While the beginning of 2010 seems like almost a year ago the inevitable time of list making comes closer. Do years go by without ten memorable films? No. There are always plenty of good pictures coming out and luckily some are better than others. Here is the first half of my personal top ten. Do you miss a title? Please leave a comment. Do you think my list is stupid? Please leave a comment. I will gladly explain why you are wrong. For international viewers: there are some titles that date back to 2009, but that is simply because Dutch theatrical releases are shit. Pardonnez moi mon Français. That is why films like Black Swan or The King’s Speech might be missing (I haven’t had the chance to see them yet. Perhaps they’ll show up on my list next year). I will post the second half after my skiing vacation, if I make it back alive.
10. Hetedik Kör, A (2009)
This rather unknown film from Hungary deserves a bit more publicity than it got. I do admit I saw it by accident at the Dutch Imagine Film Festival myself, but I was taken by its effectiveness. The film is about young Sebastyén, a boy that appears to have no friends or family. When he is accepted in a small group of children he starts to influence their thoughts about life and death. It is actually based on real events, although the story itself is fictive. Sebastyén as a character is placed to the background of the film, which makes him all the more mysterious. The Seventh Circle (international title) is captivating and has a horrific ending which will keep the viewer’s thoughts occupied a long time after the picture has ended.
09. La Horde (2009)
I haven’t read a lot of good stuff about this French zombie shooter. The main critique was about the lack of gore and the simple plot. I think many people expected horror. This is horror, but it is an action flick before that. So do not expect a picture like the Spanish [Rec], which has a similar set up: people get trapped inside a large building where zombies are on the loose. In [Rec] people run from them, as its setting is claustrophobic and scary. In La Horde the characters confront them. With big guns, fists, some grenades and an axe. It’s bloody but not gorey. It’s scary but not terrifying. And above all it is a lot of fun to see man versus zombie this directly. People who know of the game Left4Dead will know what I mean. The characters in this film possess some big stones, as zombie killing is made a fun business.
08. Iron Man 2 (2010)
Iron Man 2 is all I need from a big superhero blockbuster. It is action packed. It isn’t serious in any way. It is a bit sarcastic even. It has Scarlett Johansson and Gwyneth Paltrow as female characters. It has Robert Downey Jr. as the male lead. It has a man in a robot suit that shoot lasers out of his hands. It has fast cars, a great cast, a big finale, great special effects, a simple story between good and bad, a second man in a robot suit, more robots gone haywire, a build up to new stories and a list without an ending about all the great stuff in it. Too bad director John Favreau has departed from this series, so another sequel about Iron Man won’t be from his hand. I had a great time with this ultimate popcorn flick.
07. Inception (2010)
This film started with a big hype. It was supposed to be mind boggling, warped and ground shaking all at once. It wasn’t. So why is it on the seventh place of my top ten then? Because it is a great and unique blockbuster nonetheless. The story isn’t complicated at all (a dream in a dream in a dream, whoa!) and you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to get the story, but it is entertaining to say the least. Combined with some great computer graphics it is the biggest heist film of the last decade, especially since it is a sci-fi heist film. The pace of the film is amazingly fast so there is ample time to get bored. Because of the pace the story seems hard to keep track of, but that is just a great part of the trick Batman director Christopher Nolan plays.
06. Rampage (2009)
Are there people that really hate the films of Uwe Boll? I think not. He has made so many flops that it is hard to keep track of them, but for some reason his work is always entertaining. It might be the bad acting, the bad directing, the bad writing or the bad special effects that do amuse in the end. I don’t know. Perhaps it’s a combination. But then came rampage. A fantastic film by Uwe Boll. I’ll repeat it for you non-believers. A fantastic film by Uwe Boll. It’s about a kid that has enough of our modern day society, so he takes his beef to the street. In heavy armour. The small town he’s from is in for one bad day, as he will shoot all in sight. It doesn’t get more complicated than that, although Boll does comment on society through the main character. He is introduced well too, which is good for the impact of his deeds on the viewer. Boll’s camera is shaky, as if placed on the shoulder of the mass murderer. It adds to the realism. Although this is no adaptation of a game for once (Boll is mainly known for that), it does feel very game like. Rampage is brutal, realistic and something that has never been done before on this level. Well done!