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My Top Five Films of the Year

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Mark Kermode | 13:54 UK time, Friday, 24 December 2010

Hard to believe it's a year already but here's my list of the very best films of 2010 that you can count on one hand.

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  • Comment number 1.


    ...and Merry Christmas.

  • Comment number 2.

    Good top 5 Dr Kermode, don't agree entirely but I agree it's been a great year for films :)

    Forgot to mention/shout outs to A Prophet, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and Monsters.

    Anyway here's my bash of my top 5

    1. Inception
    I really enjoyed it but like The Dark Knight it lacked a certain emotional depth to me, theres still one there but the execution of it still made the film....well flat, only word I could think of to describe it without giving away too much of the film.
    If you are going into this expecting The Dark Knight, you will be disapointed. The film works very similar to Memento with the narrative sometimes being in three structues, or better put a dream within a dream and then another dream lol
    So aka no toilet breaks for this one if you wanna keep up with it.
    But its still a good blockbuster and even though it was as long as The Dark Knight, it never dragged like that film.
    Very good film for everyone.

    2.Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans.
    Cracking film Cage's best film and performance ever. Didn't feel long at all and Cage was on fire throughout the film. Best black comedy film since American Physco.

    Well this is a classic film without a shadow of a doubt to me.
    The two leads are fantastic in this film but I have no idea who they are, but I found out the two actors got hitched not too long after the film was finished, might explain why they had great chemistry together in this ;)
    The visual effects for an apparently five hundred thousand pound budget is money well spent to me. The visual effects looked like the quality of a 30-40 million dollar film.
    But the real hero of this film is the director Gareth Edwards...Just talented and has a big future ahead of him. The crew of the film was him, a sound man and the actors...that is it...Just wow.

    If you haven't seen, check it out in the cinema as it's easily alongside some of the best films this year.

    4. The Social Network
    All the casting in this film worked, the directing was well done considering it was very non-linear and the characters were just fascinating.
    I think Jesse Eisenberg and Andrew Garfield are in for a good shout to get nominated for Oscars as well as Sorkin for screenplay in fact he has to win for screenplay in my opinion, as it's a complicated case (as well as computer coding involved at some parts) and he made it flow perfectly.

    5.Toy Story 3
    Good God!!!!
    A third film in a film series/franchise that it good but not only that, it's the best of the three Toy Story films.

    Honourable mentions.
    Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, The Road, A Prophet and The Disappearance of Alice Creed.

  • Comment number 3.

    The fact The Social Network isn't in there is sad. Its the best film since There Will Be Blood.
    1. The Social Network
    2. Another Year
    3. Inception
    4. The Kids Are All Right
    5. Toy Story 3

  • Comment number 4.

    My top 5 would be:
    5. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part One
    I am amazed by just how dark the Harry Potter films got and this proved that David Yates and David Hayman made the right decision in splitting Deathly Hallows into two films. The acting was brilliant and, in terms of tone and style, it reminded me of The Seventh Seal crossed with The NeverEnding Story
    4. The Social Network
    The dialogue in this film is some of the wittiest I have ever heard and the way it is delivered is brilliant but without David Fincher directing this would not have worked. Mention must also be given to Justin Timberlake as Sean Parker who gives probably the best performance in a film this year and deserves to be nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor as he balances the right levels of cocky, arrogant and weakness, especially in his final scene.
    3. Toy Story 3
    This is one of the few films I have ever cried in, and I'm 15 so that makes it even more effective. Thankfully Pixar also remembers that happiness is as much an emotion as sadness and I laughed my head off in all the scenes with Michael Keaton's Ken and Timothy Dalton's Mr Pricklepants.
    2. Kick-Ass
    The fight scenes in this film were brutal, violent and I loved every minute of them and, having read the comic, this feels much more human than the comic ever was. I have to give mention to Chloe Moretz as Hit Girl which is without a doubt the best performance by a child actor I have ever scene, including Jodie Foster in Taxi Driver, come to think of it, based on Kick-Ass and the plot of the future film Hick Chloe Moretz is going to be this generations Natalie Portman/Jodie Foster, guaranteed and no-one deserves the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress more, though that may change when I watch True Grit
    1. Inception (what a shock)
    As Dr K said, this proves films don't have to be stupid to get an audience and to Michael Bay who says films have to be stupid, Inception made $850,000,000 worldwide, more than Transformers 2. I also have to say the actions scenes are incredible and the zero gravity fight scene is one of the best action scenes I have ever scene, seriously the people who designed the revolving corridor and did the stuntwork, including Joseph Gordon Levitt, deserve awards for their hard work in making this fight seem plausible. Bravo Christopher Nolan, lets hope The Dark Knight Rises makes $1 Billion so you can make more intelligent masterpieces

    Honorable Mentions:
    A Town Called Panic
    Scott Pilgrim vs The World
    How To Train Your Dragon

  • Comment number 5.

    1. Inception
    It's everything an Action movie can be but so rarely is, truly memorable movie.

    2. The Town
    Crime Thriller that although not entirely original manages to capture a range of emotions, I still remember having a tingling feeling walking out of this.

    3. Mr Nice
    Most underrated film of the year, Great Cast with Ifans and Thewlis both in great form, fun with a serious intent.

    4. Another Year
    Another great Cast and Lesley Manville is just outstanding perhaps the best female lead this year, quirky and funny with a sense of tragic triviality to boot.

    5. The Karate Kid
    The years biggest surprise for me Jackie Chan manages to prove he is capable or more than the typecast buffoonery he has been blighted with in past, beautifully photographed, sincere and inspired.

    Honourable Mentions

    The Secrets in their Eyes
    Shutter Island
    Kick Ass

  • Comment number 6.

    Oh dear. When we got through numbers 5-2 I thought, YES, Winter's Bone gets the top spot. Only to find that Winter's Bone didn't even make it into the top 5. Given that the only movies I've seen in the top 5 are Toy Story 3 and Inception it was a bit hard to think of what I'd suggest chucking in favour of WB.

    Like rbevanx I found Inception lacked a certain emotional depth. I really didn't care less about the characters.

    And frankly, when the whole Di Caprio's character is tortured by memories of his lost wife sub-plot turned up I seriously groaned "not again". I mean really, was Nolan so impressed by Di Caprio's turn in Shutter Island that the whole tortured man/lost wife thing came to him in a dream or something? Yes, yes, I get it, Di Caprio is a serious actor but does he really have to pay this much penance for Titanic?

  • Comment number 7.

    I agre inception is the film of the year by a distance. However I am thinking about you saying it's a masterpiece. Not that I disagreee just that how would you determine a film to be a masterpiece? Paintings are masterpieces when they become iconic or starts a trend of change.

    I think Inception could have legs beyond this year however we have to remember that this probably not have a effect on the blockbuster releases of 2011. We have to be released The Kenneth Brannagh Thor film, The Green Lantern film, Pirates 4 I know that be one of your favourites Mark and Transformers 3. I doubt these weill be the follow up smart blockbusters in Inceptions quake so does he think Inceptions success may have a consequence latewr down the line.

  • Comment number 8.

    A few points...

    Point 1 - People (stupidly) didn't see Made in Dagenham in the same way as they did for The Full Monty because in the end, it's about women. And more precisely, British housewives, about whom there is a stereotyped image which laddish Brit culture won't make extraordinarily popular. The image of nagging women (not that this is how they are in MiD) isn't going to grab an intrinsically patriarchal country. Obviously the film's done reasonably well, but it was never going to reach Full Monty-like success for this reason.

    Point 2, Inception - I'm not going to say Mark shouldn't have Inception as his favourite film, but I must say it disappoints me a little that whenever he has mentioned why it's number 1, his key reason seems to be that it's a successful and intelligent blockbuster which proves Michael Bay wrong. Look at the rest of the above video - he explains why Chico and Rita, Of Gods and Men and so forth are brilliant films, disregarding much of their context. I don't doubt that he thinks that as a film, not a concept, Inception is a masterpiece, but I wish he'd tell us why.

    I agree that Chico and Rita is wonderful, and I'm seeing Of Gods and Men this weekend, but as of now this is the list I put together for a website I review for:

    1. The Social Network AND Another Year
    I can’t pick from the two, as both gave me an unexpected lift and recharged urge to see films. Most important is The Social Network‘s beautiful rhythm, created by its intelligently-crafted editing and construction, the bouncing, super-speed dialogue, and the best original score of the year. Another Year is much-differently prepared in its construction but pays off equally so. Awesomely well-observed and genuinely awkward and sweet, the acting is across-the-board brilliant and it’s directed with such restraint, not once did it feel like I was a voyeur on the characters. And the ending is agonisingly tragic, just as comforting.

    2. Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
    Thrilling, unnervingly funny, beautifully shot with a distorted viewpoint Herzog’s taken to since Rescue Dawn, Nicolas Cage and Brad Dourif are brilliant, a terrific soundtrack and moments of real Herzogian ‘ecstatic truth’.

