1. PAN'S LABYRINTH. Unlike any film I've ever seen, a mixture of horror and fantasy, an adult fairy tale that explores the human consequences of fascism and the terror it can inflict on the very young.
2. RATATOUILLE. One of the finest studies of the struggling artist I have seen and, surprisingly, this film mostly populated by rats is, at its core, absolutely human. The folks at Pixar prove you can be simple yet sophisticated with gratifying results.
3. THE QUEEN. A superbly crafted docudrama with a sense of humor about the British royal family featuring a performances for the ages from Helen Mirren.
4. THE LIVES OF OTHERS. A touching examination of the conflicts that exist between totalitarianism and art, government surveillance and personal privacy.
5. LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA. Clint Eastwood does something amazing here, spinning a tale of the sanctity of human life from the "enemy's" point of view.
6. NO END IN SIGHT. A masterful examination of the mistakes made by the Bush administration that led to the quagmire in Iraq as told by those responsible for those mistakes.
7. BORAT: CULTURAL LEARNINGS OF AMERICA FOR MAKE BENEFIT OF GLORIOUS NATION OF KAZAKHSTAN. Absurdest satire that will make you laugh even if you don't think you should.
8. ONCE. That rare musical that deals with life as it is actually lived and real people who care passionately.
9. AWAY FROM HER. A moving love story with the tragedy of Alzheimer's at its center, featuring a memorable performance from Julie Christie.
10. THE DEPARTED. Another Martin Scorsese masterpiece, a gritty, unflinching crime drama about paranoia and deceit that ranks alongside "Goodfellas" and "Taxi Driver."
THE NEXT 10:
12. Knocked Up
13. Half Nelson
14. Children of Men
17. The Namesake
18. Eastern Promises