I should preface that I absolutely love reading ranked lists of practically anything but despise making them myself. There is no way I could quantify and rank my love for these next 100 films. At some point in time, most of them were my favourite films at the time of their release. Nonetheless, I tried my best to curate a unique and engaging list of some of the best feature-length films which were released in the past 10 years. I pride this list as it not only showcases the diversity the 2010s film landscape but also because of its distinction from many other top films of the decade countdowns. This list has several hidden gems, non-English language films and blockbuster hits I simply believe were overlooked as actual works of cinema. I hope my justifications for selecting these next 100 films demonstrate my unique love for each of them and possibly direct you to new films you weren’t aware of. Happy New Years everyone and enjoy!
100 Chronicle (2012, dir. Josh Trank)
Chronicle is hands down one of my favourite found footage films to date. With a $12 million budget, Josh Trank delivered a unique spin of the superhero flick—which was still the underdog at the time of its release—and introduced the world, or at least a small audience, to now stars Dane DeHaan and Michael B. Jordan.
99 John Wick (2014, dir. Chad Stahelski)
An action film which revolutionized the directing style and fight choreography and a popularly lazy cinema genre. Dozens of films could have sat in the 99th spot but the honor goes to the beloved Keanu Reeve’s John Wick.
98 Carol (2015, dir. Todd Haynes)
It’s a Hitchcockian melodrama except the lead women actually have agency and are fully-fleshed out characters. I fell in love with Carol after watching it’s first trailer and haven’t stopped loving it since.
97 Victoria (2015, dir Sebastian Schipper)
One story told in one take. Victoria has not seen the same acclaim as other feature films of the decade which attempted to film its narrative in a single endless shot. The infamous piano scene is one of the best sequences of the entire decade
96 The Cabin in the Woods (2011, dir. Drew Goddard)
Drew Goddard’s directorial debut may have been the film which sparked my growing love for the horror genre. This Scooby-Doo esque horror parody is funny, exhilarating, cartoonishly gory (in a good way), and features a unique commentary on gender stereotypes in film. Certainly one of my favorite horror features of all time, The Cabin in the Woods, while less cinematic than other entries on this list, righteously sits at spot 96.
95 Scott Pilgrim vs The World (2010, dir. Edgar Wright)
What else is there to say about this film that hasn’t been said already? All hail Edgar Wright and Michael Cera.
94 Me and Earl, and the Dying Girl (2015, dir. Alfonso Gomez-Rejon)
I-love-this-movie. Me and Earl, and the Dying girl—the live action adaptation of Jesse Andrews’ novel—is perfect to me. Simple, short, gorgeously directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon and a heart-tugging love letter to the form.
93 Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014, dir Matthew Vaughn)
The spy movie I never knew I wanted. The absolutely insane one take church fight scene single handedly place Kingsman at modest spot on this list.
92 Creed (2015, dir Ryan Coogler)
There were few great sequel and franchise reboots this decade and Ryan Coogler’s Creed was one of them. Coogler successfully created a refreshing iteration of the beloved Rocky franchise and catapulted the career of then rising star Michael B. Jordan. He also cemented himself as a more than capable director with a distinct style. Creed is not just the 92nd spot on this list but one of my favorite sports films ever.
91 Moonrise Kingdom (2012, dir. Wes Anderson)
I watched Moonrise Kingdom shortly after viewing Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel. Both films were my second and first Anderson film I watched respectively, but Moonrise is when I truly grew to appreciate the stylized and quirky world of the autumn loving director.
90 Atomic Blonde (2017, dir. David Leitch)
‘The Female John Wick” is Atomic Blonde is commonly dubbed as but the films are nowhere similar for me. John Wick is a tale of Vengeance while Atomic Blonde is much more of an espionage thriller. The staircase fight, and a few gorgeous “oners”, safely place Atomic Blonde at spot 90.
89 Looper (2013, dir Rion Johsnon)
I loved this film a lot more when I first watched it a few years back. If I had done my favorite films of the decade back in 2016, Looper would have easily been in the top 50. My love for the next 90 films just won’t see Looper—which I still enjoy—place any higher.
88 The Florida Project (2017, dir. Sean Baker)
Willem Dafoe being sweet.
87 The Wolf of Wall Street (2013, dir. Martin Scorsese)
Hated it, then loved it. The Wolf of Wall Street was definitely a film which I needed to rewatch and re-understand with age. I first found it a too excessive, unnecessary glorification of toxic masculinity, misogynistic work culture and voluptuous living but soon grasped that Scorsese was viciously critiquing these things. This is a master filmmaker’s complete brain splurge which, with the help of the brilliant editing by Thelma Schoonmaker, is organized into chaotic brilliance. I feel awkward saying that I love this film but I certainly don’t hate it either. We’ll come across more 2010s Scorsese as this list continues.
