Top Ten Best Films of 2010 (Part II)

The second of my top ten best films of 2010 lists. Part I is found here.

Top Ten Best Films of 2010 I've Seen
(Note: As always, this is in no particular order)

# 10 - Bill Cunningham New York

Bill Cunningham is a street style photographer for the New York Times. He's been photographing New Yorkers wearing beautiful clothes for decades, even before the likes of Jak and Jil and The Sartorialist came into the scene. This film is a documentary that follows one of the greatest photographers of our time - his humility as a person and the surprisingly simple life he lives (considering he works for the fashion industry) makes him all the more astonishing. At times it gets intensely (sometimes uncomfortably) personal. Read my review here.

# 9 - If I want to whistle, I whistle

This a Romanian film about a teenage prisoner who falls in love with an intern who works at the detention center. I see this less as a love story and more of a character study. Recalls the rebelliousness of Holden Caulfield from the Salinger novel and Antoine Doinel from The 400 Blows. 

# 8 - Toy Story 3

Pixar hits yet another home run with the closing film of the franchise that started it all.

# 7 - Winter's Bone

Jennifer Lawrence gives an exceptional performance as a sister (and sometimes as a mother) to her siblings as she searches for her drug-dealing father in order to keep the house they reside in. Set in the Ozark Mountains, the film presents a world so grounded in gritty realism and sincerity - the stark sense of place makes it feel as if one is seeing a dystopia, a post-apocalyptic world not much different from McCarthy's imagined world in his novel The Road. When I walked out into the glittery Sydney harbour after a Sydney Film Festival screening of the film, I remember looking up into the sky and contemplating how lucky I was to not have to endure the hell someone from the other side of the world probably has to. Sounds mawkish, I know. But some films do that to you.

# 6 - Inception

The only summer blockbuster movie released this year that I actually liked. Has the best fight scene of the year. Saw it twice on the big screen as a desperate antidote for the other poisonous blockbusters.

# 5 - The Kids Are Alright

The first half of the film was brilliant, the following half found its characters too close to the stereotypes they were meant to be discrediting. But the film gave us great performances from the actors and it's heartening to see stories like these put out there.

# 4 - Hesher

Reminds me of Zusak's novel The Book Thief in that Death is represented as more than a force in a tragic story. In that book, Death acts as the narrator for a story set in the Holocaust. In Hesher, Death becomes a physical presence, as characterised by Joseph Gordon-Levitt's character, in a young boy's grief story. Despite the depressing theme, the film does bring out plenty of laughter as it creates this really interesting buddy movie between the boy and Hesher (Death),. The more they bond, the more the boy accepts the idea of death, and consequently the grieving becomes less painful. 

# 3 - I Am Love

I will never look at a plate of prawns the same way again. Makes the culinary so erotic and sensual. Also the always mesmerising Tilda Swinton brings yet another interesting performance.

# 2 - The Social Network

Who doesn't have this on their list? I don't really know what else to say about this film because everything about it has been pretty much said. I don't think this film defined the Facebook generation as other people have stated, but it's a good start.

# 1 - Animal Kingdom

In my eyes this film is already an Australian classic. I'm so glad Jacki Weaver is creating buzz and picking up nominations for her performance. She walked past me at the Sydney premiere (OMG!OMG!OMG!). Read my review here.

Well that's all folks. Let's see what 2011 brings us. Happy watching.

Image Credits (Originals have been resized): BCNY, IIWTWIW, TS3, WBone, Inception, TKAA, Hesher, IAL, TSN, AKingdom

Film Schools in a Box

Once again it's time to lock myself in the living room and go into a Criterion hibernation. The Breathless cover is to die for. The insides look beautiful too. 

I much prefer digipak cases than plastic ones, they're more pleasing to touch and hold and because they're more fragile, one has to take extra care. I also like the slipcases that Criterion uses for their boxsets.

Can't wait until the next Criterion Sale!

Note: Images are taken by yours truly. Please ask for permission before re-using. Thanks.

Top Ten Best Films of 2010 (Part I)

It's that time of the year again. Top ten lists are appearing everywhere. I have to say, this year in particular was the hardest list I had to compile, not because there were too many films to choose from but too few. It has not been a very good year at the movies, so many disappointments, and nothing really surprised me. There's just a couple in my list that I'm really passionate about and the rest just made it in because they were well-made films.

Also, I did not watch a lot of new releases in the past year. I did a lot of catch-up with films I haven't seen yet, and basically just trying to revisit my filmic blind spots. I saw more classics and past releases than newly released films, so it's mostly been DVDs, Criterions and cinematheque for me this year. So, instead of making one top ten list I'm going to compile two. A Top Ten Best Films of 2010 I've Seen and a Top Ten Best Films of 2010 I Haven't Seen (films I know would have made it on my list had I seen it, on the basis of critical reception, trailers and general buzz surrounding the films). Let's start with the latter:

Top Ten Best Films of 2010 I Haven't Seen
(Note: As usual my lists are not in any particular order)

# 10 - Enter The Void

This film looks insane. I'm all about the visuals, and this film looks like a feast for the eyes.

# 9 - Never Let Me Go

I read Kazuo Ishiguro's novel a couple of months ago and I have not read a better book since. The story of these three characters emotionally captured me to the point that it was heartbreaking. I'm hoping the film manages to captivate me with this truly melancholic story.

# 8 - 127 Hours

This looks like James Franco best performance to date and he would have to make it up to me after the disappointing Howl. Plus, Danny Boyle will also have to make it up for me after the abomination that was Slumdog Millionaire. 

# 7 - The King's Speech

Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter look like they poured their hearts out for their characters. Is that the Oscar bell that's ringing?

# 6 - Mother

I enjoyed The Host so much and I'm a huge fan of this director. 

# 5 - Black Swan

I've always had a thing for Natalie Portman, I've loved her in all her movies I've seen and critics are calling this her best performance to date -  a must-see. Darren Aronofsky in the director's chair? Not that's a combination set to ignite (to quote Katy Perry) "like a firework". (Apologies - midway through that sentence the chorus to Fireworks started to play in my head)

# 4 - Dogtooth

It's like Haneke and Von Trier had a baby out of wedlock. I've seen the first twenty minutes of the film and it's bat-shit crazy.

# 3 - Exit Through The Gift Shop

I missed this at the Sydney Film Festival (damn you early bookers!) and I missed it on its theatrical release (damn you sole arthouse cinema playing the film whose premises I would need two buses and a twenty minute   walk in order to reach!)

# 2 - True Grit

The Coen brothers always appears on my yearly list and this one looks like it could be an absolute stunner

# 1 - Blue Valentine

Two of my favourite actors starring head-to-head in a film that's being described as an unbearably realistic portrayal of a marriage? Yes please.

Image Credits (Originals have been cropped and resized): ETVNLMG, 127H, TKS, Mother, BSwan, DTooth, ETTGS, TGrit, BValentine