I decided the other day that it had been a good year for film. Having looked at the numbers, I think I’d like to retract that thought – there were 4 or 5 amazing films, and almost everything else was mediocre. It’s just that this it was year that I’ve been to the cinemas least (I spent most of the year busy, some of it homeless, and a fair portion of it without money) and so of the few movies I did see, a number of them were great.
Anyway, here’s my picks for 2010.
- (tied) Kick-Ass, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, Toy Story 3: As I said, some really great films came out this year, and these were three of them. I genuinely can’t tell you which one I loved the most – Kick-Ass is an amazingly crafted deconstruction of the superhero genre, Toy Story 3 is another Pixar great, and Scott Pilgrim Vs The World didn’t only impress me the first time I saw it, but I’ve loved it both times I’ve watched it in the last week. If you haven’t seen these three films, I thoroughly recommend all of them – the first is by my favourite director, the third is by my favourite production company, and Pilgrim was made by the man behind Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead. Truly great films. See all three.
- Easy A: I got a phone-call from my friend Wess to come see this, and Wess has pretty excellent taste in films, so I jumped on the next tram into the city and was surprised by how much I loved this film. It’s consistently hilarious, the plot is tight, the characters are fun, and I adored every actor in it. I think this one flew under the radar a bit, but I am not exaggerating when I say it’s the best teen film since 10 Things I Hate About You.
- Inception: You’ve heard about this film since a few months before it came out, and I don’t have much to add except to say that I had none of the complaints that people have about this movie. I didn’t think it was too emotionless, I thought the plot was cohesive and easy to follow, and I adored the ending.
- MegaMind: If I hadn’t already decided on the “top 6 movies” format, this probably wouldn’t have made the list, but out of all the films that I saw this year it’s the only other one that I’d consider putting on the list. Tight. Tight, tight film – superb plotting, fun throughout. A bit light, but that’s not a problem. Saw it on a whim, really glad that I did. Kids will love it, adults will enjoy it too. (I should point out that I missed the first 5 minutes, which includes the backstory of the characters, so if that somehow brings down the film I may have to re-assess.)
Other Films I Saw This Year (in no particular order)
- Alice in Wonderland: As a huge public-domain fanboy (Alice and Wizard of Oz particularly) I thoroughly enjoyed Burton’s sequel to the original stories – particularly the fact that it was a sequel, and not a re-telling. The protagonist’s journey didn’t feel forced, the effects were fun to watch (though I saw it in 3D, which I hate doing) and the only thing that really brought this film down was Johnny Depp playing, once again, Sparrow-in-a-different-hat. It’s been 7 years, Depp: come up with a different character.
- Shutter Island: I saw this when I was living on the streets (to minor controversy) and was disappointed by the ending. Some have said that on subsequent re-viewings it’s much more enjoyable, and so this may be my Up of 2010. (see below)
- The Wolfman: I had a cracking good time during this film. This is my go-to example of plot serving theme nicely, which made it predictable, but about as good as I can imagine a were-wolf movie being. (also seen while homeless)
- Hot Tub Time Machine: Probably the most disappointing film of 2010 for me. This could have been the next Anchorman – it had the silly concept, it definitely had the talent on-board, and it had the 80s nostalgia market covered like no other film has lately. Instead, it turned out to be a lot of comedians enjoying their own jokes a lot more than the audience did, wrapped up in a deliberately weak plot. Sad. Could have been great.
- Get Him To The Greek: As a huge, huge fan of Forgetting Sarah Marshall, I was quite nervous going into this film – Aldous Snow (from Marshall) is one of my favourite filmic characters of all time. I was right to be nervous – they completely abandoned that character and just had Russell Brand play Russell Brand. Don’t get me wrong, there were some hilarious moments (though not as many as there should have been) but this would have been ten times more enjoyable for me if they had just named the character anything, anything else. Second most disappointing film of the year.
- The Other Guys: Will Ferrell’s best movie in years, with lots of great laughs and an alright plot. Didn’t quite come together though, and they did a lot of (to use an impro term) comedic cancelling in the second half, destroying a number of jokes that were my favourite part of the first half. Worth seeing though.
