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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Top Ten Martin Scorsese Movies

If you know anything about film, you know the name of Martin Scorsese. He’s god’s gift to cinema and one of my favorite directors of all time. Scorsese has literally been making masterpieces since the 60s and hasn’t stopped since. When looking at his illustrious works, everyone has certain films they latch onto and they’re often very different and that’s because he has so much versatility.

He loves what he was born to do and that is making movies. Here is a list that celebrates his magnificent works of art. Here is a look at my favorite films of one of the most marvelous filmmakers of our time.

10. Bringing Out the Dead

Martin Scorsese’s character study of an ambulance driver driven to near insanity is nothing short of breath-taking. It’s incredibly fast-paced and filled with a adrenaline. From a surprsingly great performance from Nicholas Cage to his outrageous partners, rarely are you not entertained.

9. The Color of Money

I’m not a Tom Cruise fan in the least bit, but I can say with out a doubt that this is his best role. He is over shadowed by the great Paul Newman though, but that goeas without saying. The Color of Money is a highly engrossing look into the lives of pool hustlers. I’m not going to lie. I actually enjoy this sequel better than the classic original (“The Hustler”).

8. Casino

If Martin Scorsese could be considered to have a forte, it would with out a doubt be the Gangster genre. No one makes them better than he does. The first one you’ll find on my list would be the fantastic tale he weaves of crime in the city of Las Vegas. It’s one you won’ be able to take your eyes of, but it pales in comparison to some of his other excursions into crime.

7. The Aviator

The Aviator is a down right fantastic biopic about the life and times of Howard Hughes. The movie can be considered long, but every moment is meaningful and a film about someone’s life deserves a good length. I think Leonardo DiCaprio is a fantastic actor and this is the performance of is career. I doubt he will be able to top it.

6. Gangs of New York

Gangs of New York is a fantastically woven tale of vengeance set in a criminal-run New York city in the 1800s. Leonardo DiCaprio is great as the leading man, but the real praise belongs to Daniel Day-Lewis as the sadistic Bill “The Butcher” Cutting. Its a story told on an epic scale ands its truly impossible not to get enjoyment out of it.

5. Shutter Island

Shutter Island from start to finish is a dark and emotional roller coaster ride that never lets up even after the credits role. From the second the movie begins, the mood sets in and you both love and are a bit scared at what you’ve gotten yourself into. It’s a film that’s almost draining because of how intense it is. This is Martin Scorsese’s take on a psychological thriller and its the kind that every film lover has dreamed of being able to see.

4. Raging Bull

Raging Bull is a work of true art showing the raw and emotional life of the boxer Jake LaMotta. Its a poetic look into a life of brutality and pride. Scorsese holds no puches (pun intended) and Robert DeNiro gives the greatest performance he’s ever given. Raging Bull is truly a masterpiece for the way that it tells the tale of man whose not a hero or a villain, but just a man, no more, no less.

3. Taxi Driver

Taxi Driver is an unconventional tale told and acted to perfection. Its a character study of a sociopath dealing with the decay of the world around him. Taxi Driver unprecedented in the way that it tells a horrific tale through the eyes of a terrible person. We get a full examination of a mind that is unlike our own in almost every possible way. What is found is disturbing, cruel and above all, interesting. Robert DeNiro gives an amazing performance. I stand by my comment about the performance of his career would be found in Raging Bull, but I believe Taxi Driver surpasses Raging Bull as a film.

2. Goodfellas

Goodfellas is a movie that can best be described as a crash-course in absolutely everything you’d ever want to know about mobsters. You learn of every in and out of the mob through the telling of the tale of Henry Hill, a young man who had one wish, “to be a gangster”. Most would consider The Godfather to be the mobster movie, but I believe Goodfellas even surpasses that work of genius. Goodfellas is one of those films you can watch over and over and still get enjoyment. It truly is an unforgettable achievement in film and I’ve only seen one other movie Scorsese made that was able to top it.

1. The Departed

The Departed is nothing short of a flawless film. Its work of pure and incredible entertainment. A gritty piece of art that I consider to be one of the greatest films of all time. Each quote, character and scene is another brush stroke in an epic masterpiece of cops and robbers. Every single aspect is well thought out The Departed is the movie that got Scorsese his Oscars for both Best Picture and Best Director. Some would argue that the awards were given to him in recognition for his entire career and maybe that’s true, who knows? All I know is that The Departed is one of the greatest movies of all time and Martin Scorsese’s best work.

Shutter Island Review

Shutter Island is a pretty difficult movie to review. First of all, it’s hard to express into words exactly how much I loved this film. Second of all, there’s so much going on in this story and its hard to talk about loving this film with out risking giving something away. I’ll try my best though. First, let me start by saying that Martin Scorsese is among the three directors working today (others being Tarantino and Coen Brothers) that I truly can not and will not let me down by. That opinion is once again justified by his release of this masterpiece.

