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Our favorite movies of 2011


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#21 Persona

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 11:08 PM

Gotta admit I'm surprised at this point that I have eight that could make a list, given my lack of time as the final months wound down. I also must admit that seven of the eight I'm quite excited about - at this point, number eight is one that I think I could be talked into.

As per usual, I'm not a paid guy, and these probably don't all qualify. For instance, #1 is recorded at IMDB as a fall 2010 film. But, eeh. It counts for me.

1. Amer
2. Certified Copy
3. Tree of Life
4. The Mill and the Cross
5. 50/50
6. Insidious
7. Midnight in Paris
8. Of Gods and Men

The more I think about it, I'd want to throw Budrus on the list, no matter what year it qualifies as. Few films are really "important." Budrus is. I saw it in a theater in 2011, maybe that's all it needs to qualify for my list.

Going to be seeing Bill Cunningham New York and Incendies in the next day... I'll also be seeing Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, but I don't think even I could let it qualify as 2011.

Too bad White Material can't count.

#22 Darren H

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 10:22 AM

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.

#23 Overstreet

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 11:44 AM

Part One of my list is up at Image.

#24 BethR

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 11:44 AM

Disclaimer: No doubt many will scoff at my list, but remember that, like Persona, I don't get paid to see movies. Also, my criteria can be subjective, including such factors as "Did it make me laugh/cry/smile/swoon?" Also, I'm easily amused, though I don't care for explosions, horror, or despair. And I'm pretty sure that on the list of 2011 movies I have yet to see are some that should be on my "best" list, but I won't see them until the DVDs get to me.

In viewing order:
Jane Eyre
Midnight in Paris
The Way
Moneyball
The Muppets
Buck
Hugo
Made in Dagenham
War Horse
We Bought a Zoo

2011 movies I still want to see:
The Descendants
Of Gods and Men
The Tree of Life
Certified Copy
The Mill and the Cross
Another Earth
The Artist
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (opens here later this month)
Machine Gun Preacher
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (opens here later this month)

Edited by BethR, 02 January 2012 - 09:08 PM.


#25 J.A.A. Purves

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 05:09 PM

1 - The Tree of Life
2 - The Mill and the Cross
3 - The Sunset Limited
4 - Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
5 - Hugo
6 - Take Shelter
7 - A Separation
8 - Boardwalk Empire (Season Two)
9 - The Adjustment Bureau
10 - Midnight in Paris

11 - Damsels in Distress
12 - Coriolanus
13 - Game of Thrones (Season One)
14 - The Loneliest Planet
15 - Le Havre
16 - Machine Gun Preacher
17 - Margaret
18 - Tyrannosaur
19 - Downton Abbey (Season Two)
20 - Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

21 - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II
22 - Moneyball
23 - The Swell Season
24 - Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol
25 - My Week With Marilyn
26 - The Artist
27 - Drive
28 - Martha Marcy May Marlene
29 - The Dilemma
30 - Winnie the Pooh

31 - The Rum Diary

To See List of 20: Another Earth, Barrymore, Carnage, Chicken with Plums, Declaration of War, The Descendants, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Faust, The Flowers of War, The Hunter, In the Land of Blood and Honey, The Iron Lady, Jane Eyre, The Kid with a Bike, Kill List, The Lady, Shame, The Way, Wilde Salome, We Need to Talk About Kevin

Edited by J.A.A. Purves, 31 December 2012 - 01:33 PM.


#26 Christian

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 05:27 PM

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.

#27 BethR

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 09:01 PM

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, 02 January 2012 - 09:07 PM.


#28 Ryan H.

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 09:06 PM

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., 02 January 2012 - 09:09 PM.


#29 Anders

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 11:25 PM

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.

#30 Overstreet

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 10:06 AM

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, 04 January 2012 - 05:25 PM.


#31 M. Leary

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 11:11 AM

My list for the year, with a Kaurismaki caveat.

#32 BethR

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 04:53 PM

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).

#33 Timothy Zila

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 06:48 PM

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

#34 M. Leary

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 09:54 AM

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.

#35 Darren H

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 10:10 AM

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.

#36 Crow

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 02:03 PM

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, 04 January 2012 - 02:06 PM.


#37 Ron Reed

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 04:04 AM

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.

#38 Timothy Zila

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 03:24 PM

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.

#39 Overstreet

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 04:39 PM

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.

#40 rjkolb

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 09:19 PM


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.