Again, when I say 'unofficial', I definitely mean unofficial. I've seen barely anything this year...it'll be months before I see such movies as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, War Horse, The Artist, Drive, Shame, The Descendants, Moneyball...one day I'll get around to doing an official one. For now, here are ten movies which I found quite good. And if you look at this list, you'll see just how pretentious and arty I have become over the past year.
Anyway, I know the criteria that I had for films that were really made in 2010 but they came out here this year. I've chosen not to include films like Blue Valentine or Never Let Me Go, even if they were released here in 2011, because I think of them as 2010 films no matter what. There is one film that I've included here that was in contention at the Oscars earlier this year, but I feel that it deserves a spot here considering it was part of this year's film festival and I never got to see it until a week ago. So yeah, I know what I'm doing.
Honourable mentions: The Orator, Meek's Cutoff, Beginners, Contagion, Super 8, Tucker & Dale vs Evil, Trust, Winnie the Pooh, Crazy Stupid Love, Sarah's Key, Captain America, Limitless, Rango, X-Men: First Class, Source Code, Thor, Horrible Bosses.
I just saw this film last weekend and I absolutely fell in love with it. There is just something about it's quirkiness and being so unashamedly over-the-top that I found it hard not to be drawn in to Oliver Tate's weird little world. Both Oliver and Jordana seem refreshingly real - well, Oliver is a bit pretentious - which makes this UK teen comedy shine. Not to mention, Paddy Considine plays his crazy character just the way Nicolas Cage would have...except he is much better.
9. The Help
This film gets a spot on my list because I had a pretty enjoyable time watching it at the cinemas, and it was a great adaptation of one of the best books I read in the past year (okay, don't take my word for it, I probably haven't read over five books in 2011). Plus, it has so much talent on show: Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Emma Stone, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jessica Chastain (whom I loved in this movie), Allison Janney, Sissy Spacek...such a strong female cast, and how often do we get that? We mustn't forget that I cried at least five different times during this movie, and when I cry, it sure isn't because I didn't like the movie!
Melancholia gets a special place in my heart because it was the first movie I ever got to see at the New Zealand Film Festival. Hopefully next year I can watch a few more. Lars von Trier's apocalyptic tale is one of beauty shrouded in sadness, as we see how a rogue planet affects two very different sisters. One of these sisters is played by Kirsten Dunst, whose performance should really be nominated for an Oscar because it is so cripplingly depressing. But the main reason that Melancholia has appeared on this list is because of it's absolutely amazing ending. Seriously, I can't believe how much I was shaking when the credits hit. I literally did feel like the world just ended.
7. Rise of the Planet of the Apes
At the beginning of the year, I thought this would be just another one of those pointless prequels with a ridiculous title that would tank at the box office. Boy, I was wrong. Turns out that Rise of the Planet of the Apes was the greatest blockbuster of 2011, with one of the greatest moments of the year. Caesar is the coolest ape ever, and possibly one of the only 'heroes' from the movies that I didn't have trouble getting behind. Hopefully Andy Serkis does get an Oscar nomination, because his work is ground-breaking...and it's time Hollywood had a shake-up.
A nominee for Best Foreign Film at this year's Oscars, Incendies is a Canadian film that doesn't shy away from much, and knows exactly how to smack the audience in the face. People who have seen the film will know what I'm talking about...the twist in this film will literally make you feel like someone just punched you in the face. This is an expertly crafted, beautifully shot, completely involving film which takes you to all sorts of places, including hell and back. If you haven't seen this film, then what are you waiting for? It's a hard hitting drama in every sense of the word.
5. Certified Copy
A collection of conversations (and you should know how much I love to see conversations on film) between Juliette Binoche and William Shimell were surprisingly quite enjoyable to me. Abbas Kiarostami's multi-lingual drama is one that makes you question all sorts of things, including and especially the relationship between the two strangers...or were they really strangers? So many questions that this movie asks, and while it doesn't really answer all of them, it is still beautiful to watch.
4. The Tree of Life
My tastes really have changed this year. If you showed me Terrence Malick's ultra-polarizing film last year, I would have really disliked it. But I rolled up to the cinemas, and while I was baffled, I was more intrigued than I had ever been before. Now I have the film on Blu-Ray, I've realised just what a marvel it is, but I don't think I could ever give it a proper rating. I know that a lot of people hate this movie, and a lot more people hate the people who like it. I'm sorry, but I just really liked it, for all of it's pretty pictures and the amount of reading-between-the-lines that it required. A magnificent piece of cinema, no doubt about it.
While this is technically a 2010 flick, this film took a while to make it to the general public. I was pretty happy that I finally got to see it when it hit DVD back in September. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays the titular Hesher, who is a loner that doesn't care about much in the world, but he can help a few people along. Filled with charming indie moments, plenty of funnies and enough heartbreak to go 'round, Hesher is delightfully original and even charmingly offensive. JGL gives a bloody terrific performance, too. If only more people had the chance to see this one...
2. Midnight in Paris
I have never been a huge fan of either Owen Wilson or Woody Allen, but Midnight in Paris is an absolute delight to watch. It's impossible not to love - as Wilson is transported to 1920's Paris and meets such icons as Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Dali, my eyes were having a mad love affair with the screen. I really can't say how much I love this film. It is just pure magic, from beginning to end. There were only two things that I didn't like about it: that it had to end and that Paris is so far away!
Isn't it weird how I have a documentary about Formula One as my number one for the year? But seriously, Senna is a masterpiece. The editing in this movie is probably the best I have ever seen, as I imagine that it isn't easy to edit down a whole lot of archive footage into something that closely resembles a normal narrative. And I must say, considering I didn't know that much about Ayrton Senna before watching the movie, and I was bawling my eyes out at the end, this movie really was something special. It was just wonderful.
So, what do you think of my list? What are your favourite movies of 2011?
And before I go, I'd just like to wish you all a Merry Christmas. I'll be taking a couple of days off to enjoy Christmas and Boxing Day. As for you all, thanks for all of the support this year - it's greatly appreciated! I hope you all have a great day...eat and drink to your heart's content, and be happy!