Friday, January 06, 2012
Best of 2011 - Movies
1. The Artist. Director Michel Hazanavicius and stars Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo of OSS 117 fame re-teamed for this beautifully shot and lovingly rendered homage to the silent film era. A thoroughly entertaining film with a wonderful story at its heart. In a year where the love of cinema was an important theme in movies (see Hugo, Super 8, War Horse, Drive, for example)--just as moviegoers continue to show less interest in actually going to movies--this arty gem shined the brightest.
2. 50/50. Cancer is no laughing matter, but 50/50 managed the perfect balance of comedy and tragedy in this sweet portrait of a young man battling cancer and his allies that support him through it.
3. Drive. Drive manages the rather remarkable feat of paying homage to cheap '80s action flicks with a pitch-perfect production and all-star cast led by Ryan Gosling, with his best performance in a stand-out year. Let's also not forget Albert Brooks playing against type in a truly scary role.
4. Hugo. I didn't plan to see this movie and didn't know what to expect when I went into it. So I was pleasantly surprised that it was absolutely dazzling, telling love story about the movies that also pays tribute to the feats of engineering that make things work.
5. Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Part 2. Harry Potter movies tend to be good but not great, until now. This no-holds-barred finale was a fitting end to the film series, masterfully depicting the books' thrilling and revealing conclusion.
6. The Descendants. George Clooney sheds his usual studly demeanor to play a flawed father struggling to keep his teenage daughters in check while his wife lays dying after a boating accident. Hawaii never looked this real.
7. War Horse. Sure it's a bit over the top, but it this gorgeously retro war film from Spielberg proves the director still knows how to manipulating our hearts like no one else. Since there are so many films about World War II, it's nice to see media turn to World War I more this year (see Downton Abbey).
8. Midnight in Paris. Woody Allen's moved on from London to Paris, spinning this whimsical time-traveling tribute to great figures in historical literature. Owen Wilson's great comeback.
9. Moneyball. I'm not really into baseball, so that this movie was so engrossing despite that, was really something. Another great performance from Brad Pitt.
10. Bridesmaids. Proving that gross-out humor isn't just for the guys, Kristen Wiig and the gang scored a major summer hit and a major star-making turn for Melissa McCarthy.
Honorable mention: Hanna, Shame, The Tree of Life, The Ides of March, Crazy Stupid Love, Super 8