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Films that nearly made the list.
The Innkeepers (2011)
A slow burn horror film with an ending that truly pay offs and made me go get my own asthma inhaler. While I didn't particularly care for Ti West's The House of the Devil, I found myself enjoying this film a lot. It's a carefully paced and calculated film that rewards ones patience with one of the most intense and terrifying climaxes I've seen in a horror film.
One of its best strengths lies however in its characters, who actually feel like they're real people. And while it might not happen a lot during the first hour, watching these people talking to each other is entertaining enough. Some scenes might be a bit unnecessary, but my overall impression is that this is a rock solid horror film with a delightful setup to a scary finale.
Duncan Jones impressed me with Moon, who turned out to be one of my favourite films of 2009. While Source Code may not be as good as Moon, it is still one of the most engaging and interesting films of 2011. It's a film that takes an original concept, and successfully manages to create that good idea into a solid film. Which ain't always that easy. It manages to keep the same scene exciting for basically the entire running time, which is a huge accomplishment.
Jake Gyllenhaal and the gorgeous Michelle Monaghan delivers brilliant performances, and does manage to create a fine chemistry. While the romantic subplot may be one of the weaknesses of this film, they do make it bearable. The film should perhaps have ended ten minutes earlier, but it is still an entertaining and original film that deserves all the praise it has gotten. I'm eagerly anticipating the next dish from Duncan Jones.
Hobo with a Shotgun (2011)
This film is a wonderful example of how to create exploitative trash that manages to give the viewer exactly what they want. If your stomach can't handle over-the-top violence, this film is not for you. If you want realism or morality, or are easily offended, this film is not for you. Do you, on the other hand, get some sort of sick enjoyment from watching heads being blown off or children being incarnated, this film is for you.
Hobo with a Shotgun is just bloody entertaining in the way it completely toss decent taste and subtlety in the garabage bin. Everything is in your face and we're spared from absolutely nothing. Which is just wonderful. This film is hilarious.
Killer Joe (2011)
My idea about this film is that it will split audiences into two different sections. The first one will find this film repulsive, while the other half will enjoy it for it's sexual perversion, dark humor and violence. You'll easily find me among the second half. This is exactly the kind of sick, twisted, vile and unpredictable film I'm constantly looking for.
And, who could ever have guessed that Matthew McConaughey could be this brilliant? He's a perfect example of to create a sinister, intense and incredibly cool villain. This is a film that knows how to create memorable characters by putting them in scenes that are so exceptionally well-made from dialogue, acting, music to everything.
There is unfortunately one thing about it that's keeping my rating down. The abrupt and fast ending. It didn't work particularly well with me.
Why didn't this film win an Oscar for best screenplay? It's a scandal. This screenplay turns easily out to be one of the most morally complex screenplays in recent years. It's a very realistic film. It never does anything that's overly dramatic, it keeps it's focus on telling a story that raises moral, ethical and emotional questions. This is an involving, engaging and wonderfully well-crafted drama that never points any specific fingers at anyone, but instead lets the viewer form his opinions. It doesn't judge or give any answers. Instead it raises a lot of questions. Questions that needs answering? But who got them?
I don't think it's perfect, though. The beginning is a bit slow and tedious. While I certainly got no problems with films that take their time, I believe that the same results could have been accomplished with a tighter opening. It's running close to a length of two hours and that's a bit too long for this film.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)
Gary Oldman deserved his Oscar nomination, and if it weren't for Jean Dujardin, he should have deserved to win as well. His performance in this film is fantastic, to put it mildly. It's a mesmerizing subtle performance, that proves that you don't need to shout out every line to deliver an awesome performance, and while it might look easy, I can assure that it ain't. His performance is as complex as the film itself, and this is a really complex film.
It's a brilliantly crafted spy thriller that rewards those that are patient enough to see it through. When I saw it in Cinema, I counted five people leaving after the first 40 minutes. Fools. It might be hard to understand everything that's going on, but everything wraps it self around nicely in the end. It's a highly exciting film, that might even get better with a rewatch.
