Okay, so it's been 2007 for the last four days but since everyone's doing it from the critics circles to the awards nominating pools, it seemed worth it to weigh in on last year's movies. However, constructing end of the year top ten lists can be both painful and thrilling. Looking at a long list of the year's movie releases reminds you how many films passed you by in the theaters and playing favorites amongst the pool is never easy. It's much more fun to look at a top 10 and what various moviemakers from around the world have churned out in the last 12 months as glass half full. In the midst of the dreck of horrible new releases are some very bright spots, and here are 10 of our personal highlights.

2007_01_arts_mirren.jpg1. The Queen
2. Letters From Iwo Jima
3. Half Nelson
4. Old Joy
5. Volver
6. Shortbus
7. A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints
8. Last King of Scotland
9. Woman on the Beach
10. Iraq in Fragments

Worth An Honorable Mention (in no particular order):
Children of Men, 13 Tzameti, The Puffy Chair, Man Push Cart, Miss Potter, Perfume, Notes on A Scandal, The Pursuit of Happyness, The Holiday, Casino Royale, Babel, Marie Antoinette, The Science of Sleep, Sherrybaby, Talladega Nights, Brothers of the Head, The Devil Wears Prada, The Road to Guantanamo, Lady Vengeance, United 93, Brick, Inside Man, 16 Blocks, Dave Chappelle’s Block Party, Tristram Shandy, Tristan & Isolde, Gabrielle, No Restraint

Amazingly, Helen Mirren seems to have been in both the best, The Queen, and the worst movie of the year, Shadowboxer. Ms. Mirren would do best to stick with roles where she can be regal royalty rather than say, a hired assassin dying of cancer, whose stepson (played by the dreadful Cuba Gooding, Jr.) is her protege and her lover. Ugh.

Even more year-end movie lists: Metacritic on the best reviewed movies of the year, J. Hoberman of the Village Voice, Manohla Dargis from the New York Times, Owen Gleiberman from Entertainment Weekly and indieWire's critics poll. The Golden Globes also have their nominees out there as do the Independent Spirit awards, and the 79th annual Academy Awards nominees will be announced on Jan. 23.