We here at ShockYa are giving your our top 10 movies of 2011, so I shall keep the series going with my top 10. A lot of films that I wanted to put in this list didn’t make the cut (like “The Help,” a film that I feel is a lot better than some critics give it credit for), but I think the list I have to present to you is fairly strong.
1.“The Artist”: This film, starring Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo and John Goodman is probably going to be the winner of a ton of Academy Awards. Not only is it expertly made, but it’s the only silent film in the 21st century that I can think of. It’s also very charming and cute, and it’s hard for a film to effervescent without dabbling in saccharine; this film manages to stay light without becoming too earnest.
2.“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”: Another strong contender for awards this season is “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” a film starring big-hitters such as Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy and Benedict Cumberbatch. The thriller is tight,tense and all-around awesome.
3.“We Were Here”:You’ve probably read the interview I conducted with “We Were Here” co-director David Weissman, in which he explains why he felt this film about the early days of the AIDS epidemic was an important one to make. Indeed, the documentary not only shows the paranoia and fear surrounding the beginning of the epidemic, but it also shows surprising hope and togetherness during a time of crisis.
4.“Super 8”: J.J. Abrams hit it out of the park this year with the nostalgia-heavy “Super 8.” We get the feel of early Spielberg from this film about a group of kids saving the planet from a mysterious alien force, and after seeing the film, you begin to wish you could still buy Super 8 cameras and Kodak film.
5.“Captain America: The First Avenger”: This Disney/Marvel film starring Chris Evans and Hugo Weaving is one of the stronger entries into the comic book movie genre. It brings in some of the “golly-gee” patriotic feel that the character (and the ’40s) had while giving solid action and adventure.
6.“X-Men: First Class”: This is another strong entry in the comic book film genre starring James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender. This is also another comic book/period film. It is interesting to see the future Professor Xavier and his fledgling group of mutants gather their powers and come to grips with the differing opinions about mutant rights with the backdrop being the Cuban Missile Crisis. If I’m being honest, I have a few quibbles about the film (Why do all of the major black characters either die or turn to the Brotherhood?), but overall, I think the film helped to elevate the “X-Men” franchise from the downturn it had taken with the last “X-Men” film.
7.“Hugo”:A Martin Scorsese film starring Asa Butterfield and Jude Law and is bound to get a sizable audience, but this film is a winner not only because it creates a magical atmosphere, but it also creates a medium in which 3D not only works, but works extremely well.
8.“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows–Part 2”: If you listened to my co-hosting stint on ShockYa’s “Movie Night” podcast, you probably know that I actually really don’t like this film. However, I am still putting it on my Best Of list because even though it didn’t live up to my expectations, that doesn’t diminish that the film did close out a big chapter of my life as well as other people’s lives. The film also did put a period at the end of the story of the Harry Potter movie franchise, making it one of the few movie series that continually do critically and monetarily well. Basically, my feelings are complicated when it comes to this movie, but I’d be remiss to say that it shouldn’t be on a Best Of list.
9.“Rise of the Planet of the Apes”:I’m a huge “Apes” fan, so I was hoping this wouldn’t be bad. But, the film, starring Andy Serkis, James Franco, Freida Pinto and Tom Felton is fantastic. I didn’t expect to be thrilled or even scared because I thought after seeing the surprising ending of the original 1960s “Planet of the Apes,” there was nothing else that could scare me in an “Apes” film. Apparently, I was wrong.
10.“The Lion King 3D”:I had seen quite a few Disney films before seeing “The Lion King” as a child, but “The Lion King” is probably one of the few Disney films that actually shaped my life in a way (the other being “The Fox and the Hound”). I had never really understood the impact of losing a parent could have until watching Mufasa die, and to this day I still have trouble watching that scene. Since the film affected me so much as a kid, of course, I had to go see it in the theater, the way it was originally shown, and it was amazing. If Disney could make films like “The Lion King” again, they would be firmly back on top in the animation world.