Rudie’s Top 10 Theatrical Releases of 2010

The year is over and it has been a great year for myself and the CriterionCast. First of all, this has been the first calendar year for the CriterionCast and let me just say, its been a fun ride!

I never thought this blog and podcast that Ryan and I started back in July 2009 would ever open as many doors for myself as it did. Starting in January, when Travis and I got the opportunity to travel to Park City, Utah to cover the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, to (finally) meet Ryan in San Diego for Comic Con and finishing out the year in New York with the New York Film Festival and New York Comic Con.

I am eternally grateful for our readers and listeners for making it all happen. Without your support then the CriterionCast would just be three guys talking about movies over Skype. We look forward to 2011 and hope to have more success in the new year.

Without further ado, here is my Top Ten List of 2010, with a few honorable mentions afterward:

10. Tiny Furniture

Lena Dunham’s second feature was a breath of fresh air for me. The poignant and cleverly written film brings so much to independent cinema. Always smart, funny and never obnoxious, Tiny Furniture is a very exciting film from a new exciting voice. With dialogue and characters so witty, hip and memorable, this is a movie that will stay with you. A touching film about being lost after graduating college.

09. Let Me In

A quiet and slow horror film that elevates the genre to high art. Matt Reeves’ third film in 14 years is thrilling, suspenseful and more horrific than the original Swedish film. A sometimes touching but rather disturbing symbiotic relationship between a very young boy and a vampire. It’s very rare that a remake exceeds its predecessor, this is one of them.

My review of Let Me In.

08. Carlos / The Way Back (tie)

This is a bit of a cheat but I felt these films were warranted, somehow married in my mind.

Carlos – Olivier Assayas shows that he can make an epic picture with an extremely wide scoop but at the same time give it as much intimacy as most of his past work. Assayas brings this rock n’ roll style to this extremely gripping film. At 5 and a half hours long, Carlos is a surprisingly a breeze to watch and moves at a compelling pace. Edgar Ramirez is brilliant as the terrorist known as The Jackal/Carlos.

The Way Back – Peter Weir’s latest proves a prison break movie doesn’t have to be about the process of the prison break. Far more interesting is this story of survival, commitment and war. With a running time of 133 minutes, Weir delivers a feast of cinema.

07. Enter The Void

This film has an unfair ‘controversial’ tag attached to it when, to me, it successfully showcases the cycle of life on the screen. This is a film of ideas, ideas that are hard to wrap your head around. Gaspar Noé’s camera work is never excessive and effectively is thought provoking as its premise. Enter The Void has the best cinematography in a film in 2010. Gaspar Noé brings us into a world I’ve never seen before in cinema. Instead of watching Tron: Legacy for stunning visuals, watch Enter The Void. It will be more rewarding!

Plus the opening title sequence alone is worth the price of admission.

My review of Enter The Void from the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.

06. Tamara Drewe

Stephen Frears’ comedy about life on the English countryside is endlessly funny, sexy and full of happenstance. With unforgettable characters dealing with the tragedy and absurdity of life and the idea of good and bad actions are often left unrewarded or unpunished. Gemma Arterton as Tamara Drewe is so seductive and sexy in this wonderful re-telling of the ugly duckling with a pinch of Thomas Hardy.

My review of Tamara Drewe.

05. Inception

One of the very rare Hollywood blockbusters that convey an originality in execution and style. Christopher Nolan creates a dream world where the stakes are high and thrilling and does so with an art house sensibility and accessibility that everyone can enjoy.

04. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

Edgar Wright does it again! This time he takes the genres of comic books, video games and movies and masterfully combines them into something I have never seen before on the screen. He artfully balances characters, fun and fan service. The editing alone is reason enough to watch this movie. This film is endlessly exciting!

My review of Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World.

03. The Social Network

It’s a rare case when a writer overshadows its director or film. Aaron Sorkin takes is signature rapid fire dialogue and infuses it with David Fincher’s cinematic eye to create a great film about loneliness in the digital age. Who would’ve thought a film about Facebook would be so compelling?

My review of The Social Network.

02. Black Swan

Darren Aronofsky’s masterpiece about a ballerina’s dissent into madness. Cinematically thrilling and beautiful, Black Swan isn’t afraid to push its characters and its audience into a frantic frenzy. Very bold and daring, it’s an interesting look into an obsession with perfection.

My review for Black Swan.

01. Exit Through The Gift Shop

Banky’s film about street art says more about art and commerce (I mean, c’mon, it’s in the title of the movie) than any other film I’ve seen all year. Every time I watch this movie, I find something new to add to this wonderful puzzle about truth and beauty. It tip-toes around fact and fiction, it refines, recreates and restructures the documentary format throughout the duration of the film. Endlessly conversational!

Honorable Mentions:

  • Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island
  • Lee Unkrich’s Toy Story 3
  • Ben Affleck’s The Town
  • Henry Joost & Ariel Schulman’s Catfish
  • Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours
  • Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Uncle Boonme Who Could Recall His Past Lives
  • Brillante Mendoza’s Lola
  • Dean DeBlois & Chris Sanders’ How To Train Your Dragon
  • David Michôd’s Animal Kingdom
  • Adam Green’s Frozen
  • Joel & Ethan Coen True Grit
  • Sylvain Chromet and Jacques Tati’s The Illusionist
  • Jon Chu’s Step Up 3D

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