Isn't she just the voice of reason?
Without further adieu, my selections for Best Films of 2011...
HONORABLE MENTIONS (in no particular order): The Ides of March, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, Young Adult, Midnight In Paris, Tree of Life.
10. Like Crazy – “...the perfect love story without being perfect at all. There is no Nicholas Sparks schmaltz, no John Hughes nostalgia--only real, raw, authentic, love. Though it's characters navigate through all the stereotypical moments of first love (the kiss, the awkward date, the terms of endearment, the heartbreak, etc.), they do so with such authenticity that we feel like Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones are really falling for each other. It's easy to see how Like Crazy swept Sundance off it's feet, because quite literally it floored me.”
8. Crazy, Stupid, Love –“Might just be the best romantic comedy since Pretty Woman. It’s clever, distinctively quirky, and all the while unquestionably warm. It’s also extremely well cast and reads like a “who’s who” of Hollywood’s hottest stars with Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Kevin Bacon Steve Carrell, Julianne Moore, and don’t forget about Marisa Tomei all leading the way. This movie deftly captures love, that is both crazy and stupid and even a little over the top—well almost all the time.”7. Moneyball- “A film that sidesteps all the sports movie clichés by creating an absorbing niche as a character study. It’ll still have you standing on your feet, but it does so in such a unique way that you almost forget your watching a movie about baseball, but rather a movie about life. Brad Pitt turns in a performance far more grounded than he has in recent memory.”
6. Bridesmaids – “Funnier in almost every way than the so-called crown jewel of comedy The Hangover. The acting is superb and the situations laugh-ou-loud hilarious. Kristen Wiig is a modern day Carol Burnett with her wit and undeviating talent to make every moment on screen both awkward and authentic. Even still, It’s Melissa McCarthy who steals the show as the overweight yet undeniably infectious bridesmaid. We can only hope there’s a sequel on the horizon.”
5. Super 8- “JJ Abrams love note to Spielberg films of the 80's is entertaining, while also reminding us exactly why we like movies so much. Its nostalgic when it needs to be, while not overstaying its welcome. The cast again is stellar with each character actually being a character, with real personalities and real emotion. Abrams deftly blends sci-fi with familial drama in a way that simply hasn't been seen, well since Spielberg. Super 8 might be our generations’ version of E.T. or Goonies, but one thing is for certain it's a film we'll never forget...”
4. The Help-“You is smart. You is kind. You is important. Honestly, those words alone catapult The Help this far. Sure, it’s a movie about civil rights, but more importantly a film about finding yourself—and being okay with whatever you are. Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer headline the cast, but it’s the utter joy of Jessica Chastain and the unflinching hate of Bryce Dallas Howard that provide the emotional backbone for the film. This film makes me want to believe that I am in fact smart, kind, and most of all, important."
3. Drive- “Every frame of the film is like a piece of art, a 21st century fresco highlighted in neon grunge and bathed in dark shadows. It’s violent, bloody, and has the biggest WTF moment of the year with a slow motion shotgun-blast-decapitation. Sure, Drive is not everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s so daring with its house infused synth tracks that both the sound and visuals combine to bore deep into your veins. Rarely do films haunt me like Drive did, but it’s become not only my neon nightmare, but the dark art house flick I never dreamed of liking let alone loving.”
2. War Horse-“… a masterpiece of staggering emotional proportions. It’s quite simply one of the best films of the year. War Horse might be described as the most manipulative film in recent memory. There’s really nothing that can be said about a film this flawless that moves both seamless and with such soft-as-satin sentimentality as War Horse.”
1. The Descendants- “Rarely do films manage to blend comedy and realism—well realistically. It’s authenticity lies not in the plot or action but in the subtle and even silent moments in the film. We feel as they fell, because they represent the human condition so closely. By the film’s conclusion we find no real happy ending, probably because life offers no fairy tale respite. Rather life goes on, we move on, the sun comes out tomorrow and yes however bleak it may appear hope indeed never dies. Don’t miss this movie. It may not be the “feel good movie of the year,” but it is certainly the “feel right” one.”
Well.. there you have it... That's it till next year...