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Pirates of the Caribbean's Gore Verbinski directed this wily CGI comedy about a show-biz lizard (voiced by Johnny Depp) stranded in a tough town; the geniuses at ILM gave the picture its scaly visual grandeur. In a strong year for animation (including Rio, Happy Feet Two and Tintin), Rango was the coolest, funniest and dagnab-orneriest of the bunch.
10. Fast Five
Fifth in the Fast and Furious series starring Vin Diesel and Paul Walker, director Justin Lin's live-action movie has so many moments of low-genius commotion that it plays like an animated cartoon. The dialogue, characterizations and acting are irrelevant to the success of the first great film of the posthuman era. Yet Fast Five also recalls the train robberies and comic car chases of films from a century ago. No less than The Artist or Hugo, this is a vivid tribute to the primal thrills of silent cinema.