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Below I have redone my list of my favourite films from 2010, this time ensuring that the films are all ones that were actually released in my country during that year.

My redone list for 2011 is here.

My current list for 2012 (which will definitely need to be reconsidered at the end of this year when I've caught up the many films I missed out on from 2012 last year) can be found here.


10. A Town Called Panic (2009)
UK release:  8th October 2010


This enchantingly insane animated feature tells the story of three housemates: horse, indian and cowboy. Horse is the sensible one, while indian and cowboy are ridiculously foolish figures.

While on the one hand these characters are represented by typical children's toys of a horse, indian and cowboy (the kind that can't move their arms or legs), the animation often ingeniously overcomes those barriers (partly because they have a variety of toys of each character to swap around when they need a new pose).

Once you reach the point in the film where a robotic penguin is being used to launch enormous snowballs at targets identified via satellite, it becomes clear that there are no limits to the extent this movie expects you to suspend your disbelief. Of course, it's not just a matter of bizarre randomness for the sake of it. "A Town Called Panic" is also absolutely hilarious.



My review here

Directors Stéphane Aubier and Vincent Patar's latest project is the cartoon movie "Ernest and Celestine" which is getting a DVD release in the UK this May.



9. The Infidel (2010)
UK release: 9th April 2010


Omid Djalili is a great comedian, though having watched several of his DVDs he seems to only have a pretty limited range of material. His work plays on racial stereotypes, so perhaps it's not surprising to see him playing the lead in a film about a Muslim who faces an identity crisis when he discovers that his real mother and father were Jewish. (Djalili's own religion is Ba'hai.)

There's great chemistry with Richard Schiff as the cynical Jewish American taxi driver who ends up teaching Djalili what is most important about being Jewish.

In the end, comedy is a very personal thing and it's hard to get consensus on what makes you laugh. Personally though, I found this absolutely hilarious.



My review here

Josh Appignanesi has only directed short films since "The Infidel", but the star Omid Djalili is expected to have a role in the upcoming "Molly Moon: The Incredible Hypnotist".



8. Toy Story 3 (2010)
UK release: 19th July 2010


I saw "Toy Story" when it first came out. I know the impact of that movie. To be quite frank, it didn't blow me away. That made all the more shocking when "Toy Story 2" turned out to be absolutely brilliant. "Toy Story 3" was going to have a tough time producing the same kind of upsurge in quality, particularly when the audience were already very familiar with Pixar's more recent classics like "Wall-E" and "Up".

However, "Toy Story 3" manages to be inventive and different enough to keep up with the best of the Pixar archives and while I'm still not sure whether I prefer the second or the third movie in this series the best, both are clearly superb.

Particularly inventive aspects included the moral ambiguity of Ken (Barbie's male counterpart), the nightmare fuel monkey toy, and Mr. Potato Head's secret mission. (Seriously does this mean that Mr. Potato Head can become anything his eyes and mouth are inserted into like that? Aren't there some problematic philosophical identity issues raised by this?)

Apparently there are plans to make a fourth Toy Story movie and this film certainly hasn't ruled that out, in spite of its very satisfying ending. I guess Pixar's mission to make us feel like neglecting our own toys was akin to abandoning children may still continue. Tears will be shed, because the mission has just been THAT successful...



My review here

Lee Unkrich's next directorial project is rumoured to be a project somehow connected to the Mexican Dia de Los Muertos celebrations.



7. Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010)
UK release: 3rd December 2010


This Scandinavian horror-comedy proposing that Santa Claus is really a kind of demon from old folk mythology sits with "Let The Right One In" and "Troll Hunter" as an absolute must-see in scandinavian horror. Yeah sure, I love horror-comedies so I'm biased, but every time I watch this it just captures my heart.

