2010 Year in Review

You hear that? That’s the sound of everyone in Hollywood sitting up and finally taking notice of the absurdly talented Mark Ruffalo. While the actor has turned in a series of accomplished roles (including You Can Count on Me, Zodiac, The Brothers Bloom, and The Kids Are All Right) over the years, he’s never quite vaulted into big-name, big-award territory. Until now. Though his casting as Bruce Banner/The Hulk in Joss Whedon’s upcoming The Avengers was an unexpected choice, Ruffalo’s work in the film is outstanding (I can vouch for that, having seen the film last week), and fans will be very pleased with his take on both Bruce and “the other guy.” To that end, Variety reports that Ruffalo has landed his first post-Avengers role, and it’s one that may make an Oscar winner out of him yet. Ruffalo has now joined the cast of Bennett Miller’s long-gestating true crime story, Foxcatcher. Miller has been trying to get the film made for years, and Steve Carell and Channing Tatum have both been set to star for months now, but the casting of Ruffalo has proven to be especially important – as it will be Ruffalo who takes the co-leading role, not Tatum, as once reported.

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In most years of film one can logically find a common theme amongst a decent number of pictures to apply a label that sort of embodies what that year may represent in hindsight. Such as, the year of the Animated Film if a bunch of strong animated pictures were released, or the year of Jude Law if Jude Law did stuff, or the year of the R-Rated sex comedy if there were a bunch of films that made you remember you’re comically bad at sex.

The theme is usually something very superficial and easy to locate, unlike certain things difficult to locate that make you comically bad at sex. However, I’m somewhat of an introspective individual. I don’t like to buy into simply what’s on the surface. I like things to mean more. I like the potential of finding something connective between some generally unrelated material.

Basically what I’m saying is I like to make shit up for the purpose of entertaining journalism. Yet, despite my reaching deep into the abyss of irrelevance I have come back with the knowledge that a handful of pictures from 2010 contain something substantial about them, or contained within them that does work metaphorically as strong advice about particular relationship situations, or sexual inadequacies or troubles.

The fact that I found them in films ranging from children’s fare to horror pictures obviously says more about the film industry than my obsession with finding sex in everything.

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As I expressed earlier in the week as our 2010 Year in Review began, I take it as a great honor that I am able to put together my list of the Best Films of the Year as part of my Editor’s Picks entry. And while I’m a massive fan of my own perspective and opinions, I’m an even bigger fan of the writing and ever-diverse tastes of the Film School Rejects reviewing staff. These are the folks who, through their sensational (and often divisive) review-writing, keep you coming back for more each and every day. They travel the world and brave the crowds at festivals, conventions, preview screenings and special events to bring you some of the industry’s sharpest, most honest film coverage. And I for one am honored to have them all on this team. Just as I did last year, I couldn’t wait to see which films each writer would put on their Top 5 lists as the best films of the year. And just as they did last year, they didn’t disappoint with their unique, ever-fascinating selections. So read on dear reader, as we present the crown jewel of our 2010 Year in Review: The Staff Picks.

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There are two reasons why looking at the best movie posters is fascinating. The first is the inherent interest that all advertising brings. It’s art that’s meant to sell something that can’t admit it’s trying to sell anything in order to succeed. The second is that rating the best of the best in the poster world has the most potential to showcase films that never end up on lists this time of year. This is a celebration of the beauty and effect that movie posters can have. It’s for the films released in 2010, and it’s the posters from the studios (or else Tyler Stout and Olly Moss would completely dominate). The awards are broken up into five categories in order to recognize the wide array of styles and concepts, and because there were a lot of great posters this year (among the absolutely terrible photoshop jobs that still haunt us). See if your favorite made the cut.

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Welcome back to that thing the title line said it is! Well another year has passed and you’ve wasted dozens of Fridays scarfing down bad movies until your eyeballs cry out for mercy. Good for you! When Master Chief Neil Miller asked me to a be a part of the Film School Rejects 2010 Year in Review, I cursed him for making me put forth some modicum of effort. I mean honestly, how could I possibly choose my 10 favorite Junkfood Cinema entries when I don’t feel any of them are worth celebrating? So instead, I’ve decidedly to launch what will surely not become a yearly tradition: The Junkfood Cinema Awards. Prepare yourselves…for The Junkies!

