Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Good Stuff: Movies of 2010

Look for your Oscar bait elsewhere. I give you ten essential thrillers in order seen, with links to the original posts when applicable.

The Red Riding Trilogy. Shattering.

The Ghost Writer. Ending of the year.

A Prophet. I’d complain that it didn’t win the ’09 Best Foreign Film Oscar, only it lost to ...

The Secret in Their Eyes. The best movie of 2010. Also the best movie of the last several years. Also inspired my favorite post of the year.

Winter’s Bone. The first American movie on this list, but it’s from an America you seldom see onscreen.

Mother. Bong Joon-ho with the hat trick!

The Square. Blue-collar Aussie noir.

Animal Kingdom. Jacki Weaver is understandably getting all the love. But it’s Ben Mendelsohn’s Uncle Pope that haunts me all these months later.

Cell 211. The one title on this list not yet on DVD. Don’t worry. It’s being remade.

The American. See? A studio film with a huge star. I’m easy to please. Just give me an existential noir with a European attitude toward pacing, atmosphere and nudity.

What? You want my favorite non-thrillers of 2010? Lord, but you people are pushy. Fine. Toy Story 3 and Exit Through the Gift Shop. Both of which move like thrillers.

Underrated: 44 Inch Chest and Please Give.

Scene of the year: Michael Caine’s breakfast alone in Harry Brown.

Cinematic highlight of the year ... you have to ask? Noir City. Although seeing a restored print of The Red Shoes introduced by Thelma Schoonmaker is right up there.

And favorite movies that were new to me ... Violent Saturday (1955), a heist movie that plays like a Douglas Sirk melodrama. The beguiling Three Strangers (1946). And the DVD discovery of the year, The Underworld Story (1950).