Technically, neither Up in the Air or Avatar are 2010 releases, but they are the first two films I've seen this new decade, and they were both fantastic in their own ways.
Up in the Air is as timely a movie as I've ever seen, a dramatic comedy with both visual and narrative wit, three tremendously appealing lead performances, and an on-point, sharp-as-a-tack screenplay that hits some surprisingly dark notes. It's a wonderful movie and a film that I look forward to wathching again for all its nuances and subtle moments of sly, perceptive humor and smarts. Jason Reitman is 3 for 3 (though I still think Juno is a tad overrated, solid and fun, but overrated).
Avatar is nothing less than a glimpse into the future of what cinematic technology holds. The film, for me, was like The New World set in Iraq with a lot of uber-fancy special effects. And God bless us were those special effects special; simply put, you've never seen anything like the sights in Avatar until you finally see Avatar. And see it you should. Even sci-fi resistant folks will enjoy this film. It's a classic Hollywood story (it could've been called Dances with the Na'vi) made exhiliratingly fresh by up-to-the-moment 3-D technology. Leave it to Jim Cameron to set the bar once again. Does Avatar re-invent cinema? For me, no. But it's a dazzling piece of action filmmaking and a work that demands to be seen on the big screen.
I'll have more in depth reviews of both of these films, along with more on The Road, in the next few days.
I'll also be posting my final Best of 2009 list, along with a run-down of the movies from 2009 that I missed in the theaters and don't appear on my Best of the Year list. I'm also close to having my Best of the Decade list completed; that'll be up in the next few weeks.