Following on from The Edge‘s “Top Albums of 2011” feature, we asked our readers and editors about their favourite movie releases of the past year. The full contributions can be read below, and we also have a top three so check it out and make sure you comment below with your thoughts!
Introduction by Barnaby Walter, Film Editor:
2011 has been a very mixed year for cinema. As is the case with most years, there have been some absolute gems and some really awful disasters. Some films made me love life and want to buy another ticket to experience them all over again; others have left me crawling from the cinema doors, begging strangers in the street for immediate euthanasia. But around this time of year it is customary to dwell on the high points of the cinematic year. Below are selections of the best films released in UK cinemas last year from our contributors!
Director: Paul Figg UK Release: 24th June 2011
Domestic Gross: $169,106,725 Metacritic Score: 76/100
Director: Lynne Ramsay UK Release: 21st October 2011
Domestic Gross: $83,300 Metacritic Score: 70/100
Director: Nicolas Winding Refn UK Release: 23rd September 2011
Domestic Gross: $34,938,255 Metacritic Score: 79/100
Barnaby Walter, Film Editor:
1. Black Swan: A shocking, bonkers, brilliant festival of creative and ingenious filmmaking. Natalie Portman was a deserved winner of her Best Actress Oscar (though director Darren Aronofsky sadly lost to Tom Hooper). Black Swan is a modern masterpiece.
2. Animal Kingdom: The Godfather of our generation. Animal Kingdom deserves to be remembered as one of the first crime-cinema landmarks of the 21st Century.
3. Wuthering Heights: Andrea Arnold’s brave and brutal retelling of the classic Bronte novel was one of the year’s most remarkable cinematic experiences. After coming out of the auditorium you feel like you’ve endured all the rain, wind, coldness and violence the characters have. It may not be everyone’s idea of fun, but Arnold’s harnessing of the visceral emotional power of nature and wildlife left me stunned.
4. The King’s Speech: This sumptuous and compelling period drama captured the heart of the world, and proved that British cinema still had blockbuster potential. Colin Firth is magnificent, but for me the real stars were the supporting actors, particularly Helena Bonham Carter, Michael Gambon and Jennifer Ehle.
5. We Need to Talk About Kevin: Weird, twisted and devilishly addictive, Lynne Ramsey’s return to the silver screen is a riveting character study of a woman in hell. It is rare one gets to see a film as visually intelligent as this.
6. Drive: An intoxicating, hypnotically beautiful film. It really puts Ryan Gosling on the map as one of the most exciting talents working in the film industry today.
7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2: A near-perfect gem of big family entertainment. It is a jaw-dropping cinematic experience, and a superb closing film to a series that will define a generation. I absolutely loved it.
8. Archipelago: Joanna Hogg is a director who is not afraid to play with form and style. She makes films that give their audiences no shortage of cinematic-meat to chew on. She is to be cherished, encouraged and rewarded for her skill and bravery.
9. Bridesmaids: Refreshing and very well written, Bridesmaids was that rare thing: a crude comedy that was actually funny. And I mean really, really funny. Judd Apatow has, for the first time in his career, produced a film that deserves to be remembered, rewatched and revered.
10. My Week With Marilyn: What a joy. A fun, involving, feel-good movie. Simon Curtis’s big-screen debut is a pure delight.
George Doel, writer:
We Need to Talk About Kevin: A sublime performance by Tilda Swinton and excellent direction from Lynne Ramsay contribute to a chilling, powerful and beautiful portrayal of Lionel Shriver’s novel. Engrossing on the highest level.
Sam Everard, writer:
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: Superb performances from an outstanding cast in a perfect mix of old-school British spy drama with Scandinavian sensibilities courtesy of director Tomas Alfredson. By far the most engrossing film of the year.
Milan Matejka, writer:
2. Cold Weather
3. Meek’s Cutoff
4. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
9. Attack the Block
10. Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol
Other choices (editors):
- André Pusey, Online Editor: Paul or Super 8
- David Martin, Features Editor: We Need to Talk About Kevin
- Joe Hawkes, Editor: Bridesmaids
- Chris Brooks, Live Editor: Drive
- Rob Leane, Head of Relations: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Other choices (writers):
- Alexander Brown: 50/50 or Drive
- Charlie Zajicek: Never Let Me Go
- Chris Bloomfield, writer: Incendies or Senna
- Chris Dibsdall: Bridesmaids
- Corinne Gurr: Midnight in Paris
- David Gilani: The Inbetweeners Movie (honourable mentions: Source Code, The Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2)
- Dean Kay-Barry: Drive or We Need to Talk About Kevin
- James Wignall: Drive
- Joe Moor: Thor
- Tom Kelly: The Ides of March