Thursday, December 30, 2010

The rest of the best

Posted By on Thu, Dec 30, 2010 at 12:37 AM

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So Sir Strout and I have finally revealed our best-of lists for the year in film, and as promised, here are my picks for honorable mentions:

11) Buried -- This terrifically claustrophobic thriller may have received a theatrical release equal to its title (although Orlando clung on to it for a remarkable four weeks), but with a little luck, the crafty work of director Rodrigo Cortes and star Ryan Reynolds will get its full due after the film hits DVD on January 18th.

12) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 -- Harry and friends finally depart from the safety of Hogwarts and the episodic school-year formula, and David Yates effectively brings a knife to a wand fight by creating a fully realized sense of stakes and adventure to rival any bombastic special-effects sequence. Even better, the man managed to make me grateful that the evident cash-grab maneuver of splitting the final film into two parts was made; Part 1's relatively quiet midsection boasted some of the most handsome shots and tender moments from any film in any genre this year.

13) Easy A -- We already knew that Emma Stone was a charmer, but in this snappy high-school comedy, she proved herself an honest-to-goodness star in the making. Of course, it didn't hurt that a note-perfect supporting cast including Stanley Tucci, Patricia Clarkson and Thomas Haden Church had her back.

14) Down Terrace -- It's been a while since this film snuck up on me, but I called it "The Sopranos" as directed by Mike Leigh then and I stand by it now. Darkly funny and surprisingly gripping, it didn't make it beyond a token two-screen release, but should be much easier to find on DVD come (wouldn't you know it) January 18th.

15) The Disappearance of Alice Creed -- She may have been eye candy and little else in the blockbuster-y Clash of the Titans and Prince of Persia, but as the lead in both the romantic farce Tamara Drewe and this riveting kidnapping thriller, Gemma Arterton made 2010 the year that she'd no longer being written off (by me, anyway) as Just Another Pretty Face.

Plus! This was a terrifically strong year for documentaries. Having not yet seen Sweetgrass, or either Alex Gibney doc (Casino Jack... and Client 9...), having not loved Waiting for "Superman", and having already mentioned the terrific likes of The Tillman Story and And Everything is Going Fine, let me also give shout-outs to:

  • the showbiz docs (Smash His Camera, Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work)
  • the behind-the-scenes docs (Best Worst Movie, Waking Sleeping Beauty)
  • the docs that made us question art (Con Artist, Marwencol, Exit Through the Gift Shop)
  • the docs that made us question reality (Catfish, I'm Still Here)
  • and that other really powerful war doc (Restrepo)

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