(1) “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2”
The final cinematic chapter of J.K. Rowling’s boy-wizard saga earned near-universal praise from critics and signified the end of an era for many fans who grew up with the series.
(2) “Crazy, Stupid, Love”
This smart, tender-hearted film brought a much-needed boost to the ailing romcom genre and managed to capture what love feels like (or how we like to imagine it feels like) from first love to true love.
(3) “Super 8”
J.J. Abrams’ sci-fi flick about a Midwestern town terrorized by a mysterious creature combined the nostalgic charm of past kid-ensemble films like “The Goonies” and “Stand By Me” with summer-blockbuster thrills.
(4) “The Help”
August’s surprise heavyweight (and Emma Stone’s second entrance on this list) followed the lives of black maids and the white women they worked for in 1960s Mississippi without ever veering into schlocky sentimentality.
(5) “X-Men: First Class”
The “X-Men” prequel successfully revitalized the mutant franchise largely thanks to fabulous chemistry between the young Professor X (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender).