Top Ten Movies of 2010

Let me just start by saying that I really couldn’t ask for a better year in film. 2010 offered many beautiful works of art that I shall watch for years to come. That being said, it was all the more difficult to make this list based on that fact. It can always be pretty difficult making a top ten list because you always find yourself second guessing yourself and making my list of my favorite films from this year was a prime example of that occurring often. I finally was able to do it though and here it is:

10. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

In all good conscious I couldn’t make this list without putting Scott Pilgrim vs. The World on it. Of course this film isn’t a piece of cinematic artwork that can be considered a “masterpiece”. What it is though, is a blast. Its almost impossible not to just sit down with a couple of friends and have an awesome time watching this movie. Its absolutely hilarious with out the use of vulgarity and it never fails to entertain.

9. Shutter Island

I have a feeling that due to its release date, this film will be overlooked by the Academy, but that doesn’t change the fact that Shutter Island is a spectacular film. There’s not much else you can expect from Martin Scorsese, but this film truly blew me away. Quite honestly, this is one of the greatest depictions of mental instability ever put on screen. Shutter Island is a film that everyone seemed to forget about, but I was never able to.

8. The King’s Speech

The King’s Speech is such a fascinating feel-good film that never lets up and always keeps your full-fledged attention. In a film that could easily fallen flat and felt dry, you get fantastic performances in order to entertain from beginning to heart-wrenching end. Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush make a perfect pair and you find that both are performing to the absolute best of their abilities. The King’s Speech is simply a film that will please. I promise.

7. Toy Story 3

The films of pixar have never let me down. I love every last one of them, but I wasn’t sure what I should expect from Toy Story 3. Though I did love Toy Story 2, I would have to say that it was my least favorite of the pixar films so I wasn’t as excited for Toy Story 3 as I was for their future tales of originality. Needless to say, Toy Story 3 blew me away. It is my favorite of the series and one of the few films in history to actually bring me to tears.

6. A Prophet

Technically this film came out last year and was a huge hit at Cannes, but it wasn’t available for popular viewing until this year so I put it into consideration for my list this year. A Prophet is nothing short of a gritty masterpiece and a crime tale that can be held to the caliber of any before it. A Prophet actually finds a way to be perfectly epic, while sticking to the realism and brutality of prison life. The tale of Malik’s rise in a crime-driven french prison is one I will watch and enjoy for many years to come.

5. Black Swan

Black Swan is so brilliantly unique in its substance that it’s almost impossible not to draw interest from it. Black Swan is so relentless in its execution that you truly never want to take your eyes off the screen. While the film pushes the envelope for all the right reasons it still manages to find a way to be breathtakingly beautiful. A film of this caliber is the only thing you could expect when you combine Darren Aronofsky and the brilliant prowess of Natalie Portman. Black Swan is a film that, based on its content, cannot go unnoticed.

4. True Grit

It’s always a breath of fresh air to see good western come out nowadays, but True Grit is more than good. True Grit is a masterpiece and one that I feel should and will breath life into a dying genre. True Grit is a light-hearted and real look into the west. It was a simple enough tale, but a tale that was told to perfection. To put it simply, True Grit is a prime example of every piece of the puzzle that is film, fitting together perfectly. That might be due in part to the fact that it was reinforced by brilliant performances and directed by the greatest minds working in the industry.

3. Inception

I could write a short novel on what makes Inception one of the greatest movies, just in general, but I’ll keep this a little shorter. Inception isn’t a story that would’ve been nearly as good in book form, its not a tale I could’ve retained from a picture or a song. Inception is a movie made specifically for its artistic medium and it is a true example that my favorite art form is not only alive, but always will be because truly amazing films are still being made today. Inception is a gift that I accept with open arms.

Inception is a reminder to the James Cameron’s of the world, and the 3D generation they’re helping to create, that great films are based on soul and passion. They’re not based on how much money you can spend to make your action sequences. They’re based on love for the art of telling a story through a camera. Inception is an example of what an amazing film is. What else could you possibly expect from Christopher Nolan?