    3. Enter the Void
    A massively ambitious experiment which only partly paid off, but a reason to see films at the cinema, loud and crisp on a big screen. Noé’s films can wander a little too much for me at points, but there were brief, time-all-at-once moments of profundity, and the opening credits are some of the best ever.

    4. Buried
    A bold experiment which well and truly paid off. Ryan Reynolds is a great lead once again, the sound/cinematography is faultless, and it’s anus-squeezingly awkward.

    Those were the most notable films (particularly Another Year, which was the first Mike Leigh film I'd seen, and was stunning). Following these were:
    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
    Chico & Rita
    The Kreutzer Sonata
    My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done?
    A Single Man
    Made in Dagenham

    Toy Story 3 is an equal number 1, but I don't want to include among these because - after having seen it for the 5/6th time with my girlfriend last week - it is absolutely in a league of its own. It's staggeringly good. Brilliantly performed, written, packed with jokes, surprisingly scary, and genuinely shocking and heartbreaking. Without giving anything away, the hand-holding scene late on was the most unbelievable scene in any film this year. Every time I've seen it my face has been streaming with tears. It is certainly as good as, if not better than Toy Story 1 (and for me, both are better than 2).

    In fact, probably because of my age and the gap since the first two, which were both pre-adolescence, 3 is probably my favourite. Astonishing film.

  • Comment number 9.

    And the worst film is Sex and the City 2, natch. Also brought me to tears, but those of anger, a feat not even Transformers 2 achieved. I had the urge to tear the film up when I saw T2, but I was at the IMAX and the reels are huge.

    Alice In Wonderland is also one of the worst, because it was a soulless, celeb-obsessed, committee-produced mess, and SUCH a shame, because Tim Burton made it. Tim Burton, the man who made Edward Scissorhands!
    And because of the BS about it being punk/feminine-empowering. It was NOT a film about a young girl's ability to choose, it's about a girl who is told what to do, when to do it, how to do it. The film truly about a girl learning the responsibility of choice would be Pan's Labyrinth. Unfortunately young girls probably shouldn't see it.

  • Comment number 10.

    "Which I'm a big fan of." !!! Live by the grammar, die the grammar by!

  • Comment number 11.

    Although I liked Inception I believe similar themes were explored with greater care in the anime film Paprika. Despite this, I would echo you in the respect that I believe Inception stands as a great example that blockbuster films can be simultaneously entertaining and thought provoking, it is for precisely this reason that the film should be celebrated.

    My top 5:

    1. Uncle Boonmee who can recall his past lives
    Not since Robert Bresson has such intense spiritual purity been portrayed on screen - Truly beautiful

    2. Another Year

    3. The Illusionist

    4. Enter the Void

    5. Mother

  • Comment number 12.

    Granted I've only seen two of your top 5 Dr K (although I intend to rectify this as soon as possible) but I do wonder whether 'The Illusionist' would've been in with a chance, have you seen it yet? It's superb.

    For me:

    1. Inception

    There was never going to be anything else really, it's a mindblowing masterpiece that keeps on giving and WAS NOT IN 3D! I repeat WAS NOT IN 3D! I really hope it gets the recognition it deserves come awards season, let's show Michael Bay and Gore Verbinski how to make a proper film. There are so many levels to this film it's impossible to comprehend, it's intelligent enough to make you concentrate but not self-indulgent to the point of insanity.

    2. Toy Story 3

    I am one of the generation who 'grew up' with the Toy Story trilogy, felt emotional at the right moment and loved every single second I was in the cinema. It shows that 'digimations' can rise above being just a 'kids movie' and that on the rare occasion can compete at the level of 'live action' movies.

    3. The Illusionist

    A beautifully made, hand drawn animation that is simply mesmerising. The sights and scenes of Edinburgh are simply stunning, the incidental dialogue works perfectly and the story, while simple, is incredibly touching. I could watch this film endlessly, I fully recommend it to anyone who likes a well told story, which while simple, will stay with you for months.

    4. Kick-Ass

    I've seen this film nearly 15 times (yes I know it's a lot) but it really is THAT good, the dialogue is both bleak and humorous. The style is bold, the film hits you like a punch to the stomach at several moments and is unbelievably gripping (note the warehouse shootout and unmasking scenes in particular). It may not be for everyone, but it certainly did it for me.

    5. Winters Bone

    I know that you loved this movie Dr K and I waited 3 months after your review to see it but boy was it worth it! A story which some may call 'predictable' told in such a elegant manner that I became lost within it. The location was stunning, it felt closer than any big blue tree with some smurfs dancing around it ever could (even if the latter was in 3D). Again, a film which everyone should see simply because there is nothing else quite like it.

    Noteable mentions;

    Scott Pilgrim, Eclipse, Harry Potter 7A, Shutter Island,

    Films I plan to see (where possible at the cinema) in the coming months;

    Another Year, Made In Dagenham, Of Gods and Men, The Arbour, Monsters, Buried, My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done?, The Kids Are All Right, Metropolis (remastered), Chico and Rita, The Social Network.

    A fantastic year for films, let's hope 2011 proves just as good (and maybe some bad ones just so we can feel the wrath of Dr Kermode!)

  • Comment number 13.

    I find Nolan to be more admirable as a craftsman than a story-teller; Inception was fine but the final "snowy" act faltered, and I found none of the characters to be especially engaging. Also, I can't help but think you're rewarding Of Gods and Men second spot just for the final last supper sequence - The Social Network did "people in rooms" far better. My own:

    1)The Social Network
    2)Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
    3)Toy Story 3
    5)The Road

    An unusually good year for (fairly) mainstream American cinema reflecting on it.

  • Comment number 14.

    Inception was just plain dull for me, like an extended overlong trailer of a film that was never going to work to begin with.

    My favourites: The Illusionist, Joan Rivers: A Piece Of Work, The American, Dogtooth, Rabbit Hole, Somewhere, Gainsbourg, Scott Pilgrim Vs The World and a magnificent experimental western documentary musical called Seperado. Remarkable year.

  • Comment number 15.

    Kermode has already given his points on Inception in his reviews, so I don't understand why people need more explanations.

    I agree that its been quite a year. Interesting list. Sadly, I haven't seen sufficient films this year, but the ones I really liked were:

    Valhalla Rising
    Of Gods And Men
    The Ghost Writer
    The Social Network
    Toy Story 3
    Shutter Island
    How I Ended This Summer

    I still need to see a bunch of films.

  • Comment number 16.

    I only saw 36 2010 movies this year, so my list will probably reflect that... And many of the films I'd like to see (like Monsters, Made in Dagenham, Chico & Rita and Black Swan) have not played in my area (yet). I think Black Swan opened nationwide last week, but... still not playing here.

    Here's my list with my own full reviews:

    Inception (

    True Grit (

    Toy Story 3 (

    The Town (

    How To Train Your Dragon (

    My Top 3 are virtually interchangeable. I put Inception at the top, but the other 2 were every bit as good...

    And Merry Christmas and/or Happy Holidays to Mark and Mark's fans....

  • Comment number 17.

    Shame on you Kermode, for someone who likes to think of himself as a critic who is not particularly mainstream this is an odd choice indeed, perhaps you would have fitted in well presenting Film 2010 after all! Inception was fine, I even would go as far to say I enjoyed it! But like all of Nolan's work it's cold, clinical and desperately lacking emotional involvement. For me it was a very good passing distraction.

    For the record, my Top ten:

    1. Of Gods And Men

    2. Black Swan (Quite possibly the most fun I had doing anything all year!)

    3. The Ghost

    4. Toy Story 3

    5. Carlos

  • Comment number 18.

    My Top Five:

    1. Inception
    2. Toy Story 3
    3. The Social Network
    4. The Town
    5. Kick Ass

  • Comment number 19.

    Hmm surprised to see Inception so high, I guess I have forgotten your review of it. It came in 6th or 7th with me but my firm top 5 (which may change when Black Swan comes out here late January) is 1. Toy Story 3, 2. Kickass, 3. The Social Network, 4. The American, 5. The Ghost Writer.

    Merry Xmas

  • Comment number 20.

    I see a lot of people putting 2009 films on their lists, tut tut

  • Comment number 21.

    Not sure about a top 5 but I think I'd have 4 Lions and Exit Through the Gift Shop in a top 10.

  • Comment number 22.

    OK, i havent seen enough nor loved enough to easily populate a top 5.

    But i continue to be puzzled by the unstinting admiration for Inception. It seems increasingly as if Dr.K prizes its lack of stupidity rather than its intelligence. He should be careful peddling this line i feel, as the film is also guilty in many ways of the crimes Michael Bay is accused of. Lots of set pieces, superior ones i grant you, little time for characterisation, and is emotionally un-involving.

    As mind films go, Eternal Sunshine is 10 times better, and this year it would be difficult to throw critical mud at Toy Story 3, The Kids are Alright, A Prophet to name a few.

  • Comment number 23.

    Oh, and i must add, that i just saw Shutter Island last week. Much much more involving than Inception, far more credible depiction of a story of a man, his dead wife, and his conscious / sub-conscious mind. Thought it was excellent, not great perhaps, but puzzlingly overlooked....oh of course, it lacked a i see.

