Decadence - 2010's (In Continuation)


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1
Inception 2010,  PG-13)
Inception
a reflective and truly awesome masterwork concerning the mind and its attributes, nolan's vision successfully pushes the boundaries of the power of the cinematic artifice, engaging as few films ever hope to achieve
2
The Tree of Life 2011,  PG-13)
The Tree of Life
a highly resonant tone poem that deals with nothing less than the very tenets of human existence, transcendental imagery compliments a graceful narrative on memory and its affections, malick's most unorthodox work
3
12 Years a Slave 2013,  R)
12 Years a Slave
a tremendous achievement rich in artistry, lush landscapes and authentic period detail enhance the affect of the physical and mental trauma, the entire cast is magnificent, surely a new classic and an unforgettable one at that
4
The Master 2012,  R)
The Master
a phenomenal opus that seeks to examine a number of inter-woven themes concerning the self and its environ, phoenix and hoffman spar superbly in a battle of egos, gorgeously shot as well, a true challenge for the intellect
5
Zero Dark Thirty 2012,  R)
Zero Dark Thirty
a supreme achievement, tension mounts with speed and precision as the ironies of catching a single man become apparent, chastain is a force to be reckoned with, the final sequence enshrines this film as a classic
6
A Separation 2011,  PG-13)
A Separation
undeniably subtle with a deeply humanistic outlook, a parable that expands to cover all facets of a society that initially appears alien but soon becomes all too familiar, the imagery throughout is superb as well, clear in intent
7
The Wolf of Wall Street 2013,  R)
The Wolf of Wall Street
a whirlwind of lecherous excess that is played brilliantly as farce, this is a picture whose energy leaps off the screen, dicaprio turns in one of his greatest roles to date, a scathingly dark epic that both repels and attracts
8
Django Unchained 2012,  R)
Django Unchained
deliriously funny yet intensely provocative, tarantino takes aim at long-standing cinematic tropes and utterly demolishes them with stylistic panache and artistic fervour, everything about the film is spot-on, thrillingly sublime
9
Black Swan 2010,  R)
Black Swan
extraordinary and rich in emotion, portman delivers the role of a lifetime that runs the gamut of psychological tension, aronofsky is in his element having crafted a horrific masterwork, artistically equal in destruction and creation
10
Toy Story 3 2010,  G)
Toy Story 3
a flawless finale to a trilogy whose epoch covers an entire generation of children, all the hallmarks are present along with many great narrative discoveries, on par with some of the most powerful cinema ever filmed
11
Her 2013,  R)
Her
as a futuristic take on romantic love, it asks relevant questions about our own humanity, jonze delivers a mature work with a low-key snappiness, phoenix and johansson are transcendent, cleverly moving and subversive
12
Amour 2012,  PG-13)
Amour
a stark and unremittingly torturous film that is pure in its realism, both principals score on their versimilitude with their mutual suffering, not entertaining but an essential meditation on love that will stand the test of time
13
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy 2011,  R)
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
an artistic triumph on every scale imaginable, baroque set designs and haunting mise-en-scene give this film its ambiguous presence, oldman is in one of his greatest roles to date, a spy tale that earns highest praise
14
Take Shelter 2011,  R)
Take Shelter
staggering in its presentation not only of mental illness, but of the paranoia that infects societies, shannon is frightentingly effective in coming to grips with a force beyond his sense of reality, classical filmmaking done right
15
The Dark Knight Rises 2012,  PG-13)
The Dark Knight Rises
a fascinating and satisfying end to one of cinema's great trilogies, in spite of near-impossible expectations, this film delivers on everything it meant to be, nolan's fresh take on the mythos will be missed, a paragon of its kind
16
Carlos 2009,  Unrated)
Carlos
truly cosmopolitan in scope, a film about a contemporary figure that is caught up in the history of nations and their struggles, ramirez provides an awe-inspiring turn as the man himself, elaborate in detail
17
Gravity 2013,  PG-13)
Gravity
spectacular and a true sensory delight, all technical elements are first-rate with emphasis on the impeccable sound design, though the narrative is convienent and somewhat kitschy, the physical tension is palpable
