Friday, January 28, 2011

Dylan Skolnick's tops in 2010

It's that time of year again, when movie lovers start listing their favorites and their worsts in what was watched during the year. Just like last year, expect some guest bloggers over the next few weeks giving us their lists. Enjoy!

First up is Dylan Skolnick from the Cinema Arts Centre, Long Island's leading venue for alternative cinema in Huntington, New York.

I Am Love [Italy] Tilda Swinton's achingly intense performance anchors this wildly vibrant drama about a wealthy Italian family that is torn apart when long-suppressed desires explode through the family's seemingly tranquil surface.

A Prophet [France] Jacques Audiard's powerhouse portrait of a young street kid who is thrown into the chaos of prison and rises to become a powerful gang leader is one of the best crime films in many years, a work that deserves to be compared to classics like Goodfellas and The Godfather.

White Material [France] In 1988, filmmaker Claire Denis made her cinematic debut with Chocolat, a quietly forceful tale of her childhood in Africa. Over twenty years later, Denis returns to Africa to create one of the most powerful works of her career. Legendary actress Isabelle Huppert stars as a plantation owner trying to hold things together in land ravaged by warlords, child soldiers and social breakdown.

Red Riding Trilogy [England] Inspired by the true story of the Yorkshire Ripper, this haunting trilogy takes us down the rabbit hole through years of police corruption and murder. You'll be terrified, moved, and need a shower after watching these stunning stories of three men trying to catch a child killer amidst a web of violence and greed.

Mother [South Korea] Bong Joon-ho's gripping Hitchcockian thriller seems like straightforward drama about a dedicated mother attempting to protect her son from being wrongly convicted of a young girl's murder, but nothing is quite what it appears in this delightfully twisted tale of obsession and delusion.

Broken Embraces [Spain] Spanish master Pedro Almodóvar spins another magical melodrama in this fascinating saga of a blind writer who is forced back into the past to remember the passionate love that transformed his life and cost him his eyes.

You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger [USA] Woody Allen has been highly erratic in recent years, but he's back on his game in this bitterly funny story of a group of family and friends who can't seem to stop deceiving each other and themselves.

Black Swan [USA] Although many are comparing it to The Red Shoes, Darren Aronofsky's maniacal portrait of a ballerina cracking under pressure has more in common with Dario Argento's classic Suspiria. Some may complain about the film's unrelenting intensity, but this high-class horror flick is devilishly entertaining, and no one will question Natalie Portman's fantastic performance.

Inside Job [USA] Forget Paranormal Activity 2, this exposé of the recent economic collapse is the year's best horror movie. Charles Ferguson calmly and clearly reveals how we were robbed blind, then stuck with the bill to bail out those who had just screwed us over.

Marwencol [USA] After he was beaten to the point of brain damage by five thugs, Mark Hogenkamp rebuilt his life by meticulously creating his own world in 1/6th scale out of junk and dolls. Hogenkamp's creation is unforgettable, and Jeff Malmberg's brilliant documentary shows that the story behind this obsessive work of art is just as amazing.

The Social Network [USA] Master director David Fincher (Zodiac, Fight Club, Seven) applies his always meticulous storytelling skill to the founding of Facebook and the result is a mesmerizing tale of friendship, ambition, and betrayal.

True Grit [USA] Working with great fidelity to Charles Portis' novel, the Coen Brothers' have created the first great classic western since Unforgiven.


hidden staircase said...'s this time of year you usually do your top 5 hottie list too...right?

Joshua Blevins Peck said...

I haven't done that top five stalking list in a couple of years...I think that was the record setter for comments on CineRobot though. Maybe it's time to update it when we get done w/ all the tops for 2010.

Anonymous said...

Agreed re: Marwencol. At the hands of a lesser director, the story might have been ruined by letting the audience in on all of the surprises right away. Part of what made it great was the process of discovery the audience went through. These are the best docs to me, when the audience thinks they're in for one kind of story and then their perspective shifts entirely based off new information presented. I'm thinking something like Errol Morris' Mister Death, which at first the audience might mistake as a story simply about a kooky man and his electric chair business.