Best of 2011

TOP 10 FILMS OF 2011

10. MONEYBALL

Director : Bennett Miller

Cast :  Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill

Not many words can describe this film, it is essentially a very subtle and the film is slow in it’s subtleness but it creates a effective atmosphere. Moneyball is not just about baseball, its the story of a man and his emotions. It showcases the enormous pressure applied to GM Billy Beane and the frustration in loss he suffered. Billy Beane failed as a baseball player and as General Manager he now tried to make up for his failure through leading his team for success. His insecurities and fear of loss push him to defy the rules and start a team based of statistic not intuition. Then Moneyball also becomes a film on the war he had to fight to make a name for himself in History and lead Statistics of intuition. The directing by Bennett Miller is very strong for a new director and the film is edited very well. Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill create good chemistry together and both give off strong performances. Moneyball relies on concentration from the audience because in a realistic manner the emotions of the characters are not obvious and hidden; However if you get a feel for this movie it will be a very  powerful ride.

9. MIDNIGHT IN PARIS

Director : Woody Allen

Cast : Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams

One of the most refreshing movies i have seen a long time, it is a calm intellectual comedy with a slight twist on science fiction. You can tell its a Woody Allen film from the get go with the undertones to the storyline and thats not such a bad thing, cinematography was well done, music was well done and so was the acting. It is sort of Romantic Comedy but with Allen’s style it pictures out beautifully.

8. HUGO

Director : Martin Scorsese

Cast : Asa Butterfield, Chloe Mortez, Ben Kingsley

One of the most misleading marketed films i have ever seen, Hugo comes across as a family fantasy adventure for children but infact its quite the opposite. The film is VERY slow but the pace is just right to flesh out the story, so children would not be interested in this film. The visuals of Paris in the 1930’s are beautiful and the story line has a good source material to work with, ‘The invention of Hugo Cabret’. But the heart of the story is about George Melias, the whole film is a sole tribute to the man who created cinema. In my opinion this film would not connect to people who do not have a passion for film and people who don’t appreciate George Melias’ work. The first half of the movie was following the character Hugo and building up on his storyline but it was very slow and had some un needed side plots which ruined the flow of the story. However the last half of the movie when it comes to the end of Hugo’s story and the start of Melias’s is when it gets quite amazing and touching. The acting was very well also, especially from Sir Ben Kingsley and Asa Butterfield. Its not Martin Scorcese best work, but its a love letter to cinema and its a subject quite close to the hearts of all film makers.

7. WAR HORSE

Director : Steven Spielberg

Cast : Jeremy Irvine, Emily Watson

Steven Speilberg has created another classic family movie epic, and this time its set during WW1. War Horse is a very sentimental connective movie, everything about it is quite classy. From the subtle yet beautiful cinematography to the beautiful score that makes this film emotional as can be. Jeremy Irvine also gave an amazing performance and is definately a rising star in cinema, Speilberg really knows how to develop characters and thats the reason this film became so sentimental. However you cant forget the actual horse who was the star of the show and really did give an outstanding performance. The only flaws in this film are the way some parts of the story are cliche and feels forced; plus some of the scenarios were quite unrealistic. But if you forget the plotholes and unrealistic scenes you have yourself a very emotional deep movie.

6. WARRIOR

Director : Gavin O’Connor

Cast : Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton, Nick Nolte

This is another one of the years releases that came out the blue, marketing as a typical fighting movie e.g. never back down, fighting. Regardless of the marketing this is actually 2011’s ‘The Fighter’, but the only thing is this movie actually improves on The Fighter. First off it is filmed very grainy and the dialogue and atmosphere to the movie is very gritty but realistic. The film is more than just a fighting movie, its a film about family and forgiveness. Another plus side is that the film doesnt glorify the fighting one bit but it actually shows the deep meaning and problems beyond the fighting and the fighters e.g. Raging Bull. In my opinion this is up there with the years top movies especially with the casts amazing performances especially Tom Hardy who stole the show. Hopefully it gets noticed for the oscars, but a film of this calibur doesnt usually.

5. MELANCHOLIA

Director : Lars Von Trier

Cast : Kirstin Dunst, Keifer Sutherland

This is one of those rare films which lets you as a viewer describe the meaning of the film. Each person would have their own interpretation of what this film is about and can be read in many different ways. Essentially this film is about depression but it is crafted like poetry and flows like a piece of art full of symbolic imagery and subliminal messaging, as expected from a Lars Von Trier movie. Much like ‘The Tree Of Life’ this film is about life and human nature, but this deals with a different side of the human psychosis. Some viewers may picture this as a sci-fi movie from the ill conceived trailers that were put out but the sci-fi element of this film is a bare minimum backdrop to the main story at heart. The cinematography was beautiful, Gainsbourg was very good in her supporting role but the person that stole the show was Kirsten Dunst in her subtle role. Which is actually the best performance she has given in a lifetime. Thec movie is very symbolic and every person will take home a different notion to the outcome of this film.

