Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Overstreet

Our favorite movies of 2011

85 posts in this topic

You know those people who explain each film in their Top 10 list -- why they chose it, what the film's strengths are, etc.?

I'm not one of those people.

Call me lazy, but you guys have read my posts here and know what I've liked, and why. So here's the list I came up with. I suppose the only surprise might be #7, because it was technically a 2010 release that I didn't see until January of 2011:

1. The Tree of Life

2. Drive

3. Melancholia

4. Win Win

5. Moneyball

6. Of Gods and Men

7. The Way Back

8. Certified Copy

9. A Dangerous Method

10. The Adventures of Tintin

As posted on Facebook, the films that didn't make the cut but which would've made for a more diverse -- perhaps unexpected? -- list are:

Buck

The Descendants

The Trip

Hugo

Fast Five

Young Adult

We Need to Talk About Kevin

Meek's Cutoff

Project Nim

Into the Abyss

Winnie the Pooh

The Interrupters

Finally, I saw Le Havre last night and refused to include it among my best of the year -- it's too fresh, need to let it sit for a little while -- but I think I loved it and now want to see more Kaurasmaki.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking 2011 over, I clearly saw more good 2010 films (Of Gods and Men, Certified Copy, Beginners, Another Year, Meek's Cutoff, The Way Back, The Illusionist, The Tempest, Waiting For Superman, Cave of Forgotten Dreams) than I saw good 2011 films.

(...)

Not much of a list given that there are at least 33 other 2011 films here that I still have to see:

I think that leaves about 150 other 2011 films that I probably won't ever see. But it's this Arts and Faith community that has allowed me to separate the above 32 as worth seeing from the other 150. Thus, everyone - thanks, and keep up with your lists.

I'm adding a few more to my "to be viewed" list, but if I have to limit myself to films released in 2011 according to IMDb.com, my list will be even shorter. My definition of "2011 films" is "films that came to a theater in my area and/or were released on DVD in 2011." A lot of movies that hit the festival circuit in 2010 or that were released just in time to qualify for 2011 Academy Awards never saw the light of the boondocks theaters until 2011.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Carnage, for example, open here later this month.

Edited by BethR

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Going by the theatrical release in New York rule:

1. Mysteries of Lisbon (Raúl Ruiz)

2. Film Socialisme (Jean-Luc Godard)

3. Certified Copy (Abbas Kiarostami)

4. To Die Like a Man (João Pedro Rodrigues)

5. Meek's Cutoff (Kelly Reichardt)

6. House of Pleasures (Bertrand Bonello)

7. The Arbor (Clio Barnard)

8. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (Apichatpong Weerasethakul)

9. My Joy (Sergei Loznitsa)

10. Tuesday, After Christmas (Radu Muntean)

Or something like that. I hadn't realized until I tallied everything up yesterday just how few films I watched in 2011 -- so few, in fact, that I'm not even going to do a list of the favorite older films I saw for the first time in 2011. Work and family are eating up more of my time these days, I guess. I did watch more new releases than normal, though. Nearly 50. I suspect that's due to Twitter, which is such a fun of-the-moment discussion tool.

As much as I've always respected you, our tastes haven't always aligned. I'm very pleased, though, that this year presents an exception, and we can both agree on the merits of MYSTERIES OF LISBON.

Your list reminds me that I still need to see UNCLE BOONMEE.

Edited by Ryan H.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your list reminds me that I still need to see UNCLE BOONMEE.

You do. It made my list last year. And you remind me to keep MYSTERIES OF LISBON close to the top of my "to watch" list.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My top ten. For now, anyway. (Still to come: Margaret. Tuesday After Christmas. Tinker Tailor Soldier Oldman.)

To be clear: These are films that had a commercial release in America in 2011. Some of them premiered at a festival or in some other special exhibition in 2010. So... for my archiving purposes at LookingCloser.org, my top 10 of 2011 are only those dated "2011" here.

1. Certified Copy (2010)

2. The Tree of Life (2011)

3. The Mill and the Cross (2010)

4. Of Gods and Men (2010)

5. Buck (2011)

6. Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011)

7. Nostalgia for the Light (2011)

8. Meek's Cutoff (2010)

9. War Horse (2011)

10-11. (tie) The Muppets (2011) and Winnie the Pooh (2011)

12. Take Shelter (2011)

13. Win Win (2011)

Edited by Overstreet

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Christian:

Call me lazy

I would never call you lazy, Christian. I won't even rank my list, much less explain why I chose them. (I do make little notes in my film journal).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My list at this point, unfortunately, has more films in the "haven't yet seen/been able to see (a lot of them haven't come to Albuquerque yet, or are long gone)" category, but here it is anyway.

