Saturday, January 08, 2011

Top 10 Movies of 2010

Making a “top 10 movies of the year” list is kind of difficult.  First, you have to remember all the movies that you have watched for the year.  Movies you watched at the latter part of year would be recalled easily.  Recalling movies you watched at the early part of the year needs more effort.  Second, you have to weigh each movie with each other on which one you like better.  Again, this is easier to movies you have watched recently than those you watched in February or March.  You have to really concentrate so you can recall how much you liked (or hated) that movie.  After all of this, picking the ten is easier.

There are some worthwhile 2010 movies, like “Tangled” and “Tron: Legacy”, that were released in December and I wasn’t able to watch yet.  So, even if, later on, I would like them after watching them, I can’t put them in this list anymore since I was not able to watch them during the year they were released.
Before I enumerate the top 10, let me acknowledge some other significant 2010 films…

I was able to watch “Sherlock Holmes” in January, but this movie is technically a 2009 film, thus it is disqualified from making the list.  If I have to put it in the top 10 somewhere, it would make top 5 or 4. 

Saw 1 to 4 were great, but it started getting weak on the 5th movie.  “Saw 3d” – the 7th film in the franchise – was kind of disappointing.  It still retains the “Saw” charm, but it is far inferior if you compare it to the early Saw movies. 

“Step Up 3d” had a better story than its predecessors, and the best dance scenes I have seen in a “Step Up” movie.  The final showdown between the House of Samurai and the House of Pirates was epic.

I enjoyed the action of “Resident Evil 4”, but I have some complains.  It started with promise with the opening sequence, but it gets disappointing after that.  Alice losing her clones and her powers early on set the tone of disappointment for the rest of the movie.  It destroyed the hype and excitement brought by the cliffhanger ending of the 3rd movie.  This one also had a cliffhanger ending, but it also destroyed the ending I wanted: Alice and friends turning the ship “Arcadia” into a real refuge from the undead.  Let’s hope “Resident Evil 5” would do better. 

Many said that “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1” was the best HP movie so far.  I disagree.  I still think the best HP film is the 3rd, the 4th, or the 5th movie (I can’t make up my mind which). 

“The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader” was okay.  I watched it in 3d.  I already wrote about my sentiments regarding this movie (and the 3d experience)

As for other movies that nearly made the top 10… let’s be fast, this post is long already and we haven’t mentioned a single one of the top 10… Ok, here goes…

The sequel to “Wall Street” was awesome (there seems to be a third movie coming up); the Gecko character comes strong and interesting. 
I thought “Kick Ass” was going to be cheesy, but it was unexpectedly good. 
I was really excited to watch “Alice in Wonderland”, and it was good, like other Tim Burton films, but once you get used to Burton’s style, it seemed to come out a little bit bland already. 
“The Other Guys” had me cracking up from opening to close (what you expect from a Will Ferrell film).   
“Shrek 4” has a good story, but not as hilarious as the previous Shrek films.           
“Splice” was a refreshing sci-fi tale that really bites the audience.
“The Social Network” was a yarn take on the story of the creation of Facebook.
In “After.Life”, Cristina Ricci shows nudity… again (rolls eyes).  It seems that she only chooses roles that require her to show her breast.  Nonetheless, it was a gripping, eerie, and interesting story.
If there is going to be a number 11, “The Ghost Writer” will take that place.  This or the all-star fun movie “The Expendables.”

Now, to the top 10…       

10.) SALT

The best thing about it is the movie poster.  Just look at it.  That is the most “badass and sexy” photo of Angelina Jolie ever. 

The movie started strong and ended strong.  The Evelyn Salt character easily captivates.  She is badass, versatile, and enigmatic; up there with the ranks of the elite of spy fiction like James Bond, Jason Bourne, and Jack Ryan.  Throughout most of the movie, we expected her to do the unexpected.      

The thrill and action brought by the movie was very Jason Bourne-esque.  In fact, critics said it was just a rip-off of the Bourne movies, only with a female lead instead.  They might be right, but Salt looks to be a promising movie series like Bourne. 
9.) RED

Red was a lot of fun.   This movie, which was loosely-based on a comic book, was about a group of retired (i.e. old), but still dangerous, agents who are being hunted by the CIA due to being framed by a corrupt and treacherous politician.  Full of hilarity and badass action as the group try to uncover the “whys” on the plot to kill them while the CIA was hot on their heels. 

