The Batemans 2010

So if you have been following Lost In Reviews for a while, you will know that we like to give out our own form of an Oscar to deserving talent. We call this award, “The Bateman”, from Christian Bale’s fantastic performance as Patrick Bateman in American Psycho. We have carefully scoured the films that have come out all year and whittled it down to the top ten best films overall from ten to one. Although, we always have to throw a bone to a few more with an Honorable Mention.

It’s hard to believe that 2010 is over so quickly. 2010 started off with a bang with films like Shutter Island, and that bang was quickly squashed as films like Leap Year were made available to the general public.

If you haven’t seen all of these movies, you should run out of your house right now and either get to the theater or go rent them. We would love to know what you think of our choices.

10. True Grit: I’ve never been a fan of westerns, so the “remake of one of the best movies ever” thing was a bit lost on me. For me the draw of True Grit has nothing to do with The Duke and everything to do with The Dude.

I’ve always been a fan of the Coens, subtract The Lady Killers and Intolerable Cruelty and I can safely say I enjoy every movie they have ever made. Yes, there are a few that I hold near and dear to my heart, one of those films I hold incredibly close, is The Big Lebowski. While everyone screamed praises for the original True Grit after the remake announcement, I could only think about dialog; how great it was going to be to see the Coens’ comedic timing thrown back into the lips of The Dude. To me the real story wasn’t about a remake but rather a reunion. A reunion that would rise to all of my expectations.

True Grit tells the story of Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld) and her journey of retribution for her murdered father. To find this retribution she seeks the help of Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges) a federally licensed marauder that is known for bringing the exact kind of justice that Mattie is looking for. After finding the means to purchase the service of Mr. Cogburn, the two reluctantly set out together to hunt down her father’s killer, Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin). While their adventure has all the obstacles that you would expect from a film like this it’s the bond between the characters that really make it what it is. Full Review Here

9. The Fighter: Take a second for me and think back on the highlight reel of your life. Picture all of your finest moments. Grasp with a white knuckle grip the way those victories filled your stomach with butterflies of self confidence. Now, shift that perception towards the way it felt when those moments were snatched away. Maybe it was a divorce from your high school sweetheart or a career ending baseball injury, but the odds are pretty good that something in your lifetime ended short of where you intended. Essentially, it is that gut wrenching feeling of loss that drives the movie The Fighter.

The story centers around Micky Ward’s (Mark Walhberg) path to the the title fight against Shea Neary. However, instead of solely focusing on the sporting aspects of the film, director David O. Russell captures portraits of supporting characters along the way, and the emotions and complications they experience while along for the ride. The prime example of this falls on the shoulder of Ward’s half-brother and trainer Dickie Eklund (Christian Bale). With his career having peaked on July 18, 1978 in a fight against Sugar Ray Leonard, Eklund struggles through the film with delusions and complications from having to let go of his better days. This problem is furthered by the fact that even in loss, the match would serve as a spring board for Eklund to become a local legend in the Irish-American neighborhood he frequented in Lowell, Massachusetts. Full Review Here

8. Scott Pilgrim vs The World: Hey man, do you like things that are awesome with snarky humor that would make your mom say, “WHHAAT?!?” and just leave you rolling your eyes in total humiliation? Then you will love, cue the movie guy voice, Scott Pilgrim VS the World!!!! That’s right kids this is the homage to your youth that you’ve been waiting for!

Scott Pilgrim vs The World isn’t your typical comic book movie. There are no caped crusaders or robot-powered super heroes in this story. In fact it’s more like 500 Days of Summer meets Stan Lee. The basic premise is this Scott Pilgrim must defeat Ramona Flowers’ evil ex’s in order to continue dating her. You would think these battles would be the highlight of the film, but that’s where you’re wrong. It’s the dialog between the characters that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Scott Pilgrim vs the World is one of the funniest movies I have seen all year. This is mostly due to the writing, as for most of the film Edgar Wright just let’s the comic live out on screen. Full Review Here

7. Millennium Series: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl who Played with Fire, and The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest:

Going into this film I had no idea what to expect, but with Hollywood already talking “remake” it was a must. Luckily for me, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was worth the remake talk and now lays in the same bed with Let the Right One In, with the fact that a remake left me thinking; why? In my opinion, if a film is as great as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, it does not warrant a remake but rather praise of it’s original form.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a thriller with so many layers it’s hard to describe the film in a simple synopsis, so I’ll just stick to the main plot. Lisbeth (Noomi Rapace), a professional hacker with an aversion for piercings and dark make up lives an interesting life. Due to problems in her past she has been assigned a legal guardian even though she is 24. She still strives for the day that she can truly be independent. If her manor of dress or bad attitude doesn’t draw you in her profession will, she is a hacker for hire that will dig through files, dates and pictures to dig up any dirt on the people that she is paid to investigate. It’s these investigations that lead her to Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist), a publisher of the magazine Millennium that has just lost it all when he was found guilty of slander when he tried to prove that industrialist Hans-Erik Wennerström was involved in gun running. With nothing to lose Mikael takes a job with Henrik Vanger to investigate the disappearance of his niece Harriet Vanger that has not been seen in 40 years. After Mikael starts to piece things together and looks into the lives of the other members of the Vanger family, mysteries are uncovered and take him on a dangerous path. Still intrigued by Mikael, Lisbeth continues to follow him well after her case has ended and when she sees an opportunity to help with his investigation it brings the two together to discover why Harriet has gone missing. Keep reading about The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

