Best DVDs of 2010: Art House & International
text I wrote
for this Am-
compiled it in October, I only included the releases that were available at
the time. Note that it's separate from my favorite films list, which con-
sists exclusively of titles released in 2010, whether theatrically or on DVD.
***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****
The finest art house DVDs offer something for most
tastes, from pointed melodramas to star-crossed love
affairs. If laughs were in short supply, powerful per-
formances and intriguing imagery ruled the day.
1. THE WHITE RIBBON
After his unnecessary English-language overhaul of
Funny Games, Austria’s Michael Haneke took on
the roots of fascism in this beautifully-shot melo-
drama about a small town rotting from the inside.
2. SUMMER HOURS
There are no heroes or villains in the upper-class
family at the heart of Olivier Assayas's quietly
moving film, just a mother and her children trying
to do right by each other in the face of mortality.
3. A PROPHET
Jacques Audiard injects new life into the prison
drama by tracking the rise of a French-Arab man
who scales the ladder from convict to kingpin. Com-
parisons to The Godfather were not misplaced.
4. BRIGHT STAR
Jane Campion’s painterly portrait of the brief
relationship between poet John Keats and Fan-
ny Brawne brings young love to life in all its agon-
y and glory. Her finest feature since The Piano.
5. LORNA'S SILENCE
Belgian brothers Jean-Luc and Pierre Dar-
denne leave the suds behind for a gripping look
at a marriage of convenience that blooms into love
between a drug addict and an illegal immigrant.
6. THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT
Lisa Cholodenko doesn't just create fully round-
ed characters, but entire communities, and her third
film isn't just about parents and children, but about
the ties that truly bind. Bonus: it’s hilarious.
7. WINTER'S BONE
Down to the Bone director Debra Granik re-
invents the procedural for the harrowing tale of
a tenacious Ozark teenager trying to save the
family home against unbelievable odds.
8. FANTASTIC MR. FOX
This stop-motion adaptation of the Roald Dahl
classic marks Wes Anderson’s most enjoyable
outing since Rushmore. George Clooney is per-
fection as the family man-turned-action hero.
After the morose Margot at the Wedding, No-
ah Baumbach’s carefully observed romantic
comedy feels downright buoyant, thanks large-
ly to the effortless charm of Greta Gerwig.
10. Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
Neither a remake nor a sequel to the Abel Ferrara
original, Werner Herzog’s New Orleans noir stars
a gloriously unhinged Nicolas Cage as a dirty, pill-
popping detective with one last shot at redemption.
Note: Jérémie Renier stars in both Summer Hours and Lorna's Silence.
Endnote: The actual Amazon title is "Best Movies & TV of 20-
10." Though I reviewed many made-for-TV movies, specials, and
series, I didn't put together a small-screen list. Also, no box sets,
since I covered very few. Image from © Sony Pictures Classics.