Frank Moses (Bruce Willis’ character), Joe Matheson (Morgan Freeman’s), and Victoria (Helen Mirren) were all interesting characters.  But, hands down, the best character in the group is the conspiracy theorist, Marvin Boggs (played by John Malkovich).   His antics cracked me all throughout the movie.

This movie was a first-class action-comedy, never uninteresting, and delivered what I expected from it – and more – from start to finish. 


Epic.  To be honest, I did not expect it to be special.  But it was.  One of the best animated movies I ever watched.  A good story, good graphics, a family-oriented charm, and several hilarious scenes and lines… it has all the formulas for a winning 3d movie.   Several scenes had cracked me up real good, from Gru’s lines and reactions (“Wow, this is garbage.  You actually like this?” while reading the “3 Little Kittens” book), to wacky scenes (Gru destroying a shooting gallery using his blaster gun to win a unicorn stuffed toy for Amber), to one-second shots (“Bank of Evil: Formerly Known as Lehman Brothers.” This made me laugh so hard), and to almost every scene these guys were present…
Gru’s Minions are very much like Toy Story’s LGMs, only clumsier and funnier.  They are a major factor why this movie was very funny.

I heard that “Megamind” was also a good movie.  I haven’t watched it yet so I can’t compare which is better.

I know the premise and the general plot of the game, and I know that if I am not aware of the time travel concept of the game, I would had enjoyed the movie more since the “time travel for a few seconds” function of the prince’s dagger would come as an enjoyable surprise.  “Prince of Persia” has the swashbuckling fun that the “Pirates of the Caribbean” has.  The fight and acrobatic scenes were both graceful and badass.  The story was, yup, almost cliché for an adventure film, but it was still exciting. 

And I really liked the relationship of the Prince with his father and brothers.  He was really a part of the family even if he was only adopted.  At first, it was as if it was a brother of the Prince was the one that framed him (in the murder of his father).  But it turned out, that the initial subtle hints (like traces of jealousy) of his brothers’ treachery were just mere red herring of the plot.  They were not the villains.  In truth, their bond as brothers was strong.   I love how it all went.

Aside from what I have already mentioned, the audience was also charmed by the lead characters – or rather the actors.  Girls fell in love with Jake Gyllenhaal’s abs, and guys got bedazzled by Gemma Arterton’s sex appeal.  This scene shows what I mean:

I'm expecting there will be sequels…


A sci-fi drama that contains a very valuable underlying theme.   The movie might be uneventful in some parts, but it is only when you finished the movie that you realize the movie had a beautiful story and a deep message.   The scenario of the movie was when a NASA probe crash lands on north Mexico, cthulu-like alien creatures started appearing in the USA-Mexico border.    This area became known as an “infected zone” as military from both countries work to keep them at bay (though the aliens were still able to move towards urban areas).  The story was about a photojournalist who agreed to escort his employer’s daughter from Mexico to USA through the “infected zone”.  They would encounter danger in their journey which would culminate when they had a clear and up-close view of the aliens for the first time (also the first time for the audience).  It would end with the two admitting their love to each other and leaving us with the questions: “What makes them monsters?  Just by being different from us?  But who are really behaving as monsters?  Us or them?”
5.) IRON MAN 2

This was the only Marvel movie of 2010.  But, I dare say, it successfully filled the hunger for the annual dose of Marvel Superhero movies.  It was better in everything than the first movie.   It joins the ranks of “Spider-Man 2” and “The Dark Knight” – comic book movie sequels that were better than their respective first movies.  All the major scenes were awesome; they were funny or action-packed or both.  Scenes and cameos meant as appetizers of incoming “Avengers” and Marvel Cinematic Universe superhero films were also scattered across the movie.       

Robert Downey, Jr. was – again – brilliant in this movie.   He played Tony Stark in a way I haven’t seen the Tony Stark character.  He was more suave, more fun, more charismatic, and more lovable.               

Moreover, in this movie, we got…

Hope Part 3 will not disappoint (now that the director, Jon Favreau, is not on board for the third movie). 

