Here’s my completely biased, personal list of the best of 2010. Got any beef? Did I miss something? Call me out in the comments.
Darren Aronofsky‘s latest movie squeaked into the end of the year in just enough time to make the top of my list. Holy crap. Sitting through this film is like being molested by the supernatural. My toes were worming in my shoes the entire time. I’m still contemplating heroine. Portman is like a bitch goddess on fire in this film. Aronofsky hits as hard as Herzog. Not a statement I throw around lightly: Black Swan is one of the best movies I’ve ever seen.
MASS EFFECT 2
The people at Bioware pulled off something very simple yet deeply, deeply enriching and engrossing: transporting your self-crafted character and experiences from Mass Effect into the sequel. Not only was it a simple continuation in the story, but great care was taken to shape the experience of Mass Effect 2 around the player’s choices from the first game. This simple concept has been long overdue with the effort and technology that goes into today’s videogames. Wrap it up in a smart, well crafted sci-fi universe and (mostly) compelling support characters, and it’s no surprise that Mass Effect 2 has received the accolades it has.
The Coen’s are legendary for a reason. Even their duds are better than most of the major release movies you’ll see in a given year. True Grit is just the latest entry in their oppressive stranglehold on quality. I love that the Coen Brothers still have every ounce of balls and bite since Blood Simple and Miller’s Crossing, and can still maintain the humor of Raising Arizona. You almost forget Matt Damon is in it!
DAFT PUNK – TRON: LEGACY SOUNDTRACK
As I posted earlier this month, Tron: Legacy was pretty good. Since then I have not stopped looping the soundtrack by Daft Punk. At work, in the car, humming it to Maria while she brushes her teeth. It is a profound mesh of dark orchestral moods and anthemic minimal synth. I fully plan on playing this while DMing.
THE WALKING DEAD on AMC
When this was announced I think the true nerds were ripe with skepticism. I know I was. Could a series on a major TV network pull off the zombie genre with the requisite gore-for-gore’s-sake effects? Could the production cast capture the same desperation of humanity’s struggle to persevere that we saw in the paper series? While I do have minor gripes, I think the series is successful in both regards. It is close enough to the comics that you can sense their respect for the work, yet it veers off enough to make it exciting for those of us who know how things play out. The gore and blood is there in generous helpings. I sincerely hope they can keep it on the tracks and keep my cynicism at bay in the coming years.
I’m pretty biased on this one, but my praise comes from a truly down to the core, pit of my soul, humble love for video games. I froth for competitive multiplayer shooters, and Halo Reach was top dog this year. Last year I was obsessed with CoD: Modern Warfare 2, and while I refuse to engage in Halo vs. CoD debates (it’s apples and oranges, people!), I was pretty disappointed with Treyarch’s MP offering in Black Ops. Something about Bungie’s MP sandbox is just so right. Slick, balanced, intense, it almost has a professional quality to it. Reach’s campaign was solid, Firefight is fantastic, Forge is exciting and compelling, and the MP is crazy fun. This is the MP that has me grabbed until the next challenger steps up.
I’m always whining about how there’s not enough original material being put to screen these days, that we are inundated with a seemingly infinite barrage of Hollywood reboots. Inception proves that there could still be hope for original stories. This is the only movie since The Devil’s Backbone that I have chosen to watch twice in a row in one sitting, start to finish (Ok, I was on a plane to Japan so it doesn’t really count, but it’s not like I changed the channel). A truly original sci-fi story with a strong cast, fantastic score (Hans Zimmer), and Christopher Nolan at the helm, who is possibly one of the strongest contemporary directors making big budget films.
ORIGINALLY POSTED 31 DECEMBER 2010