It’s New Year’s Eve, so time to revisit 2011’s best films. I’ve been hearing good things about a few I haven’t seen yet, so they may appear here at a later date. But, as things stand, these are my ten favourite films released (for the first time) in UK cinemas in 2011.
10. The Skin I Live In.
Pedro Almódovar’s seriously f***ed-up film is intriguingly twisted. And features one almighty f***ed up twist. I was completely gripped.
9. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol.
A late entry (with potential to move up the list after repeat viewings), I didn’t see this until 2012, but Brad Bird’s live action debut turns the action and tension up to 11. In the process, it also manages to wring out the best performances for years from Tom Cruise and Simon Pegg.
8. Crazy, Stupid, Love.
Smart, cool, touching, unpredictable, funny, loved it.
7. The King’s Speech.
Okay, so it’s old news now but still a great film. I saw it the once, and was pleasantly surprised. I then somehow ended up taking a friend to see it. And then another… And it never disappointed.
6. X Men: First Class.
A great restart to the franchise, with a first class cast, and first class set pieces.
Who’d’ve guessed an all-archive documentary about a Formula 1 racing driver would have made my top 5 films of the year? An intriguing, emotional and informative ride.
It’s Rapunzel. It’s what we all call it and it’s what it is. But, more importantly, it’s Disney back on form. At last. Combining the old-fashioned Disney animation singalongs with modern, fast-paced CGI and a post-modern feminist heroine, this has everything that Disney movies have lacked without Pixar. Who, for the first time in a decade, are absent from this list.
3. Perfect Sense.
Not very often, a film comes along that just speaks to you on an emotional level, sucks you in and leaves you devastated. For me in 2011, this was that film. I waited until the very last screening to see it, and have been gagging to see it again ever since.
2. Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
Nobody saw this one coming. After the lacklustre reboot from Tim Burton ten years ago, this franchise seemed dead in the water, and nobody seemed to miss it. But when you have the SFX team behind Avatar and mo-cap legend Andy Serkis on board, something special is sure to happen, even in the hands of a near novice director. It has its flaws, in particular the human characters, but makes the implausible plausible and has you cheering the apes along.
1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part Two.
I have no objectivity when it comes to Harry Potter. I adore JK Rowling’s universe and characters too much to allow the many faults in the films to over-ride the sheer pleasure I get out of them. Of course the books are better, and there were some especially infuriating changes here. But it’s the end of an era, and the film of 2011 I returned to see again and again and again. And will continue to see again and again and again.