2010 Screens Top 10s
1) A Prophet This French drama ranks among the best crime films ever made for its study of criminal subcultures, the social stratification of prisons, and the self-perpetuating cycle of sociopathic activity.
2) The Fighter Mark Wahlberg effectively rope-a-dopes it while encircled by a brilliant ensemble of actors in a story that's not really about boxing but about taking and deflecting life's blows.
3) Black Swan Yes, this one dabbles in some clichés about nutty ballerinas and even nuttier moms, but Aronofsky's vision is so specific, gorgeous, and psychologically cohesive that it is completely en pointe.
4) Winter's Bone I can't shake off my disquieting memories of the fiercely independent Dolly clan with their particular brand of hard-hearted mercy and squirrel-stew diet.
5) The Social Network The movie captures the quicksilver of our times in polished perfection, although its cherchez la femme framework is a bit of an oversimplification.
6) Exit Through the Gift Shop In turning to cinema's fourth wall as a new billboard for his guerrilla art, the mysterious artist Banksy raised more questions than he answered. Way to go, Banksy.
7) Fish Tank Andrea Arnold's Cannes prizewinner is an uncommon portrait of a girl negotiating impending womanhood, and its unusual filming methods keep the terrific actors and audience on tenterhooks.
8) The Kids Are All Right My feel-good movie of 2010 shows that certain things about family life are universal while still remaining deliciously specific.
9) Inside Job This probing documentary makes the Wall Street collapse comprehensible – and names names.
10) Let Me In OK, so it's a remake of a Swedish vampire film, but the film's hauntingly beautiful portrayal of teenage sexual longing sunk its teeth into me big-time.
Inception, Enter the Void, Four Lions, 127 Hours, The Ghost Writer
Catfish, Somewhere, True Grit
Let Me In, Winnebago Man, Restrepo
ACTING KUDOS (MALE)
Christian Bale (The Fighter), Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network), John Hawkes (Winter's Bone), Niels Arestrup (A Prophet), Javier Bardem (Biutiful)
ACTING KUDOS (FEMALE)
Natalie Portman (Black Swan), Amy Adams (The Fighter), Melissa Leo (The Fighter), Julianne Moore (The Kids Are All Right), Jennifer Lawrence (Winter's Bone)
David Fincher (The Social Network), David O. Russell (The Fighter), Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan)
BEST SCREENPLAY (ORIGINAL)
A Prophet (Jacques Audiard, Thomas Bidegain, Abdel Raouf Dafri, Nicolas Peufaillit), Fish Tank (Andrea Arnold), Four Lions (Jesse Armstrong, Sam Bain, Chris Morris)
BEST SCREENPLAY (ADAPTED)
Winter's Bone (Debra Granik, Anne Rosellini), The Social Network (Aaron Sorkin), Let Me In (John Ajvide Lindqvist, Matt Reeves)
To Save a Life. This well-meaning but ineptly made Christian message movie calls on the power of Jesus Christ to prevent teen suicide.
Prodigious Versatility Award: Goes to Matt Damon (r) for 2010's starring turns in Green Zone and Hereafter, co-starring in True Grit, narrating Inside Job, and making guest appearances on TV's 30 Rock.