And this is a proper horror comedy with equal emphasis on both elements. There's nothing quite so creepy as the old bearded Santa Claus in full Santa suit, staring out from his cage and smiling. *shudders*



My review here



6. Kick-Ass (2010)
UK release: 26th March 2010


Matthew Vaughn's filmography as a director began with the British movie "Layer Cake" about drug dealing starring Daniel Crais. "Layer Cake" may have played a big part in getting Craig the role of James Bond. Matthew Vaughn had been a producer on Guy Ritchie's first two gangster movies "Lock Stock" and "Snatch" and "from the producers of..." was displayed prominently on the poster for "Layer Cake". The last thing I was expecting was for "Layer Cake" to be better than either of Guy Ritchie's movies up to that point.

Since then Matthew Vaughn's career has continued to impress while Guy Ritchie is barely taken seriously any more. Matthew Vaughn went from "Layer Cake" to the adaptation of Neil Gaiman's fantasy story "Stardust" and most recently he breathed new life into the X Men franchise by making the best X Men movie to date: "X Men: First Class".

However, I think Matthew Vaughn's most highly regarded movie so far might be "Kick-Ass", with some claiming that his movie is better than Mark Millar's comic that was still being finished after the movie script was completed.

The bad language and violence from the young Chloe Moretz as the pre-teen female superhero "Hit-Girl" sparked controversy. However, the idea of a young girl who can talk tough and beat the hell out of adults was a really interesting concept and part of that was the shock value. It's just one of the compelling ideas in Kick-Ass which makes this movie stick with the audience after they leave the cinema.



My review here

Matthew Vaughn's next directorial project (presumably his backup in case he wasn't chosen to direct the new Star Wars movie) is an adaptation of another Mark Millar comic: "The Secret Service".



5. The Loved Ones (2009)
UK release: 4th October 2010


A horror comedy, but with some pretty seriously gritty horror. First time I watched this it ended up becoming too much and I had to stop watching. After watching "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre" I felt able to return to it. The two films are kindred spirits with "The Loved Ones" involving a very impressive take on the theme of being captured by maniacs.

As if to show how meaningless the term is, this is probably the nearest thing I've seen to "torture porn". The treatment of the protagonist is pretty unrelenting and the scene is nightmarish, but within that there's something surreal about the context in which the torture takes place and the plight of the protagonist never feels hopeless no matter how bad things get.

"The Loved Ones" is a masterpiece for those who can stomach it. Part of what made stomaching "The Loved Ones" so hard was the knack of the director in making me empathise with the protagonist and feel his pain.



My review here



4. Mother (2009)
UK DVD release: 20th September 2010


While Chan-Wook Park (or is it Park Chan-Wook. People seem really inconsistent on this) is getting a lot of attention for his work, with Spike Lee working on a remake of his film "Oldboy", the Korean director who really stands out for me is Joon-Ho Bong.

Bong first got my attention with his movie "The Host" which actually ended up being my first ever movie review on this blog. First time around I, oddly enough, found the contrast between the central monster and the comedic elements rather jarring. On a second watch I was able to appreciate "The Host" much better.

"Mother" is the story of, well, a mother. When her mentally disabled son is accused of murder and appears to have been overly quick to confess to a crime he doesn't actually remember committing, she decides to do some detective work of her own. Blending gritty drama with comedy seems to be a trait within a lot of Korean films, but no one seems to do quite so expertly and consistently as Joon-Ho Bong.



My review here

Joon-ho Bong is currently working on a sci-fi movie called "Snowpiercer" based on a French graphic novel (starring Chris Evans, Song Kang-ho, Jamie Bell, Alison Pill, John Hurt, Tilda Swinton, Octavia Spencer, and Ed Harris).



3. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)
UK release: 25th August 2010


Edgar Wright is an incredible director with a keen eye for detail. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost have admitted finding that filming is rather more relaxed in their other projects where Edgar Wright is not at the helm. And you can see why when you look at the detail in Edgar Wright's movies. The films flow along quickly and smoothly, but there are so many details, so many things going on at once, and to get that kind of beautiful detail on screen there needs to be very careful planning.

