Wednesday, 22 December 2010

2010: The Year In Review

As the year draws to a close, all film journalists/bloggers/fans like to procrastinate and list their favourite films.
Drawing up the top ten is always difficult because you normally battle back and forth over what films will miss the cut... but this year it has been tough to find ten films to put on the list!
I have said it before, and many people seem to have the same opinion... 2010 has been a pretty poor year in terms of quality. For every rare spark of originality like Inception, there was just further proof that Hollywood suffers from an over-reliance on sour sequels (Sex And The City 2, Iron Man 2, Predators), rank remakes (Clash Of The Titans, A Nightmare On Elm Street) and trying to create an 80's revival (The A-Team, Karate Kid, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, Hot Tub Time Machine) and the horrid reality that Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer (Vampires Suck) continue to be allowed to make films
What follows is my Top Ten Films Of 2010 (which are films that had their UK release in 2010. Otherwise Black Swan would have been top of the list) plus a bunch of other random awards.

1. Inception
2. The Social Network
3. Toy Story 3
4. A Single Man
5. Scott Pilgrim Vs The World
6. Buried
7. Catfish
8. Shutter Island
9. A Prophet
10. Of Gods And Men

Best Performance - Ryan Reynolds in Buried
It's this year's Sam Rockwell in Moon performance in that it won't be recognised by any of the Awards ceremonies but Reynolds single handedly engaged an audience for 90 minutes whilst stuck in a coffin. He runs the entire spectrum of emotions and really connects with the audience to the point that you completely empathise with him come the conclusion of the film.
Honorable Mention - Leonardo DiCaprio for two great performances in Shutter Island and Inception.
Best Director - Christopher Nolan for Inception
The best blockbuster of the year: original, thought provoking, entertaining. Nolan should be praised for showing Hollywood that audiences are willing to embrace original films as long as they are made this well.
Best Screenplay - The Social Network
I would put my life savings (which isn't all that much but it's the thought that counts) on Aaron Sorkin winning the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. He manages to recreate the sharp as a tack dialogue from The West Wing... but most importantly he makes a movie about Facebook genuinely thrilling and interesting.

Best Poster - (500) Films of Empire

It is probably poor form to award the best poster to my own event but the guys at head office did such a wonderful job creating this image of The Godfather using pictures from every single film that I watched for the challenge.
Best BluRay/DVD - Scott Pilgrim Versus The World
A great film is given a first rate blu ray treatment with stunning picture and sound quality but also hours of bonus footage and FOUR audio commentaries that reveal the incredible level of detail and passion that Edgar Wright has invested in the best comic book movie of the year.
Guilty Pleasure - Piranha 3D
Storytelling and characterisation at its most basic, dodgy 3D effects and even dodgier acting but I'll admit that I really enjoyed this. It was ridiculous, but it worked because it knew it. It had a great Jaws spoof at the beginning, a gorgeous (and naked in 3D) Kelly Brook, and it was refreshing to see a horror film that took pride in having an 18 rating. Some of the deaths were so OTT that I was laughing out loud in the cinema (getting weird looks from other cinemagoers in the process).
Best Use of CGI in a movie - The Winklevii in The Social Network
Fincher (like Christopher Nolan) knows how to use CGI to enhance a storyline not become it, and it is still hard to believe that they are not identical twins but Armie Hammer's face digitally grafted onto another person's body in some scenes. Flawless.
Unfortunately the worst use of CGI was also in The Social Network, with some terrible CG cold breath left over from Titanic being used in an outdoor conversation between Eisenberg and Garfield.

Best Song - Black Sheep by Metric (from Scott Pilgrim Vs The World)
Honorable Mention: BRAAAAAAAHHHHHHHMMMMMMMMMMMM from Inception
Best Breakthrough Performance - Chloe Moretz in Kick-Ass
"Alright you c*nts, let's see what you can do know". Boom, a star is born. No other actor this year made such an immediate impact as Chloe Moretz did as the foul-mouthed, deadly but pint-sized assassin Hit-Girl. Slicing and dicing her way through a room full of drug dealers to the Banana Splits theme tune made her an instant fan favourite but with the remake of Let The Right One In, she has shown that she has the acting ability to become the next Natalie Portman or Jodie Foster
Best Cinema Audience - The Room
Not since the Star Wars special editions releases in 1997 have I seen an audience so in tune with a film that it turned a truly terrible film into a "must see" cult classic. Spoons were thrown, people screamed "You're tearing me apart" and everyone had a blast. Can't wait till we can screen it again.
Best Fight Scene - The hotel corridor fight in Inception
Full marks to Nolan for achieving all of this dizzying fight in camera, using old-school practical effects. Bonus points go to Joseph Gordon Levitt for doing 99% of the stunt work himself.
Honorable Mention: Hit-Girl's night vision goggle raid on the warehouse (cut beautifully to John Murphy's Sunshine score)

The "They don't make them like that anymore" Award - Back To The Future (re-release)
What Really Grinds My Gears - The "Avatar Effect"
Thanks to the financial success of Avatar, cinemagoing audiences have been forced to endure poor quality films (Alice In Wonderland, Titans, Last Airbender) being retrofitted with 3D which not only made the finished film look dull and lifeless but bumped an extra couple of quid on the already high ticket price.
Hopefully this trend has ended now that Harry Potter 7 refused to put out the film in 3D since it was ready yet.
Either film the entire thing in 3D from the outset or don't bother at all!
My Own Personal Favourite Cinematic Moment of 2010
When the end credits rolled on The Godfather that meant I had finally completed (500) Films of Empire.
Anyway let the debate begin. I am right in my views or have I got it completely wrong. I'm sure you will let me know if I have!


  1. Add Bad Lieutenant to your top 10 and you've got a deal.

  2. You forgot another category: The most completely mental film of 2010. A Town Called Panic!