Favorite Films (in order):

The Tree of Life

Melancholia

Take Shelter (the most tense movie of the year).

Of Gods and Men (no need to say anything, I suspect).

A few words, while Melancholia was indeed, in my opinion, probably the second best (new) film I've seen this year, it's not actually my second favorite. In my opinion, it's great when paired with The Tree of Life. One film contemplates existence with God, the other existence without God.

To someone who's struggling with faith, walking out of Melancholia six or so months after walking out of The Tree of Life, was a unique experience.

Overstreet has critiqued Melancholia critiqued on the grounds that it constitutes "audience abuse." Is von Trier guilty? Most probably. But the film (in addition to being aesthetically one of the year's finest accomplishments) is also quite funny, albeit in a very dark way. Is the film ultimately hopeless? Yes, but I wasn't left hopeless. I found the 'experience' of Melancholia (which is distinct from the film itself) to be meaningful, so that's why it's on the list. I don't necessarily recommend it, and I don't feel the need to get the blu-ray, but I imagine I'll come back to it a few years down the road to contemplate, once again, life without God.

Good, but not “best of”:

Meek’s Cutoff (this might move up to the "favorites" when I have time to see it again).

Jane Eyre

Everything Must Go

Rango (best animated film of the year and, as Overstreet put it in his honorable mention list, an excellent "consolation" prize in light of Cars 2).

Win Win

Hugo

Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol

Haven't Yet Seen:

Martha Marcy May Marlene

Certified Copy

The Mill and the Cross (comes to ABQ late January or early February).

Midnight in Paris

The Descendants

The Artist

Beginners

The Cave of Forgotten Dreams

Drive

Attack the Block

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

4. To Die Like a Man (João Pedro Rodrigues)

9. My Joy (Sergei Loznitsa)

Very bummed about not being able to catch these two. I really love Tuesday, After Christmas, but would like another chance with it.

In general, though, I was more excited about this year of cinema that I should have been. I don't actually like my list as much as I thought I would. 2008 still reigns supreme for this decade I think.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My Joy and Tuesday, After Christmas could both easily be replaced by a couple other films, and they might be by the time I get around to writing an actual year-end recap. I'd like to rewatch all of these films side-by-side. I saw Mysteries of Lisbon on Saturday and To Die Like a Man 28 months ago. Stacking them in a list is an absurd exercise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is my first attempt at a top 10 list, going by films that I saw in the theater some time in 2011 (even though I don't think #7 would otherwise qualify as a 2011 film). And the precise order is still open to some fluctuation (though the top 3 are most likely going to stay up there)

1. The Tree of Life

2. Certified Copy

3. Of Gods and Men

4. Cave of Forgotten Dreams

5. The Mill and the Cross

6. Rango

7. Summer Wars

8. Moneyball

9. Win Win

10. Hugo

Edited by Crow

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

2. The Way

5. Bill Cunningham New York

I'm so pleased! Two humble little movies that just haven't gotten a ton of critical praise, but both of which really reached me. I think our tastes often align on this sort of film.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My top ten. For now, anyway. (Still to come: Margaret. Tuesday After Christmas. Tinker Tailor Soldier Oldman.)

Have you seen Tinker Tailor yet? Is it worth paying full price for? The main criticism I've heard is that it's incomprehensible and, consequently, not worthwhile. I found the miniseries somewhat incomprehensible and worthwhile, though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Haven't seen it. Hopefully this weekend. I loved the miniseries, I love Oldman, and I loved Let the Right One In, so we'll see.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My top ten. For now, anyway. (Still to come: Margaret. Tuesday After Christmas. Tinker Tailor Soldier Oldman.)

Have you seen Tinker Tailor yet? Is it worth paying full price for? The main criticism I've heard is that it's incomprehensible and, consequently, not worthwhile. I found the miniseries somewhat incomprehensible and worthwhile, though.

Haven't seen it. Hopefully this weekend. I loved the miniseries, I love Oldman, and I loved Let the Right One In, so we'll see.

