WINNERS AND LOSERS
Critic’s pick of 2011.
Best 10 films of 2011
1The Tree of Life
This ambitious attempt to explain the unexplainable nature of life itself is one of the most unique films of the past decade. People who experienced its dreamy, trippy meditations on how our memories shape us either loved it or hated it with a passion. Like Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space
Odyssey, if you fall under its spell, a masterpiece appears before you.
People who know film will immediately recognise the stylistic influences at work in
Drive – particularly the spartan spaghetti westerns of Sergio Leone and the sleek, steely crime opuses of Michael Mann – but will also appreciate the uncommon assurance and original flair with which they have been applied. Star Ryan Gosling is a 21st century Clint Eastwood.
A stunning work of modern sci- fi from the hyper- talented British filmmaker Duncan Jones ( Moon). Working brilliantly as both a work of deep thought and direct excitement, this gripping thriller repeatedly looped through the same eight minutes of a fatal train journey. Each pass became more compelling than the last.
Potter & the Deathly Hallows Part 2
A fitting end to a decade of movies that
had the whole world believing in magic. The magnificent closing act of the picture, which also provides many beloved characters from past Potter adventures with the chance to make one lasting contribution to the tale, achieved the perfect goodbye.
The best documentaries not only draw their subjects in fine detail, they also draw the fascination and respect of viewers who could not have cared less about those subjects before. Who’d have thought a no- frills profile of the late Formula One ace Ayrton Senna would be one of the most moving and compelling films of the year?
This sublime coming- of- age comedy, set in a coastal town in Wales in the 1980s, effortlessly speaks the universal truth of what it is like to be a teenager. First- time writer- director Richard Ayoade ( Maurice Moss from TV’S IT Crowd) achieves a perfect balance between the bizarre and the bittersweet.
Impressively directed, brilliantly acted and a complete work of focused, brutal power, Snowtown stands as one of the most foreceful works ever made in this country. A superb cast of unknowns and amateurs lend the film gut- wrenching authenticity and damaged grace that cannot be denied.
2011 was a big- ticket year for brilliant documentaries, and this bizarre tale of a beauty- queen- turned- kidnapper just had to be seen to be believed. With the duplicitous and alluring Joyce Mckinney participating all too enthusiastically in the film, there was no way the truth was going to get in the road of a good story.
The best mainstream movie comedy of 2011 cranked up the female- raunch factor to a level that probably made many a male blush. Nevertheless, there is a universal appeal to the story that obliterates any audience division along gender lines. Leading lady ( and screenwriter) Kristen Wiig is a star player.
This is the perfect film for old- school sports lovers who deep, deep down loathe the brash new world of commercialised competition. It delivers another killer script from the great Aaron Sorkin ( The Social Network ) and another soulfully nuanced performance from the under- rated Brad Pitt.
And the next 10: 11. True Grit; 12. Black Swan; 13. Hanna; 14. Red Dog; 15. Jane Eyre; 16. We Need to Talk About Kevin; 17. Midnight in Paris; 18. The Guard; 19. Rango; 20. The Ides of March.
Worst 10 films of 2011
1Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son
The dreaded return of that calamitous comedy franchise where FBI Agent Martin Lawrence goes undercover as a 300kg cross- dresser. Once seen, cannot be un- seen. Ever.
2A Heartbeat Away
This zestlessly zany made- inQueensland comedy gave away the ham so freely it almost triggered the collapse of the entire Australian pork industry.
Abysmally pretentious and seedy affair, where the young heroine ( Emily Browning) took a snooze while old gents ogled her.
A drippy Australian comedy that delivered all the fun of a big fall down some small stairs. Time for a blanket ban on all home- made ‘‘ quirky’’ small- town farces.
This is positive proof Twilight- approved pin- up Taylor Lautner will never learn to act in his, yours or any other lifetime. A next- gen Keanu Reeves.
Don’t Know How She Does It
Sarah Jessica Parker reveals how tough household life can be when all you have is a six- figure salary, a nanny and a rich, supportive husband. What a saint.
7Johnny English Reborn
Comedy is still dead to Rowan Atkinson. If anyone has a time machine, might you warn us if Atkinson dares make
a Johnny English Reincarnated?
One day, someone will explain why the
turgid rom- com weepie One Day felt like it took one year off our lives.
