I thought it might be fun to share the ten movies I have enjoyed the most so far this year. Of course, there is much more to come in 2011, so stayed tuned . . .
Ten Favorite Films from the First Half of 2011:
1. “Poetry (Shi)” – An incisive script and wonderful acting by Jeong-hie Yun make this suspenseful slice-of-life film from South Korea both wonderful and devastating. Here’s my mini-review.
2. “The Tree of Life” – Terrence Malick’s masterpiece is a grand but earnest spiritual poem that explores a young man’s relationship with God. Here’s my review.
3. “Project Nim” – This startling, touching documentary about Nim, a chimpanzee raised by humans, proves that real life stories can be more powerful than fiction.
4. “Meek’s Cutoff” – One of the most artistic yet simple films of the year. Settlers trudge across the wilderness and meet an American Indian. Here you can read my “fun-size” review.
5. “Midnight in Paris” – Woody Allen’s smart tale of a dreamer exploring old Paris will warm the cockles of your heart. Here you can see my “fun-size” review.
6. “Mad Bastards” – Director Brendan Fletcher, together with an Australian aboriginal non-actor cast, explored and created realistic characters who struggle to do the right things in tough circumstances. Here’s my review.
7. “The Double Hour” – It’s nail-bitingly suspenseful, intelligent, well-acted and sexy. I loved every minute of it.
8. “A Screaming Man” – This film is set during a civil conflict in the country of Chad. It’s a parable involving a man and his young adult son that contains heartfelt lessons for us all.
9. “The Perfect Host” – David Hyde Pierce is the title character in this delicious and diabolical dark comedy.
10. “Win Win” – While it’s a slightly predictable crowd pleaser, “Win Win” is much more enjoyable than most coach-makes-a-difference-in-a-kid’s-life type films. Here you can read my “fun-size” review.
Honorable mentions: “Neds” is a harsh, well-made UK film about teens in Scotland becoming trapped in a life of violence. “Cave of Forgotten Dreams” is Werner Herzog’s sublime documentary about the oldest drawings ever discovered, and “Jane Eyre” is the perfect love story to curl up to on the sofa.
I have also viewed several older films this year which I enjoyed more than many newer films, including Sophia Loren in Vittorio De Sica’s delightful “Marriage Italian Style” (1964), Terrence Malick’s dark and funny “Badlands” (1973) and Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s sci-fi dystopian classic “World on a Wire” (1973).
What are your favorite films from 2011 so far?
Note: Some of the films above may have release dates earlier than 2011, but I’m listing them because they are (or were) released theatrically in the U.S. during 2011.