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JR'S TOP 10 FILMS-2010
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"Good Old JR" Jim Rutkowski weighs in with his picks for the TOP 10 films of 2010
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JR & BO'S TOP 10 FILMS OF 2010

JR is joined by Bocepheus in the Video Outhouse and together they give their TOP 10 FILM lists of 2010. They agree on some but disagree on many more as 20 films from the past year are discussed. and debated.

THE BEST OF 2010...
Movie Reviews by:
Jim "Good Old JR" Rutkowski
This years list took longer to compile than previous years. Getting the placement nailed down was the the sticking point for me. It seemed that I could take the top 5 choices, blow them up and whatever order they landed in would be just fine. So after a solid week of rearranging, deliberating and rearranging again, I decided to just throw it out there with the proviso that if you chat me up about this list in the next few days/weeks, the placement has probably changed.
What hasn't changed is what you WON'T find on the 10 best list. That's right. Your eyes aren't deceiving you. Social Network does not appear here. The one film that is at the top of virtually every other year end list does not show up on this list. Why? It wasn't that I thought David Fincher's film was not well made. It was. Unfortunately it's not so much a narrative as a deposition about an anti-charismatic Charles Foster Kane with social issues, class status anger, and homoerotic panic without a “rosebud” moment. To me it was lackluster, pedestrian, emotionally hollow and underwhelming.

The other movie that has pulled the wool over many peoples eyes this year is Darren Aronofsky's, The Black Swan. Black Swan is little more than exploitation cinema but its heavy pop psychology and complete lack of subversiveness make it shallow exploitation rather than transgressive. A cheap, campy horror movie masquerading as a psychological drama. Without any of the fun of a cheap, campy horror film. An overblown sandwich of a movie with Natalie Portman supplying the ham and Aronofsky bringing on the cheese. You want a great ballet movie? Look no farther than The Red Shoes.

