Movie Reviews Cast & Credits VideoHound Lists News Award Winners Blog Store My VideoHound
February 10, 2010
The Ten Best Movies of 2010 – That's Right, 2010!

While everyone else is still arguing over whether The Hurt Locker, Avatar, Up in the Air, The Twilight Saga: New Moon, or some other choice is the best film of 2009, we're looking forward to what we expect to be talking about in eleven to twelve months – what are the best movies of 2010? We can't guarantee you what's going to be the most Oscar-nominated film of 2010 but we can guarantee you one thing – of our 20 most anticipated films below at least one will suck Amelia-style and a few of the absolute best films of the year aren't on this list. Who saw District 9 coming at this time last year? Who knew The Lovely Bones would tank? One of the greatest things about this job is that uncertainty of what will happen when the lights go down … but we still like to guess.

Overall, how does 2010 look? Great. We had concern that cinema would start the decade limply (remember, 1990 and 2000 were both weak years), but there are a number of spectacular directors returning to the forefront this year including Julian Schnabel, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Martin Scorsese, Sofia Coppola, Christopher Nolan, David Fincher, Clint Eastwood, Peter Weir, Darren Aronofsky, David O. Russell, Terrence Malick, and the Coen brothers. And there's a chance that Alexander Payne's The Descendants could finally get into theaters and that Gus Van Sant might have a film this year as well. (Although since both Payne and Van Sant's films are looking like 2011, they're not included on the list below.) And you never know what Steven Soderbergh is going to do next but it will probably come out quickly. For fans of the auteur theory, 2010 could rock. Here's what we most expect to populate top ten lists at the end of 2010.

Runner-Ups: The American (Anton Corbijn), Biutiful (Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu), Iron Man 2 (Jon Favreau), Micmacs (Jean-Pierre Jeunet), Miral (Julian Schnabel), Rabbit Hole (John Cameron Mitchell), The Rum Diary (Bruce Robinson), Shutter Island (Martin Scorsese), Somewhere (Sofia Coppola), and We Need to Talk About Kevin (Lynne Ramsay)

10. Inception
The theatrical trailer for Christopher Nolan's Inception.

Director: Christopher Nolan
Writer: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Tom Berenger, and Michael Caine

Why It Will Rule: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences changed the amount of Best Picture nominees because of the caliber of Nolan's last work. Of course, a follow-up to a movie as spectacular as The Dark Knight would be anticipated from anyone but even without the last Batman movie Nolan has to be considered for a list like this every time he makes a film. He made three of the best movies of the 2000s in Memento, The Prestige, and The Dark Knight and Batman Begins and Insomnia are both strong films as well. He's never made a bad film and he's made a few great ones. And instead of pulling a Sam Raimi and sticking with a franchise to the detriment of the rest of your creative ideas, Nolan delayed a third Batman film to make Inception, a sci-fi thriller about people entering each other's dreams. It looks totally trippy, has a spectacular cast, and could be the most original major film of the summer or even the last few years.

Why It Might Suck: Original visions from creative filmmakers can lead to greatness or they can lead to divisive films like The Fountain or, even worse, The Matrix sequels. It may seem unlikely that Inception should be mentioned in the same breath as The Matrix Revolutions but don't you get the feeling that this is either going to be "top ten" or "bottom ten" material? That it's a swing for the fences that ends in a home run or a strike out? There's unlikely to be an in-between.


9. The Social Network
Justin Timberlake on the set of
David Fincher's The Social Network.

Director: David Fincher
Writer: Aaron Sorkin
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Rashida Jones, Malese Jow, Justin Timberlake, and Andrew Garfield

Why It Will Rule: David Fincher is getting more confident and more intriguing as a director every single time he makes a movie and he's never made a bad one (yes, I said never ... deal with it Alien 3 haters). He's even made a few great ones (Se7en, Fight Club, Zodiac). Does he seem like the perfect fit for an Aaron Sorkin script about the founding of Facebook starring Justin Timberlake and that girl from Parks and Recreation? Absolutely not. But it's that directorial choice that almost makes this more interesting. What did Fincher see in this reportedly trial-heavy drama about turning the internet into a social tool? I can't wait to find out.

Why It Might Suck: A Facebook movie? Really? If it was anyone but Fincher, this probably wouldn't even be a runner-up. We've also read a few concerned reports about the quality of the script (along with a few raves), but somehow it feels like any other buzz about this film could change about as often as the constantly redesigning Facebook itself. We won't really know until someone sees it.

8. Hereafter
Director Clint Eastwood on the set of Hereafter.
( October 27, 2009 - Photo by Photo Agency)

Director: Clint Eastwood
Writer: Peter Morgan
Starring: Matt Damon, Bryce Dallas Howard, Cecile de France, Thierry Neuvic, Mylene Jampanoi, Frankie McLaren, and Jay Mohr

Why It Will Rule: Unforgiven. Mystic River. Letters from Iwo Jima. Despite the relative failure of his recent work, there's always the potential that Clint Eastwood will deliver a masterpiece when he steps behind the camera and Hereafter has something in common with some of Eastwood's strongest films of the last few decades – a great writer. When Eastwood gets the right script, he can bring the movie magic and Peter Morgan (The Queen, Frost/Nixon) is one of the more consistent writers working today. This time he's penned an international thriller with a supernatural theme and Eastwood has brought on his new muse Matt Damon to star in the film that's reportedly a three-part, intersecting story that's been shooting around the world.