  • Comment number 24.

    My Top 5 of the Year:

    5) Monsters: I know a lot of people have slagged this off (a mate of mine actually walked out of this) saying that nothing happens in it. I was lucky enough to get to see this early. I thought this is a real good character based drama with actaully a believable relationship between teh 2 leads. I know everyone complains that theres very little of the monsters in it, but I think thats the main point of it. Gareth Edwards didn't want to make Cloverfield 2/Independance Day 2 - a big disaster film. He said "if Cloverfield or Independance Day was 9/11, Monsters is Afganistan" - i.e. the aftermath of the disaster. The Cinematography is excellent and it's really amazing he made that on 500,000.

    4) The Road: I watched the Book of Eli a couple of weeks ago and it just made this film look so much better. This is a really brilliant film with good acting and a good script.

    3) The Social Network: I really the Aaron Saukin script with the one-liners. I really don't think there's another script worthy of an oscar win. Also Fincher's directing should also be commended. The way speaking very fast, it does give you a sense that these people are totally up them selves so and sos.

    2) The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: I hope that Noomi Rapace gets an oscar nomination (and wins it) because I've not seen a better preformace from anybody else this year. She was the only good thing about the sequals. As I've said before this is a really good character based crme thriller. Hopefully people won't give the remake the time of day.

    1) Inception: (Predictable I know) Ever since I've seen it I knew that it would probably be my film of the year. I love the concept of it. I know it's hardly original, but it is the first time this has been done on such a grand scale. Di Caprio is worth watching for once and all the other actors are on top form. I do want it to win best film at the oscars, but my brain thinks it'll go to The Social Network.

    Notable Films:

    Enter the Void
    Kick Ass
    Scott Pilgrim vs The World

    Looking forward to 2011...

  • Comment number 25.

    Mark, you are so wrong about Inception.

  • Comment number 26.

    Good blog, but two points.

    Firstly on The Lord of the Rings. I rewatched them on DVD in the run-up to Christmas and they have reaffirmed my opinion that they are the greatest trilogy ever (although I haven't seen Toy Story 3 yet). I don't think The Two Towers sags at all, it broadens out a lot more of the nature-vs.-industry, man-vs.-machine allegory of Tolkien's work and it stands on its own as a masterpiece.

    Secondly, on Inception. I love the film. It is the best of the year. Everything you say about Michael Bay is true. But can you tell us what it was in the execution of it and the content that you loved besides what it represented as an intelligent blockbuster? I saw it twice in cinemas and thought it was a fascinating exploration of not just dreams but addiction, grief, memory and the shapeless nature of identity; the fact that it represents a challenge to Bay and Bruckheimer is somewhat secondary to me. Like I said, I'm in agreement that it's a masterpiece, but don't judge a film by what it represents as opposed to what it contains.

  • Comment number 27.

    KubrickandScott, y'put the point I was trying to make concerning Inception MUCH more concisely than I managed to.

    Even the above sentence could've been snappier...

  • Comment number 28.

    My Top 5 Films of the Year

    5. The Town- I think it is the best heist film since David Mamet's Hiest. Jon Hamm and Jeremy Renner are both great

    4. Shutter Island- an excellent thriller from Scorsese. not his best work but it was a lot better than expected.
    3. The Illusionist- Very underrated. a lot better than Chomet's Belleville Rondevouz. both sweet and touching.
    2. Toy Story 3- like mark, it was hard to see which one was better but i did go with toy story. highly original and ned beatty makes an excellent villain.
    1. Inception- one of the best films i've seen in a while. mind-blowing, highly original, great performances (especially from Tom Hardy) and out of this world.

    Honourable Mentions:
    Scott Pilgrim Vs The World- i thought a lot of the time Wow i haven't seen that before!
    Easy A- the best teen comedy since Election. utterly brilliant
    RED - Fun, Exiting and Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Helen Hirren and Brian Cox are Back On Form. Still didn't deserve the golden globe nom though.

  • Comment number 29.

    Sorry to post again however just had a revelation for those who say Mark only likes cause it proves blockbuster can be smart. Firstly knowing Mark do you think he would be making this his film of the year if he liked cause it was smart. He thought Batman Begin was smart and had deep concepts. I think the reason he hasn'tt old us why he loves it yet is cause he doesn't want to reveal too much of the plot. He said when he first reviewed it and spoke to Cillian Murphy that the experience of the film is getting lost. IHopefully he will respond to the people saying this on here or on his film of the year show next friday.

  • Comment number 30.


  • Comment number 31.

    @Cash_Black #20:

    Which 2009 films? Regardless of festival screenings, previews, online leakages or releases in other parts of the world, it seems to me that we can only go by what's been released to cinemas for the first time in this country between Jan 1 and Dec 31 2010. Since it IS a British blog and Dr K reviews films according to the UK cinema release schedule, The Road qualifies for 2010 (UK cinema release January 8th 2010) despite showing at the London Film Festival in 2009. Similarly, 127 Hours qualifies for 2011 despite the LFF including it in 2010.

  • Comment number 32.


    Merry Christmas

    You're wrong. Inception is a great movie but not the best of the year, no way. That title belongs to the Social Network with Kick-Ass (2), Toy Story 3 (3) and A Prophet (5) with Mr Nolan's film at (4). Haven't seen Of Gods And Men or Chico & Rita or Made In Dagenham yet (shame).

    You're also wrong about The Two Towers BTW but you are right most of the time.

  • Comment number 33.

    @streetrw Im not from the UK so I dont really care about your release dates, nor do I care about the release dates in my country, I just go from when they are first played anywhere.
    Bad lieutenant was released in at least half the world in 2009
    The Girl with the dragon tattoo was released in early 2009 and gradually to most of the world before that year ended
    The Secret in their Eyes - didnt this win best foreign film Oscar for 2009?
    A Prophet - shown all around the world in 2009 and nominated for best foreign film oscar for the 2009 season

    You can think what you like, but I dont consider any of these eligible for 2010 lists, not even close.

  • Comment number 34.

    I'd like to give one more honourable mention to Scott Pilgrim Vs The World, a horribly overlooked but superb movie.

    Also, honorable mention to Four Lions. Just fantastic, both hugely hilarious and thoughtful/touching all in one go.

  • Comment number 35.

    Getting closer and closer to number one I was puzzled as to which one would be it as I thought "It can't be that leaves...what exactly? Uncle Boonmee, perhaps?". And then there it was:

    " a masterpiece."

    And I gasped! haha I mean no matter how much I think about it, for me it still rates good on a scale from bunk to brilliant. But I'm curious to see now what I'll think after a second viewing as I've only seen it once.

    Merry Christmas, Mr. Kermode.

  • Comment number 36.

    While I agree there is some ambigiuity of what exactly 'best of 2010' means (created, released anywhere etc) I am going to assume that Mark means films that were released in UK during the calender year of 2010 and answer his question rather than my own.

    It's very hard to select a top 5. I'm sure there are many films I haven't thought about, but here goes:

    1) Le pere de mes enfants (The Father of My Children). A criminally overlooked French film released at the beginning of the year by 27 year old second time director Mia Hansen-Love. I've seen it several times now, and it's lost none of its emotional punch.

    2) Chico and Rita - Has everthing you possibly want from a film. Beautiful animation, a wonderful heart-breaking story, post-war Cuban political intrigue, fantastic music.

    3) La nana (The Maid) - A Chilean film that I thought I'd dislike within the first five minutes and yet left the Cinema an emotional wreck, whith that life affirming glow that many of us look for in art. It is the kind of film that would be impossible to make in Hollywood.

    4) Des hommes et des dieux (Of Gods and Men). I had high expectations of this film, having heard so many good reviews. I wasn't disappointed. The portrayal of a small group of good men standing firm in the face of evil is one which should inspire us all.

    5) The Road. Still haunting me since the beginning the year. I've also just started reading Cormac Mccarthy's novel and I feel that both book and film are both wonderful and necessary pieces of art.

  • Comment number 37.

    I don't entirely get the Inception love. It was certainly very good, but DiCaprio rarely convinces me and after so much build up the ending felt rushed (though I appreciate they needed to do it that way to fit in the ambiguity). Also I would have liked it to do more with its concept, though I will agree that we really need more intelligent blockbusters like this in cinemas as it was a good, fun romp for the most part.

    Anyway, top 5;

    5. A Prophet, which took a fairly standard rise to power story an made it absolutely riveting thanks to its wonderful magical realism touches and the great central relationship which is terrifically performed by Tahar Rahim and Niels Arestrup.

    4. Dogtooth, an emotionally exhausting, precision made film that is deeply disturbing through its entire runtime mixing weirdness, an unshakeable feeling of plausability (the Josef Fritzl case comes to mind) and a coal black sense of humour.

    3. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, a magical and powerful experience, dealing with the subject of death and how people deal with death. Often confounding but always mesmerising with the kind of serene beauty Joe excels at.

