Friday, December 30, 2011

The 10 Best, No, the 100 Best Films of 2011

Kam’s Annual Assessment of the Cream of the Cinematic Crop

The standout flick of 2011 is The Artist, a silent love song that can nonetheless be heard by all who enjoy film. If you've been motivated to read this Top 100 list, you are undoubtedly among those devoted theatergoers I’m talking about.

The Artist not only runs silent, but also runs deep into the very soul of moviemaking, as it eloquently endeavors to entertain while simultaneously chronicling the evolution of the art form from its earliest beginnings to today's blockbusters. As such, this black & white throwback is a tour de force which earns well-deserved recognition for its unique contribution to cinema. Consequently, it would be unfair to pigeonhole such a genre-blending masterpiece, or to compare it to any of the other offerings of 2011.

The Artist aside, rather than limit my annual list just to the 10 Best offerings, I’ve expanded it, as usual, to 100, including documentaries, independents and foreign films, along with the obligatory Hollywood blockbusters. The idea is to encourage you to discover some of those lesser-known sleepers which might not have registered a blip on your radar, previously.

10 Best Big Budget Films of 2011

1. Bridesmaids

2. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

3. The Help

4. Super 8

5. The Lincoln Lawyer

6. Moneyball

7. Anonymous

8. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

9. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

10. War Horse

Big Budgets Honorable Mention

11. Crazy, Stupid, Love

12. Real Steel

13. Rise of the Planet of the Apes

14. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

15. Fast Five

16. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2

17. Thor

18. Scream 4

19. The Ides of March

20. X-Men: First Class

21. Captain America

22. Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2: Rodrick Rules

23. I Don’t Know How She Does It

24. Jumping the Broom

25. Bad Teacher

Best Foreign Films

1. Sarah’s Key (France)

2. Leap Year (Mexico)

3. Life, Above All (South Africa)

4. The Woman on the 6th Floor (France)

5. Point Blank (France)

6. Kinyarwanda (Rwanda)

7. True Legend (China)

8. Elles (France)

9. Scheherazade, Tell Me a Story (Egypt)

10. The First Grader (Kenya)

Foreign Films Honorable Mention

11. Senna (Brazil)

12. Viva Riva! (Congo)

13. King of Devil’s Island (Norway)

14. Hell and Back Again (Afghanistan)

15. Shaolin (Hong Kong)

16. Certified Copy (Italy)

17. The First Rasta (Jamaica)

18. TrollHunter (Norway)

19. Ip Man 2 (Hong Kong)

20. The Sleeping Beauty (France)

21. The Carrier (Zambia)

22. Le Havre (France)

23. I Saw the Devil (Korea)

24. Amigo (Philippines)

25. Special Treatment (France)

10 Best Independent Films

1. Drive

2. Melancholia

3. Art History

4. Gabi on the Roof in July

5. Shame

6. Midnight in Paris

7. The Debt

8. Courageous

9. I Will Follow

10. Trust

Independent Films Honorable Mention

11. My Reincarnation

12. Martha Marcy May Marlene

13. The Descendants

14. Silver Bullets

15. Meek’s Cutoff

16. Hello, Lonesome

17. London River

18. Albert Norris

19. The Grace Card

20. Tyrannosaur

21. Pariah

22. The Iron Lady

23. Spork

24. Fire in Babylon

25. Bellflower

10 Best Documentaries

1. Charlotte Rampling: The Look

2. Eames: The Architect and the Painter

3. Chasing Madoff

4. Dear Daddy

5. Carbon Nation

6. Hey Boo: Harper Lee and “To Kill a Mockingbird”

7. The Blackpower Mixtape 1967-1975

8. Crime after Crime

9. Orgasm, Inc.

10. Tabloid

Documentaries Honorable Mention

11. Thunder Soul

12. Forks over Knives

13. Beware of Christians

14. Rejoice & Shout

15. Phil Ochs: There But for Fortune

16. Fear of a Black Republican

17. Into the Abyss

18. Rebirth

19. Muhammad Ali 1973-1974

20. Sarah Palin: You Betcha!

21. The Interrupters

22. Under the Boardwalk

23. The Story of Lovers Rock

24. America the Beautiful 2: The Thin Commandments

25. Undefeated

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