January 01, 2012

The usual New Year post (Top of 2011)

Once again, a year ends and another one begins, and with that comes new things, new life events, new problems, new triumphs, and of course, new movies. The fabled year of 2012 is upon us, and so it's time to look back and see what did the year of 2011 left us. Personally, 2011 was a great year, not only W-Cinema seemed to resurrect (somewhat) and deliver more reviews, but I also may have learned a thing or two about life in the process. Life is good.

Back to movies, given that realistically, nobody can truly get a full grasp of what's released during in the year (because of different release dates for different countries or limited availability), I decided to make three lists. One dedicated exclusively to the Top of 2011 as per tradition in W-Cinema (that is, based on the original release date, meaning the IMDB date). Another to detail my theatre experience (since I live in Mexico, expect several films of 2010 in the list, which didn't arrive until the last year). And finally, a list chrinicling the discoveries I made during the year, that is, films from any other year that I just happened to watch for the first time during this year that ends.

Naturally, with every list, you may agree or disagree with it, but whatever be the nature of the feeling this humble lists incite in you, don't be afraid to stop by and comment. Opinions are greatly appreciated. An now, the lists:

Top films of 2011
I couldn't decide what to place in first place, if Woody Allen's heartfelt tribute to the City of Lights, or Verbinski's animated homage to Sergio Leone. In the end, I opted for Allen, as his "Midnight in Paris" is a superbly done exericise in comedy that is always intelligent, witty and charming. Pretty much what used to be Allen's trademark in the past. Is this a return to form? A new masterpiece? I don't know, it's not. But it's certainly a remarkably enjoyable film. Oh, and I did not find "The Tree of Life" as amazing as it claim it is.
1) Midnight in Paris (2011, Woody Allen)
2) Rango (2011, Gore Verbinski)
3) Miss Bala (2011, Gerardo Naranjo)
4) Moneyball (2011, Bennett Miller)
5) Source Code (2011, Duncan Jones)
6) The Lincoln Lawyer (2011, Brad Furman)
7) Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011, Rupert Wyatt)
8) Bridesmaids (2011, Paul Feig)
9) Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (2011, Brad Bird)
10) The Tree of Life (2011, Terrence Malick)

At the theatre 2011

My theatre experience, as expected, shows a lot of 2010 at the top places. The reason of this is simple: most of the best films of a given year that I see, are not seen during that given year. Four 2010 films appear at the top, and still, I have the feeling that they could probably end up not being the best of 2010. Who knows? Perhaps there's an unknown film from the Eastern bloc that I'll end up discoverying in the following years... Yes, once again I fell under the spell of Darren Aronofsky, but I don't mind to admit that "Black Swan", as unsubtle and loud as it is, is a film that works for me. But then again, "The Kids Are All Right" could also had been #1, so between both films, the decision was purely arbitrary.
1) Black Swan (2010, Darren Aronofsky)
2) The Kids Are All Right (2010, Lisa Cholodenko)
3) 127 Hours (2010, Danny Boyle)
4) Copie conforme (2010, Abbas Kiarostami)
5) Midnight in Paris (2011, Woody Allen)
6) Rango (2011, Gore Verbinski)
7) Miss Bala (2011, Gerardo Naranjo)
8) Moneyball (2011, Bennett Miller)
9) Source Code (2011, Duncan Jones)
10) The Lincoln Lawyer (2011, Brad Furman)

Discoveries of 2011
While I try to watch more modern films and recent releases, there is a lot in the history of cinema that I still have not discovered yet. This year gave me 10 films that simply left me breathless. It may sound preposterous, but the previous two lists have nothing on these 10 true masterpieces of cinema. Each one of them a landmark of filmmaking that rightfully earned its place in history. From the stylish "Laura" to the enigmatic "Zerkalo", each is a very well recommended movie to learn just how truly great an art form that humble invention call cinema can be.
1) Zerkalo (1975, Andrey Tarkovskiy)
2) Viskningar och rop (1972, Ingmar Bergman)
3) Paris, Texas (1984, Wim Wenders)
4) Nazarín (1959, Luis Buñuel)
5) Fort Apache (1948, John Ford)
6) Les quatre cents coups (1959, François Truffaut)
7) Paths of Glory (1957, Stanley Kubrick)
8) Viridiana (1961, Luis Buñuel)
9) Ladri di biciclette (1948, Vittorio De Sica)
10) Laura (1944, Otto Preminger)


Kevin Matthews said...

Glad to see you also loved Rango as I did. I really didn't know what to expect but I loved it. And The Lincoln Lawyer is one that I think a lot of people will overlook until people like you and I say "no, seriously, it IS a good film".

J Luis Rivera said...

"The Lincoln Lawyer" seemed to me like the kind of thrillers that used to be done in the 70s or 80s.

And that is a good thing :)