Why It Might Suck: Invictus. Changeling. Flags of Our Fathers. If the same dry, turgid filmmaker who produced Invictus makes a story about the comfort of believing there's something on the other side of the flatline, it could be as "suck" as anything in his career. Eastwood's worst recent films have been dead on arrival, making a film about the hereafter a dicey proposition.

7. Toy Story 3
The theatrical trailer for Toy Story 3.

Director: Lee Unkrich
Writer: Michael Arndt
Starring: Tom Hanks, Michael Keaton, Joan Cusack, Whoopi Goldberg, Tim Allen, R. Lee Ermey, Bonnie Hunt, Wallace Shawn, Timothy Dalton, and John Ratzenberger

Why It Will Rule: Because the first two Toy Story films are among the best animated features of all time and Pixar has been a top ten staple for most of the 2000s. This time around, Woody, Buzz, and the rest of the gang have to deal with their beloved Andy heading off to college and being dumped in a daycare center. It could be a touching commentary on growing old (as more than one Pixar film has been) or it could merely be an animated summer thrill ride. Either way, it's probably going to rule.

Why It Might Suck: It was written by a non-Pixar entity, the man whose previous credit is Little Miss Sunshine, and directed by a man who has never held the directorial title alone (after co-director credits on Toy Story 2, Monsters Inc., and Finding Nemo). There are also very few "part threes" that don't suck. One of the most interesting things about Toy Story 3 is that if it is the inevitable creative stumble after the ridiculously acclaimed Ratatouille, WALL-E, and Up, people are more likely to point to the natural pitfalls of the summer sequel (along with opening near a Shrek sequel) and Pixar can easily shake it off and move on. It’s win-win.

6. The Way Back
Ed Harris in Peter Weir's The Way Back.

Director: Peter Weir
Writer: Peter Weir
Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Mark Strong, Colin Farrell, Jim Sturgess, and Ed Harris

Why It Will Rule: Because Peter Weir rules. He hasn't made a film since Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World in 2003, but the director of Picnic at Hanging Rock, The Year of Living Dangerously, Witness, Dead Poets Society, Fearless, and The Truman Show should hold a spot on any anticipated list. Based on the memoir by Slavomir Rawicz, The Way Back is another period piece for Weir primed to take Oscar season like Master and Commander did seven years ago. Ed Harris, who did some of the best work of his career for Weir in The Truman Show, stars with the increasingly-great Colin Farrell as soldiers escaping a labor camp during World War II with the help of a Russian girl (Saoirse Ronan). With a great cast, spectacular director, and award bait subject matter, we'd be stunned if The Way Back wasn't a major Oscar contender next year.

Why It Might Suck: We all thought Defiance would be a major Oscar contender too. Directors often get weighed down in wartime period pieces and it's not hard to see The Way Back being a dirge. Is it possible that Weir has lost a little of his magic in seven years? Doubtful, but possible. And as often as these Oscar bait period pieces turn into Master and Commander they just as often come and go with little to no fanfare.

5. True Grit
Joel and Ethan Coen will remake
the Charles Portis classic True Grit.

Director: Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
Writer: Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
Starring: Matt Damon, Jeff Bridges, and Josh Brolin

Why It Will Rule: Wouldn't it be funny if Jeff Bridges went from decades of work with no Oscars to winning two in a row? The part of Marshall Reuben J. Cogburn, especially in the hands of the Coen brothers, could easily deliver Bridges something that hasn't happened since Tom Hanks won 'em back-to-back. Even if it doesn't, the fact is that if you're not pumped at the idea of Joel and Ethan Coen making a western with Matt Damon, Jeff Bridges, and Josh Brolin, you simply don't like movies. Move along little doggy.

Why It Might Suck: Honestly, it probably won't but the Coens do have an interesting "every other" track record lately. I like Burn After Reading more than most but it was naturally seen as a dip in quality after No Country for Old Men. And they usually follow-up their more serious fare with their brand of lunacy (Burn followed No Country, The Big Lebowski followed Fargo, The Hudsucker Proxy followed Barton Fink). Given the Best Picture nod for A Serious Man, does that mean that their take on High Noon could be a little left of center?

4. The Tempest
Russell Brand as Trinculo in
Julie Taymor's vision of The Tempest.

Director: Julie Taymor
Writer: Julie Taymor
Starring: Helen Mirren, Ben Whishaw, Alan Cumming, Russell Brand, Chris Cooper, David Strathairn, Djimon Hounsou, Felicity Jones, and Alfred Molina

Why It Will Rule: We didn't really respond to Across the Universe but it was still an undeniably ambitious project and when someone as daring as Julie Taymor makes a film, it's natural to get your hopes up. Especially if you've seen Titus. Taymor rocked big-screen Shakespeare before and has already directed a reportedly daring stage version of The Tempest. And look at that cast (with Helen Mirren cast as Prospera, a gender-changed character indicating Taymor's taking chances and making changes again). Some of the best actors alive doing Taymor's version of Shakespeare? Sign me up.

