The year is almost over, and there is still plenty of time to see lots of films but I thought I'd mention which were among my favorites for 2010 thus far:
1) I must start with I Am Love, which I love. It's a deeply melodramatic, but stunning, stylish and bravura film with Tilda Swinton playing a Russian-Italian woman. Nuf said? It's all very glossy and beautiful, but with a deeper purpose and intention in mind. The closing scenes are unforgettable, and so is Tilda Swinton who suggests oceans of emotion without batting an eyelash. Amazing. The soundtrack features music by the great American composer John Adams.
2) Reading a summary of this film, you'd be forgiven for thinking this the Brokeback Mountain for orthodox jews. Eyes Wide Open is so much more than that. This is one of the most fascinating, beautiful and compelling films I have ever seen. The attention to craft is subtle and non-ostentatious. Discover it yourself. It's probably the best film of the year, and one of the best films of the decade.
3) What more do I have to say about Inception? It is clear that the film has now transcended its commercial success and entered the public imagination in a way that only landmark films or cultural phenomena do. What I notice now about the movie, looking back, is that part of its allure is how it tries relentlessly to engage the audience's grey matter. It was almost as though Christopher Nolan, in a stroke of marketing counter-programming genius, said: I know, people are so starved for intelligent film that if I make an over-the-top film that requires some degree of complex mind-processing, then this will be a huge hit. So said, so done. In a sense, we have people like Tyler Perry to thank for this.
4) Simply put The Ghost Writer--starring Ewan McGregor--is Roman Polanski's best film in decades. Smooth, suave, assured, beautifully edited and with a political sub-text that is rare, this is the work of a director at the peak of his abilities. It also has a self-reflective context, given Polanski's arrest this year. You cannot miss this. Intriguing.
5) Edward Norton. Robert DeNiro. Frances Conroy. Compelling in an unnerving way. A blazing, messy, complex and rewarding film. The film has some dark humour. And it's worth it just seeing Norton's hair.