We’re four weeks into 2012, and though I’ve been gone for a while, it’s time to take a look back at 2011. The first half of the year was a bit dismal as I mentioned back in June. There were but a few shining beacons at that time, but that changed in the last six months as quite a few movies had strong showings and exceeded expectations.
Here is the article I wrote earlier this year, highlighting the best films from January to June, some of them will show up here, maybe not in the same order, but they’ll be here. With that in mind, it’s time to take a look back at 2011.
Green Lantern- One of the most highly anticipated comic book heroes made it to the big screen, and totally stunk up the place.
Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark – Guillermo Del Toro produced and lent his name to one of the lamest horror movies in recent history.
The Rum Diary – I had high hopes for this film, something along the same line as Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, it didn’t happen. I am upset that Giovanni Ribisi didn’t get any award love. He turned in a fantastic performance.
Most Overlooked Films:
Hanna – A solid thriller from start to finish that I implore everybody go out and see.
Warrior—An inspirational sports film that stands with the best of them. Solid cast, with a much deserved Oscar Nod going to Nick Nolte.
Cedar Rapids—One of the funniest films of the year that totally got bypassed in the awards season.
Best Animated Film:
Rango—This homage to everything western, was without a doubt the best animated film this year, easily surpassing The Adventures of Tin Tin and Cars 2.
The Top Twelve Films of 2011
12. X-Men: First Class – The best comic movie of the year, and a film that completely redeemed the franchise. Plus it introduced a main stream audience to Michael Fassbender, and his fantastic acting chops.
11. Rise of the Planet of the Apes – Action, comedy, drama, strong acting and a captivating story led Rise to becoming one of the most successful movies of the year.
10. The Muppets – Great music, hilarious writing that never took itself seriously, and a wonderful cast with several awesome cameos pushed this into the top ten of the year.
9. Moneyball – A movie that surpassed the typical sports genre film, and stood for something greater. It was a story of hope, redemption, faith, a true underdog tale.
8. 50/50—This movie hit close to home, I’m sure it will for a lot of people. The script and Joseph Gordon-Levitt are what stood out here, leading to a realistic, emotional, powerful film.
7. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo—It was inevitable. Hollywood had to have its own version of the story done, but they couldn’t have chosen a better director than David Fincher. His vision for the movie held stronger to the spirit of the books than the Swedish versions. Rooney Mara proved to be someone worth watching in the future.
6. The Artist—A homage to the early days of Hollywood. A great story that will make you laugh and cry. Oh, and it’s silent and Black and White. It boasts two of the best acting performances this year, and a charming score.
5. Tree of Life—Beautiful, redemptive, inspiring, abstract. It’s poetry on film.
4. Midnight in Paris—Owen Wilson charms his way through this fantastical story. Woody Allen directs this charmer and highlights a beautiful city that he is obviously in love with. This is a passionate film, made in a passionate manner.
3. Hugo—Martin Scorsese caught everyone off guard when he made a family movie, shot in 3-D; two firsts for him. Like The Artist, it paid homage to an earlier time in film, and it may have done so in a more memorable way.
2. The Descendants—George Clooney puts in one of his greatest performances ever, in a film that resonates through time and space. It seems simplistic at the beginning, yet it tackles several major themes: family, relationship, love,
1. Drive—Beautiful, tragic, horrific, passionate, mysterious, enlightening, funny, sad, and a plethora of other things. Ryan Gosling and Albert Brooks put in two career highlight performances, while Nicholas Winding Refn directed a taut, suspenseful, masterpiece.