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October 11, 2010 | by  | in Film |
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“That’s Enough, Chris Nolan” The Best Films of 2010

There’s still two and a half months to go in 2010, but one thing’s clear—this year has produced a bumper crop for film fans. The Hollywood studio system has pumped out some of the most interesting and astounding cinema it has in years with the likes of Inception, Toy Story 3, Scott Pilgrim vs the World, The Road and Shutter Island. Brilliant films have arrived from foreign shores with the regularity of a ticking clock—South Korea’s Poetry, France’s Micmacs, Britain’s Four Lions and Argentina’s Oscar-winning The Secret In Their Eyes are but a few of those represented here. It’s also been an excellent year for New Zealand cinema thus far, with quality documentaries (Land of the Long White Cloud, This Way of Life), entertaining genre pics (Predicament) and box-office record-breakers (the indomitable Boy) all part of a wider, glorious cinematic picture. There’s still more to come—The Town, Let Me In, True Grit, The Social Network, Buried, The King’s Speech, 127 Hours, Blue Valentine and Black Swan are but a few of the many impressive-looking films lined up for the rest of the year. But for now, here’s the best films of the year, as selected by Salient reviewers.

Johnny Crawford

5.Micmacs (Jean-Pierre Jeunet)
4. Scott Pilgrim vs the World (Edgar Wright)
3. The Secret in Their Eyes (Juan Jose Campanella)
2. Poetry (Lee Chang-dong)
1. Toy Story 3 (Lee Unkrich)

There was no contest for me this year. My number one pick managed to be the best animated film (better than Despicable Me) the best nostalgia film (not Scott Pilgrim) and the best prison film (sorry, A Prophet). I was profoundly moved (to tears, I admit) by what was a deeply personal experience for me. Toy Story 3 was a simply sublime experience. Combining the genuinely scary with the genuinely funny and the genuinely poignant, it served as the perfect conclusion to a trilogy that deserves a lofty position amongst the other great trilogies of cinematic history.

Adam Goodall

5.A Serious Man (Joel Coen and Ethan Coen)
4.Four Lions (Chris Morris)
3. Poetry (Lee Chang-dong)
2. Toy Story 3 (Lee Unkrich)
1. A Town Called Panic (Stephane Aubier and Vincent Patar)

It’s appropriate that my top two films of the year thus far are Toy Story 3 and A Town Called Panic, as Panic is essentially the opening sequence in TS3 extended across 90 minutes and made a million times more madcap. The intrepid adventures of stop-motion heroes Horse, Cowboy and Indian are deliriously entertaining and raucously funny, and the film itself has an irrepressible sense of whimsy and joy the weird characters, the stream-of-consciousness narrative, the action beats that get more and more ludicrous with every passing second. Panic is a brilliant film, the funniest and most purely enjoyable piece of cinema this year.

Nic Sando

5. Ponyo (Hayao Miyazaki)
4. Four Lions (Chris Morris)
3. Gainsbourg (Joann Sfar)
2. Scott Pilgrim vs the World (Edgar Wright)
1. Boy (Taika Waititi)

It’s telling that I already look back on Boy with the same nostalgia as I do for Footrot Flats and Utu; it’s a Kiwi film that’s caught an unpleasant aspect of ourselves and shown it to us perfectly, and it helps a little that it was beautiful and funny too. Boy is the first bona fide ‘Kiwi’ blockbuster film that I have encountered. People enjoyed Second Hand Wedding and Sione’s Wedding, but the nation was the audience of Boy; you can tell because it broke all kinds of local box office records. Our generation was far too young for Once Were Warriors and just too young for Whale Rider, but we have Boy. It’s ours.

Jessie Davis

5. Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work (Ricki Stern and Anne Sundberg)
4. Inception (Christopher Nolan)
3. This Way of Life (Thomas Burstyn)
2. The Hurt Locker (Kathryn Bigelow)
1. A Single Man (Tom Ford)

With A Single Man, fashion designer Tom Ford makes his directorial debut, producing a film that manifests Ford’s distinctive style in its capture of a day in the life of George, a homosexual man in the 1960s, as he contemplates suicide. Superb performances by Julianne Moore, Nicholas Hoult, and a multitude of outrageously attractive actors give this story its richness, but it is Colin Firth’s embodiment of the mourning George, and his illustration of anguish and 1960s restraint that elevates this story of grief, to one of melancholy, discovery, and humanity. Subtle, devastating, and effortlessly beautiful, A Single Man is a film that captures love and loss with heartbreaking style, confirming its place as an Oscar favourite, and my choice as Best Film in 2010.

Judah Finnigan

5. A Prophet (Jacques Audiard)
4. Exit Through the Gift Shop (Banksy)
3. Toy Story 3 (Lee Unkrich)
2. Inception (Christopher Nolan)
1. A Single Man (Tom Ford)

While Tom Ford’s exceptional debut might be guilty of some unsubtle expository visual flourishes and bearing a cast that is almost too good-looking, A Single Man takes my top spot for its rich characterisation and the heart-wrenchingly effective simplicity of its central concern. Colin Firth inhabits Falconer with such vulnerability and tenderness (totally deserved that Oscar), and Ford entrusts the entire film to his affecting performance. Add stunning period detail, gorgeous cinematography, excellent supporting performances and Abel Korzeniowski’s sweeping score, and you have the most quietly moving film of recent memory. Beautiful.

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Salient is a magazine. Salient is a website. Salient is an institution founded in 1938 to cater to the whim and fancy of students of Victoria University. We are partly funded by VUWSA and partly by gold bullion that was discovered under a pile of old Salients from the 40's. Salient welcomes your participation in debate on all the issues that we present to you, and if you're a student of Victoria University then you're more than welcome to drop in and have tea and scones with the contributors of this little rag in our little hideaway that overlooks Wellington.

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