86 mother! (2017, dir. Darren Aronofsky)
The latest film by one of the 21st Century’s most overlooked American director’s really delivered for me. Unlike a lot of movie goers, I knew mother! wasn’t going to be a horror flick and was incredibly enthralled with Aronofsky’s latest.
85 The Lego Batman Movie (2017, dir. Chris McKay)
I did not think this could compare to the brilliance of The Lego Batman Movie but it did. Hands down best Batman film we saw this decade—yet I placed The Dark Knight Rises higher than this…
84 The Nice Guys (2016, dir. Shane Black)
The Nice Guys almost did not make this list. I had to watch and read a bunch of other decade top 100s to remind myself how much I loved this film. One of 2016’s best that I wish I caught in theaters ):
83 It (2017, dir. Andrés Muschietti)
Stranger Things’ but the kids are 5 times funnier and can swear. It was in my top ten films of 2017 and comfortably sits at 83rd on this list.
82 Drive (2011, dir. Nicolas Winding Refn)
It’s like Baby Driver but more hardcore. Drive is the film which solidified my appreciation for the incredibly talented Ryan Gosling.
81 Zombi Child (2019, dir. Bertrand Bonello)
Caught this genre bending film at the New York Film Festival and was absolutely blown away. Zombi Child is about, well you can guess, a girl who is a descendant of a “zombi”. The eponymous “zombi”, however, is not resemblant of the Hollywood creature but of the real-life possessed lurkers in Haiti. Beautifully shot and strangely funny at times, Bertrand Bonello’s Zombi Child is a near perfect film for an ultra violent loving film student like myself.
80 Holy Motors (2012, dir. Leos Carax)
There are no films on this list quite like Holy Motors. There aren’t many words which can fully describe its mesmerizing and mysterious tone. Leos Carax also stars in the film and plays nearly every featured character. I’ve only watched the film once, and loved it, but if given a second viewing Holy Motors would surely place much higher on this list.
79 Under the Skin (2013, dir. Jonathan Glazer)
The score alone deserves a spot on this list.
78 Hustlers (2019, dir. Lorene Scafaria)
Jennifer Lopez in her best role but I think the acclaim really should go to Constance Wu who soars in her Hustlers role. The all female ensemble flick, which heavily featured women in behind camera positions as well, cracks down on the white-collar criminals of this U.S. economy. No other popular film set during the 2007-08 era features such heavy criticism of Wall Street and its misogynistic and patriarchal dominance over this nation as Hustlers had. The solid film places at 78.
77 The Central Park Five (2012, dir. Ken Burns, Sarah Burns & David McMahon)
The Central Park Five is a gut wrenching documentary which details the arrests and imprisonment of five innocent Black and Hispanic teens living in 1989 New York City. Before Ava Duvernay’s When They See Us, the world just had this gut wrenching and poignant doc. It may be a difficult watch but it is an incredibly important and empowering film seeking to spread awareness of our corrupt criminal justice system.
76 Deux Jours, Une Nuit (2014, dir. Dardenne Brothers)
Anything Marion Cotillard is in is gold. She is absolutely brilliant as Sandra, a working-class women seeking to keep her job by asking her colleagues to forgo their bonuses so she can continue to work. The style of Deux Jours, Une Nuit is muted—which embraces the mundane everyday life tone of the film—but comfortable rests at 76 due to its candid, and at times, hurtful examination of class.
75 As Above, So Below (2014, John Erick Dowdle)
Independent horrors were the hidden gems of this decade. So was Dowdle’s As Above, So Below.
74 Sicario (2015, dir. Denis Villeneuve)
Sicario was my introduction to the brilliance of Canadian director Denis Villeneuve. If Emily Blunt’s character was just a little more fleshed out, Sicario might be sitting with the five other higher ranking Villeneuve films on this list. Roger Deakins’ cinematography alone is what got Sicario at spot 74. Not really its story.
73 The Death of Stalin (2017, dir. Armando Iannucci)
There aren’t many comedies on this list and that’s because I thoroughly do not enjoy the genre. The Death of Stalin is the gorgeously shot and hilarious exception.
72 Get Out (2017, dir. Jordan Peele)
Jordan Peele’s directorial debut was on the nose in its critique of white liberal America and the illusion of a “post-racial” society. Get Out is an incredibly smart movie but doesn’t place any higher for me because the film feels too “surface-level” for a lack of a better word. I wanted to know more about The Coagula and where other people of color rest in this dark fiction. As Jordan stressed in several interviews, Chris “winning” in the end is a triumphant reversal of the stereotyped black characters who are killed off first in popular horror films. Still, if Get Out’s intentions were to depict a realistic America inside a white-home, does that mean racism can be so easily trumped? But maybe I’m reading too into it, and that’s a good sign of a film after all.
