Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Top Ten Films of 2011

1
THE TREE OF LIFE 
(Terrence Malick, USA)
"No other film this year was as bold or ambitious as Terrence Malick’s magnum opus, “The Tree of Life.” Even in a year of such great films, “The Tree of Life” stands apart as such a towering achievement that it immediately belongs in the pantheon of the great works of cinema."

2
LE QUATTRO VOLTE
(Michelangelo Frammartino, Italy)
"Elegant in its simplicity, Frammartino nearly equals the sheer spiritual weight of “The Tree of Life” without ever speaking a word."

 3
POETRY
(Lee Chang-dong, South Korea)
"A lyrical, vibrant, and deeply moving film, “Poetry” is a powerhouse, a masterful evocation of a free spirit torn down by the fog of age and tragedy."

4
A SEPARATION
(Asghar Farhadi, Iran)
"Gripping and devastating, the film examines ideals of justice in a world colored in shades of gray."

5
HUGO
(Martin Scorsese, USA)
"One of the year’s most joyous and rapturous cinematic experiences."

6
MARGARET
(Kenneth Lonergan, USA)
"A brilliantly written and deeply felt emotional depth charge of a film."

7
MYSTERIES OF LISBON
(Raul Ruiz, Portugal)
"A sprawling and grand literary feast of exotic characters and locales, masterfully directed by Portuguese director Raul Ruiz." 

8
UNCLE BOONMEE WHO CAN RECALL HIS PAST LIVES
(Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Thailand)
"Metaphysical manifestations of past lives show up like fragments of dreams in this transcendent and wholly unique work of art." 

 9
DRIVE
(Nicholas Winding Refn, USA)
"A brutal, finely tuned thrill machine...expertly crafted on all levels."

10
CERTIFIED COPY
(Abbas Kiarostami, France)
"A deeply felt and intelligent exploration of individual perceptions, both in art and in human relationships... one of 2011’s most bewitching and delicious mysteries."


HONORABLE MENTIONS
ARMADILLO (Janus Metz, Denmark), TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY (Tomas Alfredson, UK), CITY OF LIFE AND DEATH (Lu Chuan, China), OF GODS AND MEN (Xavier Beauvois, France), LE HAVRE (Aki Kaurismaki, Finland), TO DIE LIKE A MAN (João Pedro Rodrigues, Portugal), HOUSE OF PLEASURES (Bertrand Bonello, France), TUESDAY, AFTER CHRISTMAS (Radu Muntean, Romania), MIDNIGHT IN PARIS (Woody Allen, USA), J. EDGAR (Clint Eastwood, USA), THE MYTH OF THE AMERICAN SLEEPOVER (David Robert Mitchell, USA).

To read the full write up in The Dispatch, click here.

1 comment:

Sam Juliano said...

Although you and I severely part company on WAR HORSE Matthew (for me it is seriously challenging THE TREE OF LIFE for the #1 spot, though I may just put it at #2 and call it a day) I must say that once again our tastes are so similar that it is scary.

Why do I say this?

Well, simple. Of your Top Ten films, in my newly-tweaked list, ther are SIX (count 'em 6) films that are also on my Top 10, with a seventh (DRIVE) still very close at #11.

The ones we share are:

The Tree of Life
A Separation
Poetry
Hugo
Mysteries of Lisbon
Margaret

While I do love LE QUATTRO VOLTE quite a bit, I can't quite muster the enthusiasm for it to make a top ten placement. I have soured a bit oin UNCLE BOONME, which I have downgraded, and CERTIFIED COPY just misses.

Of your honorable mentions, while I liked the often-mesmerizing HOUSE OF PLEASURES, I will by-pass it as a runner-up choice, and am no fan of Woody's film or TINKER TAILOR.

OF GODS AND MEN, WAR HORSE, TOMBOY and MELANCHOLIA are superlative films that make my Top 10 but not yours.

But again, I am always amazed at how our tastes are so similar year in and year out.