Entertainment Magazine

The Best Movies of 2011

Posted on the 15 December 2011 by Kaiser31083 @andythemovieguy

The Best of 2011There has been an unfounded claim circling about for awhile now that goes something like "there's no good movies out there" or something to that effect. While there is certainly a large amount of rubbish being dumped in the theaters, it is these films that seem to find the biggest audiences, authenticating their validity and thus continuing the cycle while excellent films get overlooked. In the 2011 calender year I witnessed greatness not only in the low-budget indie films such as SubmarineTerri, and Restless but even in big studio blockbusters, specifically Rise of the Planet of the Apes, X-Men: First Class, and Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol. In other genres, excellency could be found in animation (Rango, My Dog Tulip), documentary (Tabloid, Catching Hell, Pearl Jam Twenty), and foreign film (Incendies, Of Gods and Men, 13 Assassins). With sky high ticket and concession prices, along with studio publicity of big budget shlock, it can become easy to write off the movies. But for those who seek valuable entertainment, there is still much to admire at the cinema. Here are the best films of the year:
The Best of 201111. MoneyballBennett Miller's film of the Oakland A's run with a no-budget team is a baseball fan's dream, an immersion into stats and the backrooms of the unevenly distributed sport. Brad Pitt hits just the right notes as GM Billy Beane and Jonah Hill has a nice dramatic turn as his assistant.
The Best of 201110. WarriorAnother sports flick, this one not finding an audience although I found it to be considerably rousing and a superior fighting film to last year's hit "The Fighter". Rising star Tom Hardy is fiercely compelling as is Joel Edgerton, and Nick Nolte delivers an Oscar winning turn as the two's alcoholic father.
The Best of 20119. Tinker Tailor Soldier SpyJohn Le Carre's Cold War spy thriller is given a chilly and cerebral treatment by Tomas Alfredson, also providing Gary Oldman with a rare leading man role, which he delivers on remarkably. 
The Best of 20118. Into the Abyss/Cave of Forgotten DreamsThe great Werner Herzog released not one but two exceptional documentaries this year, both of which couldn't be further apart in topic, but are both treated with the same philosophical and thoughtful approach. "ITA" tells the sorrowful, regrettable story of two men, one on death row, for the commission of a senseless crime. "COFD" depicts the oldest caves in world found in Southern France. Both docs. go places you would never expect, told in ways that only Herzog could tell.
The Best of 20117. The Tree of LifeNo filmmaker paints on a more beautiful canvas than Terrence Malick, and with his latest offering he may have outdone himself both on look and ambition. Juxtaposing the early stages of the world with the story of a family in 1950s West Texas, Malick has created an elegiac film that is likely to cause feelings of nostalgia, or wonder for anyone paying attention. Brad Pitt is remarkable as is Hunter McCracken who plays his son.
The Best of 20116. Barney's VersionThis was one of the biggest surprises of the year, a film I almost neglected to watch, but signed on due to the presence of Paul Giamatti. This is a warm-hearted story of the meanest son-of-a-bitch who ever lived, north of the border at least. In a film spanning several decades, Giamatti wonderfully and quite humorously inhabits his character and Rosamund Pike is delightful as his long suffering ex-wife.
The Best of 20115. Midnight in ParisThis was a delight for several reasons, maybe the most satisfying being that Woody Allen finally got the (modern) audience he deserved. The film is no less of an amazement, as Allen takes us on a whimsical romp through The City of Lights of the 1920s.
The Best of 20114. The DescendantsGeorge Clooney is the most reliable actor in Hollywood and Alexander Payne may hold that accolade for American auteurs. Here Payne creates another human portrait and Clooney, along with great support from the young Shailene Woodley, carry this film to touching and unexpected places.
The Best of 20113. Jane EyreI caught this early in the year, and its one that's stuck with me throughout. Cary Fukunaga, following up his likewise beautiful and haunting "Sin Nombre", creates a wonderment of a film from Charlotte Bronte's novel. Against an indelibly captured gloomy British countryside, Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender give passionate and affecting performances.
The Best of 20112. DriveDrawing from innumerable action thriller, Nicolas Winding Refn has created "Drive", one of the most grabbing films that I can remember. Ryan Gosling is compelling as an existential stuntman/wheelman echoing Alain Delon in "Le Samourai" and Clint's The Man with No Name, and Albert Brooks has a phenomenal turn as a ruthless business investor.
The Best of 20111. HugoMartin Scorsese's film is at once an ode to the early days of movie making and an exercise in movie making at its finest. Employing the finest use of 3D to date, Scorsese takes us on a journey with unexpected delights around every corner. Asa Butterfield and Chloe Grace Morentz are ideal as the young stars, Ben Kingsley is wonderful in support, and Sacha Baron Cohen provides humorous comic relief. "Hugo" is a testament both to Scorsese's directorial prowess and the power and wonder of the movies.
note: There's still many well-received films on the horizon for this calender award year which won't reach the area before January.

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