EW's critic includes a gritty Boston thriller, an animated classic in the making, and a refreshing new take on family among the year's top new releases. Plus: The five worst he saw in the past 12 months
1. The Social Network
It's been a long time since we saw a movie that's a zingingly scripted, boldly acted, intricately executed thriller for the brain and a brilliant topical riff on what's really happening in America. Jesse Eisenberg, in the finest performance by an actor this year, plays Mark Zuckerberg as a magnetic jerk-hero who invents Facebook not just because he feels like an outsider, but because he has an idea to rewire who we are. Eisenberg speaks Aaron Sorkin's genius-on-every-level dialogue with a speed-of-thought blunt sincerity that has you hanging on every rudely intoxicating word. In the twin lawsuits that frame it, the film sees Zuckerberg as pitiless but, in his misanthropic grand-scheme way, justified. Yet he is left, in the end, alone, and that's hooked to The Social Network's most teasing perception: that a world that turns ''friends'' into a system may drive us as far apart as it draws us together.
NEXT: Owen names the 5 worst films of 2010
Image Credit: Merrick Morton