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?

Piranha 3D / Mega Piranha – Review

This weekend I have been investigating the small selection of new piranha based films, taking in Piranha 3D and The Asylum’s mockbuster Mega Piranha. Both films involving a lot of man-eating piranha’s but which one is the best? Let’s break it down.

Good gore costs money and Mega Piranha offers nothing more than the occasional bit of red water as people are often eaten out of shot, under the water or in one mouthful. Piranha however was a bounty of gore with a crushed skull, missing limbs, a split torso, multiple bony bits stripped of all flesh and one horrific moment with a face, some hair and a propeller.
Winner: Piranha

The trouble with Mega Piranha was that it took itself a bit too seriously and as such had about two jokes throughout leaving the only humour stemming from the appalling acting on display. Piranha however played pretty much everything for laughs and ramping up the gore, and boobs, to such a degree that it was a joyful farce.
Winner: Piranha

Mega Piranha clearly does not have the money to convince their cast to disrobe and as such has a total of two topless women, who it was explained on the DVD documentary were local prostitutes… lovely. Piranha, as with everything else, really pushed the boat out and made the most of its 18 rating. There’s even a dismembered penis for the ladies making a wonderful addition to the gore category.
Winner: Piranha

The piranhas in Piranha were well rendered little monsters but ultimately were quite small for the majority of the film. Their counterparts in Mega Piranha are really badly produced creatures but rapidly increased in size, by the end reaching the size of buses as they dive bombed buildings in a way reminiscent of Birdemic: Shock and Terror .
Winner: Draw

In Piranha an earthquake opening up an underground lake housing an extinct form of viscous piranha brought about disaster while in Mega Piranha scientists were trying to breed a fish that could grow to huge sizes and end world hunger. Both wonderfully schlocky premises worthy of a creature feature.
Winner: Draw

The clear winner here is Piranha or as it likes to be called Piranha 3D. Though it’s 3D is not the best I’ve seen, it is a hell of a lot of fun and worth the 90 minutes of your life.

Piranha is in cinemas nationwide now and Mega Piranha is available on DVD now.

Out Now – 20th August 2010

Good films, bad films, foreign films and gross films. It’s a busy week for films this week. Go and see any that take your fancy this weekend so that you’re good and ready for Wednesday, after which I’m going to need to think of something new to blog about. We’re all excited about Burlesque right? No?

The Human Centipede (First Sequence)
Ever wanted to see three people stitched together in a chain so that they share a digestive system? I know, right? Haven’t we all? Luckily we don’t wait any more! Don’t forget this film is 100% medically accurate… like most other films.

I’m a sucker for a good horror but this seems little more than an excuse for gore and boobs and I’d hate to endorse that. I’m also against 3D films finding them lacking the necessary thrill for the extra cost. Regardless if you were to see this horror in 3D I will be queuing up with you. 3D horror is way up on my list of most enjoyable cinema experiences; things will fly in your face and whether they be boobs or gores it’s all pretty awesome.

A spy goes on the run after being accused of being a spy. Wait… an American spy is accused of being a Russian spy! Maybe. Certainly well timed what with all the Russian spies being uncovered in America. The question is, who is Salt? The answer presumably is Angelina Jolie, if not let me know.

The Illusionist (limited release)
A British/French animation following a magician who visits a small community and shares a connection with a young girl. It all sounds charming to be honest.

Mother (limited release)
A Korean mother kicks up a right fuss in the criminal community while trying to find out who framed her mentally handicapped son for the murder of a young girl. Sounds… foreign.

Pianomania (limited release)
It’s a documentary about a piano tuner trying to find the perfect pitch! And it’s foreign! Could be a contender for least mainstream film of the week.