    2. Another Year, delicately handled and compassionate, it endeared its characters to me, had me laughing quite a lot and smiling even moreso, and all throughout gently slipped a knife into my heart whether with those pained, jealous or desperate glances or with its characters pouring out their hearts in emotional outbursts, with one scene in particular in the first act making me weep. Lesley Manville was astonishing.

    1. Enter the Void, a hypnotic masterpiece featuring stunning images, scenes so powerful they hit you like a ton of bricks, the most frightening scene I have ever seen and, despite featuring so much death and misery, the film manages to be more about life mainly due to one of the best endings out there. Both ugly and beautiful, it is a cinematic experience like no other.

  • Comment number 38.

    I unfortunately didn't watch enough films this year to post a top 5. However the films that I did manage to see were highly enjoyable. No. 3 in my list is Easy A. Smart & funny with the main character also having a heart. Emma Stone has a future me thinks. No. 2 is Kick Ass. Funny and very (comic book) violent, with Hit Girl and Big Daddy really making a huge impact on the film as a whole. No. 1 is for me, Inception. Hugely entertaining film that actually had me paying attention throughout.

    I feel I must comment on this noticeable comment people have been attributing to the film as NOT having a heart or lacking emotion. Not sure where this is coming from exactly. I entirely disagree with this particular perplexing comment. The Marion Cotillard character (Mal) is surely the beating heart, the emotional thread running through this film surely. It's laced with emotion whenever she makes an appearance, even when she's not there, she is just behind the veil in your mind.

    Note to self, Films to see, Chico & Rita, Made In Dagenham, Toy Story 3 and Of Gods and Men.

  • Comment number 39.

    1. Inception. I was going to put this a bit lower down my list, but Mark's reasoning convinced me otherwise. I am sick of my friends telling me Michael Bay makes good action movies. The closest he ever got was 'The Rock', and that was still a bit rubbish. Inception is proof that the amount of money you put in the game does not automatically mean you have to dumb it down to bring in the crowds.

    2. Toy Story 3. Great way to round off the trilogy, loved the ending and also the part where Mr. Potato Head meets a pigeon (I like pigeons). There's so much to say... all the jokes hit home and the story is really affecting. Once again Pixar shows us how family animation is truly made.

    3. The Road. Viggo Mortensen's performance in this film is an acting master class. I can't think of any other actor who puts in as much work as this guy (except perhaps Robert De Niro, back in his day). It was great to see a post-apocalyptic film without explosions, and certain scenes were really terrifying. I disagree with people who say it is a depressing film, because it has a happy ending. The father's goal was ultimately met; I can name you several films where nobody comes out well at the end.

    4. Kick-Ass. It was nice to see a superhero film with humour for once. And as a Buffy fan, I appreciated seeing a strong female character who would upset all the misogynists. Very entertaining film.

    5. The Social Network. Held my attention all the way through, which is impressive considering it is a film all about arrogant teenagers. But the actors carry it so well, and the script is deserving of Sorkin's West Wing-legacy. It is also a return to form for David Fincher; it makes up for the abysmally terrible Benjamin Button.

    Honorable mention: A Prophet. I thought it was a bit too long but other than that, a very interesting film.

    I am yet to see Shutter Island, Easy A, Scott Pilgrim, Winter's Bone, Black Swan and Buried.

  • Comment number 40.

    1: Toy Story 3
    2: The Social Network
    3: Inception
    4: The Killer Inside Me
    5: Somewhere

    I know I'll probably get crucified for having Somewhere in my top 5 (I imagine it may make the Doctors bottom 5) but I still think It's a very good piece of visual storytelling. Chris Pontius is easily the biggest cinema related surprise of the year. He's got playing a layabout stoner down to a tee.

  • Comment number 41.

    I must be one of the few people who think 'Inception' is over-rated... and whilst clever is only clever in quite a shallow way... the same way that 'The Matrix' was. It certainly is preferrable to 'Avatar' though which wasn't even clever in any way, shallow or otherwise... that much is certain.

    I haven't seen enough of this years films yet to really post a top five, however, I am sure nothing will push 'The Ghost' out of my number one spot... though I may very well be biassed about 'Splice' because I was waiting to see it for so long.

    Wouldn't life be dull if there was only a correct and an incorrect when it comes to taste :o) I might disagree with aspects of Mark Kermode's top 5, but it is always a joy watch it.

    Merry Christmas one and all.

    (Hmmm, I wonder how Dr. Kermode would rate the 5 all time best Christmas films).

  • Comment number 42.

    It was going well until people started mentioning Shutter Island.

    That one goes on the next list.

  • Comment number 43.

    I wish people did these lists after the oscars, as most of the Hollywood releases in this country in Jan/Feb are actually from the previous year.

  • Comment number 44.

    1. Social Network
    2. Inception
    3. Toy Story 3
    4. Harry Potter 7 part 1
    5. The Road

    Kick Ass, The Taking of Alice Creed, Monsters and Made in Dagenham were all brilliant though

  • Comment number 45.


    I can't speak for the good Dr., but I bet his top Christmas film would be Die Hard.

  • Comment number 46.

    Hey Dr. K,

    Really love your choices this year. I haven't seen Chico and Rita or Of Gods and Men yet but I fully intend to at the earliest oppurtunity and I completely agree with you that this year was incredibly difficult to come up with a definitive list of best films as there were so many greats this year, so of which you didn't even mention. So anyway here are my top five.

    1. Winter's Bone- I'm really surprised you didn't mention this film. I thought this was a staggering film with a terrific performance from it's young lead Jennifer Lawrence.

    2. Inception- Obvious reasons

    3. Buried- I still hold out that this is surely one of the best films this year with a truly intense performance from Ryan Reynolds and in my opinion one of the most overlooked films this year. It truly was an experiance. A great thrilling intense uncomfortable experiance and I loved it.

    4. The Arbor

    5. The Social Network- Surely a contender for screenplay of the year.

    Please give a mention to Buried.

    Merry Christmas and Happy new year.

  • Comment number 47.


    Inception was also for me far from being the best film of the year. I don't think it makes the top 10 in fact. While it is a blockbuster with something of a brain, it's still nowhere as fun and the story is nowhere near as well told as something like Jaws.

    It might appear 'intelligent' to those used to multiplex fodder, but actually it's trying far too hard to be clever. The story is convoluted for the sake of being convoluted. That isn't intelligent - it's stupidity desperately trying to be clever. Apparent simplicity is actually more difficult and requires more 'intelligence' to achieve.

    The emphasis on this convoluted plot leaves little in the way of character development and little in the way of emotional involvement. And this for me, is the films greatest flaw. It fails to get the balance right between intellectual and emotional engagement. Two-thirds into the film I didn't care about any of the characters, I was just looking at my watch waiting for the film to end.

    While I appreciate that Mark is encouraged by the idea of a blockbuster which isn't stupid, one can point to many blockbusters previously that haven't been stupid either. Many though, such as ET, Back To The Future and Jaws are much more fun and much more emotionally engaging than Inception. They also don't try to flatter their audience into thinking they're more intelligent than they actually are.

    I think that is why the film is popular, rather than being actually being a step forward for blockbusters or film in general.

  • Comment number 48.

    1. Inception: well, for obvious reasons

    2. The Road: one of the most wonderful, bleak, perfectly acted and thematic films of 2010, criminally overlooked at the awards season.

    3. Toy Story 3: it rounded off the series perfectly (Pixar must not make a sequel), giving series a touching ending, great visuals and is equal to the previous two films.

    4. Shutter Island: I know people think Shutter Island is one of Martin Scorsese lesser works, but my counter argument is that even a lesser films are stil better then most films that come out. Shutter Island was a very enjoyable, dark, thriller with plenty of twists and turns, has great acting and shows why Scorsese is one of the best in the business.

    5. Kick-Ass: First I'm a comic-book geek and Kick-Ass to me is like Hot Fuzz, a parody of the genre (particularly the first Spider-man film), but honours it at the same time. It visually exciting, with plenty of blood and action and Chloe Moretz offers the best use of swearing in a film in 2010.

    Just missing out: Lebanon, The Prophet, The Social Network, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

    Still need to see: Precious, Of Gods and Men, A Single Man, The Secret in There Eyes

    Most Overrated: Green Zone (Paul Greengrass is not a great director (and this is film someone who loved the Bourne films)), Tamara Drewe (it couldn't balance its comedy and its drama like Made in Dagenham could)

    Biggest Suprise: The Karate Kid

    Biggest Disappointment: Knight and Day

    Worst film of the year: Remember Me (I know Vampires Suck would top that list but I refuse to watch it)

    Best of British: Made in Dagenham

    Best Actor: Viggo Mortonson (The Road)

    Best Actress: Saoirse Ronan (The Lovely Bones (yes, I know, boo, hiss))

    What I am looking forward to: Black Swan, True Grit, The King's Speech, Hanna, Sucker Punch, Thor, X-Men: First Class (hopefully Matthew Vaughn and Bryan Singer can bring the series back to its roots), The Fighter, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Cowboys and Aliens, The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn, Battle: Los Angeles, Red State

  • Comment number 49.

