1 The Skin I Live In (Pedro Almodóvar) A dark, twisted, beautiful, and, yes, funny shocker from the greatest director in the world. God bless you, Pedro Almodóvar!
2 Mildred Pierce (Todd Haynes) This elegantly shot, pitch-perfect made-for-TV melodrama makes everyone who watches secretly yearn to be a woman with issues. The best period film in decades—period.
3 Justin Bieber: Never Say Never (Jon M. Chu) I’m not kidding. A well-made doc that proves the Bieb was a child prodigy. Wait until you see Justin stick his head into the audience and shake his hair in 3-D. I screamed.
4 Hadewijch (Bruno Dumont) In this grim, fiercely uncommercial movie, a fanatical Catholic young lady from a rich family hooks up with a handsome male Muslim terrorist, and together they blow up a commuter train. Love is strange, especially when God is involved.
5 Kaboom (Gregg Araki) A sexy, well-written, end-of-the-world comedy that succeeds beyond all expectation. Doomsday never looked so hot.
6 If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front (Marshall Curry and Sam Cullman) This sad documentary debates the regrets of radicalism as a pack of lunatic-kid tree huggers get caught up in frenzied activism and are suddenly accused by the government of terrorism.
, still from a color film in 35 mm, 85 minutes.
7 The Tree of Life (Terrence Malick) You’d think I’d hate this film, and I almost did—until I realized it’s the best New Age, heterosexual, Christian movie of the year.
8 I’m Glad My Mother Is Alive (Claude and Nathan Miller) This beautifully acted French film is a tragic, harrowing warning to all adoptees: Finding your real-life birth parents isn’t always such a good idea.
9 We Were Here (David Weissman) Half my friends died of AIDS, so this simple and painfully told doc on the disastrous epidemic’s effect on San Francisco is personal. If you don’t sob watching, maybe you should be dead too.
10 Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (Apichatpong Weerasethakul) A spooky, witty, never pretentious meditation on the otherworldly lust of ghosts and wild animals. Aren’t you glad art films don’t get test-screened?