4.) EXAM

Technically, this movie was a 2009 movie.  But I have my reasons for treating it as a 2010 movie.  First, when it was shown in 2009, it was mostly limited to film festivals.  Second, this movie was released in UK theaters in early 2010 and was never released in the US.  Instead, it was released in DVD in 2010 for US.  So I’ll treat it as a 2010 movie since it was more widely circulated in 2010. 

The movie’s story was centered on eight applicants for a vacancy in a high-status, powerful, but enigmatic corporation.  They were put inside a closed room, with one guard with them.  A piece of paper and pencil were in front of each of them.    They were instructed that in 80 minutes they should be able to give one answer to one simple question.  They were left with three rules by their proctor: "If you try to communicate with myself or the guard... If you spoil your paper intentionally or accidentally... if you choose to leave this room for any reason… you will be disqualified."  He left and the clock started ticking.  The candidates turned over his or her respective paper and found a blank page.  That was when the fun started, as candidates attempted to find loopholes and clues in the three rules and to discover what was the question (so they can answer).  One by one, the candidates got eliminated, by trickeries of their co-candidates, by choice, or by accidentally breaking a rule.  In the end, a sole applicant remained non-eliminated after 80 minutes.  The remaining applicant was also able to successfully uncover what the question was and was able to deliver the correct answer.

This movie’s main appeal was the plentiful twists.  The final twist – the real score of the corporation – was kind of weak, though, compared to the twists of the body.  Nonetheless, this was an exciting movie that would keep you guessing until the end.        


This is one of the greatest comic book movies ever made.  “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World” was adorably wacky and creatively done.  I love the concept.  It was kind of cartoony but still interesting and not cheesy.  It has the “feel” of my generation.  Moreover, I was really impressed by the fight scenes.  Michael Cera’s appearance looks weak and clumsy, but when he did his fight choreographies, it was executed crisply and excellently.  The story was kind of slow at the early part of the movie, but it picks up as soon as the first evil ex-boyfriend appears.  From there, it becomes fast-paced and grows exciting and action-packed by the second.  In summary, Kevin Smith put it perfectly, “I would be hard pressed to say, 'he's bringing a comic book to life!' but he is bringing a comic book to life.”     

“Inception” will go down in history as one of the greatest movies ever made.  In fact, it ranks number 2, so far, in the Internet Movie Database’s all-time list in ratings.    I don’t have to say anything more about “Inception”.  Really.  If you haven’t watched it yet, it’s a pity.  Go watch it and understand why it’s awesome.  I won’t spoil it for you.  But if you already did, then you already know why it’s awesome.  And you’re also probably wondering why it only made the number 2 spot when it’s a hands-down number 1 choice to all of you. 
Well, it’s because…    


“Toy Story 3” was also released this year.  That’s why “Inception” did not get the top spot.  I believe that “Toy Story 3” is the best movie this year.  Well, at least to someone like me who really loves the pop culture of his childhood, in which “Toy Story” was one of the best things about it.  This movie was something I had been waiting for for a long time.  And my wait was not disappointed. 

In my article a few months ago titled “Movies I Like Hollywood to Make, Keep on Making, or Start Making Again”, I wrote this about the movie:
“I had always been a lover of toys.   I was a toy lover since, and still a toy lover now.  Thus, you see how much I love the Toy Story movies.  I had waited for the sequel for Toy Story 2 for more than ten years and it was just recently that the 3rd installment came out.  I was about ten when Toy Story 2 came out at the theaters, and I’m now 21 when I watched Toy Story 3.  Thus, in some ways, I had been able to relate to Andy growing older and about to go to college.  Though, of course, as for me, I, instead, had just graduated from college.  But allegorically speaking, there are parallels.  Andy grew older, I grew older (We were both kids by the time of Toy Story 2).  Andy’s steppingstone change in life was going to college, mine was finishing college.  Andy has to let go of his toys, a symbolism of letting go of important things of the past and comfort zones so we can grow up.   There, Toy Story 3 made me sentimental.  Made me reminisce my past and provoked pondering of my future.”

Not only was “Toy Story 3” funny, entertaining, and heartwarming but it had a theme I can relate to and a familiar recipe that I really love.  It is the movie that made the most impact to me this 2010, and that’s why it’s the best movie of 2010.

Now done with 2010 movies, it’s time for 2011 to showcase its offering…    

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