EDITOR’S PICK: THE BEST FILMS OF 2010

November is the month where my introspection tends to get the most unshakable. It literally burns holes in my brain thinking about what feats of artistic greatness and gestures of failure were made that year. It doesn’t help that I tend to listen to Guns ‘N Roses‘ classic tune “November Rain” on repeat to comfortably usher me into the thought of another winter.

When it comes to selecting the top five films of 2010, it is never an easy task for someone who essentially lives off this stuff. Last year, after I read the script of Synechdoche, New York (a moderately disappointing film), I began to think of life unfolding much like a screenplay. There’s nothing like an omnipotent narrator reading out stage directions while you do them. Salkin sits down on a park bench, pulls out a brown paper bag and drinks from it. Sighs. Watches the children play.

Enough of that. Here’s my list of the best films of 2010.

5. Get Him to the Greek

Have I mentioned that I generally hate mainstream comedies? Especially those spawned from the filmic loins of Judd Apatow (40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up)? Starring chubby and charming Jonah Hill, British comedian Russell Brand and superstar musician P. Diddy, this film was absolutely hilarious in a Jeffrey-kind of way. For those who don’t know what a Jeffrey is, you’re going to have to watch this one. Hill plays a music record employee who’s been assigned to accompany Brand, a former rock god turned washed up junkie, to the Greek to play an epic comeback show. Things get zany.

See the art of mindfucking here:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lpMmU7AkDvM&feature=related]

4. The Runaways

Joan Jett is fucking dope. Nobody can deny that fact. Starring Twilight tweenie Kristen StewartDakota Fanning and Michael Shannon, this film chronicles the challenges and drug abuse that riddled the all-girl rock band from the 1970’s. Tight pants, lesbian overtones and the everlasting promise of good old rock ‘n’ roll, this film is a must-see for anybody interested in the history of this vicious musical genre.

Ever wondered what it’s like to be a teenaged guitar player trying to make it in a man’s world?

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THE COUNTDOWN TO HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS

As part of my lazy unemployed self required, I recently underwent a Harry Potter marathon with my better half. I reveled in the magical world of Hogwarts and the incredible, fantastical life of sorcery for more than 10 hours in one day, and know what? I’m not really that ashamed. In retrospect, I probably should have taken a shower at some point. But hindsight is always 20/20.

I read the first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in 1997 when I was 11 years old, the same age that Harry discovered that he was a wizard. I never really identified with Harry, nor his red-haired best mate Ron and the bushy haired know-it-all Hermione. At the same time though, the Harry Potter brand—the books and the films—have been a definite cornerstone of my life and probably most of my generation’s. Every year I looked forward to a new book coming out. Sometimes JK Rowling took more time in her writing process, delaying the next installment for months, and frustrating the hell out of me. Aside from Tolkien’s epic works and the occasional Sci-Fi film (think Soylent Green!), I never much enjoyed the fantastical, whimsical side of fiction.

Now at 24 years old,  my usually stiff upper lip tremors at the thought that it’s all coming to a close very soon. Daniel Radcliffe had nipple hair two films ago, which was the first sign I was in trouble. The next installment of the book, named Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, has been designated to be released as two films. I’m particularly excited by the fact that they’re both being directed by David Yates (who also did The Order of the Phoenix and The Half-Blood Prince).

Part one will be in theatres this November 19, 2010. The second part won’t be until 2011.

In the meantime, watch this spine-tingling trailer.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzfEH0UPEBo&feature=channel]

I couldn’t resist but mention this: don’t ever forget Radcliffe used to dance with horses.

Kevan Funk’s short film toys with faith…

Kevan Funk’s short film toys with faith, the Free World and a matchbox budget

FOR METRO VANCOUVER NEWSPAPER

A Fine Young Man, directed by Kevan Funk, is a dark comedy that has garnered critical acclaim at this year’s Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF), winning the award for Best Short Film in Calgary.

 

Director Kevin Funk (second from left) talks with actors on the set of A Fine Young Man.

 

Set during the Cold War era, the film flirts with the fine line between faith and the danger of personal convictions.

My intention with the film was to start a conversation, rather than giving an answer,” Funk said in a video Skype interview. “Most importantly, it’s about belief. When you have blind faith in something, it can be very dangerous.”

Funk, 24, is a fourth-year student of Film, Video and Integrated Media at  Emily Carr University of Art & Design. He was born in Vancouver and raised in Banff, Alberta.

With an early interest in the performing arts, Funk later developed a talent in photography which lead him to pursue a career in film. Since 2002, Funk has been involved in numerous independent film projects.

Funk is currently seeking an international opening for A Fine Young Man to showcase his talents.

There’s a lot of humour and unexpected things in life,” said Funk. “It seems more of an appropriate fit, dark comedy, in terms of telling authentic stories.”

Broken Social Scene release trailer for “This Movie is Broken”

It’s the best marriage of indie Canadian music and indie Canadian cinema, bridged together by the baroque-rock gods Broken Social Scene.

Starring members from the band, as well as that really annoying guy from the cell phone commercials (I loathe that group of friends), this part-scripted, concert-style film looks pretty intriguing.

For a musical collective that’s been reinventing and defining the Canadian music scene for nearly a decade, let’s hope this movie stakes a firm ground at the helm of epic love stories.

Check out the trailer here:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RdBnwF1UjVA]

Editor’s pick: Femme fatale of 2009

Dear readers, while I may have studied Simone de Beauvoir extensively, but I am no feminist. The angry lesbian has always been a topic I’ve found interesting from a theoretical perspective, it’s never been quite my cup of tea. There’s simply no room for the rage.

That being said, there’s a certain pull and influence a wonderful actress on film can create. Requiring a delicate blend of classical beauty, sensitivity and intuition surrounding the act of imitation, and directorial flair, magic can be made.

Filthy Lucre’s choice femme fatale of 2009 goes to Audrey Tautou, french actress best known for her role in Amelie (2001). Last year she played the lead in Coco Avant Chanel, a psuedo-biographical film about the fashion icon’s ascent from obscurity to aesthetic paragon.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bvDFPjx-uBU]