Wednesday, December 29, 2010
A YEAR IN THE DARK
Top 10 Movies of 2010
Yes, the economy still sucks, and universal health care is still a dream, but in one crucial way, things were looking up in 2010: I had multiple 4-star movies to choose from in compiling my annual Top 10 list. (Unlike last year, when I only saw one movie I considered 4-star-worthy, and that was a cartoon.)
Of course, most of the movies I loved this year were small and independent, demonstrating once again the inverse relationship between gigantic Hollywood budgets and quality. These may not have been the biggest, most influential movies of the year, but they're the ones I loved to pieces, well worth tracking down if you'd like to stage your own personal 2010 Film Retrospective.
ALICE IN WONDERLAND
NEVER LET ME GO
EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP
TOY STORY 3D
'THE GIRL WHO' TRILOGY
THE KING'S SPEECH
THE COMPLETE METROPOLIS
Read all the gory details, including runners-up and honorable mentions, here.
TOP 10 MOVIES of the DECADE
The completion of 2010 also gives a compulsive list-maker like moi another chance to applaud the best movies of the decade, according to the highly exclusive and opinionated Jensen-ometer. Okay, there's plenty we'd like to forget about the past ten years, but at least the era produced some truly unforgettable movies. For those of you keeping score at home, here are my favorites:
THE NEW WORLD (2005) Terrence Malick rescues the founding of Jamestown Colony from musty high-school history textbooks and turns it into a visionary stranger-in-a-strange-land epic that teems with hypnotic grandeur, aria-like interior monologues, simmering suspense, erotic discovery, and awed reverence for the natural world.
CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON (2000) From a pulpy martial arts novel, Ang Lee crafts a moral fable of exquisite beauty and pathos.
THE FALL (2008) Part fairy tale, and part coming-of-age drama, this virtuoso performance from director Tarsem combines stunning visual beauty and a beguiling story in an artful homage to both the early days of moviemaking, and the power of storytelling itself.
TITUS (1999—but I didn't see it until 2000) Nobody who loves movies should miss Julie Taymor's riveting adaptation of Shakespeare's earliest and bloodiest tragedy. Taymor blithely mixes eras and genres, anachronisms, violence and unexpected lyricism in a Gothic Moderne visual style that's a feast for the eyes while enhancing the tale's anti-war timelessness.
MEMENTO (2001) Everything you think you know about narrative, chronology and suspense goes out the window in this edgy and audacious neo-noir thriller from Christopher Nolan.
GIRL ON THE BRIDGE (2000) Love, luck and destiny converge in this soulful romantic mood piece from French filmmaker Patrice Leconte, shot in intimate, dazzling black-and-white with wry humor and a touch of magic realism.
RIVERS AND TIDES (2002) Environmental artist Andy Goldsworthy's intoxicating, soul-stirring work captured by filmmaker Thomas Riedelsheimer with all its inspirational grandeur intact. Guaranteed to jump-start your own creative muse.
A VERY LONG ENGAGEMENT (2004) Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s ambitious masterpiece tackles the insanity of warfare and the larger, more complex story of the women left behind, in an intricate mosaic of a movie: droll, magical, heartbreaking and profound.
PAN'S LABYRINTH (2006) Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro's dark, gripping adult fairy tale, set in the grim aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, is a haunting parable about the transformative power of human imagination.
TOGETHER (2003) Chinese filmmaker Chen Kaige is not playing the same old song in this deeply-felt and richly observed coming-of-age tale of love and music in post-Mao China.
GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD LUCK (2005)
NOWHERE IN AFRICA (2003)
Performance of the Decade: Heath Ledger, Brokeback Mountain (2006)