10. The Kids Are Alright - I was late to the party on this one and only watched it a few weeks ago. In a year when most of the Oscar-nominated films were dark and gritty, it's nice to see a bright and colorful family dramedy. It's funny and touching and successfully shows the 21st Century family in all its timeless ways.
9. The Town - This was the shock of the year. Ben Affleck is a mediocre actor but is shaping up to be a superb director. This crime drama was a wet dream for the Boston native and deserves to stand among the great crime thrillers of all time.
8. Paranormal Activity 2 - To Hell with anyone who says this movie wasn't scary. It was not only scarier than the first one but more original too. It was successful in keeping the same formula we loved from the first one without feeling forced or raped by Hollywood. The fact that it was a prequel and sequel at the same time was brilliant. Simply for being a horror sequel that was better than the first makes it worthy of the list.
7. True Grit - The Coen Brothers almost never disapoint and this remake of the John Wayne movie was not acception. It was one of the best scripts of the year and was performed by some of the best ensemble work too. But the attention to detail is what widened my eyes.
6. 127 Hours - I saw this film twice and enjoyed it even more the second time. People came to see this for the infamous arm-cutting scene but they stayed for the amazing soul it had. The climax of this movie was enough to bring tears to my eyes and is a perfect send-up to the human spirit.
5. Inception - Director Christopher Nolan will get his respect one day but in the meantime it's only his movies that do. It's rare that a movie astounds me with its special FX and this was one of them. The originality of not only the story but the 45 minute long action sequence was flooring.
4. Black Swan - Sure the story isn't all that creative, but boy was this movie intense. By the end of the film I felt like I was mentally assaulted by director Darren Aronofsky. Natalie Portman's performance is the stuff awards are made for and it's overall a film that commands multiple viewings.
3. The Fighter - The fact that I brought my wife to see this movie against her will and she ended up loving it so much that she saw it twice speaks to the level of achievement this movie has. Christian Bale has finally given the performance that award-givers simply can't ignore but the fact that he's surrounded by top shelf talent helps. One of the best sports movies that's not about sports ever!
2. The Social Network - A movie about the creation of Facebook shouldn't be interesting but director David Fincher and writer Aaron Sorkin flexed their cinematic muscles and made this an opus. Creating an almost flawless film about the cruption of power and doing it despite doubts from everyone is a feat.
1. Toy Story 3 - Pixar is the only group that can take a final installment of a franchise for children and create a parable for so many adult themes. They over-performed their stellar record with this and made grown men cry (I do with every viewing). It's also one of the most impressive scripts of the year that was funny, tear-jerking and successful in taking a children franchise and morphing it into a prison break movie.
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