Top Ten Films of 2010

I’ve got to say, this may be one of the finest years for film in recent memory. There were so many, many excellent films that came out this year. While I still have yet to see “Fair Game”, “127 Hours”, and “Blue Valentine” I decided to make my list, and if need be, after seeing these films that I haven’t watched yet – I’ll amend my list.

10. “TRON: Legacy”

I know there are a lot of you haters out there. “Oh it’s not Avatar!” or “the screenplay sucks!” Well you know what motherfuckers? No movie will ever be another Avatar, until James Cameron releases Avatar 2 though 10. As for the screenplay – what did you expect? This film is built upon its special effects and branches out from there. The special effects are amazing, and too me – it’s more imaginative than “Avatar”, but that’s just me. I gave this movie a 9/10, and I saw it a second time and my rating still held up. Get over yourself haters. Go eat sushi and talk about how intuitive and deep “The Social Network” is while you try and keep wasabi out of your recycled Urban Outfitter’s scarf.

9. “The Social Network”

This is not the best film of the year. Jesse Eisenberg does not give the best performance of the year. This is not David Fincher’s first of second best film. Andrew Garfield is not getting snubbed for a nomination, Armie Hammer is. What this film does have to offer us, is a story about an uppity little brat who thinks he’s entitled to everything in the world. It displays an air tight screenplay by Aaron Sorkin (I loved him before all you fucks did, so don’t start with me) and a great score. While I did think this was a good film, and I did enjoy it – I think a Fincher/Sorkin collaboration would have been better suited for the Bill Gates/Steve Jobs story. I have a feeling all the people that are banging the drum for this film were the same ones who thought “The Hurt Locker” was an amazing and incredible film. Get over it.

8. “Life During Wartime”

“Life During Wartime” doesn’t deal with a tangible war, it deals with the proverbial war that we fight with our family, our friends and within ourselves. It deals with forgiveness, absolution and retribution. The themes of this film run in toe with the themes of our American culture. I’m so glad that I got a chance to see this film while flipping through the channels late at night.

7. “The Town”

“The Town” is a slick fusion of “Heat” and “Point Break”. It’s a near perfect heist film that was masterfully helmed by Ben Affleck and has a great ensemble. Renner seems to be the favorite for a Best Supporting Actor nomination, but I prefer Jon Hamm in the film. Even though some elements and situations in the film tend to be a bit stretched, I still think this a very effective and taught film.

6. “Inception”

I don’t know whether or not “Inception” is Nolan’s best film. I still have my preference of his smaller films, “Insomnia” and “The Prestige”. “Inception” is the perfect combination of a summer blockbuster and a thinking man’s movie. The climax of the film is incredible, the four simultaneous dream arcs smashing the screen at the same time is flawless and brilliant. The performances in this film are all a great ensemble, and please people – get over Tom Hardy. He served his purpose but nothing more. Still, “Inception” is a landmark film. Nolan also scores major points for not making it 3-D.

5. “True Grit”

The Coen Brothers deliver again. With their second collaboration with Jeff Bridges, they bring us a great authentic western. Jeff Bridges gives the performance of the year, and along with Josh Brolin and Hailee Steinfeld, they deliver a great, great film. Yeah, I do have a Jeff Bridges “bias” but that’s because he’s amazing and doesn’t get enough credit. True Grit is excellent.

4. “Solitary Man”

Michael Douglas delivers one of the finest performances of his career and one of the top performances of this year as Ben – a womanizer, alcoholic and dishonest solitary man. People have compared his performance to the likes of Gordon Gekko. That’s false. His character is Gekko-esq, but he does have a heart. This is a very, very small and ultra cliché riddled film – but it’s near flawless. Michael Douglas deserves a nomination for this film.

3. “The King’s Speech”

Colin Firth has become one of my favorite actors – yet I am not very versed in his back catalog of his performances. With his performances from last year’s “A Single Man” and this year in “The King’s Speech” – everything with Firth seems so effortless. He gives a triumphant performance along with Geoffrey Rush. This is one of the most inspirational films I have seen in a long, long time. This is a rare cinematic treat that blends a period piece epic and a very small character study.

