Happy New Year! And with that, it means another year has ended, and the first round of opportunities to see 2010 movies has ended, making it a great moment to reflect back on my favorite cinematic experiences from the past year. The obvious highlight, for a great many people, and certainly for me, was Inception. But there was more chewy goodness out there as well…
To make things simply, Uncle Waterloo is making this a list, so without further adieu:
Christopher Nolan has been a favorite of mine since for the past decade, so it was no surprise to me when he once again managed to wow me at the theater, and this was perhaps his biggest wow yet, a mind-blowing journey into dreaming with a truly all-star cast (props to Leo, but Tom Hardy and Joseph Gordon-Levitt were the really stars, with Ellen Page gamely trotting along). Seriously, if you haven’t seen this one yet, stop wasting your time here and do it! Do it now!
2. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
This was geekdom’s version of last year’s (500) Days of Summer. Michael Cera has become a tad ubiquitous lately, but this is a perfect project for him, and there’s a lot to love even if you sorta hate him, or have never and don’t have an intention to read the original graphic novels.
3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
I’ve been writing about my love for Harry Potter at Lower Decks for years now, so it shouldn’t come as much surprise to see this one somewhere on this list. What helps this one stand out is that it’s basically a road trip movie, wizard style, one that cleverly splits the difference with the climactic final film to come next summer from the original book material. Props to Nick Cave for landing a song from one of my favorite albums in the movie!
4. The Losers
This is here because it was originally a comic book, plus it’s also awesome, with arguably 2010’s best all-around cast, anchored by Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Zoe Saldana, besting a formula that was also evident in The A-Team and The Expendables. This is the movie that most deserves greater awareness from the newly concluded year.
5. Alice in Wonderland
Lots of people saw this thanks to their 3D hangovers from Avatar, but it’s also a keenly inspired Tim Burton update from a familiar tale, with lots of action, and Johnny Depp.
I’m one of the last remaining M. Night Shyamalan devotees, and this unoffical addition to the canon is a lot more familiar to what originally gained him fans than anyone seemed to realize. Another virtually unknown film that deserves to be seen. I would call it a cross between The Sixth Sense and Lady in the Water, on the off chance that it’s helpful.
7. The Last Airbender
This official M. Night Shyamalan flick is his first for-hire production, but plays like his version of The Phantom Menace, with an improbably boy hero coming to the rescue, with lots of kick-ass action. Critics trashed it, but critics have hated Night since the credits ended on Signs, his last substantial hit.
8. The Book of Eli
Denzel Washington helps put some fresh spin on the traditional post-apocalyptic tale, with, ironically, an M. Night Shyamalan (circa Sixth Sense twist at the end.
9. Clash of the Titans
A lot of people soured on this one quickly (thanks to that 3D hangover), but I enjoyed it. Sam Worthington wasn’t as fresh in it as he was in Terminator: Salvation or, y’know, that other movie, but then, he did keep insisting that he was just a man, and his was to downplay his awesomeness, and that worked pretty well here. Things like Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes as gods served to compensate. Plus, the year’s first glimpse of the captivating and movie-stealing Gemma Arterton.
Another movie based on a comic book. Part of the fun is that it’s secretly a Bruce Willis movie, but another part is waiting to see all the stars eventually show up, the ones waiting right there in the opening credits. That’s refreshingly nice.
That’s not all there was, but that’s the top ten from my book…