    OK. I'm a huge Mark Kermode fan, but has he finally lost it? Inception? It should not have been top five, never mind number one. Fundamentally, if Mark Kermode has taught us anything it is this: story rules. The story in Inception isn't complex or confusing as some have claimed, it's pretentious and nonsensical. Absolutely, it's a great concept, with beautiful effects, so full marks to the team for creating an interesting universe; but the concept deserved a better story.

    Where is Winter's Bone? It is, in my opinion, the film of the year. I very much hope Jennifer Lawrence wins the Best Actress Oscar. It is a film which reintroduced the art of suspense and also highlighted an American underclass we have not seen before.

    Kermodianm rant over. :)

  • Comment number 50.

    The Good Doctor, I said it before and I'll say it again. I don't understand how the concluding part of The Greatest Trilogy in Cinema History is surpassed by two others films *just in the same year*. That - makes - no - sense. That's like saying : "The Godfather Part Two is the greatest sequel ever made! (Oh by the way, here's two films released a few months later, that were even better. What are the chances?)

    The only logical conclusion we can come to as that the honour of greatest trilogy (or 33% of one) is faint praise on your terms if it can be surpassed in such a short time frame, and that for you, Of Gods and Men and Inception are among the very, very best films you've ever seen in your entire moviegoing career, up there with The Exorcist and The Devils. I'm sorry, but did we experience the same year? 2010 was not a milestone for film by any measure.

    My complaint is not that you picked the wrong film. (You were always gonna do that - no biggie.) My complaint is that concluding the greatest trilogy ever produced is an even more difficult achievement than film of the year, as they're comprised of more material, come along less often, and already have to stack up against two pre-established landmarks - so logically the film that makes the greatest trilogy you've ever seen *has to be the film of the year*.

    You know what actually. You have form when it comes to these inconsistencies, since this makes about as much sense as defending one British film winning 'Best British Film' and another British film winning 'Best Film'. One is a subcategory of the other. If the same principle doesn't apply here, then you need to explain why great trilogies - that's rare blocks of three great films - should be assessed differently.

  • Comment number 51.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 52.

    @ TheConciseStatement

    "...the film that makes the greatest trilogy you've ever seen *has to be the film of the year*."

    I disagree. I mean isn't it so that you can have a movie which rates an 8 on a scale from 1 to 10...which completes that trilogy so that it can then be described as the best trilogy. And that you then also have another movie which rates a 9 and which isn't part of a trilogy?

  • Comment number 53.

    Correct me if I'm wrong but I think some people may have misunderstood him? I don't think he said he feels it's the best film because it's an intelligent blockbuster but because he feels it's a masterpiece? I didn't hear him describe the other movies with that word?

    He's a bit short on saying why it's a masterpiece, though. The message to Michael Bay sort of got in the way of this. haha I'd love to see him post a blog entitled "Why Inception is a masterpiece". That would be interesting for sure.

    I still kinda feel this perception of Inception is a misconception. But I also think Citizen Kane is a tad overrated so don't mind me! :)

  • Comment number 54.

    I'm sorry Mark, but you are completely wrong. Inception is no way near as good as everybody says it is. It is too long and boring. The action sequences lack any real spark. It took quite a nice (but fundamentally flawed) idea and presented it in an unnecessarily complex way. It’s basically a Matrix rip-off. Glad to see Kick-ass did not make the list. Kick-Ass was foul and juvenile, and did not live up to its clever premise; a movie about a superhero with no powers. By the end of the film it turned into the very thing it was meant to be commenting on.

    Here are my top films, a relatively poor year in my opinion.

    1. Social Network – Easily the best film of the year. Not as good as Fincher’s Zodiac but still a fantastic film. Great ensemble cast, brilliant script and perfect unfussy direction from Fincher. It flows so well and just feels like it was made with such ease and confidence.

    2. Toy Story 3 – A great conclusion to the series. The original Toy Story is the best computer animated film of all time and was the first film I actually saw in a cinema, and therefore holds a special place in my heart. Toy Story 3 did not disappoint; better than the second but not quite up to the level of the first.

    3. A Prophet – Although this was considered in last year’s Oscars it’s still a masterpiece and had to be included on my list.

    4. Lebanon

    5. Another Year

  • Comment number 55.


    I see where you're coming from with the 8 and 9 out of 10 example and I'm trying not to let my bias get in the way (full disclosure - I thought Toy Story 3 alone was way better than Inception and is worthy of Best Picture) but the key is the context.

    If Kermode believes the reverse is true, I can understand someone saying "An 'Inception' is worth more than a 'Toy Story' ". But he's already said Toy Story One is the Citizen Kane of digital animation, and has hinted toward Part Two even being superior to that - so we're talking about a sequel that is at least as good if not better than the Citizen Kane of its genre. Okay, that's a pretty high bar - to beat it Inception has to be at least the Citizen Kane of say, psychological sci-fi. Really? Well I guess he's found two 'Citizen Kanes' within a few months of each other... unlikely, but there you go. But he's also saying he's found a third Citizen Kane in the same timeframe - Of Gods and Men. Well, at this point we should feel like Robert De Niro in Casino : "Three ****in' jackpots in twenty minutes?!" In fact, it's even worse, as using Kermode's barometer, this is like finding three Pans Labyrinths in the same year, where one of them completes a trilogy of successively stronger Pans Labyrinths!

    One of two things would have to happen for The Good Doctor to make sense. I can see a couple of films surpassing The Greatest Ending to The Greatest Trilogy of All Time in maybe five years - that's a plausible passage of time to find something better. But he can't step in a time machine, so option number two - he has to concede that Toy Story 3 is markedly inferior to the preceding parts (thus endangering its status as greatest, most consistent trilogy) which he hasn't done yet.

  • Comment number 56.

    Looks like I better explain the problems I had with Inception a little more then, as I have a gut feeling Dr Kermode will bring this up in another blog.

    These are the problems I saw in the film that I felt were quite big.

    The Cobb and Mal relationship

    It doesn't work as quite clearly Mal is nuts in the film (the projection Mal btw sorry) but we never see why Cobb would go out of his way to keep her. We needed to see the real Mal to understand why he would go out of his way for her, because all I saw was someone who enjoyed backstabbing him (and a bit clingy) when Cobb is clearly someone who doesn't take being messed around by others and has a good head on his shoulders. Ariadne asking Arthur "What was she like?" and him answering "lovely" brings me to my next negative.

    On the Ariadne character and in general telling the audience what's going on.

    The whole film is filled with dialogue explaining what's going on when it's never natural or real. This something Nolan tries hard to put into films but his most recent films have had this problem through out them.

    "So you break into it and steal it?"
    "So who's subconscious are we breaking into now then?"

    etc etc

    The father son element was something that would have been more interesting and could have added to the film which again is my view.
    But like I said before I wouldn’t normally insist that a movie HAS to deal with morality, but the difference here is that Inception doesn’t make a conscious decision not to address these issues; it cynically sidesteps them with a few dismissive lines of dialogue.

    But it's still my film of the year (yes even with it's faults) and I would recomend it to anyone :)

  • Comment number 57.

    i can't believe inception is your number one, its a good film, its enjoyable, but its not great, here's a mini-rant from critic jim emerson, which summarizes the problems with the film:

    "Has anybody figured out what "Inception" is supposed to be about yet? I keep asking people and the first thing its defenders say is, "Well, no, it's not about dreams." OK, then, what are these subconscious architecturally formed experiences the characters themselves keep calling "dreams"? "Well, they're more like movies, like Bond movies and heist movies." Yes they are, and they are extraordinarily unimaginative and they have nothing to do with dreams or the subconscious, so what's the point? The best not-dreams are the ones they show the architect at the beginning: the folding Paris, the Escher stairway... But the actual not-dreams are pretty mundane. (And if you're going to put Joseph Gordon-Levitt in a nifty "Royal Wedding" hallway, why follow it with an elevator shaft sequence, which is just the same thing turned on its side? Run out of ideas already?) Perhaps "Inception" is a movie for people who just like movies that make up their own arcane rules, that have nothing to do with anything outside the movie itself, but give the fleeting illusion of creating an (incoherent) self-contained world. It's for people who think the reductive Director's Cut of "Donnie Darko" -- the one that removes all the mystery and resonance and wit -- to the original."

    the more i think about the film, the more i think it was a wasted opportunity, its dealing with people's dreams and the subconscious, it could've been such a visual feast of surrealism and insanity

  • Comment number 58.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 59.

    Inception- The Shortened Version.

    Ken "If you do this overly complicated job for me I can make your murder conviction disapear so you can be with your kids."

    Leo "How?" Ken "Well you'll just have to trust me!" Leo "Hmmm..." Thoughtful look, "Not likely, do you take me for an idiot. I think I'll just move to Rio where there is no extradition treaty. Have my kids flown in where we can spend the rest of our lives together happily ever after."

    The End.

    It should also be noted that as Leo seems to move around quite freely in the film from country to country that it would probably be no issue to live anywhere he pleased.

  • Comment number 60.

