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by Indiewire
December 30, 2010 8:55 AM
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Updated indieWIRE Top 10s: "Swan" & "Last Train Home" Take Lead Narrative & Doc

While "The Social Network" by David Fincher took the top spot in indieWIRE's recent 2010 Critics Poll from 125 ballots compiled by mostly, well, critics; this much smaller grouping of indieWIRE editors, contributors, freelancers as well as a smattering of industry friends, picked Darren Aronofsky's "Black Swan" as the title that dominated their individual top 10 lists. "Network," however, did well, as did "Carlos" by French director Olivier Assayas. Lixin Fan's "Last Train Home" was among the group's top documentary selections for 2010.

indieWIRE thanks those who took part and were brave enough to share their choices.

Participants were invited to include films released theatrically this year, but each person devised his or her own criteria.

Please share your Top 10 list for 2010 in the comments section at the end of this article (and don't forget to include your name).

indieWIRE Editors and Contributors:

Eugene Hernandez
Film Society of Lincoln Center (Former indieWIRE Editor-in-Chief)

1) "Last Train Home"
2) "Blue Valentine"
3) "Somewhere"
4) "Black Swan"
5) "The Oath"
6) "True Grit"
7) "Fish Tank"
8) "Sweetgrass"
9) "Wild Grass"
10) "A Prophet"

Honorable Mentions: "Greenberg," "Enter the Void," "Trash Humpers," "Shutter Island," "Etienne!"

More on my blog.

Brian Brooks
Managing Editor/Acting Editor-in-Chief, indieWIRE

1. "Blue Valentine" by Derek Cianfrance - I went with my then colleague Eugene Hernandez at Sundance but was supposed to leave part way through to see another film and just could not leave! It's engrossing to say the least and the performances are outstanding.

2. "Last Train Home" by Lixin Fan - So pissed it didn't make the Oscar short list. Unbelievable! I saw it at IDFA in 2009 and profiled the director Lixin Fan at Sundance last January. As I said then, he's one of China's great story tellers and this film is just great.

3. "Another Year," by Mike Leigh - Had I not known much about the movie and someone had tried to explain what it was about, I might not have gone to see it, but I did wake up early one morning in Cannes and I left misty eyed.

4. "The Social Network" by David Fincher - I went in not thinking much, which is often a good thing. But the anticipation mounted with the audience at its world premiere at the New York Film Festival and it really delivered - even for an often jaded crowd.

5. "The King's Speech" by Tom Hooper - Must admit I'm a bit pre-disposed to like this story, but it's a good one and inspirational.

6. "The Kids Are All Right" by Lisa Cholodenko - Argh, somehow I could relate to this story - enough said.

7. "Cool It!" by Ondi Timoner - Another film I was afraid to see especially since I know and like the filmmaker and hearing about the subject matter sort of turned me off. But I did make it and it's well done and illuminating.

8. "Winter's Bone" by Debra Granik - The 2010 Sundance winner received its due accolades and Jennifer Lawrence is a star.

9. "Rabbit Hole" by John Cameron Mitchell - A tough one on the surface. The story of a couple dealing with the loss of a child is not exactly tempting on a Friday night after a shitty week at work. But give it a chance! It's surprisingly funny and contains some great acting.

10. "Somewhere" by Sofia Coppola - As a native of SoCal, I'm intrigued by stories in which LA plays a character in the movie. Coppola (from NorCal, but a former resident of LA) could have gone for the jugular with this film. It's easy to make a caricature out of Los Angeles, but Coppola took a basic story and added heart and perspective.

Some great Runners Up:

"Black Swan" by Darren Aronofsky
"12th & Delaware" by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady
"Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work" by Ricki Stern and Anne Sundberg
"Cairo Time" by Ruba Nadda
"Inside Job" by Charles Ferguson
"A Prophet" by Jacques Audiard
"Waiting for Superman" by Davis Guggenheim
"Marwencol" by Jeff Malmberg

Anne Thompson
Editor-in Chief, Thompson on Hollywood/Editor-at-Large, indieWIRE

1) "Winter’s Bone
"
2) "The Kids Are All Right"
3) "The Social Network"
4) "Toy Story 3"
5) "Inside Job"

6) "Carlos"
7) "Let Me In"
8) "The King’s Speech"
9) "True Grit"
10) "The Ghost Writer"

Peter Knegt
Associate Editor, indieWIRE

1) "Another Year"
2) "Everyone Else"
3) "I Am Love"
4) "Dogtooth"
5) "Carlos"
6) "The Ghost Writer"
7) "True Grit"
8) "Black Swan"
9) "Last Train Home"
10) "The Kids Are All Right"

Honorable Mentions: "Fish Tank," "White Material," "Exit Through the Gift Shop," "Rabbit Hole," "The Oath," "Mother," "Marwencol," "Daddy Longlegs," "The Illusionist," "The Tillman Story" and "Blue Valentine"

Eric Kohn
Lead Film Critic, indieWIRE

Since I already published my top ten list, I figured I'd make room here for a list of "alternative" options, which in another year (perhaps a year without "Another Year") would most certainly find their way into my original top ten.

