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Outbreak

The thriller occupies the same territory as countless science fiction movies about deadly invasions and high-tech conspiracies, but has been made with intelligence and an…

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Planes, Trains and Automobiles

It is perfectly cast and soundly constructed, and all else flows naturally. Steve Martin and John Candy don't play characters; they embody themselves.

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The year's beasts: MSN critics' top 10 for 2010

Hundreds of sheep a-grazing, two swans a-schizing, one geek a-coding...

The ballots have been submitted, the points (but not the sheep) counted, and the best movies of 2010 have been selected and written about by the contributing critics of MSN Movies. But this isn't just a list. You'll find 300-word essays on the winners (each of which is linked to below) by ten -- count 'em, ten -- of your very favorite crickets! And although I'm still watching and rewatching more movies for crix poll deadlines to come, I present my very first 2010 "best list" below. It seemed like a lackluster year while it was happening, but I've found more to get enthused about in the last few weeks, catching up and revisiting newly hatched movies and theatrical releases from earlier in the year. As usual, I'll be making a wee movie to showcase my Definitive Scanners List (and might even get around to doing the Exploding Head Awards again this year). But now, enjoy these tasty treats:

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10. Kat(hleen) Murphy on "Sweetgrass" 9. Don Kaye on "Exit Through the Gift Shop 8. Mary Pols on "Toy Story 3 7. James Rocchi on "Dogtooth" 6. Sean Axmaker on "Let Me In" 5. Glenn Kenny on "Carlos" 4. Richard T. Jameson on "The Ghost Writer" 3. Glenn Whipp on "Winter's Bone" 2. Kim Morgan on "Black Swan" 1. Jim Emerson on "The Social Network"

Individual critics' ballots here (and here).

My ballot (as of sometime last week):

1. "The Social Network" 2. "Carlos" 3. "Sweetgrass" 4. "Mother" 5. "Let Me In" 6. "The Killer Inside Me" 7. "Winter's Bone" 8. "Dogtooth" 9. "The Kids Are All Right" 10. "The American"

My runners-up so far (not published): Runners-up: "Mad Men," Season 4 (especially "The Rejected," "The Suitcase," "The Beautiful Girls," "Tomorrowland"), "The Ghost Writer," "A Prophet," "Secret Sunshine," "The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers," "White Material," "Farewell," "Splice," "Red Riding Trilogy," "Lebanon," "Eccentricities of a Blond-Haired Girl," "Animal Kingdom," "Exit Through the Gift Shop," "Monsters," "Salt"...

More as the viewing develops...

The fine print: Like all of these kinds of polls/lists, the rules should be explained. In this case, the choices were limited to: Movies that played theatrical engagements in the US during 2010 that contributors were able to see by the deadline in early December.

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