One first reaction to a “Best of” list toward the end of January 2011 might be confusion: “Why didn’t you write this up at the end of the year like everyone else?” The major reason is that quite a few notable films of the year didn’t become available until recently. I had to take a trip to Chicago to see several of these titles, some of which my colleagues still have yet to see.
Now that The Filmsmith is a publication with voices beyond my own, we decided to each draw up our Top Tens of 2010 and wherever there was crossover, lump those together. Therefore, this is The Filmsmith’s Best of 2010 (individual staff lists will be released tomorrow).
:note: The “R,B,A” designation represents whose list included the film in question. Remington = R, Ben = B, Aaron = A. The list has been ordered according to these marks. All quotes stem from my reviews save for The Social Network. Click the title to read the review.
The American (R, B, A)
“The enigmatic machinist/gun builder/assassin(?) that George Clooney portrays is fascinating for what’s seen and not said. By stripping away pounds of dialogue and the studio format of needing conflict to occur on specific page numbers (this exists), the simple story will leave you pondering for days. Nothing is overblown in this film, from the sound design of popping gunshots to long takes of a picnic in the Italian countryside. In other words, it breathes.”
Exit Through the Gift Shop (R,B,A)
“Exit Through the Gift Shop is not for people requiring a steady diet of pyrotechnics and saturated exposition. But if you’re looking for a documentation of the street art scene with intelligence and nuance to tease your brain, you’ve got to see this. It’s Grade A filmmaking.”
I’m Still Here (B, R)
“Friend and co-hort Ben Creech over at Sic Semper Pellicula says, ‘Knowing now that it was indeed a hoax doesn’t change the fact that we told him that he had the wrong dreams’ (by laughing at him for dreaming of being a rap star). If one calls this a complete hoax, all that is left is the nastiness expressed by cultural commentators – the analysis of which is worth the cost of admission alone.“
The Social Network (A, B)
“We follow Jesse Eisenberg on an emotional roller coaster ride that doesn’t become boring or insult our intelligence. The film isn’t trying to be anything more than it is: a story about friendship and betrayal. The Sorkinese-dialogue is fast, furious, and often comical, and when paired with David Fincher’s directing, delivers to a wonderful story.” – Aaron Faulkner
Inception (A, R)
“What I’m struggling to describe is the all-encompassing uniqueness of Inception. The story is fresh, the drama isn’t grounded in clichés, the special effects (especially the practical pieces) are eye-gasm inducers. Inception is an inspiring drama, sci-fi, action, heist film, destined to become a classic.”
Black Swan (A, B)
“Aronofsky has proven himself a master of film techniques that will sucker punch you viscerally/mentally. Just like the surreal horrors of Sara Goldfarb in Requiem for a Dream, Nina’s visions leave you looking for a blankie to hide behind. Aronofsky’s attention to painful details (the process of preparing ballet slippers; sores on Nina’s hands) add a good sting to this contribution to the psychological horror genre.”
The Fighter (A, B)
“The Fighter is a good drama with quality performances, especially from Bale. Sometimes sad, sometimes funny, you’ll be rooting for both guys when the ultimate showdown begins.”