Friday, 30 December 2011

Favourites of the year

In my 17 years of existence, 2011 hasn't been a bad film year for me (even though for others I have heard a different opinion). Either way, it's the time of the year to look back at your favourite films. Sadly, the scale of films I've seen this year for the first time is not quite as huge as those of official critics and film personnel's. However as I spent my cinema year of 2011 reviewing each new film I've seen, I thought I'd create my own favourites list (that, and the fact I just want to). I'm very interested in knowing other peoples favourites, so if you have your own list and would like to share it, please send me a link or write them in a comment below!

There are many films I missed out on seeing this year (such as Drive, Midnight In Paris, We Need To Talk About Kevin, Tyrannosaur, Melancholia, Kill List) which I will hopefully catch on DVD. In particular, I have yet to see many critics film of the year, The Artist, as it has a late UK release. So my 2011 review is based on a much smaller selection of films (54 to be precise). So without anymore rambling here are my favourites of 2011:

My Top 10 films of 2011

10. Source Code (review here)
After the success of Moon, Source Code had a high bar to impress and for me it did. I admit it's not as extraordinary as Moon, but it still left me completely bewildered. Jake Gyllenhaal plays a more emotional role than I expected, but Source Code got to me like Moon. I found the concept of it exciting and at first a little confusing but that was what I found most fascinating. I left the cinema having seen Source Code, feeling more than content and I just really enjoyed it which is all you can really ask for.

9. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2 (mini review here)
Most people have come to the conclusion the last two films of the Harry Potter series are the best, which I agree with. I saw the final part at the cinema twice and shed a tear each time because it felt like my childhood was ending. Having read the books, the last film is definitely most similar as it had the time duration to do that. For people who hadn't read the books, a lot of surprises occurred which shocked people and even the people who knew how it ended still felt the surprise. The performances were certainly the best from the golden trio and the other cast members as they gave the series a well deserved, fantastic end. It's really hard to explain as this choice for my top 10 is more of a childhood fan choice but I don't have to explain myself! The last Harry Potter film was an incredible, emotional, epic send off to a truly fantastic series of films.

8. Attack The Block (review here)
Having only seen the trailer for the film a few months prior to it's release, Attack The Block appeared out of nowhere but has since become very popular across the UK and the US. I love alien films but Attack The Block is a mix of a street, comedy, sci-fi and a little bit of horror in jumps and that's why I enjoyed it so much. At times I laughed a lot and at others I shamefully admit I got scared. The aliens were very well created and visually looked astonishing. But I know I walked out of the cinema having had an absolute blast watching it which is what Joe Cornish and the cast wanted.

7. Bridesmaids (review here)
With the disappointing Hangover part II, Bridesmaids gave everyone the laughs they wanted this year. It proved that a comedy film doesn't need an all male main cast to be funny and that women can be just as sick and disgusting as the boys from The Hangover. Kristen Wiig is my all time favourite female comedic actress and her character in Bridesmaids had me in stitches. That's second to the brilliant Melissa McCarthy who nearly had me on the floor laughing. I saw the film with a friend and at parts me and her were crying into each other because jokes in Bridesmaids on a first viewing come out of nowhere and it is so cleverly written.

6. Tangled (review here)
Being a massive Disney fan I'm probably biased but, Tangled is one of the best Disney animations for a few years. Even though it was not the classic 2D animation that The Princess and the Frog was a year before, it still contained all the elements of a classic Disney princess story but included more. More humour, more action and a much more exciting storyline for the 21st century. It included traditional Disney princess songs which were beautiful, sang by the talents of Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi and it simply is a lot of fun. I'm still a child at heart and there is nothing I like more than seeing a film that is fun, innocent and charming and Tangled ticked all of them boxes.

5. The Tree Of Life (review here)
The Tree Of Life isn't for everyone and I went into the cinema thinking I knew what to expect. I didn't. Having not seen a Terrance Malick film before, I had nothing to prepare me apart from the raving reviews it had. The Tree Of Life is one of them films that I adored for it's beauty and the fact that it's different from the norm- especially some of the rubbish that is made nowadays. The two brothers in the narrative really give the film an emotional tug which I liked and the performance from Brad Pitt is brutal but very strong. Jessica Chastain really stands out in the film and is sure to get recognition now we are nearing awards season. The other side of the film, where people start to get confused, with masses of glorious effects and fantastic music, questions life. It's not what I am used to seeing but I really did enjoy it. It is absolutely stunning and a little tedious for some, but I loved it.

4. Hugo (review here)
Hugo is a recent cinema viewing but it stands out as one of the most charming films I've seen this year. Even though it's a cheesy thing to say, Hugo is filled me with complete warmth because of it's very sweet main characters, magical story and enchanting insight into some of the first ever films. Though there are parts where black and white films are shown, I think the magic is still there in the wonderful score for children and I still adored the homage to cinema. It's one of the best family films, which rightfully targets both adults and children, I have seen in a very long time. Hugo was enchanting and definitely topped off the year for me.

