Friday, January 20th, 2012

2011 has come to a close. The Golden Globe awards were just a few days ago, the Oscar nominations are right around the corner, and every movie critic and blogger has been posting their top films lists, so now it’s our turn. Before I jump in, let me preface this by saying that this isn’t the best films I’ve seen this year, but rather my favorite films of the year. I tend to gravitate toward horror and genre films, so my list skews that way. All that being said, here are my top 5 favorite films of 2011.

1. I Saw The Devil
Beautifully shot, edge of your seat thrills from beginning to end, and some of the most brutal and beautiful violence in recent memory sky rocket this film to the best of the year for me. Best scene: Taxi cab stabbing.

2. Super
James Gunn’s Super is like a lower budget, quirkier Kick-Ass with loads more heart. Rainn Wilson steps way outside of his comfort zone and delivers a powerhouse performance as an extremely troubled man who decided to become a murdering, violent vigilante. Kevin Bacon plays the best villain of the year and Ellen Page is so over the top and offensive it’s almost unbelievable.

3. Attack the Block
Joe Cornish, who has gotten plenty of experience working with Edgar Wright over the years makes his feature directorial debut with this lower budget British sci-fi, horror, urban crime, action thriller. A group of teens living in the ghetto of London defend their turf from an alien invasion. Anchored by a great script with excellent dialogue and a commanding lead performance from newcomer John Boyega, this film is a must see.

4. Drive
Nicholas Winding Refn has proven himself a force to be reckoned with in the indie film world, with films such as the Pusher trilogy, Bronson, and Valhalla Rising. Drive marks his first foray into the slightly less indie hollywood territory and what a film it is. Don’t let the advertising of this film fool you, it’s not just another shoot em up action movie loaded with car chases. It’s more of an arthouse thriller/character study that movies at a deliberately slow pace so that the viewer can just take in the visuals and performances. Ryan Gosling is an Oscar contender here and the action, while brief, reaches I Saw the Devil levels of brutality.

5. Tucker and Dale vs. Evil
What can I say about this film other than that it’s not only the funniest movie I saw in 2011, but one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen. Topped only by Edgar Wright’s wonderful Shaun of the Dead in the horror/comedy sub genre, Tucker and Dale is a laugh a minute throwback to all of the cheesy 80’s horror films that we love.

If I were to make a top 15 list, these 10 movies would comprise the rest of my list, AKA the honorable mentions.

6. Moneyball
7. X-Men: First Class
8. Red State
9. Hugo
10. War Horse
11. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
12. Captain America
13. Stake Land
14. Paul
15. Rango

And finally the top 5 films I really wanted to like or I was really looking forward to but for one reason or another just completely missed the mark for me.

1. The Hangover 2
2. The Muppets
3. Burke and Hare
4. The Way Back
5. 30 Minutes or Less