71 Us (2018, dir. Jordan Peele)
Peele’s vicious class battle featured in Us is exactly what I wanted from Get Out (72). Not a third-act standoff but a continuous battle between two groups—in this film it was lower and middle class Americans—which have enormous consequences on the world around our protagonists. The real heroes in Us aren’t the main family, but the lower-class tethered who successfully killed the above-ground higher class doubles. If Get Out was Peele’s appetizer, Us was definitely his main course.
70 Roma (2018, dir. Alfonso Cuarón)
Everything that needs to be said about Yalitza Aparicio, Alfonso Cuarón and Roma has already been said before. This movie is beautiful.
69 BlacKkKlansman (2018, dir. Spike Lee)
For film goers who know of Birth of A Nation, they’d understand that Lee includes D.W. Griffith’s 1915 epic at the start of his film to consciously remind audiences of its infamous use of cross-cutting. In Griffith’s film it was tirelessly used to depict Black people negatively, Lee, however uses the editing device as a tool of empowerment to the Black image. BlackKlansman is thus revolutionary cinema both in its content , which is incredibly pertinent to our modern-day police climate, and its form. From its firs to last frame, viewers are treated to a master at work.
68 About Time (2013, dir. Richard Curtis)
A fun, heart-tugging time-travel romantic comedy—and the only film of this sub-genre I know of.
67 The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014, dir. Wes Anderson)
Loved it then, not as much now. But still a gorgeous looking film which sees Anderson at his most quirky.
66 Good Time (2017, dir The Safdie Brothers)
Wish I could have caught Uncut Gems before the end of the decade, but sadly (or fortunately) I was able to catch its predecessor Good Time earlier this year on Amazon Prime. Fan-friggin-tastic. Patinson and the Safdies are a true force.
65 Her (2013, dir. Spike Jonze)
Jonze’s future world is gorgeous but the true beauty, and pain, lies in the interesting relationship between Theodore, a casually brilliant Joaquin Phoenix, and his A.I. girlfriend Samantha, an equally as impressive Scarlett Johansson. .
64 Monsters (2010, dir. Gareth Edwards)
I fell in love with this film immediately. I can acknowledge Edwards’ lesser known feature isn’t for everyone. If you’re expecting monsters it’s not as if you won’t see any but you won’t see much. The creatures are all lurking in the background. In the foreground is an allegorical study about U.S. immigration on the Mexico border intertwined between a growing love-story. Edwards first of three feature-length films on this list may be deserving of a higher ranking but it modestly rests behind Godzilla.
63 Godzilla (2014, dir. Gareth Edwards)
Godzilla might be the best blockbuster of its year and probably the decade. It’s seemingly mindless but Edwards directs kaiju in ways Godzilla fans have never seen before. The reptilian beast hardly has more than 10 minutes of screen-time. Viewers only see a mere glance of his limb, tail, spine, and head before we are hardly privileged to a full body shot for the film’s entire 2-hour runtime. Edwards’ clear directorial style elevates Godzilla far above the monster flicks of its time. And how could I forget the cinematic beauty that is this Halo jump scene?
62 The Dark Knight Rises (2012, dir. Christopher Nolan)
Yeah I enjoyed it.
61 Boyhood (2014, dir. Richard Linklater)
Boyhood is near documentary esque in its style making it feel like a voyeuristic peer into the life of a pre-teen and then a adolescent boy. I’ve only watched it once and I plan on keeping it that way. I’m a strong believer that Linklater’s experimental 12 year project is meant to be experienced as life is. Right there in the moment. It’s part of my memory and I don’t plan on re-visiting it for a long, long time (in a good way).
60 Coco (2017, dir. Lee Unkrich & Adrian Molina)
Pixar might have lost its identity a little this decade. As an animation studio which prided itself on unique individual stories, nearly ever release of their’s was an addition to a prior franchise title of the last two decades. Coco was by far their most original and best project of the 2010s. The animation is absolutely breath taking. Coco’s original music is incredibly moving as is the story of Miguel’s family. Make more culture oriented films Pixar please!
59 Joker (2019, dir. Todd Phillips)
Joker revolutionized the superhero genre as The Dark Knight had last decade back in 2008. Like its pseudo cousin predecessor, its clear stylistic distinction from other superhero properties may not influence the industry at all. Most likely, we can expect the same predictable Marvel films for the next 10 years. But, the glorious cinematic piece of expression that is Joker will always rein above them as the most daring and provoking superhero film of the 2010s. Joker is incredibly decisive and that’s indicative of something. No one left the theater with the same feelings. It’s a painful examination of how we treat mental health, or how we don’t, and of class-war in modern society. The Joker doesn’t mobilize people mindlessly but due to his overlooked class status. Systematically he’s treated and viewed as nothing. As a disposable, emotional tool. His responses to the world may not be exemplary but they are quite revealing of the moral contagions of our society.
