Rich Cline reviews 2010's best movie releases

I saw 484 films in 2010, so narrowing down a list of 10 isn't easy. But here are the films that stood out for me...

1. INCEPTION
Christopher Nolan's seemingly boundless inventiveness hit new heights with this brainy blockbuster, which kept our heads spinning and our adrenaline rushing.

2. TOY STORY 3
With an amazing script by Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine), this animated sequel managed to generate the year's most involving comedy, action and emotion.

3. THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT
The five central characters in this comedy-drama are easily the most complex, hilarious, wrenching and sometimes infuriating people we saw on screen all year.

4. 127 HOURS
Danny Boyle and James Franco turn five harrowing days in an isolated narrow crevasse into one of the most breathlessly thrilling movies in years.

5. THE KING'S SPEECH
Colin Firth delivers yet another impeccably detailed performance as King George VI. And this story of overcoming personal limits is never sentimental.

6. THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES
From Argentina, this Oscar-winning thriller is old-style filmmaking at its best, with solid acting, visually stunning direction and a story that twists us into knots.

7. RESTREPO
This documentary about soldiers on a 15-month tour in Afghanistan is funny, moving and downright terrifying. It also forever changes the face of war movies.

8. THE FIGHTER
Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale play real-life boxing brothers in this riveting, stirring drama about balancing personal ambition and family pressure.

9. BLACK SWAN
After The Wrestler, Darren Aronofsky turns to ballet with this darkly twisted exploration of how fame can really screw with your head. Natalie Portman is amazing.

10. WINTER'S BONE
The terrific young actress Jennifer Lawrence leads us into a scary corner of rural America in this drama about a 15-year-old trying to protect her family.

Here are five runner-up festival films worth looking out for in art-house cinemas or on DVD: Of Gods and Men (France), The Arbor (UK), Last Train Home (China), Mother (Korea) and Exit Through the Gift Shop (UK). And note that I was one of the seemingly few critics this year who admired The Social Network but didn't love it.



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