"Carlos" - A terrorist you can root for and hate at the same time -- such is the unique power of Olivier Assayas's masterpiece, which defies categorization as one movie by working on several levels at once. It deserves ongoing scrutiny and takes several viewings to fully appreciate, although it's also possible that its rewards are simply endless.

"Secret Sunshine" - An epic study of grief and spiritual solace. Movies about faith are rarely this subtle.

"Trash Humpers" - Make it. Don't fake it. Harmony Korine certainly didn't.

"Greenberg" - Ben Stiller and Greta Gerwig: If someone had suggested this team-up in 2007, it would have been in jest. The dream came true and worked marvelously well, and the Baumbach factor didn't hurt, either.

"Let Me In" - Not so much a remake as a refinement. The same movie made slightly better with polished performances and a deeper sense of place. It got under my skin and stayed there, just like the first one. A good cover is a good cover, period.

"Buried" - Trapped in a coffin with a camera. Cinematic experiments don't usually adopt the language of mainstream entertainment, but this one did to highly enjoyable results. Memo to Hollywood: More, please. Unless that more was "Devil," I mean.

"The Red Chapel" - A fiercely memorable indictment of North Korean society, "The Red Chapel" contains innumerable laughs that catch in your throat, and some that don't even get that far.

"Cyrus" - The Duplass brothers successfully take their mopey improv style to commercial heights without sacrificing the scrappy, homegrown feel that gives their movies such a delightful warmth. How the hell did they make Jonah Hill so...likable?

"The Human Centipede" - Dr. Heiter: A movie monster for the ages.

"Monsters" - The best special effects movie of the year was made on two laptops. How's that for a legacy, "Tron"?

Nigel M. Smith
Contributor, indieWIRE

1) "Fish Tank"
2) "Black Swan"
3) "The Social Network"
4) "The Ghost Writer"
5) "I Am Love"
6) "Mother"
7) "Everyone Else"
8) "Rabbit Hole"
9) "White Material"
10) "Blue Valentine"

Honorable Mentions: "Carlos," "Let Me In," "Piranha 3D," "Tangled," "Toy Story 3," "Dogtooth," "Last Train Home," "The Fighter," "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World," "Another Year," "Winter's Bone," and "Animal Kingdom"

Bryce J. Renninger
Contributor, indieWIRE

1) "Dogtooth"
2) "Blue Valentine"
3) "Fish Tank"
4) "Mother"
5) "Marwencol"
6) "127 Hours"
7) "The Oath"
8) "Black Swan"
9) "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I"
10) "Let Me In"

Anthony Kaufman
Freelance Contributor, indieWIRE

My list-ified top ten is available elsewhere at indieWIRE, but it's really my three favorite films that I'd like to discuss in this space, because, frankly, it's these three movies that are the ones that mattered to me on a more personal and cinematic level. The rest, while good, could have been ranked randomly, and I will do so below.

1) " Life During Wartime"
I believe I'm the only critic in America to place Todd Solondz's film at #1, so allow me a brief defense. The movie has stayed with me more than any other. As I have written in the past, "Life During Wartime" may be the most thorough, penetrating and profound accounting of post-9/11 America and the nation’s utter and dysfunctional lack of compassion. Every frame suffuses a sense of melancholy and regret. And still lingering with me are the ghostly faces of Paul Reubens, Ciaran Hinds and Charlotte Rampling; the darkly sardonic line "Nothing will get inside you ever"; and that mysterious culminating shot, full of sadness and the yearning of a young boy who wants his father back, no matter his crimes.

2) "Red Riding Trilogy"
All set in the same murky, neo-noir environs of Yorkshire, England, the three features that make up this nifty, interlocking cinematic hat-trick may have their uneven parts, but I love the powerful, paranoiac mood that envelopes the proceedings. If Kieślowski's "Decalogue" series inspired age-old questions about whether spiritual forces or free will determines the course of our lives, the "Red Riding Trilogy" uses its multiple, labyrinthine narratives to build an ominous framework where interrelated powers on the ground -- the police, the wealthy, the government, religious authority -- exert a deadly control over our lives

3) "Exit Through the Gift Shop"
The amazing thing about "Exit" is that all of the questions surrounding its veracity or fallacies are so brilliantly weaved into the very fabric of its narrative that it's stupid to criticize it on such grounds. What emerges is a film that cleverly critiques such absolutes, and above all, how we value truth, in life and in art. And it's pretty darn funny, too.

