I’m not going to rant this year about ordering my top ten because everyone knows how much I hate it. I’m going to get angry about something else instead and that is the fact that I can’t include Fantastic Mr Fox as although I saw it for the first time earlier this year, it was actually released in 2009. LOVE that film and have watched it about a million times because everyone else in the house loves it too. Disappointing but still, the other films I’ve picked out are just as good. I’ve got my regular mix of documentary and drama (which includes a double helping of Guy Pearce, always a treat), a comedy that I only watched because it sounded the best out of a dismal bunch on a long haul flight and two animations. Enjoy…
9.Toy Story 3 – Lee Unkrich
My aversion to animated features meant that I didn’t see either Toy Story I or II until the boys were born. You’ll be pleased to hear that I have since made up for this. After The Nightmare Before Christmas, the Toy Story films are GaBelle’s (aged two) absolute favourites and I don’t mind watching them over and over and over because they are so good. Toy Story 3, just as good as the others, made me shed a tear and marks the end of an era.
8. Dinner for Schmucks – Jay Roach
You know those people who laugh so loud when they’re watching something with headphones that you can still hear them when you’re wearing yours? That was me and my mum on a long haul flight. This is an American remake of what was originally a stage play and then a 1998 film entitled Le diner de Cons. I need to watch the original but this film was hilarious, entertaining and full of stuffed mice.
7. The Kids Are All Right – Lisa Cholodenko
A cool film that I really enjoyed focusing on a family in LA. I want to say an unconventional family but as I think most families are unconventional these days I’m going to refrain. Basically, a couple (two women) have each had a child by the same sperm donor. Their daughter turns 18 and is legally entitled to find the donor – she doesn’t want to but her younger brother does, and he is found but without either mother’s knowledge. This is the story of what could happen if a cute sperm donor is brought back into the fold.
Read the DN review of The Kids Are All Right.
6. The Princess and the Frog – Ron Clements & John Musker
I don’t do Disney particularly but I thoroughly enjoyed this. Set in New Orleans, Tiana is the lead black female character who meets a frog and the rest is history. There’s a ton of voodoo, a Cajun firefly, some brilliant songs and a happy ending.
5. Good Hair – Jeff Stilson
Rock’s daughter asking him why she didn’t have good hair resulted in the making of this documentary. Perceptions of ‘black’ hair are looked at, why women (and young children) are spending an extraordinary amount of time and money getting weaves or their hair relaxed, as well as who is behind the African-American hair industry making the cash. A humorous documentary that touches on vanity and perceptions of African-American women by men and women alike.
4. Babies – Thomas Balmes
Beautiful portrayal of four babies from Mongolia, Namibia, Tokyo and San Francisco. No verbal commentary by the director enables the viewer to form their own opinion – not that the film is asking for one particularly. There are obvious cultural differences but this is more an observation of babies when left to their own devices rather than a film about the way they are raised. A unique and insightful documentary.
3. Zoomer – Sam Huntley
Featured on DN back in April, Zoomer is a portrait of the one and only Mary DeBoutez Zellmer-Fenoglio, a 64 year old woman trying to make her mark in and on Kansas. Huntley lucked out stumbling upon her shop on Highway 171 during a road trip. This film was made for me. I love eccentric characters. I love junk. I love eccentric characters with junk. That may sound a little rude but you know what I mean.
Listen to the DN interview with director Sam Huntley.
2. The Road – John Hillcoat
I remember MarBelle returning home from seeing this film in a right state and when I saw it I did too. What would we have done in the same situation? We had lengthy conversations about this at the start of the year. This film is dramatic, bleak and intensely shot and you really should have seen it by now.
Read the DN review of The Road.
1. Animal Kingdom – David Michôd
This is the kind of film that has you on the edge of your seat because certain characters make you feel so uncomfortable that you’re not quite certain where Michôd is going with them. Ben Mendelsohn aka. Andrew ‘Pope’ Cody is as unpredictable as they come and scary to boot. Even scarier is his mum and the relationship that she has with her boys. Convincing performances by all – you’re just willing people to get what they deserve.
Read the DN review of Animal Kingdom.
Inception – Christopher Nolan: I fell asleep and my friend fell asleep too. This had nothing to do with the vin that we had drank beforehand. Some films just don’t do it for me and I thought that this film tried too hard to be clever.
The Lovely Bones – Peter Jackson: I know that a film isn’t the same as a book but I really felt that it didn’t have the depth that it deserved. I wish Lynne Ramsay had stayed on board, I really do think that she would have made a difference and I wouldn’t have felt so sorely disappointed.