18
The Ghost Writer 2010,  PG-13)
The Ghost Writer
a political thriller with a rare sense of subtlety, polanski's confidence is an assurance of his skill as a veteran craftsman, mcgregor re-explores his acting depths, at times unoriginal but still an impressive auteur piece
19
Winter's Bone 2010,  R)
Winter's Bone
steeped in a discomforting yet ambient realism, a pastoral noir that seeks to penetrate the social codes of the most destitute, the film's power comes from an unflinching decay of its sets and characters, strong in spirit
20
Drive 2011,  R)
Drive
a film which embodies finesse, an outstanding blend of atmospheric tension combined with superb composition, creative choices in direction allow full freedom of the material to shine, simply marvelous as art in itself
21
Holy Motors 2012,  Unrated)
Holy Motors
increduously surreal in the classic sense, the essence of performance is delivered as a jolt to the heart that is light and yet quite saddening, lavant owns his role, a poignant eulogy to cinema and technology of a by-gone era
22
Drug War 2013,  R)
Drug War
a mature crime thriller that neither shies away from violence nor the labyrinthine mind games between cops and criminals, while not entirely original, most sequences are intelligent and fresh in their composition
23
Cloud Atlas 2012,  R)
Cloud Atlas
ambitious in scope by asserting a shared history of humanity and of slavery through intolerance, this is sci-fi at its most essential in terms of themes and story-telling devices, though flawed at times, it is vastly underrated
24
Hugo 2011,  PG)
Hugo
pure magic as only the movies can provide, a stunning feast for the senses that serves as a history of the medium in its early years, this is also perhaps the best use of 3-D yet, easily scorsese's most personal opus
25
Inside Job 2010,  PG-13)
Inside Job
a meticulous account of the current global economic woes, its thesis is solidly defended and reinforced by damning evidence, this is the style of a true documentarian, incendiary yet always remaining on point
26
City of Life and Death 2010,  R)
City of Life and Death
difficult to digest yet poignant in its revelatory power, a breath-taking look at a theatre of war that is largely unknown to the west, profound loss is met with fleeting remnants of humanity in every shot, a great piece of cinema
27
Inside Llewyn Davis 2013,  R)
Inside Llewyn Davis
a wonderfully mounted anti-musical that is not only of a time and place but of a psyche lost to the past, sarcastic in tone, the coens share an unusual level of sympathy with their subject, dark comedy to the point of tragedy
28
Beasts of the Southern Wild 2012,  PG-13)
Beasts of the Southern Wild
the vernacular as it is imagined by the indomitable spirit of a few, magical realism is presented at its most poignant in many scenes filled with care and devotion to their aesthetic, imaginative and unique in itself
29
The King's Speech 2010,  PG-13)
The King's Speech
filled with populist appeal and an achingly human sentiment, a brilliant period piece that explores responsibility through a unique existential lens, firth is completely stunning and precise, predictable but truly enthralling
30
Mother (Madeo) 2009,  R)
Mother (Madeo)
a splendid thriller that ensures an off-kilter mood from start to finish, plenty of dark comedy and other atmospheric devices contribute to a subtle intellectual sensibility, hitchcockian at heart but entirely on its own terms
31
Lincoln 2012,  PG-13)
Lincoln
a towering tribute to one of the greatest of all americans, spielberg's restrained approach serves the film well in capturing the history and the men behind it, meticulously detailed in every frame, inspirational and timely
32
Before Midnight 2013,  R)
Before Midnight
haunting in its unravelling of a love affair turned bitter through a couple's perceptions, linklater outdoes himself in writing a script without resorting to familiar tropes, always to the point and interesting to witness up close
33
The Descendants 2011,  R)
The Descendants
a bittersweet ode to family and forgiveness, the marked contrast between lush cinematographic elements and the undercurrent of loss work well together, clooney is at his most yielding, strong in pathos and free of hubris
34
Midnight in Paris 2011,  PG-13)
Midnight in Paris
disarming and a true joy to watch, a film whose concern with the nature of nostalgia shows a truly adult consideration of the past for all of its glories and failings, allen is at the top of his game, a film with an undeniable charisma
35
Vincere 2009,  Unrated)
Vincere
