2011 in Films

Statutory tradition/obligation to list my favorite films of the year. It's in alphabetical order to minimize bias, but I guess I have been very vocal of my appreciation for Allen's Midnight in Paris and Refn's Drive. Also, I still haven't a number of films with buzz for Oscars due to the absence of available copy so this list is limited to those I have watched this 2011.

A Dangerous Method (David Cronenberg)

"It's a handsome and stimulating film, noteworthy more for its terrific acting and provocative ideas than for any kind of dark Cronenbergundian genius." - O'Hehir, Salon.com

A Separation (Asghar Farhadi)

"More impressive than its careful consideration of its characters, however, is the way in which A Separation recognizes, addresses, and yet never attempts to provide a definitive statement on the way in which facts, lies, and competing self-interest are often hopelessly tangled up, such that honesty on a specific point might eventually lead to only negative outcomes, and that initial deception might in fact be the best final course for all involved." -Schager, Slant Magazine

Beginners (Mike Mills)

"One of the pleasures of "Beginners" is the warmth and sincerity of the major characters. There is no villain. They begin by wanting to be happier and end by succeeding." -Ebert, Chicago Times

Bridesmaids (Paul Feig)

"From the first overheated moments of "Bridesmaids," with its Kama Sutra-plus-six-positions sex so satisfying for him, so exhausting for her it's clear we're in for that rarest of treats: an R-rated romantic comedy from the Venus point of view." -Sharkey, LA Times

Certified Copy (Abbas Kiarostami)

"It is hard to say much more about Certified Copy without giving too much away. The film’s title provides a clue as to writer/director Kiarostami’s views on the mercurial nature of love: can it always be believed, or even felt? Perceptions differ from one person to another; who is to say who is correct?"- Howell, Toronto Star

Drive (Nicolas Refn)

"You may still want to fasten your seat belts, but in these capable, seductive hands you're in for a smooth, uncommonly assured ride." - Hornaday, Washington Post

Hugo (Martin Scorsese)

"After Hugo has taken Isabelle to a screening of the Harold Lloyd comedy classic “Safety Last,’’ she tells him, simply: “Thank you for the movie. It was a gift.’’ “Hugo’’ is Scorsese’s gift to all the dreamers who were and all the dreamers still to come."- Burr, Boston Globe

Jane Eyre (Cary Fukunaga)

"At times, the lovers seem to be fighting not only against a malignant fate but against the dying of the light. Yet this austere production has fire enough; it captures the elemental Brontë passions yet again." -Denby, New Yorker

Like Crazy (Drake Duremus)

"You know those things that happen all the time in movies but almost never in reality? None of those things happen here. Instead, the couple’s story is related through small, true-to-life details that paint an unidealized portrait of love — the euphoria, the sadness, and everything in between."-Snider, Film.com

Melancholia (Lars Von Trier)

"It's about depression, but it isn't depressing at all. In the hands of Mr. von Trier, himself no stranger to emotional distress, bedazzlement is depression's surprising byproduct. Justine uses melancholia as a refuge from a world that gives her no joy, but when she first shows up for her elaborate wedding she's in a manic state, at once alluring and alarmingly funny, that suggests the sort of screwball comedy..."-Moregenster, WSJ

Midnight in Paris (Woody Allen)

"It is marvelously romantic, even though - or precisely because - it acknowledges the disappointment that shadows every genuine expression of romanticism."- Scott, NY Times

Pina (Wim Wender)

"The power and intelligence of Bausch's approach, which at times seems more cerebral than sensual, is communicated."- Scott, NY Times

Rango (Gore Verbinski)

"...Verbinski shows ambitions considerably beyond producing the usual standard of most children's fare. To put it plainly, Rango is one weird movie." -Lacey, Globe and Mail

Source Code (Duncan Jones)

"Is "Source Code" a cerebral drama that believes it's a roller-coaster ride? Or is it an adventure flick with a headful of crazy ideas? The truth is, it's in a little gray zone in between. More important, this is also the first film in a while to have a decent heart while quickening your pulse."- Neumaier, NY Daily Mail

Submarine (Richard Ayoade)

That rare teen comedy where the kids aren’t gorgeous, the hero isn’t heroic and the object of desire has a lot of reasons why she isn’t necessarily desirable. Two things really work — Oliver and Jordana’s love-contempt relationship, and Oliver’s colorful way of describing it. That first kiss? “Her mouth tasted of milk, Polo Mints and Dunhill cigarettes.” - Moore, Orlando Sentinel

The Skin I Live In (Pedro Almodovar)

"There are several genres nimbly folded into The Skin I Live In, which might also be described as an existential mystery, a melodramatic thriller, a medical horror film or just a polymorphous extravaganza. In other words, it's an Almodóvar movie with all the attendant gifts that implies: lapidary technique, calculated perversity, intelligent wit." -Dargis, NY Times

The Tree of Life (Terrence Malick)

"It is equally clear why The Tree Of Life landed the Palme D’or — against the brute attack of modern cinema it feels heaven-sent. A film awestruck by life: why are we here? What are we for? Where did it all go wrong? And where could it yet go right? Malick doesn’t pretend to have actual answers." -Nathan. Empire

Weekend (Andrew Haigh)

"A less brave, less honest movie would hasten to provide answers, assuming that the lovers require promises and that the audience needs reassurance. But “Weekend,” which is about the risks and pleasures of opening up emotionally in the presence of another, remains true to the unsettled, open-ended nature of the experience it documents."- Scott, NY Times

Win Win (Tom McCarthy)

"Nothing fancy — that's not McCarthy's style. Neither is phony rah-rah. This movie wins you over, head and heart, without cheating. It's just about perfect." - Travers, Rolling Stone

50/50 (Jonathan Levine)

"Sitcoms and film comedies in general have a way of going haywire with comic desperation toward the end. This one doesn't. Director Jonathan Levine has established the characters with enough care that the audience is prepared when they reveal greater depth toward the end." -Ebert, Chicago Times

Documentaries are intetionally not included but How to Die in Oregon, Cave of Forgotten Dreams,Tabloid and We Were Here would definitely hit.

Runner ups: Moneyball, Warrior, The Future, Super 8, The Ides of March, Hana, The Debt, Attack the Block, Margin Call, Restless, The

Lincoln Lawyer, X-Men, HP 7.2, Trust, Point Blank, Drei

Dying to watch:Shame, We Need to Talk About Kevin, The Artist, The Descendants, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Iron Lady, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Take Shelter, Young Adult, Poetry, Le Havre

On a personal level, I am quite disappointed with the number of foreign-language films I have watched this year. Most film festival schedules conflicted with school and work.

I have watched a little less than 300 films this year. Hopefully, 2012 would be easier.

(This is a repost from my facebook page. So here's for the risk of people identifying me. haha)


  1. i'm glad i've seen quite a number of films on your list.

    happy new year!!! :)

  2. A Separation has made quite a buzz here. Although it won't be released in the US until the end of January.

    Had I not been lazy and made a list of 10 best films, Source Code, Rango, Bridesmaid, Submarine and Win Win would've made my 6 to 10.

  3. @gillboard: here's to more films for 20102!

    @skron: Some people don't get Rango. I have to defend it pa most of the time. tsk