Not that I've gotten that off my chest, we can get the festivities underway.
#10-EXIT THROUGH THE GIFTSHOP
The years best documentary. Or is it? The story of how an eccentric French shop keeper and amateur film maker attempted to locate and befriend Banksy, a renowned street artist, only to have the artist turn the camera back on its owner with spectacular results. Billed as 'the world's first street art disaster movie' the film contains exclusive footage of Banksy, Shephard Fairey, Invader and many of the world's most infamous graffiti artists at work. Is it the big hoax some have claimed? What makes Exit Through the Gift Shop so fascinating - and it is riveting, regardless of your interest in the art world - is the eloquent and exciting way in which it illustrates how beauty and meaning really are in the eye of the beholder and how that eternal phrase still holds true: There's a sucker born every minute.
#9-MOTHER
A mother desperately searches for the killer that framed her son for their horrific murder. As fleshy as it is funny, Bong Joon-Ho's Mother straddles family drama, horror and comedy with a deft grasp of tone and plenty of eerie visuals. As with Korean director Bong Joon-ho's previous film "The Host," "Mother" also is a movie about a monster. Only this one wears an apron. Bong once again pulls off the impressive trick of telling a story that manages to work as a splendid, straightforward example of a time-honored genre as well as a slyly subversive take on its conventions. This time around, he is aided immeasurably by the central performance from Kim Hye-Ja as the mother who will go to any lengths to help her son, even though her smothering manner towards him may be equally destructive--her place in the rankings of the great domineering screen mothers is all but assured.
#8-THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT
The most talked-about movie at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, The Kids Are All Right is directed by Lisa Cholodenko from an original screenplay that she wrote with Stuart Blumberg. Starring Annette Bening in a award caliber work. Mark Ruffalo and Julianne Moore are also top notch. A gay couple's two teenage children decide it's time they got to know their biological father, both children having been conceived through artificial insemination. The movie combines comedic surprise with poignant emotional truth in a funny, vibrant, and richly drawn portrait of a modern family. Worthwhile as both a well-acted ensemble piece and as a smart, warm statement on family values,
#7-127 HOURS
"...an ode to survival, a bracing story of man and nature and an exhilarating sensory experience. It's my favorite movie so far this year."  
A mountain climber becomes trapped under a boulder while canyoning alone near Moab, Utah and resorts to desperate measures in order to survive. In his impressive follow-up to Slumdog Millionaire, the Academy Award-winning director honors the lure of solitude while at the same time celebrating the beautiful necessity of other people. As gut-wrenching as it is inspirational, 127 Hours unites one of Danny Boyle's most beautifully exuberant directorial efforts with a terrific performance from James Franco. How do you make a movie about immobility? For a hyperactive stylist like Boyle, whose movies are at best thrillingly kinetic, the solution turns out to be absurdly simple. He heads inward.
#6-INCEPTION
" ...destined to be discussed and dissected by enthralled viewers for years to come."
The Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan brings us his dream project. One that he has been writing for the better part of a decade. In it he brings us a world where technology exists to enter the human mind through dream invasion, and a single idea within one's mind can be the most dangerous weapon or the most valuable asset. What he also brings us is the years most ambitious film. Smart, innovative, and thrilling, Inception is that rare summer blockbuster that succeeds viscerally as well as intellectually. Rarely is popular entertainment this elegant.
#5-NEVER LET ME GO
"...a handful of sensitive moments that explore the grasp of love and death, two experiences horribly perverted in this sci-fi dusted saga of medical achievement. "
Director Mark Romanek (One Hour Photo) directs an adaptation of the novel by Kazuo Ishiguro (one of the finest novels this reviewer has ever read). You could describe "Never Let Me Go" as set in an alternate-history version of postwar Britain, but as with all really good alternate histories, the changed universe really isn't the point. Romanek captures the slightly seedy and rundown reality of '70s and '80s British life in astonishing and even tragic detail; this is more like a period piece than a science-fiction movie. Starring the luminous Carey Mulligan, soon to be Spiderman, Andrew Garfield and former pirate girl Keira Knightly as children that meet at a peculiar boarding school called Hailsham House. I won't spoil the ultimate destiny of these characters. But it's a truism to say that speculative fiction is always about our world rather than an imaginary world, but it's certainly true in this case. The specific reality imagined by Ishiguro -- a caste system in which some human beings are sacrificed so that others may live -- may seem far-fetched. It will strike nearly everyone as morally reprehensible, and even the most hard-hearted science geek would not defend it. But things as bad as that have happened before and will quite likely happen again, and in any case this movie isn't a lecture about the horrors of human history. It's more like an allegorical reminder that we all live and die amid confusion and injustice, and that life seems too short no matter how long it lasts, and that the days we have are miraculous and then they are gone. rewarding.
#4-TOY STORY 3
"...the last twenty-odd minutes of the film is as beautiful a stretch of film-making as you are likely to see anytime soon...”
Pixar. Every year another film. Every year that film ends up on my list. This studio reminds me of the golden age of Hollywood and the old studio system. No talk of franchises or ancillary marketing. This is a studio intent upon making the best possible quality entertainment. Toy Story 3 ontinues the gold standard. Rare is the sequel that is as good as the original. Rarer still is the second sequel that matches its predecessor. In Toy Story 3, Pixar has not only tied a glorious bow on this series but also topped the previous entries. Never has the phrase “more of the same” been so rewarding. Alternately affecting, hilarious and heartbreaking and the most original prison-escape movie ever made.
#3-WINTER'S BONE
"Astonishing in its authenticity and never less than riveting...."
Bleak, haunting, and yet still somehow hopeful, Winter's Bone is writer-director Debra Granik's best work yet -- and it boasts an incredible, star making performance from Jennifer Lawrence. An unflinching Ozark Mountain girl hacks through dangerous social terrain as she hunts down her drug-dealing father while trying to keep her family intact. This is a world out of time and, despite the trappings of flinty realism, the film too unfolds like an elemental myth from the stormy past – a Greek tragedy driven by dark fates and struggling toward a catharsis. Every so often a film gets under our skin with its haunting authenticity, reinforcing our faith in the wonderfully transporting power of cinematic storytelling. Winter's Bone is unquestionably that film. This one got under my skin.
#2-KINGS SPEECH
"It’s nearly impossible not to like this literate period drama that relocates the “Rocky” formula from the boxing ring to the royal palaces...”
After the death of his father King George V (Michael Gambon) and the scandalous abdication of King Edward VIII (Guy Pearce), Bertie (Colin Firth) who has suffered from a debilitating speech impediment all his life, is suddenly crowned King George VI of England. With his country on the brink of war and in desperate need of a leader, his wife, Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter), the future Queen Mother, arranges for her husband to see an eccentric speech therapist, Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush). After a rough start, the two delve into an unorthodox course of treatment and eventually form an unbreakable bond. With the support of Logue, his family, his government and Winston Churchill (Timothy Spall), the King will overcome his stammer and deliver a radio-address that inspires his people and unites them in battle. What may outwardly seem like middle-brow, crowd pleasing Oscar bait ends up being not merely a spot-on period piece; it's also a heartfelt study in the shadings of courage, a film about duty and friendship that's often warmly funny and sometimes painful to watch.
Despite being about a royal family at a critical moment in history, "The King's Speech" doesn't shout about its many strengths. Rather, it urges you to lean in close, where its intelligence and heart come through loud and clear. We have begun to take the performances of Colin Firth for granted. Each time out, it's another award caliber portrayal. The same can be said here for his work here. But he is matched scene for scene by Geoffrey Rush. This film is a pleasure from beginning to end.
#1 TRUE GRIT
"... the visuals are a vast improvement, but they also keep the film rooted in outdated nostalgia, rather than unbound creativity."
Standard Coen Brothers Review Template: [Insert movie title] is the latest opus from the supremely talented writer/director/producer/editor duo. They reach into the annals of movie history to toy with the styles and conventions of a traditional [insert genre], and once again tell the parable of a man who unlawfully comes into some money, and is cosmically punished for his crimes. Carter Burwell’s score and Roger Deakins’ cinematography are peerless, and the performances are brilliant across the board. But best of all are the glimpses of the Coens' finger marks throughout proceedings; they’re like two wickedly funny deities who have crafted a cruel world in which everyone has a whip-fast sense of humour. It’s enough to make the doomed fates of even their most honourable characters palatable. [Restate movie title] is brilliant.

A rare remake that bests its predecessor on every level. Then again, this is not a remake of the 1969 John Wayne film but an adaptation of the great novel by Charles Portis. The novel has its narrative spotlight on the character of Mattie Ross. Here played by 13 year old first-time actress Hailee Steinfeld in what should be an Oscar winning performance. Jeff Bridges in the Rooster Cogburn roll is, in turns, funny and deadly. Whereas Wayne played the roll, as, well, John Wayne the legend. Bridges plays cogburn as a genuine individual. No pretenses. You can practically smell the stink coming off the character. Bridges could very well walk home with another Oscar this year. Matt Dillon as the hapless Texas ranger does fine work as well.

Only filmmakers with as impressive a back catalogue and supreme a talent as the Coen brothers could relax and produce a film as 'simple and straight' as True Grit and have it still be a thrilling, haunting, hilarious, minor-masterpiece.
 
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