Chris Clemente’s Top Ten Films of 2010

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10. Inception

The battle between the movie goer and the film connoisseur is never ending, but once in awhile a film comes along where that line is blurred. This year, the film that created that harmonious consensus was Inception. Despite if you were on board or not with the film, Inception was highly praised between most critics and mainstream audiences alike. It defined this year’s summer blockbuster, being the talk of the town in many towns. It made people think, ask questions, and the film was in fact quite original and visually handsome. I for one, admired the film’s creativity. Nolan’s style created breathtaking classic settings, and his use of slow motion was pertinent to the script as opposed to being a mere flare. If a top ten list acts as a play list for remembrance of that year, then Inception should be considered as 2010’s anthem. Not only was it a huge success, not only did it defy audiences, but it’s actually a smart and fascinating mainstream movie that should be acknowledged.    

9. We Are What We Are

Brilliantly scummy, strategic camera angles, genre crossing, gory yet poetic; are what pop into my head when recalling this fantastic sub genre of a cannibal horror film. In an age where scares are a dime a dozen, We Are What We Are portrays horror in the utmost beauty way. It’s subtle yet graphic, metaphoric yet blunt, and needs to be seen. Director Jorge Michel Grau’s ambition stretches themes, from family drama to sexuality to survival, and it’s an ambition that puts Mexican cinema on the map along side with Korean and Swedish cinema. Watch this film to see history in the making. You won’t regret it.

8. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World has it all. Action, comedy, awesome graphics, and tons of easter-egged video game references, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World is the type of film that will have you discover something new with each screening. What also makes this film special and iconic for 2010, is the proactive strides made by director Edgar Wright while promoting it’s theatrical and DVD releases. From /Film to Creative Screenwriting Magazine to Kevin Smith’s Smodcast, Edgar Wright was seen and heard circulating the web for some time. And his efforts are triumph throughout the artful craft of the film. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World will undoubtedly become a cult classic for our generation.

7. Cyrus

This year was a big year for mumblecore comedy, with great stories in both Greenberg and Cyrus. What did it for me with Cyrus was it’s rawer emotional approach with minimal resources. Improvisation was sharp between Reilly and Hill, and Jonah Hill gave one of the best performances of the year and in his career. On a personal level, I really connected with the Duplass Brothers’ script. It was insightful and a breath of fresh air, bringing up to the table emotions that I haven’t seen so accurately to real life. One scene jumps up, and sums up why this film is so special. While consoling Marisa Tomei’s character, Molly, after Cyrus moves out of the house, the film could have gone a very cliche route. All too many times when the female lead is distressed, we see the male lead rush over to embrace her, usually accompanied by a long kiss or a pacifistic phrase. Not Cyrus. What we get is a hug and a completely sarcastic line of “Everything’s NOT going to be okay,” creating that needed relief and humor for Molly to move on. Sometimes in a relationship we need to be there to listen and make our partner laugh (God only knows how many times I’ve been accused of not doing either), and Cyrus beautifully shows that morale in a quite way. Out of any film of the year, Cyrus is the most personal for me, and I hope it is for you too.

6. 127 Hours

127 Hours was nothing short of a visually stunning marry-go-round. Filled with random memory montages, unique camera angles and cinematography, and striking sound effects heightening scene’s tension; director Danny Boyle pulls all the strings to make what seemingly is a familiar story, into a world wind surprise. Whenever a studio or writer says a certain story can’t be made into a film, should only take note of Boyle’s masterful work of art.

5. Toy Story 3

What more can be said of Pixar’s Toy Story 3. It’s beautiful in detail, proving once again that Pixar’s animation is the best in the bizz. The story has an endless watch-ability for both adults and children, and it just might be the bookend to one of the most pristine trilogies in cinema history. Not only is it much deserving of a “Best Picture” nomination at the Oscars, but it should considered as one of the most beloved films of 2010.

4. Another Year

Another Year is my hidden gem of 2010. It’s a film that could have easily slipped my cracks, and boy am I glad I was able to see it. Director Mike Leigh masterfully gives a big punch within a small package. Another Year is quaint, real, and is shot in a way that makes you apart of each character’s life. But if there is one character to take note of, it’s Lesley Manville’s Mary. Mary is a damned soul that tries to convince herself time and time again that life is just peachy, when in fact it’s not. We truly get consumed by her character, aching for her to make the right decisions and getting mad when she doesn’t. It’s by the the best female performance of the year, and with it’s anti-climatic progression, Leigh along with whole cast, reminds us that some of the most interesting facets to a story doesn’t have to be the most active, but are best observed by well crafted characters.

3. Mother

Released in the US this year, Joon-ho Bong’ gives a magnificently suspenseful film lead by an unlikely hero. It’s thrilling, heart-pounding, funny, and outright smart that keeps you captivated with each turn and twist. Mother is the type of film that solidifies your respect for a masterful director, and will have me jump to the chance to see any Joon-ho Bong’s film as if were a Tarintino or Choen Brother flick. I can’t wait to see what’s next for Joon-ho Bong.

2. Animal Kingdom

Definitely one of the most surprising endings of the year, Animal Kingdom will keep you at the end of your seat at all times. It’s a well scripted, well acted film that makes you hate the antagonist and root for protagonist in a fulfilling way. It’s a must see for the year, and I truly can’t wait to see it again.

1. Black Swan

Black Swan has it all. It’s beautiful, viscerally horrific, charming, and utterly mesmerizing. It’s the type of film that glues your eyes to the screen without ever urging you to look at your watch or get shaky leg syndrome. For me, the film is special because it allowed me to love a topic I wouldn’t normally be interested in. Not only is the film about dance, but the film acts as a dance. It’s characters go through opposing character arks that intertwine with one another, and the visuals are just stunning. This is by far my must-see for 2010, and it’ll surely make it to your collection. If you haven’t already, run to see this film in theaters if you can. I promise you, you won’t regret it.

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