BY KEVIN CARR
I may be the only person in the known universe to find this movie funny (or to have actually seen it in the first place), but I’m okay with that. Considering the desolate minefield of unfunny SNL adaptations that have roamed the planet, it was nice to see a flick that actually made me laugh. It worked as a spoof movie and as a send-up of 80s action flicks. And it was classic MacGruber.
Christopher Nolan picked one hell of a movie to follow up his record-breaking “The Dark Knight” with. It may not have had much originality in its story (contrary to what most sci-fi novices might think), but it was executed incredibly well. It holds up upon multiple watchings and looks fantastic on Blu-ray.
8. TRON: LEGACY
Last year, I chose “Avatar” and “Paranormal Activity” as two of the best films of the year because they defined a theatrical experience. Likewise, “Tron: Legacy” was a sight to behold in IMAX 3D. As a child of the 80s, it was awesome to re-enter the grid, and it’s one of the few movies that you’d miss out on if you didn’t actually see it in the theater.
7. THE GHOST WRITER
This somewhat forgotten film from earlier this year was a surprise to me. Not being a fan of Roman Polanski (as a filmmaker or a person), I was shocked at how much I enjoyed watching this. It offers a degree of subtlety and patience, achieving a Hitchcockian feel to this thriller without being too blatant.
6. BLACK SWAN
Six months ago if you had told me I would enjoy a ballet horror movie directed by Darren Aronofsky, I would have laughed in your face. But his latest film about a woman going mad as she prepares for the ballet solo of a lifetime was a fantastically paced and taut thriller. Aronofsky offers a balance of style with some of the creepiest imagery you’ll see all year. Oh, and Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis get it on, which was also nice to watch.
5. 127 HOURS
This is yet another film that shows that Danny Boyle can still impress and surprise as a filmmaker. After coming off his Oscar win two years ago, he delivers this strikingly different, visceral and emotionally powerful film about a man literally trapped between a rock and a hard place. Boyle brings the viewer into the mind of the character and offers a perfect mixture of hope, terror and despair.
4. TRUE GRIT
I’ve been a fan of the Coen Brothers for years, and they continue to impress me. This reimagining of the classic western is their best film since their brilliant “No Country for Old Men,” and it achieves this by not trying to one-up the original. Rather, they tell the same story in a very different way with fantastic performances by Jeff Bridges and Hailee Steinfield.
Like “MacGruber,” this is not going to be found on many other best of the year lists, but as a long-time fan of horror and science fiction, this film was a brilliant mix of the two. Reminding me of early Cronenberg, “Splice” captured the essence of the forgotten thriller that I often watched in the wee hours of the morning at science fiction and horror marathons.
2. DESPICABLE ME
If you just look at the summary of the film’s plot – an evil scientist who tries to regain his former glory as a super-villain but ends up taking care of three orphans – and you’d think this would be the stupidest movie of 2010. But it’s not. In fact, its charming, exciting, beautifully animated and a lot of wholesome fun for the entire family. And those damn minions are just adorable, too.
1. TOY STORY 3
Anyone who knows me understands that I am a big fan of animation, and Pixar has topped my list for the last two years. Well, 2010 is Pixar’s hat trick. They managed to make a second sequel that lives up to the first two, which is almost never seen in Hollywood. Such beloved characters had a fantastic good-bye, and yes, I cried at the end.