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.
Associate Editor, Los Angeles
The Losers // The Losers was a pleasant surprise for me in 2010. I walked into it knowing nothing about the property and expecting very little but within the first action scene I was treated to a fun movie with great action scenes that still managed to ratchet up a body count. Mere hours after seeing the film, I purchased the graphic novels, which were good – but the film managed to improve upon several aspects. Still a fun film to me.
The Town // There have only been two years when the name Ben Affleck didn’t merit chuckling: 1997 and 2010. With a great turn behind the camera and an equally impressive one in front of it, Affleck helmed a movie that merged family, crime, shoot-outs, Boston accents, and creepy nun masks to great effect.
Middle Men // A little seen, inspired by true events film carried by the charisma of star Luke Wilson. Detailing the rise of internet commerce on the back of a porno inspired idea from a couple of functioning morons, Middle Men mixes boobs with mob violence and plenty of humor. Do yourself a favor and find this sleeper on home video.
The Crazies // Everyone knows I have a soft spot for horror and at least a tolerance for remakes. What I’m not a huge fan of, though, is George Romero. Sue me, most of his work sucks. Taking a middling old film and remaking it with Timothy Olyphant, however, will always get my attention, because I love Olyphant. With a respectable body count, a bunch of scares, and some stellar performances, The Crazies kicked ass on the horror front.
Edge of Darkness // When compiling a year end list, I like to shift my true order around just a touch to highlight some films that might otherwise get ignored. In either unusually strong or weak years, often times most lists are too much the same. While Edge of Darkness might not have blown everyone away, I was pleased with the mature handling of this thriller and the return of Mel Gibson to the big screen. Full of great performances, a smart story, and moments of mind shattering violence, Edge of Darkness felt like a call back to a smarter and more eloquent time period.
The King’s Speech // This witty, clever, and totally charming film proves once again that the British monarchy is an unending resource for delicious film fodder. Colin Firth as the reluctant monarch trying to overcome his speech impediment and Geoffrey Rush as his unorthodox teacher play beautifully off each other, while Helena Bonham Carter is delightful as the loving and committed Queen Mother. It’s obvious Oscar bait, but I don’t care. This is one of those rare films you can take your grandmother to and you’ll both walk away satisfied.
The Social Network // Biased or not, it’s a compelling look at the emergence of what would become a global phenomenon and the intriguing people behind it. It’s beautifully crafted by Sorkin and Fincher with terrific work from an exceptional cast – particularly Eisenberg and Garfield. But while I still think he’s just the cutest thing ever, JT’s performance was overrated.
Winter’s Bone // This chilling look at poverty in rural America pulls you in tight and doesn’t let go until long after the credits have rolled. It’s bleak, devastating, poetic and just a little bit beautiful. Jennifer Lawrence’s performance as the prodigal daughter searching for answers puts almost every other young actress out there to shame.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo // A terrifically stylish noir thriller featuring one of the most kick-ass female heroines in recent memory. At times the savagely violent scenes seem almost gratuitous, but the classic whodunit-style storytelling and immensely satisfying ending make the brutal scenes worth enduring.
Inception // For a movie all about being asleep you certainly have to stay alert and focused to know what the eff is going on, but those who do are rewarded with an innovative labyrinthine plot, cunning thrills and eye-popping visuals. The zero-gravity fight scene alone is worth the price of admission. An intelligent blockbuster, what a novelty.
Read on to the next page to view the picks of Robert Levin, Landon Palmer and more. Or click “View All” to see the entire list at once (Warning: May cause the page to load slower…)