This year saw me watching a lot more films than usual, which, if anything, made me appreciate the cream even more. As per our age, there's a lot of "content" out there begging for our attention, but precious little of it that feels like it was made with passion. Here are 10 that, love 'em or hate 'em, have some personality.

1. "Cloud Atlas": Completely blown away. Critical mind restored, yes, I could find a few flaws in "Cloud Atlas," but they are far outweighed by the ambition and sheer cinematic virtuosity on display. Lana and Andy Wachowski and Tom Tykwer create an epic, karmic, kaleidoscopic tale of recurring lives and human interconnection sprawling over several centuries and using the same actors in multiple roles. This generation's "2001"; they just don't know it yet.

2. "Rust and Bone": Director Jacques Audiard was No. 2 on last year's list with "Un Prophète," and after his latest, I hereby declare he's one of the top three directors currently working. The material sounds tough — an orca-trainer who loses her legs gets involved with a bare-knuckle boxer — but the emotional payoff is transcendent.