Thursday, July 29, 2010

My half-plus year 8 best list

More than once I've complained about what a lousy year it's been for movies. I kept thinking this was probably the weakest film year I've experienced since I really started keeping track in the early 1990s.

Then I looked over my list. Yes, this year has been a disappointment. There were "blockbusters" that underwhelmed like Knight and Day, critical hits like Greenberg, which I found intolerably alienating, and a whole mess of E-ticket releases that I never even bothered to see, like Prince of Persia and The Sorcerer's Apprentice (bad year for Jerry Bruckheimer). 

Nevertheless, as I began to list every film that got at least an A-, I was pleased to recall that there has been a goodly amount of great stuff this year. That's thanks partly to my affinity for animation, and partly to the fact that I deliberately waited to compile the list so that it would have a little extra "kick." 

Those of you who get the reference I just made know I have to start my list with ...

1. Inception - I've seen this movie three times already, including one viewing in IMAX. I will probably see it at least twice more in theaters. I don't believe that I'll ever be able to take it all in - and that's the highest compliment I can give it. As is the case with all truly great movies, this one is a knockout that feels like I'm seeing it for the first time - even if it's for the third time.

2. Shutter Island: This got fairly respectable reviews when it was released - and I think that considerably underrates it. Yes, it's partly because I'm a fiend for Scorsese. It shows him having delirious fun with multiple styles, and DiCaprio gives one of his very best performances. Like Inception, it not only holds up on repeat viewings, but actually seems better with each new one.

3. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: When I first saw this engrossing thriller, it reminded me of David Fincher's Zodiac, which I also saw as a movie made with a modern touch, but with one foot stuck firmly in the gritty look of a 1970s thriller like The Parallax View. So I was delighted when I learned that Fincher is prepping the American remake, which stands a chance of being as good as the original. Whoever plays Lisbeth will have a hell of a task trying to emulate Noomi Rapace's electric performance. The follow-up, The Girl Who Played with Fire, while solid, is not nearly as compelling. but I still can't wait to see The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest.

4. Toy Story 3: The last 30 minutes or so of this film wound up my emotions more than any film this year.

5. Waking Sleeping Beauty: A marvelous documentary that recaps how Disney animation rose from a moribund state to become a powerhouse once again.

6. How to Train Your Dragon: How did DreamWorks make the best movie in its roster? By taking a page from the Disney/Pixar playbook and putting the Lilo & Stitch directors at the helm.

7. Despicable Me: How did Universal suddenly come up with an animated hit? By being the flat-out funniest film of the year.

8. Crazy Heart: This story of a down on his luck and washed up singer follows a fairly predictable path, but it resonates thanks to the performances by Jeff Bridges, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Colin Farrell, who didn't get as much mention as he should have.

Not bad, not bad at all. I sure hope it wasn't all just a dream.

Uh-oh ...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It seems to me you are a DiCaprio fan!