Artificial Continuum

Friday, December 31, 2010
2010 was a strange year for film. While we did have a few standout productions in multiple genres, this year was perhaps remarkable in the fact that many films failed to live up to expectations. Yes, there were some really terrible movies released this year, Skyline, Clash of the Titans, and Robin Hood are just a few.

Essentially, the only way this effects my Top Ten list is that there will be several films whose placement on this list will be hotly debated. While this is due to the relatively poor quality of this year in cinema, I also have to say that I have not yet seen many critically praised movies such as Black Swan and The Town. There is a high chance that this list will change come Oscar season.

10. The A-Team

Probably the strangest choice on this list, The A-Team was a film that received mixed reviews and quiet a few people despised. However, much can be said about an action film that never takes itself seriously and has alot to offer in terms of creative set pieces. Whether it be a cleverly placed 3D movie gag or a midair battle involving a tank and a parachute, The A-Team is nonstop adrenaline filled entertainment. Throw in a great cast including Liam Neeson and Sharlto Copley and you have one of the most fun films of the year.

9. The Karate Kid

Although a very different film from the original 80's family classic starring Ralph Macchio, The Karate Kid stays faithful in its delivery of quality family entertainment. Taking place in China instead of the beaches of California, the film becomes as much one about culture shock as training and personal triumph. While there is some impressive cinematography and choreography throughout the course of the film, the real star of the Karate Kid is the amazing dynamic between its two leads Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan.

8. Kick Ass

The superhero genre has quickly become one of the most defining movements in film for the 21st century. While there have been many caped crusaders to grace the screen in recent years, it is rare that a comic book film is released that feels truly new and unique, Kick Ass is that film. Made as part satire of superhero films and part action comedy, Kick Ass succeeds off its stellar cast and inventive action sequences. Perhaps most captivating and controversial is eleven year old Chloe Moretz as the violent vigilante Hit Girl.

7. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

While its script may be flawed, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World's succeeds in being endlessly inventive and visually stunning. Although much of its clever sense of humor and manic vision comes from its source material, it is hard to deny that Pilgrim is funny. What truly makes the film work though is Edgar Wright's unique visual style. Taking influence from both comic books and classic video games, the colorful world design is more inventive then almost any other film this year.

6. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1

When it was first announced that the final film in the Harry Potter series would be split into two parts, there was much debate amongst the film and fan community. Was the decision truly based on maximising the quality of the final adaptation? Or was it made simply to maximise profit? Luckily for both fans and film goers, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 is a great film as well as faithful adaptation. While there are moments that do not ring as emotional as they should, this is mostly the fault of the film's predecessors. However, with a great cast, amazing cinematography, and some moments of stellar art design Deathly Hallows Part 1 stands as the second best film in the series.

5. How To Train Your Dragon

Dreamworks has for years been one upped by its competitor Pixar. While both studios frequently create great animated films, it is often Pixar that receives higher critical and financial success. While Dreamworks once again experienced this in 2010, the studio released one of its most successful and beloved films in years. How To Train Your Dragon is a heartwarming and empowering, if a bit familiar, tale. While its script may not be best to grace the screen this year, How To Train Your Dragon thrives off its amazing voice cast, great animation, and perhaps one of the best scores of the year. Also worthy of note is the stellar use of 3D effects, which create one of the most memorable flight sequences in modern film.

4. True Grit

It's hard to fault the Coen Brothers. The critically adored duo churn out stellar films from year to year and 2010's remake of the 1960's western classic True Grit is no exception. Sporting a familiar but expertly executed revenge plot, True Grit is captivating throughout its two hour run. The script feels genuine and sports a few moments of witty humor. However, what truly makes the film are the stellar performances by Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, and newcomer Hailee Steinfeld.

3. Inception

Although not the mind bending film much of the general public claims it to be, Inception still stands as one of the best films of the year. Although filled with strong performances by numerous all star actors, Christopher Nolan is the true star of this film. Delivering both an intelligent and intricate script, as well as moments of fantastic visual design and action Nolan elevates Inception into one of the best sci-fi action films of the last decade.

2. Toy Story 3

It is hard to find a perfect trilogy. While Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings franchise may be one of the few film series to every truly achieve this goal, Toy Story has come very close to joining its ranks. Toy Story 3 is that rare third installment that not only lives up to but exceeds expectations. Building off close to fifteen years of existence, Pixar delivers a respectful, fun, and emotionally powerful conclusion to possibly the best animated franchise of all time. Not only functioning as a stellar family film, Toy Story 3 offers a poignant and stirring study of mortality and loyalty. Toy Story 3 may very well be the most emotional film of the year, and coming from Pixar that is no surprise.

1. The Social Network

Facebook, the movie. The idea seemed ridiculous. It had to be a corporate money grab, something along Ridley Scott's reported Monopoly adaptation. The end result was a film that took America's critic associations by storm. David Fincher's The Social Network is not only a clever and stirring look at the rise of a corporate empire, but a captivating legal thriller and character drama. Driven by Aaron Sorkin's brilliant script filled with snappy and intelligent dialogue, The Social Network pulls the viewer and refuses to let go. Creating a thrilling atmosphere without a single gun shot or death is a feat in and of its own. Even with incredible direction and a fantastic screenplay, The Social Network continues to succeed in its impeccable cast. Jesse Eisenberg plays the brilliant and possibly socially impaired Mark Zuckerberg with a deadpan sense of ego and humor. Eisenberg is contrasted by Andrew Garfield's Eduardo Saverin, the sympathetic and human counterpart to Zuckerberg's digital machine. Even Justin Timberlake delivers portraying the reckless, but enthralling inventor of Napster Sean Parker. The Social Network excels on all fronts delivering not only the best film of the year but a clever commentary on the digital age that is certain to last for years.