5. The Sequels (three way tie): Dark Knight Rises, Avengers, and Skyfall
These movies were well made, didn't take themselves too seriously, and were entertaining popcorn munchers. Unfortunately, none of them really tried anything new or took any risks. I wanted to include Mission Impossible too but it's from 2011. These directors have really found what people in general want to see and they exploit that for great profits. Sometimes a movie like this is exactly what I want, but there is no way it can be the best of the year without doing something extraordinary.
4. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
I really liked some of the choices Peter Jackson made with this, such as the new frame rate, including songs, and the slow pace. I dislike the cinematography choices. Why oh why does he insist (like he did in LOTR) on long panning far off shots while the characters are in a cave underground? It takes away from the claustrophobic feeling and makes them look like toys. Other than that and some plot holes which may have been in the book, I really am happy that Jacksons success is allowing him to do what he wants and not just what other people expect.
3. Wreck-It Ralph
I'm pretty sure a lot of people will disagree with me putting this so high on the list, but when I saw this unexpectedly at a sneak peak I was really taken by surprise by how much I enjoyed it. It was fun, dramatic, moving, and even unpredictable. I loved the voice acting choices (30 Rock's Jack McBrayer as Fix-It and Sarah Silverman as Vanellope), the arcade gaming inside jokes, and the Toy Story feeling of nostalgia.
2. Les Misérables
I watched this 3 times in 3 days and I was humming it for over a week after that. It is so good. All the singing was done live instead of prerecorded and now when I watch other musicals I just can't enjoy them knowing it wasn't done that way. I really hope it changes the way the industry does musicals from now on. I know this wasn't the first or only movie to do this, but it was the biggest and most successful application of the technique.
1. Django Unchained
Wow. I finally saw this over the weekend and there are so many things I loved about it. The pacing, the script, the actors, the story, the ending.. Rarely have I ever felt so satisfied by an ending as I was with this movie. This is truly Tarantino at his best, so if you are not a fan, don't bother. Christoph Waltz makes every movie better, and Jamie Foxx and Leonardo DiCaprio were excellent as usual. Go see it.