2. Hugo

Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Asa Butterfield, Chloë Moretz, Jude Law, Emily Mortimer, Christopher Lee, Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Richard Griffiths, Ray Winstone, Michael Stuhlbarg

If you remember that first Hugo trailer, then you no doubt recall how quickly cinephiles’ red flags began waving. Devoted film buffs knew that the almighty Martin Scorsese’s latest, an adaptation of author Brian Selznick’s whimsical look at silent movies and childhood adventure, was going to be a family-friendly diversion from Scorsese’s usual grit, but the initial preview, marred by lame pratfalls and a grimacing dog, hinted at a miscalculation of Marmaduke’s caliber.

But then we all woke up and remembered that’s Martin fucking Scorsese we’re talking about, and the iconic filmmaker’s Hugo turned out to be anything but hackneyed. Utilizing 3D technology to gorgeous degrees, and anchored by a slew of delightful performances (namely Ben Kingsley’s fragile turn as legendary director George Meiles), Hugo is uplifting and welcoming enough for the kids, but, really, it’s a grown-up movie lover’s playpen.

The film’s third act, in particular, is a tour de force of grade-A storytelling and all-out magic. Scorsese presents a series of classic black-and-white, silent flicks in modern-day 3D, and the results are invigorating. Hugo sends the viewer out on a cinema-loving high, more than any other picture this year.