50 Best Movies of 2010

5. 'Exit Through the Gift Shop'

Real or fake? Documentary or performance art? Elusive street artist-turned-filmmaker Banksy sure isn't fessing up to the truth behind his latest piece of work. At times laugh-out-loud funny, 'Exit Through the Gift Shop' –- which follows an inept French shop keeper who decides to shoot a documentary about Banksy, only to find himself turning into the kind of celebrated artist he set out to capture –- is surreal, ludicrous and totally a blast to watch play out. You'll laugh as the film ridicules its main character, though he (and Banksy) may be the ones sharing the last laugh at our expense. -- ED

4. 'Winter's Bone'

The story of Ree, a teenager trying to track down her wayward father among a network of similarly wayward (and criminal) relatives, seems like the kind of indie that gets acclaim at festivals and is quickly forgotten. But 'Winter's Bone' is a far better, far weightier film than that. Filmed on location in the Ozarks, the film evokes not just a place and a way of life but a fierce sense of loyalty, desperation and pride. John Hawkes as Ree's uncle is explosive with menace and pain -- and Jennifer Lawrence as the headstrong Ree, who comes of age in ways most people will never (thank God) have to undergo, is a revelation, giving us what is certainly one of the best performances and strongest female characters of the year. -- PJC

3. 'Inception'

Does the totem keep spinning? Does it matter? Whether or not Christopher Nolan's visually stunning sci-fi mind-bender about a team of "extractors" -- corporate spies who have developed a technique for stealing information from people's dreams -- hired for a risky mission all adds up is secondary to the thrill of tagging along with Leonardo DiCaprio and pals on their wildly inventive ride through the subconscious mind. -- JS

2. 'The Social Network'

From Aaron Sorkin's masterfully crafted script to Jesse Eisenberg's stellar and spot-on performance as Mark Zuckerberg, 'The Social Network' easily became so much more than "that Facebook movie." Director David Fincher creates a tight universe of young people careening toward something that will change the world and co-star Andrew Garfield gives a moving performance as the betrayed Eduardo Saverin. The film is crisp and modern and beautifully brought to light the story behind Facebook, the invention that defined a generation. -- GD

1. 'Toy Story 3'

Saying 'Toy Story 3' is "just an animated movie" is rather like saying the Taj Mahal is just a building. Or a Ferrari is just a car. Or ... well, you get the point. Hilarious (Mr. Tortilla Head!), heartbreaking, even white-knuckle thrilling, this film introduced terrific new characters and brought us full circle with the ones we already loved. 'Toy Story 3' isn't just for kids -- it's for adults who remember what it's like to be kids. It's both the best film of an already great franchise and our unanimous pick for the best movie of 2010. -- PJC

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