Alternative Magazine Online: The Best of 2010 Awards

By Marty Mulrooney

AMO_Logo

Following the success of last year’s 2009 AMO awards, it only seemed fair to make them an annual tradition. This year, things are a little different: we’ve expanded our award categories to encompass a wider range of great products from the past year. So, without further ado, here are AMO’s top picks of the best films, games, books, graphic novels and music CD’s of 2010!

Best Mainstream Films

Inception 1. Inception  “Unlike many films, this one will have you tense, nervous and excited up until the very end. The final few seconds provide both a frustratingly open-ended yet hugely satisfying close and the promise of excited debate by cinemagoers for a long time to come. This is a dream that has been fully realised.”

ToyStory3PosterTheGreatEscape 2. Toy Story 3  “Toy Story 3 is phenomenal.  Everything feels well wrapped up by the time the final credits roll and the message the film offers to younger viewers is a strong one. I felt great as I exited the cinema. It isn’t perfect, but it is one of most heartfelt and hilarious motion pictures you will see in 2010.”

Scott Pilgrim Poster 3. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World – “Fans of the graphic novel should rejoice in Wright’s faithfulness to the source material and new fans needn’t be intimidated by the unknown; Wright has succeeded in crafting an ‘epic of epicness’ that fans of the original comic and Wright’s previous work will delight in.”

 

Honourable Mentions: Kick-Ass, Shutter Island, The Karate Kid, The Social Network

 

Best Independent/Foreign Films

Buried_poster_3 1. Buried – “I sincerely hope that Ryan Reynolds continues to push himself in new directions, because he is like an actor reborn here. Not everything shown works 100%, but for a high concept indie film, Buried manages to dig itself above the majority of the competition. Exhilarating, Hitchcockian entertainment.”

2. Four Lions – “Fans of Brass Eye, Day Today and Nathan Barley will be entranced by Morris’ humour and Camus-esque eye for the absurd and those who just want a good laugh will be satisfied and then some. A highly recommended film with explosive qualities for the open minded.”

33515_426868172360_295944567360_4717640_7591941_n 3. Catfish  “It’s a crying shame that this film isn’t more widely distributed in cinemas here in the UK. Catfish could be seen as the ‘other Facebook film’ of 2010, but, as good as The Social Network is, this documentary accused of being a mockumentary has that extra human touch which sets it apart and marks it as one of 2010’s must-see films.”

Honourable Mentions: Ponyo, The Stoning Of Soraya M.

 

Best PC Games

MI2SE 1. Monkey Island 2 Special Edition: LeChuck’s Revenge – “You owe it to yourself to play this game: it is a prime example of interactive fiction (and LucasArts adventure gaming) at its highest peak. A mere patch away from being a perfect 10. Rediscover a classic: one of the greatest adventure games of all time.” 

samandmaxseason3 2. Sam & Max: The Devil’s Playhouse – “The vocal talents of David Nowlin and William Kasten never do any less than live up to the larger than life personalities of Sam & Max. I laughed out loud constantly whilst playing for the five hours or so that The Penal Zone lasted. The music is, as always with this series, a jazzy delight.”

Print3. Puzzle Bots – “Overall, Puzzle Bots is a fantastic addition to the Wadjet Eye stable of games. Designer Erin Robinson (Nanobots) is a perfect fit with Dave Gilbert’s studio. Together, they have created a game that is insanely addictive and fun.” 

 

Honourable Mention: Back To The Future The Game: Episode 1

 

Best PlayStation 3 Games

HeavyRainCover 1. Heavy Rain – “Heavy Rain isn’t perfect, but for now it does a pretty damn good job at pointing interactive storytelling in the right direction, if gamers and developers will listen. And for helping to reveal such staggering potential in this often belittled and looked down upon medium that I love so very much, I am  truly grateful.” 

GOW3Cover 2. God Of War 3 – “The Ghost Of Sparta looks absolutely incredible on PS3; Kratos is one of the most stunningly animated and tangible video game characters ever created. The rest of the game doesn’t quite match his undeniable gravitational pull, but in the end all that matters is this: Kratos wanted his revenge, and I helped him get it with the biggest smile on my face of 2010. Sheer euphoric carnage.”

