The Story

Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.

The 31 Best Films Of 2011 - Film of the YearThe Artist
The last film you see of the year will always have the advantage when it comes to picking your overall favourite of the year, right? On this occasion, no. The Artist could of been the first that I saw in 2011 and still would of come up trumps. Hell, it could of been the first film I saw ever and I would still talk about it in such high regard. Here we have a truly wonderfully example of everything film can be. In a time where empty film making can be cloaked behind special effects and plots force fed with patronising dialogue, The Artist is cinema at it’s purest form, showing us that an eye for what works is the most effective way of establishing a captivating story. Covering all bases, from being the most original, to the most inventive, to the most loveable, The Artist will not only go down as the film achievement of 2011 but it’ll quite deservedly take it’s place as one of the best of all time.

The 31 Best Films Of 2011 - Film of the Year
The Artist

The last film you see of the year will always have the advantage when it comes to picking your overall favourite of the year, right? On this occasion, no. The Artist could of been the first that I saw in 2011 and still would of come up trumps. Hell, it could of been the first film I saw ever and I would still talk about it in such high regard. Here we have a truly wonderfully example of everything film can be. In a time where empty film making can be cloaked behind special effects and plots force fed with patronising dialogue, The Artist is cinema at it’s purest form, showing us that an eye for what works is the most effective way of establishing a captivating story. Covering all bases, from being the most original, to the most inventive, to the most loveable, The Artist will not only go down as the film achievement of 2011 but it’ll quite deservedly take it’s place as one of the best of all time.

The 31 Best Films Of 2011 - No. 2Drive
When it came to style in 2011, Ryan ‘I’m pretty sure we were separated at birth’ Gosling was only beaten by this film…which he also happened to be in. Words can not express how much I loved Drive. I get so excited when talking about it that instead of a quick review, you’re close to getting just a series of unintelligible words that form as I drum the beat of it’s trailer song on my keyboard. Speaking of which, ‘Tick of the Clock’ has been my alarm song since the release of the film and every morning, I still have to wait for the drop in the song before I shut it off and head for my morning shower. This film has literally taken over my life.
Smart is never a word I thought I’d use when describing a film based around cars but not even that would justify Winding Refn’s genius on directing this film. It’s shot with such elegance and creativity that you feel like this is the first time someone has ever filmed a moving car before. I haven’t driven in seven years. I don’t have the need to, I don’t have the urge to but after seeing Drive, all I wanted to do was bust out my denim jacket and hop in the drivers seat of the nearest car I could find. And the funny thing is, this isn’t even a car movie. I really could go on all night about it’s perfect soundtrack, it’s deeply compelling characters, it’s odd 80’s feel, and it’s pulsating story.

The 31 Best Films Of 2011 - No. 2
Drive

When it came to style in 2011, Ryan ‘I’m pretty sure we were separated at birth’ Gosling was only beaten by this film…which he also happened to be in. Words can not express how much I loved Drive. I get so excited when talking about it that instead of a quick review, you’re close to getting just a series of unintelligible words that form as I drum the beat of it’s trailer song on my keyboard. Speaking of which, ‘Tick of the Clock’ has been my alarm song since the release of the film and every morning, I still have to wait for the drop in the song before I shut it off and head for my morning shower. This film has literally taken over my life.

Smart is never a word I thought I’d use when describing a film based around cars but not even that would justify Winding Refn’s genius on directing this film. It’s shot with such elegance and creativity that you feel like this is the first time someone has ever filmed a moving car before. I haven’t driven in seven years. I don’t have the need to, I don’t have the urge to but after seeing Drive, all I wanted to do was bust out my denim jacket and hop in the drivers seat of the nearest car I could find. And the funny thing is, this isn’t even a car movie. I really could go on all night about it’s perfect soundtrack, it’s deeply compelling characters, it’s odd 80’s feel, and it’s pulsating story.

