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The Top 10 Films of Summer 2011!

The summer season (at least as far as movies go) officially ends this weekend with the Labor Day holiday here in the US. After this, it's time to go back to school and the theaters are filled with crap studios are dumping. So as the season ends, we decided to look back on the Summer of '11 and celebrate the best of what it had to offer. We had JimmyO and Chris Bumbray collaborate on a Top 10 list of their favorite films of the summer for this list. I agree with some of the choices and disagree vehemently with some of the others (as I'm sure you will too). Take a look through the slideshow to see what you think and their surprising choice for #1. (While you're at it, feel free to post your own Top 10 in the talkbacks.)

1. Bridesmaids

"Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy and Maya Rudolph, plus the rest of this terrific cast managed to make one of the most endearing comedies in the past few years. BRIDESMAIDS accomplishes everything it sets out to, it’s hilarious, heartfelt, crude, raunchy and most importantly… wait for it… relatable. It’s more than a chick flick, and more than a barrel of puppies, it is one of the best comedies of the decade and it features Wilson Phillips, what more could you possibly want?" -- (Jimmy O)

"If you had told me back in April that BRIDESMAIDS, a film featuring no huge stars and probably made for the marketing budget of some of the big blockbuster, would be the breakout hit of the summer, I would have thought you were nuts. Sure enough it was phenomenal, and the best movie to emerge from Judd Apatow’s production house since 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN. Why? Simple: not only was it funny as hell (Jon Hamm as Kristen Wiig’s douchy flame kills me), but it had loads of heart. It’s a wonderful film, full of breakout performances from Wiig, Hamm, Melissa McCarthy and more. Terrific." -- (Chris B)

2. The Tree of Life

"Love it or hate it, TREE OF LIFE is a film that commands respect. I can honestly understand why people may find it pretentious, or inaccessible (Penn himself is on record saying he’s not thrilled with the final cut) but it moved me, as Malick’s films often do. Ever notice how when we look back on our childhood it seems epic and endless, but as adults, our lives tend to move at a frenzied pace that makes it almost impossible to occasionally stop, and take inventory of what’s really important in our lives. As it is, TREE OF LIFE is like a dream, and one of the more unique experiences I’ve had at the cinema this year." -- (Chris B)

"Overlong, pretentious, boring, or just plain bad! Many have used some of those words to describe TREE OF LIFE. Yet this tale of a dysfunctional suburban family, the creation of the universe and a son lost in his own uncertainty is a moody and personal bit of visual poetry. If you are not a fan of Terrence Malick, TREE OF LIFE will not change the way you look at his films. Yet as a fan of his work, this brilliantly acted and chillingly accurate portrait of 1950’s America is a stirring and emotional journey. Malick has created one of the most fascinating, frustrating, strange and challenging motion pictures to haunt those willing to experience." -- (Jimmy O)

3. Super 8

"As the young stars of SUPER 8 find themselves making a monster movie, while a real life beastie stalks their little town, the line between coming of age and sci-fi is delicately traveled. For fans of ET, JAWS, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND and many other Steven Spielberg classics, there is much to admire in J.J. Abrams love letter to movies of old. And leave it to a bright and wonderful cast including Joel Courtney, Elle Fanning, Ryan Lee, Riley Griffiths, Gabriel Basso and Zach Mills who give this film its heart and soul. A coming-of-age monster flick? Absolutely!" -- (Jimmy O)

"SUPER 8 was a nostalgic, crowd-pleasing ride, with some incredible set pieces (the train crash rocked the theater I was in). Kind of like a sci-fi STAND BY ME, right? J.J Abrams is the real deal, lens flares aside. I hope Elle Fanning is remembered at the Oscars this year, as she’s really that good." -- (Chris B)

4. Bellflower

"Talk about a relationship gone to hell flick. This challenging and oftentimes brilliant film is a unique and very complicated look inside the breakdown of a trust and what it can do to a wounded heart. While most guys may deal with it a little better than anti-hero Woodrow (Evan Glodell, the film’s star, as well as writer and director), he creates enough of a connection to still care (and gasp!) even relate to his downward spiral. The film also features terrific performances from Tyler Dawson and the film’s fire, Jessie Wiseman. This is a dark and twisted modern day romance filled with beauty and a ton of violence and rage. BELLFLOWER is most definitely worth visiting." -- (Jimmy O)

