Thursday, December 29, 2011

Best Movies of 2011

There's not much point in having only a year end list only of books, to my way of thinking. We've got to include movies too. Not that I watched that many movies, but in looking back over my journal, there were some that definitely stood out above the crowd.

This list is based on what was new to me this year, not solely on what was a new release.

  • Midnight in Paris - the Golden Age in the City of Lights from Woody Allen (my review here)
  • Exit Through the Gift Shop - documentary about an eccentric French shop keeper and amateur film maker who attempted to befriend famed graffiti artist Banksy, only to have the artist turn the camera back on him. Brilliant.
  • True Grit (2010) - gritty, funny, and (I'm told) truer to the book than the original movie (my snapshot comments are here)
  • The King's Speech - before King George VI of Britain was forced to ascend to the throne by his brother's Edward abdication, he struggled mightily with stuttering with the help of an unconventional speech therapist. The story is sensitively told and brilliantly portrayed by all.
  • To Be or Not to Be (1942) - Jack Benny and Carole Lombard, directed by the great Ernst Lubitsch. During the Nazi occupation of Poland, an acting troupes helps track down a German spy. Really funny while making a definite statement about the tragedy of the Polish occupation. Watching this made me appreciate Lombard's acting skill.
  • Up in the Air - corporate downsizer corporate downsizer Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) lives an isolated existence traveling the country firing people and giving seminars on success. Even he balks, however, at the changes proposed by a young woman and when he is called up on to show her the ropes, both their lives change (my snapshot comments are here)
  • Gone Baby Gone - This tale a a young couple detecting a little girl's kidnapping was as wonderful as critics said. The story was morally grounded and made me want to look for Dennis Lehane's books, as this was based on one of his. All round a wonderful movie.
  • Waking Sleeping Beauty - how Walt Disney Studios went in a mere ten-year period from the depths of The Black Cauldron to the heights of animation in Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King is the subject of this behind-the-scenes documentary from the point of view of the animators (my review is here)


  1. Dennis Lehane's books are edgy but captivating. Sometimes when it comes to tactics, watch out. There is a good moral force lurking under there somewhere, though.

  2. This is weird... Matthew McConaughey isn't in ANY of these movies!

  3. Exit Through the Gift Shop - arrrgh because was it even real?!? I mean, Banksy is real, obviously...

    I just finally watched Vicky Christina Barcelona, so give me two years and I'll get to Midnight in Paris.

    Your list helps me. I don't watch many movies!

  4. Scott ... you made me laugh! I think we can count Owen Wilson as a good sub for MCConaughey! :-D

  5. Jenny... we pick and choose our way through Woody Allen movies so we were able to skip right over Vicky Christina Barcelona and land on Midnight in Paris! :-)