2. The Social Network

I know the King’s Speech won the Oscar, but if any one film is remembered from 2010, it will be the always spectacular The Social Network. Like The Godfather, which tells a beautiful tale of family and power while masking its themes beneath a tale of gangsters, The Social Network tells a beautiful tale of friendship, corruption and betrayal, while masking its reverent ideals with plot about facebook. The Social Network is not a film about facebook, it’s a film about humans and their nature and it is absolutely breath-taking.

What makes The Social Network so much greater than so many films before it, and keep in mind I’m not implying just this year, is that there is so much you can get out of this masterfully told tale. You’ve got the obviously topical and fascinating plot, but beneath that you’ve got a relentless character study of the protagonist, Mark Zuckerberg and on top of that, thematically you get a timeless morality tale that has been told many times in the past and will be told many times in the future. It was never this fantastic though and I have my doubts that it ever will.

1. 127 Hours

A common expression when commenting on a film is that “it’s hard to put into words why I love this film so much” or something along those lines. I’m fairly certain I’ve used it myself at some point, but it has never been more true when I say it here. It is hard to put into words, exactly what makes 127 Hours one of the greatest films in history and that’s mostly based solely on the fact that 127 Hours isn’t a film you watch, but one you experience.

Like The Lord of the Rings, which takes you on an incredible journey with Sam, Frodo and all kinds of memorable characters, 127 Hours also takes you on a journey, but a very different kind. 127 Hours takes you on an emotional journey, arguably the greatest ever, with climber Aron Ralston. There are few films in history that touch on an emotional level to the caliber that 127 hours is able to because it honestly makes you feel every emotion you could think of at all the right times. With brilliant direction by Danny Boyle and the greatest performance of the year by James Franco you get  a truly phenomenal look into sheer pain, imminent death and an eventual feeling of pure solace.

127 Hours shows the power of truly flawless filmmaking and exactly what a movie can do to you. It’s a testament to human will and shows us that just because you’re breathing doesn’t mean that you’re living. It is able to establish perfectly, that life is fragile and precious, so live it up today because you never know what could happen tomorrow. 127 Hours is a true example of a masterpiece in every sense.

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127 Hours Review

I haven’t seen all of his movies, but I’ve always been a huge Danny Boyle fan. Slumdog Millionaire was his Oscar winning feel-good film, 28 Days Later was undoubtedly the best zombie movie ever (if you consider it a zombie movie) and Trainspotting is one of my favorite movies ever made. With 127 Hours, Danny Boyle releases yet another masterpiece.

Like all Danny Boyle films, everything is there, the music, the characters, the writing, the wit, the fun, but its amplified in every aspect. 127 hours is a full-fledged experience. Rarely was I ever as emotionally engrossed in a film than I was with Aron Ralston’s inspirational story. It was a film that literally needed to be made perfectly for it to work, I’m sure Danny Boyle knew it would be difficult going in, but he took the challenge and succeeded admirably.

The film is based on a took entitled “Between a Rock and a Hard Place”, which tells the unbelievable true tale of outdoors-loving, climber Aron Ralston being stuck in a canyon between the canyon wall and an immovable boulder. What takes place is inspirational, to say the least, and absolutely breathtaking.

Obviously, 127 hours is basically a one man show, so not only do you need great directing to keep the audience interested watching one person for basically an entire movie, but you also need a moving performance and James Franco gave nothing short of that. Hearing at first that the role would be played by Franco I was actually a bit weary. He’s good, but I’ve never seen him in a role of this caliber. He never let up once, he was amazing and now I truly couldn’t see anyone else in the role.

All and all, 127 hours is truly a must-see. I seriously can’t see any reason why someone wouldn’t like it, that’s how good it is. Even if you feel you’ll get queasy during some of the undoubtedly brutal parts, you could just close your eyes or something. Everyone owes it to themselves to experience this masterpiece.

Grade: A+

Top Ten Movie Directors

I made this list a while back, but I was looking back over my site recently and I’m not ashamed to say this, but I did not spend nearly enough time on this list. So I’ve re-watched some movies, watched some new ones, re-evaluated my thoughts and I’ve decided to re write this list. This list consists of ten of the greatest minds and artists of our time. I’m proud to give them my money every time I hear their name attached to a movie and especially when their name is on the director’s chair.