I liked the Swedish version of this story really good, but I like this one even better. It's a story that is perfect for David Fincher, and he shows off yet again that he is capable of creating perfect thrillers. This is darker, grittier, more brutal and realistisc than the Swedish version. His direction is flawless, he is a master in bulding suspense and keeping it there for the whole film. Even though I knew how the story was going to end, he still managed to make it incredibly exciting.
Rooney Mara is an even better Lisbeth Salander than Noomi Rapace. While they both are exceptionally good, Mara manages to bring in an innocence and vulnerability to the character, which Rapace didn't, and that makes Mara's Salander even more interesting. And it got an awesome score, and the opening credits is one of the coolest thing I've ever seen. This is one of the best films of the year, and it shows that remakes ain't necessarily a bad thing if you let a competent director handle it.
Hyped up as hell, yet it manages to deliver. This is great stuff. It's a calm film, that keeps shaking, on the edge to explode any second, but that still remains calm almost all the time. It's a prime example of great pacing. It knows how to take it's time. Little dialogue, just looks and wonderful atmosphere. Then it explodes. Jumps into brutal and gritty violence, then it changes back to Ryan Gosling looking bad-ass.
The sound is amazing, it's strict and combined with an awesome soundtrack. Gosling delivers a fantastic performance, taking the role of this decades "The Man With No Name". Yet, he never feels like the central character of the film. He is the trigger of every one else. Creating several interesting characters. The film might have a simple plot, but this is how you create perfection of a simple plot. There might be style over substance, but in the end, why care about that? When there are several scenes that are so perfect, so perfect that it almost gives you an orgasm (like the elevator scene). One of the best films of the year.
The Artist (2011)
Absolutely amazing. First of all, you got to applaud them for taking the brave decision to create a film like this today. Unfortunately, a black and white silent film is going to turn off a lot of viewers, but that's their loss. Because this is easily one of the best films from 2011. It's one of the most charming, heartfelt, emotionally affecting, delightful, clever and joyous film to come out in a very long time. It moved me completely, it made me laugh, it teared me up, it left me completely devastated, before it lifted me up again. I loved it!
While the story certainly follows the formula, and there ain't many surprises here, it's strengths lies in the execution and how it makes me feel. It's a reminder of why I love films. It's simple storytelling at it's finest and most effective. It's wonderfully created, filled with several fun references. It's a love letter to cinema, a film that knows how to have fun with itself and the audience. A true crowd-pleaser! Jean Dujardin is exceptional, delivering an utterly charming and enchanting performance, making him a character it's easy to sympathize with. If it weren't for another film about a young wizard, this would easily have been the best film of 2011.
Outtake from my review:
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is a visual feast, unlike anything I've seen recently. It is an epic. It's a spectacular blockbuster. The action is huge and massive, and there is no denying that David Yates have done an incredible job. To be able to portray 'the battle of Hogwarts' on the big screen, couldn't have been an easy job, seeing how big it actually is. But it certainly couldn't have been done any better. Then there is thing's that doesn't always get mentioned. It is beautifully photographed, the editing is superb, the set is massive, but gorgeous. The score from Alexandre Desplat is suting and amazing. But I did have a huge grin on my face when those well-known tones from John Williams legendary score came up from time to time.
Now, I feel like saying so much more. But, the truth is, I'm actually quite speechless. Yes, I know that I have said a lot now, but there is so much more I want to say. I want everyone to know what a masterpiece this is. What an emotional triumph it is. But I'm not sure if I have all the correct words for it, and I am a lousy reviewer. Anyway. This is one of my favourite films of all time, and is easily going to be on the top spot for my 2011 list. "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" is more than anyone could have dared to hope for. It is the ending the franchise deserves, it is a love letter to the fans and a perfect way to conclude ten years of Harry Potter films. I don't remember exactly who said it, or the exactly how the quote was, but 2001 - 2011 will in film history be counted as the 'Harry Potter years'.
You can read the rest here.
The ten best films from 2011. In my opinion. (May change if I see other awesome films, still much left to see. I've missed a lot of potential list candidates.)
Also remember to check THIS list out to find my other Top 10's.
Also remember to check THIS list out to find my other Top 10's.
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