uniquely avant-garde in presentation, a portrait of historical upheaval that gravitates to the personal instead of the mechanistic, incredible use of editing creates an attachment to its period, operatic and profound
36
The Past 2013,  PG-13)
The Past
a familial melodrama that harnesses the power of plot revelations in ways that eschew banality, subjects like betrayal and forgiveness are done with an underplayed humanity, farhadi is a true master of realism in drama
37
Blue Is The Warmest Color 2013,  NC-17)
Blue Is The Warmest Color
a nuanced view of homosexuality that is given the same depth of curiosity as their heterosexual counterparts, each of the leads take physical and emotional nakedness to new heights, both literate and textually expansive
38
Shame 2011,  NC-17)
Shame
a gripping descent into urban anomie as experienced through the imprisonment of the physical senses, fassbender summons all of his powers to give body and soul into his role, a captivating experience for lovers of cinema
39
The Social Network 2010,  PG-13)
The Social Network
a breathtakingly fast docudrama with plenty of humour to spare, impressive turns from many actors result in a more complete ensemble cast, though lacking in execution and a sense of brevity, it creates a strong impression
40
The Act Of Killing 2013,  Unrated)
The Act Of Killing
terrifyingly original in allowing its subjects to recreate their own memories, the final product is at once surreal, disturbing and profoundly enlightening, unlike any other documentary, it shows rare insight into human cruelty
41
Argo 2012,  R)
Argo
a real crowd-pleaser that will win over a fair share of its audience with its levity of a serious subject, affleck extends his directorial streak in his crafting of a textbook thriller, the ribald script is the film's best asset, solid all around
42
The World's End 2013,  R)
The World's End
a tragicomedy in classic form that slowly but confidently builds its elements with increasing frenzy and impact, plenty of references and varied comedy abound, its deconstruction of nostalgia is as timely as ever, a fitting finale
43
Animal Kingdom 2010,  R)
Animal Kingdom
an austere yet truly affecting crime story, the theatrical nature of each character's relationships brings a rare gravitas to a traditional genre, weaver is a consistent scene-stealer, a debut feature with forceful impact
44
Blue Jasmine 2013,  PG-13)
Blue Jasmine
a film replete with comically tinged despair, a certain richness also exists in painting its characters and their behaviour, blanchett is utterly resplendent and allen is in top form with his best dramatic feature in years
45
The Trip 2011,  Unrated)
The Trip
a wonderfully hilarious romp with two personae who live and breathe through their humour as well as the quest for existential substance, coogan and brydon have masterful chemistry, chock full of wit and subtle insight
46
Exit Through The Gift Shop 2010,  R)
Exit Through The Gift Shop
beyond surreal and landing by accident into the realm of the sublime, a one-of-a-kind opus that turns the tables on the main filmmaker with unexpected results, visual art and its confines are examined with a deft hand
47
Certified Copy (Copie Conforme) 2010,  Unrated)
Certified Copy (Copie Conforme)
a challenging film that demands investing one's attention, binoche makes this film and the cast does well to support her, the possibility of obtuseness is present though rewards are found for patient viewing
48
Stories We Tell 2013,  PG-13)
Stories We Tell
complex and innovative, a candid document about family weaves through ever-changing memories that are told with a critical eye, blending real footage and imagined drama, polley's work tests the limits of accepted truths
49
The Hunt 2013,  R)
The Hunt
a chilling dissection of a plea for innocence amidst a maelstrom of lies, a fabulously understated performance by mikkelsen amplifies both discomfort and believability, a thriller that delivers with a palpable sense of dread
50
Another Year 2010,  PG-13)
Another Year
quiet and pensive, leigh is one of the best directors when it comes to relying on mannerism to define his characters, incredibly strong acting gives depth to an otherwise mundane story, flawed but intriguing in many respects
51
Skyfall 2012,  PG-13)
Skyfall
an exhilarating yet immaculately detailed feature, the world's best known secret agent is given a stylistic overhaul that bestows potential to the franchise, at once a celebration and a promise for the future, one of the best bonds
52
Nebraska 2013,  R)
Nebraska
a comically deadpan portrait of the american midwest and all of its peculiar contradictions, while payne borrows facets of this story from his other films, his vision captures a rare human side to the locale, bittersweet wih a heart
