Saturday, February 5, 2011

End-Of-Year: Favorite Films #11-25

This was a long time coming, but last year I didn't post my top films until the middle of February, so based on that I'm actually a bit ahead of schedule. Unlike last year as well, instead of building up to my top films by doing postings on the worst films and the "in-between" films, I'm going to start off with my Top 25 right away (#11-25 now and top 10 tomorrow). Maybe down the line, I'll do a quick post ranking all of the 83 films (12 more than I saw since my nominations) that came out in 2010.

Without further a due...

25. Nowhere Boy
- Even though I've not been a fan of Aaron Johnson, he does solid work here as the young John Lennon. As expected though he gets upstaged by the awesome work being done by Kristin Scott Thomas and Anne Marie Duff and even Thomas Sangster, who plays the young Paul McCartney, steals his scenes. With that said, the whole film is packaged beautifully and with lots of heart.

24. The Kids Are All Right - Truth be told, I was left a bit cold by the film when I first saw it. After some time, I've come to warm up to it a bit, but for me I just wasn't enamored by the adult characters as much as I was with the kids, who unfortunately, weren't the focus as the title would have you believe. Still, solid work from all involved!

23. Shutter Island - It was the mind-bending movie of the year before Black Swan and Inception came into the scene and Martin Scorsese delivered a great one with great work from Leonardo DiCaprio and the rest of the talented ensemble. Fantastic atmosphere, and at least to me, a thoroughly thought-provoking ending.

22. Date Night - This was my first film of the year and the combination of Tina Fey and Steve Carrell proved wonderful. Did they play Liz Lemon and Michael Scott as a married couple? Yes, but so what, doesn't that sound AMAZING? Shout out to first-time Oscar nominees Mila Kunis and James Franco with their bit role.

21. I Am Love - An impeccably gorgeous movie from beginning to end headlined by yet another wonderful leading performance from Tilda Swinton. It's the type of film that begs to be seen again if only for its breathtaking beauty, but the drama that unfolds within this aristocratic Italian family is also damn delicious.

20. Somewhere
- I actually tried to lower my expectation for this film especially since the trailer looked uber pretentious. I, however, ended up really enjoying the film, even with its plot as light as it is, mostly due to the charms of Stephen Dorff and Elle Fanning as father and daughter. Oh, but the strippers were totally the highlight.

19. City Island - The film made me nostalgic for the summer days in my youth I spent in City Island with family. And this film is all about family with some great performances from Julianna Margulies and Andy Garcia. It's the kind of small film that never gets any attention, but really should get some. Just a lovely yarn about family and following one's dream.

18. The Ghost Writer - It's one of those films where I didn't really have any expectations and the beginning was a bit slow. Not to mention I wasn't really into some of the characters, but Ewan McGregor was a solid lead and Olivia Williams was radiant. You are somehow swept into this world that you hardly notice the movie ending, until you do and you reflect on how awesome it was.

17. Patrik Age 1.5 - A sweet Swedish flick about two guys adopting a baby boy, but due to clerical error actually adopted a homophobic teenager. Of course it all ends happily and rainbows, but the journey was well worth it and is my highest rated gay film of the year!

16. The Fighter - I was going to open this up by saying I don't really like boxing films, but I loved Rocky and Million Dollar Baby so go figure. This film, like those two, was very good punctuated by amazing performances from Christian Bale, Mark Wahlberg, Amy Adams, and Melissa Leo. In fact it was the relationship of all of these people with each other that really elevated the film.

15. True Grit
- Not a big Western fan so I was a bit apprehensive at first before I saw this film. But somehow the Coen brothers made probably their most accessible film to date with a fantastic debut performance by Hailee Steinfeld which is like my new hero, or at least her character Mattie Ross. Such a quality film that I wouldn't mind watching again at this minute.

14. Never Let Me Go - This was such a deliberately paced film that packed such an emotional wallop that I literally was unprepared for. Three of Britain's most talented actors working right now--Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley, and Andrew Garfield--really sold the emotions required from them (mostly heartbreak, lonliness, confusion, and anger) acting as the viewer's guideposts in the dystopian world of the film.

13. How to Train Your Dragon - Brilliant visuals and a fantastic score aside (they really were amazing), this film was breathtaking also for its simple message of being true to who you are and keeping an open mind. The friendship between Toothless and Hiccup is one of my favorites this year in film and end of the film made me all teary.

12. Exit Through the Gift Shop - Such an irreverent and fun documentary from none other that street artist legend Banksy. Who knows how "real" this is, but it was still chock full of information and was probably in turn the most interesting film I saw this year.

11. The King's Speech - Right now, it's the Oscar front-runner, and I can't really complain. It has a phenomenal cast who pretty much knocks it out of the park with a classic story of our hero overcoming his struggles in the end. It was all the more effective for me because I have suffered through lifelong stuttering problems and Colin Firth really was aces in that aspect of the role.

Tomorrow my top 10 list and maybe I can finally focus on 2011!


  1. I need to use your lists as a To-Watch list. Because I've seen NONE of those.

  2. Liked it all except Date Night.


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