Along with the name of the director I’ve also included a description of exactly why they’re on this list and also my three favorite movies in order by said director. It was one of the most difficult lists I’ve had to make, but one I believe all movie critics should divulge their time in creating.

Before I get into the actual list I’d like to give you a few honorable mentions in no particular order. These are all incredible artists who just barely missed the mark:

  • Oliver Stone
  • Guy Ritchie
  • Tim Burton
  • Ridley Scott
  • Alfred Hitchcock
  • Nicolas Winding Refn
  • Peter Jackson
  • Darren Aronofsky
  • Sergio Leone
  • Steven Spielberg
  • Milos Forman

Now here’s my top ten favorite cinematic directors of all time:

10. Clint Eastwood

Many people know and love Eastwood for his acting, which he does triumph in, but in my opinion his true genius lies behind the camera. He almost never disappoints and is my favorite director in the western genre. After making his masterpiece Unforgiven, he showed that he surpasses even his large influence Sergio Leone. He takes his craft seriously and he excels in it.

3. Gran Torino

2. Mystic River

1. Unforgiven

9. Francis Ford Coppola

It’s unbelievable that I’m forced to put a director as spectacular as Francis Ford Coppola in this slot. His films clearly speak for themselves. Coppola has a certain way about him that makes all of his films so utterly epic and breath-taking. The Godfather is considered to be, by many, one of the greatest films in movie history and even though I enjoy has Vietnam masterpiece more, it’s completely obvious why, it was directed by one of the greatest artists ever.

3. Tetro

2. The Godfather Part 1+2

1. Apocalypse Now

8. Danny Boyle

Like all truly great directors, Danny Boyle has managed to establish a clear and brilliant style, while telling different tales and expressing completely different ideas. Danny Boyle always manages to find his own way in telling a story and the stories he chooses to tell are always undeniably memorable. He puts so much unflinching feeling in every one of his films and as a result I find myself feeling for all of the characters he establishes. Danny Boyle is truly a man who knows his trade and performs expertly.

3. 28 Days Later

2. 127 Hours

1. Trainspotting

7. David Fincher

David Fincher has really become a powerhouse of  utter genius. There’s no arguing that he really is one of the greatest film directors not just working today, but of all time. He defined a generation with his masterpiece in 1999 and over ten years later he does the exact same thing for another generation.  He also never ceases to amaze with other films, whether its Zodiac or even The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. David Fincher really is a true master of a gneration and of his craft and his expertise cannot be doubted.

3. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

2. The Social Network

1. Fight Club

6. Martin Scorsese

The hardest part in creating this list was attempting to order this top 6. Each in my opinion is worthy of the number one spot, but I had to figure out an order. It really saddens me that I had to put the incredible director Martin Scorsese this low on the list, but I can’t let everyone win. Martin Scorsese is undoubtedly a creator of modern masterpieces. No one makes films like him and very few make films as good as he does. Martin Scorsese didn’t invent the beautiful art of filmmaking, but being the genius he is, he sure perfected it.

3. Taxi Driver

2. Goodfellas

1. The Departed

5. Stanley Kubrick

Stanley Kubrick is all around one of the greatest directors of all time, mainly because he has more innovation and variety than any other filmmaker. He’s really done it all. He’s made horror movies, war movies, dramas, science-fiction, romance, heist movies, even comedies, and I could go on. Each one of his films are worth watching and making opinions on. You will find at least one that you will thoroughly enjoy. Or you might just be exactly like me and notice that every single movie the genius made was truly and relentlessly brilliant.

3. Full Metal Jacket

2. 2001: A Space Odyssey

1. The Shining

4. Paul Thomas Anderson

There is something truly miraculous about Paul Thomas Anderson in the way he makes each of his films completely special and prominent, while sticking with his keen directorial style. Each of his movies are so big and not because most of them are longer than the average film, but because all of his films touch on so many themes and emotions while never ceasing to entertain. He’s only got five films under his belt and he can already be considered one of the greatest directors known to film. I just can’t wait to see what he does next.

