Alex's top ten movies of 2010

Well, I'm more than a little late this year, not sure exactly why. Maybe I'll be faster for 2011. Here are my top ten movies of 2010, all four-starrers:

1. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Niels Arden Oplev's moody, suspenseful murder mystery/romance/autistic character study is gorgeous and perfect, the best of a fun and exciting series based on the novels by Stieg Larsson. Noomi Rapace did not win the Best Actress Oscar, for some reason.

2. Black Swan. Darren Aronofsky continues to stack eccentric masterpiece upon eccentric masterpiece. Natalie Portman did win the Best Actress Oscar, for obvious reasons.

3. Toy Story 3. The third entry in a perfect series of groundbreaking computer-animated sci-fi/fantasy adventures, this one about growing up. Yes, I cried, too, and loved it.

4. Animal Kingdom. David Michôd directs an Australian true-crime family drama with knockout performances all around, and tension, love, heartbreak, betrayal as well as outstanding cinematography and editing, as gripping as any great gangster story ever.

5. Devil. The Dowdles' Shyamalan-produced slice-of-life supernatural thriller keeps moving, keeps you guessing. It's a dark mirror surface of horror and grief with genuine creep-outs and lots to say.

6. Machete. Danny Trejo stars in Robert Rodriguez's funny, smart, iconic and indelible parody/fantasy on national themes.

7. Cyrus. Cyrus puts characters before everything for a laser-sharp comic vision of modern family and weird people.

8. Never Let Me Go. Kazuo Ishiguro's novel brought to complex and fascinating life by director Mark Romanek. Carey Mulligan, Keira Knighley and Andrew Garfield (and their younger counterparts) are like to break your heart with this lovely future fugue.

9. I Love You Phillip Morris. Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor give some of their best performances ever in this brilliant true gay romance which is also a hilariously frank and dirty story of over-the-top pathological lying and obsession. Similar in some ways to The Jerk, Happy Together, and as great as both.

10. Get Low. Robert Duvall's hermit character plans his own funeral in the deep South with help from Bill Murray's funeral director and his assistant, played by Lucas Black. This one is also inspired by a true story. Bill Cobbs is especially excellent here, and his character is a key to the story's successful adaptation to drama.

Since these are, in my opinion, the ten best films of the year, I view it as an injustice that many were not nominated for Best Picture, as there were ten open slots for the year. But there are always Oscar injustices, you just have to factor that in, so whatever....I'm especially glad about wins for Portman and The King's Speech (see below).

And to round out a full top twenty for 2010: How to Train Your Dragon, Sylvain Chomet's The Illusionist (L'illusionniste), M. Night Shyamalan's The Last Airbender (no, I'm not kidding), Tom Hooper's well-deserved Best Picture-winning The King's Speech, Olivier Assayas's six-hour Carlos, Henry Jaglom's wacky Queen of the Lot, David O. Russell's The Fighter, Randall Wallace's Secretariat, Danny Boyle's 127 Hours, and John Cameron Patrick Shanley Swayze Mitchell's Rabbit Hole (this is not the director's real name, just how I remember it).

Estimated number of viewings in total for these twenty films: 79.

Nowhere Boy, The Town and True Grit should get honorable mentions, too. Estimated total viewings of True Grit: 14.

The Magic of the Movies


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