2. “The Fighter”

Everything about “The Fighter” just lightly touches upon perfection. This is a film that I truly underestimated. I thought it would be good, but not great. Marky Mark’s project is incredible and he gives us a masterpiece. He gives his best performance as does Amy Adams and Melissa Leo. As for Christian Bale – he’s nothing less than flawless perfection. He gives us an incredible tour-de-force performance as the main characters crack addicted, once “great” older brother and mentor.

1) “Black Swan”

Speaking of masterpieces. Darren Aronofsky’s “Black Swan” is incredible. I haven’t felt for Natalie Portman’s character like that in a long, long time. I was beyond sympathetic. The eerie and terribly creepy feeling of paranoia was masterfully displayed by Aronofsky. The ensemble cast is a true work of art. Vincent Cassel and Barbra Hershey’s supporting performances were incredible. This film is one dark trip into painfully brutal beauty.

“Black Swan” – 2010. Dir. Darren Aronofsky

With Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Winona Ryder, with Vincent Cassel and Barbara Hershey.

“I was perfect…”

Coming from the pretty tame, “The Wrestler”, Darren Aronofsky is back doing what he does best; subjecting us to the dark side. His latest film stars Natalie Portman who has lead a very innocent and mundane life as a ballerina, who is in the new version of “Swan Lake” directed by Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel) who had just fired his aging starlet Beth (Ryder) and brings in new talent Lily (Kunis). Thomas taps Nina (Portman) to play the Swan Queen, and the Black Swan. As Nina is pushed and pulled by her director Thomas and her mother Erica (Hershey) she begins to let go of her perfect innocence and discovers her dark side.

Watching Nina embrace her dark side is a beautifully painful showcase to witness. She tries to run from it, tries to make it stop, but she can’t. She’s lived the sweet and innocent life at the demand of her mother, Erica (Barbara Hershey). She lives in a “princess room”, painted white and pink, and littered with teddy bears and unicorns. Her room, the bathroom – or for that matter any other room in the house (other than the tripled bolted front door) have no locks on them. When Nina needs privacy in the bathroom, she moves over the hamper that her 100lbs body can move against the door.

Her transformation starts at the pressuring and guidance of Leroy (Cassel), who demands Nina to unleash the black swan. Cassel is so good in this film, he’s a predator that lurks in the distance, and when he strikes, he strikes hard and strikes fast. He has piercing eyes, and a sharp jaw and a small mouth. When he delivers his lines of dialogue, he snips and snaps them. He is in complete control, and he knows it.

There is a scene later on in the film where Leroy has Nina over at his apartment. He tells her that they need to have a very close relationship, a very close bond – he begins asking her about her personal life and than her sex life and asks her to do homework and masturbate, to “unleash”. Leroy verbally molests her in this scene, and it’s terrifyingly erotic to witness.

Natalie Portman gives one of the finest performances that I’ve ever seen. She gives an incredibly fragile and vulnerable performance. She’s the most delicate flower that I’ve ever seen, she’s been afflicted by her mother, and she’s being controlled by her director while exploring and reluctantly embracing her dark side.

You can’t help but love Nina. Seriously, you fall in love with her; watching her sit on the subway, cautiously minding her own business as she listens to her iPod, she softly graces the earlier frames of the film with much perfection and much poise. You can’t help but ache for her, as she is subtly degraded and humiliated by Vincent Cassel (who gives a bold performance – he’s such a fine actor).

Nina is such an incredible character. She is so sweet and harmless, but as her black swan grows – you become terrified of her. I can’t even imagine the emotional toll this took on Portman. Her black swan is awakened mainly through sexuality, mainly from Cassel, but with a lot of help from Lily (Mila Kunis) who share a soon to be infamous sex scene. Yes it’s erotic, and yes – it’s creepy.

Aronofsky has made one of the finest films that I have seen in a long, long time. While this film is hard to enjoy, you can’t help but marvel over what a tour-de-force this film is. This film grabs you from the beginning, and once the credits roll and the third act is accomplished, this film will leave a scar on your soul. It was perfect…

Rating: 10/10