Top Ten Movies of 2010 — Number Three

Beginning with a novel by Dennis Lehane that was adapted into a screenplay by Laeta Kalogridis, director Martin Scorsese built an intentional lurid psychological melodrama filled with existential trick shots and mental trap doors. After a decade of intensely focused cinematic storytelling, Shutter Island is the look of a great director at play, indulging himself in a grandiose attempt to recreate the sort of moody film noirs and florid Technicolor wonders that captivated him as a youth, their boldest, brashest qualities exponentially expanded by the happily insidious magnification of nostalgic memory. Scorsese paints the corners in shadow with a fervor … Continue reading Top Ten Movies of 2010 — Number Three

Top Ten Movies of 2010 — Number Five

I’m not sure if there was ever a time when the general rule of thumb with sequels didn’t mandate adjusting expectations downward in rough accordance with the increasing number of installments. Even so, as the franchise mentality has almost entirely subsumed any sort of ambition in Hollywood magic-making, it’s appropriate to abandon any vestiges of hope that return visits by favorite characters will be handled with a level of inspiration beyond those usually devoted to examining focus group feedback sheets on the way to modifying laundry detergent packaging. Of course, it’s a different matter when the artists at Pixar are … Continue reading Top Ten Movies of 2010 — Number Five

Top Ten Movies of 2010 — Number Nine

Despite the mad rush to anoint the film a staggering excavation of a generation transformed and defined by a different type of interconnectivity than any that’s come before–a charge seemingly led by film critics and others with only the most tenuous grasp on the influence of new media–David Fincher’s The Social Network ultimately has far more modest aspirations. It’s probably not coincidental that the film Fincher made is more satisfying than the theoretical film some deluded observers imagine it to be. The Social Network is about web-based communications the same way that Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator is about aeronautics. There … Continue reading Top Ten Movies of 2010 — Number Nine

Top Ten Movies of 2010 — Number Ten

In adapting Bryan Lee O’Malley’s series of graphic novels following the romantic exploits of Toronto layabout Scott Pilgrim, director Edgar Wright presumably had at least six different titles to choose from. Settling on Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is perfectly fitting given that the film often feels as if Wright and his collaborators have packed a planet’s worth of ideas, concepts and techniques into the finished product. O’Malley’s original work established the ethic of spectacular playfulness as it hopped around genres like a video game character soaring through a multitude of hidden realities. Wright pulls from it judiciously, but primarily … Continue reading Top Ten Movies of 2010 — Number Ten