    1) Inception
    2) Kick Ass
    3) I Saw The Devil
    4) Toy Story
    5) Girl With The Dragon Tattoo/Let Me In (TIE)
    Some of the films I need to re-watch: Shutter Island, The Other Guys, Sherlock Homes, Bad Lieutenant, Scott Pilgrim, The Secret In Their Eyes (was not all that impressed the first time I watched it)
    Some of the films I need to watch: Black Swan, Social Network, The Town, Buried, The Ghost, Mother

  • Comment number 61.

    Is it only me who sees the characters of Di Caprio in Shutter Island and Inception as being essentially interchangeable? It's like Inception is "Shutter Island II: The Next Level".

    Cue The Voice: In Shutter Island you didn't know the difference between psychosis and reality. NOW, in THE NEXT LEVEL, you won't know the difference between dreams and reality.

    Except you'll know that you have a crazy, murderous, dead wife and your connection to your kids is a major issue and you'll need a lot of bit players with credible reputations from other movies to explain what's going on for you.

    I watched Defendor this weekend and I've got to report that that movie (for all its flaws) emotionally engaged me with the characters on a level that Inception simply doesn't. Hell, I've seen episodes of Futurama that are more emotionally involving than Inception. As someone previously asked - what is Inception actually about?

  • Comment number 62.

    @ robfromfort

    There's actually a deleted scene that explains that away.

    Miles : "Why not just stay here in Paris and fly the kids over too?"
    Cobb : "Pfff! What, with godless heathens and socialized healthcare? Europe, indeed! What are you like?"

    Also, what are the odds that the best student in a Parisian university's first language is English? Oh that's right - any contrivance means it's a dream!

  • Comment number 63., you are not the only one. As i mentioned earlier, i just saw Shutter Island, and found it much more involving than Inception. Someone should remind Nolan than less is often more. Honestly Dr.K...

  • Comment number 64.

    Dr Kermode, completely agree with your points made about Inception and Michael Bay. I hold the 1986 Transformers in high regard, as I loved it as a child and still if I pop it in today I love it from start to finish, from the cheesy 80s soundtrack to the over animated voices. I am curious to hear your opinion of it.
    Also as it is the end of the year and we now look forward to 2011 I also ask which films you are most looking forward to? Myself I just saw the teaser trailer to the new Kevin Smith movie, Red State. And it is now my most anticipated film, any thoughts on it yourself?
    Many Thanks

  • Comment number 65.

    So Fred The Movie wasn't your number 1 film of the year then?

  • Comment number 66.

    Here's why Dr. Kermode is wrong:

    Poor Dr. K is still caught up in the politics of Inception. This is to say that he's far more passionate about what the film represents than the film itself as a FILM.

    Note the way Dr. K speaks very concisely about the finer points in the filmmaking of ALL the films in his Top 5.


    With Inception he speaks more about Michael Bay and the strange illusion, YES illusion that the people behind Blockbusters in the multiplex seem to think the general audience are stupid.

    They are merely catering to the demands of the wider audience and so Dr. K is making that familiar mistake of convincing himself that the tail is wagging the dog!

    This is NOT true, also if Dr. K was being his usual uncompromising self with Inception as he was so brilliantly with The Dark Knight he would most certainly accuse Inception of lacking in emotional depth despite being a novel attempt at making a film about IDEAS.

    Michael Bay movies will ALWAYS make money which proves (within the rule of Supply & Demand) that the demand is driving the production of these movies NOT an evil villain in Hollywood that believes the audience is stupid!

    Also, Dr K would do well to know that Christopher Nolan quite enjoys Michael Bay movies as confirmed during a recent INCEPTION interview:

    “…there are the movies out there that he loves and I hate. I’m not a big Michael Bay fan. Chris loves Michael Bay’s movies. And so I’m always like come on, dude! But he sees something in it, and I don’t see it.”

  • Comment number 67.

    I know you can't mention everything Dr K but I was shocked that Winter's Bone wasn't in your top 5, and then didn't even get a special mention.
    Any way here's mine again, they haven't changed from last time but the I haven't seen Of Gods and Me yet.

    Counting up to the top spot from no 5:

    5. Please Give
    4. Toy Story 3
    3. The Social Network
    2. Chico & Rita
    1. Winter's Bone

    As much as I adored Chico & Rita it couldn't quite top the realistic, gritty performances from Jennifer Lawrence and John Hawkes in the intense and moving Winter's Bone, a very fine movie indeed.

  • Comment number 68.

    Oh Dear!
    that should be "...but then I haven't seen of Gods and Men yet" Geez Louise!

  • Comment number 69.

    @ TheConciseStatement

    Well, maybe he solely meant that Toy story was groundbreaking for animation? Maybe that's what he meant... That it was as groundbreaking for animation as CK was for regular old cinema. I've heard him say TS is "wonderfully made" but I don't think I've heard him say it's as good as any film can ever get which is what I think a lot of people say about CK and mean when they say "Oh my! It's Citizen Kane!". I don't know how much sense I'm making but it's getting kind of late and I'm sleepy. haha :p Thanks for your response. I see the point you're making now. :)

  • Comment number 70.

    Inception being no.1 and your reasons for putting it there make you, well, not an idiot ( because my post might get deleted again) but possibly less of an authority on the criticism of film ( but still 100x better than the orange one.

    The film is not intelligent, it's overly complicated for the sake of it. It takes the audience for idiots by using almost every sequence of dialogue explaining what is about to, or what has just happened, all leading up to an ending anyone with an IQ above 90 could've and should've seen coming as soon as the explanation was given for "that particular scenario".

    But that's the thing isn't it, it has to take the audience for idiots otherwise a good portion of the audience would have been left none the wiser and it would've flopped.

    I'm not slating the film completely, it's visuals are great, action sequences very good and does carry a story, but the acting was dull and the script was duller.

    The film should have been named "Explanation". Given that this film is your number one movie it makes your other choices slightly irrelevent imho.

    Your always harping on about Transformers and Michael Bay, but both TF films didn't need to keep explaining every coming or past scene of the film to make them work. Alright they ain't going to win awards any time soon but they honestly weren't so bad, even though they had Shoff leBoff in them...

    Someone mentioned your review of "The Dark Knight" and I am sad to say I haven't seen it. I'd love to know your comparison as I truely think Ledgers performance of the Joker was perhaps THE performance of THE decade. While not perhaps the best film of said decade one of the most memorable.

    Oh well at least your opinion of Avatar is on the money. Perhaps this is the future danger, rubbish film what looks good in 3D but is bad and looks like a cartoon in 2D.

    But it brings me back to Inception, is Nolan becoming the Ego Cameron. Cameron's films become progressively more expensive and progressively worse relying on silly budgets and special effects to draw in punters. Pinacle, three or four flicks in, then downhill like an Olympic skier...

    Oh I'd like to add that a good parody and perhaps a perfect example is an episode of South Park I watched the other night, it's called "Insheeption" look it up, find it, watch it. Those two fella's are genious.

  • Comment number 71.

    Inception is a great movie. Yes it has flaws. As does every single movie you can watch. Hell, Citizen Kane is flawed. That's what makes it so great.

    I think Inception, for what it is, and what it represents to the future of cinema is undoubtably a complete masterpiece. It is the Citizen Kane of blockbuster action films. Yes it riffs on Kubrick, Michael Mann, etc. No. It isn't as clever as it thinks it is, and relies heavily on exposition. But it's just the start. What's lovely to think is that Hollywood can produce intelligent movies such as Inception again and again until they become the norm. Replacing exposition with intelligence.

    Inception is year zero of this kind of film making. It is a masterpiece because of this. It has raised the bar, and Michael Bay needs to go back to university to catch up.

    What I think is brilliant about Inception is that in 5 years time, we will think that it's naive and un-complex. This can only be good for cinema. It's a seminal piece of fimmaking and if it doesn't win the best picture oscar, I'll feel cheated.

    Face it, The Social Network (whilst good) isn't even in the same class. Nothing happens in it, people talk, yes. The script is good, yes. But frankly it's not a really great story is it. I mean who really cares about these people. You have to rope in a great scriptwriter and director to even make the story mildly interesting.

  • Comment number 72.

    People will still be citing Inception as an influence and a model in the future. Films like The Social Network will just go down as a decent film. But in no way influential.

    If you look at it like that, Inception is definitely a masterpiece. Despite it's flaws.

  • Comment number 73.

    1. Enter The Void.
    Yes, it is a little cod in places, but it's just a visual treat and a great technical piece of filmmaking. It's definitely a film for people who like film. Chop 20 minutes off it and it's a total masterpiece. As it is, it's still up there as one of the most inventive and hallucinatory cinema experiences of the last 10 years
    2. Inception.
    Best picture Oscar, or the world has gone mad. The best mainstream film of the year.
    3. Un Prophete.
    An all encompassing tale. Makes the Social Network look trite.
    4. Toy Story 3
    Say no more. It's great.
    5. Black Swan
    Dark and foreboding. The Red Shoes, crossed with Suspira, with a bit of Repulsion and Don't Look Now thrown in. If Natalie Portman doesn't get an Oscar for her performance the world has gone utterly mad.

