Wednesday, January 12, 2011

KATIE'S TOP 5 OF 2010!

Have a special little treat here at The Everything Film Blog today. Friend and former co-host of The Everything Film Show Katie Calautti has been so kind as to add to her top 5 films of 2010 to our little blog here. Like her choices? Let her know in the comments section and then tell her how much you would like her to contribute to TEFB on a regular basis!

Read more of Miss Calautti's writings at A Spoonful O'ISMS.

5) Buried
It's a damn shame that this film's title somewhat serendipitously premeditated its reception with both critics and audiences: it got lost amongst the bigger-backed fall studio releases and no one saw it. Sure, it's not exactly the easiest sell: Ryan Reynolds in a box for 96 minutes. But all you Hitchcock enthusiasts will stick with me on this one: a single location does not always make for a single-faceted movie. Sure, the flick is claustrophobic, but that's the point. Director Rodrigo Cort├ęs and cinematographer Eduard Grau (who impressed me with his stunning work on Tom Ford's "A Single Man") make the most of lighting, location and camera angles. You never see the same shot twice, and that's a feat in itself when you're working with an 84x28x23-inch space. The story is packed with movement (oh yes - full-fledged action sequences in a coffin - believe it) and the narrative touches upon incredibly timely and pertinent issues involving the nature of war, terrorism, government, bureaucracy and all the innocent people whose hands get tied by the red tape that connects them. It's one of the most thrilling, important movies of 2010.

4) Exit Through the Gift Shop
To call this movie a documentary is to comment only on its bones - the eminently watchable story turns the tables on its director/narrator, painstakingly brushes a classical portrait on the fourth wall, spray paints over it and then rams a wrecking ball through it. Fans of famed British graffiti artist Banksy will certainly be drawn to the overt subject matter - as will those in the art world - but the folks who should check it out (who, arguably, are the ones this film was made for) are the rest of us. That’s to say: the consumers, the aficionados, the easily-malleable mainstream. It'll blow you away and leave you chewing on the tale's intent (and all its resulting repercussions) long after the credits roll.

3) Winter's Bone
This is essentially a quiet, deliberate, intensely-personal character-driven movie about the Godfather-like ties that bind meth-peddlers in backwoods America. The menacing tension and drama that builds throughout the slice-of-life narrative is nearly impossible to convey with words - it simply sneaks up on you and leaves you reeling. It’s an incredibly well-crafted film, from script to camerawork to acting to directing. John Hawkes' screen presence is as badass as ever, but it's most worth watching for 17-year-old Jennifer Lawrence's mind-bendingly pitch-perfect performance. I'm not sure what you were doing when you were 17, but I was stuffing my bra. I've got 12 extra years on the girl and I'm feeling pretty unaccomplished in comparison.

2) The Social Network
This movie is a cinematic opus to my generation - the symphony-like unfurling of the birth of social media as told by always-ingenious David Fincher, who wields his directorial vision to prove that Facebook's inception was riddled with as much dramatic play as its privacy-busting interface has come to instill in its users. A uniquely-American tale, this film is nothing short of a masterpiece. Aaron Sorkin's script hums with intriguing characters, crackling dialogue and sage social commentary. And just two words regarding the score: Trent Reznor. (See also: hell yes.) This is a deep, dark comedic tragedy above all else, and feminist groups be damned - watch closely and you'll find that the filmmaker's underlying perspective is wrapped within a single line spoken from the mouth of one of the movie’s female characters.

1) Black Swan
I'd call myself an Aronofsky apologist, but there's nothing to apologize for. The man hasn't made a bad movie yet. This film - above all others in 2010 - has crawled inside my brain, burrowed in and made itself comfy. Somewhere on an easy chair next to my cerebellum it reclines, shifting and changing shape like Nina Sayers herself. Leave it to Aronofsky to turn a beloved ballet into a crazy-heady werewolf picture. The man is not subtle, so I'm continually baffled when folks tell me they don't get the point of the story. Just look at the set, makeup and costume design, the voyeuristic camerawork, the blink-and-you-almost-missed-it clues edited's all there for you, ensconced within Aronofsky's wildly psychological, perfectly-paced and characteristically-original script. My proclamation after leaving the theater: Dearest Natalie Portman - Allow me to suggest that your Oscar speech read, "You other bitches didn't stand a chance." Humbly, me.

*Honorable mentions/near-impossible omissions (in particular order): True Grit, Inception, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, The Ghost Writer, How to Train Your Dragon, The Fighter, Never Let Me Go, Kick-Ass.

*Most overrated of the year: The King's Speech, Blue Valentine, 127 Hours, The Kids Are All Right, Catfish.

*Admittedly, I haven't yet seen: Biutiful, Rabbit Hole, Another Year, Somewhere, The Town.

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