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PAM’s Top 5 Movies of 2010 So Far

When you write/blog about movies, there are two non-verbally accepted truths: 1.) It's never too early give Oscar predictions (just ask our own Julian Stark about that one) and 2.) There's no unacceptable time to evaluate the year's best movies. Today, we're celebrating the latter, by giving your our Top 5 films of 2010 to date. We figured we ought to get it in before Inception debuts on Friday and more or less ransacks and usurps many of the movies our lists.

Our PAM staff (myself, Simon, Kieran, Julian and Dinah) have all provided our individual Top 5 and supplemented it with a little bit of acommentary on our choices, which for some of us involved rummaging around an otherwise so-so collection of 2010 films to this point and for others was an exercise in self-defense. Then there's Kieran, our resident Brit, who thanks to crap film distribution in the UK this year, struggled to find films released in 2010.

Anyway, check out the following lists and see who you agree with the most.

Dinah's Top 5

1. The Crazies
2. The Book of Eli
3. Kick-Ass
4. Hot Tub Time Machine
5. The A-Team

Dinah thought: "Choosing the top five movies thus far in 2010 was difficult given no film so far has had such epic quality worth going on and on about. Still, there have been a few small-time gems worth an honorable mention. The Crazies, a horror remake, was a surprise delight. With a small budget, and decent but low-caliber stars, the movie managed to create a tense atmosphere, character intimacy, and intelligent dialogue in what is one of the most superficial and difficult to please genres. The Book of Eli mixed faith and fury with shocking accuracy.

Considering all the post-apocalyptic films in the last 12 months, this was the best executed effort. Kick-Ass straight kicked ass. The characters were distinct, memorable, and even endearing. The styling, editing, and music were epic. Hot Tub Time Machine is the most underrated comedies this year. The film drew laughs The Hangover couldn’t produce but somehow failed at the box office. Finally, The A-Team was literally an explosive good time. The film had its flaws, but it was the kind of popcorn flick that leaves a smile on your face."

Kieran's Top 5 
(based on UK Release dates)

1. The Road
2. Shutter Island
3. Kick-Ass
4. A Prophet
5. Lebanon

Kieran thought: "2010 has already been a year with films I've liked, such as Invictus, Robin Hood and Iron Man 2. There are films be released soon in the UK such as Inception, Toy Story 3 and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World which promise a lot. All in all, this has been a strong year for drama and thrillers, which makes up most of my top 5 list for this year so far.

The Road
was my favorite film of the year which was cruelly overlooked when awards season came about. Shutter Island saw the return of the great Martin Scorsese with another excellent film that was stylishly eerie with the substance to match. It also looks like the start to a very good year for Mr. Di Caprio. Kick-Ass is the best comic-book film of the year (sorry Iron Man fans): it effectively parodied the genre and gave us the great character of Hit-Girl (Chloe Mortez). From France we got A Prophet, an excellent prison and crime drama which mixed realism and surrealism into a thematic film. Last but not least is the Israeli film Lebanon, which works as an anti-war film and a commentary of today’s situation with realistic characters."

Julian's Top 5 

1. Toy Story 3
2. How to Train Your Dragon
3. Iron Man 2
4. Remember Me
5. Shutter Island

Julian thought: "It's been eleven years since Toy Story 2, but Toy Story 3 still feels unique and carries its own sense of creativity. It's a wonderful tale of growing up and never forgetting your past. The best film of 2010 so far. How to Train Your Dragon was not the type of film that I was expecting to really enjoy, but it's an endearing tale of friendship and acceptance. As for Iron Man 2, it wasn't as strong as the first film, but it was still a fun, action-packed film for the summer. Mickey Rourke made for a fantastic Whiplash, and Don Cheadle was a fine replacement for Terrence Howard. With great performances from everyone, especially Robert Downey, Jr., what's not to love?

As for
Remember Me, it was certainly one of the most divisive films of the year, if not simply for the ending, Personally, the film struck a chord. The performances from everyone were fantastic, and Robert Pattinson proved that he could do something other than sparkle and chase around a whiny Bella Swan. And although Shutter Island is definitely not of Scorsese's better works, this psychological thriller has you guessing until the end. Marty's muse Leonardo DiCaprio puts in a terrific performance, as does everyone else, including Patricia Clarkson who has a very minimal amount of screen time."

Simon's Top 5 
(based on Canadian Release dates ... just kidding)

1. Kick-Ass
2. Toy Story 3
3. How to Train Your Dragon
4. Despicable Me
5. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 

Simon thought: "In a movie year that can only be described as bland, one genre certainly shines above the rest: animation. Three films from three studios rank not only in my top five but in the upper tier of animated films for the decade. Toy Story 3 is the best on a filmmaking level, How to Train Your Dragon remains the most pleasant surprise, and Despicable Me is the funniest. On the other hand, all big-budget, live-action adventures this summer have fizzled and besides the arrival of Inception, the year to come seems equally ho-hum. Nudging out its computer generated compatriots is the blood-soaked comic book adaptation Kick-Ass which still remains the most purely enjoyable and unapologetically over-the-top film this year. 

On the flip side, lower-budget Indie flicks have seen a resurgence of sorts, with films I normally seek out with reluctance (even if they end up being excellent) seeming far more palatable, The Ghost Writer, Please Give, Solitary Man and a score of documentaries to name a few, I still wish to see. At number five on my list is the first instalment of Stieg Larsson’s “Millennium Trilogy”, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo which proved to be a superbly thrilling picture, bolstering a familiar template with smarts and excellent central performances. Hopefully as we approach Oscar season, the year will shake off its doldrums and salvage Hollywood’s wavering creative credibility."

Steven's Top 5 

1. Toy Story 3
2. The Ghost Writer
3. Shutter Island
4. Kick-Ass
5. Iron Man 2

Steven thought: "If only every studio could pick up on Pixar's simple mantra of "story comes first." In a year of films that have sacrificed just that for things that studios "think" will entertain us, such as 3-D among the less obvious tire conventions, Toy Story 3 shines even brighter. This is a three-quel, a phrase that general warrants the stink eye, but it's arguably the best in the series. Why? Because the story was the only reason they would make a third to begin with. In a year like this, Roman Polanski's mood piece thriller The Ghost Writer merits another look come award season that it might unjustly not get in lieu of Polanski's poor publicity. I see it as leaps and bounds ahead of my number three, Shutter Island, as far as original thrillers are concerned. Nevertheless, Scorsese proved just what he can do with material that has any inkling of quality.

Four and five are my top entertainment picks of the year.
Kick-Ass teetered the line gracefully between serious action comic story and genre satire, mostly thanks to director Matthew Vaughn who clearly knows when to have fun and when to get down to business, which will guarantee him a great career in blockbusters. Iron Man 2 feels like a disappointment in hindsight, but Robert Downey Jr. was firing on all cylinders and I couldn't help but enjoy myself a lot amidst the weak plot structure. My advice to others (and to myself) the rest of this year is to pay a bit closer attention to what's at the closest independent theater. That's where the good stuff is likely to come from this year."

Player Affinity Consensus Top 5
(Based on averaging above lists)

1. Toy Story 3
2. Kick-Ass
3. How to Train Your Dragon
4. Shutter Island
5. Iron Man 2 


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