    I agree with Dr K. a very good, vintage year for movies this year....

  • Comment number 74.

    Terrific list Mark and I agree, "Inception" is a masterpiece.

    My top five films of 2010:

    1. Inception
    2. Black Swan
    3. The Social Network
    4. Toy Story 3
    5. 127 Hours

    And I have yet to see "True Grit" which I keep hearing is the Coen's best since "Miller's Crossing". I'm definitely going to check out "Of Gods and Men".

  • Comment number 75.

    1. Inception (hardly a masterpiece...but very good nevertheless)
    2. The White Ribbon
    3. The Parking Lot Movie
    4. The Secret in their Eyes
    5. End Of Animal

    (I haven't seen Toy Story 3's in the pile of new DVD's and Blu Rays I got for Christmas)

    A special mention should also go to:

    Exit Through the Gift Shop
    The Maid
    Winter's Bone

    The worst? including a couplr of 'your' favourites ;)

    A Prophet
    The Illusionist
    William S Boroughs a Man Within

  • Comment number 76.

    This is why i hate critics.

    3 out of his 5, nobody went to see!

    For once i agree that Inception was excellent and while the story of Avatar was doesnt stop it from being GREAT and this is my point of view...and MY point of view is all that matters to me.

    One request, next time Michael Bay has a film out Mark, DONT REVIEW IT. Its a waste of time asking you to be objective when you probably have insults written for him before you walk in the cinema.

  • Comment number 77.

    This is why i hate critics.

    3 out of his 5, nobody went to see!


    That's because they listened to the marketing people who had a new shiny thing to sell rather than being more aware and able to actively engage with the culture around them.

    The critic question has been done to death. In the end, for me it's a question of 'who do you trust?' with regard to film choices. The marketing people with a large budget who have their agenda to flog as many Avatar tickets as possible, your mates who may only know less about film or art in general than you do, or critics, who for all their failings make their living from reviewing hundreds of films a year and often have a reasonably good understanding of the media within an historical context.

    The choice of course, is up to you. But don't come back complaining as many of my work colleagues do, saying they haven't seen a good film in years when really it's because of their own failure to consult those who know more about film than they do.

  • Comment number 78.

    A brilliant year for cinema.

    1. A Prophet
    A slow rise to the top, beautifully told by Audiard.

    2. Inception
    It's been said by Dr.K.

    3. The Social Network
    The more I think of it the more I like it.

    4. A Town Called Panic
    Absolutely bonkers.

    5. Four Lions
    Funniest British film I've seen in years.

  • Comment number 79.

    My Top 5:

    5. Kick-Ass
    4. A Single Man
    3. The Social Network
    2. Winter's Bone
    1. Inception

  • Comment number 80.

    2010 doesn't seem to have been a bad year. Most of my year is spent catching up on the previous year's movies on DVD, but Chico & Rita, Dagenham, Gods and Men, Winter's Bone, A Prophet, Black Swan, Buried, The Road, Uncle Boonmee, Scott Pilgrim, Monsters, How To Train Your Dragon, Animal Kingdom, The Ghost Writer, Restrepo, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Secret in Their Eyes, Splice, Despicable Me, 127 Hours, Love and Other Drugs, Harry Potter 7, The King's Speech, Another Year & True Grit are all on my 'must see' list.

    Of those I did catch this year there seems to be general agreement about the mainstream films that stood out.

    My top 5:
    Bad Lieutenant PoC
    Social Network
    Toy Story 3
    Kick Ass

    The first 2 were outstanding, the other three were good, but not 'all time classic' great [IMO].

    Not a good year for horror movies.

    I wish more European and East Asian cinema got wider releases here. One I'm looking forward to next year is Benny Chan's Shaolin. (And Herzog's doing a documentary - in 3D.)

  • Comment number 81.

    I thought 'The Ghost' was the best films of the year......

  • Comment number 82.

    Charlie Brooker didn't think much of Inception, and Charlie Brooker is always right.

  • Comment number 83.

    Definitely need mentions for Easy A and Scott Pilgrim. Easy A went a long way on charm and a sharp wit. Scott Pilgrim did not register at first, but on a second viewing I fell in love, and have seen it 3 times on bluray since. Last film I watched more than once was a long time ago, so that says something. I loved Inception, but didn't like the exposition and it's not a film that connected with me as a person, although I can admire it from a technical and artistic viewepoint.

  • Comment number 84.

    My list of top five films has to be tempered by the fact that I was unable to see several "critically acclaimed" films from 2010. Several of these may well have made my list, in particular Another Year, Winter's Bone and the The Secrets in Their Eyes. Nevertheless, of the films I did see my top five (in no particular order) were:

    Toy Story 3 - proof, if ever it were needed, that cutting edge animation is just pixels without Pixar's uncanny ability to get the story, characters and characterisations just right. If there was a film released in 2010 with more love, care and attention lavished on it I didn't see it.

    Inception - it divides opinion, which is GOOD! I thought it was by far the most ambitious and exciting mainstream film released this year, but others (including my wife) thought it was boring and portentous.

    Bright Star - This film slipped under the radar, so to speak, but it was one of the year's best. It was a costume drama that succumbed to none of the cliches of the genre and in Abbie Cornish, as Fan Brawne, had one of the best performances by an actress this year. Sparing and beautiful.

    A Single Man - If a film could be great simply because of the art direction then this would qualify admirably, however this was so much more than that. I've been rather irritated by Firth in the past, especially all those turgid roles as the nice, decent and upstanding 'chap' (Love Actually, Bridget Jones etc - YUK!) but here he's a revelation. Like Bright Star, the story is 'slight' but the insights the audience get into the emotions of the characters are much of what cinema can and should be about. Finally, will someone in the Academy give Julianne Moore an Oscar. How can Sandra Bullock have one and not Moore? Inexplicable!

    The Social Network - Picture me being asked by a friend to go and see it:

    Me: "It's about Facebook! I'm not interested in Facebook!"
    Friend: "Oh come on, it's directed by David Fincher"
    Me: "He is a truly gifted director but I hated that film with Brad Pitt about the bloke who grew younger as he got older!"
    Friend: "It's got a great cast, including Jesse Eisenberg and Andrew Garfield
    Me: "I do like Eisenberg and loved Zombieland, but doesn't he just play himself?"
    Friend: "It's written by Aaron Sorkin"
    Me" "Yes, but how can you make an interesting film about unappealing people from an Ivy League university who sit at computers?"

    Shows what I know! The best script for donkey's years, brilliant direction, excellent acting and the best film about about unappealing people from an Ivy League university who sit at computers, you'll ever see. The film that captured the zeitgeist AND confirmed my pre-existing view that I'm not interested in social networking.

    I'd have liked to use two hands in this exercise Doctor so take the liberty of adding a couple of honourable mentions:

    Glorious 39 - No-one I know saw it and it'll be on BBC soon anyway, but proof that Poliakoff is one of our greatest screenwriters and that Romola Garai should be a bigger star

    A Prophet - I love prison films and this was one of the best as well as one of the best films of the year. Best male performance of the year in Tahar Rahim. Watch the film again and note that he's in virtually every one of the film's 155 minutes.

  • Comment number 85.

    Brilliant list Dr. K and kudos for putting 'Inception' first.
    It truly is a masterpiece and I'm fed up with people bad-mouthing it because it was a commercial success. Nolan is an incredible filmmaker and this is his best film since 'Memento'

    You can read my list here if you're interested:

  • Comment number 86.

    Just updated my top 5, here it is

    1. Toy Story 3 - 8
    2. Kickass - 8
    3. The American - 7.5
    4. The Social Network - 7.5
    5. Black Swan - 7.5

  • Comment number 87.

    Oh and one more thing - A Prophet was by far the best movie of 2010.

    It reminded me of the old 70s crime classics like: The French Connection, Serpico, Taxi Driver etc.

    Those films where all about character as well as story told through a raw and gritty lens that is precisely the type of movie we just DON'T get enough of nowadays.

    Films like INCEPTION and TDK are great movies technically but they fall short of the mark.

  • Comment number 88.

    I find it hard to compile a list in order of preference. I always give a film a mark out of ten though. I've yet to see a 10/10 this year (although, they are quite rare, I have 48 in total) there have been a few 9's. So, in no particular order:

    How To Train Your Dragon
    Winter's Bone
    Shutter Island
    Exit Through The Gift Shop
    Toy Story 3

    But if I had to pick a favourite, I'd go for How To Train Your Dragon. I thought it was a classic piece of storytelling, brilliantly done.

  • Comment number 89.

    This year has indeed been a great one for cinema, specifically for the sublime group of revisionist films on classic genres: Both Martin Scorsese's 'Shutter Island' and Werner Herzog's 'Port of Call: New Orleans' were expressionist takes on noir crime fiction that played on the hallucinatory aspects of the genre to explore a flawed protagonist's relationship with his own true nature. Michael Winterbottom's 'The Killer Inside Me' likewise lyrical approach to a bitterly hardboiled story goes back to the post-war psychosis of Scorsese's film while using a similarly deranged and corrupt cop to Cage's liuetenant as a conduit for an examination of (for lack of a better phrase)'society's ills'.