3. Punch-Drunk Love

2. Boogie Nights

1. There Will Be Blood

3. Quentin Tarantino

Through the years Quentin Tarantino has always stuck out as one of the greatest directors of all time. He began his illustrious career with the fantastically unique heist flick Reservoir Dogs, then he showed us what he can really do by directing one of the greatest movies of all time, Pulp Fiction. Time passed and he directed the spectacles that were Jackie Brown, Kill Bill and Death Proof. Every single one is fantastic. He then showed me that he is one of the greatest artists not only working today, but of all time with the release of Inglourious Basterds.

Pulp Fiction is one of the greatest movies of all time and I didn’t think for a second that Tarantino would ever be able o top that. I was wrong. He did and he did it with flying colors and flare. I love all of Tarantino’s work and I don’t believe I will ever find myself being disappointed by a movie he directs. He has fun with every movie he makes. He loves what he does and as a result I love and have fun with every single masterpiece he comes up with.

3. Kill Bill

2. Pulp Fiction

1. Inglourious Basterds

2. The Coen Brothers

Their movies really speak for themselves, there’s not much I can really say. The industry wouldn’t be the same without them. They are a monumental force releasing masterpiece after masterpiece. Its really impossible to ever be disappointed with a Coen Brother movie. They make films exactly how they want to make films, they let nothing hold them back like money or popularity. They make art for the sake of making art.

They’ve made more masterpieces than one would think possible. They absolutely never let you down. They are the smartest people working in the industry by far.  I honestly want to shed a tear of joy with every ending of each of their movies because it seems almost impossible that the same two people can keep making masterpieces without fail for this long. The best part about it is also that The Coen Brothers still have a lot more masterpieces to go and that fact makes me happy to be alive.

3. True Romance

2. Barton Fink

1. No Country For Old Men

1. Christopher Nolan

Christopher Nolan isn’t in the movie business, he’s in the masterpiece business. He just oozes brilliance and all he has the ability to make is flawless films. No shot, performance, or second is lacking in perfection. He tells gargantuan stories that end up being nothing short of magnificent. Even my least favorite Nolan film, Insomnia, I find just incredible.

Don’t even me started on movies I couldn’t live without such as his dark tale of obsession and rivalry The Prestige, or the independent masterpiece that put him on the map Memento, or even the always enthralling and unbelievably extraordinary Inception. There’s something special, almost magical, that Nolan manages to instill in every single brush stroke in the beautiful art he creates.

One of the main reasons I consider Christopher Nolan one of my heroes and the greatest director/artist of all time is because he is the man responsible for my favorite story ever told. The Dark Knight Legend (or Trilogy if that tastes better going down) is and always will be nothing short of the greatest movie ever created. I love every character and event as they add to the perfection of it all. It wasn’t a hard decision to make, but Christopher Nolan is the greatest director in all of film.

3. Memento

2. Inception

1. The Dark Knight Legend

Slumdog Millionaire Review

Slumdog Millionaire is a wonderful tale, so originally told, about life, love and, most of all, destiny. What drew me to Slumdog Millionaire was the fact that its such an original and yet entertaining idea. I could tell there was a good story here, but you would need the right storyteller/director and that’s just what they got with Trainspotting’s own, Danny Boyle. Visually the movie was incredible, which is surprising because hearing about the movie it doesn’t sound that visually appealing to the eye. Danny Boyle expertly used different angles and color to make these slums look both dirty and beautiful. 

Slumdog Millionaire is the story of a young “slumdog” named Jamal Malik whose participating in an Indian version of the show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. One question away from the top prize, the show runs out of time. Jamal is roughly interrogated by police to tell them if/how he cheated. All are skeptical because not even doctors or lawyers could make it this far. Jamal explains how he knew each individual answer through different expiriances he’s faced in his past life. We then see how Jamal grew up and went through many events that all helped him later in this very show. 

Jamal tells a believable and epic tale of his life and love, but the question that still remains is why is this show so important to a boy who seems to have no care for materials or money. That and many more questions are answered in the coming-of-age story of Slumdog Millionaire. The acting is top-notch and with no big name actors the movie seems more real in the mind of an audience member. This movie has something for everyone and it will be enjoyed by anyone, you might think I’ve given away a lot, but what I’ve said is revealed in the first 5 minutes. This film has been getting a lot of well-deserved oscar buzz and I agree that the movie should be nominated, but sadly it does not deserve the win.

Grade: A+