So I know that Leading Us Absurd is a music blog, but it’s the end of the year, and this year was actually a pretty decent year for movies, I thought. So here are my favorites for 2010. (As of this writing, I have yet to see The Fighter, so maybe that would come on my list. Looks pretty good.)
The Social Network
When I first heard about it, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. A movie about Facebook? You can’t be serious! Yet, with Aaron Sorkin’s script, The Social Network turned into one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time. At the movies core is obsession, and what happens between friends when that obsession gets in the way. History is defined by those who actually take chances, consequences be damned. As Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg says, “If you guys wanted to invent Facebook, you would have invented Facebook.” The Social Network tells us that sometimes narcissism is what catapults other people above the rest.
Another movie about obsession. Black Swan is not your typical ballet movie, and with Darren Aronofsky at the helm, there’s no way it could be. Natalie Portman gives one of the best performances on screen in a decade (I’ve been accused of being biased towards her) because like her character Nina, Portman digs deep. She goes from shy and timid to hostile within seconds. Nina desires to be perfect in her performance of Swan Lake, so she we see her physical and mental torment in ways which sometimes the lines are blurred. As haunting and fucked up (for lack of a better phrase) as Black Swan is, it might also be Aronofsky’s most watchable movie, and that’s saying something.
Not only does James Franco look like Allen Ginsberg circa 1955, he also got a lot of Ginsberg’s mannerisms down. Howl goes back and forth between animated sequences of Franco’s Ginsberg reading Howl, and the obscenity trials surrounding its publication. Not all of it works, but Howl reminds us why free speech is so important. Great art should not be compromised, and more than anything that’s the beauty of the poem, and the movie itself.
At times it was hard to follow the plot, but Christopher Nolan has a touch for creating stirring action/thriller movies, and Inception is no exception (ha!). Like The Dark Knight, Inception plays on the idea that our own worst enemies are those that play with our minds and torment us. Distortion of dreams and reality pays a high price, and Domm Cobb knows this better than anybody, yet the farther down (literally in the movie) he goes the stakes get higher. Inception was a rarity in movies these days – an action movie not only makes you think, but sticks with you.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
Sure it’s just a teaser for Part 2, but the first half of the Deathly Hallows is the perhaps the most faithful Potter movie, and also the best. The stakes are higher – Harry, Ron, and Hermione no longer have the safe haven of Hogwarts to fall back on. While there is certainly a lot of action, it’s the quieter moments in the film that stick with you – Harry and Hermione’s visit to the Potter’s grave; Dobby dying in the hands of Harry – that really stick with you.