Best of 2010: The Genre Awards

It’s time for my second annual Year in Review, where I’ll recap my thoughts on the film year that was 2010. Today I begin by awarding the best films in each genre and I’ll follow up with my Top 10 Films of 2010 as well as my thoughts on the year as a whole.

2010 was much weaker in terms of genre films than 2009. I’ve sort of crossed genre lines here to make this list seem more impressive, however. The genres that had the best 2010, however, were animation, thriller, action and drama — the last of which isn’t usually considered a “genre” in the typical sense.

The Genre Awards

Horror: The Crazies

Like last year’s winner “Drag Me To Hell,” I’ve yet to see this film but it’s way up there in my Netflix instant queue, so I have no excuse at this point. I did end up seeing “Drag Me to Hell” and would agree with my placement, so I have a good feeling “Crazies” belongs here. Breck Eisner’s film looked completely predictable disease-outbreak/zombie fare, but it has earned positive reviews from most everyone. Look for a review from me in the coming weeks.

Honorable Mention: “Shutter Island.” Martin Scorsese’s visually astounding mystery lies more in thriller genre, but it wasn’t one of the top thrillers of the year, so I placed it here. (Read my Review)

Thriller: Black Swan

It’s equal parts drama, but “Black Swan” succeeds in the ways a great thriller does, capturing our attention with a key mystery element, in this case ballerina perfectionist Nina’s seeming transformation into a swan. Darren Aronofsky’s visually striking and downright freaky film will leave you talking about what happened long after the credits roll, second only to the way “Inception” did this year. (Read My Review)

Honorable Mention: “The Ghost Writer.” Roman Polanski’s Britain-based thriller was released too early in the year and never got the attention it deserved, but was an effective, quiet and brooding thriller with impressive twists and strong performances from Pierce Brosnan (rare indeed) and Olivia Williams. (Read My Review)

Animation: Toy Story 3

Pixar wins again. I had expected a step up in entertainment and down in meaning/heart from “Up” to “Toy Story 3,” but I was proven dead wrong. “Toy Story 3” was twice as entertaining and equally emotional, bringing our favorite characters back for an unforgettable last hurrah. (Read My Review)

Honorable Mention: “How to Train Your Dragon.” DreamWorks has consistently gotten better and “Dragon” was as strong as they come. More than that, however, was the visual spectacle. (Read My Review)

Romantic Comedy: Date Night

This genre was terribly weak this year — as if that’s a surprise. “Date Night” was average, but showcased the winning talents of Steve Carell and Tina Fey, two fabulous middle-aged comedians in their primes. (Read My Review)

Honorable Mention: “Love and Other Drugs.” Far from perfect, especially in the writing department, but between all the Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway nakey time and the strong chemistry, it rose above the other crud in 2010. (Read My Review)

Action: The Town

Like other “between genres” films I’ve mentioned, crime drama and bank job action flick would both be apt ways to describe Ben Affleck’s sophomore (but far from sophomoric) effort. With one of the top ensemble casts of the year including an award-worthy effort from quick-rising star Jeremy Renner, “The Town” is solid all around as both believable drama and exciting entertainment. (Read My Review)

Honorable Mention: “Unstoppable.” Looking back, this runaway train flick from action/thriller master Tony Scott feels unremarkable, but watching the film, it sucks you in. This is the kind of film that when it plays on TV, you’re going to sit and watch because you just can’t help yourself. (Read My Review)

Science Fiction/Fantasy: Inception

Compared to last year (“District 9,” “Star Trek,” “Avatar”) it’s like there might as well not have been any sci-fi films released. And though “Inception” plays like a Christopher Nolan mind-bending thriller, any film with a zero-gravity hallway fight scene qualifies itself for science fiction. Nolan’s film is uniquely imaginative and unforgettable and Leonardo DiCaprio gave the best big-budget lead actor performance of the year. (Read My Review)

Honorable Mention: “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 1.” I’m sure that at this time next year “Part 2” might be more than an honorable mention; that “something to be desired” created by the nature of a “Part 1” toned down most people’s desire to heap praise on this otherwise mature, exciting and somehow more human episode in the “Potter” series. (Read My Review)

Comedy: Easy A

It was a rough year for comedy, but “Easy A,” along with star Emma Stone, was the crown jewel. Surprisingly lovable, the film put a modern slant on a John Hughes-type comedy (hence the many homages to the late great filmmaker) and Stone owned every minute of it. (Read My Review)

Honorable Mention: “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.” This film’s multi-media comedy/action/craziness genre experiment was excellent albeit probably jarring and strange to some viewers. That’s ’cause in my estimation Edgar Wright’s endlessly groundbreaking film is simply ahead of its time. (Read My Review)

Drama: The Social Network

Currently soaking in all the accolades from critics associations and other award-giving bodies across the nation, “The Social Network” capitalizes on impressive performances from young actors, a tight script, veteran direction and a timely topic.┬áIn lesser hands, we’re not talking about a leading Oscar contender. For such a generic concept, “The Social Network” feels like a contemporary real-world epic. (Read My Review)

Honorable Mention: “The Kids Are All Right.” Loaded with incredible performances from Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo and Mia Wasikowska, the family dyanmic at play is not only non-traditional, but believable, funny and tense. (Read My Review)

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