If You Liked Those Other Top 2010 Movies Lists, Try This One
In the spirit of the Amazon/iTunes Genius recommendation, wherein some insidious algorithm presumes to inform you that your soul is just another vacant database in need of loading, I humbly offer one last list of 2010 movie mentionables — an if-then top 10. Consider:
1. The Movie About Facebook and Therefore Also About Our Lonely Crazy Changing World
As much as I like Jesse Eisenberg and what he did, and can acknowledge David Fincher playing to his strengths (and Aaron Sorkin to his weaknesses), the truer Facebook movie, much more a product of its generation, was “Catfish.” It’s a bothersome, backlash-courting film, but in that way also genuinely cathartic.
2. The Intensely Intimate Portrait of a Young Couple Whose Romance Comes Apart
L.A. Weekly’s Karina Longworth nailed it: “Want your ‘Blue Valentine’-like dissection of marital strife but could do without the Academy-montage mugging and wall-to-wall Grizzly Bear?” Well, even if you don’t, you still ought to get your eyes on Maren Ade’s assured, excellent second feature, “Everyone Else.”
3. The Exotic Allegory of Fatherhood from a Visionary Mexican Filmmaker
Yes, “Biutiful” has a towering performance from Javier Bardem, and it’s the most promising work I’ve seen from poverty-porn aficionado Alejandro González Iñárritu. But director Pedro González-Rubio’s dreamy, documentaryesque “Alamar” seemed wiser, more at ease with itself, more intimate.
4. The Movie About a Memorable Mother
With the title “Mother,” this one made itself obvious. But then, so did the overbearing matrons in “Animal Kingdom” and “Black Swan” and “The Fighter.” Yet Kim Hye-Ja’s performance in Bong Joon-ho’s exhilaratingly weird crime thriller topped them all. (Runner up: Rodrigo García’s “Mother and Child.”)
5. The Animated Film for All of Us
Which is to say, a moving illustration of mortality, social obsolescence and the poignant putting away of childish things. You’d think Pixar has it in the bag with “Toy Story 3,” but not so fast. “The Illusionist,” based on an original script by Jacques Tati and directed by the maker of “The Triplets of Belleville,” has some fine credentials too. But for me, nothing beat Paul and Sandra Fierlinger’s adaptation of J.R. Ackerley’s memoir “My Dog Tulip,” about the special bond between a sad old Englishman and his Alsatian bitch.
6. The Unwanted Remake of a Recent French Film
7. The Ghosts, Writers
This one isn’t a contest, it’s a tie. Roman Polanski’s “The Ghost Writer” and Conor McPherson’s “The Eclipse” may differ in scope and temperament, but they’re both beautifully crafted thrillers involving writers and restless spirits.
8. The Graphic-Novel Movie of the Year
I liked “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World,” and tried to like “RED,” but appreciated “Tamara Drewe” for neither sucking up nor talking down to its audience. Granted, Stephen Frears’ film of Posy Simmonds’ book has the unfair advantage of having been a riff on Thomas Hardy to begin with. But it also understands the usefulness of female characters with more depth and detail than 8-bit video games, and the difference between structure and conceptual gimmick.
9. The Triumph of Style Over Substance
While watching Darren Aronofsky’s “Black Swan” make such a spectacle of itself, I never could manage to care about its so-called characters. At least Gaspar Noé’s “Enter the Void” addressed that risk by trapping me inside its protagonist’s blown mind.
10. The Straights Playing Gays Playing Games
“I Love You Phillip Morris” reads as if put together by a focus group tasked with deciding what’s to be done with Jim Carrey. (And, to be fair, it answers that question surprisingly well.) But “The Kids Are All Right” just works.
Bonus! The Grieving Leo
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