The rest: "Winter's Bone," "Everyone Else," "The Ghost Writer," "Greenberg," "Black Swan," "A Prophet," "The Social Network"

Kim Adelman
Short Film Columnist, indieWIRE

Female filmmakers continued to impress this year. Here’s a list of 10 features directed by women, titles listed in alphabetical order:

“Cairo Time”
“The Freebie”
“Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work”
“The Kids Are All Right”
“Nowhere Boy”
“Please Give”
“The Runaways”
“Somewhere”
“Tiny Furniture”
“Winter’s Bone”

And a half list of honorable mentions for male directors’ contributions this year:

“Black Swan”
“Boy”
“Exit Through the Gift Shop”
“Four Lions”
“His & Hers”

iW Blog Network:

Christopher Campbell
Spout Blog

1) "Last Train Home"
2) "Winter’s Bone"
3) "Enter the Void"
4) "I Love You Phillip Morris"
5) "Daddy Longlegs"
6) "Fish Tank"
7) "Monsters"
8) "Animal Kingdom"
9) "Restrepo"
10) "The Red Riding Trilogy"

Caryn James
James on Screens

Fish Tank and Inception might have come from different planets; of course it’s artificial to rank the year’s best films. So think of this as a reminder list of the movies most worth seeing, and seeing again. Some are splashy hits, others nearly overlooked and orphaned, but all are audacious, artistic and worth your time.

1. "Black Swan," Darren Aronofsky’s almost over-the-top psycho-thriller is the most enthralling movie I’ve seen this year, and a masterpiece of virtuoso filmmaking.

2. "The Kids Are All Right," Moms, sperm Dad and kids form a thoroughly believable family in Lisa Cholodenko’s warm, smart comic-drama.

3. "The Social Network," Aaron Sorkin’s dazzling script and Jesse Eisenberg’s classic performance give the Facebook backstory suspense and wit.

4. "Somewhere," Sofia Coppola’s beautifully realized father-daughter chamber piece has grace, depth and an uncompromising artistic vision.

5. "127 Hours," James Franco cuts off his arm and director Danny Boyle makes sure we can’t turn away.

6. "Inception," Only Christopher Nolan’s outsized imagination could have given us these dreams-within-dreams-within dreams.

7. "Fish Tank," Non-professional actor Katie Jarvis is remarkable as confused working-class girl in Andrea Arnold’s gritty little gem.

8. "Animal Kingdom," Jacki Weaver’s performance as a lethal granny and David Michod’s direction give the crime-family genre new energy.

9. "True Grit," The Coens make it look easy, but this beautifully balanced, tough-minded coming-of-age story set in the Old West is something rare.

10. "White Material," With Isabelle Huppert as a French plantation owner in Africa, Claire Denis’ film is haunting and politically fraught.

Sydney Levine
SydneysBuzz Blog

"I Am Love"
"Hermano"
"Carlos"
"Son of Babylon"
"The Social Network"
"The King’s Speech"
"Winters Bone"
"The Kids are All Right"
"Black Swan"
"Toy Story 3"

Sophia Savage
Thompson on Hollywood

1) "Black Swan"
2) "Everyone Else"
3) "The Social Network"
4) "A Prophet"
5) "Animal Kingdom"
6) "I Am Love"
7) "Exit Through The Gift Shop"
8) "Another Year"
9) "The King's Speech"
10) "Blue Valentine"

Go to page two for industry picks...

Industry

Matt Dentler
Head of programming, Cinetic Rights Management/FilmBuff

1. Mad Men season 4 (no piece of filmed entertainment gave me more satisfaction in 2010 than the fourth, and best, season of this show)
2. The Social Network
3. Dogtooth & A Prophet (tie)
4. Winter's Bone
5. Last Train Home
6. Heartbreaker
7. Inception
8. Mother
9. Restrepo
10. Toy Story 3

Best Films of 2010 that I won't include on the list because I'm professionally connected to theme: Exit Through the Gift Shop, The Kids Are Alright, I Am Love, Daddy Longlegs

Honorable mention: the Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson scenes in Easy A

Best 1/3 of a film: the two-hour OPEC sequence in Carlos
Best ending (including credits): Blue Valentine
Best love triangle: Cyrus
Worst love triangle: The Human Centipede

Basil Tsiokos
Programming Associate, Documentary Features, Sundance Film Festival
Documentary Film & Festival Consultant and regular indieWIRE Contributor

