My internet stumblings today led me here. A great article, and a great blog – you should so totally check it out.
It’s rare to find blog posts about film that really get into the nitty-gritty. It’s all very well to have an opinion – it’s the principle the blogosphere is based on – but it’s something else to really back it up with informed dissection of facts and a balancing of different perspectives.
I’m nearly always guilty of presenting my point of view without any supporting evidence, contrived, fabricated, legitimately sourced or otherwise. But posts like AD Jameson’s really do wish I did so more often – particularly as I’m allegedly compiling a doctoral thesis in film studies.
2010 was indeed an interesting year for cinema. I saw some things that made me think, I started watching some things that made me cringe, and I made or supervised the making of some interesting things myself. The whole time I absorbed, listened, watched and learned.
My top five films of 2010 are as follows (in no particular order):
- The Social Network
- Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
- The Ghost Writer
- Toy Story 3
Now, I haven’t seen Boy, Four Lions or Animal Kingdom yet – but I imagine they would fit into the next 5 somewhere (along with I Am Love, Shutter Island, The King’s Speech and maybe True Grit.
The reason these films made the list? I was able to enjoy them on numerous levels. Each of these flicks, in their own way, sated my thirst for innovation, for new conventions, new codes, new means of creating ‘cinema.’ I was able to pick apart any scene and digest the ways it changed the cinematic landscape.
I also enjoyed these films. Period. I was able to switch off and be absorbed by the story. It’s been a while since I’ve been able, on first viewing of a film, to really be swept up by a story. But each of these achieved that with me.
AD Jameson ruthlessly picks apart Inception in this post – and many, many kudos to him for doing so (particularly so carefully and deliberately). Inception is far from the greatest film ever made – and it is far from original. A story tutor once told me that there is no such thing as an original idea. Elements of Inception‘s ‘complex’ plot can be seen in any story by Philip K. Dick, Blade Runner, The Matrix, any number of anime series, What Dreams May Come – hell, at a stretch, even Back to the Future. That said, though, I still really enjoyed the film as a cinematic experience. The cutting may have been quite conventional, and the alignment of filmic elements a bit tired, but overall it was still very unique. It still made me guess, made me question, and made me think. And the ending is enough to annoy even the most hardened and avant-garde of filmgoers.
The Social Network is a film that has polarised my entire group of friends. Usually we’re all on the same page, but for some reason the Fincher/Sorkin combo left a few of my mates bored and unstimulated. I, however, found it entrancing. The script, at times, ran a little too much like everything Sorkin has ever done (particularly the opening scene). But once we got past that, the time-bending, artistically-embellished story of the founding of Facebook was like some kind of techno-dream (to go down another Inception-esque rabbit-hole). The cinematography was second to none, and brought these caricaturish characters to life in ways I doubt even Mark Zuckerberg himself could’ve imagined. And it was just a damn good yarn – of which there are too few in modern cinema.
Toy Story 3 made the top 5 because I’m a Pixar tragic from way back. I remember seeing Toy Story at the cinema for the first time as an 8-year-old, and thinking even then that movies would never be the same. It wasn’t only that the 3D animation was a novelty, it was that it had been combined so effortlessly with great storytelling, brilliant voice acting and sublime characterisation. It was a normal movie told in a new way. 3D animators of today (Over the Hedge, Megamind et. al.) – indeed all visual ‘storytellers’ – have a lot to learn from Pixar.
I watched The Ghost Writer on the plane back to Sydney from Singapore, and immediately regretted it. It’s Polanski. It’s brilliant. It needs to be watched in a cinema. Great acting, great story, great original text, and superb interpretation (not an exact reproduction of the novel, which too many adaptations are). ‘Nuff said.
Which leaves only one; without a doubt my favourite film of 2010. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Edgar Wright has long been one of my favourite filmmakers, ever since I bought the DVD set of Spaced a few years back. And of course with Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz his place in my list of favourites was upgraded to ‘Life Member.’ Scott Pilgrim just blew everything cinematic out of the water in 2010. It was so new, so fresh, so incredibly original, that it was almost tough to find something not to like. The ending was a little weak, I’ll grant, but apart from that, Wright’s pastiche of film styles and pop culture references, combined with an incredible eye for detail and innovative use of mise en scene, just makes this film officially incredibly awesome. If you haven’t seen the Blu-Ray, Scott Pilgrim is worth buying a BD Player and enormous television for.
Like I said, there are a few films I’ve missed this year, and will hopefully catch up on in the next month or two. But overall 2010 was a great year for movies. Let’s see what 2011 has in store.
Until next time…