Best Of 2010 ...

So I was waiting long enough to make a Best Of 2010 yet I just had a really hard time finding some worthy candidates. Last year I had more than 20 great films in my list but alas this year I wouldn't even call 10 of these great. This was probably the worst movie year I've experienced since I started doing these annual lists back in 1999. There are a few more movies to watch or re-watch but the list won't change drastically in the months to come. I have added small comments cause I guess I was too lazy to do more than that and the movies speak for themselves really, I will -at some point- post my review for each of these films. So without further ado here's the good stuff of 2010.

(1) Black Swan

Taking a cue from Kanye West's latest record, this is Director Darren Aronofksy's Beautiful, Dark, twisted fantasy. Natalie Portman gives the performance of the year in a film that's more than just about ballet but about the boundaries an artist has in order to push his or herself to the limit. A campy, visionary, extraordinary mess that turns into the movie experience of the year.

(2) Shutter Island

A detective investigates a missing patient at a mental asylum for the criminally insane but ends up getting lost in the darkness that looms between the cracked corners. Leonardo Dicaprio's performance in Martin Scorsese's Shutter Island is astounding, ditto the film. Scorsese with the help of cinematographer Robert Richardson, conjures up dream-like images that stayed with you for weeks.

(3) Enter The Void

Gaspar Noe's follow-up to the controversial Irreversible did not disappoint. Its trippiness far exceeded any other film in 2010 in terms of originality, guts and madness. Here Noe is concerned with the co-existence between body, life and the after-life by giving us the story of a dead man who's presence roams around the crowded, mob ruled streets of Tokyo. You have never seen the crowed Oriental city shot like this before.

(4) The Ghost Writer

 Roman Polanski's best thriller in years had the taut, tense, irresistibly grim mood we have come to expect from the director of Chinatown and Rosemary's Baby. The atmosphere is that of dread and the dark, unknown mysteries that lie around every corner. Nothing that happens is expected, which makes this one hell of a political thriller (loosely based on Tony Blair's stay as British prime minister).

(5) Un Prophete

This French import is the best gangster movie since Scorsese's The Departed. An angry, muscled look at the French prison system and the imprisoned Mobster that controls every move and word uttered in the cells, up until an Arabic inmate shows up and changes things around. An overlong but madly fascinating movie.

(6) Inception

A madly ambitious story, director Christopher Nolan's follow-up to The Dark Knight was concerned with the metaphysics of dreams. For close to two and a half hours, we got ideas spun at us faster than a spinning totem and were forced to re-watch it to better understand Nolan's creative world. the final image will surely become one of the great ones in movie history.

(7) Toy Story 3 (Lee Unkrich) 

 Toy Story 3's brilliance lies in its dreamy images of a darkened toy world and our main protagonist having the choice of growing up or staying young. Its themes are adult and its images match those very themes. A special gift wrapped on the outside with vibrant colors that pop out and stun your eyes but layered in the deep inside with a darkness that cannot be shaken.

(8) Dogtooth (Giorgos Lanthimos) 

 Director Lanthimos is an absurdist and he has made an absurdly brilliant film. You have to see it to believe it here. This is way too hard to explain but suffice to say that this is as truthful a depiction of dictatorship as we'll ever get in modern cinema. Except the dictatorship here is happening at a family home. Lots of divisive, opinionated debate surrounding this one but as you can see I dug it quite a bit.

(9) Fish Tank (Andrea Arnold)

Arnold spotted Katie Jarvis at a train station after drawing a blank with casting agencies. "She was on one platform arguing with her boyfriend on another platform, giving him grief." However the performance is achieved, Jarvis is electrifying. If Arnold wanted a 'real' person for the role, this seventeen-year-old takes over the screen with raw adolescent power. Fish Tank will lift you out of your seat and on an unstoppable flight, ricocheting against confines of circumstance and imploding a dysfunctional family with its head of hormonal steam.

(10) Winter's Bone (Debra Granik) 

Debra Granik's second feature film Winter's Bone is the kind of movie that gets progressively better & better as you delve deeper and deeper on it. It is filled with humane, real characterizations of a society that is rooted in evil and people that have lost all hope in life and succumbed to shadiness & drug dealing. There are memorable scenes that linger.

11. You Don't Know Jack, Barry Levinson

12. 127 Hours, Danny Boyle

13. I'm Still Here, Casey Affleck

14. Le Illusioniste, Sylvain Chomet

15.  The Kids Are All Right, Lisa Cholodenko

16. Cyrus, Jay Duplass and Mark Duplass

17. How To Train Your Dragon, Dean Deblois, Chris Sanders

18. Kick-Ass, Matthew Vaughn

19. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Niels Arden Oplev
19. The Girl Who Played With Fire, Daniel Alfredson

20. Salt, Phillip Noyce