Why It Might Suck: As we've noted, projects this wildly ambitious can lead to strike outs as often as they lead to home runs. Taymor's films have always been visual stunners but Across the Universe
didn't quite come together and it's completely possible that The Tempest could suffer the same fate: Pretty pictures signifying nothing.

3. The Tree of Life
Brad Pitt in Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life.

Director: Terrence Malick
Writer: Terrence Malick
Starring: Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Fiona Shaw, and Joanna Going

Why It Will Rule: After months of anticipation (the film was rumored to come out in late 2009), we will finally get a new Terrence Malick film in 2010 and it stars two of the best actors of their generation in a time-spanning story that he's reportedly been tinkering with since the 1970s (when it was once known as Q). With a spectacular technical team (cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, production designer Jack Fisk, composer Alexandre Desplat) and an epic scope, The Tree of Life has "top ten list" written all over it. Penn plays the lead while Pitt plays his father in flashback. One of our most epic directors is telling an epic story that some have even rumored features dinosaur footage and images of the hereafter. Malick is taking on the entire arc of man. Who's NOT interested in that?

Why It Might Suck: Dinosaurs? There have reportedly been over three million feet of 35MM film shot for Tree of Life and when a filmmaker as detail-oriented as Malick makes a film that has taken this much of his life it could easily turn into a dull mess.  

2. The Fighter
Mark Wahlberg in David O. Russell's The Fighter.

Director: David O. Russell
Writer: Paul Attanasio & Lewis Colick
Starring: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Mark Wahlberg, and Melissa Leo

Why It Will Rule: Because we've been waiting for Russell to make another great movie after Three Kings for over a decade now and we think this reunion with that film's Mark Wahlberg (who gives one of his best and most underrated performances in Three Kings) is going to be spectacular. Wahlberg plays a part that he seems to have been working toward for years – a Boston-born boxer in the true story of "Irish" Mickey Ward. Mickey is trained for the big fight by his brother, an ex-con played by Bale and Oscar nominees Amy Adams and Melissa Leo co-star. Darren Aronofsky was attached at one time but he moved on and Wahlberg clearly brought in his buddy Russell after Nailed fell apart. But this role feels so right for Wahlberg. Oscar nomination. Mark our words. Maybe even a win.

Why It Might Suck: It's unlikely but you never know with the problems that Russell has had over the last decade or so. He's had trouble getting movies to the big screen and hasn't always delivered when he has (I Heart Huckabees is undeniably flawed). Even Wahlberg doesn't always make the smartest decisions but this one just feels right to us for some reason. The again, we could be wrong.

1. Black Swan
Natalie Portman and Darren Aronofsky
on the set of Black Swan.

Director: Darren Aronofsky
Writer: Darren Aronofsky & Mark Heyman
Starring: Mila Kunis, Natalie Portman, Winona Ryder, Vincent Cassel, and Barbara Hershey

Why It Will Rule: Aronofsky has yet to make a bad film and the jolt given his career by the universal acclaim of The Wrestler makes his follow-up naturally anticipated. And I love how unpredictable Aronofsky continues to be. He must have received a hundred offers post-Rourke and he went with a thriller about a veteran ballet dancer and a rival. Yes, ballet. You could call this a left turn but those are the only kind of turns Aronofsky seems to make with little through lines drawn between The Fountain, The Wrestler, and Black Swan. A filmmaker this talented, willing to take on whatever project interests him the most regardless of subject matter? We can't wait.

Why It Might Suck: Mila Kunis was great in Forgetting Sarah Marshall but this is a whole new world for her and Portman can be hit and miss. Ballet has been hard to translate to the big screen, but reports from people who have read this unusual script seem to imply that Black Swan is as much about ballet as The Fountain is about surgery. At the same time, sometimes left turns lead to dead ends.

Bookmark/Search this post with:
Posted by Turk182 in Lists, Features, Awards Watch - February 10, 2010 at 3:02 PM
One More For The Record Books

jjgemini at Oct 12 2010 09:29:41
Obviously "The Town" is one of the best films of the year.
Sound tracks

mrkellen1 at Feb 22 2010 04:41:02
hay guys check out the sound track of "Black Swan" by Thome yoke, the one who play a track in New Moon. check this out: http://tubechunk.com//list.php?q=black+swan&sa.x=12&sa.y=7&filter=off

bbrinko at Feb 11 2010 20:17:34
I really think you picked some very good ones indeed. jess www.online-anonymity.cz.tc
Tell a Friend about MovieRetriever.com
Email your friends, Invite them to join the MovieRetriever.com community to create and share movie lists and review them.
MovieRetriever.com members can:
  • Rate movies
  • Write your own reviews
  • Create your movie watch lists
  • Share lists with the community
Community Favorites