Posts Tagged 'top 10'

Top 10 Films of ’10

This year, I mean last year — 2010 — was good to me in terms of film, mostly thanks to The Site Formerly Known As The Auteurs. I met some very passionate people on there and got introduced to some incredible French films, Soviet cinema and old obscure British art films that I wouldn’t otherwise have heard of.

This list will probably not reflect any of that because I’m constrained by the fact that only films released in ’10 can be on here, and of those, I’ve only seen a handful. Still, I don’t think that I need to see all the films in ’10 to be able to make a list of my favourites. So without further ado —

10. Siege Of The Dead

Clocking at a little over an hour, this brilliant little film from Germany is about a group of ordinary people trapped in an apartment building surrounded by zombies. While Siege… isn’t quite as scary as REC, it is ultimately more clever and resourceful.

This is one of the films I found out about through an acquaintance on Mubi (The Site Formerly Known As The Auteurs), and boy am I glad that I did.

9. Dogtooth

From Greece comes this disturbingly dark film that I despise because of how it made me feel; yet it resonated with me so much that I find it absolutely necessary to include in this list. On the surface, it’s about bad parenting, but really, it’s a film about fascism and censorship; paranoia and mind control; and incest.

There’s a scene in this film that makes that one infamous scene in Antichrist look like some G-rated Disney shit.

8. The American

While most people compare Corbjn’s The American to Melville’s Le Samourai, I find that it’s a lot closer to Jarmusch’s Limits of Control than the former. It’s a hitman film with no hits; an international spy thriller with no thrill. All you get is some absolutely gorgeous photography and Clooney walking, sitting and having sex with a hooker. Now while that may not sound very interesting, I believe Corbjn made exactly the film he wanted.

It’s an exercise in minimalism and subtlety, and that appeals very much to my senses as a filmmaker.

7. Heartbeats

Now is as good a time as any for a little confession: I didn’t very much like Xavier Dolan when I first heard of him. I just hate knowing that there’s someone exactly my age (he’s only 20 days older) doing something I so passionately want to do — and doing it well. It makes me feel like such a loser. A failure. Also, it doesn’t help that he’s incredibly good-looking too. I’m sorry, but he is. Anyway, that’s beside the point.

His second feature, Les Amours Imaginaires, otherwise known as Heartbeats, is a beautiful film about love, lust and friendship. It’s very well written and incredibly well-shot. The editing can be a bit distracting at times, and the slow-mo shots get old really quickly, but the film is far greater than the sum of its parts.

That’s not something I can say about a lot of films.

6. Flipped

This American film by Rob Reiner is probably the sweetest most adorable film I’ve seen all year. It’s about two eighth graders who fall for each other. Essentially, it’s a film about first love set in the 50s. It’s funny, well acted and very well written. I don’t know what more to say except except that if you’ll only see one film about first love this year, this should be it.

5.  Please Give

Nicole Holofcener’s Please Give is the surprise film of the year, for me at least. I didn’t very much like Holofcener’s previous film, Friends With Money, and went into this one knowing absolutely nothing about it.

It’s a multi-layered ensemble about an upper middle-class couple who buys the apartment of their neighbour, an elderly woman, and wait for her to die. The characters are incredibly well written and the performances fantastic, especially from Rebecca Hall who plays the elderly woman’s granddaughter. Holofcener’s favourite, Catherine Keener, is in this too, and she’s brilliant. In a way, the film feels like good Woody Allen and the very best of Todd Solondz.

As far as slice-of-life films go, this right here is outstanding. Tell your friends.

4. The Ghost Writer

I’d like to go on record saying that I prefer the original title — The Ghost. That being said, this is a brilliantly crafted film by an old master. With The Ghost Writer, Polanski made what is probably the best political thriller in years. It was well written, well acted and had the most amazing score. Most of all, it was actually thrilling.

3. Four Lions

It’s not everyday that you see a film about “jihadists” that’s actually funny. It’s incredibly sharp, witty, dark and really really funny. I haven’t laughed like I did in this all year.

The film’s greatest strength is probably the fact that it didn’t ridicule or poke fun at Islam; it easily could have. It’s a film about idiotic terrorists who just happen to be muslim; not one about how islam “breeds” terrorists. A lesser director could’ve easily gone the other way and made a film I would’ve probably found offensive.

Chris Morris is no hack, and he succeeded in making one of the best films of the year.

2. Carlos

As long as I’m talking about terrorism, I might as well go ahead and talk about Olivier Assaya’s masterpiece, Carlos. It’s not so much about terrorism as it is about idealism, radicalism and battling western imperialism. Like The Baader Meinhof Complex, Carlos is about how someone with arguably good intentions turns into, for all intensive purposes, a monster.

With an ambitious running time of five and a half hours, Carlos is a near perfect film.

1. Somewhere

Like The American, Somewhere goes nowhere, but even more so.

The first five minutes, in which a stationary camera captures a Ferrari going round a race track over and over and over… tells you everything you need to know about this film. But I did not like the last ten minutes. Not because there was anything especially bad with the ending, it’s just that, for a film so subtle, the ending was too “in your face.” Nevertheless, that didn’t spoil this beautiful film for me.

Like Lost in Translation, Sofia Coppola has once again made an incredibly deep human story about loneliness. Stephen Dorff and Elle Fanning were fantastic; the cinematography absolutely brilliant, and the music wasn’t half-bad either.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is my favorite film of 2010.


