2010’s Best 20 Films

Bank holidays are gone for a while so it’s time to look back at 2010, and then maybe look forward at 2011. I messed about with this list a lot, made some graphics, lost them and decided to simply list the films without too much flair.

These may not be the top 20 films I’ve seen this year but are the top 20 that have been released in cinemas. I think I may have already seen some of the best of 2011.

20. Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part I
This slot is more of a token than a definitive “Top 20 Film” as Deathly Hallows deserves to be highlighted for making the Potter series credible at last. It’s the film equivalent of Doctor Who, another British series to finally finding its feet in 2010. The kids can act and the plot is finally given time to unfold. Lovely.

19. Greenberg
Ben Stiller in an understated role in a film that bridged the gap between mumblecore and mainstream should get a bit of respect. It’s not going to blow you away but will certainly help heal the wounds left by the Focker franchise.

18. Piranha
The only 3D film to make it onto the list, because it didn’t take itself seriously and brought plenty of laughs, gore and boobs to the big screen. A sequel is on its way and I hope James Cameron gets invited to the premiere.

17. World’s Greatest Dad
I can’t help but love the unseen underdog, especially one featuring a comic actor giving a subdued performance. Try to see this, the darkest comedy of 2010. A must for anyone curious to see the genie from Aladdin in the buff.

16. The Kids Are All Right
It’s a comedy, it’s a drama, it’s a truly modern family! From laugh out loud funny to cry into your sleeve devastating, this is the film so many others want to be.

15. Eccentricities of a Blonde Haired Girl
Drawn in by an intriguing review, we were delighted by a hilarious and eccentric film about one young man’s love for the girl he sees from his office window. Directed in a unique fashion by a 100 year old Portuguese film-maker, you won’t see anything like it again.

14. Four Lions
A black comedy from Chris Morris was always going to be brilliant, though could possibly have been better. Still proud to see a British film this funny, brave and with no romance in sight.

13. Monsters
A subtle sci-fi with amazing effects on a shoe-string budget, and from the UK. Slightly shaky dialogue and inexperienced actors are easily masked by the sheer beauty of every shot, with the film climaxing visually in its final scene.

12. Buried
A wonderfully tense thriller all set in a tiny coffin. Ryan Reynolds proves himself as a proper actor and the ninety minutes fly by. It’s enough to make Phone Booth look like a good idea. Bonus points for having a great poster.

11. Kick Ass
After the first viewing this could have been in the top three films of the year, but a second viewing reminded me of the annoying beginning and the less than perfect lead. Still a brilliant black comedy and awesome showcase for Chloe Moretz. Shame Scott Pilgrim came along and showed how much better a comic book film could be.

10. Please Give
I may regret giving this film such a high position but it was surprisingly enjoyable and genuinely emotional. Not a film for everyone but worth a look if you’re into more subtle comedies that don’t have happy endings.

9. Up in the Air
Almost forgotten but a re-watch over Christmas brought this early gem back to my attention. Lots of good performances, an unpredictable plot and a little bit of heartbreak thrown in. If only Clooney hadn’t gone on to do The American.

8. Catfish
The most surprising film of the year and for a moment the most terrifying. If you still haven’t seen it and have managed to remain unspoiled then get watching, you’ll never add someone on Facebook again.

7. Black Dynamite
Finally another decent parody, burying the like of Date Movie simply by actually being funny. Were it not for a few familiar faces this could have come straight from the era it is parodying as the aesthetic is pitch perfect.

6. Let Me In
The highest horror on the list is a truly classy example of the genre. Not relying on fake scares, nudity or gore, we instead have a character study filled with tragedy, heart and intrigue. Chloe Moretz puts in her second performance on this list, a totally different but equally well crafted character. Arguably better than the original, this is a tale of love and horror.

5. Another Year
The most genuine film of the lot, so easily relatable and filled with characters you feel you could meet out here in the real world. Lesley Manville comes out of nowhere with a powerhouse of a performance. Heartbreaking and hilarious, a bit of a theme in 2010.

4. Inception
Lower down the list than I expected, and I’m the one who put the list together. Inception is as good as an action film can get as the usual set pieces are presented in wonderful new ways, the audience is made to think and small indie actors get their chance at the mainstream.

3. Whip It
Ranking so high for the sheer delight the film brings and the way it was overlooked by most people. The ugly poster hid away what is this year’s ultimate feel good film. Ellen Page is doing something right.