The 31 Best Films Of 2011 - No. 3Black Swan
Even though this film was one of the first that I saw last year, it’s one that I haven’t be able to stop thinking about. For me, Black Swan is pure genius. I suppose depicting a version of Swan Lake that’s told around a production of Swan Lake isn’t the most defying of achievements but it’s how Aronofsky manages to make everything about the film transition along with Tchaikovsky’s story. The costumes, the sets, the score, it’s as if they’re all trying to transform into the black swan. Each time you view the film you pick out a new one of these little subtleties. It really is an extraordinary piece of work. 

The 31 Best Films Of 2011 - No. 3
Black Swan

Even though this film was one of the first that I saw last year, it’s one that I haven’t be able to stop thinking about. For me, Black Swan is pure genius. I suppose depicting a version of Swan Lake that’s told around a production of Swan Lake isn’t the most defying of achievements but it’s how Aronofsky manages to make everything about the film transition along with Tchaikovsky’s story. The costumes, the sets, the score, it’s as if they’re all trying to transform into the black swan. Each time you view the film you pick out a new one of these little subtleties. It really is an extraordinary piece of work. 

The 31 Best Films Of 2011 - No. 4The Tree of Life
Terrence Malick doesn’t do films, he does masterpieces.

The 31 Best Films Of 2011 - No. 4
The Tree of Life

Terrence Malick doesn’t do films, he does masterpieces.

The 31 Best Films Of 2011 - No. 5Melancholia
Lars von Trier doesn’t do emotions like a normal person. It appears he experiences them a bazillion times greater than you and me, but lucky for us, Trier takes these experiences and uses them as the basis for his wonderful films. Never has depression been so beautiful. What I found really interesting about Melancholia was it’s opening sequence. Even before the story starts, you’re shown its gorgeously devastating ending. Wanting to know why and how from a very beginning of a film is a very unnatural process but you find here it really helps when breaking down each intricate character. You already know how the film is going to end but how is that ending going to affect each individual in the film becomes the main question. Kirsten Dunst is like nothing I’ve ever seen. How she’s been overlooked at the Oscars is beyond me. The only other feature of the film that tops her performance is the closing scene which near enough, literally blew me off my seat. It truly is some remarkable film making.

The 31 Best Films Of 2011 - No. 5
Melancholia

Lars von Trier doesn’t do emotions like a normal person. It appears he experiences them a bazillion times greater than you and me, but lucky for us, Trier takes these experiences and uses them as the basis for his wonderful films. Never has depression been so beautiful. What I found really interesting about Melancholia was it’s opening sequence. Even before the story starts, you’re shown its gorgeously devastating ending. Wanting to know why and how from a very beginning of a film is a very unnatural process but you find here it really helps when breaking down each intricate character. You already know how the film is going to end but how is that ending going to affect each individual in the film becomes the main question. Kirsten Dunst is like nothing I’ve ever seen. How she’s been overlooked at the Oscars is beyond me. The only other feature of the film that tops her performance is the closing scene which near enough, literally blew me off my seat. It truly is some remarkable film making.

The 31 Best Films Of 2011 - No. 6Blue Valentine
My reluctance towards ever getting married was all but affirmed after watching Blue Valentine. The “love story for anybody who has eve been in love” is one of the most intelligent portrayals of human relationships that I’ve seen on screen. During both narratives, you forget you’re watching two of Hollywood’s most talented actors and really start to believe you’re watching a real life couple. The editing and cinematography used to distinguish each period of the story is pure genius. Without being too obvious and superfluous, the use of different film and shooting techniques works so well in creating the contrariety in their relationship.
It’s brutal when it needs to be and oh so heartwarming when not. The girls will take Williams’ side, the guys Gosling’s but I think we will all be able to agree this is a brilliant tale of what we’re both dreading of experiencing.

The 31 Best Films Of 2011 - No. 6
Blue Valentine

My reluctance towards ever getting married was all but affirmed after watching Blue Valentine. The “love story for anybody who has eve been in love” is one of the most intelligent portrayals of human relationships that I’ve seen on screen. During both narratives, you forget you’re watching two of Hollywood’s most talented actors and really start to believe you’re watching a real life couple. The editing and cinematography used to distinguish each period of the story is pure genius. Without being too obvious and superfluous, the use of different film and shooting techniques works so well in creating the contrariety in their relationship.

