Dec 28, 2011

Best movies of 2011: numbers 15 to 11

Welcome to my favourite films of 2011. First, let's start with some disclaimers so I'm not beaten to death by movie geeks brandishing cola straws.

[This is part one. Click here for part two. Click here for part three. See also 2010 and 2009.]

I missed numerous 2011 films: this top 15 has more holes than the plot of Transformers. So Drive is safely parked away, while The Artist maintains a respectful silence. Neither is there Tintin, Harry Potter nor bloody Mars Needs Moms. And no shouty Nicholas Cage.

There were some films I did see that didn’t make it into the list. The Adjustment Bureau, about men in hats walking through walls, was entertaining if not original, while Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy ticked all the boxes but failed to be greater than the sum of its parts. Kill List was my hands-down film of the year until the ending reduced it to a laughable failure. And Paul simply wasn’t good enough to be included.

Tron Legacy would have been in my top ten last year, but I saw it after I’d written my write-up and now it’s too late to join this year’s list. Yes, it was trash, but it was rezzed-up techno trash and I Daft-Punking loved it. Also, I finally saw Catfish (otherwise known as the other Facebook film) and was mightily entertained if a little paranoid about ever logging on again.

15 - Super 8

Part Stand By Me, part Close Encounters, this is JJ Abrams’ love letter to Stephen Spielberg. Which is a bit like The Hulk taking up needlecraft. The ‘berg served as producer for this wide-eyed adventure story, which is probably why the movie manages to soften the stupendously moronic storyline with a dash of nostalgia and more than a little warmth.

14 - The Inbetweeners Movie

Popular television comedy writ large for the big screen? If that idea of that doesn’t fill you with dread, then you’ve never seen The Simpsons Movie. As it is, the film delivers the requisite quota of fannies and bums and silly dancing despite the woeful near-absence of Greg Davies. Any film that gets Kylie to say "clunge" at an awards ceremony gets my vote.

13 - True Grit

For any other film makers, Bear Man (“I have taken his teeth: I will entertain an offer for the rest of him”) would be their best character ever. But these are the Coens and they play oddball better than anyone. True Grit is a solid remake shot with a slow and steady hand and is only slightly spoilt by an action-led last act that seems a bit unCoeny.

12 - Arthur Christmas

Yes, really. A red-nosed Christmas classic co-written by Peter ‘Alan Partridge’ Baynham and with all the adult nuances of Nick Park’s more famous inventor and dog. A glittering cast helps: Laurie, McAvoy, Jensen, Broadbent, Palin, Staunton and Nighy (“right down the Rodney hole!”). It really didn't need the 3D, so leave those stupid specs at home.

11 - The Fighter

Christian Bale does crazy and Mark Wahlberg does Rocky in a film that ought to be a knock-off of an old idea, but is brought to life with two compelling central performances and a gaggle of Christopher Guest-style ensemble characters clad in amazing mullets. Empire Of The Sun and the Funky Bunch seem like such a long time ago.

[This is part one. Click here for part two. Click here for part three. See also 2010 and 2009.]

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