Thursday, March 31, 2011

FAVORITE FILMS OF 2010 - or, the year I made whom and to what degree I frankly have no idea

Social Network (dir-David Fincher)

Zombieland if the zombies were replaced with the internet {just as Adventureland is Zombieland with K-Stew (minus the vampires) instead of the zombies, if you follow}, or a internet-sploitation drama that, incredibly, isn’t shitty (I’m giving the evil eye to the Sandra Bullock/Dennis Miller vehicle The Net as I type that, for the record). As your substitute film professor, I have multiple gold stars to hand out to David Fincher, who somehow manages to make a compelling movie around a legal deposition, considering it’s not even a real trial, and especially considering movies revolving around even real trials are positively coma inducing (Anatomy of a Murder and 12 Angry Men notwithstanding).

Black Swan (dir-Darren Aronofsky)

Aronofsky synergizes
Repulsion-esque psychological horror with operatic nutty gothics, as cutie pie Natty Portman progresses from half blown ice queen to full blown nutbar. The film simultaneously aims for subtle and over the top (not the arm wrestling movie), and, while not smoothly integrated, it still achieves an unglamourous opera of the horrors of ballet, where both simple minutia (foot blisters) and more deep seeded horrors (freudian repression and the inability to love) collide in phantasmagoric chaos.

The Killer Inside Me (dir-Michael Winterbottom)

Erasing any doubt that Ben Affleck is the poor man’s Casy Affleck, the latter Affleck, fresh off his epic turncoat turn in
The Assassination of Jesse James, goes full blown psychopath (that's a nutbar that lacks empathy for others), true horror simmering beneath the surface, hidden behind the facade of a badge. Think of it as "Henry: Neo-noir Portrait of a Killer S & M Sheriff". Look for Kate Hudson as his erotically battered wife (she enjoys that sort of thing, although maybe she shouldn’t), showing once again that she might excel best in actual acting roles, rather than being shoehorned into some shoe shopping romcom vagina fest.

7. Eccentricities of a Blonde-haired Girl (dir-Manoel de Oliveira)

The purest cinematic expression yet of that elusive object of desire, where the human tragedy of the inherent distance between two people is rendered through simple visual poetry. Or, if you prefer, call it
Rear Window where the mystery is not a murder, but rather, the chasm between the fantasy of love and love's reality.

Ghost Writer (dir-Roman Polanski)

Roman Polanski with some good thriller material is fucking money in the bank, and here he indirectly reworks
The Ninth Gate, replacing Satan with the prime minister (if such a splitting of hairs can be made, natch). Genuine mystery and subtle political satire-fu ensues. You know, the powerful and the bourgeoisie are hiding something or whatever. That’s why they meet in bunkers.

Fish Tank (dir-Andrea Arnold)

Andrea Arnold goes into not-quite-full-blown Ken Loach mode, but adopts a genuinely female-ccentric point of view (look no further than 15-year-old Mia’s initial encounter with Michael Fassbender, his low cut jeans revealing sleek muscles and sleeker possibilities). Despite some familiar Loachian/neo-realist tropes, Katie Jarvis’ central performance transcends mere plot. Paraphrasing Andy Warhol, one's interest is maintained when such an interesting person is being photographed, her physical movements and mannerisms achieving a sort of Sporty Spice poetry that also doubles as a cover for a host of hidden insecurities.

. True Grit (dir-Coen Brothers)

A classical western infused with some patented Coen humor and
Blood Simple-esque violence of a messy sort (although I should’ve seen both of those coming). Hailee Steinfeld manages to go toe to toe with “The Dude” within a world ripped from America's genre past, before her parents were even born. As a result, she was awarded with a supporting actress nomination, despite being the centerpiece of every single fucking scene.

My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done (dir-Werner Herzog)

Another doomed quest for yet another Herzogian eccentric, this time pitched as screwball existentialism. Consider it Herzog in a more playful and relaxed mode, while not sacrificing his great obsessions and trademark Werner-isms.

2. Blue Beard (dir-Catherine Breillat)

Two adorable little girls do their cutsie best to recant a feminist, Bresson-filtered version of the famous folk tale that builds to a brilliant horror fantastique collision between the inner psyche of a dark fable and the impressionable mind of a young innocent. The film also proves an effective counterbalance to the 1972 Richard Burton version, a mysoginist epic of retard camp (check that one out too if you can; it's fucking great).

1. Valhalla Rising (dir-Nicolas Winding Refn)

Fucking epic man. Like…whoa! I can feel it’s deepness in my toes! Boy…I’m getting hungry. Is the In and Out burger still on Radford? Oh wait, it's near Radford, isn't it? Shit. I give up.

Review here.

Honorable mentions, in no particular order:

A Prophet

The Runaways

The Fighter

Trash Humpers

Toy story 3

Let Me In

127 Hours

Enter the Void

How to Tra
in Your Dragon - speaking of which, for those that doubt the legitimacy of animated cinema (myself, for example, and maybe a few stodgy asshole film professors), check out the what the strong chick character (and object of the weak male hero's desires) is wearing! A fucking spiked leather mini-skirt with a belt made out of skulls? Sometimes I wish I was a chick, and I could wear something like that and head down to the renaissance fair and be knee deep in Thor-poon. Either way, it's friggin' awesome. Oh yeah, she also walks around carrying a battleaxe. Fucking genius.


  1. Some very interesting picks you got there. I did not get the chance to see 'Valhalla Rising', unfortunately, so I don't know if it would have made my list or not.

    On a side note, what the hell is up with all the GIF images of Kristen Stewart I've seen around lately? Man, she really spawns some of the most epic facial expressions.

  2. Good selections....
    I'm especially interested in Ghost Writer.

  3. Good list. Yet to see Valhalla Rising, was considering what my 2010 list would consist of. Narrowing it down to just 10 is too much brain power at the moment. Bazinga on the Ghost Writer dig!

  4. @Atroxion
    Maybe this site will provide some answers:

    @Andrew green
    Thanks! Checks it out.

    In my world, "dig" as a noun means a subtle insult, where as it means "to like something" as a verb. I have to assume you mean that I liked Ghost Writer, but I have no fucking clue what "bazinga" means. It sounds like an African insult. Nobody's ever insulted me in an African dialect before. Thank you for that.

  5. Thank you for your positive comments about my Trash Humpers review on Region Incognito. Speaking of Jackass, I really want to rewatch/watch the Jackass films. From what fragments I remember, the series would have a great deal of interest to it for me as well as being about the stars hurting themselves in the worst ways possible.

  6. @Michael
    I like Jackass except for the gross out stuff (which is probably a third of it). It should be noted that at least some of their early stuff was directly ripped off from Tom Green (whom I prefer).

  7. @Thomas Duke
    Freddy Got Fingered is also on my to-watch list too.