In alphabetical order:

Top Ten Documentaries Released in 2010:
1) "45365"
2) "Best Worst Movie"
3) "Disco and Atomic War"
4) "Exit Through the Gift Shop"
5) "Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Inferno"
6) "Last Train Home"
7) "Marwencol"
8) "The Oath"
9) "The Red Chapel"
10) "Sweetgrass"

Bonus picks would include a lot, but limiting myself to five: "Double
Take," "Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work," "Restrepo," "A Small Act," and
"Summer Pasture"


Top Ten Narratives Released in 2010:
1) "Another Year"
2) "Black Swan"
3) "Blue Valentine"
4) "Dogtooth"
5) "Everything Strange and New"
6) "Fish Tank"
7) "Heartbreaker"
8) "Rabbit Hole"
9) "Tiny Furniture"
10) "Winter’s Bone"

Bonus picks would include: "127 Hours," "Inception," "Lebanon," "Life
During Wartime," and "The Social Network"


Brit Withey
Denver Film Society

List in alphabetical order:

"Black Swan
"Carlos"
"Daddy Longlegs"
"Exit Through the Gift Shop"
"The Kids Are All Right"
"Marwencol"
"Red Riding Trilogy"
"The Social Network"
"Tiny Furniture"
"Winter’s Bone"

Bryan Stamp
Programmer, Outfest

"The Oath" (the most essential film of the year from one of the most important filmmakers working in non-fiction)
"Another Year" (Mike Leigh gets more out of his actors than any other filmmaker, expect perhaps Almodovar)
"Sweetgrass" (the best cinematic experience I had all year - the only film that made me laugh out loud)
"Last Train Home" (one of the most illuminating films of the year, not to mention the best bitch-slap of the year)
"Dogtooth" (unshakable)
"Never Let Me Go" (a beautifully crafted and haunting film criminally ignored by audiences)
"Exit Through the Giftshop" (best most-unreliable narrator of the year - and there were many)
"Winter's Bone" (and one of my favorite soundtracks of the year)
"Black Swan" (can't wait to see it again)
"Toy Story 3" (the best action-adventure film of the year; the toys of TOY STORY are one of my favorite circle of friends ever on film).

Runners-Up:
"Marwencol" (the other great "toy story" of 2010)
"Carlos" (an awesome epic film featuring the best crotch grab of the year)

Daniel Spence
Marketing, Sony Picture Classics

1) "I Am Love"
2) "Mother"
3) "Last Train Home"
4) "Black Swan"
5) "The Social Network"
6) "Another Year"
7) "Carlos"
8) "Vincere"
9) "Inside Job"
10) "Rabbit Hole"

Honorable Mentions: "Blue Valentine," "Everyone Else," "Please Give," "Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work," "The Killer Inside Me," "Wild Grass," "Easy A," "White Material," "Enter the Void," "Inception"

Doug Jones
Associate Director of Programming, Los Angeles Film Festival

List in alphabetical order:
“Curling”
“Disco & Atomic War”
“Four Lions”
“The Four Times”
“The Illusionist”
“Marwencol”
“Monsters”
“Toy Story 3”
“Tales from Beyond the Pale” (Cheating alert: This isn’t a film, but rather a collection of horror audio plays hosted by indie horror director Larry Fessenden.)
“The Wolf Knife”

Dustin Smith
Roadside Attractions

1) "Inside Job"
2) "Dogtooth"
3) "Another Year"
4) "Exit Through the Gift Shop"
5) "Jackass 3D"
6) "A Prophet"
7) "The Social Network"
8) "GasLand"
9) "Mother"
10) "Racing Dreams"

Two Disclaimers
1) I must first offer the same caveat given by David Edelstein in New York Magazine: "At the time of the publication of this list, I still have yet to see Little Fockers."
2) I never include any movies I was involved with on my Top Ten List, because that's like ReTweeting your own tweet and then giving that post a thumbs-up on facebook. However, with that being said: WINTER'SBONEWINTER'SBONEWINTER'SBONEWINTER'SBONE.

