Even though I didn't necessarily think of this past year as being a stellar one for big screen entertainment, I had trouble making this list, and I feel I left off several movies I really enjoyed. I mention some of them in the Runners Up below.
One decision that wasn't difficult was picking my number one film of the year. I thought it was going to be The Social Network till I saw True Grit. The Coen Brothers have made one of the best films of their career.
Here they are, more or less in order:
10. Shutter Island
Stylistically a B-movie homage but it worked for me, helped along by stellar set-design, cinematography and an unbelievable score of avant-garde classical music.
9. Fish Tank
A beautiful and scary kitchen-sink drama about a girl in a dead-end housing development and her attachment to her mother's boyfriend (a sinister and sexy Michael Fassbender).
8. The Kids are All Right
7. The Eclipse
Ciaran Hinds gets to play the lead in this romantic ghost story that is alternately mysterious, sad and scary.
6. The Ghost Writer
The best-paced thriller I've seen in years, and Olivia Williams should get an Oscar nomination tomorrow. She won't.
5. The King's Speech
4. I Am Love
Totally nuts, and sometimes it went over the line, but when it didn't, this was such a watchable film. A Sirkian melodrama with beautiful music from composer John Adams.
3. Black Swan
2. The Social Network
Crammed with ideas and human understanding. I spent more time thinking about this film than any other this year.
1. True Grit
An adventure movie, and maybe a classic. The nighttime ride with Rooster, a snakebit Mattie and Little Blackie (I can't remember the last time I got attached to a horse in a film) was the best scene of the year.
Runners Up: The American, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1, How to Train Your Dragon, Inception, The Town, Toy Story 3, Winter's Bone
Haven't Seen: Another Year, Let Me In, Somewhere, Tangled