- Valentine’s Day: Such, such rubbish. Another homeless film, and I only saw the second half, but this was an attempt to be Love Actually without any of the skill. If you’re doing an ensemble piece, you need all the character’s arcs to simultaneously climax at the end. This one had…none of them doing that. Dull dull dull, avoid at all costs.
- I Love You, Man: Released in 2009, I only saw it this year and adored it. I’d like to retrospectively add it to my 2009 list.
- Up: I did see this in ’09, but I wasn’t wowed by it. When I bought my Blu-Ray player this year, I got 4 free Blu-Ray disks with it. I picked Up mainly because it’s $50 when you actually have to pay for it, and it became my go-to movie when I was showing off my new TV. Every time you watch this film it gets better and better. I didn’t see the pure craft that went into this film the first time I watched it. (unlike Wall-E, which hit me straight away) This, too, belongs on my top movies list of 2009, and now actually rivals Wall-E as my favourite Pixar film. Maybe I’ll come back in 10 years time and do a top 10 list for every year, see which ones have stood the test of time.
These are notable films that I didn’t see this year. There’s a lot of them, so I’ve split them up into categories.
- Movies I would have seen if I’d had the time and will probably check out on DVD at some point:
- Cop Out: (I’m a huge Kevin Smith fan, and despite horrid reviews I do want to see this.)
- Paranormal Activity 2: (loved the original.)
- Date Night: (horrible reviews but I’m so in love with that cast.)
- Movies that I somehow missed the release of:
- Robin Hood: (seriously, I do not remember this ever being in cinemas. I saw no ads for it, I never saw it on a “Now Showing” list – I actually asked someone a few months back when this was coming out.)
- Youth in Revolt: (was this even released in Australia?)
- Movies that I only heard the positive buzz about after they were out of the cinema:
- How To Train Your Dragon: (I had the opportunity to see this three or four times but nothing about it struck me as watchable. Now everyone is putting it on their “top movies of 2010” lists, and I wish I’d heard of its quality before now)
- Movies that I would have seen if I’d heard good things about:
- The A-Team,
- Predators, (I love both Predator and Rob Rodriguez, but I heard nothing positive about this film. Didn’t hear much at all, in fact.)
- The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, (I’m no Nick Cage fan-boy, but I’m mad for Disney films)
- Red, (I’m happy to watch Bruce Willis blowing stuff up any day, but I heard precisely nothing about this film)
- Dinner for Schmucks, (again I love the cast for this, but not the premise as much asDate Night. Negative reviews persuaded me it wasn’t worth seeing.)
- Movies that I deliberately didn’t see:
- The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn-Treader, (was really looking forward to this – it’s one of my favourite childhood books – but the buzz was so negative I deliberately avoided seeing it)
- Iron Man 2, (which I have spelled three times so far as “Iran Man” – I hated hated hated the original, and apparently the sequel was even worse)
- Piranha 3D, (reviews for this were surprisingly positive, but I hate 3D and I’m not much into…whatever genre Piranha 3D is)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, (I have never enjoyed a Harry Potter film, but I always go see them just to keep up with people’s complaints and conversations about the films. Every time, I go watch it and feel like I’m wasting my time. This time I decided to simplify the process and just not see the film.)
- Grown Ups, (it would have taken Hangover-type reviews to make me see this film. From the first poster, it looked like a train-wreck.)
- Movies that I would have seen except I hadn’t seen the original/an earlier film in the series and so I will probably watch on DVD after watching the original:
- Tron Legacy,
- Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps,
- Prince of Persia 2,
- Saw 3D, (I actually really like the Saw series, but I’m only up to the third one so far)
- Shrek Forever After, (again, only seen the first 2 so far but I do plan to catch up)
- Movies that aren’t out in Australia yet:
- Black Swan,
- Gulliver’s Travels (well technically it is but I haven’t had a chance to see it yet. Actually, just checked out reviews – might be giving this one a miss!)