RDR_PS3_boxshot_UK 3. Red Dead Redemption – “The ending of Red Dead Redemption takes a great game and makes it unforgettable despite its faults. Deadman’s Gun by Ashtar Command plays over the credits. The lyrics are apt enough to evoke a tear. One of the finest endings to a videogame ever. Haunting, tragic and unforgettable.” 

Honourable Mention: Blood Stone 007 

 

Best Xbox 360 Games

Mass Effect 2 Cover 1. Mass Effect 2 – “ME2 seems to have cut a lot down, almost to the point where it feels like half a game. But it’s feels better. I’m conscious that I perhaps haven’t draped this review in the superlatives that it deserves, but it really is an astonishing game. The ending mission trumps anything else I have played by a long shot. It’s undoubtedly the best looking game on the 360 at the moment.”

Alan_Wake_Boxshot 2. Alan Wake – “Overall, Alan Wake is a great example of modern video games coming into their own as truly cinematic experiences. The shrewd storytelling, fantastic pacing and eerie atmosphere create an unforgettable experience for gamers to fully indulge themselves in.”

 

RDR_Xbox360_boxshot_UK 3. Red Dead Redemption – “Red Dead Redemption’s multiplayer certainly does enough to keep the disc in the drive long after the campaign has reached its wonderful conclusion. Played with friends, it’s probably the most fun I’ve had in any multiplayer. Playing solo still warrants RDR’s place in your disc drive, but only just.” 

Honourable Mentions: Halo Reach, Battlefield: Bad Company 2

 

Best Wii Games

RVL-SHLP_SHSM-UKV_BBFC_Inlay 1. Silent Hill: Shattered Memories – “The voice acting is stellar, the soundtrack by series regular Akira Yamaoka is totally haunting and the graphics push the Wii far beyond the usual shovelware. You really feel like the power of the console was put to good use. Of course, it isn’t a patch on the best Xbox 360 or PS3 has to offer, but artistically it may well be one of the best designed games of the year.”

SuperMarioGalaxy2 2. Super Mario Galaxy 2 – “This game was originally (as previously noted) a collection of bonuses and extra worlds that just didn’t fit into the first game, which due to sheer volume eventually branched off and became a sequel. Super Mario Galaxy 2 is an incredible title – familiar but new, with the same smooth designs and full original, orchestral score.”

boxshot_uk_large 3. Goldeneye 007 – “The film belongs to Pierce Brosnan: let him keep it. The original belongs to Rareware and fans that, thirteen years ago, could sit down and play one of the best multiplayer modes available at the time. But the new version belongs to us – it gives Nintendo Wii a first-person shooter to be proud of.”

Honourable Mention: And Yet It Moves

 

Best PSN/Xbox Live Games

ScottPilgrim_keyart_final_UK 1. Scot Pilgrim vs The World: The Game – “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game may be one of gaming’s greatest ever tie-ins. The graphics are bright and beautiful, the music is phenomenal and charm explodes from the screen with every button press. Your fingers and thumbs will ache but you won’t care. A superb downloadable title that, although still fun alone, is best played with a group of friends.”

limbo-cover2. Limbo – “Difficult to fault, Limbo deserves all its plaudits. It’s exciting to see the quality that independent developers are producing, particularly for debut games as in Playdead’s case. If the Summer of Arcade is starting off this brightly, then let’s hope for a long, hot month.”  

 

DeathSpankCover 3. DeathSpank – “ For £9.99 on PSN and the XBLA’s 800 MS points equivalent, DeathSpank is well worth the asking price. Clocking in at around fifteen hours with sidequests, it rivals full price releases in terms of value for money. Although, for the laughs you’ll get (assuming your sense of humour transcends Chuck Norris jokes), you just can’t put a price on it really.”

Honourable Mention: Chime

 

Best Books

White Crow Cover 1. White Crow by Marcus Sedgwick – “There are moments at the end of White Crow that actually made my breath catch at the back of my throat. I never expected a book featuring two young girls, aimed at younger readers, to connect with me and affect me so profoundly. Yet the ending is so shocking, perfect and right, that it wouldn’t surprise me if it manages to reduce many readers to tears. This is a scary, heart-warming, intelligent book. The words of my review have in all likelihood not done it justice. Hopefully my final score will.”

