(Belated) 2011 Best Of

This is very overdue, one month to be precise, but hey, seeing as 2012 continues to disappoint, why not take a look at last year’s best. Here is my amended and shortened Top 10 of 2011, which was originally part of the MK News Year in Review:

The Future

Miranda July’s second film may have lacked the saccharine charm of her debut, but there was something much more carefully considered and somber behind The Future, which definitely deserves a second viewing. 

Drive

A heady mix of romance, violence, neon lights and a sublime soundtrack made Drive one of the films of late summer. 

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Jane Eyre

Cary Fukunaga blew the dust off of the Bronte tome, creating an ethereal and gripping retelling. Michael Fassbender was as beautiful and intense as the northern landscape.

True Grit

It feels like a long way back now, but one of the first blockbusters of the year still stands out as a triumph. This remake of the John Wayne original was mostly faithful, but not without its dark Coen twists. 

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Bridesmaids 

Bridesmaids proved that the girls can give as good as they get, in this outrageously lewd comedy from SNL‘s Kristen Wiig. 

Snowtown

Snowtown is based on the real-life mass-murder in a small town in South Australia. The events unfold in unflinching detail, with Daniel Henshall portraying ringleader John in a terrifying fashion. The film joins a growing list of new and impressive Australian film, including the powerful Animal Kingdom earlier this year. 

Kill List

Truly one of the most original films from an up and coming British directors in years, Ben Wheatley takes his cues from The Wicker Man to create a suburban nightmare. What begins as an intense crime thriller tracking two friends in need of cash, and fast, it very quickly turns into a psychological horror. Gory, shocking, and will leave you in complete disbelief. 

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Tyrannosaur

Paddy Considine (star of Dead Man’s Shoes and the Bourne films) steps behind the camera with impressive and touching results. The chance meeting of a violent alcoholic and a battered charity shop worker sparks an unlikely friendship, where both of their lives clash at a time of tragedy. Deeply moving and brave, Considine’s debut is mightily impressive.

Melancholia

Probably better known this year for his Nazi-themed outburst at Cannes, and for becoming persona non grata as a result, but Lars Von Trier’s Melancholia really did deserve the attention. A powerful portrait of a mentally ill woman and her sister as they face the end of the world, with interesting asides on masculinity and science. 

Pina 3D

Sadly only treated to a one-off screening in MK, this documentary is well worth seeking out on DVD or iTunes. Wim Wenders, ever re-inventing himself, presented this 3D doc on Pina Bausch, the contemporary dance instructor. Bausch passed away during filming, so never got the chance to see this sublime experimental work. It will move you in a way you wouldn’t expect, and you’ll be mesmerized by the hypnotic style of dance. All documentary talk this year focused on Senna, but truly groundbreaking work can be found in Pina

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——

I really struggled with not including The Tree of Life, We Need to Talk About Kevin, Martha Marcy May Marlene, and Last Winter. Then again, I did bump Melancholia from 10 to 2, so who knows how my mind will change in the future!

A fantastic year of film and cinema going, I will greatly miss having the time to go as often. 

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