Top Ten Films I’ve Seen This Year

slumdog_millionaire_movie_image__1_Although many believe it was a rather dull year for film with no real standouts (aside from Slumdog Millionaire). These ten movies will stay with me until the next time Oscar comes out to see his shadow.

1. Slumdog Millionaire (Director: Danny Boyle / Loveleen Tandan Writers: Simon Beaufoy [screenplay] / Vikas Swarup [novel])

            This Bollywood/Hollywood hybrid visualized Vikas Swarup’s book Q & A for audiences across the globe. Simon Beaufoy’s adaptation of the script is marvelous and stylized. Apart from the rocky reception it received in the film’s own setting, this was one of the most widely acclaimed films this year. I was deeply affected by this fast-paced thriller, mainly because its roots were at the good of humanity, and the structure of destiny. Slumdog won 8 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay. I highly recommend this movie if you haven’t seen it already.

 

2. Milk (Director: Gus Van Sant Writer: Dustin Lance Black)

            Milk was one of the more heart-warming and eye-opening films in many years. It was the story of San Francisco City Supervisor, Harvey Milk. This is a narrative about the life of a civil rights activist. Van Sant’s direction, and Sean Penn’s Oscar®-winning performance as the man himself, showed the true meaning of perseverance. Black’s writing gave the film the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and its heart, but it was Gus Van Sant’s direction that gave the film its originality and intensity. Milk has of the most shocking scenes I’ve ever seen in a movie. But I won’t give anything away…

 

3. The Wrestler (Director: Darren Aronofsky Writer: Robert D. Siegel)

            I was upset when Senn Penn won Best Actor at the Oscars® this year, because no character was more similar to its actor than Randy ‘The Ram’ Robinson was to Mickey Rourke. The Wrestler is of the most fantastic character studies I’ve seen in a long time, but its depressing nature kept me away for many weeks. After seeing this film, I regretted every other movie I had seen in its place. Marisa Tomei is fantastic as Rourke’s endearing and stripping love interest, Cassidy.

 

4. Man on Wire (Director: James Marsh)

            Of all the documentaries I’ve seen, Man on Wire is miles ahead. The story of wire-walker and adventurer, Philippe Petit, who had conquered all the landmarks he’d set out to conquer. Well, at least until construction started on the World Trade Center. Vivid details and a plethora of footage by Petit himself, line this documentary with beauty and innocence.

 

5. WALL∙E (Director: Andrew Stanton Writers: Andrew Stanton / Pete Docter [original story], Andrew Stanton / Jim Reardon [screenplay])

            If there was ever a more appropriate movie for all ages, WALL∙E has now taken its place. Who would have thought that a story about a robot that picks up trash on a futuristic, waste-ridden, and people-absent Earth could be such a wonderful film?

 

6. Let the Right One In (Director: Tomas Alfredson Writer: John Ajvide Lindqvist)

            This gem from Swedish director, Tomas Alfredson is by far the best vampire movie ever made. Adapted from Lindqvist’s novel, this is truly a romance that feels no prejudice. However beautiful the landscapes and the romance may be, this is one of the most horrifying films I’ve seen. Let the Right One In is most likely destined for Sweden’s nomination for Best Foreign Language film of 2010.

 

7. 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days (Director: Cristian Mungiu Writer: Cristian Mungiu)

            An intense, and at times, unbearable tale of rebellion is the only Romanian movie I’ve ever seen, but it certainly won’t be the last. Set in 1980s communist Romania, two women must find a way to get an abortion, which was highly illegal. It’s a taut and suspenseful insight into the struggles of living in a communistic society.

 

8. The Dark Knight (Director: Christopher Nolan Writers: Christopher Nolan / Jonathan Nolan [screenplay], Christopher Nolan / David S. Goyer [original story]

            Although I’m a member of the new Batman generation, I think it’s safe to say that this is the best Batman movie ever made. If you cut out every scene that doesn’t have Heath Ledger in it, it would still be one of the best movies of the year, even with the running time of about a half hour long. Nolan continues his wonderful catalog of directorial masterpieces. Also check out Memento.

 

9. The Visitor (Director: Thomas McCarthy Writer: Thomas McCarthy)

            One of the most relevant stories told on film this year, of the difficulties of being a foreigner; in both home and nation. Oscar®-nominee Richard Jenkins plays Walter Vale, a widow who can’t bear to bring himself to his New York apartment he and his wife once shared. When he becomes fed up with teaching the same subject he despises year after year, he goes to Manhattan only to find his home has unexpected occupants.

 

10. Gran Torino (Director: Clint Eastwood Writers: Dave Johannson / Nick Schenk)

            Eastwood plays Walt Kowalski, a retired General Motors employee, and a recent widow.  Basically runs like both the Gran Torino in Kowalski’s garage, and an updated Dirty Harry; strong-willed and unforgiving.

 

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