9The Inbetweeners Movie
Another TV- to- cinema transition bites the dust. What made you laugh on the small screen, made you want to hurl on the big screen.
10Big Mamma’s Boy
The little Aussie ethnic comedy that couldn’t. Dated, dumb and dim.
Top 10 movie moments of 2011
■ The last stand at Hogwarts in Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Part 2.
■ The ascension to the afterlife in The Tree
■ Red Dog’s caravan park show with Red
Cat in Red Dog.
■ The food poisoning at the dress fitting in
■ Natalie Portman’s dance to the death in
■ The first trip from new Paris to old Paris in Midnight in Paris.
■ The last race at San Marino for Ayrton Senna in Senna. ■ A killer flu sweeps the world in Contagion. ■ Tom Cruise dangles from the world’s tallest building in Mission: Impossible 4.
■ James Franco amputates his own arm in
Bottom 10 movie moments of 2011 ■ Bella Swan gives birth to a mutant vampire in Twilight: Breaking Dawn. ■ Easter Bunny poops jelly beans in Hop. ■ Red Riding Hood bonds with the Big Bad Wolf in Red Riding Hood. ■ The scratch’n’sniff scenes in Spy Kids 4. ■ The very unconvincing shark attacks in
■ The very unconvincing shark attacks in
■ The musical numbers in Glee 3D: The
■ The stage banter in Glee 3D: The
Concert Movie. ■ The clock strikes 12 in New Year’s Eve. ■ James Franco amputates his own arm in
10 great movie pairings of 2011
■ Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain in
The Tree of Life. ■ Owen Wilson and Marion Cotillard in
Midnight in Paris.
■ Emma Stone and Viola Davis in
■ Christian Bale and Mark Wahlberg in
The Fighter. ■ Saoirse Ronan and Eric Bana in Hanna. ■ Jake Gyllenhaal and Michelle Monaghan in Source Code. ■ Kristen Wiig and Chris O’dowd in
■ Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender in Jane Eyre.
■ Matt Damon and Emily Blunt in
The Adjustment Bureau.
■ Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill in Moneyball.
10 grating movie pairings of 2011
■ Adam Sandler and Adam Sandler in
Jack and Jill.
■ Sarah Jessica Parker and Pierce Brosnan in I Don’t Know How She Does It.
■ Taylor Lautner and Lily Collins in
■ Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess in
■ The cowboys and the aliens in
Cowboys and Aliens.
■ Santa and his apprentice in Santa’s
Apprentice. ■ Any couple – take your pick from
New Year’s Day.
■ Cher and Christina Aguilera in
■ Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts in
■ Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake in Bad Teacher.
Under- rated films of 2011 ■ Limitless. ■ Paranormal Activity 3. ■ Barney’s Version. ■ Our Idiot Brother. ■ Super 8.
Over- rated films of 2011 ■ The Hangover Part II. ■ The Hunter. ■ The Eye of the Storm. ■ Paul. ■ Sanctum.
Strongest performances of 2011
■ Tilda Swinton in We Need to Talk
■ Ryan Gosling in Drive and The Ides
of March. ■ Mia Wasikowska in Jane Eyre. ■ The cast of Snowtown. ■ Natalie Portman in Black Swan. ■ Koko the dog in Red Dog.
Strangest performances of 2011 ■ Mel Gibson in The Beaver. ■ Amanda Seyfried in Red Riding Hood. ■ Isabel Lucas in A Heartbeat Away. ■ Jack Nicholson in How Do You Know. ■ Natalie Portman in Your Highness. ■ Mel Gibson’s puppet in The Beaver.
A big hello to . . . ( star debuts of 2011) ■ Hailee Steinfeld in True Grit. ■ Daniel Henshall in Snowtown. ■ Jessica Chastain in Tree of Life, The Help, The Debt.
Hello again to . . . ( comebacks of 2011)
■ Matthew Mcconaughey in The Lincoln
Lawyer. ■ Nicole Kidman in Rabbit Hole. ■ Noah Taylor in Submarine and Red Dog.
Isn’t it time you just said goodbye?
■ Rowan Atkinson in Johnny English
Reborn. ■ Harrison Ford in Morning Glory. ■ Jim Carrey in Mr Popper’s Penguins.