2010 has been a rather grand year for cinema, with foreign films standing shoulder-to-shoulder with mainstream Hollywood, and as usual, proving that substance over style is the key. Jacques Audiard's Un Prophete was the star of the show with an all-round agreed critical acclaim and even got an Oscar nod to boot. It's stirring portrait of prison hierarchy and one man's struggle to climb the ladder and build his empire struck deep with viewers and is everything brilliant about foreign cinema - great script, low budget, stars-in-the-making and excellent direction. The same can be said for Juan Jose Campanella's The Secret in Their Eyes and Samuel Maoz's Lebanon.
Further to the great imports for cinema in 2010, we have seen a stream of fantastic book adaptations from Polanski's brilliant adaptation of Robert Harris's creepy novel about a ghost writer,The Ghost, and an excellent return to form from Scorsese with Dennis LeHane's story, Shutter Island. I think the real winner from a book adaptation is Niels Oplev's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, followed closely by Daniel Alfredson's adapatations of the latter two parts of the Millenium Trilogy, The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. All three adapatations were excellent - even if the middle part formed little more than background information and a bridge between the other two, and admittedly, disbelief suspension was required at times, but this didn't detract from the finished product.
We saw designers directing movies (such as Tom Ford's A Single Man - which is arguably Colin Firth's finest ever performance, perhaps only to be beaten by his portrayal as King George in the upcoming The King's Speech) and the return of the non-sequel blockbuster, led by Christopher Nolan's mind-boggling Inception, and followed by Carnahan's The A-Team, Stallone's The Expendables, Noyce's Salt and Scott's Robin Hood.
There have also been the geek-chic entries of Edgar Wright's Scott Pilgrim Versus The World, and ace science-fiction outing Monsters by new thirty-something director Gareth Edwards who reportedly made the film for around $500,000 (the $15,000 budget rumoured is rubbish).
There are so many left unsaid but to conclude what has been a fine year for cinema, here's a list of the Top 15*:
1. Un Prophete - Audiard
2. Inception - Nolan
3. Scott Pilgrim Versus The World - Wright
4. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Oplev
5. The Ghost - Polanski
6. Monsters - Edwards
7. A Single Man - Ford
8. Shutter Island - Scorsese
9. The Social Network - Fincher
10. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest - Alfredson
11. Winter's Bone - Granik
12. Salt - Noyce
13. Kick Ass - Vaughn
14. Four Lions - Morris
15. Toy Story 3 - Unkrich