2. The Social Network
Aaron Sorkin wrote the tightest script to be released in 2010 and was lucky to have it so well taken care of. Eisenberg and Garfield made the world take notice and even Timberlake managed to impress. Not so much a tale of how Facebook came to be but a look at friendship and the price of success.

1. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World
No surprise here considering the sheer number of times we’ve had to use the “Scott Pilgrim” tag this year. Almost perfect and equally enjoyable at every repeat viewing. Never before has a film been so carefully crafted, every cut planned years in advance and every eye movement accompanied by a subtle noise. And how this is not long-listed for best original song I have no idea. Edgar Wright has shown just what he can do when given the freedom to run wild and the cinema audiences of the world have shown why we don’t get many good films as the weakest of romantic comedies could beat it at the box office. For me 2010 will always be the year Scott Pilgrim came out and I’ll be re-watching long after 3D has it’s next revival.

So there you have it, my top 20 picks. Do you agree?

Please Give – Review

At first I thought Please Give was a dreary drama but upon learning it was actually a comedy, a genuine funny and understated comedy, I couldn’t help but go and see it. Coming out of the screen I was incredibly happy with the film, and find it hard to find fault with it.

Please Give is a quite beautiful moving and dark comedy following one woman trying to atone for the fact that she scams the families of the deceased in order to stock her vintage furniture shop. Catherine Keener plays the part well, gradually revealing the humanity in a woman we’d otherwise have no sympathy for.

Meanwhile her daughter is struggling with the way she looks in a very understated way, and towards the end of the film Sarah Steele plays a scene with no dialogue to help her which almost broke my heart. To say any more about that would ruin the film.

The third strand of the film is taken up by the elderly neighbour of the family who sold her flat to them so they can expand their own when she dies. Her two granddaughters, Rebecca Hall and Amanda Peet, often visit and take care of her and have problems of their own, but again I’ll stop short of explaining the entire film for you. Suffice to say that Hall and Peet play two wildly different characters with ease and extremely convincingly.

The entire cast, including Oliver Platt as Keener’s flawed but funny husband and Ann Morgan Guilbert as the elderly neighbour, take to their roles perfectly lending the film a very natural and believable feel.

While the film has it’s share of drama it is always very understated and the laughs are regular. In case you hadn’t realised yet I really liked Please Give; its got great actors doing great acting with a great script.

This film is good.

Out Now – 18th June 2010

Eek there’s loads of film out today so let’s cut to the chase.

Killers
This looks bad. So far I’ve only seen a short clip on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross and that was bad. Normally they show the best clips to try and promote the film so it doesn’t bode well really. But if you want to see Ashton Kutcher and Katherine Heigl play killers in suburbia being stalked by killers or some such nonsense go ahead. The only good thing to come out of this movie is vouchers for Thorpe Park. Oh dear, I’ve sold out.

MacGruber
Based on a mediocre sketch from Saturday Night Live that most of the UK won’t have seen I don’t see this doing too well. It’s a shame as the cast involved are all very funny and the film may be quite good. It porbably isn’t though. Better than Killers at least.

Our Family Wedding
It’s a race based comedy in which an African American and Mexican-American get married and all sorts of hilarious things happen that stem from their families being different races. Not really sure who they’re aiming this film at but I won’t be going for fear of laughing and looking racist. I worry.

Please Give
This is one film that needs to sort out it’s poster art. For a long time I was convinced this was a crappy art house film with a big message but with a bit of reading I can see I was wrong. This looks to be a comedy of the actually funny variety and stars one of our favourite actresses, Catherine Keener. Go see it, don’t let the bad publicity attempts put you off.

Wild Target
I’ve heard from trusted sources, they like Scott Pilgrim, that this film is OK and nothing more. What I can tell you besides that is that this is a British comedy filled with British actors presumably being very British. A hitman tries to retire but a beautiful thief may change his plans. I guess she succeeds or we’d have no film.

Ajami (limited release)
An Oscar nominated Israeli film following five stories acted out by non-professional actors. Something I really should see but likely won’t. Bad me.

Hierro (limited release)
A Spanish horror about a woman who’s sun goes missing. Go see it or wait two years for an American adaptation I am oh so cynically predicting.

Wild Grass (limited release)
A French comedy about a missing wallet… or something. I like French comedies, who’s going to take me?