3. X-Men: First Class (review here) 
This was probably one of my most anticipated films because of my love for the film franchise and the fact I knew it just had to be better than Wolverine. With a year full of prequels and sequels, X-Men First Class was one of the better superhero films because of the leading cast of Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy and a ray of fine young talent in Jennifer Lawrence, Nichols Hoult, Lucas Till, Caleb Landry Jones and many others. Matthew Vaughn really grasped the right idea with X-Men: First Class with Charles and Erik, they were the best of friends and they helped each other through a lot. I was surprised by how much was included in the story of X-Men by the explaining entirely why Charles and Erik became enemies and gave you some stuff to question when next watching the originals, such as Mystique being Charles' best friend as a child. The cameo was very smart and overall X-Men: First Class is one of the better blockbusters of the year.

2. True Grit (review here)
Technically, the Coen Brothers' True Grit was released in 2010, but it's UK release date was very early 2011 so it can technically count as my favourite of the year. Not being the biggest fan of westerns, I wanted to see True Grit based upon the reviews it acclaimed but I ended up finding a favourite film. The film is incredible for many different reasons. The Oscar nominated performances by Jeff Bridges and the very talented Hailee Steinfeld are so empowering that their chemistry in the film is very lovely to watch. Then there is the cinematography which is absolutely beautiful. The score and story are other reasons why I fell in love with the film, because it's very heart warming but slightly brutal at the same time. It's story about a young girl becoming a woman because of her determination to avenge her fathers blood- not quite as glamorous as an modern day film. I have since watched True Grit a few times and still feel the exact same way I did when I first saw it.

1. Super 8 (review here)
Since seeing it at the cinema I have re-watched Super 8 to check if it's my favourite of the year. It was tough to pick, but I could be here for another year thinking of another film to top it. Super 8 was not what I expected at all. When I walked out of the cinema, I felt the way I did when I first saw Stand By Me, E.T and The Goonies. Super 8 feels like an 80s film but with the technology of 2011 it's even better. At parts I was on the edge of my seat and at other parts my hands were covering my eyes because of the tension the film held. Super 8 is full of J.J Abrams lens flares as well as beautiful shots and colours which gave me comfort when watching. It's not a film about any big names, the cast is solely the children with the exception of Kyle Chandler. The kids, or rather young actors, must have had an absolute blast making the film as it's a lot of fun to watch. The 'thing' is a bit disappointing but the rest of the film makes up for it. It's a film which pays homage to Speilberg and other great Sci-Fi adventures but at the same time it's a simply story of a group of friends spending their Summer making a film. It's sweet, compelling and an absolute joy to watch.

3 Honourable mentions: Thor (review), Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows (review), The Adventures of Tintin (review)

This year it's not only the film that has taken my interest, I'm also very fascinated by trailers and have more of an opinion on what makes a good and what makes a bad trailer. Here are my favourite trailers of the year

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Never mind that I haven't seen the film, the trailer is insane. It's great because of the soundtrack and the cuts to the beat. If you haven't seen it then please watch above. Also check out the Muppets Spoof of it here which is very entertaining.

The Amazing Spider-man teaser 
Though it's not out for another half a year, the first trailer for The Amazing Spider-man is incredible! You'd think by it's length it's given a lot away but I still believe there is more for us to see. I much like the last part of the trailer where you are spidey. This trailer in 3D is fantastic.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows trailer 2
The only reason this made it into my favourites is because of the scene in the forest. I love the music and the slow motion which helps the cuts to the beat with the soundtrack. It's just very clever.

Tinker Tailor Solider Spy trailer 1
Like the other trailers I have mentioned, this trailer was particularly entertaining because of the tension the music brought to the audience.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2 trailer 1
I love the beginning of this trailer as if uses the theme from the Harry Potter films in a slower mode as it fits with glimpses of the film. Then it's much more of an epic ride as lots of footage is put together one after the other at a very high continuum. Goosebumps!

That's it. My favourites of the year. As you can see it's not as sophisticated as other lists, but these are all my own favourites. Like I said above, I am interested in hearing other peoples favourites! Please let me know! Did you agree with some of my choices or was your favourite something not on my list and something I didn't see this year? Tell me!

I will probably make another post in the next few days to start off 2012, but until then...Happy New Year's everyone!
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  1. I love the list! I would never have guessed that Super 8 was your favourite of the year :P I'm gonna post my list soon, although Harry Potter is a lot higher on mine!

  2. Great List! Love all the films put up there, I'm surprised that Harry Potter Only was 9th place though!

  3. Thanks both for the comment. Can't wait to see your list Emily! I was thinking of putting Harry Potter higher but he ones that are higher I thought were just a little better...but I still loved Harry Potter a lot.

    Thanks Anonymous. You should let me know who you are

  4. Brilliant, Nadine. So refreshing to see you being completely honest about what you loved as opposed to following critics' lead. I have about three or so more films to watch (as Take Shelter is on at the local indie next week...!) and then mine will be up! It's been fun doing it, but really tough to decide what got left out!

  5. Thanks Emma! I can't wait to see how your top 10 finishes!


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