Friday 30 December 2011

A Scientifically Accurate List Of The Ten Best Films Of 2011

In a wildly original move, which I'm fairly sure nobody else has thought of, I've decided to present a list of ten films made in 2011 that were better than all the rest. If you see anyone else displaying similar lists please report them for copyright theft because I THOUGHT OF IT FIRST.

UPDATE: When I wrote this, Animal Kingdom was far and away my favourite film of the year. However, a second viewing of the virtually flawless The Artist in early January 2012 has forced a minor reshuffle of my top two: apologies if for some bizarre reason you actually care.

"You'd be surprised how quickly they adapt."
Love it or hate it (love it), you've got to admire The Incredible Suit's Cumbersomely Titled Tenth Favourite Film Of 2011 Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, if only because it's a film about talking monkeys that isn't a Dreamworks animation. Its flaws are cavernous but to be so crowd-pleasingly entertaining despite them is remarkable enough; to be the best of the summer's FX-heavy blockbusters is nothing short of miraculous. Although to be fair I never saw The Smurfs. Review

"You don't know what it's like out there, you haven't a clue."
Tyrannosaur might have *'80s POP CULTURE REFERENCE ALERT* Barbara Woodhouse barking in her grave, but it's memorable for so much more than the canine cruelty on offer: a terrific directorial debut from Paddy Considine; a touching, terrifying script perfectly balancing furious rage and fingertip tenderness, and three astonishing central performances by some of Britain's most talented actors, including one from Olivia Colman that appears to come from nowhere and punch you firmly in the knackers. As devastating as that sounds, and much harder to recover from. Review

"There is no point. That's the point."
Ranking only slightly higher on the 2011 Devastatometer than Tyrannosaur, We Need To Talk About Kevin is also possibly the most effective method of contraception on the market. If you still want kids after seeing this then you should probably consider some kind of therapy. Tilda Swinton predictably knocks it out of the park, but the three youngsters who play Kevin (even improbably-named toddler Rock Duer) give the film its spine-chilling spine. Warning: unsuitable for ereuthrophobics. Review

"Actions have consequences, you know?"
Everybody expected the debut film of that funny bloke off of the radio to be good, but nobody thought it would be quite this good. Joe Cornish the comedian transformed - apparently overnight - into Joe Cornish the director with his brave, original take on the alien invasion genre, and gave the world a few young faces to remember at the same time. Satisfyingly old-school yet absolutely of its time, Attack The Block justifiably takes its place among the great British debuts of all time. Review

"How's your thirst for adventure, Captain?"
The Bergatron's thirst for adventure finally reappears after a lengthy spell of, uh, unthirstiness, and the result is The Adventures Of Tintin: The Secret Of The Unicorn, the world's first watchable performance-capture film. An unbridled joy for everyone except The Guardian and Robert Zemeckis, Tintin might just be the film Super 8 tried and failed to be: an homage to Spielberg's glory days that kids will still be talking about thirty years from now. Review

"I don't quite know what I am yet."
Submarine, Richard Ayoade's wildly original tale of two duffel coats, is the finest coming-of-age tale for years: his fat-free script, based on Joe Dunthorne's novel, is full of ridiculous but perfect zingers and gives every member of his flawless cast a fully-realised character to sink their teeth into. And sink they do, taking us under with them to a horrendous place we all remember being nowhere near this enjoyable. Review

"You gotta be careful that the person that
you fall in love with is worth it to you."
Heartbreakingly tender and unforgivably brutal, Derek Cianfrance's story of a doomed relationship is one of the most simultaneously beautiful and painful love stories ever committed to the screen. Anchored by two phenomenal performances each by Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling, Blue Valentine tells it like it is, and while the subject matter isn't always pretty, every frame is a work of art. Review

"You put this kid behind the wheel, there's nothing he can't do."
The Year Of The Gosling peaked with genre-defying retro-neo-noir Drive, in which The World's Greatest Human Being Alive Right Now does very little apart from pootle about in a car and beat a few people up, but does it in such inimitable style and backed by such an achingly hip soundtrack that it's impossible to take your eyes off him. A genuinely iconic actor creating a genuinely iconic character isn't something that happens every day; be thankful you were alive to see it happen this time. Review

"You've gotta decide. You've gotta work out where you fit."
The year's second finest film comes from a land down under, both literally and metaphorically, and is another unbelievably great debut that gives boundless hope to the future of cinema. Animal Kingdom's writer / director David Michôd treats his audience with absolute respect in his intelligent and shattering drama about loyalty, conscience and finding your place in the world. Yet another astonishing cast pull us deep into a life we knew nothing about, and once inside proves impossible to forget. Review

"                                                     "
Joyously exuberant from start to finish, The Artist is probably the film that stopped Kim Jong-il's cold black heart with its boundless charm and relentlessly magical chemistry, and should be prescribed as a cure for all forms of grumpiness, depression and suicidal tendencies. Director Michel Hazanavicius demonstrates an unerring mastery of the craft of pure cinema, taking his cue from some of its earliest and finest exponents, and proves that while they don't make 'em like they used to, they damn well should.

Now please feel free to make a fool of yourself in the comments box by disagreeing with me.


  1. The Incredible Suit had only a partial view of the 285 films being considered for BAFTA awards and perhaps a similar number for Oscars. His opinion is just that, an opinion possibly distorted by factors such as his blood alcohol level or if he was alert or snoring during the screenings. When many other folk's opinions are considered together a consensus emerges which then leads to the awards. I think 'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy' is the best film of 2011 but the Incredible Tailored Suit does not give it a mention.
    ...and the award for being the biggest fool goes to...

  2. I completely agree that Animal Kingdom is the best film of the year, but I still haven't had chance to see The Artist- bloody Londoners.

  3. Mark, The Artist is brilliant. The opening titles were done 'like they did them before'. The letters weave about relative to the background because of the film registration error between the different negatives. I agree with The Incredible Joyous Silent Suit that The Artist is the runner up in the best film of 2011 awards race.
    Do see it.

  4. 'Animal Kingdom' wasn't even the best Australian film of the year, never mind the best film overall. 'Drive' is clichéd nonsense, completely ripped off Michael Mann and don't get me started on '...Kevin'.

  5. ...and the biggest fool is the author of the next comment...

  6. I like the low-res Tintin picture. Very meta.

  7. Ereuthrophobia should not be a problem in a dark cinema when watching 'We need to talk about Kevin'. What I find drains the blood out of my cheeks is realising that there could be other Kevins out there who wish to be famous for something, anything, whatever it takes. The film is so horrible that I have not given it the credit it deserves. Triumphant films may collect more awards than downbeat ones. Given the straight choice between this film and Midnight in Paris I would go for the Woody Allen film because it is fun. The Kevin film brings you down.