Lights, camera…

29 12 2010

With the year almost done, it’s fashionable to concoct various Top Ten lists. Top Ten fashion faux pas. Top Ten celebrity dubious achievements.

When I’m not on the bike, or lamenting not being on the bike, I seem to spend a lot time watching movies. The Friday matinee is one of my favorite indulgences. I have a whole folder of bookmarks for dvd and blu-ray web sites so I’ll know when I can see the movies I’d missed in the theater in my own home theater. I miss Premiere magazine for its great coverage on the business of movies..

So last night I sat down and compiled my annual list of movies I’d seen in the previous year. Usually I see about 60-70 movies a year, at the theater and on dvd/blu-ray. But this year, the count hit only 50, although that will likely go up by a couple in the next few days.

It’s not like I didn’t have opportunity to see more. I just think there wasn’t a whole lot of compelling content. In fact, it was a bit of a chore to come up with a list of ten worthy of being called top films. Granted, I haven’t yet seen The Social Network or Black Swan; the former’s blu-ray release is imminent, so I’ll wait, while we’ll likely see the latter on New Year’s eve. And I haven’t yet watch my blu-ray of Toy Story 3, which also made a lot of critics’ Top Ten lists.

1. The Secret in Their Eyes – Actually, this was a 2009 movie, but it didn’t get released widely into theaters until early this year, and on blu-ray in the early summer. I struggled through the first part of this twisting thriller, but a riveting foot chase through a soccer stadium snapped me to attention and the film had me hooked from there. Be sure to check out some of star’s Ricardo Darrin other work, Nine Queens and The Good Son.

 

2. Mesrine: Killer Instinct – Another film that steeped for awhile before finally seeing the projector bulb in North America, this is a sprawling biopic about a notorious French gangster whose career spanned the 1960s and 70s. Tough, in-your-face violent, with a riveting performance by Vincent Cassel. The second part of this epic is also just out on dvd/blu-ray.

 

3. 127 Hours – I loved Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire and he brings much of that same kinetic energy to this very intimate story about a hiker’s desperate measures to save himself when he becomes trapped by a fallen boulder. James Franco holds up his end of the deal with a performance that’s brave, funny and occasionally heart-wrenching.

 

 

4. The King’s Speech – Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush could sit across from the breakfast table from each other and it would make compelling cinema, but put ’em in a historical drama about King George’s desperate desire to overcome his stuttering as he ascends to the throne, and the man who helps him conquer his disability while forging a friendship and it’s grin time.

 

 

5. Ondine – This one totally snuck under our radar, and I kept passing it over at the Blockbuster until I picked it up one day to read the back, only to discover it’s directed by Neil Jordan, whose specialty is small, character-driven movies with a touch of magic. Colin Farrell goes back to his Irish roots, and his real-life partner is beautiful as the title character, a mysterious visitor from the sea who falls into Farrell’s life.

 

6. The Fighter – Not the greatest boxing movie, but a great story about brotherly bonds and familial obligation. Christian Bale is awesome as a cracked-out ex-contender whose trying to train his brother, Mark Wahlberg, towards a title shot.

 

 

7. The Town – Ben Affleck directs and stars in this east coast version of Heat, and while he’s no Michael Mann nor Robert DeNiro, and Jon Hamm is a far cry from Al Pacino, the story has some great subplots and bang-bang set pieces.

 

 

8. Winter’s Bone – A sad story about a young woman’s attempt to find out the truth about what happened to her father is as bleak as its setting in the wintery Ozark mountains.

 

 

 

9. Green Zone – Matt Damon goes all Jason Bourne, but without the identity, on the US military. Paul Greengrass is one of the best directors of action films, with a feel for gritty realism that often makes his movies seem almost like documentaries.

 

 

10. Fish Tank – Katie Jarvis gives a breakout performance as a tough, rebellious 15 year-old whose homelife is a mess until her mother’s new boyfriend seems to throw her a lifeline. Or does he. Not an easy movie to watch, especially as the creep factor climbs.

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One response

30 12 2010
Linda

Mario you are good, this should be a part of your job!!

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