2010’s Best 20 Films

Bank holidays are gone for a while so it’s time to look back at 2010, and then maybe look forward at 2011. I messed about with this list a lot, made some graphics, lost them and decided to simply list the films without too much flair.

These may not be the top 20 films I’ve seen this year but are the top 20 that have been released in cinemas. I think I may have already seen some of the best of 2011.

20. Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part I
This slot is more of a token than a definitive “Top 20 Film” as Deathly Hallows deserves to be highlighted for making the Potter series credible at last. It’s the film equivalent of Doctor Who, another British series to finally finding its feet in 2010. The kids can act and the plot is finally given time to unfold. Lovely.

19. Greenberg
Ben Stiller in an understated role in a film that bridged the gap between mumblecore and mainstream should get a bit of respect. It’s not going to blow you away but will certainly help heal the wounds left by the Focker franchise.

18. Piranha
The only 3D film to make it onto the list, because it didn’t take itself seriously and brought plenty of laughs, gore and boobs to the big screen. A sequel is on its way and I hope James Cameron gets invited to the premiere.

17. World’s Greatest Dad
I can’t help but love the unseen underdog, especially one featuring a comic actor giving a subdued performance. Try to see this, the darkest comedy of 2010. A must for anyone curious to see the genie from Aladdin in the buff.

16. The Kids Are All Right
It’s a comedy, it’s a drama, it’s a truly modern family! From laugh out loud funny to cry into your sleeve devastating, this is the film so many others want to be.

15. Eccentricities of a Blonde Haired Girl
Drawn in by an intriguing review, we were delighted by a hilarious and eccentric film about one young man’s love for the girl he sees from his office window. Directed in a unique fashion by a 100 year old Portuguese film-maker, you won’t see anything like it again.

14. Four Lions
A black comedy from Chris Morris was always going to be brilliant, though could possibly have been better. Still proud to see a British film this funny, brave and with no romance in sight.

13. Monsters
A subtle sci-fi with amazing effects on a shoe-string budget, and from the UK. Slightly shaky dialogue and inexperienced actors are easily masked by the sheer beauty of every shot, with the film climaxing visually in its final scene.

12. Buried
A wonderfully tense thriller all set in a tiny coffin. Ryan Reynolds proves himself as a proper actor and the ninety minutes fly by. It’s enough to make Phone Booth look like a good idea. Bonus points for having a great poster.

11. Kick Ass
After the first viewing this could have been in the top three films of the year, but a second viewing reminded me of the annoying beginning and the less than perfect lead. Still a brilliant black comedy and awesome showcase for Chloe Moretz. Shame Scott Pilgrim came along and showed how much better a comic book film could be.

10. Please Give
I may regret giving this film such a high position but it was surprisingly enjoyable and genuinely emotional. Not a film for everyone but worth a look if you’re into more subtle comedies that don’t have happy endings.

9. Up in the Air
Almost forgotten but a re-watch over Christmas brought this early gem back to my attention. Lots of good performances, an unpredictable plot and a little bit of heartbreak thrown in. If only Clooney hadn’t gone on to do The American.

8. Catfish
The most surprising film of the year and for a moment the most terrifying. If you still haven’t seen it and have managed to remain unspoiled then get watching, you’ll never add someone on Facebook again.

7. Black Dynamite
Finally another decent parody, burying the like of Date Movie simply by actually being funny. Were it not for a few familiar faces this could have come straight from the era it is parodying as the aesthetic is pitch perfect.

6. Let Me In
The highest horror on the list is a truly classy example of the genre. Not relying on fake scares, nudity or gore, we instead have a character study filled with tragedy, heart and intrigue. Chloe Moretz puts in her second performance on this list, a totally different but equally well crafted character. Arguably better than the original, this is a tale of love and horror.

5. Another Year
The most genuine film of the lot, so easily relatable and filled with characters you feel you could meet out here in the real world. Lesley Manville comes out of nowhere with a powerhouse of a performance. Heartbreaking and hilarious, a bit of a theme in 2010.

4. Inception
Lower down the list than I expected, and I’m the one who put the list together. Inception is as good as an action film can get as the usual set pieces are presented in wonderful new ways, the audience is made to think and small indie actors get their chance at the mainstream.

3. Whip It
Ranking so high for the sheer delight the film brings and the way it was overlooked by most people. The ugly poster hid away what is this year’s ultimate feel good film. Ellen Page is doing something right.

2. The Social Network
Aaron Sorkin wrote the tightest script to be released in 2010 and was lucky to have it so well taken care of. Eisenberg and Garfield made the world take notice and even Timberlake managed to impress. Not so much a tale of how Facebook came to be but a look at friendship and the price of success.

1. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World
No surprise here considering the sheer number of times we’ve had to use the “Scott Pilgrim” tag this year. Almost perfect and equally enjoyable at every repeat viewing. Never before has a film been so carefully crafted, every cut planned years in advance and every eye movement accompanied by a subtle noise. And how this is not long-listed for best original song I have no idea. Edgar Wright has shown just what he can do when given the freedom to run wild and the cinema audiences of the world have shown why we don’t get many good films as the weakest of romantic comedies could beat it at the box office. For me 2010 will always be the year Scott Pilgrim came out and I’ll be re-watching long after 3D has it’s next revival.

So there you have it, my top 20 picks. Do you agree?

Forget Kick Ass, This is Super

Coming next year, perhaps, is another film about an ordinary guy turned realistic masked superhero, only this time it’s going to be even less slick. Excitingly this film has just found a distributor so will hopefully be heading our way soon.

