Year in Review: Movies

3D movies broke through big – and started to show signs of being a fad. Psycho turned 50, Facebook got its own movie and documentaries continued to blur the line between fact and fiction. Toy Story 3 was the biggest hit of the year ($415 million in the U.S.) and franchises such as Twilight, Iron Man and Harry Potter proved they’re still as popular as ever. Leonardo DiCaprio starred in two of the year’s best mind-benders ( Shutter Island and Inception), Ben Affleck demonstrated serious chops as a director, and studios learned films that geeks drool over ( Kick-Ass, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) don’t necessarily cross over into the mainstream. One of the crummiest summer movie seasons in history still drew large audiences, but next year can’t help but be better.

Top Five

1. The Social Network : The inspired combination of screenwriter Aaron Sorkin and his rat-tat-tat dialogue with director David Fincher, a master of dark, stylish mood, resulted in the year’s most engrossing and resonant movie – regardless of whether you even own a computer.

2. The Fighter: What could have degenerated into a giant pile of Rocky clichés was instead made fresh and exhilarating by director David O. Russell and his superb cast, with Christian Bale destined to win as Oscar in a supporting turn as a crack addict struggling to reform.

3. Black Swan: Natalie Portman gave a career-high performance in Darren Aronofsky’s hallucinatory drama about a ballerina slowly going insane. The moody, elliptical movie is a love-hate proposition: I loved it.

4. Carlos: Olivier Assayas’ whopping 330-minute epic about the notorious terrorist Carlos the Jackal, with 100 speaking parts and told in eight languages, moved so quickly that sitting through it felt like two hours (OK, maybe three).

5. I Am Love: The inestimable Tilda Swinton delivered another knockout performance as the Russian wife of an Italian tycoon who upends her posh life for an unexpected romance. A beautifully shot, stirring melodrama that proved director Luca Guadagnino is a cinematic talent to be reckoned with.


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