The Ten Best Films of 2010 So Far

Most people compiled lists of their favorite films from January through June—a first-half of the year top 10. I decided to wait. I hadn’t seen enough films through the end of June to make such a list worthwhile. But with the end of summer upon us, I thought it was appropriate to do such a list—a first two-thirds of the year top 10 or, as I’m calling it, my Top 10 of 2010 So Far.

How many of these films will end up on my end-of-year top 10? That’s hard to say. Frankly, I hope none. That would mean the end of the year was amazing. I think six have a shot, but we’ll see.

Without any further ado, here’s the list. Let me know what you think below!

10.) A Prophet
This film was on the top of many critics’ lists in June, and it will be on many critics’ lists at the end of the year. I found it brilliant in parts, but a little uneven. The lead performance from Tahar Rahim was excellent, and the narrative is engaging throughout.

9.) Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work
One of the best docs I’ve seen in years, this film provides a three-dimensional look at a woman who’s a caricature to many. Unlike many documentaries, this one connected with me emotionally, but perhaps what I admired most was the fact that Rivers isn’t afraid to present herself in a negative light. We get a complete story, and it doesn’t feel at all one-sided.

8.) Salt
This one caught me completely off-guard. I hoped it would be more than just a generic thriller, and it was. I really wasn’t sure whether the lead character was who she said she was. The plot is quite silly, but the action is well-done, and Angelina Jolie is just terrific.

7.) Green Zone
Another tremendous thriller, this one reunited The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum star Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass. The story and plot trajectory are familiar, but the setting is unique, the action is great, and the thrills are genuine.

6.) Micmacs
I saw this film at SXSW in March, and it was the highlight of my festival. It reminded me quite a bit of the comedies of Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin. It’s beautiful to look at and simply delightful.

5.) Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
One of the most visually inventive films in years, this one bombed at the box office, but those who saw it just love it—myself included. It’s a gamer’s dream film, but there are still a lot of things to enjoy for everyone—energetic action scenes, fun performances, and plenty of smart humor.

4.) Shutter Island
Martin Scorsese can do anything. This gothic horror film film is tremendously thrilling and colossally mind-bending. It uses every aspect of the production to create a sense of intense uncertainty. I left the theater scratching your head, but I couldn’t stop thinking about the film for weeks.

3.) The Kids Are All Right
Featuring the best acting ensemble of the year, Lisa Cholodenko’s film is great not only for its insightfulness and honesty, but also its ability to use this “non-traditional” family’s problems to make you reflect on your own family, its problems, and what it means to you.

2.) Toy Story 3
It’s the best of the trilogy and one of Pixar’s best films ever. It tugs at the heartstrings unlike any other film this year, and its comedy is universal. Children and adults will have fallen in love with these characters over the past 15 years. This was a very fitting send-off.

1.) Inception
Christopher Nolan has done it again, crafting a film that’s smart, intense, visually stunning, incredibly thrilling, and, despite what many have said, emotionally involving. The cast is fantastic, especially Marion Cotillard and Leonardo DiCaprio, and the action is incredible. Full of unforgettable moments (The kicks! The hallway fight! The ending!!!), this is the best film of 2010 so far.

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