It's a testament to the quality of Edgar Wright's work that "Shaun Of The Dead" is my least favourite of his three films so far. "Scott Pilgrim Vs The World" is like a musical except that (even though the film contains very good songs indeed) the big showcases breaking up the movie are not songs, but fight scenes.

Scott Pilgrim is a love letter to video games and while that seems like a bizarre concept, it plays on screen beautifully. The concept is successful because of the strong characterisation and great comic timing backing it up.

On Michael Cera's performance, and I see no two ways about this, he is brilliant here. Scott Pilgrim isn't a nice person. He's not villainous and he doesn't feel like he deserves to be threatened by seven deadly fighters, but his approach to relationships is selfish and callous. Of course, this story arc also relies heavily on the performance of Ellen Wong as Knives Chau. It seems that Ellen Wong is now involved in tv series, but I'd like to see Edgar Wright bring her back to the big screen in one of his later movies.



My review here

Edgar Wright is expected to release "The World's End" starring Nick Frost and Simon Pegg this August and is believed to be in pre-production on Marvel's new "Ant-Man" movie.



2. Mary and Max (2009)
UK release: 22nd October 2010  


Absolutely amazing stop motion film that deserved much wider recognition. One of the best animated movies of all time with a dark humour, but also an endearing sense of honesty. Both the main characters, a young girl in Australia and an older man in New York, have odd ways of looking at the world. By becoming pen pals they add an extra dimension to each other's lives.

There's a tragic side to both their stories, but their unique understanding of the world around them colours the story and makes this a very uplifting tale. Meanwhile the stop motion style itself is extremely visually arresting and the visuals are non-stop. The use of liquids in the stop-motion particularly stands out. Water is normally made to come across as pretty in most animation, but here it is the gross substance that makes up bodily fluids, swishing drinks and unnameable soup.

Mary and Max is unique amongst animated movies and provides an absolutely unforgettable experience. It is funny, moving and absolutely fantastic.



My review here



1. Winter's Bone (2010)
UK release: 17th September 2010


Now that Jennifer Lawrence is known for playing Katniss Everdeen, Mystique and some random crazy lady (is it obvious that I haven't watched "Silver Linings Playbook" yet?) it might be easy to forget what is possibly still her best performance.

"Winter's Bone" is a simple and dark, almost fairytale (as in PROPER fairytale) like story. The basic gist is that it is about a girl looking for her missing father, but there's more to it than that.

Jennifer Lawrence's character Ree lives in a very male-dominant area where local people mistrust the police, family ties are strong even when relations between family members are poor, and cooking crystal meth is a common activity in the area.

Jennifer Lawrence is not even remotely dolled up for this part and there's a pretty grimy feel to the film as a whole. Ree is a tough and independent protagonist who will not back down easily.

Another great actor in the film is John Hawkes. His tough-guy-with-a-reputation here is not so far removed from his creepy-cult-leader in "Marcy May Marlene", but it was a far cry from his comedic role in the opening to Rodriguez's "From Dusk Til Dawn". I look forward to seeing him in more awesome independent projects in the future. (Perhaps his role in "Lincoln" will open more doors? I couldn't say, since I'm disinclined to watch what, according to most accounts, is a bit of a bore-a-thon.)

I should probably leave you with the Filmdrunk quote that first got me interested in this film:
“Winter’s Bone knows the quickest way to this reviewer’s heart: with a big f*cking chainsaw.”



My review here


Honourable mentions:
Two honourable mentions this time. I would ask if that was cheating, but this is my list, so my rules. Deal with it! ;)


Lourdes (2009)
UK release: 26th March 2010


Exploring the concept of miracles within Catholicism with reference to a particular case at Lourdes shrine in France. This movie managed to win the Rationalist "Brian" award and the Catholic "SIGNIS" award, managing to stay entirely true to the experience of a Lourdes visit and even a miracle occurrence, yet never insists that miracles are real.