It’s brutal when it needs to be and oh so heartwarming when not. The girls will take Williams’ side, the guys Gosling’s but I think we will all be able to agree this is a brilliant tale of what we’re both dreading of experiencing.

The 31 Best Films Of 2011 - No. 7The Skin I Live In
Pedro Almodovar is not a well man, but then again, if he was, we wouldn’t of had this wonderfully twisted film. The Skin I Live In is one of those films that decides to make it’s ending slightly predictable from an early stage but instead of that ruining it, you let the rest of the film play out hoping, for your sanity’s sake, how you think this film is going to end is not how it’s actually going to end. It’s a strange feeling going through denial like this when watching a film and having to accept that what you’re watching goes against what you’ve been taught to be right in this morally correct world. It’s a disturbing film but it’s presented in such an artistic and emotional way that it doesn’t over do it. It’s a horror for people who don’t do gore.

The 31 Best Films Of 2011 - No. 7
The Skin I Live In

Pedro Almodovar is not a well man, but then again, if he was, we wouldn’t of had this wonderfully twisted film. The Skin I Live In is one of those films that decides to make it’s ending slightly predictable from an early stage but instead of that ruining it, you let the rest of the film play out hoping, for your sanity’s sake, how you think this film is going to end is not how it’s actually going to end. It’s a strange feeling going through denial like this when watching a film and having to accept that what you’re watching goes against what you’ve been taught to be right in this morally correct world. It’s a disturbing film but it’s presented in such an artistic and emotional way that it doesn’t over do it. It’s a horror for people who don’t do gore.

The 31 Best Films Of 2011 - No. 8The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
A horrible bout of food poisoning, and a heartbreaking football match, has killed any chance of a coherent review of this film but I think I’ve said enough about it over the last month. It was miles above the excellent original version. In Fincher we trust.

The 31 Best Films Of 2011 - No. 8
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

A horrible bout of food poisoning, and a heartbreaking football match, has killed any chance of a coherent review of this film but I think I’ve said enough about it over the last month. It was miles above the excellent original version. In Fincher we trust.

The 31 Best Films Of 2011 - No. 9Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
Ah, the film that “didn’t do anything”. Regular readers will know how much I love Alfredson’s Let The Right One In so obviously I had high expectations for this. His direction creates this really eerie atmosphere that works so well in this film’s Cold War settings. People complain that not enough happened but if you put a little effort and pay close attention, you’ll find that plenty happens. We’ve become so lazy that we expect to be force fed a story, rather than have to follow one. It’s the perfect ‘who done it’ film that’s told in an intelligent and imaginative way.

The 31 Best Films Of 2011 - No. 9
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Ah, the film that “didn’t do anything”. Regular readers will know how much I love Alfredson’s Let The Right One In so obviously I had high expectations for this. His direction creates this really eerie atmosphere that works so well in this film’s Cold War settings. People complain that not enough happened but if you put a little effort and pay close attention, you’ll find that plenty happens. We’ve become so lazy that we expect to be force fed a story, rather than have to follow one. It’s the perfect ‘who done it’ film that’s told in an intelligent and imaginative way.

The 31 Best Films Of 2011 - No. 10Beginners
We’ve made it to the big hitters, we’ve made it to the top ten of my list. After seeing Beginners, I would of put good money on it at least being in my top five of the year. I loved this film. The three way relationship between the three leads is so tender and absorbing that you can’t help to want to get up and start hugging the screen. It’s clever, it’s funny, it makes you think. Beginners is what the market for films on old, dying, gay men has been missing.

The 31 Best Films Of 2011 - No. 10
Beginners

We’ve made it to the big hitters, we’ve made it to the top ten of my list. After seeing Beginners, I would of put good money on it at least being in my top five of the year. I loved this film. The three way relationship between the three leads is so tender and absorbing that you can’t help to want to get up and start hugging the screen. It’s clever, it’s funny, it makes you think. Beginners is what the market for films on old, dying, gay men has been missing.