Jeff Deutchman
Acquisitions Manager, IFC Films

1) "The Oath"
2) "Blue Valentine"
3) "Carlos"
4) "Hadewijch"
5) "Daddy Longlegs"
6) "Black Swan"
7) "Secret Sunshine"
8) "The Exploding Girl"
9) "NY Export: Opus Jazz"
10) "The Tillman Story"

Honorable Mentions: "12th & Delaware," "About Elly," "The Art of the Steal," "Children of Invention," "The Father of My Children," "Fish Tank," "Gasland," "Guy & Madeline on a Park Bench," "Hereafter," "The Human Centipede," "The Illusionist," "Last Train Home," "A Prophet," "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World," "Shutter Island," "The Square," "Tiny Furniture," "Toy Story 3," "Trash Humpers," "True Grit," "Vengeance," "Videocracy"

Best Undistributed:
"Norwegian Wood"
"Black Venus"
"The Frankenstein Project"
"His & Hers"
"Sound of Noise"
"Tabloid"
"Zonad"
"Cold Fish"

John Von Thaden
IFC Films

List in alphabetical order:
"Blue Valentine"
"Eccentricities of a Blonde Haired Girl"
"Everyone Else"
"The Exploding Girl"
"Last Train Home"
"NY Export: Opus Jazz"
"The Oath"
"Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World"
"The Social Network"
"Trash Humpers"

Liz Cook
SnagFilms

In no order:
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I"
"The Kids Are Alright"
"Waiting For Superman"
"The King's Speech"
"Never Let Me Go"
"Restrepo"
"The Social Network"
"Inception"
"Nowhere Boy"
"Toy Story 3"

Ross Koenig
SnagFilms

"Inception"
"Despicable Me"
"Restrepo"
"Exit Through the Gift Shop"
"Youth in Revolt"
"Greenberg"
"I'm Still here"
"Shutter Island"
"Hot Tub Time Machine"
"Date Night"

Ryan Werner
Senior Vice President, Marketing & Publicity, IFC Films

1) "The Social Network"
2) "A Prophet"
3) "The Oath"
4)"Everyone Else"
5) "Greenberg"
6) "Toy Story 3"
7) "The Last Train Home"& "Restrepo" (tie)
8) "The Ghost Writer"
9) "Black Swan"
10) "Wild Grass"

Honorable Mentions: "127 Hours," "Another Year," "Blue Valentine," "Exit Through the Gift Shop," "The Fighter", "The Illusionist," "Inside Job," "Jackass 3D," "The Kids Are Alright," "Lourdes," "The Pat Tillman Story," "Please Give," "Shutter Island," "Somewhere," "The Strange Case of Angelica," "Sweetgrass," "True Grit," "Waiting for Superman," "Winter's Bone," "You're Going to Miss Me"

Best Undistributed: "Mysteries of Lisbon," "Film Socialisme," "Oki's Movie" and "Hahaha"

Best Re-release: "Every Man For Himself" (Thanks Film Desk!)

Worth the trip: The consistently thrilling programming at BamCinematek

*** I chose to leave off the great filmmakers I got to work with this year at IFC Films out of fairness (though their films would certainly have claimed many of the top spots on my list).

3 Comments

  • zaviar wun | December 31, 2010 4:00 AMReply

    1.) The Ghost Writer
    2.) Dogtooth
    3.) Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
    4.) Everyone Else
    5.) The Social Network

    This has been a very poor year, so much so that I can't feasibly construct a full top 10 of movies that I liked at the moment. Admittedly I still haven't seen Secret Sunshine, Mother, Our Beloved Month of August and a couple others yet, but based on the selections I have seen that didn't make my cut but seem to have impressed a lot of critics this year (Winter's Bone, Exit Through the Gift Shop, Wild Grass, Carlos, Toy Story 3, Black Swan, The Kids are All Right, I am Love) maybe I shouldn't hold out too much hope. 2007, where are you when you're needed?

  • Anthony Charles | December 30, 2010 8:53 AMReply

    1) Inception
    2) Black Swan
    3) The Social Network
    4) True Grit
    5) The Town
    6) Exit Through the Gift Shop
    7) The Fighter
    8) Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
    9) I Am Love
    10) Fish Tank

  • bob hawk | December 30, 2010 7:39 AMReply

    I'm listing my ten in alpha order -- in the spirit of "How can you compare the incomparable?" But I will say that the film that affected me most personally on the most levels -- emotionally, viscerally, visually, and educationally/intellectually -- was LAST TRAIN HOME.

    AND EVERYTHING IS GOING FINE
    ANIMAL KINGDOM
    ANOTHER YEAR
    BLUE VALENTINE
    CARLOS (long version)
    EVERYONE ELSE
    THE LAST TRAIN HOME
    THE OATH
    RESTREPO
    WINTER'S BONE

    My list of honorable mentions would be extremely long (it's been a very good year), so I'd rather mention three films I saw this year that I especially admire but have not yet been released theatrically in the U.S.:

    ESSENTIAL KILLING
    HIS & HERS
    UNCLE BOONMEE WHO CAN RECALL HIS PAST LIVES

    Happy New Year! (with lots more wonderful movies)