As 2011 draws to a close it’s the perfect opportunity for us to reflect on our favourite films from the past twelve months, so we’re currently posting the top ten film lists from our team of contributors.
For the purposes of this poll we’ve only included films that were released in the UK in 2011.
Glen’s Films of the Year 2011
I haven’t been able to get to the cinema as much as I usually do this year, due to the birth of my daughter, so my list of films to choose from was significantly smaller than previous years but looking what I’ve got below and the amount of films that I’ve missed I think it’s safe to say that 2011 has been a pretty damn good year for cinema.
10. Animal Kingdom (Dir: David Michod)
This small film about a look at the life of an Australian crime family was a long time in the making but very much worth the wait. Tightly paced with hugely emotional scenes throughout, this film is always compelling.
9. Insidious (Dir: James Wan)
I know for a fact that a certain other writer for this site will have this high on his list and for good reason; it’s quite brilliant. There’s not enough good fun house horror like this and Drag Me To Hell around in my view. Sure the scares are sometimes cheap but mostly the build of tension is masterful and when a filmmaker can get your adrenaline going you know they’ve done a good job.
8. Thor (Dir: Kenneth Branagh)
I often judge films on how I feel immediately after watching them; this practice can sometimes be dangerous but it’s often a fair indication as to how you really feel about a film. After Thor I was buzzing with excitement having had the most fun I’d had with a super hero movie since the first Iron Man. The fish out of water stuff is played up for comedic effect and the Shakespearian themes add a touch of class to this well balanced and highly entertaining superhero movie.
7. Hobo With A Shotgun (Dir: Jason Eisener)
The best thing to come from the Grindhouse double bill; Jason Eisener’s debut feature captures the spirit of Troma’s glory days with a ludicrous and spectacularly violent piece of cinema that repulses as much as it delights. Worthy of a place on this list for introducing The Plague who need their own spin off movie damn soon.
6. Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes (Dir: Rupert Wyatt)
Quite simply the finest summer blockbuster in years. I wasn’t expecting much when I saw the trailer but was incredibly pleased with the finished results; a sophisticated blockbuster that allows you the time to invest in the characters and pays off with some spectacular action. Plus an ape rides a horse. AN APE RIDES A HORSE!
5. Red State (Dir: Kevin Smith)
I’d acknowledge that I’ve seen plenty of “better” films this year but Kevin Smith’s break from cock jokes after his disastrous foray into the buddy cop genre marks his most mature and accomplished work to date and is one of the year’s most interesting films. Many have complained of the uneven tone but this for me is what makes it such a success; never predictable both in terms of narrative and thematically the film kept me on the edge of my seat and really left a lasting impression.
4. 13 Assassins (Dir: Takashi Miike)
‘Mental’ Miike matured magnificently in this ultra violent samurai flick that’s a tale of two halves; the first focusing on the formation of the band of assassins and their planning of an assassination and the second half explodes into all out action madness with a relentless and epic battle sequence that has few rivals.
3. Moneyball (Dir: Bennett Miller)
Baseball and statistics may not seem a winning combination for most but this film is about so much more; it’s a classic underdog story that focuses on relationships between men who share the determination to change a sport. Jonah Hill has never been better and it’s Brad Pitt’s finest performance in years.
2. Hanna (Dir: Joe Wright)
Joe Wright’s take on the assassin genre featured some of the finest action set pieces this year but the performances, soundtrack and twisted fairytale story line helped propel this to be my favourite of the year for some time. I’ve watched it a number of times this year and it holds up incredibly well on repeat viewing.
1. Drive (Dir: Nicholas Winding Refn)
Stunning in almost every way; not a film for everyone, as the fools complaining that it wasn’t Fast And The Furious prove, but for most film fans this will have no doubt been one of the years stand out films.