2010 is, like, already one-sixth gone. In less one month’s time it will 25% gone. If 2010 was a day in which you woke up at 6 am and went to bed at midnight, right now it would be 10:30 am. Before you know it it’ll be lunch hour. So we may as well take stock of the best and worst so far. Herewith the Hollywood Elsewhere 2010 Excellence, Exceptions & Errata Movie Awards.
The two finest commercially-released motion pictures of 2010 so far are — no question, no disputes — Roman Polanski‘s The Ghost Writer and Jacques Audiard‘s A Prophet. Signed, sealed, chiselled in stone. Now watch everyone blow off the Polanski when they start tallying their best of lists next November and December.
The finest high-tension suspense drama of the year thus far is the German-produced, mountain-climbing drama North Face, from director Philipp Stolzl. I saw it at the Sunshine Cinemas four or five weeks ago, liked it, and then forget to write about it. I don’t have a decent explanation for this except for my reaction to the ending, which isn’t at all like Touching The Void‘s. But I know it’s a highly engaging piece of realism, and without any discernible use of CGI.
Most Nihilistic Indie-level Character Study of the Year: Andrea Arnold‘s Fish Tank.
The most over-rated and unintelligible indie film by a country mile is The Red Riding Trilogy. The year’s most absurd claim by a venerated film critic was David Thomson‘s remark that Red Riding Trilogy was either in the realm of or even better than The Godfather…good God. And Ridley Scott’s notion of remaking it as a stand-alone, North American-set feature is the worst remake idea in eons.
The most over-praised big-studio film, in a walk, is Martin Scorsese‘s Shutter Island, which contains Leonardo DiCaprio‘s least interesting performance of all time, despite all the anxiety and the sweating, etc. At least it provided an opportunity to discuss the friends-of-Marty syndrome among big-name critics.
The worst big-studio horror film so far is Joe Johnston‘s The Wolfman, which featured the worst performance ever given by Benicio del Toro, bar none. I didn’t think Benicio was even capable of this.
2010’s most unfairly dismissed low-budget scare-thriller is, I feel, Frozen, which I saw at Sundance and came to the conclusion that it wasn’t half bad.
Best Docs So Far: Don Argott’s Art of the Steal; Spike Jonze and Lance Bang‘s Tell Them Anything You Want (put on DVD last Tuesday); The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers.
Worst Chick Flicks of the Year: Valentine’s Day, When In Rome.
Most Underwhelming & Inconsequential Youth Comedy: Miguel Arteta‘s Youth in Revolt.
Intended To See It, Never Did, Waiting for the DVD, No Hurry: Martin Campbell‘s Edge of Darkness.
Most Original & Under-appreciated Vampire Movie of the Year: Daybreakers.
Least Engaging Dramas of the Year: Creation, Extraordinary Measures.
Apocalypse Nothing: The Book of Eli.