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Favourite Movies of 2011

As is the norm for starting the new year, now is the time to reflect on the past year. On an overall basis, at least personally, I’d like to say that 2011 was pretty great. But on a movie basis, it sucked!

I was talking to my friend Tyrone recently about this past year’s cinematic offerings. He offered sentiments that I agreed with: in the past year, there’s been a lot of entertaining movies, but not as many of those deep, layered, ”great” movies. So I’m filled with disappointment that I couldn’t produce an honest top 10 list. This year goes to 6. If I did try to fill out spots 7-10 it wouldn’t be fair, because I’ve seen so many that seemed to be within the same range as far as entertainment goes.

The top 6 aren’t necessarily the best movies, but are the ones that I feel I’ll remember in the years to come.

You can view my favourite lists for the years (2010), (2009), (2008), (2007), and (2006).

6. Shame – When friends asked me about this one, I described it in a similar way I described my sentiments towards Requiem for a Dream. The movie is well crafted and acted, but because of the bleak topical nature of the movie I don’t see myself watching it again. They’re both powerful in the sense that they can make you feel so depressed, and so it transcends the medium into an emotional experience. Because of the subject of the movie, it is quite graphic in content. Me and my coworker determined that no matter who you choose to watch this with, it’s going to be awkward. That said, bother Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan were terrific in their roles, playing troubled siblings. But what I loved most was probably the cinematography. The way that New York comes out on this side of the lens, really gives it a rich feel.

5. Trollhunter – (review)

4. X-Men: First Class – (review) – I’ve watched XM:FC two more times since the initial viewing. Shit, it’s great.

3. Drive – This was a fantastic movie, plucked right out of the 80s, yet somehow from 2011. Something about the soundtrack and the visceral action/violence gave it an edge akin to low budget 80s genre movies. It was superbly shot with performances to match. Albert Brooks was quite possibly the best heel this year! I haven’t seen many of Ryan Gosling’s movies (Half Nelson and Blue Valentine) so never thought too much of him. He nails the role here! Young Hercules, yah!

2. The Artist – (review)

1. Elite Squad 2: Enemy Within – a shame that I didn’t get to write a full fledged review of what is to be my favourite movie of the year. Perhaps I will do so later on to make up for it. I was describing to a friend over the holidays that watching ES2 was in a way analogous to my experience of playing Batman: Arkham City. Whereas Arkham Asylum was more of a small scope, linearly focused game, Arkham City opened up the world and offered an experience that was wider in scope. This parallels ES2. ES2 is quite the tour de force, taking everything done right in the first movie, and kicking it up several notches. I’ll save my comments for the forthcoming review. But it is a bad-ass movie.

If spots 7-10 should require filling, please close your eyes and randomly select any 4 of the following:

Bridesmaids, Captain America, Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop, Fast Five, Hanna, Hobo with a Shotgun, Insidious, Limitless, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Source Code, Super 8.

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