Hey there everybody, it's been something of a roller-coaster 2011 for myself personally but in the cinema I've seen and reviewed (not nearly as many as I would've liked to be honest) some truly breathtaking films. Yes, it's that time again to do the obligatory Top 10 best films the blog has seen this year...
10. Tangled - It may have surfaced in the USA back in 2010, but it didn't make its way to the UK until late January 2011. Disney went back to the formula which made them great to begin with: a beautifully animated fairy-tale story full of romance, comedy, suspense, infectiously catchy songs and an undeniably likeable heroin. It took them over a decade but they finally knocked their best chums over at Pixar off their usual place in the top 10, but that being said, Tangled only did have to go up against Cars 2.
9. The Tree of Life - The controversial entry perhaps, but whether you like it or hate it (and trust me it'll either be one or the other) one can't deny Terrence Malick's soul searching, universe spanning, philosophical journey wrapped in a 1950s melodrama isn't a film which will be meticulously dissected and debated in the years to come. Film Studies students have a new movie to write a postgrad on...
8. Submarine - Taking cues from Wes Anderson quirky self awareness, debut director Richard Ayoade brings probably one of the sweetest and most pleasurable film experiences of the year, which also came with a wonderful breakout performance from Craig Roberts.
7. Super 8 - People say you get what you pay for with 'Summer Blockbusters', personally in recent years I think people have been grossly ripped off in most cases. With Super 8 JJ Abrams writes his love letter to 1980s/early 90s Spielberg films with a story which reminds viewers of a time when the Summer blockbuster was an event which was genuinely fun, imaginative, scary and full of gloriously choreographed set pieces. Take note please, this is how its done.
6. We Need To Talk About Kevin - Tilda Swinton was as always magnificent but Ezra Miller's Kevin is truly one of the most terrifying and unassuming performances of the year. Everybody loves a good scare, but if you don't believe in ghosts, exorcisms, demented serial killers from hell, then this might well be the scariest film ever because it (though unlikely it may seem) could be a conceivably real situation.
5. The Guard - Perhaps being Irish sways my opinion slightly but this is without doubt the funniest film of the year.
4. Hugo - One of the true masters of film-making, Martin Scorsese delivers one of the most heart-warming, visually beautiful and superbly acted family films of a generation. There are fewer examples in the world which demonstrate a man's passion, love and enthusiasm for his own craft than the love expressed by Scorsese to the art of cinema and to the works of the great George Melies.
3. Drive - I probably could've done a mini Ryan Gosling chart alone, which this would of course top. Nicola Refn Winding delivers an old school action film full of style, suspense and ultra-bonkers-violence. Not to mention the best soundtrack of the year full of synthy shoegazey goodness.
2. The Skin I Live In - Another of the true voyeurs of modern cinema, Pedro Almodovar comes back with a film full of more twists and pure "WTF" moments than you're ever likely to get or frankly ever need anywhere else, in this bizarre Frankenstein meets Bret Easton Ellis tale. Brutal, provocative, earth shatteringly brilliant.
1. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy - It was never going to be anything else for me. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is a film of which is truly magnificent in almost every conceivable way. Tomas Alfredson created a dark, meticulously authentic Cold War drama full of suspense, atmosphere and the best ensemble of British actors working today. All that and still not managing to butcher a literary classic or come across as a lazy big screen tribute to the iconic BBC TV adaptation.
And that's that! Still a couple of more reviews to see the year out next week but for now I'm crashing in front of the TV, cracking out my blu-rays and consuming my bodyweight in both food and drink!
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!