1. Inception - Christopher Nolan's post Dark Knight follow up was, from the moment it was even announced, in danger of not being able to come close to living up to its predecessor. And, while Inception is a different beast than The Dark Knight, it not only met those expectations but exceeded them (at least for me). Nolan creates a new and unbelievably amazing world, with mystery and intrigue covering every square inch of the story. Watching the film felt like you were seeing something you had never seen before, and with some of the best actors of this generation, along with a story that feels tighter than a steel trap, Inception just couldn't be beat.
2. Somewhere - Sofia Coppola holds an incredibly special place in my heart. I saw The Virgin Suicides when I was on the fence about going to film school, and it was one of the films that pushed me into going. Somewhere continues Coppola's fascination with watching her characters, giving the audience the sense of being a third person, but very present, observer into the lives of characters that transcend the reputations and any "it" factor her actors may have. Her films have become, increasingly, like fashion shoots and obviously are heavily influenced by the commercial world. No matter her push for "realism", her shots are very tightly composed and thought out for maximum effect. It's as though Coppola is trying to sell you the lives her characters are living, and no matter how much pain they may be going through (real or imagined), as an audience member, you're buying it.
3. Scott Pilgrim vs The World - Edgar Wright has been hitting them out of the park for a while now. After his hit BBC show Spaced, he broke into the feature world with Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. All three projects centered around Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, and the three seemed to be unstoppable. Wright took a detour, though, in making the film adaptation of the Scott Pilgrim graphic novel series. Wright uses actors of uncanny resemblance to their pen and ink counter parts, and brings balls to the wall effects to the forefront, creating the closest thing to a true "comic book" movie that has ever been made - Not cheesy, but still faithful to the concepts and artistry of its creator, Bryan Lee O'Malley. While Wright excised some of the story from the 6 volumes of graphic novels, he brings the story of Scott Pilgrim to life in a lean and mean (and fun) way that, honestly, I'm not sure very many other filmmakers could do.
4. The Social Network - When David Fincher announced he was going to make a film about Facebook, there was a collective groan from the film loving community. Wait, this is the guy who made Fight Club? Se7en? The Game? And he's going to make a film about Facebook? Yep. And leave it to Fincher to take all that doubted him, put us in a collective headlock, and give us a noogie for not believing in him. The Social Network is tight, funny, and Eisenberg's performance as Mark Zuckerberg is both intriguing, cold, and funny. He proves himself a force to be reckoned with, and criminally underused. Aaron Sorkin's script is one of the most well written pieces I've seen brought to the screen. Leave it to Fincher to prove everyone who doubted him wrong. Again. When will we learn to stop?
5. Exit Through The Giftshop - In a true to form fashion, a documentary that was sold as being about Banksy turned out to be a documentary hijacked by Banksy, and would tell the story of the man who was trying to make a documentary about him - Thierry Guetta. Using Guetta's own footage to tell the story of the film he was trying to make, and how his own ignorance and stupidity brought about the camera being turned on him, Banksy and crew create the film that Thierry was SUPPOSED to be making - a document about the "Street Art" movement, but also tell the story of what happens when someone who really doesn't know what they're doing has too much time and money on their hands, and a whole bunch of "friends", who have spent years perfecting their craft and building their identity, to copy off of. The film is thoroughly entertaining and fascinating, especially for those interested in art and, specifically, the "Street Art" movement.