2010 gave us a number of edutaining documentaries about public education, the financial crisis, and corruption in politics, but the half dozen I liked best were mostly profiles that gave private dimension to public (or semi-public) figures:
There was plenty of dreck at the cinema this year - as there always is - but I can't think of a movie by a talented director more disappointing than Stephen Frears' moronic and woman-hating
It will remain a mystery what drew Frears - who has given us such fine films as "Dangerous Liaisons," "The Grifters," "The Snapper," "Dirty Pretty Things," and "The Queen" - to this bad-sitcom level material, but the hateful characters, asinine situations and pervasive vulgarity made for as unpleasant a moviegoing experience as any this year. For shame.
To be eligible for my list, a feature film must have opened theatrically in Los Angeles in 2010. Sometimes a film will have opened elsewhere earlier or will not open elsewhere until later - them's the breaks.
After trying to place my top ten into exact spots, I quickly realized I couldn't, so I'll cover #s 2-10 alphabetically in one note and #1, of which I am supremely confident, in another.
I try to avoid the fallacy of recency, but the majority of the year's best movies clearly came out after summer. Exclusion from my list may mean only that I didn't get around to a worthy entry, but inclusion this year indicates a film of rare quality.
In the next few notes, I'll list some honorable mentions, some of the year's best documentaries, and my vote for the worst movie of the year.
No other film this year is so comfortable in its skin as Mike Leigh's "Another Year," mainly due to the lived-in performances of Jim Broadbent and Ruth Sheen as a happily married couple, he a geologist and she a counselor, around whom swirl others - their son Peter, their friend Mary (the award-worthy Lesley Manville) - at various levels of happiness. "Another Year" is a film of rare honesty and insight in which - when I'm asked "What happens?" - no more and no less than life happens.