58 Trumbo (2015, dir. Jay Roach)
To be honest I don’t remember much of this movie but I do remember how much I loved Bryan Cranston’s performance. 58!
57 Baby Driver (2017, dir. Edgar Wright)
Edgar Wright can do no wrong. 57.
56 Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016, dir. Gareth Edwards)
Edwards does not get the respect he deserve. The visionary director hardly has hardly featured on anyone’s top of the decade lists, in fact I’m not sure if I saw his work in any compilation videos or articles. But I will credit his widely divisive Rogue One is the best Star Wars film of the 5 which released this decade. I’m one with the force, the force is with me is the most original line spawning from Disney’s Star Wars. As is Edwards’ direction, as is the universe he built which is far in the periphery of the episodic films.
55 Logan (2017, dir. James Mangold)
Wolverine’s trilogy got progressively better with each entry. Logan was the fitting end to a 17-year long portrayal of the character by Hugh Jackman, who was snubbed, and Patrick Stewart, who was also snubbed. This movie doesn’t hold back. It’s dark and bleak, hardly shedding a drop of hope. As a die hard X-Men fan, it’s the perfect film for me and my second favourite superhero film of the decade. The first goes to number 54.
54 X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014, dir. Bryan Singer)
Fight me. Days of Future Past is the best superhero film of the decade. Its fight scenes and ability to handle literal generations of characters is unparalleled by any of its contemporaries— and yes I’m an MCU fan. If the X-Men franchise ended right here, it’d be perfect.
53 I Am Not Your Negro (2017, dir. Raoul Peck)
So much information layed out in just a little over 90-mutes. I pulled out a pen and paper in my watch of Peck’s I am Not Your Negro just so I could expand my knowledge on the great James Baldwin and the dozens of films the late-writer and activist discusses in the film.
52 The Irishman (2019, dir. Martin Scorsese)
Scorsese, DeNiro, Pacino, and Pesci. Was it going to be bad?
51 mid90s (2018, dir. Jonah Hill)
Jonah’s Hill lover letter to the mid-1990s also expresses the director’s passion for golden era boom-bap rap, long forgotten skateboarding culture and cinema. The small hype of mid90s came and went, but it never left my head. Documentary esque in its style, mid90s made me fall in love with a group of fictional characters more than any other film on this list.
50 Enemy (2013, dir. Denis Villeneuve)
There’s more Villeneuve to come is all I can say. Enemy is an absolutely brilliant psychological thriller which is about…hmmm..I’m still trying to figure that one out.
49 Short Term 12 (2012, dir. Destin Daniel Cretton)
A young Brie Larson, Rami Malek and Lakeith Stanfield all feature in Destin Daniel Cretton’s timeless Short Term 12. I wish I could express my love for this film and Joel P. West’s hypnotic score but there are simply no combination of words which will allow me to do so. Apart from one film which rests in the top 10, Short Term 12’s ending is my favourite on this entire list. It’s simple, magical and tear jerking.
48 It Follows (2014, dir. David Robert Mitchell)
Only three people can see “it”. The last person who passed it, the person they passed it to and the audience. Michell’s It Follows is a simple and unnerving allegorical study of the passage of STDs amongst young adult groups. A mid-tier ranking seems about the right placement for one of my favorite horror films of the decade.
47 The Last Black Man in San Francisco (2019, Joe Talbot)
I wish I had the chance to see The Last Black Man in theaters. Director Joe Talbot and cinematographer Adam Newport-Berra capture the beauty and essence of a city better than any other film I’ve seen to date.
46 Minding the Gap (2018, dir. Bing Liu)
I want more from Bing Liu. A decade of footage compiled into a touching and raw documentary. Nothing short of brilliant, Liu’s documentary captures the beauty of skateboarding as an art form whilst also managing to interlace themes of mental health and poverty. Minding the Gap shook me to my core, especially a scene where the camera gazes at an emotionally distraught Liu as he engages in a painful discussion with his single mother. It left me feeling hopeless but at the same time angry at humans’ inability to possess morality at times and tendency to hurt people who are most in-need.
45 The Farewell (2019, dir. Lulu Wang)
Writer/director Lulu Wang and lead actor Awkwafina shine in The Farewell. This is one of many films on this list where I bawled. Its several trailers may allude audiences to a predictable ending but Wang immediately sweeps expectations. The Farewell was one of 2019’s most heartfelt stories and, in just a single watch, is privileged to rest as higher mid-tier film on this list.
44 Midsommar (2019, dir. Lulu Wang)
Ari Aster and Pawel Pogorzelski create a horror-fantasy world in broad daylight in Midsommar. The sophomore project from rising horror director may not surpass 2018’s Hereditary, my favorite movie of that year, but it is a phenomenal film nonetheless. Aster labeled Midsommar as a “break-up” film but I’ve read it more as an analysis of arrogant tourism and our modern severance from mother nature. With several more rewatches, Midsommar would easily climb this list.
