I know the year's not over yet, but I don't see anything coming up I actually want to see (or that could possibly replace anything on this list) until THE GREEN HORNET in January. For what it's worth, here's my list, which can be recalled and revised without notice.* The main point is to spotlight some movies that may have - probably have - slipped through the mainstream critical cracks. Cheers.
1. KICK-ASS - quite simply, much to my surprise, not only the best of the year, but one of the greatest movies ever made - subversive pop culture genius. Chloe Moretz (Hit-Girl) is easily the Best Actress of the Year, I don't give a damn what Oscar has to say about it. I never do.
2. MACHETE - violence, action, wit, nudity, social satire: the ultimate Mexploitation flick has it all, a modern grindhouse masterpiece. Robert Rodriguez does it again.
3. COLIN - the most moving, gripping, convincing portrait of a zombie apocalypse I've ever seen, made for practically nothing, and that's something.
4. PONTYPOOL - a thinking person's zombie movie, incredibly original and intellectually provocative as well as thrilling.
5. ALL ABOUT EVIL - Peaches Christ/Joshua Grannel's locally made cult sensation is the most entertaining splatter-satire (splattire?) since BLOOD FEAST. (Read my complete review and interview with Josh/Peaches on my new Oakland Indie Movie Examiner blog.)
6. THE KILLER INSIDE ME - low-key, hard-edged and satisfyingly faithful adaptation of the raw, ruthless Jim Thompson pulp novel. Special award to Jessica Alba for appearing in two of the year's best, equally sexy in both (the other being Machete.)
7. OSS 117: LOST IN RIO - super-stylish swingin' '60s spy spoof from France, with Jean Dujardin as a secret agent who "gets smart" only after a lot of dumb mistakes; even more fun than the previous installment, Oss 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies (2006), with sly references to lucha libre cinema, Elvis, Dean Martin and Vertigo.
8. REC 2 - intense zombie horror, even better than the first or its excellent US remake QUARANTINE.
9. THE WOLFMAN -Benicio Del Toro's fairly faithful remake of the 1941 Universal classic is really a hair-raising homage to old school monster movie-making. Rick Baker's practical makeup effects are spectacular, the mood is moon-licious; and Anthony Hopkins literally chews up the scenery as Papa Wolf.
10. BLACK SWAN - just added! Read my full Examiner.com review here.
SKYLINE - brain-sucking alien monsters turn humans into zombies - we just don't see enough of that these days. At least not in movies.
THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE - hands down the most disturbing, disgusting movie I've ever seen, an accomplishment that must be acknowledged. I have no desire to ever watch it again, though I may check out the sequel.
THE EXPENDABLES - should've lived up to its all-star billing instead of being basically a Stallone-Statham buddy flick with aging action icon cameos, but overall, acceptable if not indispensable mindless fun.
THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE WEIRD: Korean remake of the Leone spaghetti western masterpiece gets points for style and verve, but I didn't find it quite good, bad or weird enough to make my Top 10.
Martin Scorsese's psycho-noir thriller-chiller SHUTTER ISLAND was an atmospheric standout, though not up to par with his earlier urban gangster masterpieces, which remain his signature work; certainly superior to THE DEPARTED, though.
Ben Affleck's THE TOWN, an entertaining if rather routine noir heist flick.
I admired Chris Nolan's high-concept sci-fi dream noir thriller INCEPTION but the fact that I just remembered it proves it didn't leave much of a lasting impression on me.
IRON MAN 2, which, given the pedigree and potential, should've been even better than the first one, but fell far short, IMHO;