53
The American 2010,  R)
The American
a largely misunderstood film of exceptional quality, beautifully shot and composed in a painterly manner, clooney again reveals that he can play roles against type with effectiveness, taut and rife with many subtle details
54
I Saw the Devil 2010,  Unrated)
I Saw the Devil
an unflinchingly violent tale whose trajectory goes far beyond other films of its kind, vivid lead roles add to a distinct parable on the ends of revenge and justifying its means, a solid reinvention of the cat-and-mouse archetype
55
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 2009,  R)
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
a cinematically rich thriller that demonstrates lucidity in its design, compact for its complexity yet epic in terms of a direct jolt to the intellect, a uniquely feminist parable on contemporary gender issues
56
The Great Beauty 2014,  Unrated)
The Great Beauty
sharp and profound in its inquisitive gaze upon a city and its culture, a precise splaying of personal shortcomings as well as the relationships with others that define them, while indebted to other works, it is truly cinematic
57
Seven Psychopaths 2012,  R)
Seven Psychopaths
bloody hysterical and hysterically bloody, a film that takes delight in trying to understand and question how cinematic meanings are constructed, all the actors turn in stellar performances, mcdonagh plays with expectations yet again
58
127 Hours 2010,  R)
127 Hours
technically proficient and creatively filmed, franco's one-man show is an incredible feat to witness for the eyes, a film that flies in the face of the more melodramatic films of its kind, boyle returns to peak form
59
The Wind Rises 2013,  PG-13)
The Wind Rises
exquisite as an ode to inspiration in the face of adversity, though its historical setting is somewhat muted, a film in the vein of an old-fashioned epic emerges, not miyazaki's best but still iconic of his style and of his personality
60
Captain Phillips 2013,  PG-13)
Captain Phillips
a taut and gripping recreation that is fraught with claustrophobic pressure, in addition is a sly critique on globalization and its confines, hanks and abdi both soar, a winning combination of diverse cinematic elements
61
Four Lions 2010,  R)
Four Lions
slapstick meets social satire in this fantastic comedy of errors, while at times perhaps a bit too cut-and-dry, it effectively presents the use of terror as the outcome of absurd situations, a light touch but powerful when necessary
62
Margin Call 2011,  R)
Margin Call
cool and acutely focused on its subject, a terse yet intensive look at the inherent tragedy of individuals caught in the crossfire of their profession, spacey and irons are stand-outs in a superb ensemble, uncommonly smart
63
Silver Linings Playbook 2012,  R)
Silver Linings Playbook
an inspired picture in what it tries to accomplish, family dysfunction melds into a romantic comedy that hits a number of high notes, the real star is lawrence and her commanding presence, well-made if not quite conventional
64
The Spectacular Now 2013,  R)
The Spectacular Now
a warm-hearted and tender teen romance that takes its subjects seriously, the script is also refreshingly free of mannerisms with an emphasis on realism, both leads also have significant chemistry, fully realized in intent
65
Side by Side 2012,  Unrated)
Side by Side
a wondrous cross-section on the medium of film, its physical development and where it is headed, numerous personalities chime in with interesting opinions, solid in presentation and a concise history to boot
66
Short Term 12 2013,  R)
Short Term 12
a surprisingly well-handled character study that could have easily fallen into cliché but sidesteps most of them with levity, larson is one of the best up-and-coming young actresses, emotionallly honest and resonant
67
True Grit 2010,  PG-13)
True Grit
largely literate and embodies the qualities of the source novel, a western that strives to enthrall in a condensed and pulpy narrative, the coens excel with their stylistic features in all of the right places, well-rounded entertainment
68
Blue Valentine 2010,  R)
Blue Valentine
a passionate romance that covers an entire spectrum of pleasure and pain, gosling and williams are at their most refined when showing their physical conflict, no easy answers are found yet it remains engaging
69
The Secret World of Arrietty 2012,  G)
The Secret World of Arrietty
