My Top Ten (Or Twelve) of 2011
This was a really tough list to make and as I look at everything the conclusion I've come to was that there were a lot of GOOD movies that came out last year...but there weren't a ton of GREAT ones. But I will say that these ten movies, (and I'm actually going to cheat and include a couple ties which brings it to 12.. ) I enjoyed above the rest and thought were worth my time.
10. TIE Midnight in Paris
This movie contains beautiful scenery and a wonderful message. It takes place in one of my favorite cities in the entire world and it has a delightful plot. I feel like everyone is having a fabulous time in their parts...but for some reason as much as I admire this movie I still can't say I'm sure that I love it. It is very simplistic when it comes down to it and I don't know if I just can't get over my expectations that I wanted it to be a little more...I wanted it to blow me away. But still as it is, it is a very enjoyable and visually beautiful film and it has a lot of great things to say.
10. TIE Take Shelter
This film about a man on the verge of a nervous breakdown (or perhaps in the midst of one..), as he becomes preoccupied with building a storm shelter in his backyard, was absolutely fascinating all throughout. The performances were all spectacular here and the director did a great job of creating a constant doubt that the audience is never sure of what's really going on...what is reality and what isn't. I really enjoyed this...I just wish I knew a little more what to make of the ending. Then again sometimes ambiguous endings are half the fun of more serious films...where the audience gets more of a say of what they think happened...
9. Like Crazy
Original review HERE. Another film I wanted to love but only ended up liking. This movie's setup was either completely lacking or completely spoiled by the trailer or both. Make me CARE about your characters and show me why they need to be together. Wait a minute why is it on the list then? Gosh, this list is starting to sound realllll negative. Okay, okay, let's get positive then. Well flawed as it is, I still do appreciate it's a more realistic approach to romance and the ending almost completely made up for all of its faults. The imagery was gorgeous and I think it had a lot of worthwhile things to say. So while it wasn't up to the standard of (500) Days of Summer, I would say it is still far above many Hollywood romances being put out today.
8. The Muppets
Original review HERE (well the first paragraph anyway..) Okay, I know that half of my family loved this and the other half wasn't all that impressed haha. But I really enjoyed this movie. Maybe it was seeing it with my nephew and really seeing his excitement to it, but I honestly was laughing and enjoying myself all throughout. I will admit that I can see that it already doesn't have the best re-watch factor as my second experience viewing it I definitely noticed the length a bit more. I've always thought the muppets were fun characters so for me I really thought their latest adventure was just some silly fun.
Original review HERE Let's get some things straight. I don't love baseball....and I HATE math. But somehow I found Moneyball to be fascinating... which is saying a lot. Maybe it's because Aaron Sorkin who helped write the Moneyball script also wrote The Social Network. The pacing of both films is incredibly similar and I was captivated by both. In addition to the script, it is Brad Pitt's surprisingly strong performance and his bro-chemistry with Jonah Hill that really makes the movie.
6. Super 8
Original review HERE Okay, it's kinda true that this movie doesn't really have an original thing going for it. But what I love is that it takes so many elements from other great films and still somehow makes it its own. The movie to me feels like a love letter to filmmaking as well as the art of popcorn flicks. I love the kids' passion and enthusiasm for their film and seeing it in the credits is probably the best part of the whole movie. The marketing really helped me to have no expectations and since I didn't know what to expect I just had a blast.
Original review HERE Like Super 8, this movie isn't really giving us anything we haven't seen before. But the WAY it's given somehow feels fresh and new. Kristen Wiig is a very talented comedic actress and she really makes the movie work. She really deserves the credit because the movie wouldn't work without her (and of course it is also worthy to note that Melissa McCarthy does give a pretty hilarious performance here too.) This movie is just incredibly funny and maybe I just love it a little bit more because I feel like sometimes lately Wiig's character's terrible life is my life too.
4. TIE The Artist
Original review HERE. I put this film with its tie because they just have so much in common. 2011 seemed to be the year of paying tribute to the cinema. And trust me I loved that. So much detail was put into this movie with EVERYTHING (but especially the period..) and it shows. It looks impeccable and it's really hard not to find the movie pretty likable. I wouldn't say it blew me away, but it really made me think of film as an art form and made me appreciate how far it has come.
4. TIE Hugo
Original review HERE. Yep. The other love letter to the movies. I honestly can't really decide which one I like better. The cinematography and imagery in this film are just spectacular. ESPECIALLY when viewing the film in 3D. I absolutely LOVED this movie when it became all about the cinema...the problem was the pacing before that that took so long to get us to that point. But for that second half I truly love it.
3. The Descendants
I loved this movie. It just worked for me. I found it heartbreaking and fascinating. I thought George Clooney's performance was real and honest. This movie had a lot of duality and showed the complexity that can arise from situations in life. The characters and situations seemed so real to me because we saw the full scope of them and how flawed the things and people really were. I honestly just thought this was a great portrait of a family's struggle.
Okay this movie is kinda ape shiz bizarre. But in a way that I CAN get behind unlike how I struggled with The Tree of Life. There's creativity in art and then sometimes I feel like there's art just for art's sake....and in a bad way (though I did feel that Tree of Life had its moments..) Melancholia was absolutely fascinating all throughout. I like that after it's weird little opening montage it starts with a sweet innocent scene giving you a first impression of its characters that it then completely turns upside down by the time the film is over. The movie is told in two perspectives and as each go on you really get a glimpse at who these people really are. But in the end, it still is only a glimpse and these mysteries stay with the viewer. I couldn't recommend it to many people, but I honestly thought it was completely fascinating.
Original review HERE. JGL you've done it again. 3 years in a row you feature in a movie that tops my list (and coincidentally the only years I've posted my top ten on this blog...because I've only had the blog that long ha.) This movie had it all for me. Characters I cared about, humor, drama, strong plot and actual meaning. Definitely one of the movies with the biggest heart on the list and for me, it was far and away above everything I saw last year. Congrats JGL. Perhaps with The Dark Knight Rises you just might pull a fourpeat.
My Week With Marilyn (soooo close. if only the main character had actually LEARNED something this movie would be up there for sure.) Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Source Code, Martha Marcy May Marlene, X-men: First Class, Hanna, Horrible Bosses and Young Adult.