    Anton Corbijn's 'The American' was a beautifully distilled stylisation of it's classic genre roots while Ben Affleck's 'The Town' became a thoroughly modern updating of the classic cop's and robbers film. British entries include 'London Boulevard' and 'The Ghost'.

  • Comment number 90.

    Inception was certainly an overhyped film, but it does deserve the commercial success, and for a simple film, it did make a lot of simple people feel intelligent.

    It tried to over complicate the story, but there was no need, I understood the different levels, and treated it as a computer game, and once they achieved their goal try and escape before the whole dream collapses, which is just basically a tired old cliché from various movies, of people running out of something, before the whole place explodes.

    Limbo is basically a coma, similar to Total Recall's if he Arnie doesn't wake up he'll end up lobotomised.

  • Comment number 91.

    Unfortunately I didn't see anywhere near as many films as i'd have liked so the likes of Restrepo, Monsters and other such films aren't on this list as I was unable to see them (although Restrepo is safely saved on my Sky box). As it stands though, this is my top five of the year in reverse order:

    5: Buried.

    Loved it. It was an exercise but it worked and proves that Ryan Reynolds, aka: Van Wilder, has the acting chops to pull something like this off. Filled with enough genuine surprises to keep one on their toes and, come it’s climax, is shocking and completely brutal. And all set within the confines of a coffin. Hitchcock would be proud.

    4: The Social Network.

    A little too breezy to be an outright classic, and considering many like myself that use Facebook will be fairly knowledgeable in the ins and outs of the narrative, it doesn’t make the film any less impressive. The trio of central performances are terrific (Timberlake, Garfield & Eisenberg), with Eisenberg giving what I consider to be the best performance of the year. It’s one of Fincher’s most understated films to date and Sorkin’s screenplay has the required smarts to go with the whit. Terrific stuff.

    3: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.

    Pure balls to the walls entertainment, and you can’t ask for more than that. As Chris Evans says during his memorable cameo as evil ex No 2, “it is actually hilarious”, yet, more so than the likes of Shaun of the Dead and especially Hot Fuzz, it holds a mature emotional gravitas that has not been present in the previous works of Edgar Wright. Despite all the blissful immaturity found on screen, Wright has grown up and delivered his most accomplished film to date. The immaturity still raises much laughter though.

    2: Toy Story 3.

    Manages the impossible task of seeming entirely necessary on the back of two of the greatest animated movies ever made. I don’t even feel bad in saying I preferred it to the second one. At times, it busts a gut (Mr Potato Head with a tortilla body, Spanish Buzz) but, as with all Pixar, they pepper on the emotion without it feeling smaltzy of forced (take note Dreamworks). I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t feeling sad come the end but it was a necessary and fitting send off for these characters who I’ve lived with for 15 years. I was ten when the original was released and I still felt just as giddy as a 25 year old watching this latest instalment. You are right Mr Kermode; it really is the greatest trilogy of all time.

    1: Inception.

    I still find it difficult to express how much I love Inception. Nolan has taken everything he has learned of late in making big, adult blockbusters and has fashioned a film that literally boggles the mind. We have seen an auteur fully realised on screen and I doubt he will best himself for many years (although I would love to be proven wrong on that count). Not only does he treat his audience like adults, but also presents ideas here that not only fit beautifully within the confines of a summer blockbuster, but they are also totally infallible. I’ve seen it five times now and it is impossible to pick faults with its logic.

    I wish that more directors would take heed. It is entirely possible to make a smart, original blockbuster that rewards its audience for its efforts with a product that is literally like nothing you have ever seen before. For that, Inception is, hands down, not only my favourite film of the year but one of my favourite films ever made.

  • Comment number 92.

    Good list. Mine are

    5. The Social Network
    4. Ponyo
    3. Toy Story 3
    2. Scott Pilgrim vs the World (I cannot believe you left this out Mark)
    1. Inception - a film where my girlfriend and I just walked out the cinema doors, and mouthed "wow".

  • Comment number 93.

    Merry Christmas Kermode!

    Good final list and I am happy to see Inception at the top. My favourite movie by far this year. However... I agree with many of the other comments, it would be nice to justify Inception's top position by what it IS and not what it is NOT. It is NOT in 3D, it is NOT a Michael Bay film. Give us a bit more justification!

  • Comment number 94.

    I am relieved to see a lot of people on here disagreeing with Mark's number one. For a while it felt like I was the only person on Earth who found Inception to be cold, dull, showy and downright irritating, and I was beginning to lose faith in mankind. I agree with Stuart Yates above. There's nothing new or radical about the ideas in Inception, and they have been executed in far more entertaining ways before. Total Recall, Matrix, Blade Runner, Existenz, A Scanner Darkly, etc. It's no coincidence that most of these are based on Philip K Dick stories, and Inception is very similar to his novel Ubik.

  • Comment number 95.

    In 1995 Terry Gilliam directed Twelve monkeys. He was happy the film got made as it was an intelligent film which did good at the box office. This would prove, he felt, that not all movies have to be silly cartoons in order to be succesful. That was 15 years ago. So I don't really think Inception will make that much of a difference.

  • Comment number 96.

    I found Inception pretty pedestrian actually. Yes it was encouraging to see a blockbuster at least trying to do something original and different, but I was underwhelmed.
    As for treating its audience as if they were intelligent - why all the dreary scenes of exposition then? We get it Christopher! We don't need every last detail explained to Juno!
    Anyway, here are my top ten:

  • Comment number 97.

    I am ghay for Michael Cera...

    1. Scott Pilgrim Vs The World
    2. Kick-Ass
    3. Toy Story
    4. Youth In Revolt
    5. Gainsbourg

  • Comment number 98.

    My top 5 films of 2010:
    1. A Prophet
    2. The Headless Woman
    3. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
    4. Four Lions
    5. A Single Man

    I was wondering if Dr Kermode and/or anyone else could suggest which (national/London based) competitions for short films are coming up in the next 6 months so that I can enter my work? Thank you!

  • Comment number 99.

    I think it's senseless to criticize a list of entirely subjective taste, but I will say that the choices were disappointingly predictable. The only thing that really surprised me was your choice to push Toy Story 3, which you seemed really devoted to, further down the list in favor of a film that I've hardly even heard of (though now I guess I have to see it).

    I'm terrible at lists, so if it's okay I'll just throw out the three that really stuck out for me this year:

    The Killer Inside Me
    Winter's Bone

    The Killer Inside Me doesn't seem to be a popular choice. I saw it a bit later than probably most people did and given the lukewarm feedback I wasn't prepared for much, but it left me wondering if everybody else had watched the same movie as I had. What I saw was a cold, fascinating character study of a remorseless individual. The story-telling was surprisingly subtle and clever given the graphic nature of the violence it centers around and the central performance by Affleck was fantastic. It also contains one of the most accurate depictions of sociopathy that I've seen on film, rather than the usual confusion the illness gets with psychosis, which is something in itself. I haven't read the book yet unfortunately, so I can't say how true the film is to its source (not that it should matter), but I think the film is a lot more interesting and complex than it's given credit for and it definitely grabbed me more than anything else I saw this year.

    Winter's Bone is the sort of film I would have desired to make myself if I made a movie. It's like a nice piece of poetry, beautiful in its simplicity, and the attention to detail and authenticity in the locations is fantastic. The film is really more of an opportunity for an inside look at a part of America that is rarely seen on film and it was very respectful, true and natural in its presentation. It also has a strong, believable female protagonist, which is so rare and so badly needed.

    Kick-Ass for my money was far better at doing the intelligent popcorn movie thing than Inception. I'm sorry, but I believe that films should be both smart AND entertaining. I'll concede that Inception was "smart" in the sense that it made the audience sit through an hour of lectures and then went out of its way to confuse them, but the bottom line is that, however "intelligent" it may be, Inception bored me to death. Kick-Ass was more fun, it had better characters, better action sequences and still sent me home with something to think about. I'm fascinated by the idea of using genre as shorthand for discussing social and moral problems and I think Kick-Ass did a great job at delivering a straightforward genre film while simultaneously subverting it into something more thought-provoking.

    Don't get me wrong, because I like the sentiment that Inception has expectations of its audience and they met them, but my ultimate attitude towards the film itself without that context is bored indifference.

    There were plenty of other good films that I saw this year, but those are the three that I really got fixated on. Made in Dagenham continues to elude me, unfortunately, but I'm working on it.

    Not a great year for horror. I usually find at least one that I really like, but nothing this year. The closest thing was The Human Centipede and that was less, "I love this!" and more, "Huh, so that's what a human centipede looks like..."

  • Comment number 100.

    I really enjoyed your review for Serbian Film, by the way. I can see where the allegory works in (all Serbs are getting raped, apparently), but it was so hamfisted and the story such nonsense that it was impossible to take any of it seriously. I thought the movie was too stupid to be very offensive, however.


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