43 Big Hero (2014, dir. Don Hall & Chris Williams)
Any film ranked 42 and below is perfect to me. I have absolutely no qualms with any part of the subsequent films. Each and every entry enchanted and engrossed me to some degree. Big Hero 6 proudly stands amongst the rest of the entries and is ranked at 43 not for any of its own faults but solely because I loved the next 42 films slightly more.
42 Brigsby Bear (2017, dir. Dave McCary)
Dave McCary’s Brigsby Bear is the least popular film on this list. It’s gone completely under the radar but is one of the decade’s best and most timely films. Fandoms, especially in this day and age, are are incredibly destructive. When James learns his favourite show of all time “Brigsby Bear” not only ended but was completely fabricated by his “parents” it’s the end of the world for him. It puts into perspective just how we may take our love for unreal people and worlds a little too far but at the same to praises those who take pride in their imagination. I love you Brigsby Bear.
41 The Lego Movie (2014, dir. Chris Miller & Phil Lord)
It shouldn’t have worked but it did. Funny, existential and on a tier of its own. Spot 41 goes to The Lego Movie.
40 Ingrid Goes West (2014, dir. Matt Spicer)
I absolutely adore Aubrey Plaza. She is often dismissed as a troll and hardly garners any praise for her more than average acting chops. You can check out my review of Ingrid Goes West and its dark-comedic critique the digital era imposes on social media users.
39 Ex Machina (2015, dir. Alex Garland)
My interest in the human psyche and A.I. was definitely sparked by Alex Garland’s cerebral Ex Machina. Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander and Oscar Isaac shine in each of their respective roles.
38 Silence (2016, dir. Martin Scorsese)
An epic of the times. Only Scorsese could concoct a masterpiece at this scale.
37 The Hateful Eight (2015, dir. Quentin Tarantino)
Most of my favourite Tarantino films were released last decade and or are featured later on this list. The Hateful Eight feels like a sympathy pick but it really isn’t. The slow burn, 70mm comedy (I thought it was Tarantino’s funniest) is incredibly fun and rewatchable. 37 seems just about right.
36 Burning (2018, dir. Lee Chang-dong)
I have an inexplicable fascination with the Korean New Wave. Burning, like the films of its movement, is slow and calculated. The blocking and direction of each scene is incredibly meticulous and purposeful. Conversations are realistic and natural but seamlessly propel the story. It’s not any particular genre at all. Lee Chang-dong practically invents a genre, as many Korean New Wave films do, in Burning.
35 Gook (2017, dir. Justin Chon)
I cried. A lot. Justin Chon’s Gook is the most courageous exploration of race in America not only on this list but of the decade. Unlike many of the race films on this list, Gook is inter-sectional. The only one of which questions the tensions between Korean-immigrant and Black American groups living in a divided 1992 L.A.The idea is not complex at all but simply unheard of in the current cinematic landscape it originates from which is seemingly capable of only examining one racial group at a time. If you have yet to see Gook, I implore you to do so. It is the closes a U.S. film we get to La Haine.
34 Train to Busan (2016, dir Yeon Sang-ho)
This-is-my-freaking-movie. Train to Busan is the best action film on this list. I hate zombie movies and Train to Busan made me hate the sub-genre even more because I know no future film will top its story—except perhaps its upcoming sequel.
33 Moonlight (2016, dir. Barry Jenkins)
Moonlight constructs an incredible subversion of the Black and male images, separately, which have dominated popular cinema. Little/Chiron/Black is a victim of poverty, toxic masculinity and systematic racism. These institutions are enormous barriers which have prevented him to express his identity for most of his life. When Jenkins’ finally allows the world to see the real Chiron, it’s beautiful.
32 Chef (2014, dir Jon Favreau)
I’m starving still. Chef produced such a simple premised, family fun, and wholesome film.
31 The Witch (2015, dir. Robert Eggers)
My introduction to writer/director Robert Eggers was incredible. I haven’t seen a modern screenwriter manipulate language to such ability prior The Witch. The film takes its time before revealing its truly horrifying tone. I wouldst like to live deliciously indeed.
30 Suspiria (2018, dir. Luca Guadagnino)
Horror. Horror. I love Horror. I cannot stress enough how hard I fell in love with the genre this decade. Luca Guadagnino created one of the best remakes ever in 2018’s Suspiria and showed me the endless creative potentialities of the genre. Unlike the other horror features on this list, Suspiria wastes no time delving into the supernatural. It’s terrifying from the jump and includes the absolute best final sequence I have seen in any horror film.
