The Last Lustrum: The Best Movies of 2010-2014

Photo: Columbia Pictures

Photo: Columbia Pictures

Chris Luckett

As we head into Oscar season, most movie talk will revolve around the best movies of 2015 — which is all well and good in an abstract sense. But for many who don’t live in a metropolitan city or can’t get out to the theatre that often, hearing about which indie hits and festival darlings critics are hailing as masterpieces is as useful as reading about an art show opening in Luxembourg.

For those who won’t be able to see sure-to-be-talked-about-endlessly awards contenders like The Danish Girl or Spotlight, perhaps now’s the time to forget about the six-to-eight months it will take before they become accessible for rent or digital download. When better to take a look back at masterpieces of the last few years you may not have gotten around to seeing?

We may only be halfway to a “Best Movies of the 2010s” list, but 2015 is the perfect time to look at the best of the decade so far, five years that have already presented a lot of brilliant movies. While your big-city friends are planning road trips to Toronto or Chicago to see the premieres of obscure Best Picture contenders, curl up on the couch with a snack and some company, and check out these just-like-new gems.

50. Source Code (2011)
49. Your Sister’s Sister (2012)
48. Life Itself (2014)
47. Drive (2011)
46. The Beaver (2011)
45. Dallas Buyers Club (2013)
44. Rush (2013)
43. Hugo (2011)
42. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2010)
41. Frozen (2013)
40. Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
39. Black Swan (2010)
38. The American (2010)
37. The Conspirator (2011)
36. Interstellar (2014)
35. Boyhood (2014)
34. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
33. Captain Phillips (2013)
32. Django Unchained (2012)
31. Take Shelter (2011)
30. Whiplash (2014)
29. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)
28. 127 Hours (2010)
27. Jodorowsky’s Dune (2014)
26. The Square (2013)

25. SUPER 8 (2011)

Photo: Paramount Pictures

Photo: Paramount Pictures

Super 8 truly feels like someone unearthed a lost Steven Spielberg movie from the ‘80s. J.J. Abrams channels the master’s classics in all the best ways, while still adding his own inimitable spicing to the mix. Absolutely ingenious in its pacing and the way it introduces new information, only to distract you before you can process how that information will come into play later, Super 8 is a modern-day companion piece to The Goonies and, more impressively, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial.


Photo: Mongrel Media/Producers Distribution Agency

Photo: Mongrel Media/Producers Distribution Agency

One of the most mind-boggling documentaries of modern years, the initial director of Exit Through the Gift Shop (Thierry Guetta) set out to make a movie about street art and the elusive Banksy. After the two met and became friends, Banksy began embroiling the director in his world of street art, to such a point that the director became a street artist himself, devoting his life to modern art — at which point Banksy stole the footage of the documentary that was meant to be about him and reshifted the focus onto Guetta himself. Exit Through the Gift Shop’s a documentary that becomes the very thing it means to document: art.

23. THE TROTSKY (2010)

Photo: Alliance Films

Photo: Alliance Films

Rushmore has influenced more teen movies in the last fifteen years than anything this side of Mean Girls, but The Trotsky is the only successor to reach the same lofty heights. Whereas Wes Anderson’s 1998 work can arguably be labeled a little (intentionally) stiff, Jacob Tierney’s comedy about a Canadian teen (Jay Baruchel) transplanted from his stuffy prep school to a public school in Montreal yields more ribald comedy and sharper laughs, with the same superior air. Throw in the fact Baruchel’s character believes himself to be the reincarnation of Leon Trotsky — which, of course, informs his war against his new school’s fascistic principal (Colm Feore) — and The Trotsky emerges one of the funniest and most original comedies in recent years.

22. SKYFALL (2012)

Photo: Sony Pictures Releasing

Photo: Sony Pictures Releasing

After previously stripping the series of all the humour, cheek, and fun that been trademarks of the spy franchise since 1962’s Dr. No, Skyfall finds a happy medium between Jason Bourne and the Bonds of old. The action sequences are spectacular, Daniel Craig seems to finally be feeling comfortable and having fun in the role, and Javier Bardem gives one of the greatest villainous performances of the decade. It’s really hard to ask for much more in a Bond movie, nor an action movie in general.

21. CHRONICLE (2012)

Photo: Twentieth Century Fox

Photo: Twentieth Century Fox

While the handheld-camera subgenre has more failures than successes, Chronicle proves to be one of the rare few that employs the overused technique perfectly. A tale of three teenage boys (Dane DeHaan, Michael B. Jordan, and Alex Russell) who gain the power of telekinesis, what starts as a merely interesting movie with high-schoolers tossing a football without their hands becomes a dark, epic tale of good and evil. (One of the three, a victim of bullying, begins using his power to take out his aggression and anger on those who wrong him.) By the eye-popping climax, it’s a marvel to consider Chronicle’s gradual escalation and how it undermines your expectations every step of the way.

ON THE NEXT PAGE: Easy A, Argo, and Beasts of the Southern Wild


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