It’s that time of year again; time to look back on the year passed and recognize the best of the best. It seems every year we complain the crop of movies isn’t up to par, but then the time to compile a list of the best of the year arrives and it’s increasingly difficult. This year gave me a particularly tough time thanks to my latest endeavor: film school.
Over the summer, I decided to take my passion for film one step further and enroll in Columbia University’s Film MFA program. It didn’t take long for the education to collide with my work. As I learned more about the filmmaking process, my perception in the theater started to change quite drastically. Misused techniques began to bother me, poor camerawork became as distracting as ever and too much exposition in the dialogue made my blood boil.
Last year I strove to keep my list as entertainment-based as possible. My top ten films of the year consisted mainly of selections that I’d watch over and over again without hesitation. Well, this year is different – slightly. While I’ve tried to keep my focus on films that simply made going to the theater a downright joy, what made this activity enjoyable for me changed a bit. With that being said, here are my top ten films of 2010, the purely fun, the poignant and simply well made.
Click here to see my top ten films of 2010.
As is said in the film, ballet isn’t for everyone and neither is Black Swan, which really should be considered an honor more than anything. The film is overwhelming in every sense of the word and could just be too much for some to handle. But, if you have what it takes to absorb this wild mixture of personalities, visuals and nightmares, the result is profound. This is easily one of the most emotionally impactful films of the year and is something that will certainly haunt you long after the credits roll in the best possible way.
Natalie Portman is Nina Sayers, a professional ballet dancer desperate to be in the spotlight. When the lead dancer in her company, Beth (Winona Ryder), is forced to retire, Nina finally gets the opportunity to audition for the lead role in their production of Swan Lake in which the White and Black Swans are played by the same performer. When the director, Thomas (Vincent Cassel), tells Nina she’s a natural for the role of the elegant and pristine White Swan, but lacks the natural sensuality required to play the Black Swan, Nina’s only chance to get the part is to give into Thomas’ sexual advances.
Once Nina is named the Swan Queen, the pressure to perform consumes her. Not only is her ex-ballerina mother (Barbara Hershey) keeping an incessantly watchful eye on her, but Nina herself must keep an eye on her competition, specifically the new free-spirited performer Lily (Mila Kunis). Lily embodies everything Thomas imagines the Black Swan to be, something Nina cannot achieve no matter how much she rehearses. As opening night draws near, Nina’s obsession with perfection becomes increasingly suffocating, disturbing and dangerous.
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Bust out your Slim Whitman records because the aliens of Mars Attacks! are back. Nine years after the film hit theaters, Warner Home Video is letting us enjoy the absurdity on Blu-ray and now that we’re getting alien invasion movie after alien invasion movie, the genre could use some comedic relief. We get a little of every type of humor in this one from political satire down to dark comedy, all of which are undeniably memorable and still hilarious even after multiple viewings.
However, even though Mars Attacks! is certainly a comedy, many of the main characters meet grizzly ends at the hands of the violent invaders. On top of the on screen casualties, Mars Attacks! also faced a painful destruction at the domestic box office. It opened with just $9.4 million and only went on to make $37.8 million in total. Even with the additional $63.6 million it accumulated overseas, there was no overshadowing the heaps of mixed reviews. Mars Attacks! now stands at a rotten 50% on the Tomatoemeter and a weak, but somewhat respectable 52 on Metacritic.
Mars Attacks! may not have emerged victorious in the eyes of the money-hungry studio folk or the critics, but that’s not to say the stars headlining the film met the same fate – even if they were annihilated in the film. In fact, Mars Attacks! must have taught the cast and thing or two about survival tactics because just about every member has eluded a beating in their careers at some point since that film hit theaters. Check out the most impressive survivors of Mars Attacks! after the jump.
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