1. Inception: A Block-Buster with Brains. The story keeps getting better as the movie progresses. Many times movies like this with twists end up disappointing, but at every turn, at every dream, this one raised the bar. The acting was good (not great) and the directing was superb. The score is wonderfully put together by Hans Zimmer. As you will notice, every great movie has a great score/soundtrack. A sub-par soundtrack always makes for a sub-par movie.
2. The Social Network: This movie will be remembered long after people forget about Inception. I thought about putting it as number one, but I had too much fun in Inception. It is “our” generations movie. But this movie is more about the characters, specifically Mark Zuckerburg wanting to be liked. Facebook is the backdrop. What made this movie so great was that it was not made to appeal to 15 year olds who like Vin Diesel. Witty dialogue and the cuts switching between trial scenes kept this movie going. The acting was surprisingly good, and the director made something fun and engaging, out of seemingly nothing.
3. The King’s Speech: Superb acting by Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter, and Geoffrey Rush. It is rare to see a movie about a leaders weakness.
4. Shutter Island: Most will find this one as a surprise. It has some horror elements, but not a horror movie by any means. However, this movie had me thinking about it for at least a week after-wards. This movie did not get as much credit as it should have.
5. 127 Hours: I almost passed out when he cut off his arm, but the part I was feeling well I enjoyed greatly. It reminded me of Into the Wild where a loner finally realizes that community is what he lives for.
6. True Grit: Ross Douthat got this one wrong. Jeff Bridges does a superb job, although Mattie Ross (the 13 year old girl) gives him a run for his money. The story was not great, the acting carried the movie.
7. Toy Story 3: Another great Toy Story, but at the end I thought I am tired of Toy Story. If they do another one it will jump shark. My view is also skewed on this movie because the sound was off tune in the theater. When it got emotional, I kept laughing because it sounded like a violin out of tune.
Movies I did not see but got good reviews: Black Swan/Restrepo/Winter’s Bone/Carlos