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OUGHT ’10: A YEAR IN A FILM

2010 sure was a year, huh? Stuff happened. Some of it good, some of it lame. But it was definitely a year! And since it was a year, a whole mess of movies came out and I saw a bunch of them. Here’s my top 10 (the first half, atleast).

10. Exit Through The Gift Shop

Exit Through The Gift Shop is the only new documentary I caught this year and it lives up to the hype. This could’ve been a pretty straightforward doc about Banksy but instead it shifts gears about midway through and puts the spotlight on aspiring documentarian Terry Guetta and his overnight success as an LA artist. It was refreshing to see how Banksy and his colleagues react to a buffoon like Terry stumbling into their world and becoming enormously successful despite lacking any sort of talent. More than anything else, it makes a pretty convincing statement about the nature of fame and art.

9. Iron Man 2

I’m just going to say it, Iron Man 2 is the best Marvel movie yet. Why this movie wasn’t received better I will never understand. It’s everything we liked about the first film but bigger. Funnier one-liners, more inventive action sequences, and an even better ensemble cast that features solid-gold performances from Mickey Rourke and Sam Rockwell. What I really love about Iron Man 2 is that it really FEELS like a Marvel comic. The multiple plot threads along with things like Slattery’s Howard Stark and the  other SHIELD elements hint at a larger Marvel Movie-verse and I can’t wait to see how that grows.

8. True Grit

It’s a Coen Brothers movie, so no surprise that it’s one of the best of the year. True Grit is a great western and I think the only reason its not higher on my list is because my appreciation for Coen Bros flicks grows with repeat viewings (The Big Liebowski did nothing for me until about 3 viewings in).  It’s simultaneously a satire of traditional Western tropes (Damon and Bridges are down right Quixotic at points, the fearsome Tom Chaney is we’ll say less than competent) and a reaffirmation of those same standards (Rooster Cogburn, drunken old lout that he is, proves himself the hero 14 year old Mattie builds him up to be).

7. The Fighter

Biopics, especially Sports Biopics, are a funny thing. The Fighter avoids the traps that lesser movies of its kind fall into because, more than a boxing movie, it’s a movie about love and redemption. And portrays those elements in a way that doesn’t feel forced or tacky. Christian Bale’s performance as has-been methhead Ricky  is just about the best thing I’ve seen all year and I would be genuinely surprised if he doesn’t score Best Supporting Actor this year.

6. The Social Network

Talk about a movie I did not expect to like. The Social Network is a biopic that really doesn’t feel like a biopic. Sure, you can chalk that up to however much of the film is fictionalized, but Fincher’s direction,Sorkin’s script and Trent Reznor’s Carpenter-esque score just throw you in and keep you completely engaged. Terrific ensemble cast that really shines (Andrew Garfield and Jesse Eisenberg sell their characters’ doomed friendship so well it’s heartbreaking).  “You better lawyer up, asshole” = quote of the year?

So that’s the first half, hit up The Hive tomorrow for my top 5 and my thoughts on some other, lesser flicks.

HIVE OF SCUM. WE’RE HERE NOW. LET’S DO THIS.

-Max

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About Max Robinson

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One response to “OUGHT ’10: A YEAR IN A FILM

  1. Top Ten films released in Australia this year:

    1. Up In The Air – The only brilliant film for the year. Reitman has now made three sensational comedies in a row. One of the best starts to a career in recent memory.

    2. Black Swan – Aronofsky’s most mature film to date. Brilliantly handled, super ambitious, visually enchanting and very original.

    3. The Hurt Locker – Tense, powerful and brilliantly realised. Interestingly Bigelow nails the male psyche better than male directors have been able to.

    4. The Ghost Writer – Just a cracking thriller. Well paced, fantastically written and extremely engrossing.

    5. Winter’s Bone – The best movies can help us understand the experiences of others, whose lifestyles are different to our own. This film takes us places we would only be willing to go in the movies. It features an unforgettable central performance and a heartrendering story.

    6. Invictus – I’m going to cop it for this one, but no film gave me such a buzz of inspiration and optimism. It will be criticised by some for factual errors, but like the great The Damned United from last year, these films are about ideas not facts. Don’t watch it as a historical film but one about the possibilities of harmony and tolerance.

    7. The Social Network – Beautifully crafted, well acted and crackingly well written. This may well be the smartest movies of the year, but while I appreciated it’s elements as a whole it didn’t impress me as much as others. I just didn’t care about the characters or take anything from the experience.

    8. Toy Story 3 – Loved the first 2. Thought this one had superb moments, but the middle part in the day care centre didn’t work as well as the effective beggining and wonderful ending.

    9. Animal Kingdom – Easily our best film for the year. Good storytelling, great performances and just well made.

    10. The Kids Are All Right – I’m a sucker for a well-written and acted ensemble piece about the inner dynamics of a disfunctional family. Good film.

    Other worth noting: Somewhere, Please Give, The Town, The American, Shutter Island and Salt

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