I’ll be posting my Top Ten Films of 2010 list on Monday, but as you all know I can never limit myself to just five or ten titles. So for the next couple days I’m giving you my “nomination” lists by genre: Action and Documentary today, Comedy later this evening, Thrillers (including horror and crime) and Drama tomorrow. Then Monday I’ll lay my Top Ten on ya.
My Favorite Action films of 2010
Obviously this could also go under “comedy” or “animated” or “family,” but for me the stand-out elements were the kinetic visuals, the soaring flying scenes, so Imma callin’ it “action.” (Likewise, Scott Pilgrim will be under “comedy” because its humor was stronger than its fighting scenes.)
One of the things I like about the new Karate Kid is that it’s not all just action, but actually a lot a quiet, thoughtful drama. But in the end the narrative still leads up to the Big Match, so “action” it is. (Yet The Fighter is going in under “drama.” My system and criteria is complicated, ie completely idiosyncratic.)
Hit Girl and that climactic scene set to Elvis’ “American Trilogy” remain some of my favorite things seen on movie screens this year.
I’ve said before how much this one grew on me over repeated viewings. Like an adopted mutt, I’ve really come to love its scruffy, goofy ways.
Another one that has just gotten better and better on repeated viewings–I’ve watched it four times so far, and that number may increase before this weekend’s over.
My Favorite Documentaries of 2010
(There is a glaring piece missing here — I did not get to see Inside Job in theaters this fall and from all accounts it could very easily be on this list.)
This documentary version of the Jack Abramoff saga (the dramatized version starring Kevin Spacey comes out this month) is one of those terrifying looks deep into the true heart of politics: pure, unvarnished, shameless greed. Doesn’t just show how the sausage is made, but how it’s completely bought and sold.
Internationally renowned street artist Banksy’s film about himself and others like him (and the wannabe director who originally tried to make the film) is a twisting fun house of real? fake? genuine? hoax? joys. In the end, whatever is and is not “true” here, the entire film ends up a truly exhilarating ode to the obsessive, expressive, fulfillment of creation.
It’s about how the comedienne hustles obsessively to stay employed, how she–like every other comic–uses humor to mask the pain, and how much she wants and tries to be a “good” person in the long run (even if that is ultimately just another cost-benefit assessment on her soul). The fact that the documentary itself is yet another piece of the “show-biz profile” puzzle only adds to its complex richness.
It came down to this and the equally stirring (and enraging) The Tillman Story. But while the Pat Tillman doc probes the corridors of power to uncover the shameful government and military manipulation of his death for PR purposes, Restrepo wins out because it’s an unbelievably up-close and raw glimpse at what life is like on the front lines of Afghanistan–told from the point of view of the men out there face to face with the enemy as well as the villagers whose hearts and minds are at stake.
Director Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth) takes on America’s broken, failing public school system with all the drama and gripping theatrics he and Al Gore used on global warming. It’s a showy, often manipulative film, but always mesmerizing, informative and infuriating. As a former public-school teacher, but mostly as an American who believes in education, I found Waiting for Superman a loud and clear clarion call to arms.
Which (if any) of these will make the Final Top Ten of 2010? Find out this Monday, and watch for Comedy, Thriller, and Drama lists coming up!