I absolutely love when each character in a movie is able to give a great performance, even the minor ones. That is exactly the case here. Each character realized his/her importance and expressed that in their performance. The main characters were the stand outs though of course. Mark Ruffolo was fantastic as the partner, but even better was Ben Kingsley as the mysterious owner of the institution, he was subtly, but surly able to chew up every moment he was on screen. The masterful performance here was DiCaprio’s though. He really threw everything he had into this one. I’m going to have to re-watch some of his other movies before officially stating this, but this might be the greatest performance he’s ever given.

This isn’t the horror movie that the trailers are making it out to be, and to tell you the truth, I really wasn’t really expecting it to be. What it was, was an intense and almost draining psychological thriller, and possibly the best I’ve seen. The movie really takes a lot out of you because of its edge-of-your-seat intensity. That’s not a bad thing though, it was really an adrenaline rush at every turn, a roller coaster ride of the mind, which is exactly what the main character Teddy goes on.

!!! SPOILER !!! !!! ALERT!!! !!! IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE MOVIE, DON”T READ THIS PARAGRAPH!!!

!!! SPOILER !!! !!! DON’T READ !!!

I love this movie because it starts off with such a simple story. Two U.S. Marshall’s looking for a dangerous patient who has escaped from her cell. Then it takes you in so many different directions and you never know what to expect. There are so many questions circling your head because you have so much information to work with and really no answers. You are brought on a journey with Teddy and you feel every bit of insanity he does. Shutter Island is really the greatest depiction of insanity ever put on screen.

!!! END OF SPOILER PARAGRAPH !!!

Shutter Island is directed so mind-numbingly well, its hard to believe. But that pretty much goes with out saying, it’s Scorsese. Even for this masterful director, this film was an amazing feat in story telling. I truly think this film stacks right up there with all of his other masterpieces. Shutter Island isn’t just an unforgettable film, it’s an unforgettable experience.

Grade: A-

Top Ten Most Anticipated Films of 2009

Looking ahead to the future year of films I am very excited for a large amount of them. There is one movie that I am very excited for that unfortunately did not make this list. That film is Terminator Salvation. Terminator Salvation looks exceptionally good and more intense than the last few, but I’m also thinking of boycotting it because I don’t think you should make a terminator movie without Arnold. On a different note for any frequent viewers, I will be posting my top ten movies of 2008 and my top ten performances of 2008 soon, so stay tuned and be patient. Well here’s my top ten most anticipated movies of 2009:

 

 

10. Shutter Island

Without knowing much about it other than its about a serial killer escaping to a desolate island, I am excited for it because its directed by Martin Scorsese.

 

9. The Soloist

This looks like an excellent film of story, acting, and friendship. The trailer gives chills every single time.

8. Watchmen

This looks visually amazing and its based on what’s supposed to be the greatest graphic novels ever written and within the top 100 greatest novels ever written. The story should be great, I’m just worried about the acting and direction.

7. Taken

I love Liam Neeson, the trailer looks great, and this looks like a good piece of entertainment to get this year started.

6. Up

Every ixar movie ever made has been good in my opinion and this looks no different. You can expect a top ten pixar movies list after this is released.

5. Sherlock Holmes

Robert Downey Jr. in a Guy Ritchie movie based on a famous novel, sounds like the recipe to a masterpiece to me.

 

4. The Wolfman

A remake starring a fantastic actor taking a simple story into much poetic and complex depths. Benecio Del Toro has never disappointed and won’t.

 

3. Public Enemies

This is the next classic gangster movie based on the true crime wave in the 1930s. Its the story of the FBI and the infamous gangster it was invented to stop. The movie stars Christian Bale and Johnny Depp and will be fantastic.

 

2. Nine

No, not the animated movie by Tim Burton, the epic musical starring Daniel Day-Lewis about a director in the search of his next big money maker and the women trying to force the art out of him.

 

1. Inglorious Bastards

Quentin Tarantino is a spectacular director, Brad Pitt is a great actor and I haven’t seen a good war movie in a long time. All of Tarantino’s movies are incredible and this is his next masterpiece.

Martin Scorsese’s Future Masterpiece

Martin Scorsese, the director of such masterpieces known as Goodfellas, Casino, The Departed, Gangs of New York, etc. Has bee rumored to be directing a new Mob movie. His next two movies are entitled Shutter Island and Silence. Shutter Island is scheduled for Oct. 2nd 2009 and is about US Marshall in search of an insane asylum escapee you is presumed to be on a remote island. Silence is set to release sometime in 2010 and is the story of two priests who witness the death of their people by the hand of their peopl and wonder why god remains silent while these deaths continue.

Now don’t get me wrong, these sound like good movies themselves, but there’s been rumors floating around that Martin Scorsese is directing another Mafia Film set to release sometime between 2010 and 2011 that’s about the prime suspect in the Jimmy Hoffa murder. Possibly best of all, Robert De Niro is playing the main character. The movie is titled, I Heard You Painted Houses, which refers to slang, which means a mob hit, where splattered blood is used instead of paint. I for one am extremely excited and hope the project gets underway as soon as possible.