4. The Kids Are All Right: When everyone cares about a film its shows. This was perhaps the perfect counter programming to all of the big action movies, but this film holds up as more than that. Bolstered by good performances from Annette, Julianne and Mark are strengthened by great supporting turns and delicious line readings, this movie helps us realize that although the family structure might be different, everyone hopes for the same things.
3. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: Hyper kinetic energy from the beginning, this film was like a giant video game. Michael Cera is ever reliable as the slacker in the center of this tale but the supporting cast really takes the cake. From the various evil exes to his friends, everyone came to play in this movie. And its a testament to Edgar Wright’s direction that all of the special effects felt as if they could actually occur in the real world.
2. The Social Network: A old style movie for a new generation, this is what great films should feel like. Much has been made about the script, and Aaron Sorkin wrote a doozy but its everything the direction and acting that truly makes this a great film. David Fincher’s meticulous direction (60+ takes per SCENE) pulls us in and his stylistic choices, such as the club scene where Sean and Mark have to shout over the music and that wonderful opening scene, keep us engaged. He of course got to direct one of the most talented young ensembles ever assembled. Pulling an all time performance out of Jesse Eisenberg and some delicious supporting turns from Andrew Garfield, Armie Hammer, Justin Timberlake and Rooney Mara, Fincher was able to create this generation’s classic story.
1. Black Swan: Beautifully styled, fiercely acted, and fearlessly directed, this was a mind fuck of a film. I really would like to know what the writers were thinking when they wrote this screenplay. Incredible intense from the opening sequence, Darren Aronofsky winds us tighter and tighter until the final frame. Natalie Portman, in the role of a lifetime, really lets us understand Nina’s descent without going into over the top histrionics. Mila Kunis and Barbara Hershey really nail their roles as the rival ballerina and overbearing mother, adding another level of gravitas to this film. For all of its craziness, the film still manages to ground us in the reality of a woman who just wants to be perfect and we are much better off having experienced it. By a hair (or feather in this case), this movie tops my list of the best films in 2010.