2011, Abbas Kiarostami, Abigail Breslin, action, adventure, albert brooks, Alfred Molina, animated, Another Earth, apocalypse, Bellflower, Brad Pitt, Brit Marling, Bruegel, Bryan Cranston, Cannes, Carey Mulligan, cave of forgotten dreams, Certified Copy, Charlotte Rampling, children's films, Christina Hendricks, comedy, comic book, documentary, Drive, Evan Glodell, favourites, Gore Verbinski, Harry Dean Stanton, independent, Isla Fisher, James McAvoy, January Jones, Jennifer Lawrence, Jessica Chastain, Johnny Depp, juliette binoche, Kelly Reichardt, Lech Marjewski, lists, Matthew Vaughn, Meek's Cutoff, Michael Fassbender, Michael York, Michelle Williams, Ned Beatty, Nicholas Winding Refn, Rango, Ray Winstone, Ron Perlman, Rutger Hauer, Ryan Gosling, science fiction, Sean Penn, SEO, Terence Malick, The Mill and the Cross, Top Ten Films of, Tree of Life, werner herzog, Western, William Mapother, William Shimell, X-Men: First Class
I feel kind of silly compiling my top ten list when I’ve only written about 24 films from this year. There are many films (Martha Marcy May Marlene, Margaret, House of Pleasures, Shame, Take Shelter, A Separation, Poetry, 13 Assassins, The Skin I Live In, The Descendants, Beats, Rhymes & Life, Into the Abyss, Film Socialisme,Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Future, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The Artist, Tyrannosaur, Hugo, The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, A Dangerous Method and Tuesday, After Christmas) which I feel could alter my list drastically but I haven’t had a chance, yet, to see those. Still, I really wanted a way to close out the year for this blog and so I offer my list of favourite films so far:
Gorgeously animated and packed to bursting with pop culture, Rango is a Western for children that is in love with Westerns for adults. Johnny Depp teams up with Pirates of the Caribbean director Gore Verbinski to play a chameleon who gets stranded in a desert town, adopts the name of Rango and ends up beings the towns one and only Sanjuro-like line of defence. Rango is really funny and interesting, and it offers something entirely different from most animated children’s films.
This year, master filmmaker Terrence Malick finally offered up The Tree of Life, his long awaited and much anticipated fifth film (fifth in nearly 40 years) . Divisive at Cannes, and gushed over by critics, Malick’s magnum opus is pretentious and long winded but considering its subject is no less than all of existence and the core of human life, he deserves kudos for succeeding with such grace. Visually overwhelming and evocative, The Tree of Life is a stunning experience of raw and impassioned cinema.
Of all the documentarians in the world, it was the great Werner Herzog who was granted extremely exclusive access to the Cauvet Cave to make a film about the earliest known human cave paintings. Shot with wonder and fascination, and illuminated by interviews with weird (and weirdly charming) talking heads, Herzog finds a deep connection with the primitive artists responsible for the cave paintings. Struck by the notion of “proto-cinema” and obsessed with uncovering the story in each image, Herzog once again finds a truth in his subject more pure than facts alone could ever provide.
Icy and precise, Nicholas Winding Refn’s Drive coolly observes Ryan Gosling as an emotionally repressed stunt driver whose minimal and focused existence begins to spin into chaos. A frigid soundtrack, a sly sense of humour, splatters of extreme violence and hard-as-nails performances from Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston and a particularly frightening Albert Brooks make Drive a deft and chilling Euro-throwback to a long-dead brand of movie machismo.