Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Best of 2011

If I remember it correctly, First Movie released in 2011 that I saw was Harry Potter and Deathly Hollows Part 2, in July - almost the same time I started U, Me and Films. So considering the backlog of 6 and half months, I think I did good - finishing 2011 with close to 50 movies so far, including Documentaries. It isn't a big number Yes, but even though I know I still have a lot to catch up on, I don't think there is any point in post-phoning this post any further. Then there is usual issue of the release dates. So, I am considering all movies which got theatrical release in 2011, Film Festivals do not count. So I will start with the movies that I still haven't seen and from the word of it, might have made their in this list. Some of them are: Shame, Take Shelter, A Separation, The Artist, We Need to Talk about Kevin.

And you will realise that I have 2 movies at number 10. Actually, I was almost ready to publish this few days ago. Then, just yesterday, I saw The Descendents and it was so good that I had to put it here. So, since I had everything written, instead of taking something out, I have 2 movies at number 10. I know I am cheating here but Let us get into best of what I have seen:

10. Warrior: Warrior takes the beaten down path of many Sports movies before it. However, despite the cliches, the reason it works is because it focuses on what happens outside the ring to make what happens inside the ring more exciting. It invests richly in the characters so that we care about them. With Great performances from Tom Hardy, Joel Edgarton and Nick Nolte, Warrior is not the one to miss. Full review very soon.

10. The Guard: Though a little incomprehensible at times because of the Irish accent, it is a Beautiful little Irish Comedy. Brandon Gleeson is wonderful in it, rather only reason I saw this was his Golden Globe Nomination. I did not even knew about it then. But, it is totally worth it. Thank you very much for making my New Year's Eve.

9. Drive: Ryan Gosling is at his best in this nearly dialogue Free Performance. Albert Brooks and Carrey Mulligan also deliver equally great performances to aid Gosling. However, apart from the stunning performances, what makes this film a great visual experience is Nicolas Wending Refn's stylish direction from Gosling's Scorpion Jacket and 80's synth-pop soundtracks to hot pink titles and stunning cinematography.
8. The Skin I Live In: With this, Pedro Almodovar has officially become the Master of making me uncomfortable. Except Broken Embraces(2009), every Almodovar movie I have seen makes me so uncomfortable. But, that is no reason to deny the greatness of it. What makes it great is Antonio Banderas' excellent Portrayal of lead role, Elena Anaya's breathtaking beauty and concept which is far more haunting than you realize while watching it.

7. Beginners: It is easy to like or relate to Beginners if you are of certain age. I am NOT of that age but I still love it. Why? Maybe because it portrays relations beautifully, maybe because of those montages of different years or maybe because of Christopher Plummer's liveliness, Ewan McGregor's sadness and Melanie Laurent's quirkiness. But more than that, Beginners is about saying it is never late to begin something. Yes!! Definitely Yes!! That is why I like it.

6. Senna: Since my college days, when I started following Formula 1 racing, I have been always been in the awe of phenomenon that Ayerton Senna was. Even today, my heart sinks a little whenever someone mentions the race Senna was killed. It was great to know one of the idols of his time with this beautiful documentary, made completely through the archival footage. Sports fan in me could actually feel my pulses rising like I am watching an actual race.

5. Melancholia: Most accessible of Von Trier's Film is what it is called. I wouldn't really know, since it is the only one I have seen yet. But, I have never seen depression looking so beautiful and so harrowing with the dialogues like "Earth is an evil place. We don't need to grieve for it. No one will miss it". Kirsten Dunst embodies the depression to the perfection. First 8 and 1/2 minutes of imagery and that ending alone should warrant it's place here in this list.

4. The Descendants: My first thought after watching it - Run Clooney Run !! Run Like Wind !!. On a serious note, The Descendants is extremely honest and genuine piece of art, in its direction as well as in performances. Alexander Payne, George Clooney and Shailene Woodley deserve special mention for this. And for someone who hasn't even seen his family for one whole year, that last scene was just too perfect. Full review, very soon too.

3. Midnight in Paris: Traditionally, I have been very selective about Woody Allen. Though there are movies he made that I simply love(Match Point(2005) and Manhattan(1979)), I usually find him pretentious. However, in case of Midnight in Paris, I was intrigued right from when I heard about it first and thankfully, it was on par with my expectations. By the end of this nostalgic trip through the 1920's Paris, I was beaming with excitement. If nothing else, it is worth watching for the sight seeing of Paris. 

2. Hugo: When I watched Hugo, it was only because we did not have any other option. Since I saw first trailer, I was never excited about it basically because I hate 3-D(I have glasses, wearing that stupid goggle over them feels like someone is pulling my nose down). But by the end of it, I was taken by it mainly because Scorsese made it so personal, so nostalgic. And for a change, I loved the 3-D aspect of it too. Maybe, it just needed a master like Scorsese to handle it properly.

1. Incendies: One of the regional Indian writers I have admired once wrote that 'When you ask a question, it's not an Answer that we are looking for. But, it is satisfaction that comes with that answer. Answer which does not give you that satisfaction will be more unsatisfactory than the question itself.'  Incendies is going to linger in my mind for a long, long time because it does not give you that satisfaction. This movie has become an epitome of Shock for me. I was awestruck, dumbfounded.


  1. 7,6,5,4 are the one which I haven't seen till yet But definitely gonna see those.

  2. GREAT list! Incendies at number 1, love it.

    I'll be very very curious to see what you think of Shame. Given your choices here, I think you'll enjoy it.

  3. Thanks Alex. It just had to be. And all your year ending posts keep on nudging me that I haven't seen Shame yet. one day very soon, I definitely will.

    @Tony: Off course, you saw Incendies, Hugo and Midnight. I took you to all these movies, remember. But you saw Skin I live in and The Guard?? I am impressed.


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