1) Drive - Smooth, alive, aurally and visually stylish, and cast to a fare-thee-well, "Drive" has emotion, style, mood, pulpy violence, and a deep, charismatic performance by Gosling who barely says a word.
2) Super 8 - This loving, thrilling, engaging film is a geeky, Spielbergian homage and a great summer entertainment. Strong performances, skillful direction, and affectionate writing.
3) Bridesmaids - The funniest comedy of the year, hands down. Raunchy, yet warmly felt, human, and always funny. Kristen Wiig gives a star-making performance, as do her co-starring bridesmaids.
4) Contagion - Eerily realistic, tensely riveting, and intelligently written, this is one cautionary tale that will give you OCD about washing your hands. Mostly juggles its cast with aplomb, and director Steven Soderbergh gives it all a cool, efficient pace.
5) The Help - A Hollywood crowd-pleaser, but emotionally enriching and wonderfully satisfying. Emma Stone, Viola Davis, and Octavia Spencer are all powerhouses.
6) Hanna - More of a Grimm's fairy tale than the dimwitted "Red Riding Hood," this packs a wallop. Star Saoirse Ronan and director Joe Wright make a great team with this trim, relentless, enjoyably pulpy ride. Funky, unusual music score by The Chemical Brothers.
7) Win Win - A low-key, perceptive character-driven slice of life that's small in scale but satisfies in a big way. Life-like, complex, and unsentimental, just like the performances and writing.
8) Hesher - An anarchic, gutsy, heartbreaking dark comedy that has a fun, weird spirit. It's tough and poignant in all the right places, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt is hilariously crass, raw, uninhibited, fearless, and unpredictable.
9) Attack the Block - A low-budget Brit sci-fi comedy that's fresh, goofy, stylish, energetic, briskly paced, and lots of fun.
10) Everything Must Go - You can't pigeonhole Will Ferrell this time. In an authentic, sympathetic performance, Ferrell doesn't get laughs but shows the depth we didn't know he had.
Honorable Mention: Insidious, Midnight in Paris, Paul, Rango, Red State, Scream 4, Submarine