Last week, we posted our 10 Most Redeeming Films of 2005. And this week, we present our Critics' Choice Awards for the Top 10 Films of 2005.

What's the difference between the lists? The "redeeming" list speaks for itself—films that told a story of redemption (something or somebody bad turned good, an uplifting story that celebrates truth, goodness and/or biblical values, etc.). Our Critics' Choice list, on the other hand, consists of the 10 films that our panel believes were the most excellent films of 2005, whether they carried a "redeeming" message or not. But all are films of excellence, and many are up for various honors at the upcoming Academy Awards.

Our list resembles some you've seen in the mainstream, but we've got a few off-the-beaten-path picks as well—especially our No. 1 choice. We also let each of our panelists choose "One That Got Away"—a single film they wish had made our Top Ten list. Think of those five extra films as sort of our "honorable mentions."

10. Serenity

directed by Joss Whedon

George Lucas may have capped off the Star Wars saga with a bang, but Serenity was the year's most intelligent and clever sci-fi film. Joss Whedon's cinematic debut wraps up his prematurely cancelled TV series Firefly with a film that explores spiritual and political themes without beating us over the head with sloganeering and polemics. It's loaded with top-notch action and a suspenseful, well crafted script laced with snappy dialogue and wit. The complex characters share a chemistry that's irresistible. (Our review.)

9. A History of Violence

directed by David Cronenberg

This deconstruction of popular genres—the Western, the gangster flick, the high-school movie—and the moral codes lurking within them ...

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