THE DECADE of the 2010’S
The BEST Films of the 2010’s
1. La La Land
Cinematic perfection! I was already convinced that I was watching greatness when Mia stopped outside the piano bar restaurant, framed by red neon lights, and she heard her theme being played inside. Dozens of magnificent scenes later, including one of the most perfectly pitched endings since “Casablanca”, this incredible musical love story immediately entered my Top 10 Films of All Time. This is a classic that will stand the test of time… a crowd favorite… a critics favorite.
10 / 10
2. I Lost My Body (FRA)
I can count on one hand (pun intended) the number of animated films that have made my Top 10’s over the past fifty years. Generally, for me, they have a ‘quality ceiling’ that doesn’t allow them above a 9/10. This animated French masterpiece just destroyed my concept of what a ‘cartoon’ can achieve… both artistically and emotionally. It is a gorgeously bizarre story of a severed hand finding its way back to its owner. It parallels that oddity with an intelligent touch of young love and wistful flashbacks of childhood memories. The haunting score adds to the cinematic perfection.
9.9 / 10
With the title, “Monsters” — I think people expected a different film that they ultimately got. While there are aliens in the film, they are largely ignored and irrelevant. This film is actually a love story — and a superbly moving one at that. Andrew and Samantha, superbly played by Scoot McNairy and Whitney Able, are a seemingly mismatched couple who need to cross the “Infected Zone” from Mexico to the USA. The entire journey, we are expecting alien action and we never get it. The love story sneaks up on us and wins the day. Director, Gareth Edwards crafts a deceptive masterpiece.
9.9 / 10
4. Perfect Sense
Here is a virtually unknown film that you absolutely MUST see. Ewan McGregor and Eva Green star as a newly formed couple whose burgeoning relationship occurs in a world where the human population is slowly losing their five major senses. First, taste disappears. Then, smell. Emotions are high. Panic is setting in. What will we become when we lose all five? It is riveting and romantic. “Perfect Sense” is one of the very best films of the decade. Find it. Watch it. Thank me later.
9.9 / 10
5. Ex Machina
Alex Garland’s masterpiece is one of my favorite films of the decade. It is an exploration of artificial intelligence, sentience, love, creation, loneliness, freedom, morality and trust. All of that is wrapped inside a tightly wound thriller that has you intrigued from the first moments to the pitch perfect ending. Everyone is perfectly cast… especially Vikander, who manages to create intense sympathy as Ava. Also, the movie features one of my all time favorite scenes as Oscar Isaac and Sonoya Mizuno tear up the dance floor to a disco classic.
9.9 / 10
6. A Separation
A virtually flawless Iranian film from director, Asghar Farhadi. “A Separation” recounts the story of a tragic dispute between two families. One of those families is dealing with divorce… the other with unemployment, poverty and pregnancy. The masterful screenplay walks the tightrope with such precision that the viewer has the impossible job of choosing sides. There are half a dozen perfect performances in this masterpiece. The moral complexity is off the charts. It is one of the most realistically thrilling dramas of all time.
9.9 / 10
7. Parasite (KOR)
Bong Joon-ho is one of the great directors alive today. His splendid films include “Memories of Murder”, “Mother” & “The Host”. He adds to that repertoire with the Cannes Film Festival Palme D’Or winner, “Parasite”. This subversive and cynical ‘tragicomedy’ will end up as one of the best films of 2019. It is wickedly funny, and acutely vicious — balancing the vastly different tones perfectly. It is a mesmerizing commentary on the massive financial gulf between the classes. The entire cast is superb… with special commendation for the great Song Kang-ho — one of the world’s finest actors.
9.8 / 10
8. Shoplifters (JPN)
Dir. Hirokazu Kore-eda tells an intimate story of a poor Japanese family that relies on small-time shoplifting to make ends meet. One cold night, they take in a neglected 5-year-old girl and care for her as their own. This is a masterful film that explores what “family” really means… and it sneaks up on you with an emotional wallop you don’t see coming. “Shoplifters” won the Palme D’Or at the Cannes Film Festival.
9.8 / 10
Darren Aronofsky’s film starts off as a creepy and eerily quiet tale. It gradually escalates through the gears, cranking up the unbearable tension until it explodes into one of the most bat-shit-crazy final acts of any film ever made. Jennifer Lawrence gives the best performance of the year. The biblical symbolism rolls in thick and fast, adding a magnificent secondary layer to be contemplated. Everything about “Mother!” is fascinating and original and a total mind-fuck.
9.8 / 10
11. Spring Breakers
I love the fact that this film appears so incredibly superficial while masking a deeply veiled criticism of the vast superficiality of the modern world. It seemingly celebrates grotesque ignorance and raw injustice, overt sex and gratuitous violence — when, in fact, it condemns the viewer for watching it with glee. “Spring Breakers” uses all the trappings of cheap click bait, social media pretense, desperate teenage insecurity and the unashamed worship of talent-less trash. And in doing so, it points the finger at all of us.
9.7 / 10
Spike Jonze’s quietly hypnotic love story between and lonely man and his computer’s operating system is utterly gorgeous. Joaquin Phoenix simply does not ever fail to deliver. Scarlet Johansson does an astonishing job in a purely vocal role. I thought it was good enough to be nominated for Best Supporting Actress at the Oscars. “Her” is moving and thoughtful and visually resplendent. It is a futuristic film intended for old souls.
9.7 / 10
13. Before Midnight
Having loved “Before Sunrise” and “Before Sunset”, this third installment had me weeping within the first few minutes. I was just so absolutely relieved that Jesse and Celine had made it after all these years. Watching these two indelible characters walking and talking has now become as comfortable as an old pair of shoes. It is cinematic soul-food. I am not sure that I have ever truly cared for characters more than these two. I love them. I love their ups. I love their downs. I love their words… their walks… and their love for one another.
9.7 / 10
(Please Scroll Down the Page for More — Acting Awards / All Movie Ratings / The Worst 10 List… etc.)
10 Best Actors
10 Best Actresses
The worst 10 Films of the 2010’s