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As with any other cinematic year, many of the best movies of 2010 flew so far under the mainstream, 3D-centric radar that there was almost no way to catch them in theaters, unless you live in New York or L.A., or are blessed by a local arthouse. Now, then, is an appropriate time to thank the movie gods for Netflix (and, to a lesser extent, video on demand), where these ten terrific movies will be given the shelf-life denied them on the theatrical circuit. Without further ado, here are our picks for the year’s best movies you didn’t see.

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Some folks love trailers while others think they’re the devil’s work made to foil your plans of avoiding spoilers, but regardless which side of that particular fence you land on, few people would argue that trailers are an art unto themselves and deserve their own recognition. It’s for that reason that we present the ten best trailers of the year. They’re in alphabetical order, but in the spirit of trailers being too often filled with spoilers these days, let me just reveal right now that the best trailer of the year is the red-band one for Hobo With A Shotgun.

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If you thought we were meta enough with our list of best editorials, you were wrong. You were also wrong about that pub quiz question you missed last night but kept claiming, “the wording was confusing.” That’s okay. Soothe your second place loss to the “Long Beach Pub All Stars” by digging in deep to this list of lists. What criteria did we use to pick them? Simple. The key was finding those lists which acted as a catalyst for discussion, for reverie, for passion, and for self-reflection. The subjects might seem ridiculous, but there’s nothing like looking back on the year and seeing where movies took our minds. Time to get meta and do our part to bring about that ETEWAF Patton Oswalt keeps talking about.

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Upon discussion and deliberation between Landon Palmer and Adam Charles (the two primary authors of the Criterion Files column) it was decided that due to the column’s state of near infancy and a small number of articles to choose from they would not reflect upon each other’s incisive works throughout the year of what was considered, or what they felt to be, the articles each were either most impressed by from the other, or considered the most indicative of what the column represents – and instead opted to choose 10 releases of the Criterion company in 2010 they felt most noteworthy of attention.

Delving into each other’s works even if the output was extended to 26 articles each over the course of a full year to choose the favorites from would actually prove to be a much simpler task than what was done for this year’s Year in Review. Trying to narrow down a list of the most significant Criterion Collection releases of any given year to a list of 10 is like…well, trying to list the 10 best of anything of which everything deserves attention. So, take these not as a slight against any of the other releases by any means (please, see every film they include in the library because they’ve selected it for a reason), these just happen to be a consolidation of releases Landon and Adam considered either significant for the availability on home video, marked a trend of the company’s direction of material to include in the library, personal affections, or were simply just incredible works in presentation of the picture previously not able to be experienced from prior releases.

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Welcome to my list of the best foreign films of the year! In case you’re wondering why certain films appear to be missing there are a few factors to take into account. First, films like Mother, A Prophet, The Good the Bad the Weird, and The Secret In Their Eyes are movies that made previous lists. Second, I haven’t seen everything that was released this year. And third, your favorite foreign release from 2010 may actually have been a piece of shit. I kid. But seriously, these are my picks for the ten best foreign language movies of the year in alphabetical order. As a bonus I’ve added in the five best English language foreign films for you as well. I know. You’re welcome. (Full reviews for all of the titles below can be found via our Reviews database, and my weekly excursions into foreign films can be found here.)

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Being a heavy horror fan is a tough gig. Most producers look at horror as a quick buck genre, a franchise to be used, abused, ridden hard and put up wet to make a profit. They don’t really care too much about putting out quality product, instead they just opt for product. Or at least that’s how it seems. 2010, to me at least, felt like one of the weakest years on record for horror. I thought last year was bad, but then the past 350 some odd days happened. I’m pretty confident I could say that this is the worst year for horror since the birth of Film School Rejects. It felt that bad. Regardless of my own disappointment in the movies this year, and in myself for missing a few releases, I scrapped the bottom of the barrel barren and plucked out ten (plus one!) [that means 11] horror movies that aren’t complete wastes of your time. Then again, you might just be better off buying all the Roger Corman Cult Classics for sale from Shout! Factory.

