It is always a good year for film when you are hard pushed to whittle what you have seen in the last 12 months down to just 10 films, sadly this means that films such as The Kids Are All Right, Going The Distance, Due Date, Robin Hood and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo have narrowly missed out on a spot. There were stand-outs with the top 5 being a no brainer, however deciding on the number 1 spot proved much harder meaning they are pretty interchangeable though there must be a winner and … well read on to find out what it is and if you have yet to see any of these gems seek them out as soon as you can!

10.) Iron Man 2, it was a toss up between this and Due Date for the annual Downey Jr. slot, falling into the lower ebbs of my top ten defines that this was not quite the film Iron Man proved to be but was still a knockout none-the-less. Offering up enough great characterisation to match the spectacle as all good summer blockbusters should, and of course Downey Jr. was on top form especially in the all too brief altercations with an equally great Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer…if only we could have had more Ivan Vanko/Whiplash action!

9.) Winter’s Bone, this years Indie sleeper hit, it triumphed on the festival circuit (quite rightly so!) and was the most gritty couple of hours spent in a cinema auditorium all year, you could almost smell the woods and feel the grime under your fingernails. Concerning, as it did, a teenage girl’s (the excellent Jennifer Lawrence) search for her father amidst the Ozark community, this was more than a film transcending the boundaries to present an experience, one where you were so embroiled in the young girl’s plight that the tension was constantly and at time excruciatingly palpable.

8.) Daybreakers, for those in search of a proper vampire tale amidst all this angsty Twilight based tosh Daybreakers was a breath of fresh air. Action Horror film-making hasn’t been this well presented or handled since the original Blade, gore used to great effect and a great concept help make this a film that becomes much more than a sum of its parts. Ethan Hawke is as good as ever, balancing his serious side against the tongue in cheek banter of a game Sam Neill and Willem Dafoe. This was the biggest surprise of 2010!

7.) Toy Story 3, no-one had any right to expect anything other than greatness from Pixar though a third entry in the Toy Story franchise seemed pushing it given the lofty heights reached by the first sequel. Alas this surpassed even that film with its excellent finale and a plot that spun a prison movie out of a box of toys, the best since The Shawshank Redemption I would even go as far to say. Lotso was the triumph of the newbies but this really was Woody’s film, and his send-off, come the finale there won’t be a dry eye in the house and in a good year for animation was surpassed by only one…

6.) The Town, following up Gone Baby Gone was not an easy task. A masterpiece thriller in my eyes Ben Affleck’s second film needed to be something else to surpass it’s forebear, something it didn’t quite do but offered a crime saga in the mould of Heat that can stand toe-to-toe with Affleck’s debut. Dynamic and tense heist’s matched with some brilliant acting marked the man’s arrival as a director with real clout and more importantly talent along with bolstering his status as a leading man once more, the boy CAN act AND direct…the next Clint Eastwood, you can count on it!

5.) The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, for me this overcame a hell of a lot of bad press from the other side of the Atlantic, not particularly hyped it just failed to spark interest with audiences, this is a great shame as it is a wonderful flight of fantasy. Yes it’s light and frothy but it does what it sets out to do perfectly, entertaining from start to finish it never misses a beat, Cage gives a fantastic turn as Balthazar that is matched by Molina as the villain. Avoiding the usual pitfalls of this kind of film, over-plotting, too many characters etc. it comes out the other end shining bright, a great shame we are unlikely to ever see a sequel.

4.) Let Me In, overall a terrible year for horror fans (of which I am a big one) there was thankfully a saviour late-on as those dreaded words “Hollywood remake” adorned Matt Reeves, Let Me In. Thank God then that it managed to overcome the remake bug of being awful and actually turned out to be the only genuinely scary film I have watched in a very long time, up there with The Shining and th exorcist this was one film that was everything a great horror film should be, creepy with a pervading sense of dread and actually disturbing whilst gripping with a story of interesting characters.

3.) How To Train Your Dragon, not only the best animated film of the year but the only film that actually benefitted from being presented in three dimensions for the flying in particular. Everything here was spot on, voice cast, pacing, story, action, though what won out for me over Toy Story 3 in particular was the character design and the way we were presented with a story as old as time that was fundamentally very simply and have it feel fresh and fun whilst packing a real emotional whallop, the film with the biggest heart of 2010 by some way.

2.) The Social Network, a pitch perfect script by Aaron Sorkin, controlled direction with some excellent visual flourishes by Fincher and the year’s best ensemble (bar Inception!) mean that The Social Network actually managed to live up to, and surpass, my absurdly high expectations. The Jesse Eisenberg for Best Actor at the Academy Awards starts here! Though that really would fail to do justice to equally great casting in Justin Timberlake, and Andrew Garfield and Arnie Hammer as the Winklevi’, I could rant and rave all day about the merits of how great and how clever this film is, so I shall stop right there and let you discover for yourselves.

1.) Inception, all of the above means that Inception has managed to creep into the coveted number one slot. Deservedly so, as this is a film that has topped many critic polls and will likely see at least a swathe of mods during award season even if it will likely miss out to more astute entries to come in the next few months. It is hard to know where to start when congratulating Inception, bottom-line is this is proof that a big budget blockbuster can be intelligent, offering enough thought and intricate plotting and ideas to balance out and compliment the astounding set pieces, pieced together with the years best editing between no less than 4 action sequences all set to a magnificent score. Hyperboles lavished upon Inception seem the only praise and leave me yearning for what Nolan has to offer us in the future, aside from The Dark Knight mk. 2!

 

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