StoriesCover 2. Stories: All New Tales edited by Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantonio – “As a collection, the strength of this volume is extraordinary, the pleasure derived tangibly palpable. I have a feeling that STORIES: All New Tales is destined to be a classic and I plan to recommend it to as many people as humanly possible. Buy it, pour over it and treasure it forever. This is not a book to be missed.”

MrMonsterCover3. Mr Monster by Dan Wells – “Suffice to say, Mr Monster far surpasses the original. It is darker, funnier and tighter throughout. The new serial killer is John’s scariest adversary yet and the ending is a downright killer. Expect a third book… the final chapter indicates it is going to be absolutely explosive. This is fast becoming my favourite book franchise. Mr Monster undoubtedly provides one of the best reads of 2010.” 

Honourable Mention: DC Comics: The 75th Anniversary Poster Book

 

Best Graphic Novels

BookOfGrickle 1. The Book Of Grickle by Graham Annable – “More than anything, The Book Of Grickle makes me long for Annable to tackle a full length graphic novel at some point in the future. He easily has the ability to do so, and one of the longer tales in this collection, ‘by necessity’, makes you yearn for more of the same… it is a true highlight. He really does have a knack for taking this blank canvas of a world and filling it up with enough imagination to burst even the most creative of heads.”

RASL_Cover2. RASL Volume 1: The Drift by Jeff Smith – “If you are a fan of Jeff Smith and/or Bone, then do not expect this to be anything like Fone Bone’s adventures. The only link here is Smith himself. But if you’re into well crafted stories and comics, especially those with a slow unfolding plot which keep you on your toes, then this might be for you. There really isn’t anything else like it.”

HM-Cover 3. Harbor Moon by Ryan Colucci – “The story appears generic at first but soon transforms into an entirely different beast. Not everything is as it seems with Harbor Moon and I doubt the various twists and turns will displease fans of the genre. Innovation is plentiful, the wider universe merely hinted at. Risks are taken and most of them pay off. Whether via a spin-off or sequel, I truly hope to revisit the world of Harbor Moon again soon. A promising debut.”

Honourable Mention: 100 Months by John Hicklenton

 

Best Music Albums

WolfBox 1. Wolfbox by The Davey Brothers – “One long musical mash-up of blistering guitar and searing vocals. This is a great reboot of a phenomenal band. The Davey Brothers are back: let’s hope they are here to stay this time.”

Paul Carrack A Different Hat 2. A Different Hat by Paul Carrack – “Carrack’s own It Ain’t Over ends things on a high, the cherry on top of an album that manages to take a wide range of aging material and successfully bring it bang up to date.”

stingsymphonicities 3. Symphonicities by Sting“Overall, Symphonicities is a delightful album that tries something new and largely delivers. Each song was written by Sting throughout his illustrious career, earning him the right to redeliver them in this new style.”

Honourable Mention: Follow Your First Mind by Wilson T. King

 

Best TV Show

AshestoAshesAshes to Ashes – “Ashes to Ashes ends with one of the finest closing episodes of any TV drama ever to air on British television. The final song, David Bowie’s ‘Heroes’, couldn’t be a more perfect tune to bow out to either. Gene, Alex, Ray, Chris and Shaz: you will all be sorely missed.”

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2 Comments

Filed under Alternative Musings, Books, Film, Games, Music, Television

2 responses to “Alternative Magazine Online: The Best of 2010 Awards

  1. Just caught Catfish, quite possibly my personal favourite film from last year. I just think it’s an incredibly important film, highlighting the dangers of forging relationships with strangers online.

    This time next year I think we’re going to struggle to find a top three for Xbox exclusives, whilst struggling to decide on the top three for PS3.

  2. Please Note: Unfortunately, 127 Hours could not be included on the ‘Best Films’ list, as it wasn’t released over in here in the UK until January 2011. However, as it is still a film from 2010, I thought I should note that it is definately right up there with Inception, Toy Story 3 and Scott Pilgrim as one of the best films of 2010.

    Full review available here: https://alternativemagazineonline.co.uk/2011/01/20/film-review-127-hours/

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