Let me begin by saying this list only comprises major motion pictures that were released in the United States. But even saying that rings hollow, as I didn't take nearly as many solid chances with my film-viewing this year as I should have. And, I didn't see a lot of the great stuff that I wanted to, for various reasons. Somehow I didn't catch American Gangster, No Country for Old Men, Michael Clayton or Eastern Promises. So take this list for what it's worth.
Number Ten: Live Free or Die Hard is a guilty pleasure. What can I say? I love Bruce Willis and I've always been a huge fan of the series. And I wasn't the least bit put off by McLane surfing an F-15.
Number Nine: Beowulf was better than I thought it would be and I liked the storytelling and effects. If this is the future of films (and it's not) then we could do worse.
Number Eight: Zodiac is an excellent investigation of obsession and depravity. It works well as a slow-building procedural and the chemistry between Gyllenhall and Downey, Jr. makes it a very underrated film.
Number Seven: 28 Weeks Later was a nice little political allegory about segregation and life in times of conflict. A very solid sequel.
Number Six: Fido was just an interesting re-imagining of the brain-hungry zombie trope. I loved the satirical rendering of '50s-style America and the class consciousness of the haves (with lots of zombie servants) and the have-nots.
Number Five: Rescue Dawn just makes you want to cry at times. Someone get those guys a good meal! Herzog's steady hand and the combo of Zahn and Bale make this a must-see.
Number Four: The Host is a feel-good creature feature from South Korea that will warm your heart and make you smile. Excellent film.
Number Three: 300 is both visually stunning and masterfully plotted. I think it's at the top of the blue-screen film list.
Number Two: 3:10 to Yuma is so well written, played and filmed that it should just be called 1A. I put this one up there with The Unforgiven and Lonesome Dove.
Number One: The Lookout was a truly great film. Joseph Gordon-Levitt's performance shines, and the story is both heart-breaking and life-affirming. The caper at the center of this film builds well and the message at the center is one of redemption and hope. Take a look at this movie if you haven't yet.