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The best and worst of Hollywood's 2010 crop

It’s been an odd year, 2010, with some surprise box office hits (Hey there, <em>Alice in Wonderland</em>) and high-profile misses (<em>Burlesque</em>, I’m looking at you) mixed in with the usual <em>Twilight</em> and <em>Harry Potter</em> cash cows.

It’s been an odd year, 2010, with some surprise box office hits (Hey there, Alice in Wonderland) and high-profile misses (Burlesque, I’m looking at you) mixed in with the usual Twilight and Harry Potter cash cows. With the holidays — and awards season — upon us, we try to make sense of it all by tallying up the best and worst films of 2010.


Highlights


The Social Network
As timely as it is entertaining, David Fincher’s Facebook movie gets great performances from its young cast, but it’s Aaron Sorkin’s screenplay that is the real star here.


Inception
A triumph of storytelling, visuals and emotion, Christopher Nolan’s dreamscape is an all-around winner.

Never Let Me Go
A subtle, moving adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s heartbreaking novel, the film proved that Carey Mulligan’s Oscar nomination last year wasn’t a fluke.


Black Swan
Though it’s been jokingly referred to as Showgirls for the art-house set, Darren Aronofsky’s mind-bending look inside the world of professional ballet will leave you blinking at the screen.

The Ghost Writer
Though likely not Tony Blair’s favourite film of the year, Roman Polanski’s taut thriller about a memoir-writing former prime minister with something to hide was chilling and near-perfect.


Toy Story 3
Proving that franchises don’t have to decline in quality as they go on — I’m looking at you, Shrek — this wasn’t just a great animated film, it was a great film.

Blue Valentine
Absolutely devastating portrayal of a marriage imploding, this too-real drama starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams will haunt you.


Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
Edgar Wright’s comic adaptation was possibly the most entertaining and original film of the year. Practically an anthem for the video game generation.

The Kids Are All Right
Anchored by a pair of hilariously flawed performances by Annette Bening and Julianne Moore as lesbian parents, this film’s portrait of a modern family hit all the right notes.


Lowlights


Sex and the City 2
It’s rare for a movie to be this aggressively bad, especially when it’s part of a beloved and successful TV and film franchise. Whether it was the worse-than-usual puns, the recession or the cultural tone-deafness, this was a tour de force of awfulness.



Eat Pray Love
Beautiful to look at, as long as you don’t listen to Julia Roberts’ character’s lamentations about being spiritually unfulfilled. It’s two and a half hours of yuppie faux-spirituality, objectifying native cultures and rampant self-absorption.

For Colored Girls
Tyler Perry’s clumsy adaptation — and even clumsier direction — left his stellar cast of actresses twisting in the wind.

Robin Hood
Ridley Scott’s bloated, plodding retelling of the origins of Sherwood Forest’s most famous resident, played by a scowling, grumbly Russell Crowe, was almost as boring as it was needlessly mean to the French.

Valentine’s Day
A rom-com omnibus packed with pretty faces in various states of romantic distress, this overstuffed confection is about as aggressively sweet as they come. But in case you didn’t get enough, the folks behind it have New Years Eve on tap next.

Clash of the Titans
This remake’s worst crime was tossing the original’s bright colours and campiness for a dour, grey slog through Ancient Greece, all led by a smile-averse Sam Worthington.

The Back-Up Plan
Jennifer Lopez’s latest bid at box office domination came off instead like a how-to guide for getting the romantic comedy genre wrong.

Dinner for Schmucks
It seems impossible for a movie starring Steve Carell and Paul Rudd — and featuring a Zach Galifianakis cameo — to be so aggressively unfunny, but Dinner for Schmucks achieves the impossible.

Jonah Hex
Somehow, Josh Brolin managed to appear in the best and worst westerns this year, getting top billing in both the superb True Grit and this turkey..

 
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