Saturday, December 25, 2010

This Year’s Best Films...

This year’s best films... following Roger Ebert

Wow! 2010 is over. Almost. It seems like yesterday when I spent a considerable amount of time reading a large number of Year’s Best, Decade’s Best lists at the beginning of the year. We are back. I love these lists. It’s a great way to update yourself what you have seen and what you have missed. Another interesting point is that no two lists are similar. It adds to the sense of adventure.
Usually, American film critic Roger Ebert posts a list of 20 best films of the year in alphabetical order. This year, he lists 10 films numerically and adds several others in alphabetical order.
Here’s Roger Ebert’s list: I have added the reviews of the films I have seen...


1. "The Social Network"
I need to see the film yet. However, everyone else seems to have seen the film and liked it. A strong contender for the Oscar for Best Film.

2. "The Kings Speech"
I love Colin Firth. Last year he was nominated for ‘A Single Man’ at almost all award functions. This year he should win some awards for his portrayal of King George VI of England, which overcame his speech impairment to announce Britain’s entry to the World War II.

3. "Black Swan"
Darren Aronofsky’s latest after ‘The Wrestler’. Natalie Portman in an Oscars-worthy performance as a ballerina losing her grip over reality (or is it?), supported by the towering personality of Vincent Cassel (the French star, one of my favourite actors), and Barbara Harshey as her domineering mother, in the psycho-sexual ballet movie. ‘The Red Shoe’ of our time.

4. "I Am Love"
Tilda Swinton sheds her clothes and everything else to reveal what she really is, one of the greatest actresses of her generation, in this film about a Russian-born Italian matriarch who does not really fit into her household, and who further complicates the matter by falling in love with her son’s friend. Reminds you of family sagas made in Europe in the 1970s. They don’t make films like this anymore.

5. "Winter's Bone"
A young girl’s journey into the heart of darkness in search of her father in rural America. American indie cinema never looked this stark and searing. A young heroine (Jennifer Lawrence; another contender for Oscars) never so tough and inspiring. And with such minimalism!

6. "Inception"
The most talked about movie of the year, that is, before ‘The Social Network’ arrived, and the audience woke up from the spell of Christopher “The Dark Knight” Nolan dream-heist thriller. To his credit, Nolan gives us an enjoyable film, a perfect summer blockbuster, if not as good as his previous outing. The film was this year’s number one pop-culture artefact, whatever that means.

7. "The Secret in their Eyes"
Ebert includes this Argentine Oscar winner for best foreign language film in 2009 in his list as it was released in America this year. The film would be in any list in any year. An existential crime thriller; the icing in the cake is the tracking shot at the crowded stadium chasing the suspect. Incomparable.

8. "The American"
George Clooney, the Hollywood eternal charmer goes sombre, plays a Alain Delon in ‘Les Samurai’. He is the American in a small Italian village, a skilled assassin, very much like the protagonist of Jim Jarmusch’s ‘The Limits of Control’. ‘The American’ looks like a long-lost brother of the aforementioned film in the sense that it is also equally reticent about its motives and use of dialogues. But ‘The American’ rounds off quite well, and well, you are never tired of watching George Clooney.

9. "Kids Are All Right"
This is the surprise of the year, a comedy about a lesbian couple and their two children, making the mainstream audience smile and chuckle. Or perhaps it is because it also reinforces the fact that the family is not really complete without the father, here looking like Mark Ruffalo. Poignantly funny.

10. "The Ghost Writer"
A classic Roman Polanski thriller, you know what to expect, the plot simmers slowly, till it boils over in the final moment, and you want to see the film all over again just to observe how the characters actually behaved. Pierce Brosnan is as charming as Tony Blair and Ian McGregor is sufficient faceless as the ghost to let the story unfold itself.


“127 Hours”
Danny “Slumdog Millionaire” Boyle’s drama about a young man caught between a rock and a hard place, in the canyons, which eventually leads him to cut off his own hand doesn’t read like an appetising recipe for a good entertainer. But it is. Especially when James Franco is at the best time of his career (Watch him do a Alan Ginsberg in ‘Howl,’ he is unbelievable. Somebody give him an award.)

“Another Year."
Mike Leigh's film about another year in the life of an elderly couple and the people touch their life. Usually, nothing much happens in a Leigh picture. Even by that standard, nothing much happens here. However, all Leigh movies are eminently watchable. This one is even better.

Sofia Coppola’a ‘Lost in Translation’ in Hollywood and Italy, with Stephen Dorff and Elle Fanning. Dakota’s little sister is a star in making, and Coppola shows she knows what she is doing, even without having to use dialogues.


"All Good Things."

"Carlos" Written and directed by Oliver Assayas

Atom Egoyan's sexual thriller starrting Amanda Seyfried, Julianne Moore, and Liam Neeson, starts innocuously enough and then takes a dangerous turn. I’m not even uttering the L-word.


Clint Eastwood quasi -after death- supranational- multi-strand meditation starrting Mat Damon.

Gareth Edwards' Mexian “District 9” of alien invasion and our own trammels.

"Never Let Me Go”
Mark Romanek's adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro's novel starrting Keira Knightley and Carrey Mulligan. An intelligent man’s “The Island.”

"Rabbit Hole"
John Cameron Mitchell’s film starring Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart about a couple grieving the death of their son. It does have to be as bizarre as “Anti-Christ.”

A winning story of a winning horse.

"Solitary Man"
Will Michael Douglas win an award for being the solitary man?

Read the Roger Ebert post

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