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Charles Ealy's top 10 movies of 2010

Charles Ealy

1. "Inception." Few movies dare to take viewers into such mind-bending territory as this thriller from director Christopher Nolan. It's the most challenging, thought-provoking movie of the year.

2. "Black Swan." It's dark. It's surreal. It's psychotic. But this look at a mentally distraught ballerina preparing to dance "Swan Lake" is visually stunning. So is Natalie Portman, a surefire Oscar nominee for best actress.

3. "Winter's Bone.""Inception" and "Black Swan" toy with notions of reality, but "Winter's Bone" is the really true grit this year. Newcomer Jennifer Lawrence takes us into the struggles of a young woman trying to keep her family together in the stark-poor Ozarks.

4. "Inside Job." Director Charles Ferguson ruffles just about everyone's feathers as he grills the rich and powerful about their culpability in the 2008 financial crisis. They're not accustomed to such questioning, and Ferguson is a well-informed bulldog.

5. "Another Year." Lesley Manville — a twitching, self-delusional, single depressive — brings all sorts of drama to the lives of a happily married middle-age couple. Britain's legendary Mike Leigh directs.

6. "127 Hours." Many people have said they don't want to watch a movie in which the main character has to cut off his arm. That's a mistake. "127 Hours" is about much more than that.

7. "The Kids Are All Right." Annette Bening, Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo explore the ever-changing boundaries of what constitutes a family in this finely scripted tale from Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg.

8. "The King's Speech." This thoroughly old-fashioned costume drama features the better-than-ever Colin Firth as King George VI, who must overcome his stuttering and help inspire a nation preparing to battle Hitler during World War II.

9. "Four Lions." Politically incorrect. Intellectually demanding. Deeply disturbing. Austin's Tim League of the Alamo Drafthouse acquired this odd terrorist comedy to distribute, and it was a brave move for one of the town's most unusual entrepreneurs.

10. "The Social Network."As a chronicle of the founding of Facebook, this film has captured the cultural zeitgeist. It's not the movie of the year, as all of the early awards would lead you to think. But it's entertaining and expertly directed by David Fincher.Runners-up: "True Grit," "I Am Love," "The Fighter," "Monsters," "Let Me In."