The L’s Best Films of 2010

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12/08/2010 4:00 AM |

Henry Stewart’s Top 10

#1 Daddy Longlegs

Josh and Benny Safdie

This queasily hilarious portrait of a dad who really needs to assume some adult responsibilities also depicts a New York in desperate need of citizens who’d do the same.

#2 Life During Wartime

Todd Solondz

The sequel to 90s-defining Happiness nails the aughts, positing external enemies like “terrorism” as mere diversions from America’s real problem—ourselves!

#3 Valhalla Rising

Nicolas Winding Refn

Refn’s grungy, hypnotic, elemental period piece goes back a millennium to find violence among the Americas’ first Jesus freaks. Parallels to the present are obvious and awesome.

#4 Wild Grass

Alain Resnais

The French New Wavers all got old, dull, or dead. But pushing-90 Resnais recaptures the wacky exuberance that once made them such exhilarating cineastes.

#5 Black Swan

Darren Aronofsky

Aronofsky’s hallucinatory nightmare about abused actresses and sexual repression also restores New York’s edginess, which Republican mayors had almost eradicated.

#6 Shutter Island

Martin Scorsese

Now that Scorsese has an Oscar, he can get back to making good movies. Or, at least, fun ones, like this gleefully kitschy bonanza of B-movie elan.

#7 NY Export: Opus Jazz

Henry Joost and Jody Lee Lipes

This adaptation of an old Jerome Robbins ballet imbues some of the city’s last gritty spots with impossible terpsichorean beauty.

#8 Marwencol

Jeff Malmberg

About a mentally damaged outsider artist who works with dolls, this doc reveals the weird, harmful ways we all simplify our lives into narrative.

#9 Lourdes

Jessica Hausner

In her deceptively decorous, theologically scathing film about divine miracles, Hausner attacks “hope,” exploited by The Church here to devastating effect.

#10 The Kids Are All Right

Lisa Cholodenko

This family-values dramedy is dumb on paper. But on screen it’s such a warmly acted depiction of family harmony, you’ll want to rush out and start your own.