4. DRIVE

Director : Nicolas Winding Refn

Cast : Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Oscar Isaac

The arthouse film of the year, Refn has created the most stylish ultra-violent film since pulp fiction. The whole atmosphere of the film in an unknown time period is beautiful, the music the locations, the cinematography, the soundtrack and the acting; it all connects beautifully. The neo noir like theme makes the film stand out from every single other film released this year and plays like a lesson in filmmaking. Ryan Gosling gives a stunning lead performance as the neutral lead and is definitely one of the years top performances. Drive lands in my top 10 because it’s a beautiful film that can be watched in 20 years and still loved.

3. SHAME

Director : Steve McQueen

Cast  : Michael Fassbender, Carey Mulligan

Steve Mcqueen has created an almost perfect film, but the thing that flawed this movie from getting a solid 10 was the fact that this film may not appeal to people who cannot relate to Brandon. The scenarios feel abit superficial and some people might find the film played out and pretentious. However shame is masterful filmmaking, Mcqueen impresses in every aspect with his visual storytelling and creates a vastly immersive story. People may argue that this has no backstory or aftermath but it simply is a film based on a certain time period in someone’s life. The rest is left to interpret for ourselves, which makes the film more individual than most. Along with an amazing performance by Michael Fassbender who steals the show in every scene from his subtle to extremely emotional scenes.

2. THE TREE OF LIFE

Director : Terrance Malick

Cast : Brad Pitt, Jessica Chastain, Sean Penn

This film has has been anticipated by critics worldwide for years and finally Terrance Malick has released this masterpiece. The movie cant actually be counted as an actual movie because it has no linear story line. It plays as a message and informative brief, mixed with visions of subliminal photography and it results in a movie of grandeur. The film has many deep meanings, it has two main questions; What is life? and Is there a God? Over tuned by a story of childhood and innocence, this film is basically life depicted on film and Malick has created a masterpiece and pinnacle in film making. This deserved this palme d’or at Cannes and it would be good if it was recognized at the Oscars atleast for Malicks directing, because it is not the type of movie The Academy pick up.

1. THE ARTIST

Director : Michel Hazanavicius

Cast : Jean Dujardin, Berenice Bejo

Hands down the best film of 2011, The Artist is a feat in film making and a perfect love letter to the birth of cinema. It is a perfect blend of comedy, romance and drama, and is essentially a film about the rise and fall of a silent movie star. It keeps in all the old trickery and gags of the original silent films with a slight twist on the sound convention. I knew this film was made with precise detail as soon as the opening storyboards fell in, The Artist is a flawless film. Jean Dujardin has been introduced to non-french audiences with this film and he performs a very difficult task of acting with emotions not words perfectly. Jean Dujardin is my personal top runner for the oscar and should definately get a nomination and some sort of recognition. Berenice Bejo is also very charming in her supporting role and Dujardin’s characters pet dog is very charming and adds to the comedic aspect of the film. I think The Artist is the top runner for the oscar and is possibly one of the best films ever made. Michel Hazanavicius took this very difficult task and directing one of the least convential film of modern times, but at the same time he kept the integrity of the original silent films.

Honourable Mentions :

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Ides Of March

A Seperation

We Need To Talk About Kevin

Young Adult

Best Director of 2012  : TERRANCE MALICK – TREE OF LIFE

Runners Up

Nicolas Winding Refn – Drive

Steve McQueen – Shame

Martin Scorsese – Hugo

Michel Hazanavicius – The Artist

Best Actor In A Leading Role  : MICHAEL FASSBENDER – SHAME

Runners Up

Brad Pitt – Moneyball

Jean Dujardin – The Artist

Ryan Gosling – Drive

Michael Shannon – Take Shelter

Best Actress In A Leading Role  : VIOLA DAVIS – THE HELP

Runners Up

Kirstin Dunst – Melancholia

Tilda Swinton – We Need To Talk About Kevin

Michelle Williams – My Week With Marilyn

Meryl Streep – The Iron Lady

Best Actor In Supporting Role : CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER – BEGINNERS

Runners Up

Nick Nolte – Warrior

John Hawkes – MMMM

Kenneth Branagh – My Week With Marilyn

Jonah Hill – Moneyball

Best Actress In A Supporting Role : JESSICA CHASTAIN – THE HELP

Runners Up

Berenice Bejo – The Artist

Octavia Spencer – The Help

Carey Mulligan – Shame

Shailene Woodley – The Descendants

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