a gentle and sensitive picture that succeeds solely on the power of its visual imagination, the ghibli touch is present at each moment with thought put into every detail, miyazaki's guiding hand brings his long-held vision to fruition
70
Marley 2012,  PG-13)
Marley
bridging an icon's personal life, the social circumstances of his nation and his sound which helped to shape world culture, macdonald's dissection is both honest and forthcoming, a great slice of modern music history
71
To The Wonder 2013,  R)
To The Wonder
on the strength of its images, malick's compositions remain peerless, where the film loses vitality is in the esoteric musings that amount to something that is out of reach, minor quibbles for what is a minor directorial work
72
The Guard 2011,  R)
The Guard
sublime and deceptively simple, gleeson shines in a rare lead acting role that demonstrates his comedic timing and his acerbic wit, the dialogue is also free-flowing yet always direct, a black comedy with stylistic flourishes
73
Looper 2012,  R)
Looper
pragmatically told in a way that excites and stimulates, the issues of time travel and its bearing on existence are given their proper weight, though the final act deviates somewhat from this point, its lucidity is doubtless
74
The Place Beyond The Pines 2012,  R)
The Place Beyond The Pines
hinting at greatness though not quite grasping its fullest potential, the epic tripartite narrative is overladen with contrivance, yet the actors carry the load with considerable aplomb, still it is a fine picture worthy of its merits
75
13 Assassins 2011,  R)
13 Assassins
a chaotic mixture of old-school period detail and modern action setpieces, however its ambition slightly falters in trying to evenly balance its drama with sustained swordplay, one still cannot dispute its formidable end result
76
The House I Live In 2012,  Unrated)
The House I Live In
an intimate look into the form and function of the prison-industrial complex, combining history and sociology with individual reflections weaves an oft-ignored tale of national woe, a needed and extremely topical exposé
77
A Hijacking 2013,  R)
A Hijacking
naturalistic minimalism at its most intensified, the excruciating banality of inaction takes on a new gravity when lives are at stake, a deep pessimism is present as well, polished yet without the unnecessary frills
78
The Kids Are All Right 2010,  R)
The Kids Are All Right
a comedy that dares the audience to figure the characters out, though guilty of being politically correct at times, its key strengths are actors who bring a unique gravitas to their roles, well-written and unpretentious
79
Coriolanus 2011,  R)
Coriolanus
coarse in cinematic texture yet as powerful as its source, though not the most complex shakespearean tragedy, fiennes' adaptation brings a timely quality to the narrative, redgrave almost steals the picture, engrossing
80
Mud 2013,  PG-13)
Mud
the life worth living situates this coming-of-age tale set in the deep south, superb writing lends an air of realism to the unusual plotting, there are contrivances but none really deter from the overall strong experience
81
The Town 2010,  R)
The Town
a well-balanced blend of traditional heist set-ups and the underlying human current behind the crime, the supporting cast was key in elevating the plot beyond the simplisitic, heavy-handed though steady all around
82
Easy Money 2012,  R)
Easy Money
emphatic on thrills yet equally as tender with its humanism, a taut and fiercely imagined story of outsiders looking in and finding a moral abyss awaiting them, while scarce on tension, the pursuit of power is always on full display
83
Hobo With a Shotgun 2011,  R)
Hobo With a Shotgun
an utterly insane exercise in 'trash' cinema, violence and vulgarity mount in this creative satire of the decay of societies, the look as well as the feel of this film is impeccably staged, a great retro-cinematic experience
84
Stoker 2013,  R)
Stoker
filled with subtle allusions yet twisted enough to be its own entity, a curious metaphor for sexual awakening that ratchets the suspense with every scene, the excellent use of sound is a particular highlight, off-setting
85
Flight 2012,  R)
Flight
uncharacteristically real and devoid of unabashed sentiment, washington is totally fearless as a man on the fringes of his conscience, the ensemble also contributes strongly, harrowing but resolute in earning its payoffs
86
Headhunters 2012,  R)
Headhunters
elaborately staged with no frills to interrupt the tension, the film's style of manipulation is also for the most part seamless, a labyrinthine thriller that utterly capitalizes on its unpredictability and a well-plotted set-up

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