Saw it today and found it stunning. Watching Alfredson's framing and choice in shot sequencing took my breath away on more than one occasion. I have talked with several people who found the film emotionally distant and could not relate to the characters; but I was moved several times. I will write more in the proper thread; but one of the years best.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can't decide if this comment posted to my favorites list at Image is someone deliberately trying to provoke me, or if they're serious. I'm inclined to think they're serious.

Me and you certainly have different tastes in movies, because my absolute favorite film from last year was the final Harry Potter film, and Happy Feet 2, Cars 2, Dolphin Tale, Soul Surfer, and African Cats weren't far behind. For me 2011 was all about eye-popping animation, gorgeous scenery, touching inspirational tales, and in the case of Harry Potter the greatest film series of all-time coming to an emotionally challenging end.
Edited by Overstreet

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Haven't Yet Seen:

Martha Marcy May Marlene

Certified Copy

The Mill and the Cross (comes to ABQ late January or early February).

Midnight in Paris

The Descendants

The Artist

Beginners

The Cave of Forgotten Dreams

Drive

Attack the Block

In the last week, I have seen "Beginners," "Attack the Block," "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" (which I forgot to put on there), and in the next week or so I plan to add "Certified Copy," The Mill and the Cross," "Drive," "Midnight in Paris," and "le havre" to the list. Most of the others remain inaccessible for the moment ("Martha Marcy May Marlene" doesn't come out on blu-ray until February, I think). Someone should give me a high-five or something.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tuesday, After Christmas

On Netflix watch-it-now. It hasn't been my favorite from this squad of directors in recent memory, but worth watching.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Timothy, how are you seeing Le Havre? (That one I ask for myself, although it will be on a screen here in a few weeks.)

And (this one matters to the viewing itself) how are you seeing The Mill and the Cross?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Timothy, how are you seeing Le Havre? (That one I ask for myself, although it will be on a screen here in a few weeks.)

And (this one matters to the viewing itself) how are you seeing The Mill and the Cross?

I'll see both in the theater - The Mill and the Cross is here (Albuquerque) next week, and Le Havre is the first week of February.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm so glad you're seeing Mill and the Cross in a theatre. That's the only way to see that movie.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm so glad you're seeing Mill and the Cross in a theatre. That's the only way to see that movie.

A small theater, but a theater nevertheless (we just got new seats, though!) :)

Which brings up a more general question I've wondered about: What does independent cinema look like in bigger/more mid-size cities?

Here in Albuquerque, we only have one truly independent theater, which is a true theater in the sense that there is only one screen. The screen, I'd guess, is about 20-30 feet wide and (if this is any good as a reference) about 10% to 15% smaller than the small-size commercial screens here in ABQ. It's dwarfed by the big screens in commercial cinemas, but I quite like its quaintness

The Cinemark theater downtown picks up bigger independent films (The Tree of Life, Beginners, Tinker Tailor, Meeks' Cutoff for some reason), and the other commercial theaters do as well, although on a more limited scale.

The University of New Mexico also has a small theater that shows independent/foreign/classic cinema on the weekends (for example, they showed The Tree of Life and In a Better World last semester).

I relish the opportunity to see Mill and the Cross in a theater, and not on a 40" TV screen, but how big a screen did you get to see it on?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Timothy Zila wrote:

: I relish the opportunity to see Mill and the Cross in a theater, and not on a 40" TV screen, but how big a screen did you get to see it on?

Cinema 7 at the Empire Granville 7. One of the biggest screens in town. (Or at least, it was, before the stadium-style theatres came along. And it might still be, I don't know.) Woo-hoo!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll watch a good documentary on my iPod, I really don't care. In fact, the sound is better that way.

It's different with The Mill and the Cross though. I can understand a case being made that this film should only be seen in the theater.

I saw it on a good sized screen in a regular theater. The visuals blew me away. I'm a sucker for visuals, sometimes placing them as a higher priority than narrative - as is the case with Amer, one of the greatest horror movies to come out in the past several years.

But The Mill and the Cross stays with you not only because of the rich, mind-bending visuals, but because of the ideas in the film that are conveyed with those incredible shots.

Oh, and I wasn't picking on you. Sorry, didn't mean to come across that way. 40" will no doubt work. (edit: sorry, only saw the last two posts... didn't understand that your question was probably directed at Jeffrey, and didn't see that you were seeing it in a theater.)

I do wonder whether the film loses its power if not seen in the theater setting though.

Edited by Persona

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0