The year 2010 was not much different from other years. Environmentalists are still angry, illegal immigration is still a problem, and North Korea is still a bully. With all the crime, hunger, and angst running rampant in the world, everyone could use a few good movies to cheer them up or give them a good cry. With that in mind, here is a list of the top ten movies of 2010:
10. Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, Dir. Oliver Stone- A delayed sequel to the 1987 favorite, Jake Moore (Shia LaBeouf) works on Wall Street for a company that is going under, and happens to be in love with the daughter of the famous Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas). In attempt to avenge the wrongdoing and resulting suicide of his mentor, Moore attempts to play the corporate game. He contacts Gekko for some insider advice, behind the back of his now Fiance, Winnie Gekko (Carey Mulligan), leading to trouble in paradise. Full of “no he didn’t’s” and “well, I never’s,” the sequel holds its own against the original. Douglas is as clever in this as he was in his last rendition, and LaBeouf gains the title of “Most Likely to Succeed.”
9. Death At A Funeral, Dir. Neil LaBute- An American re-make of a 2007 British comedy, Aaron (Chris Rock) is faced with the difficult task of dealing with his father’s funeral plans. As the event draws closer, Aaron is forced to endure numerous disasters, including the delivery of a person who is not his father in his casket, a drugged up new boyfriend, and grumpy Uncle Russell (Danny Glover).Though this may not be Oscar-worthy, it will definitely bring a smile to your face. Heck, you may even start to think of funerals in a new light.
8. Black Swan, Dir. Darren Aronofsky- Set in the studios of a New York City Ballet, Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman) leaps into the role of the Swan Queen. She excels in performing as the Swan Queen, but cannot seem to find the darkness in her to perform as the evil twin. With competition from Lily (Mila Kunis), Sayers begins to spiral into a world of exploration, ripe with greed, despair, and alienation. A twisted psychological thriller, this movie is no normal dance flick. You might even need a sleeping aid after watching it.
7. Conviction, Dir. Tony Goldwyn- Conviction may not show us the first or last wrongfully accused prisoner, but it certainly shows us one of the most inspiring cases. Kenny Waters (Sam Rockwell) has been pegged with the murder of an elderly woman in Ayer, Massachusetts, and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Deeply connected to her brother since childhood, Betty Anne Waters (Hilary Swank) is a high school dropout who returns to school for a law degree in order to get her brother out. After a plethora of obstacles and heartbreaks, Waters finally succeeds in her quest, much to the dismay of the Ayer Police Department. Swank delivers her best role since Million Dollar Baby, and it’s nice to see Minnie Driver again in a film, playing the supporting role to Swank.
6. The Town, Dir. Ben Affleck- Not only does Ben Affleck succeed as the director of this film but he also succeeds as the leading role in this Boston bank heist movie. Affleck plays Doug MacRay, a member of a crew notorious for robberies in the Boston area, alongside his brother-like figure, James Coughlin (Jeremy Renner). In the pivotal robbery scene, the bank manager, Claire Keesey (Rebecca Hall) is taken hostage and returned unharmed a short while later. However, to ensure she knows little about the robbery, MacRay develops a relationship with her that turns intimate. While trying to keep his true identity from her, he dreams of leaving the criminal life and starting anew. This is not without difficult, though, as a life crime tens to leave a long trail. The Town is, by far, Ben Affleck’s best flick, and Jeremy Renner is so believable as the scummy crook that we have to remind ourselves it’s a movie.
5. She’s Out of My League, Dir. Jim Field Smith- Yes, I just went from The Town to She’s Out of My League. Before judging me, I must say that this movie surpasses all comedies of the year. Jay Baruchel plays Kirk, the skinny, nerdy TSA employee who gets the chance to be with a woman way out of his league (See how well the title sums it up?). The woman, Molly (Alice Eve), is blonde, beautiful, and intelligent, making every character wonder what she could possibly want with him. As time goes on, though, we learn that the only thing keeping him from being good enough is his own attitude. Packed with off-the-wall comments from the leading role’s group of friends and family, the movie is endearing and funny at almost every moment.
4. Remember Me, Dir. Allen Coulter- Ally (Emilie De Ravin) and Tyler (Robert Pattinson) are two young people facing the pivotal debate: Intimacy versus Isolation. Ally’s youth included the witnessing of her mother’s murder, and has since faced her overbearing father, Neil (Chris Cooper). Tyler has lived a similar life of tragedy and strain, having to deal with his father, Charles (Pierce Brosnan), who has been almost unbearable to be around since the death of his son and Tyler’s younger brother. Throughout the story, we witness events that confirm a connection between the two, Ally and Tyler, though this is not the run-of-the-mill love story. When you think their hardships in life have passed, the final scene brings you back down to the trenches. The cast does an inspiring job of mixing tearful events with triumph.
3. The Fighter, Dir. David O. Russel- Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) is a boxer modeled after his once-great, now drugged-up brother, Dickie Eklund (Christian Bale. Trying to make a name for himself becomes difficult in the shadow of his brother, and with the bad management and training provided by his family. After meeting Charlene (Amy Adams), things morph into perspective. Working his way up, Ward becomes the fighter he always knew he could be, leaving the audience with genuine tears of joy. Wahlberg delivers his best performance by far, but the real prize-winner here is Christian Bale. If he fails to be nominated for and win Best Supporting Actor at the Oscars, a terrible mistake has been made.
2. Stone, Dir. John Curran- Whatever you heard about this movie or didn’t hear about this movie, you haven’t seen anything yet. Jack (Robert DeNiro) is a god-fearing parole officer who is about to retire. Stone (Edward Norton) is a convicted arsonist trying to get out. Through a series a twisted and sometimes sick events, Stone’s wife, Lucetta (Milla Jovovich), breaks Jack down to ensure that her husband gets out on parole. If you watch this movie, you will absolutely hate every character; I do also guarantee that you won’t be able to keep your eyes off of it. Skip this for family night, though.
1. I’m Still Here, Dir. Casey Affleck- The human-experiment documentary follows Joaquin Phoenix as he abandons his cinematic life for the glory of being the next 50 Cent. Though the thought of Phoenix being a rap star is utterly laughable, the documentary works on so many levels. At one point, we want to giggle (and then giggle some more); at another point, we want to throw a shoe at his head; and, at another point, we want to cry at how pathetic the idea is. In any case, the documentary is like nothing you have seen before.