29 The Wailing (2016, dir. Na Hong-jin)
Someone recommended The Wailing to me by labeling it as “the most original movie I [he] ever saw”. He wasn’t wrong. The Wailing is a slow burn, but justifies its runtime with each passing scene. Wailing becomes increasingly engaging and horrifying and unnerving as we learn more of the evil haunting a small Korean town. It is my second favourite horror of the 2010s and 28th favorite over all.
28 Snowpiercer (2013, dir. Bong Joon-Ho)
A class revolution taking place inside a train. Bong Joon-Ho behind the director’s seat. Of course I love.
27 Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri (2017, dir. Martin McDonagh)
A thought-provoking character driven story subtly featuring an all-star class. Three Billboards Outside of—damn the title is long—is a beautiful, beautiful film. It unapologetically criticizes these divided United States—particularly the patriarchal nation’s dominant views on gender and race—and spits back these criticisms at audiences with no remorse.
26 Sorry to Bother You (2018, dir. Boots RIley)
On the nose black-comedy critique of capitalism, wage theft, exploitation and even racism. Boots Riley and this film came out of nowhere and sadly did not reach enough audiences. It certainly reached me and pulled the revolutionist outside of my gut. My favorite comedy of the decade goes to Sorry to Bother You.
25 War for the Planet of the Apes (2017, dir. Matt Reeves)
Motion capture technology is perfected in War for the Planet of the Apes. Matt Reeves delivers a perfect conclusion to a damn near perfect trilogy. I’m using the word perfect a lot because that’s all this film is. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect.
24 Hugo (2011, dir. Martin Scorsese)
A lover letter to movies. I could not get enough of this movie. A few years ago, Hugo would have been number 1 but the next 22 films are just too damn good.
23 Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014, dir. Matt Reeves)
The Planet of the Apes saga is the most underrated franchise of the decade. Disney and co. may have overshadowed the films at the box office but certainly not in terms of storytelling. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is damn near Shakespearean in its telling of vengeance and war. Matt Reeves can do no wrong. If he is to handle his Batman films the same manner as he did with The Apes saga, we may be exposed to a stronger trilogy that Nolan’s. For now, we can live with not only the best trilogy of the decade but one of the best of all time.
22 Cold War (2018, dir. Paweł Pawlikowski)
Surely Ida would have ranked on this if I was privileged enough to see it this decade, but instead Cold War remains the sole representative of Paweł Pawlikowski’s work on this list. Cold War was arguably the best looking film of last year and featured my favourite score of the year as well. There are only three songs present on the score, two of which are the same but sung in French and Polish. This musical minimalism is quite representative of the U.S.S.R and mid-20th century Europe Pawlikowski reimagines in his film. Bare yet romantic at times. Somber and beautiful all at once. Cold War earns spot 22.
21 Prisoners (2013, dir. Denis Villeneuve)
More Villeneuve! The plot of Prisoners is painfully simple. A daughter gets kidnapped and her family, along with a socially awkward cop (Jake Gyllenhaall), tirelessly look for her. Prisoners is unnecessarily long for its premise, 2 hours and half to be exact, but the runtime triumphs and flies by due to its incredible pacing. Alongside Gyllenhaal, is a brilliant (as always) Hugh Jackman and equally as gripping Paul Dano. It’s one of the decade’s and Villeneuve’s best.
20 Okja (2017. Bong Joon-Ho)
I cried (again). I don’t think any modern director can discuss class and the ills of capitalism as powerfully as Bong Joon-Ho. In Okja, Ho’s common commentaries are embedded in a touching story about a young girl and her genetically-modified eponymous pet pig. Okja is about a relationship with nature and animals, or our absence of both in the industrial world, as well as the inhumane conditions and profit-driven world of the meatpacking industry. A beautiful tale shared by a masterclass storyteller.
19 A Separation (2011, Asghar Farhadi)
I wish I had watched more of Asghar Farhadi’s works since watching A Separation but have yet to stumble across them on the internet. While the film is certainly created with Iranian audiences in mind, Farhadi’s exploration of a broken family is universally accessible. Divorce and familial strains are themes which are all too familiar for just about everyone. The many separations discussed in the film include the divide between class, age and gender—all of which are not made as explicit as the main “separation”. Still, this, and the subsequent films on this list, is masterful cinema.
18 Incendies (2010, dir. Denis Villeneuve)
The fourth of six Villeneuve films featured. Incendies is the most gut-punching film of Villeneuve’s filmography and quite possibly this entire list. This inter-decade international tale of a mother fleeing an unnamed Middle-Eastern nation is gripping from its very first frame to its last line of dialogue. Incendies is not a complex film at all but breaks its narrative in a non-linear fashion pushing audiences to put the pieces of its mind blowing inter-generational puzzle together. This may be Villeneuve’s best and sadly his most overlooked. I made sure to give it a rank it deserves at spot 18.
