has been a bumper year for us filmgoers. While we’ve enjoyed the likes of Iron Man 2, and numerous other franchise installments, we have been treated to some hugely original pieces of work that prove you do not need a ready-made audience to create a successful film, both commercially and critically.

In many ways 2010 has been a bumper year for us filmgoers. While we’ve enjoyed the likes of Iron Man 2, and numerous other franchise installments, we have been treated to some hugely original pieces of work that prove you do not need a ready-made audience to create a successful film, both commercially and critically. So, as the year draws to an end here are some films that have truly captured us at Filmjuice. The only rule is that these films have to have been released, in the UK, in 2010. Those wondering where the likes of Avatar and The King’s Speech are will be disappointed as one was released in 2009 and the other takes a bow in 2011.

Up In The Air

Jason Reitman continues to be one of the most adept at handling dramady in mainstream cinema and this film cemented that. George Clooney plays the part of Ryan Bingham to perfection and is superbly supported by Anna Kendrick and Vera Farmiga. With it’s snappy dialogue and flawed, but endlessly lovable characters, it is a hark back to screw ball comedies like His Girl Friday (1940).

Shutter Island

Scorsese proves that he can go gothic with possibly his most visually stunning film to date. DiCaprio is captivating in the role of Teddy, a US Marshall sent to the titular island, which is a mental asylum, to hunt down an escaped inmate. As the plot unfolds Scorsese relishes in keeping the audience guessing. To fully appreciate the dark comedic undertones watch it twice and revel as Kingsley quietly wrings a wry smile throughout.

Kick Ass

Something of a pastiche of the current super hero trend, Kick Ass is a fist pumping feel good film. Layer Cake’s Matthew Vaughn calls the shots to vibrant and over the top effect while Chole Moretz steals the show as the foul-mouthed young hero Hit-Girl.

The Social Network

Two of Hollywood’s finest, The West Wing’s scribe Aaron Sorkin and Fight Club helmer David Fincher, bring the story of Facebook to satirizing life. The genius of the film is in making some hugely obnoxious characters grow increasingly sympathetic as the film unfolds. By the closing credits you won’t love them but if you don’t feel warmth and pity for them you need help. Expect huge Oscar buzz early next year.

Lebanon

A startling portrait of war from within the living hell of tank. Samuel Moaz captures the atmospherics of the belly of the tank to such detail you begin to genuinely believe you can smell the gunpowder and urine seeping from the screen. Puts into stark contrast a conflict that many will not have been aware of until this stunning depiction. By the time the hatch is opened come the climax Lebanon is never anything other than illuminating.

Winter’s Bone


This film crept under the radar but proved to be a must see. Set in the Ozark Mountains amidst a meth fueled culture, Ree Dolly sets out to find her dad before the police take away her home and young siblings. The film has it all, atmospherics, engaging story and one of the best performances of the year from Jennifer Lawrence in the role of Ree. If this girl isn’t nominated for a Best Lead Actress Oscar then hell has surely frozen over. If you seek out one film based on this list then make it Winter’s Bone.

Inception

Christopher Nolan does it again, proving that big budget can also be big brained. Inception was the must see film of 2010 and it didn’t disappoint. Finding time to jump from dream to dream while always allowing the audience to keep track of events, thanks to a unique look of each level, Inception uses some stunning visuals to supplement a break neck mystery. DiCaprio, Gordon-Levitt, Page and Hardy all contribute to a film that sucks you in and leaves you spinning, or toppling depending on your reading, come the final credits. Just don’t ask if it’s a dream or not.

Toy Story 3

Pixar proving once and for all, as if we didn’t already know, that they are the masters of story as entertainment. There is something for everyone in Toy Story 3 and it is probably now considered the most brilliant trilogy ever made. If you manage to watch this and not laugh, a lot, and cry, at least once, then you need to see a therapist, or a doctor to check for a heartbeat.

The American


Not heralded by many but The American is a wonderfully nuanced portrait of a lonely man desperate for love. It unfolds at a snails pace but Clooney’s performance, as the central role, and Anton Corbijn’s visuals makes this a hugely visceral film and one that deserves to find a bigger audience. In many ways this could easily be a Bourne Retirement with an existential spin.

