Last year in anticipation of the turn of a new decade I did a series of "Movie Memories" by year, highlighting notable film watching experiences from 2000 - 2009 (you can see each year by clicking though the years here 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009) and as we come to the end of 2010 I though, why would I stop at this tradition? I mean, it was a lot of fun coming up with all of those this so I can eek out another list of 10 films that saw and had strong, positive film-going experiences in 2010.
My original parameters for the lists is films seen theatrically, no series included and films are listed in the chronological order in which I saw them. I was going to break a few rules, but decided against it although I did add some extra films at the end to include a film in a series, a straight-to-DVD and two festival-only films. Plus, remember this is a list of favourite movie memories not a best of list although there may be some crossover.
I'm feeling like a bit of a softy leading with a film 'based on a Nicolas Sparks novel'. But one of the reasons I saw this was because people use that term *all the time* and I wondered, why not see the films (and read the book) before always lumping them in that category and not looking further. And look what happened - I totally fell in love with the film. It was quite the stir too as I saw it on the same day as Shutter Island (which I didn't love) and was at a pub night that same day with my film buddies, whom didn't quite agree with me on those respects! But I stand by them.
The Kids Are All Right and The Sorcerer's Apprentice (Birthday Double Bill)
I totally lucked out this year with my birthday falling on a Friday, therefore a primo day for heading out to the movies - twice! Well, I headed there just once, but stayed for two films. Started off the day with my buddy Danette having breakfast and tons and tons of coffee and then we say The Kids Are All Right together, which was so much fun! And then it was family time with my sister Jamie, her husband and my Mom as we watched The Sorcerer's Apprentice in the big AMC7 with extra pixels and all that jazz, and it was worth the extra pixels! Super fun day.
Step Up 3D and Street Dance 3D
Who knew my fave 3D films of the year would be 2 dance films? Okay, so that isn't really a stretch if you know my love of dance films. But this summer we had not 1 but 2 dance films, and they both have lovely ensemble casts, whole different-sides-of-the-tracks-working-together thing, and of course awesome dancing. Really, really enjoyed both of them.
The Last Exorcism
Okay, tonal shift time eh? This one kind of sneaks in as I saw it for the Toronto After Dark Film Festival, but it had it's theatrical release around the same time. So, first - I really enjoyed the film itself and it completely won me over with it's sort of tongue in cheek feel to it, but I also got to meet and interview actors Ashley Bell and Patrick Fabian and producer Eli Roth which was freaking amazing. I still smile with glee when I think about it, they were all so great and I had so much fun.
The Tooth Fairy
And now another tonal shift and one of the biggest surprizes of the year. I actually considered seeing this one in the theatre but ended up passing and then got it out of my local library on a lark because it was available. Turns out, it's totally awesome. I mean, it's The Rock (Dwayne Johnson) and he has to be a Tooth Fairy to learn that being a meanie-realistic/dream quasher isn't nice thing. So, it's kind of about the power of dreaming. Yep. That's going to get me. Every time. Plus, it is really funny and The Rock is charming as always. Biggest surprize of the year.
I think out of all the films I saw this year, I had the most fun watching Burlesque. I went with my sister Jamie (we saw the preview during something earlier in the year and knew we had to go together!), and oh my - what fun. Cher. Glam. Music. Feathers. Dance. Dreams. Goodness. Optimism. Willing to do the work (most people miss that one!) and overall fun times. Love the movie, love the soundtrack, can't wait to see it again.
I'm a little surprized that this one is making the list, it was on my most anticipated films list and even though the hype waned just a little short of the release date I still was really looking forward to it and I ended up really, really enjoying it. One day I'll have to do a blue-movie-marathon, because I really have an odd love for films that have a lot of blue in them and we see that here. Even without the 3D ness, I loved watching the film because it understood and showcased 3D with a grander understanding of 3 dimensions conceptually than any other 2010 film I saw. And I really loved the characters and story. Plus, the soundtrack... oh my. Could be the best of the year and seeing it in AVX was worth it for the rumbling goodness.
Legends of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole
Although this one came out earlier in the year it places at the end as I got it for Christmas! What a treat! It was pretty much the only film this year that I felt like "Aw.... I missed that one!" and then there it was for me to enjoy on Christmas Day (thank you Jamie!). It's also a beauty story, and highlights the power of story - which is something I've really been enjoying this year. I also loved that it's full of lovely accents (lots of familiar voice too!) and great characters. Plus, the animated owls are gorgeous! Another big surprized this year.
Bonus Films - Because I Couldn't Not Included These 4 (that didn't qualify by my own rules):
- The Woman with the 5 Elephants (Festival Film, seen at Hot Docs 2010) this film has really stuck with me throughout the year, mostly as the woman it follows who is a translatress, has been doing what she's been doing (translating) for so long and it's treated with value. The value of longevity of working on one thing was something I had pretty much dismissed given that we live in a world where people have several careers, vocations and entrepreneurship. But what if we didn't? What is there really was value in sticking with one thing? Wow. I think about it often.
- Rubber (Festival Films, seen at Toronto After Dark Film Festival 2010) nothing was like seeing this film about a killer tire with the crowd from Toronto After Dark. One of the funniest and most fascinating movies I've seen all year.
- Hunt to Kill (DVD Release) This action film was a huge, happy surprize under the radar hit for me. Steve Austin stars in a Texas-set but BC shot in the wilderness action with a fantastic supporting cast of Gil Bellows, Michael Eklund, Gary Daniels and Eric Roberts. Totally fun action film.
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (Series Film) This one will easily be one of my faves of the year but the experience of seeing it early in the morning, even after quite a kerfuffle, was extraordinary. I absolutely loved that they are taking their time with the last films and giving them the pace, tone, and attention they deserve. Love it.