Our Favorite Flicks of 2011
Posted on December 22, 2011 by Chris Nelson
It’s that time of year again. Kris and I have selected our favorite films of the past year, as well as our biggest disappointments. Note that these are not your usual critic picks, but the films that left an impression, and which we would gladly spend time with again. Additionally, we’ve noted our favorites of films released previously, but which we finally caught this year.
Enjoy! (and be sure to check out our previous year’s list)
My favorite of the favorites. The Knot was a complex, nuanced, and throughful film. Scriptwriter Takehiko Minato and actress Muck Akazawa are definitely ones to watch in the future. And, hey, director Yuichi Onuma’s recent work seems intruguing as well. Great stuff all around. See our review.
Into the White Night
What a twisted piece of cinema. Wonderful performances, from Maki Horikita, Kengo Kora, et al. Close to three hours long, but totally worth it. See our review.
Vengeance Can Wait
One of the funniest and ‘wrongest’ films we’ve seen this year. This one’s totally off the wall. Tadanobu Asano’s path to vengeance is one for the books. See our review.
Takashi Miike’s remake is as entertaining as it is thrilling. And no, it’s not an homage to Kurosawa. Smart, action packed, and wonderfully acted. The best strategy-battle since A Battle of Wits. See our review.
Drew Rosas’s film is a grindhouse tribute made from an actual grindhouse budget, and it’s far more entertaining than any of Tarantino or Rodriguez’s recent efforts. See our review.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
The smartest film of the summer. Contains more raw emotion than most of the indie dramas released this year. Emotionally draining though. We probably won’t rewatch this for quite some time.
Tree of Life
More visual poetry from Terrence Malick. Deserves to be watched twice, just to absorb everything.
Attack the Block
Monster Squad for the millennial set. As funny as it is badass. See our review.
A Hawai’i film from a non-haole perspective? Sign us up. Clooney is awesome. Story is awesome. Good stuff all around.
Hee hee hee. We’ve already watched this twice. Introduced us to some new, awesomely rude hand gestures. We now use them every day.
Crime After Crime /
A double whammy of amazing docs, by the Bay Area’s own Yoav Potash. Two of the most important documentaries you could see this year. These are a bit more complex than a one-liner can hope to handle. Instead, check out our review of Food Stamped, as well as our coverage of Crime After Crime.
BEST MOVIES WE FINALLY SAW THIS YEAR
Achilles and the Tortoise
Two satiric films about the art world that are as funny as they are frustrating. Untitled depicts the world of an avant-garde artist as he struggles to present his unique artistic vision in an world driven by marketable monotony and distracted by artistic frauds. Achilles and the Tortoise is the final film in Kitano’s Artist trilogy, and concerns an aspiring artist who makes the dreaded mistake of listening to his advisors, devoting all his waking hours to uninspired pieces while the world around him falls apart. Amazing stuff.
See our review of Untitled.
Don’t Laugh at My Romance /
Bare Essence of Life
A Kenichi Matsuyama double feature. Kris claims these are great (I have yet to see them). Don’t Laugh also feature Yu Aoi, and Bare Essence also has Kumiko Aso.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Undead
Not undead zombies, but vampires. But wait, it’s good! Probably the smartest and funniest horror comedy we’ve seen in a long time.
A film about the south that gets the cadence right. Probably a good double feature with Black Snake Moan.
Red Riding 1974
The best English-language thriller since Zodiac.
A Clive Barker adaptation that actually delivers. Seriously, this is a pretty disturbing movie. Disturbingly good, that is.
Whatever you say about Ryan Reynolds, this film proves he’s got acting chops. One man, in a box, for 90 minutes. And it’s intense. Seriously.
A tentative addition. This one’s pretty intriguing, but its philosophy is a bit too simple-minded. Sort of a Crash on the global scale, with thai hookers, aids, and child rapists. Kris notes this could have alternatively been titled ‘This Humidity Makes Me Horny’.
Vigilante, Vigilante! (see our coverage)
Love Exposure (see our review)
Road to Nowhere
I Am Number Four
The Adjustment Bureau
FILMS WE MISSED
The Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence
The Rum Diary
A Dangerous Method
Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark
The Greatest Movie Ever Sold
The Way Back