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In many ways, the end of the year is just like every other part of the year: we want to make lists. So we come up with lots of list ideas. One idea this year, like almost every year, is a list of the best action films. But this year, 2010, is special. This article is special. Why? Because this Year in Review article is going to kick off a brand new column that you’ll be able to rock and roll with every Wednesday in 2011: Bullet Points. Like The Coroner’s Report, Bullet Points will focus on a particular genre. I’m not talking down to you when I say that it’s action films,  though you probably guessed that pretty quickly. To kick off this column right and make 2010 just explode all over itself, we’re counting down our ten favorite action films.

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Whether they are hitting shelves This Week in DVD or This Week in Blu-ray, chances are slim that a great home video release gets by either Rob Hunter or Neil Miller. Together, they provide some of the blogosphere’s most consistent (ok, mostly Rob, but you get the idea) coverage of the best take-homes from week to week. Whether you’re using them to help you fill your shopping cart or your Netflix queue, surveys have shown that you are using them. And with 2010 coming to a close, we thought it only fitting to give these two shut-ins a shot at listing their favorite home video releases of the year. From the fun to the feature-filled, there were plenty of great releases from which to choose. So prepare yourself, as you always do, to sacrifice the weight of your pocketbook in exchange for in-home cinematic bliss.

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It’s that time of the year again: that brief span of time in between Christmas and New Year’s when journalists, critics, and cultural commentators scramble to define an arbitrary block of time even before that block is over with. To speculate on what 2010 will be remembered for is purely that: speculation. But the lists, summaries, and editorials reflecting on the events, accomplishments, failures, and occurrences of 2010 no doubt shape future debate over what January 1-December 31, 2010 will be remembered for personally, nostalgically, and historically. How we refer to the present frames how it is represented in the future, even when contradictions arise over what events should be valued from a given year. In an effort to begin that framing process, what I offer here is not a critical list of great films, but one that points out dominant cultural conversations, shared trends, and intersecting topics (both implicit and explicit) that have occurred either between the films themselves or between films and other notable aspects of American social life in 2010. As this column attempts to establish week in and week out, movies never exist in a vacuum, but instead operate in active conversation with one another. Thus, a movie’s cultural context should never be ignored. So, without further adieu, here is my overview of the Top 10 topics, trends, and events of the year that have nothing to do with the 3D debate.

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One of my favorite non-starters for articles is the very bland “as you may know.” There’s no doubt in my mind that you’ve seen me use it in the past (I’m doing it again right now). So when I thought about how to begin this year’s top ten article, I wanted to begin by saying “as you may know, one of my great honors around here is to deliver my list of the ten best films of the year.” But you may not know how much of an honor that really is. In fact, it’s difficult for me to put into words how honored I feel to have anyone read this at all, let alone the scores of readers we see on a daily basis here at Film School Rejects. It’s safe to say that I speak for everyone here when I say that I am deeply honored by the opportunity just to write about film. You, the reader, offer that to us every day with your patronage. So my hope is that I can do you proud, dear reader, as I present my list of the ten best films of 2010. This year saw a great deal of personal turmoil for me, meaning some movie-watching blind spots. But some late-year scrambling has pushed my total films seen number well north of 200. And of those 200 or so eligible films, whittling it down to ten wasn’t quite as difficult as it’s been in recent years. Does that mean that […]

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We here at FSR pride ourselves on speaking with authority. It doesn’t always happen (especially when I’m writing about Inception after drinking three boxes of wine), but it’s the goal we strive for. We’re bursting on the brink of boastfulness to provide a service most other film sites don’t offer – the ingenuity and odd creativity of our team of writers. Our readership is up 46% this year and that’s thanks in a major way to our fans, to the fourth box of wine, and to these features and editorials. If you missed them the first time, enjoy adding your two cents. If you’re catching them for the second time around, feel free to flame on for old time’s sake. (Click on any of the titles below to read the full articles.)

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As the movies of 2010 comes to a close, it’s time to look back and revisit the finer points of cinema. But here at Film School Rejects, we like to turn the spotlight not just on the best, but also on the worst. This year has been a particularly rough year for movies as more films fizzled than we expected. With the year quickly coming to a close, it’s time to look back and realize which films didn’t just disappoint, but caused us the most pain. So with the help of the entire staff here at FSR, our own curator of the wretched Kevin Carr has compiled the list of the year’s most unwatchable, unbearable and unfortunately unforgettable films — may there be mercy on the souls of anyone who endured all of these gems…

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