Super comes from the mind of James Gunn, the man who brought us the gory Dawn of the Dead remake and brilliantly horrific Slither and is going to be better than Kick Ass. Come on, this one has Kevin Bacon!

Super also stars Rainn Wilson, Ellen Page, Liv Tyler and Nathan Fillion. The clip below should give you a good idea of what to expect.


Kick Ass Tops US Box Office, In A Bad Way

After a bit of doubt it turns out Kick Ass topped the US charts this weekend as it narrowly pinched the top spot from How to Train Your Dragon by a mere $200,000. Kick Ass made just $19.8 million at the weekend and that is apparently a pretty poor taking. This makes sense if you consider Dragon was on it’s third week out which Kick Ass was debuting.

While we in the UK embraced the film in all it’s violent, sweary glory America got all outraged in the way only the Daily Mail knows how. A big blow was dealt when respected critic Roger Ebert denounced the film and worried about how six year olds might be affected, as if they would somehow see the film. Obviously the film has some fans as even on Ebert’s site they have given it three and a half out of four while he rates it at just one.

What happened to Kick Ass over there? Where were all the fanboys? Who would have guessed that Kick Ass would follow Mamma Mia as an American film infinitely more popular in the UK than the US.

Out Now – 31st March 2010

Although already having a weekend in the cinemas both Kick Ass and How To Train Your dragon actually come out today. Wednesday releases are odd enough without them both having a preview weekend mere days beforehand. I’m sure there is a big business reason for this, I just don’t know it.

More information here, obviously you should see Kick Ass if you haven’t already. That is if you don’t feel like you’ve already seen it thanks to the endless promotion.

Spotlight On – Clark Duke

Clark Duke fits the profile of a lot of my favourite underrated actors in that he has a pretty terrible filmography up to this point.

Prior to this year Duke’s silver screen appearances consisted of a small role in Superbad and a larger role in the simply pathetic Sex Drive. Neither films inspire great confidence in those involved. He has had the obligatory handful of guest roles in TV shows and is currently the best thing in US TV series Greek which follows the trivial lives of students at an American college. Duke also wrote and directed the web series Clark and Michael featuring fictional versions of Duke and his friend Micheal Cera.

This year Duke appears in Kick Ass and Hot Tub Time Machine, two comedy heavyweights that could launch Duke’s career. In Kick Ass he plays one of the leads friends with a comedic subtlety I really enjoyed and with Hot Tub we may well have a comedy masterpiece or a horrible mess; I am really confused about that at the moment.

Clark Duke hasn’t really had a chance to shine yet, and if he does he may fall flat, but I think he has good comedy skills so keep an eye out.

Out Now – But Technically Out 31st March 2010

What’s that? I forgot some of the films coming out today? Technically this pair come out next Wednesday but have previews this weekend. Odd when even the posters say the 26th. Anyway…

Kick Ass
With previews Friday, Saturday and Sunday there is plenty of opportunity to see this joy of a film before its “release”. I really loved it and you get to see that trailer on the big screen.

How To Train Your Dragon
A viking tries to hunt dragons and ends up owning one. Looks like good fun and it’s from the second best computer animation studio. Probably have more secretly dirty jokes than Nanny McPhee.

Kick Ass – Review

Kick Ass is no more and no less than what you expect it will be; it is great fun, occasionally touching and filled with action. It doesn’t necessarily change the face of cinema but it certainly does not disappoint.

Matthew Vaughn easily surpasses his previous directorial efforts in Layer Cake and Stardust as he has made a film that shows a real confidence and flair. It is clear that every shot including scene transitions was carefully considered, something I’d never say about Stardust. Vaughn has also managed to create those special sequences where the entire audience is at one moment laughing and the next stunned into silence as they fear for the characters they met just an hour ago. Edgar Wright should watch his back.

I could ramble on about the whole cast; label Aaron Johnson as a “one to watch”, describe how Nicolas Cage was actually entertaining for the first time and say that the beautiful Lyndsy Fonseca is The Daughter from How I Met Your Mother. Instead I will highlight just two actors who made the film for me.

On the comedy side Clark Duke delivered a lot in his reasonably small role as one of our hero’s best friends. Duke has a style of humour that is underrated and has sadly thus far merely been a bright spot in otherwise sketchy films. This is not to say that he is the only comedic element to the film as the entire audience was laughing throughout the movie.

The real highlight, as you may have guessed from the picture at the top of this review, is Chloe Moretz. Though she has been working solidly from the age of seven it is only recently with her performance here and in (500) Days of Summer that she can got real attention. By playing Hit-Girl Moretz had done more than just swear repeatedly; she has shown a real ability as a comedic and dramatic as well as being a highly capable action hero. All this at just 13, it makes you sick.

Kick Ass is at its heart a superhero movie. It follows the origin story formula obediently even if it does so with the twist of its hero being an incompetent teen with no powers. In spite of this Kick Ass stands above its more traditional counterparts by being that much more enjoyable. This is not just down to the comedy but a testament to the flair with which the film was put together.

The best accolade I could give the film is that during Hit-Girl’s first fight I got genuine shivers down my spine. No film has had that effect on me since 2005. Kick Ass has laughs as big as any comedy combined with violence as brutal as Watchmen and a real heart at its core too.

Kick Ass is released on 31st March 2010 but has previews on the 26th, 27th and 28th. Go figure.

Kick Ass Brings Scott Pilgrim Trailer

It has been leaked that the first trailer for the sometimes highly anticipated Scott Pilgrim vs. The World will be attached to Kick Ass when it is released in the UK this Friday. However because of this leak the online release may be brought forward, we shall see.

All this fuss and the film isn’t out for months!

And yes I do realise I’m the one creating all the fuss over here.