2011: The Year in Film and My Top 10

Year in Review : 2011

# of Movies I Saw in 2011: 42

Scroll down for my Top 10

Top 10 Critically Acclaimed Films

(Source : criticstop10.com – a site that takes a weighted average of about 800 lists, 350 of which are considered “Top Critics”)

  1. Tree of Life
  2. Drive
  3. Hugo
  4. The Artist
  5. The Descendants
  6. Melancholia
  7. Midnight in Paris
  8. Moneyball
  9. A Separation
  10. Martha Macy May Marlene

Winners of The Major Oscar Categories

Best Picture                             The Artist

Best Actor                               Jean Dujardins, The Artist

Best Actress                            Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady

Best Supporting Actor             Christopher Plummer, Beginners

Best Supporting Actress          Octavia Spencer, The Help

Best Director                           Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist

Original Screenplay                Woody Allen, Midnight In Paris

Adapted Screenplay                Alexander Payne (et al), The Descendants

Best Animated Feature           Rango

(Editorial Note: The Artist, by my standards, was a very weak Best Picture, not even a 10 best of the year).

Top Grossing Movie:   Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part 2 (Domestic and Worldwide)

Really Good Films from 2011 You May Have Missed:

We Need to Talk About Kevin (warning, exceptionally bleak)

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

A Separation

Margin Call

Biutiful

Movie from 2011 to avoid at all costs:

Arthur

Columbiana

Green Lantern

Here are My Top 10 films of 2011

Honourable Mention: Harry Potter 7 Part 2, J. Edgar, The Iron Lady, The Ides of March, Extremely Loud and Incredible Close, Martha Macy May Marlene, We Need to Talk About Kevin, The Artist.

10.  The Muppets

A bad guy named “Tex Richman” played by Chris Cooper. A brilliant Jim Parsons cameo that caused the theatre to erupt in applause. This wonderfully self-aware tribute to past Muppet glory was more for parents than kids. It was funny and supremely entertaining. This despite the fact that I really don’t like Jason Segal (Love Amy!!!)

9. Margin Call

Perhaps because I work in the world of finance, I find this movie fascinating. A fictionalized yet very real look into the beginning of the mortgage meltdown. Stellar cast and Oscar nominated script, never found an audience. “There are three ways to succeed. Be first. Be Smarter. Or Cheat”.

8. Midnight In Paris

Creepy weirdo but brilliant film maker. Allen’s best movie in a couple decades. Oscar winner for original screenplay. Love the use of Van Gogh’s Starry Night in the poster. This is Woody Allen at his clever best, probably his best film since Bullets Over Broadway.

7. Moneyball

The 2002 Oakland A’s had a 20-game winning streak. I new this. I new about Scott Hatteburg’s walk-off pinch hit homer. I knew how this ended and was still at the edge of my seat. That’s a good movie. Perhaps Brad Pitt’s second-best work to Inglorious Basterds. One of two Pitt films in this year’s top 10.

6. Hugo

As I wait in great anticipation to see “The Irishman”, another Scorsese mob epic, I get to write about his most unique film, unlike any he has made. No violence, no profanity, a fairy tale of sorts and a movie about love of movies.

5. A Separation

Roger Ebert’s #1 movie of 2011 and you can see why, its right up his alley. Here is a great place to start if you don’t like subtitled films. From Iran, this movie was the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.

4. The Descendants

An exceptional human drama, dysfunctional family film (one of my favourite genres) with a wonderful Alexander Payne script. Some of Clooney’s best work. Set against the backdrop of Hawaii, a man must decide the fate of a family’s 9-digit fortune while unwinding and discovering the pain of his own life.

3. Drive

Unique material, compelling, edgy and violent. The opening 15 minutes of this movie would, in and of itself, make an amazing short film. This would be on the list of “Best Films You’ve probably never seen”.

2. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Probably my favourite movie of 2011, but I can’t say it’s a better movie than my #1. Rooney Mara should have won an Oscar, her role is nothing short of brilliant. Director David Fincher has made, in my world, a dark brooding masterpiece.

1. Tree of Life

A movie of vast, grand ambition. Tree of Life sets out to define all of existence through the lives of some ordinary people in an ordinary town in the 50s. This is not a film for everyone, its long and deeply symbolic. I loved it. I loved the depiction of the traditional 50s household (Brad Pitt’s character name is merely Mr. O’Brien, through the eyes of his children his first name is not relevant). It is one of the best pictures of the decade.

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