2011 in movies

This year is coming to an end, and it has been a record one for me: I went to cinema about 4 times a month, and got the chance to see some great movies. I thought I’d share my top 10 with you, so you know what to watch during what’s left of your Christmas holidays!

Of course, this top 10 is subjective, do not hesitate to give me yours in the comments!

10 – Paul

I love Simon Pegg’s movies. I was a big fan of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, and Paul follows the same codes: a lot of fun, great humor, some winks to Men In Black… If you are looking for some light comedy, that movie is for you!

9 – Super 8

I haven’t seen a movie like that one for quite some time. The main characters are children, the introduction is well brought, so the first part of the movie reminded me a lot of E.T., or Jurassic Park. There was an 80’s feeling to it that made me think of the old Spielberg movies. Not so surprising when you know that Steven Spielberg is producing the movie! And while the second part of the movie is not as good as the introduction, it is definitely a movie I’d advise to anyone looking for a good thriller.

8 – Tron: legacy

I must say I haven’t seen the first version of the movie. I discovered The Grid, Flynn, and Clu in that latest version, and that was impressive! I have seen it in IMAX 3D, and I think it was worth it: both the special effects and the soundtrack make it a really enjoyable Sci-Fi movie. A must, if your home cinema is good enough! :)

7 – Thor

That movie was a surprise : I have never been a big fan of the comics, and I didn’t expect much more from the movie: the first images that we saw showed plastic-like costumes, and I wasn’t sure that magic and stories of gods would fit in the Marvel universe. Well, I was wrong: thanks to some jokes spread here and there, good side characters, this movie turned out to be at least as good as the other Marvel movies until now. Besides, you will have to see it before to dive into the next episode of the Marvel franchise, The Avengers, so you might as well do it now!

6 – Captain America

Another Marvel, another success this year! World War II, American patriotism, Nazis, the background was laid for a dark story. And it works! Hugo Weaving brings the final touch to the story as a real bad guy, even if it is still quite difficult for me to forget Agent Smith, from The Matrix. :)

I remembered that the comics were really patriotic, and I was afraid the movie would be the same, but that’s not the case. You are watching Captain America, but you don’t get the cheesy moment with the hero standing in front of the waving flag, like in Spiderman. :) Go see that movie if you haven’t seen it yet!

5 – X-Men : First Class

Yes, I know, three Marvel movies in my top 10, you must start to think I am a real fanboy. Well… Yes, I guess so! I was raised with Strange magazines, and I can’t miss any of the movies of the franchise. And I was really waiting for that prequel to the X-Men.

I must say I didn’t really like the previous X-Men movies, apart from the first one. I had a feeling we kept seeing the same tricks all over again, and I wanted to see new super heroes under the spotlight. But First Class is different: by starting over, you discover Xavier before he was Professor X, Erik before he became Magneto. You see how both of them grew from best friends to worst enemies. And of course, you discover new super heroes!

So even if you didn’t like the previous ones, I would suggest you to give this one a try. You won’t regret it!

4 – Mission: impossible – Ghost Protocol

Over-exaggerated action scenes, James Bond-like gadgets, funny side-kicks, and of course impossible missions:  Mission: impossible movies are different. Of course, the fourth opus of the series respects the rules, and you will find all what you loved in the previous movies.

However, everything is crazier now: the action scenes are so stunning I was laughing at myself when I realized I was squeezing the arms of my seat during some of the stunts! And while this could be too much, Simon Pegg does a perfect job at bringing a bit of fun and absurd to these stressy situations.

That’s also nice to see Tom Cruise in a role he fits perfectly. I haven’t seen him much recently, either because the movies he worked on were not that successful, either because media got bored of scientology stories. But he remains the best as Ethan Hawke.

To conclude, that’s my favorite Mission: impossible until now, and I can’t wait for the next one!

3 – True Grit

The Coen brothers always deliver, whatever the topic. And they have done it again. If you like westerns, you will love True Grit. If cowboys, horse rides, and gun fights are not your thing, you might want to try this one anyway. Great actors, great directors, great photography… Need I say more?

2 – The Guard

This one is the UFO of my list: you can’t really compare this small Irish movie to the blockbusters above. But still, it almost made it to Number One. Let’s see why!

I loved In Bruges. I love black humor. I like Politically Incorrect movies. This Irish movie is all that. Directed by John Michael McDonagh, brother of Martin McDonagh (who actually directed In Bruges), this movie follows the steps of a corrupted, racist, and rude cop from a small Irish village, when an FBI agent arrives in town. The 2 policemen don’t seem to have much in common at first, but we discover that they are not so different after all…

Trailer time:

1 – And the winner is… Drive!

It was not easy to decide about a winner. I chose a movie that surprised me. It is difficult to categorize Drive: it is a big mix of movies from the 80’s, Tarantino styled scenes, pure violence, awkward silences, romantic moments… So many opposed feelings that I fell a bit overwhelmed when the lights turned back on. I didn’t know what to think about it. If you’re like me, go see it another time, it wil help! :)

Let’s talk about the important actors that made that movie so good:

  • Ryan Gosling: he is the phenomenon of the year. You saw him in Blue Valentine, Crazy Stupid Love, Drive, you see him on the covers of women magazines, he is everywhere. In Drive, you quickly realize that guy is more than a simple bank rubber, or a driver. You know there is more to this man than the cute face and the simple silences. Still, his reactions surprised me more than once, and he stayed mysterious until the end of the movie. He gave an extra meaning to that leather jacket that’s quite frightening.
  • Carey Mulligan: she did what she does best; look at you with sad/happy/in love/worrying eyes, give a meaning to these numerous big silences. I think she was the perfect actress for that role, since not so many others would have been able to bring so much with so few lines. Still, there were some times when I really wanted to shake her, tell her to wake up and say something instead of just standing there!
  • Bryan Cranston: I discovered him in Breaking Bad, and I really like his acting. He gives a lot of depth to his characters, and that’s again the case in Drive.

The Soundtrack was also great, I have actually bought it after the movie, and that doesn’t happen too often.

Trailer time:

All in all, I think this was a very good year for cinema. There are many others that should have made that list, it was really difficult to choose only 10 of them. Now go on, tell me which ones I forgot, tell me which ones should be removed from that list!