It’s been close to a year since I was introduced to the seduction that is The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. I was taken over with intrigue ever since my first moments in the world of Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist and now 9 months and 2 films later the conclusion is here. After seeing The Girl That Played With Fire‘s bitter sweet conclusion, I thought that the last film in the trilogy was going to have a lot to live up to. It was either going to be a major success or and epic failure, there would be no in between. There is nothing more satisfying to the fact that The final film in The Tattoo series is everything I wanted  and more. If you haven’t been keeping  up with this fantastic trilogy I strongly urge you to do so. Don’t wait until David Fincher gives it his American dub track due to your fears of reading. Saying that, if you haven’t seen the first two films I suggest you stop reading this review as it will spoil some of the film’s better moments. The Girl Who Kicked a Hornet’s Nest takes off right where The Girl Who Played with Fire left off and doesn’t give up an extremely dramatic pace right up to the final scene. We find Lisbeth recovering Keep reading about The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest

6. The Kings’ Speech: I was so pissed last year when Colin Firth was snubbed for his much deserved Best Actor award for A Single Man. The award, instead, went to Jeff Bridges for Crazy Heart. Apparently, the Academy thought it was his “comeback” role. In other words, he’s never going to do a role more worthy than this. It’s not like we would award him for playing The Dude again. Little do they know, just watch this year’s True Grit, starring Bridges. Colin Firth was absolutely perfect in A Single Man, but I digress, he is equally brilliant in this year’s The King’s Speech.

It would be an absolute conspiracy if you don’t see him nominated for this role this year. Although, I think he has some honest competition going up against him too. Firth plays King George the VI, in line to the throne of the United Kingdom and suffers from a terrible speech impediment. He constantly stammers and stutters while speaking, and even more so with public speaking. He was not the first in line to succeed his father, but his older brother King Edward VII (Guy Pearce) suffered from some romantic issues that would have brought shame to the royal family, so he abdicated his role to his younger brother Albert (King George VI).

Albert’s wife Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter) enlists the help of many speech therapists, all with their own wacky way of fixing a stammer, none of which work. With one last hope, she takes a leap of faith asking for the help of Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush). His ways aren’t so unorthodox to today’s standards, but it was his demands of being able to work in his own workshop and sticking to his rules that makes him such a character. Rush played this role flawlessly. He was confident, caring, light-hearted and always smiling in his eyes. As a viewer, you instantly love his character and the chemistry between himself and the King was like a brotherly bond, which is true to fact, as they remained friends for the rest of their lives after this. Colin Firth played the King with such subtlety that at first, you might not become enamored by his theatrical talents, but it is in those subtleties, that he shines. The biggest example would be watching him stutter through a sentence in nearly every scene. He pulled it off as if he had actually had his tongue sewed to the bottom of his mouth. I easily became frustrated along with him as he Full Review Here

5. Inception: I think it’s fair to say that just about everyone has seen Inception by now. We can’t say that everyone understood it. That is one of the most brilliant things about the film too. The fact that people were talking for months on forums and in coffee shops debating on what it all means and if his spinning top ever fell over or not. It’s a fantastic story that is just gripping and fascinating to talk about with friends. Even more fascinating are the special effects which add to the intense layers that the story takes you through. Watching cities topple over on themselves and change just with the change in someone’s eye direction is enough to keep you enthralled in the action.

We can’t forget the actors though. Without the fantastic cast, the film would have failed. Leonardo DiCaprio is so intense in this film, I’m sure it will stick with him forever now. Joseph Gordon Levitt really shined too and was able to show his serious side for a chance at some bigger roles in his future. Of course, we can’t forget Tom Hardy as Eames. He was the comedy relief with an intelligent twist. The whole cast was phenomenal though. Christopher Nolan has, once again, blown us all away.  Watch Video Review Here

4. The American: Now this is movie that we just can’t stop watching. Some would describe it as a slow burn, others, a paranoia that’s palpable. We think it’s all that and even more. George Clooney stars as Jack/Edward in this thriller from Director Anton Corbijn. After a job ends more violently than expected, Jack retreats to the Italian countryside and accepts one last assignment to construct a deadly weapon for a mysterious contact. But when he pursues a relationship with a beautiful local woman, he may be tempting fate by stepping out of the shadows.

