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The Best Movies of 2011! (So far...)

OK folks, we’re halfway through 2011, and now, just before the next wave of summer blockbusters hits us, is probably as good a time as any to look back at the movies that hits screens throughout the first six months. So how has 2011 chalked up so far? Read on…

BEST BLOCKBUSTERS


X-MEN: FIRST CLASS : While it’s been struggling a tad at the box office compared to the previous installments, I doubt anyone would argue that FIRST CLASS is not only the finest X-MEN film since X2, but also one of the best films of the year- blockbuster or not. I dug the hell out of this flick and I know a lot of you share my opinion on this one. Matthew Vaughn redeemed the franchise here, with a unique, sixties-James Bond style vibe, and a pitch-perfect performance from Michael Fassbender as Magneto. Despite being the lowest grossing film of the franchise, it’s still had good legs at the box office, and hopefully this won’t be Vaughn’s only shot at the franchise, as he’s got the knack.


SUPER 8 : While I’m maybe not quite as hot on this one as a lot of you, I still really enjoyed it for what it was, which is a nostalgic throwback to the Amblin’ blockbusters we grew up with in the late-seventies/eighties. It’s also nice to see something that’s not a sequel/superhero flick do some damage at the box office.


BRIDESMAIDS : Speaking of doing damage at the box office- how about BRIDESMAIDS? It’s the sleeper hit of the year, already raking up $158 million. It’s made a star out of Kristen Wiig (I hope), and it’s proven once again that a film doesn’t need a mega-budget, or huge stars to capture an audience. Sometimes, all it has to be is, ya know- good.

BEST ARTHOUSE


TREE OF LIFE: OK, so this is definitely not a film for everyone, but, say what you will about Terrence Malick, his film cannot be dismissed. Personally, I loved TREE OF LIFE, although, I’d wager that in Malick’s cannon, it’s far from my favorite (with that spot still belonging to BADLANDS). However, it’s still a great film, and if there’s really a three hour cut out there, bring it on!


MIDNIGHT IN PARIS: Woody Allen’s finest film in years and a real sleeper hit, as far as the Woodman’s films go. It’s a charming rom-com, featuring some gorgeous scenery, some gorgeous women (Marion Cottilard, and Rachel McAdams), and a real comeback performance by Owen Wilson, who’s better here than I’ve ever seen him outside of a Wes Anderson film.


BEGINNERS: Why aren’t more people seeing this? This is a deeply affecting indie comedy starring Ewan MacGregor, as a man who tries to open himself up to an intriguing new woman (Melanie Laurent), while dealing with the scars left behind by the untimely death of his father (Christopher Plummer), who, shortly before passing, announced that he’s gay. Despite being an under-the-radar film, expect this to get some play later on this year around awards time, as Plummer seems a shoe-in for a long overdue Oscar nod.


SUBMARINE : The directorial debut of Richard Ayoade, of THE IT CROWD, SUBMARINE was my favourite film of last year’s TIFF, and probably the least maudlin coming of age film you’re ever likely to see. I adored it. It also has a great song score by Alex Turner of The Artic Monkeys, which might actually convince me to give them another shot after suffering through a really half-assed concert they gave in Montreal a few years ago (thirty-five minutes, no encore- boo!!!!!!!).

BEST FILMS THAT HAVEN’T COME OUT YET


TAKE SHELTER: A brilliant piece of work by Jeff Nichols (SHOTGUN STORIES: if you haven’t seen it, watch it!), TAKE SHELTER, which I was lucky enough to catch at Sundance, features the amazing Michael Shannon as a family man suffering from apocalyptic visions. Imagine CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND, minus the aliens, as directed by circa 1978 Terrence Malick (when he was linear), and you’ve got an idea of the kind of ride you’re in for. My personal favourite of the year so far.


MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE: Another amazing Sundance selection, this is the harrowing tale of a young woman, played by the phenomenal Elizabeth Olson, who escapes a cult run by a creepy but magnetic John Hawkes (even better here than he was in WINTER’S BONE), and tries to re-establish a normal life for herself. The last forty minutes of this are among the most harrowing I’ve spent in a movie theater all year. For me, THIS is a real horror film.

BIGGEST SURPRISE


HANNA : Joe Wright’s child assassin tale is easily the best action film of the year so far, due to some dizzying technique (that one-shot underground parking lot fight is incredible), a pulse-pounding score by The Chemical Bros., and two standout performances by Saoirse Ronan, and Eric Bana (why isn’t this guy a mega-star?).

WORST OF THE YEAR:

Alas, this is a long list, with several truly bad films having already seen the light of day, including PASSION PLAY, which I’ve been dedicated to warning people away from since last year’s TIFF. No film can possibly measure up to its level of badness, but the following give it a good shot: RED RIDING HOOD, LARRY CROWNE, SUCKER PUNCH, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES, THE DILEMMA, and sadly, GREEN LANTERN.

Source: JoBlo.com

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