Four Lions


From Christopher Morris, the man that gives controversy a capital ‘C’ after shows like Brass Eye and The Day Today, comes a hysterical look at suicide bombers. While plenty of fun is poked at those who would kill themselves in the name of religion and indeed to the incompetence of the police trying to stop them, it also finds a huge heart. Riz Ahmed finds time to instill a sense of desperation to achieve something in life, even if it is dying. Ignore the controversy and embrace what is, at its core, a film that raises some terrifying truths while never losing sight of the genre it is playing to.

Monsters


Last year the hot new director on the block was Neil Blomkamp thanks to District 9. Monsters will surely do the same for Brit director Gareth Edwards. Shot on a relative shoestring budget Monsters is staggering in what it achieves. It looks and feels like a blockbuster but with its Indy sensibilities it is allowed to blossom as a road movie come love story all set against a Mexico infested with vast Monsters. If you go expecting big bangs you will miss the point of possibly the most delicate and heartwarming B-movie ever made.

Unstoppable


The concept of a runaway train that is like “a missile, the size of the Chrysler Building” might sound like action hokum, but in Tony Scott’s hands it is a brilliant thrill ride. Denzel Washington and Chris Pine, as the train conductors on a collision course with death, find a wonderful rapport with each other that balances the action with genuine character drama. Rarely are films this exhilarating in modern cinema.

Dogtooth

Makes Inception’s concept look positively unoriginal by comparison, Dogtooth is a film that beggars belief. Three Greek teenagers are confined to their family home and informed that the outside world is rife with danger and monsters. What is rapidly revealed is that this is a concoction of over protective parents and that cats take the form of ‘monsters’. Brilliantly quirky with a darkly comedic heart Dogtooth is a true original.

Catfish

It is perhaps imperative this film should come out the same year as The Social Network. Catfish is a clever piece of filmmaking which follows Yaniv as he meets and falls in love with a girl he has never met, on Facebook. As he delves deeper into her life he begins to unearth some strange truths. There is still debate aplenty as to whether or not Catfish is a documentary or mocumentary, but whatever it is, it speaks loudly to a world obsessed with online friendship. Provocative does not even begin to cover it.

Precious

On the surface Lee Daniel’s tale of a girl raped by her father and beaten by her mother, not to mention two children she has mothered as a result of incest, might seem like a reason to induce suicide. However, the genius of Precious is the way it manages to be uplifting. Gabourey Sidibe is a revelation in the title role and it is through her that the film is never anything other than captivating.

A Prophet

A prison / crime drama that makes The Shawshank Redemption look like a walk in the park, A Prophet is a poetic look at a petty criminal dealing with things beyond his comprehension. Director Jacques Audiard keeps the pacing deliberately lethargic and conjures a subtle sense of menace throughout the story. Meanwhile star of the show, Tahar Rahim will fast become one of the must watch actors of the future.

Valhalla Rising

Nicolas Winding Refn, the man that gave us Bronson, creates the most visually expressive and stunning film of the year. A Viking odyssey that follows the mute warrior One Eye, played to unflinching awe by Casino Royale’s Mads Mikkelsen, as he travels to a far off land with a boat full of God fearing Christians. The ingenuity of the film lies within its dreamlike execution and the ability to address all manner of themes, in particular existentialism, with as few words as possible. The ambiguity will not be to everyone’s liking but the power of the images Refn creates is akin to Nicolas Roeg’s Don’t Look Now (1973).

Honorary Mention: Metropolis

Not not a new film but restored and with newly found film footage, it had to be included. The discovery of new, unseen footage, breathes new life into the extraordinary Metropolis by Fritz Lang. As powerful now, as it probably was back then, if you did not have the pleasure to see it in its full glory in film theatres, then get your hands on the DVD from Eureka.

Marcia Degia - Publisher

Marcia Degia, who has worked in the media industry for more than 20 years, is the Publishing Editor of KOL Social Magazine. See website: thekolsocial.com

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