Friday, December 31, 2010

Black Sheep's Top 10 of 2010!

(Scroll over any film title to read the full length Black Sheep review.)

It is the first day day of the new year and I'm happy. I'm happy to put certain aspects of the last year behind me, happy to look ahead toward what waits for me and happy to look back at my most celebrated moments as a film critic in 2010 as well. There are three in particular that come to mind ...

I've been published before but never in high gloss colour. My interview with the Academy Award winning documentary filmmaker, Louis Psihoyos, about his first feature, THE COVE, was published in Movie Entertainment magazine, the magazine of The Movie Network in Canada. It was a thrill to see my name in print like that and to know that possibly tens of thousands of film lovers across Canada would be reading my work. Movie Entertainment still publishes my monthly column on their website, letting people know what to watch on TMN that month, and intends to publish my interview with Ryan Reynolds, for his film BURIED, this summer.

If you read Black Sheep at all regularly, you would know that this year I was a fully accredited member of the press at the 2010 edition of the Toronto International Film Festival for the first time. I saw 30 films, met tons of great people, interviewed a variety of filmmakers that I never dreamed I would ever meet and I even worked my first red carpet, for Woody Allen no less. My coverage of the festival on Black Sheep brought in the highest readership numbers I've seen in the five years the site has been around and led to my being published on other great sites, like Toronto Film Scene and The Mark News. I hope TIFF invites me back to the party again next year because I'm not sure I can go back after feeling the power of the press pass.

The third thing is perhaps the most important. I've only lived in Toronto for a year and a half now and I haven't had the easiest of times making friends. In January of this year, I took my first real steps towards changing that when I met a group of local film bloggers for their monthly meeting. It isn't so much a meeting though as it is a bunch of film geeks getting together, drinking and shooting the shit about movies really. And while it may not sound like much to some, it has allowed me the possibility to meet people that make me feel a lot more like I belong here. A big shout out to James McNally of Toronto Screen Shots for the original invite!

Like my personal life, 2010 was a bit of a rocky year for film as well ... or at least I thought it was at the time. I griped all year about how there were no good movies coming out but when it came time to actually narrow down the 120+ films I saw all year to a list of 10, I had a very difficult time doing so. Difficult is relative here as how hard is it really to sit down and think about movies you like? I managed to get her done though and I am ready to share this list with you today.

(insert drum roll here)

Here is Black Sheep Reviews' Top 10 of 2010 ...
(in alphabetical order)

Directed by Darren Aronofsky

I love when I am truly excited for a film and it does not disappoint. BLACK SWAN is that experience for me. The moment it ended, I wanted to watch it again and again. I still do. It effects all who see it, regardless of how much they enjoyed the film. It just crawls under your skin and stays there until you start to sprout feathers of your own.

Directed by David O. Russell

I knew after five minutes of watching THE FIGHTER that I was about to see one of the best pictures of the year. The film has an energy that really gets you in the mood for a good wallop. The entire ensemble knocks the movie out of the ring and Russell finishes by making the best film of his career.

Directed by Luca Guadagnino

Every once in a while, I go to the movies just to go. I don't take notes; I don't write about it afterward. I just sit back and enjoy the experience. I saw I AM LOVE like this and it was like heaven. It is beautiful in every regard it can be - from picture and sound to performance and dialog. I too was love when it was done.

Directed by Christopher Nolan

When I saw INCEPTION in theatres, I was disappointed. I wanted it to be more emotional, to be more revealing about humanity and our collective subconscious. When I watched it again at home, I realized I wanted it to be something it just wasn't. And what it is, is pretty freaking awesome.

Directed by Lisa Cholodenko

Some will say that indie film director, Lisa Cholodenko, sold out when she made THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT but I commend her for making the marginalized, accessible. The incredibly talented cast is so earnest in their love for each other as a family that you can't help but feel it too. This is what a family looks like.

Directed by Tom Hooper

I am very happy to see that THE KING'S SPEECH family is the buzz of awards season this year. Director Tom Hooper's emerging career is so promising and his work here is seemingly effortless. And with Colin Firth on the throne, it wouldn't surprise me to see the film crowned king come Oscar time.

Directed by Martin Scorcese

Martin Scorcese's psychological thriller, SHUTTER ISLAND, was the first truly great picture of 2010. It is not without its flaws but it presents itself and its ambitious agenda with great confidence, so much so that you feel as if you too are thrown right onto the island with everybody else, at the center of an elaborate mind game that you may not survive.

Directed by David Fincher

THE SOCIAL NETWORK is something like a perfect picture. Every element comes together to provide both entertainment and insight in a way that is as astonishing as it is unexpected. People scoffed at the idea of a Facebook movie (I may have done some scoffing myself) but how could we ever have known that this is what they would do?

Directed by Lee Unkrich

For the second year in a row, the Pixar people have made me cry like a baby at the movies. TOY STORY 3 seemed like unnecessary pandering in concept but its execution is so daring and delightful, that it is easily the best of the three. The fact that some of the most tense and emotional film moments of 2010 came from an animated feature is a great feat for many.

Directed by Debra Granik

Debra Granik's chilling thriller, WINTER'S BONE, was one of the year's most unexpected surprises for me. It is an incredible testament to the human spirit and it showed me a side of people in a little corner of the world that I had never imagined. Jennifer Lawrence gives the breakthrough performance of 2010 in this film.

There you have it, folks. My 10 favourite films of 2010. Stay tuned for some very big changes around here and, of course, the announcements of the 2010 Mouton d'Or Awards coming later this month. In the meantime, here are my 2010 honourable mentions:

Directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu

Directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman

Directed by Banksy

Directed by Xavier Dolan

Directed by Jacques Audiard


Andrei said...

Great list, I'm pretty sure mine will contain exactly the same movies, though I'll probably end up putting them in some order.

James McNally said...

Nice job getting this posted today. I'm likely going to need until Monday! And glad you feel like Toronto is becoming a little more like home.

And despite all the CAST number-crunching, when it comes down to it, I'll probably leave my list unranked as well. It's pretty hard to rank films that you may have liked for different reasons.

Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

Aww, it warms my heart to see that the blogger nights made your list and have made a difference! It's so great to have you there, lots of good times and good conversation.

And one heck of a solid top ten list. I'm with you on I Am Love and The King's Speech. I still have to see The Fighter - one of the few that slipped through the cracks for me this year, along with Toy Story 3! Ah well, always more to see!

The Taxi Driver said...

Great list, which is to be expected.

Black Sheep said...

Thanks Atroxion .. great minds, huh?

James, I will post the CAST list sometime this week for sure.

Shannon, I just watched TOY STORY 3 again and cried even harder than the first two times. You need to get on that!

Thanks Mike. That was funny.

Dan said...

I might have to give Inception another go - I too was disappointed by how cold it was. Maybe now my expectations are different I may enjoy it more for what it is.

Black Sheep said...

Hey Dan ... That is exactly what happened to me with Inception. I could still see the flaws that bugged me the first time but I wasn't looking for a stronger emotional connection and therefore had a much better time watching it. Enjoy!