Lists / Movies

My Top Ten Movies of 2011

Every movie buff/critic/pundit/hack has one. These are my top ten movies of 2011. Granted, there are still movies that I wanted to see that I just didn’t have a chance to check out and short of going to a Redbox and emptying out 21 DVDs, I’ve capped it at what I’ve seen thus far.

So the 21 titles that I have not seen but will eventually in the new year are:

Bridesmaids, Crazy Stupid Love, Limitless, Water for Elephants, Jumping the Broom, Your Highness, The Big Year, Cedar Rapids, Beginners, My Week with Marilyn, Martha Marcy May Marlene, A Better Life, Attack the Block, The Artist, The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame, Circumstance, Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop, Happythankyoumoreplease, Ip Man 2, Being Elmo.

Those titles having been listed, I’m pretty confident in the titles I have listed below and I only see a few from the ones above that might bump a title below from the list.

Honorable Mentions: Fast Five, The Help, Unknown, Source Code, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, The Ides of March, The Debt, Everything Must Go, Take Shelter, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol IMAX and Hugo.

So with that in mind, here are my top ten movies of 2011 (in no particular order, until the very end).

Thanks for the memories guys. *sniff*

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 – Sure it’s a bit of a sentimental pick, but it’s coupled with the sobering and devastating reality that there will be no more Potter movies. Spanning ten years and eight movies, the final stanza picked up and finished where Part 1 left off with grace and a bittersweet farewell.

Kung Fu Panda 2 – This movie didn’t earn 12 Annie nominations for nothing. Plus, I love Po. Though this movie does have its sticking points, it’s still entertaining throughout and that’s not something I can say for a lot of the other family animated films this year that kids were pretty much bored with midway through.

The Lincoln Lawyer – A pleasant surprise, I actually didn’t seek this movie out. I figured it would be just a smarmy Matthew McConaughey legal drama. William H. Macy is what makes this movie for me. His performance as McConaughey’s buddy Frank Levin (sounds like Frank Drebin from Naked Gun) sealed the deal  while Ryan Phillippe brooded innocence and Marisa Tomei cashed in another solid supporting performance.

Arthur Christmas – A shame more people didn’t seek this movie out. Trying to find a new take on the same old Christmas movie isn’t easy and Christmas managed to find a unique and thoroughly entertaining adventure. I wistfully await a Grandpa Santa spin-off!

Nick Nolte trains Tom Hardy just in case The Academy snubs him.

Warrior – Another movie that sort of fell off by the wayside. While Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton give strong performances, the real show-stealer here is Nick Nolte. Such a raw and heart-breaking performance.

Margin Call – As far as ensemble pieces go, this is sort of the anti-thesis of The Help. Where The Help gradually builds toward a happy ending via the virtually sitcom-ish chocolate pie gag, Margin Call ends on a down note. Fine performances from the first frame with Zachary Quinto, Penn Badgley and Paul Bettany. Kevin Spacey is excellent as is Stanley Tucci and Simon Baker with Jeremy Irons playing such a deliciously smarmy villain.

Like Crazy – While Anton Yelchin is good and Jennifer Lawrence makes a commendable cameo, the real star/revelation here is Felicity Jones. She will break your heart several times over in this devastatingly emotional love story.

13 Assassins – Miike is already a legend. And then he goes and pieces together this little masterpiece. While the first hour or so is spent establishing what a bad guy Inagaki Goro’s Lord Naritsugu is and the formation of our renegade band of avengers, the final forty minute non-stop battle sequence is pure brilliance. The final showdown could have been better executed, but after watching forty minutes of action, I suppose Miike figured nothing could top that.

The Adventures of Tintin – First, let me say that I did not follow the Tintin book series and until this movie had no idea that it existed. Some people might have been bored with the overly-simple plot (Tintin is looking for treasure. That’s it.) but I appreciated watching what Spielberg did with the CGI and how the action flowed almost seamlessly from one sequence to another. And I loved Snowy.

Woody + Rachel + Paris = Win.

Midnight in Paris – Here’s where we get specific in this list. This movie, is hands down, my favorite movie of 2011. And oddly enough, it has nothing to do with Rachel McAdams’ name in the cast list. This is all Woody, with his trademark intellectual wit combined with dazzling cinematography and Corey Stoll stealing scenes as Ernest Hemingway. The praise may be going to The Descendants, The Artist and a host of other movies, but in my book (and this blog), my Best Picture of 2011 is Midnight in Paris.

And so it’s on to 2012. A few movies I’m already looking forward to: The Avengers, The Hobbit, Underworld: Awakening, a bit skeptical about Dark Knight Rises but In Nolan I Trust, curious to see if The Hunger Games lives up to it’s hype and how Skyfall turns out. Will Contraband, Total Recall, Django Unchained and American Reunion be worth the time to check out? I’m sure I’ll get sucked into seeing The Expendables 2, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Men in Black III, The Amazing Spider-Man, Snow White and the Huntsman, John Carter and Mr. Spielberg’s 2013 Academy Awards entry Lincoln. And yes, I will be there to see The Vow. 🙂 It’s gonna be a busy year! Looking forward to it! Happy New Year everyone!

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