As is customary this time of year, I’ve put together a list of ten movies that I thought were better than the rest. Here they are.
01 Super 8 – My number 1 film hasn’t even appeared in most people’s top tens, but for me Super 8 captured the complete magic of cinema. As the kids in the movie discover the joys of filmmaking we’re caught up in movie every bit as enthralling. Capturing nostalgia, thrills, action, a sense of childlike wonder and heartfelt emotion, it’s the film that captivated me the most in 2011.
02 Drive – If you aggregate all the movie blog polls Drive would probably come out on top. A stylish thriller that’s dark and absorbing, with minimal dialogue but an excellent performance from the now superstar Gosling.
03 Weekend – Sometimes a film makes a personal connection and forces its way into your psyche. That happened for me with Weekend. Essentially a brilliant indie romance but full relevant social commentary while never overtly forcing its issues.
04 The Skin I Live In – Bizarre and creepy rather than outright scary, it’s the kind of horror film I like. At the time I never expected it to chart so highly in my end of year list but it’s a film that stays with you and I can’t wait to go back to it.
05 Attack the Block – For a while I was convinced this was the film of the year. Like Weekend it takes a genre approach to social issues. Funny, exciting and relevant. An excellent debut from Joe Cornish.
06 Life in a Day – A documentary made from YouTube footage that captures a huge range of characters, emotions and experiences and actually works. Strangely moving and absolutely absorbing.
07 Submarine – To be fair this might have charted higher had I watched it again since release. A delightful Brit coming of age film that’s both funny and touching. Full of promising talent.
08 True Grit – A beautiful reimaging of the John Wayne classic. The Coen brothers continue the more mature touch that was explored in No Country for Old Men and A Single Man. The dialogue is exquisite, the performances superb.
09 127 Hours – A visceral experience that draws you in emotionally and physically (you can’t help but wince and feel pain in sympathy at certain points). Amazing what Danny Boyle and James Franco can do with such a limited location.
10 The Ides of March – Somehow missed out on the credit it really deserves. George Clooney’s film is an enthralling battle of wits and political savvy between four great actors at the top of their game: Ryan Gosling, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti and Clooney himself.