Assessing the year's best films, according to my refined tastes and, as usual, in no particular order (except this one). These are the top 10 movies I would select on my ballot for a Best Picture Oscar nomination.
The Town (R)
Starring: Ben Affleck, Rebecca Hall, Jeremy Renner, Jon Hamm
Director: Ben Affleck
The Town came out of nowhere for me. I had not even heard about it until I saw the trailer maybe about a month before it came out. This was the surprise of the year, no doubt. It's an intense flick. The actual heist scenes are filmed to perfection. Even though (Spoiler Alert!) when you know the last robbery is just plain suicidal, you can't help but sit at the edge of your seat and watch it all play out. That's great filmmaking and Ben Affleck is going to have a long directorial career long after his acting career slows down. I have long been a non-fan of Boston-based movies, but this one is an exception. There's just too many things to love about this movie - the direction, the cast (RIP Pete Postlethwaite) and the score. Everything comes together so well - the cast is amazing. I did not realize Jon Hamm could be such an arrogant asshole. And Jeremy Renner gives another great performance - he's very close to landing an Oscar. The rest of the cast is great (except Blake Lively, although I think that's more due to her role than her acting) and it's an addicting movie. Once you finish the movie you want to delve back in and spend more time with this flawed and tragic cast. I love how the roles are reversed - you're cheering on the bad guys in this movie and booing at the FBI agents. And the ending is sublime - there's no other way it could have ended without making it a lesser movie. And as intense and serious as the film is, it's just fun to watch. The action and robberies are clever and thrilling - especially the car chase scene with the minivan. Spectacular! Plus all those good looking people aren't too hard on the eyes, either. Although I will admit the sex scene between Affleck and Lively made me vomit in my mouth a little bit. Other than that? Perfection!