17 Mad Max: Fury Road (2015, George Miller)
Easily my favourite film of 2015, George Miller’s 2-hour gorgeous orange and teal diesel filled Mad Mad Mad: Fury Road is possibly the decade’s best, or at least most unique, action film. George Miller’s direction, coupled with John Seale’s cinematography and Junkie XL’s monstrous score, creates exhilarating and masterful cinematic experience for audiences. The only reason Fury Road doesn’t place any higher is due to my deep personal attachments to the next 16 films.
16 If Beale Street Could Talk (2018, dir. Barry Jenkins)
If Beale Street Could Talk solidified my appreciation for the auteur that is Barry Jenkins. No director of the current age can shoot close ups to Jenkins’ degree. They are nearly, dare I say, Bergman esque in their level of composition. Form aside, Beale Street is a gut punching film about the wrongful incarceration of innocent young Black male Fonny. Although a painful tale, cinematographer James Laxton and composer Nicholas Britell paint a sophisticated, and subversive, image of a young Black couple. Unpopular opinion, If Beale Street Could Talk places a full 17 spots ahead of Moonlight (33) at number 16.
15 Inception (2010, dir. Christopher Nolan)
BWAHHHHHHH. Hans Zimmer’s score bellows, Christopher Nolan with absolutely no restraints, and Leo in his prime. Inception introduced me to cerebral storytelling and I have been constantly searching for a film as epic and large in scale as Nolan’s (possible) magnum opus ever since my first viewing.
14 Marriage Story (2019, dir. Noah Baumbach)
Scarlett Johansson, whose name has appeared several times on this list, and Adam Driver deliver two of the best performances of the decade in Marriage Story. Their triumph on the screen is largely due to the brilliant script of Noah Baumbach of course. There is no way to truly categorize Marriage Story into a genre. It’s funny, melancholic, extremely depressing, and hopeful all at once. I somehow have not seen any other of Baumbach’s works but I sure will after viewing this incredible film.
13 The Lighthouse (2019, dir. Robert Eggers)
HARK! Spawning from 2019 is Rober Eggers’ The Lighthouse— an easy top film of the year for me. His other film The Witch (31) seems almost like a beta test for Eggers’ style and tone when compared to The Lighthouse. While the last scenes of The Witch are bone-chilling and anxiety inducing, most of The Lighthouse is pure insanity from beginning to end. It features outstanding performances from Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe and gorgeous Bergman resembling style. This film doesn’t feel as though it was released in 2019 at all but a distant European neo-realist cinema movement of last decade. It’s a time-machine both in its narrative and form.
12 Black Swan (2010, dir. Darren Aronofsky)
More Aronofsky! Black Swan could easily be forgotten having been released at the dawn of the decade all the way back in 2010. It is, to me, Aronofsky’s best work and Natalie Portman’s standout performance of her career. I watched this film at age 11 and it stuck with me at each subsequent rewatch. For a time, it was my favorite movie ever. Now, with my filmography growing every year, it rests at number 12 of the decade.
11 Shoplifters (2018, dir. Hirokazu Koreeda)
Many of the films on this list are extremely class conscious. That might be telling of my own tastes or just how troubling of a moment individuals are subject to in late-stage capitalist societies across the world. Hirokazu Koreeda codes this commentary behind a warming dynamic between an impoverished family practically living in the shadows. In 2-hours we fall in love with every cast member and slowly Koreeda rips them from our grasps, as well as their own fantasies, and thrusts them into the rigid reality of a class divided society.
Shoplifters is the best of the best of the best releasing in the 2010s. It’s poignant and socially aware cinema. It is near perfect to me, seamless in both its direction and storytelling, but it just misses the top 10 mark not due to its own failings but for my love of the next few films.
10 Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018, dir. Peter Ramsey, Bob Persichetti & Rodney Rothman)
I’ll go ahead and say it, Into the Spider-Verse is the best Spiderman film of all time. The 2010s had 4 Spiderman leading films, and 3 more where the webslinger co-starred. Across 7 on screen portrayals, none could create as interesting and refreshing of a look into the character as Spider-Verse. It’s redundant to say how incredible the animation is at this point. If you have not seen the film, stop reading here, watch it and come back.
9 Hereditary (2018, Ari Aster)
There are several horror films featured on this list but the best of them, and of the decade, is Ari Aster’s feature-length directorial debut Hereditary. Aster is, to me, already an auteur based on what he’s shown to be capable of behind the camera in this horror-family drama masterpiece. Aster amps up the already painful fall of a family through creating a hellish, bone-chilling, inhumane like tone which is somehow maintained from the film’s first decapitation. Cabin in the Woods (96) sparked my love for horror while Hereditary may have made it my current favourite genre.
8 Parasite (2019, dir. Bong Joon-Ho)
All has been said about Bong Joon-Ho’s masterpiece and stellar cast. It’s number 8.
