1. The Tree of Life. I'm a huge Malick fan and this was a film that left me gob smacked. I can understand that it isn't for everyone, but it is for anyone interested in the possibilities of cinema.
2. Shame. Steve McQueen's second feature boasts a wonderful performance by Michael Fassbender and surely vaults him into position as the most interesting British director.
3. Cave Of Forgotten Dreams. Werner Herzog is rapidly becoming one of my favourite directors. Bad Lieutenant was wonderful and his documentaries get better and better.
4.13 Assassins. This is mad bloody samurai drama at its best.
5. Marcy, May, Martha, Marlene Excellent thriller. Gripping and scary and original.
6. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. A meticulously wrought genre piece with some brilliant performances.
7. Drive. A winner at Cannes and a decidedly odd film, but one that worked for me.
8. Vivan Los Antipodes. Fascinating documentary and a beautiful upside down view of the world.
9. Carnage. A return to form for Polanski, who benefits from the minimal rigour of the savage little chamber piece.
10. Senna. Made me think again about motor sport. Brought back a lot of memories about the eighties as well.
Of course the year is not over and there are some beauties coming up in the next couple of weeks. Hugo and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo to name but two. There are some near runners which almost made the list. Attack the Block was fun, as was Paul. Also the final Harry Potter film deserves to be there somewhere. All the Harry Potters were fun, intelligent, well produced and some of them were truly excellent. The concluding episode was a fitting end to what has been a decade long story. Quite an achievement.
John Bleasdale is a writer. His work has appeared in The Guardian, The Independent, Il Manifesto, as well as CineVue.Com and theStudioExec.com. He has also written a number of plays, screenplays and novels.