Even though all the characters are Catholic there are plenty of sceptical viewpoints, including one medical expert, several theological experts playing devil's advocate, but notably quite a few voices of common sense combined with jealousy.

Lourdes is quite an amazing film. It's not spectacular of fast-paced, but if you love religion or hate religion then, either way, you should watch this. If you are lukewarm on religion you still might want to consider it.



My review here



Daybreakers (2009)
UK release: 6th January 2010


Some wonderful worldbuilding regarding a dystopian future where vampires have taken over the world and humanity are harvested for their blood. There's clear parallels with real life relating to social and political issues which some might find a little too on-the-nose, but I absolutely adored this.

My review here

The Sperig Brothers are believed to be in pre-production on two separate time-travel-related movies: "Echo Station" and "Pre-destination".


Another 8 good movies from 2010:
It feels like this could easily have been a top 20 list, but that's the point of best of lists. You HAVE to pick the very best of the year out from your favourites. In any case, if you want a few more choices which were reluctantly left aside, check out the following.

Black Death (2010)
UK release: 11th June 2010


Christopher Smith, one of my favourite British horror directors of the moment, creates a horror movie based around medieval England and the horror of the black death. The Church are convinced that the black death is caused by Satan, so when one village remains unaffected and there are reports of necromancy and black arts, a monk played by Eddie Redmayne guides a group of mercenaries led by Sean Bean to 'cleanse' the place of evil. Awesome film.

My review here (rating change here)

Easy A (2010)
UK release: 22nd October 2010


A very funny comedy starring the ultra-talented Emma Stone which pays tribute to the old John Hughes movies of the 80s. Fantastic stuff, even if the characters seem a little more puritanical than is really realistic.

My review here

Inception (2010)
UK release: 16
th July 2010

Not Chris Nolan's best, but an incredible sci-fi heist movie all the same. There's rather a lot of expository dialogue, but the end result makes it worth it.

My review here

The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call - New Orleans (2009)
UK release: 21st May 2010


Werner Herzog's remake of "Bad Lieutenant" is the story of a corrupt police detective who injures his back rescuing a prisoner during hurricane Katrina. When he's unable to pick up medication for his back, he ends up self-medicating with narcotics. Making use of his regular drug taking to get into a gang, protecting his prostitute girlfriend, and handling ever increasing gambling debts, all leaves him with a lot of enemies. Who better to play this unhinged police detective than Nicolas Cage? And yes, the silvery iguanas everywhere are a nice touch.

My review here

Made in Dagenham (2010)
UK release: 1st October 2010


Sally Hawkins stars as an outspoke car factory worker who decides to demand fair pay for women. It's a very sweet film (think "The Full Monty"), but the brilliant performances keep it from feeling insubstantial.

My review here

Monsters (2010)
UK release: 3rd December 2010


Gareth Edwards is currently working on a brand new big budget Godzilla movie, but with Monsters he worked with very low budget visual effects to produce a really impressive road trip movie. The monsters don't show up all that often, but when they do they are very convincing and, more importantly, the main characters also feel very convincing all through the film.

My review here

Salt (2010)
UK release: 18
th August 2010

I've never seen the theatrical cut and I think that's why I enjoyed this so much. This is not just an exciting movie, but a hilarious movie - and intentionally so. We begin with the threat of secret soviet sleeper agents and by the end it feels like EVERYONE is a soviet sleeper agent. And yet even while being wonderfully silly, Angelina Jolie makes us buy into the emotional side of things too. A fantastically fun silly action movie.

My review here

Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010)
UK release: 5
th March 2010

I generally avoid putting documentaries on the list, but this documentary presented by the famous street artist Banksy is pretty much a piece of art. Apparently the tale of a filmmaker trying to document the rise of street art, but in the end the movie itself becomes a comment on street art.

My review here

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