"I went f**king mental for Evan Glodell’s debut when I saw it at Fantasia. While I totally understand how it could rub some people the wrong way, it worked for me on a deep, primal level that kinda scares me to be honest. If nothing else, it signals the arrival of a major new talent in Glodell. Also, that car is bitchin’." -- (Chris B)

5. X-Men: First Class

"In a summer full of superhero blockbusters (most of which were actually pretty good), Fox really made X-MEN FIRST CLASS stand out. They accomplished this with the unique, superspy sixties setting, the inspired choice of Matthew Vaughn to direct, and a superb performance by Michael Fassbender as Magneto- who seemed to be auditioning to potentially take over the Bond role in a few years (could happen). It’s too bad FIRST CLASS came up a little short at the box-office, which may not allow for a FIRST CLASS sequel, but if anything, it proved this franchise has a lot more life in it, as long as a good dose of creativity is involved. It also has, hands down, the best cameo of the year- which I won’t spoil for those who haven’t seen it." -- (Chris B)

"The stand-out this year for superheroes had to be the impressive, X-MEN: FIRST CLASS. Both Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy bring respect and class to Magneto and Xavier respectively. The two actors carry this film with talent to spare. Add to that, an interesting story, complex characters and director Matthew Vaughn’s top-notch work and you have what is arguably the best X-Men in the series." -- (Jimmy O)

6. The Devil's Double

"Dominic Cooper is astounding as both Uday Hussein and Latif Yahia in THE DEVIL'S DOUBLE. While Hussein is the more showy role, he is able to create a full-on character for both of the men he plays. This gorgeously shot feature is a much needed does of violence and bloodshed in this deeply disturbing tell all tale that is “based on a true story” (how much is true is quiet questionable in itself). Director Lee Tamahori delves just far enough into the sick and twisted world of a powerful and paranoid man. The Devil’s Double is well worth getting a second and possibly a third look." -- (Jimmy O)

"While I’m somewhat skeptical how much truth is contained in this “based on a true story” account of Uday Hussein’s alleged double, the craft behind this film cannot be denied. It’s almost like a middle-eastern SCARFACE, although Uday Hussein is far more demonic than Tony Montana ever was. Dominic Cooper is incredible in this dual role, with him striking a heroic figure as the noble Latif Yayia (no idea if he’s this heroic in real life though I’ve read some pretty damning stuff about him on the net), and the psychotic Uday. Whether or not this is mostly fictional, it’s still a great film." -- (Chris B)

7. Attack the Block

"Why aren’t more people seeing this? If anything out there deserves to be a sleeper hit, ATTACK OF THE BLOCK is it. I my review, I cheekily called it THE WIRE SEASON 4 meets SUPER 8. Minus Omar though. Omar would have handled shit. I’m quite happy to see that ATTACK’s standout performer, John Boyega, landed the lead in Spike Lee/Doug Ellin’s HBO pilot, DA BRICK. This kid’s the real deal." -- (Chris B)

8. Rise of the Planet of the Apes

"I regret only giving RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES a seven I my initial review, as the re-boot of the APES franchise has stuck with me in the weeks following its release. If that’s not the sign of a good movie, I don’t know what is. Andy Serkis, John Lithgow, and the smart premise/direction make up for my problems with the film, including another phoned-in performance from James Franco, and a few plot holes (Brian Cox just disappears from the film)." -- (Chris B)

9. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2

"HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 2 is an epicly fitting end to this hugely popular film franchise. I was never on board the first few movies, but somehow kept going back to them. It was with the last two that something really spoke to me. Much can be credited to the solid trio of young thespians, Daniel Radcliff, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint who all give equally impressive performances in this imaginative tale. Finally seeing Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) and Harry Potter (Radcliff) come face to face was the end of a very satisfying crossing. Not only was the entire cast in top form in this final conclusion to the series, this was by far the best when it came to story, special effects and CGI. It would have been difficult to top this operatic finale to a much beloved series." -- (Jimmy O)

10. Captain America

"I’d never expected to find so much joy in Marvel Comics CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER. However, the casting of Stanley Tucci, Tommy Lee Jones and Hugo Weaving really helped shake things up. It didn’t hurt that director Joe Johnston gave this period piece a ton of 1940’s flavor thanks to the music, the atmosphere and the look of the picture. And then there was Chris Evans. Not only did he prove to be a wise choice for Cap, he also made for a believable skinny fella thanks to the incredible visual effects that helped turn Steve Rogers into Captain America. Captain America was an exciting and pulpy superhero flick that helped offer up hope that THE AVENGERS will be as great as we all anticipate it will be." -- (Jimmy O)

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