The reason this film is so perfect is the story is so enticing, while remaining so subtle. We get so sick of the stories that feel the need to fill you in on every little detail and waste your time with montages and such. This is an educated film for the true movie buff. The film itself is absolutely the most beautifully filmed this year. Anton Corbijn has a photography background with helps tremendously with capturing the essence of the mountain-side villages in Italy and the small winding roads. The visuals just draw you in and the story passes the paranoia right over to you.

If you haven’t seen The American, you have no idea what you are missing. I mean, just look at the poster. When was the last time you saw a more interesting poster? 1977? The American just came out on DVD and Blu-ray, so go pick it up, you won’t regret it.  Watch Video Review Here

3. 127 Hours: It’s rare that a film comes along that can really shake your core, that hits every note so pitch perfect that you feel enlightened having seen it. I’ve only had this experience a few times in my long life of love for film. While I have enjoyed and even loved more films than I can even name, there are only a few that I think have the ability to provoke change. 127 Hours is one of these select few films. It makes you think of the obstacles in your own life and how you chose to overcome them. While most have never been in the life changing position that Aron Ralston found himself in, hell I can’t think of one, the story is still completely relatable. I would find it hard to believe that anyone could walk out of this film not thinking about what they would do in the same position.

127 Hours follows Aron Ralston on his life changing tale of survival. In April 2003 Aron set out to conquer Blue John Canyon, during this endeavor he dislodges a rock and becomes trapped with his forearm caught between the rock and the canyon wall. Aron screams for the help of his fellow hikers but, his cries go unheard. This would prove to be the last chance Aron would have for any help to come as he didn’t tell anyone where he was going that day. While he went out looking for adventure Aron had no clue that he would be going on the greatest adventure of his life. A five day struggle to survive; one that would change his life forever. Full Review Here

2. The Social Network: The Social Network is David Fincher’s latest project telling the story of Mark Zuckerberg and the creation of Facebook; as well as all the lawsuits that followed him afterward. The film stars Jesse Eisenberg as Zuckerberg with perfection. The film also stars Andrew Garfield as Mark’s best friend and CFO of Facebook, Eduardo Saverin. From their dorm room at Harvard, Mark creates Facebook and quickly watches it explode to other elite schools where Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake) seeks an interest in his creation.

The film is just about perfect and purely enjoyable. There is fantastic acting by all parts involved, especially Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg. It will definitely be the role that gets him the attention he deserves, although he may not warrant it. The most impressive part of the film is without a doubt the original score performed by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. Anyone who knows us here at Lost In Reviews that we are already a bit biased because of our outright love for all things Trent Reznor. However, we truly believe that he deserves all the recognition he can get from the film, as his score added the perfect amounts of tension, hopelessness and despair that was needed to feel what Zuckerberg was slowly going through in his years of starting Facebook.

Watch Video Review Here

AND THE BATEMAN GOES TO…

1. Black Swan: Those of you that thought Darren Aronofsky was at his best during last year’s The Wrestler will have a dramatic wake up call when you set your eyes on Black Swan. Aronofsky went back to his roots, back to the time when he would dramatically rattle your well being both mentally and visually. While I still think The Wrestler is a dramatic masterpiece, it is no Black Swan. Black Swan stars Natalie Portman as Nina, a reserved yet extremely talented ballerina that is waiting for her moment to shine. Her director Thomas played by the talented Vincent Cassel is the only thing standing between her and her dreams. The only problem is Thomas doesn’t think she has what it takes to be the star of his new imagining of Swan Lake. It’s not that she doesn’t have the skill to play the roll, it’s just that she doesn’t sweat lust and breathe the desire that is required to bring the crowd to it’s knees in the eyes of Thomas. Due to this Nina must fight to obtain and keep the roll of her dreams even if that means leaving her old personality by the wayside.

That sounds like the making of a fantastic film, and that alone could be a masterpiece under another director, but add the artistic flair of Aronofsky and a bit of mental illness and you have more than a masterpiece, you have a cinematic revolution. It’s in the mental illness of Nina that Aronofsky’s talents come to life as he transcends cinematic categories and breaks the barriers in which other films will be made. There’s just something to the feeling you get when you see films of this caliber, and how quickly they readjust your thinking of cinema as a whole. Black Swan is one of those films that has adjusted my love for film, and reminded me of my true passion for it. Read Full Review Here

Honorable Mentions:
Somewhere
Fair Game
Greenberg
Exit Through the Gift Shop
The Kids are All Right
The Tillman Story

About Ryan Davis

Ryan is the Founder of Lost in Reviews, a member of The Kansas City Film Critic's Circle, and a key component in the movement to digitally restore the 1986 classic film The Gate. Ryan is also the co-host of Blu Monday a DVD and Blu Ray review show which Lost in Reviews co-founder Angela Davis also appears. While he may be a film and music snob, that doesn't mean you can't be friends. Well it could if you don't like the same bands or films he does, overall it might be best to avoid the subject all together.

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