7 The Shape of Water (2017, Guillermo del Toro)
Guillermo del Toro is one of the most versatile directors of the modern age. This decade, he directed an awesomely mindless Kaiju flick, a gothic horror and finally a fantasy-romance in The Shape of Water. Alexander Desplat’s score is pure enchantment. Del Toro’s storytelling is as masterful as ever. Sally Hawkins is beautiful as Eliza and we fall in love with her relationship with a “monster”. In a decade filled with superhero films, reboots, sequels, prequels and out right horrible blockbusters, The Shape of Water shines in a sea of unoriginality. It was my second favourite picture of 2017 and 7th of the decade.
6 Django Unchained (2012, dir. Quentin Tarantino)
My process when creating this list was quite challenging. I wrote out nearly all of my favorite films from each year of the 2010s, which was somewhere around 200, ranked them according to year and then squeezed them in a 100 spot list adding and deleting features along the way. Somehow Django Unchained slid further and further down the list until I realized it was at number 6. Tarantino’s spaghetti Western is as Tarantino as it gets, and as a Tarantino fanatic, I love that. I wish I caught this film on a big screen in theaters but sadly my first and only watch was on my computer screen. 15’’ was enough to stay in my mind for 6 years and place it as a high-tier entry.
5 Arrival (2016, dir. Denis Villeneuve)
More Villeneuve = more brilliance. The Canadian director is featured on this list more than any other filmmaker (6 times) and rightfully so. All of his films are masterpieces. Arrival, which I cannot wholeheartedly saw is his most ambitious, is definitely his most human film—damn I do not know if I can make that claim either. Villeneuve is seemingly very interested in the human condition and seeks to, across all his films, destroy the barriers which separate us and propose a unification of people. In Arrival, the barriers of time and geopolitics are overcome by a future mother in the most mind-bending fashion. It’s existential and has a lot to say about our current international politcal climate.
4 Birdman (2014, dir. Alejandro González Iñárritu)
The hype is gone, but I’ll attempt to bring it back by simply stating Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman is in a class of its own. Emmanuel Lubezki, alongside Roger Deakins of course, solidified himself as the cinematographer of the decade in the crazy oner, superhero film critique that is Birdman. It’s more than a counter to the popular sub-genre. Birdman is about life, love, loss and navigates these themes in a neo-surrealist manner. The film is hypnotic and pensive. Beautiful yet terribly ugly at the same time. It could be number 1 for me but humbly will rest as a strong 4th best of the decade.
3 Whiplash (2014, dir. Damien Chazelle)
Why hasn’t Miles Teller been in anything of substance since Whiplash? Maybe he has been but those films simply cannot compare to the brilliance of Damien Chazelle’s debut film. J.K. Simmons, as you know, is incredible. Justin Hurwitz’s score is brilliant. And Whiplash’s last scene is the best of any ending on this list—and possibly ever.
2 Interstellar (2014, dir. Christopher Nolan)
Extremely unpopular opinion but Interstellar is the movie of a lifetime. I am glad I caught this Nolan epic in theaters as it would not have resonated with me so strongly otherwise. Interstellar is a 3-hour out of body experience. It transcends our understanding of reality, love and our existence as humans. This is the 21st Century’s 2001. It may not be regarded as such now, but in time Nolan’s deep space epic will surely gain acclaim.
1 Blade Runner 2049 (2017, dir. Denis Villeneuve)
Of course number 1 goes to a Denis Villenueve film. Blade Runner 2049 is the most under-appreciated entry of the decade. Apart from a few technical nods, 2049 hardly received any awards recognition. It is the best sequel of the our times hands down but got overshadowed by Marvel releases and several other mindless blockbuster the year of its release.
Deakins shines as cinematographer displaying a diverse array of shot compositions from scene to scene. Every locale, due to the outstanding production design, makes each sequence feel like another film in itself. Villeneuve didn’t just make a movie, he created a living breathing world which builds and frankly improves the mythos of Deckard and the futuristic L.A Ridley Scott created in his 1982 original.
Ryan Gosling shines as Officer K and Harrison Ford delivers his best performance in ages. Sentience, at both the human and replicant level, is questioned to a mind-boggling degree. The male-hero trope, and “the chosen one” arc are all questioned and completely subverted. Hans Zimmer’s 2049 score forgoes the noir feel of its predecessor and stands as a beast of its own. Each song is a melodic, electronic machine mirroring the concrete and technological wasteland that the world has become in Villeneuve’s near dystopic imagining of the future. The scope of Blade Runner 2049 is the largest we’ve seen in eons. It stands alongside Metropolis, 2001, and Star Wars as one of the greatest science-fiction features ever released. It not only tops this list but is one my favourite films of all time. Blade Runner 2049 without a doubt is my number 1 film of the decade.