Top 10 of ’08

In a few minutes, we’re going to bid farewell to the year 2008. Year 2008 has been a friend; A friend that has been there for us every second, for 365 days straight. Saying goodbye to a friend like that, knowing you’ll never see them again, ever, is very sad and emotional. In times like that, you hold on to all the good memories you shared with that friend.

It is in that spirit of farewell, that I sit here reminiscing  about my Top Ten Favorite movies of this passing year of ours, twenty-zero-eight.

With this list, I didn’t consider the writing, directing or even the acting in the movies. It was solely based on the movies I enjoyed, and not only enjoyed, but those movies I felt like rewinding and watching all over again immediately the end credits started rolling. Those are the movies worth remembering.

If you feel this list in incomplete, and feel like there’s a movie I should’ve added, feel free to tell me in the comments. And if you think this list is totally shit, well, make your own! I just did!

So with no further ado, ladies and gentlemen –

AL’s TOP 10 OF ’08!



Technically, this is a 2007 movie, I know. But it wasn’t released internationally till 2008. Still, I’ll just consider this a bonus, and not part of the 10.

10. Speed Racer

Speed Racer

True, this movie is one of the biggest flops of the year, and the fact that it got mostly negetive reviews didn’t help either. But Speed Racer is by far one of my favorites movies of the year.

I saw it once on the big screen, once on DVD ,and I’ve watched the Gran Prix from the movie more than ten times!

09. In Search of a Midnight Kiss

In Search of a midnight kiss

There is something about independent movies that I love so much, and this movie has a whole lot of that thing, whatever “that thing” is. Sure, sometimes the movie is slow, and at times the dialogue a bit tacky, but the characters feel very real, and that’s what I love so much about the movie.

I saw it on DVD twice, and I’m sure going to see it again because it’s that good.

08. Let the Right One In

Let the right one in

With “day-walkers” and glittering vampires on our screens, it’s refreshing to actually see some real vampires. Let the Right one in did just that, and boy was it disturbing!

Probably the only movie on this list I haven’t seen more than once, but the fact that it touched me in ways no other movie has secured it a place on this list.

07. Cloverfield


I remember I was with a friend last year when I first saw the trailer for this movie attached to The Transformers. After Transformers, we kept trying to remember what the name of the movie we saw the trailer of was. What we both didn’t realize at that time was the movie didn’t have a name, which was probably why we couldn’t remember. When it finally came out earlier this year, it succeeded in superseding all the hype around it and standing strong as one of the greatest, if not the greatest hand held/shaky camera movie there is!

Saw it once on the big screen, once on DVD.

06. Slumdog Millionaire

Slumdog Millionaire

You know the movie you’ll hear so much about, and when you finally see it, you feel like all that you’ve heard was just the tip of the iceberg and the movie is so much better? Well this is not that movie. With slumdog, you get exactly what you expect. But that’s not saying it’s a bad movie, no. It’s amazing! Cute story, nice visuals and a Kickass soundtrack!

I just watched this movie, but god did I wish to just rewind it and watch it all over again!

05. Man On Wire

Man On Wire

I don’t see a lot of documentaries, and the few I see tend to be boring at times, even if just a little. Man On Wire was interesting from the first shot till the very last frame! This movie wasn’t only interesting and inspiring, it was entertaining as hell! Just hearing Phillip Petite talk with such passion about his wire will put a smile on your face and motivate you to chase your dream, no matter how ridiculous it is.

04. The Fall.

The Fall

I’ve been wanting to watch this movie since I first heard about it nearly two years ago. Sometimes, the story behind the making of a movie inspires me to watch the movie, and boy does this movie have a kickass making-of story.

Sadly, it wasn’t officially released till this year, and it was totally worth the wait! The visuals are off the hook, and the little girl was just so WOW!

I’ve seen it twice, and I forsee many more future viewings. This is a classic that the next generation will talk about… Well maybe not, but it still made my cut.

03. The Wackness


This is the ultimate independent movie! Forget what I said about In Search of a midnight kiss, this movie is the shit! It perfectly captured an era, and not only were the characters real and likable, they were very much relate-able!

I’ve seen The Wackness three times already, and it gets better with every viewing!

02. The Dark Knight


Remember what I said in Slumdog Millionaire? About a movie that is over hyped but all that hype felt grossly underdone after actually seeing it? This is that movie!

I saw the Dark Knight THREE TIMES on the big screen, and I have it on DVD!

I so so so love this movie, which begs the question, If The Dark Knight  is my number two, what’s my favorite movie of the year?

01. Wall-E

Wall E

Yes, Wall-E! Oh my god this movie was so awesome!

I don’t normally like animated movies, not at all, not ever. And no disrespect to Pixar, but non of their movies ever made it into my favorites list. And I have no particular reason, I just don’t get that emotional connection that I get in watching movies with animated films… That is until this little robot came and totally won me over. To tell a romantic story with no words is beyond me, but it happened, and it was genius! The character of Wall-E was so cute – it brought me to tears! That’s as deep a connection as any movie can have with me…

Honorabe Mention:

Frost/Nixon for it’s amazing dialogue.
JCVD for doing to Van Damme what The Wrestler did for Mickey Rouke.
Iron Man for making me believe in Superhero movies.
Tropic Thunder for giving me the laugh of my life.
And Milk for Sean Penn’s amazing performance.

I haven’t seen The Wrestler yet, but knowing Darren Aronofsky, I’m sure  it’s going to be a great movie that’ll probably depress the shit out of me.

So… this is it! Farewell my good friend, and I will always treasure these gifts of yours to me with all my heart!

Now… where 2009 at?