After much deliberation, here is a brief run down of my five top films from 2011. In no particular order:
The King's Speech
A surprisingly entertaining film full of laugh-out-loud moments and swings of emotion.
Little White Lies
A nice film from one of my favourite actor/directors (Guillaume Canet). Had a real independent feel to it and a pleasant enough story.
A great documentary whether you are a Formula 1 fan or not. Full of adrelalin, emotion and suspense mixed with genuine tragedy.
One of the standouts from this year's Belfast Film Festival. Aidan Gillen gave a brilliant performance which is both fun and incredibly sad in parts.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
A great, slow, British(ish) film with another of my favourites, Gary Oldman playing the lead role of George Smiley. An unexpected hit for me.
Some other films from 2011 that i saw included:
A Screaming Man
A truly beautiful film that was a real surprise at the Belfast Film Festival. Understated and brilliantly portraying struggles in life against a backdrop of civil war.
The Ides of March
George Clooney makes a much better director than actor as Ryan Gosling gives a great performance in a political thriller reminiscent of the more tense moments of The West Wing.
The Tree of Life
Hmmm...should have been brilliant, an was in parts, but greatly undermined by the oddness and implausibility of the dinosaurs and the unsubtle similarities between the life of the characters and the life of the planet.
Another hit from the Belfast Film Festival. A surprisingly modern feel to the traditional samurai film. Typically graphic but still likeable.
The Big Picture
A slightly weird film but a nice story with beautiful cinematography and a good performance from Romain Duris.
Martin Sheen plays the lead character going on a pilgrimage in memory of his son. A bit contrived in parts but still a lovely picture and a starring role for James Nesbitt.
Overall, disappointing. I seemed to be one the few who didn't 'get it' despite liking some of Darren Aronofsky's previous films.
Largely the same story as one of Liam Neeson's previous film, Taken, which was considerably better due to Luc Besson's involvement.
Finally, some other films from 2010 that I also finally managed to catch were:
The Social Network
I'm a big fan of Aaron Sorkin's writing and this was his best to date. Fast, witty, smart...what cinema should be about.
Blown away by the effects and the acting wasn't bad. It definitely sticks in the mind.
Looking forward to some great films released in 2012...