2010 was a year that featured scores of sequels, endless '80s retreads, and probably one too many movies in 3D. But it also saw the
release of pretty groovy movies about sentient toys, bizarro dreamscapes,
freaked-out ballerinas and Facebook. The editorial team of Yahoo! Movies has
put together their individual top 5 lists for the year. Scroll down and check
dialogue totally delivered. Invariably, not every word or turn of phrase in
this film is the truth, but it is an extremely well told story about one of the
more interesting and important events of our time. And I don't even use the
2) The King's Speech: The performances, go for the performances.
In a movie-making age where technology and special effects are the new stars,
here's one where the actors make this an impressive movie-going
experience. Already boasting a Golden
Globe nomination for his role as the stuttering, stammering Bertie (aka King
George VI), look for Colin Firth to get a Best Actor Oscar nom — his second in
a row - come January. Only the Harry
Potter franchise benefits from so many classically trained British thespians.
3) Toy Story 3: I guess I tend to save a spot on this
list for Pixar's offering every year.
Following stories about a rodent who could cook, a love struck robot who
doesn't speak and a curmudgeonly old balloon salesman, the brilliant bunch at
Pixar brought us a third tale with Woody, Buzz and their friends. Hey, for my money, the Pixar guys deliver the
most consistent and carefully crafted stories of anyone in Hollywood these days. Expect this one to be among the 10 Best Picture Nominees.
4) Inception: I enjoyed a couple cocktails and a double
espresso before I walked into the theater, which seemed to give me the right
balance of lucidity and alertness to help me keep up with this heady sci-fi
film. Not only was this one of the more original stories of the year, the
technical aspects were super-cool and it featured a tremendous cast (including
A-lister Leo DiCaprio and one of Y! Movies' "Newcomers of the Year,"
Tom Hardy). But I'd also be remiss not to mention Hans Zimmer's haunting,
intense musical score, one of the most memorable of his illustrious career.
5) Somewhere: Some films don't have much to say so they
don't really give you room to think.In
this hypnotically simple film - a project director Sophia Coppola calls a
"tone poem" - you enjoy both the time and space to carefully digest
every scene. We were fed an intense diet of relatively unsatisfying high-impact
action flicks this year, so I found this one refreshing, kind of like the
sorbet at the end of a rich, multi-course meal. Not everyone appreciates this course, but
sometimes you just need to cleanse the pallet.
1) Social Network: Every once in a while the stars align
to create a movie that not only combined masterful direction, excellent acting
and a dazzling sharp script, but also completely nails the mood and ethos of a
time. This is one of those movies.
2) Inside Job: This might be a documentary but it's exponentially more frightening than
anything that the makers of "Saw" or "Paranormal Activity"
managed to dish out. Director Charles Ferguson details the misdeeds of Wall
Street and Washington
with the cold fury of a prosecutor and the result is as riveting as it is
3) Mother: Psychological thrillers are devilishly hard to
get right. This movie does. Director Bong Joon-ho expertly mines the complex
psychology of its characters, especially the titular mother played by Kim
Hye-ja, to create a fascinating, unnerving portrait of a parent's love.
4) Black Swan: The Red Shoes meets Repulsion meets good ol' fashioned Cronenberg-style body
horror. What more can one ask for in a movie? Hopefully studio execs will take
note of the box office success of this film along with "Inception"
and actually start green-lighting more original movies.
5) Never Let Me Go: There were a lot of good movies this
year (see below) but I chose this one to round out the list because it was, I
thought, unfairly ignored. At first blush, you might mistake "Never Let Me
Go" for one of those Merchant/Ivory movies. But when the horror of the
characters sinks in, it comes like a punch to the gut. Carey Mulligan's
expression of sad resignation at the end of the movie might just break your
Honorable Mention: I Am Love, Four Lions, True Grit, Enter the Void,
Animal Kingdom, Carlos, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Exit Through
the Gift Shop
1) Toy Story 3: Wait, did a talking cowboy rag doll just
make me cry like a baby? Pixar proves, once again, why they're the kung fu
masters of storytelling.
2) Inception: In a summer littered with sequels, remakes
and adaptations, Christopher Nolan delivered a rare cinematic gem: a wholly
original sci-fi action blockbuster.
3) The Social Network: While a movie about the start of
Facebook, of all things, sounds pretty dull, I was hanging on every word of
Aaron Sorkin's rapid-fire, whip-smart script.
4) Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: Suck it, Iron Man 2.
Edgar Wright's pitch-perfect, irresistibly entertaining graphic novel
adaptation was the best comic book movie of the year.
5) Step Up 3D: The story and acting stunk it up, but if
3D is indeed here to stay, this visually stunning dance fest was one of the
most innovative and joyous uses of the technology I've ever seen on the big
1) Rabbit Hole: Some people enjoy rom-coms, some like big
budget action flicks. I, on the other hand, prefer DSFTs (dysfunctional
suburban family tragedies). The genre, which has produced some of the best
films of the past 20 years (including "The Ice Storm" and
"Little Children"), is a favorite of mine because actors in these
films are encouraged to act, to remove their makeup, to cry (sometimes
uncontrollably), and to deliver gut-wrenching performances. "Rabbit
Hole's" Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart, and Dianne Weist over-delivered and
impressed me more than any other ensemble this year.
2) Waiting for Superman: A heartbreaking work of
staggering genius. Davis Guggenheim's ("An Inconvenient Truth,"
"It Might Get Loud") documentary -- which analyzes the failures of
our public education system by chronicling the lives of actual students —
rocked me to the core. It doesn't deserve to be lumped in with all the other
non-fiction films of the year; it should be recognized alongside the very best
films, regardless of genre.
3) Please Give: Hilarious, painfully realistic, and
surprisingly touching, writer-director Nicole Holofcener's latest indie flick
features an incredibly strong script and an all-star cast, headlined by the
hardest-working woman in Hollywood, Catherine Keener, who perfectly portrays
Kate, a guilt-riddled Manhattanite on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Side
note: I'll never forgive the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (the Golden
Globe peeps) for nominating "The Tourist," "Red,"
"Alice in Wonderland," and "Burlesque" over "Please
Give" in the Best Picture — Musical or Comedy category. You should be
ashamed of yourselves!
4) The Town: I live for Boston-based crime dramas, so
it's not surprising to find "The Town" among my Top 5 films of the
year. The only real surprise is how taken aback I was by Ben Affleck's script,
direction, and acting. I've never considered myself a fan of his, but thanks to
this film, I'm truly excited to see what he has in store for us … which better
be more films featuring captivating car chases and nuns with guns!
5. Black Swan: It's campy; it's crazy; it's just what I
wanted ... and then some! I could ramble on and on about all of the film's
achievements, including the gorgeous lighting, the exquisite sound design, Darren
Aronofsky's detailed direction, and the custom-made Rodarte costumes, but I'll
try to keep this short and sweet... "Black Swan" is a smashing success
because of Natalie Portman, who matured before our eyes and gave the
performance of her career...and perhaps the performance of the year.
See Natalie Portman talk about making 'Black Swan':