Sunday, January 02, 2011

(My) Top Ten Best Films of 2010

Presenting my Top Ten of the best films I saw in 2010:

10. Toy Story 3
Yeah, I'm not the only one who's a softy for waxing nostalgic over the loss of toys, especially when personified and symbolic of our vanishing childhood. I'd be in denial if I didn't consider this in my top ten for the year. Drips sentimentality yet avoids becoming slush. Pixar, you win me again.

9. Cold Fish
My feelings on director Sion Sono's latest exercise in emotional, familial brutality have evolved since that Fantastic Fest screening. So much so that I felt its inclusion here was necessary. It grabbed me and still hasn't let go, cutting deep into that dark place I hope is never revealed.

8. Best Worst Movie
Chicago was nearly last to get a proper theater run for this enlightening and poignant documentary about the legacy of Troll 2. Didn't expect to be so moved by something so seemingly silly. Splendid and heartwarming beginning to end.

7. Sound of Noise
Another Fantastic Fest entry that took me by surprise. These percussion terrorists speak without speaking in such a visually and aurally arousing manner that almost no dialogue is required to thoroughly enjoy this film. Stare transfixed as each beat plays beautifully into the next.

6. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
Call it the Bubble Yum of summer films. It blows the biggest bubble that never pops. Deliciously sweet yet avoids being sappy; it has one yearning for the next piece. Clever, unforced and stylistically brilliant. I'll chew on this one for a long time.

5. Golden Slumber
Desperation that forces ingenuity. Possibly a running theme in my top ten; how engrossing and touching films can be when characters and story blend for a nearly perfect result. This film achieves that excellence while walking a precarious line that never panders or breaks from its character.

4. The Social Network
Popular choice and justifiably so. Fincher succeeds in creating a complex puzzle of components appear so effortless and yet undeniably compelling given the potentially leaden source material. Its generation-defining pronouncement is unnecessary because it encapsulates our culture as a whole.

3. The Last Circus: A Sad Trumpet Ballad
Nothing could have prepared me for Alex de la Iglesia's small masterpiece set in post-war Francoist Spain. The disintegration of innocence that manifests into rebellion until becoming a monstrosity is exquisitely on display here. At face value you have a rather linear beauty-and-the-beasts adventure but peel back the skin to expose the hideous nature in us all. After all, we are only human.

2. Black Swan
Horror disguised in unnerving art house histrionics. Aronofsky takes us on a claustrophobic journey that unravels before our eyes as fragility succumbs to duality until consumed by obsession. Affecting because it mirrors our own existence; that which we are and who we want to be and the lengths at which to accomplish. Psychologically haunting and visibly arresting as if waiting for that bone to break knowing there is nothing to prevent it from happening. Close to perfection.

1. Bedevilled
I'm probably the only one to place this in my top slot above those other lauded films, some of which will likely have much longer legs and be remembered far longer than Jang Cheol-soo's feature film debut. And my feelings may change upon a revisit. But for the moment I cannot extract this emotional curveball that blindsided me at Fantastic Fest. Yes, possibly an example of right place, right time and all the stars aligning. Nevertheless I will not refute the impact or impression given by this anguishing slowburn that eventually erupts into a bloody fireball. It strikes at the core of our primal senses until finally leaving us naked yet cleansed. Raw, unrelenting, and ultimately refreshing.

And for those that poo-poo festival-only films, here's my Top Ten featuring only wide & limited released films:
10. Enter the Void
9. Exit Through the Gift Shop
8. Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale
7. Mother
6. Un prophète
5. Best Worst Movie
4. Toy Story 3
3. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
2. The Social Network
1. Black Swan
Honorable Mentions: True Grit, Animal Kingdom, Dogtooth, Easy A, Moss, Popatopolis, A Better Tomorrow, Rabbit Hole, The American, A Serbian Film, Sword of Desperation, The Loved Ones, Shutter Island.
Now read my Top Ten Most Fun Films of 2010!


guitarbrother said...

Great list. A few I'm really anxious to see since listening to your Fantastic Fest podcast.

sleestakk said...

Thanks! I hope you see all those from FF. I can't wait to see them again!