1. Four Lions
The comedic terrorist Chris Morris finally presented us with his unique take on post 9/11 anxieties, this time from the minds of four simple northern wannabe martyrs.
As was expected the humour is questionable and shocking but never fails to deliver. The film is without a doubt the best (black) comedy of the decade and is literally delivered at a laugh a minute. Only in the final act do the laughs slow down to give way to some much needed moral commentary; it is at this point that Morris shows the sheer confusion, pressures and contradictions of the modern world that have jaded our protagonists. Even in the last shocking scenes Morris shows his powerful talents in making events heartbreaking and tense while never forgetting the laughs.
2. The Social Network
As people should have expected this film was a lot more than just a 'Facebook' movie, it was a film that was not only perfect in its execution but perfect in the way it represented the times we live in. The Social Network can be argued for being the Citizen Kane for a new generation and while it can be understood that some would disagree on that statement it can't be denied there is some truth to it as well.
On all counts this films succeeds; the script is as tight and sharp as one would expect from the mind of Aaron Sorkin, David Fincher directs the story of geeks and greed as though it was a gangster epic, and the performances all round were outstanding for a cast this young.
Another strong contender at the Globes and Oscars and deservedly so, The Social Network is a timeless modern classic that serves not just as a Hollywood rise and fall story but also a dark character study, historic/social allegory and a satire on modern relations.
3. Winter's Bone
A strong contender for next year's Golden Globes and the Oscars. Lead actress Jennifer Laurence is the reason for it's praise; her performance required grittiness, strength and emotion which even at her young age she managed to convey onto the screen. This is the type of performance that most actresses dream of and Laurence nailed it in one of her first roles. Winter's Bone is a rare and captivating piece of cinema that reminds you that cinema is far from dead.
Christopher Nolan proved with Inception that a film of this scope and expense doesn't have to patronise it's audience with dumbed down material. Inception was a huge summer blockbuster that was every bit as personal as Memento and continued to prove Nolan as a growing auteur. Inception is mainstream cinema at it's absolute best, God bless Christopher Nolan.
5. Toy Story 3
The belated sequel to the fantastic first films did not disappoint. The Godfather Part III this is not, Pixar have successfully made what can be considered the best trilogy of all time.