Well it’s pretty much impossible to do an “objective” list, so I’ll do it based on what impacted me the most as a viewer (taking into account that I mostly watch sci-fi) and in no particular order:
Donnie Darko - Nothing to say here really, this is pure cult classic.
Nightwatch / Daywatch - Even though they’re 2 movies, it’s one big story in 2 parts, so I’m counting it as one… Fantasy crazyness in a Russian setting. The visuals alone make it a must, but seeing this kind of movie from a sooo different perspective and cultural background is really enriching and something “we” (as in westerners) don’t usually get.
Hero - Same thing as above… to me this is probably the best asian/kung-fu movie that’s come out since the new wave of asian movies (after the success of CTHD, which I didn’t really like, tbh). It’s like visual poetry.
Kingdom of Heaven - Oh I love this one… and it’s still so relevant, contextually, but everything in this one works perfectly… acting, music, story, costumes… it’s a gem.
Shaun of the Dead - Another cult classic, both in the comedy and zombies dptms.
JCVD - Why go with Birdman when you can go for JCVD? =P This movie is RAW and visceral as heck… it has a lot of comedy and heartfelt moments too (it helps if you know about JCVD’s media meltdowns though).
The Man from Earth - This is as indie as indie gets… made for 10 bucks by the look of it, but the story carries this movie beautifully despite the lack of overall quality in every regard.
The Prestige - I really wanted to include at least one Nolan flick, 'cause he’s one of the top filmmakers of the century for sure… so any of the Nolan trilogy could do… as in Memento, Prestige, Inception… none of that Batman crap =P but the Prestige is probably the best of the 3 cause it’s not overly complicated, but it’s still as complex as the other 2.
Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amelie Poulain (aka “Amelie”) - A french one 'cause why not? =P Also, incredible display of film-making in every regard.
Man of Steel - This is my CB pick for “best of” just because I kinda feel obliged to include a CB flick in the list, this being a CB board and all… if you need to ask “why MoS?” then you wouldn’t understand =P
I’m pretty satisfied with this list… =)