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  1. #1
    Suspended Smokey's Avatar
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    Jan 2004

    Roger Ebert best films of 2011

    This is list of 20 films which Ebert picked as the best of year. I have not heard some of mentioned filoms, let alone seen it. I guess that is why we have movie critics. For full movie description, click HERE

    Ranked accordingly:

    20. "Another Earth"

    Joins "Melancholia" as a second 2011 film about a new planet hanging in our sky. This one doesn't presage the end of the world, but represents perhaps our very same Earth, in another universe that has now become visible.

    19. "The Mill and the Cross"

    Any description would be an injustice. It opens on a carefully-composed landscape based on a famous painting, "The Way to Calvary" (1564), by the Flemish master Pieter Bruegel the Elder. Within the painting, a few figures move and walk.

    18. "Life, Above All"

    This South African feature centers on a 12-year-old named Chanda (Khomotso Manyaka), who takes on the responsibility of holding her family together after her baby sister dies. Family members are suspected of having AIDS; the community ostracizes them, until a courageous neighbor finally steps in.

    17. Trust

    The bravest thing about David Schwimmer's "Trust" is that it doesn't try to simplify. It tells its story of a 14-year-old girl and a predatory pedophile as a series of repercussions in which rape is only the first, and possibly not the worst, tragedy to strike its naive and vulnerable victim.

    16. "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2"

    The second installment in the last chapter of the legendary saga comes to a solid and satisfying conclusion, conjuring up enough awe and solemnity to serve as an appropriate finale and a dramatic contrast to the lighthearted (relative) innocence of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" all those magical years ago.

    15. "Martha Marcy May Marlene"

    Those are four names that apply at various times in the life of a young woman played by Elizabeth Olsen. "Martha" is her name. "Marcy May" is the name given to her by the leader of a cult group she falls into. "Marlene" is the name all the women in the group use to answer the telephone.

    14. "Margaret"

    Kenneth Lonergan's film begins with a young woman (Anna Paquin) thinking she may have contributed to a fatal bus accident through her own foolishness. She decides the bus driver (Mark Ruffalo) should also be held accountable, and makes it her business to see that he is.

    13. "The Descendants"

    George Clooney in one of his best performances as a descendant of one of Hawaii's first white land-owning families, who must decide whether to open up a vast tract of virgin forest on Kauai to tourist and condo development. This decision comes at the same time his wife has had a boating accident and is in a coma.

    12. "Terri"

    Tells the story the story of a fat kid who is mocked in high school. Terri (Jacob Wysocki) is smart, gentle and instinctively wise. His decision to wear pajamas to school "because they fit" may be an indication that later in life he will amount to a great deal. He has character. He's been missing a lot of school and is called in by the assistant principal, offering kindness, anger and hard-won lessons learned in his own difficult life.

    11. Melancholia

    This film about the end of the world is, Lars von Trier assured us, his first with a happy ending. I think I see what he means. At least his poor characters need suffer no longer. If I were choosing a director to make a film about the subject, von Trier the gloomy Dane might be my first choice.

  2. #2
    Suspended Smokey's Avatar
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    Jan 2004
    10. "The Artist."

    What audacity to make a silent film in black and white in 2011, and what a film Michel Hazanavicius has made! Jean Dujardin won the Best Actor award at Cannes for his work as a silent star who is cast aside with the advent of the talkies. His career is rescued by a young dancer (Bérénice Bejo) he was kind to when he was at the top.

    9. "Le Havre"

    Aki Kaurismaki is a Finnish director who makes dour, deadpan comedies about people who shrug their way through misfortune. They have a hypnotic fascination for me. "Le Havre" is the sunniest film of his I've seen.

    8. "Midnight in Paris"

    Woody Allen's charming comedy opens with a couple on holiday in Paris. Gil (Owen Wilson) and Inez (Rachel McAdams) are officially in love, but what Gil really loves is Paris in the springtime. He's a hack screenwriter from Hollywood who still harbors the dream of someday writing a good novel and joining the pantheon of American writers whose ghosts seem to linger in the very air he breathes.

    7. "Drive"

    The Driver drives for hire. He has no other name and no other life. When we meet him, he's the wheelman for a getaway car, who runs from police pursuit not by speed, but by coolly exploiting the street terrain and outsmarting his pursuers. By day, he's a stunt driver for action movies. The two jobs represent no conflict for him: He drives. He has no family, no history and seemingly few emotions.

    6. "Kinyarwanda"

    I was moved by "Hotel Rwanda" (2004), but not really shaken this deeply. After seeing "Kinyarwanda," I have a different kind of feeling about the genocide that took place in Rwanda in 1994. The film approaches it not as a story line but as a series of intense personal moments.

    5. "Take Shelter"

    Curtis LaForche (Michael Shannon) appears to be a stable husband and father with a good job in construction, but he also can evoke by his eyes and manner a deep unease. Curtis has what he needs to be happy. He fears he will lose it. His dreams are visited by unusually vivid nightmares: The family dog attacks him, or storms destroy his home.

    4. "Hugo"

    Hugo (Asa Butterfield) had an uncle who was in charge of the clocks at a Parisian train station. His father's dream was to complete an automated man he found in a museum. He died with it left unperfected. Rather than be treated as an orphan, the boy hides himself in the maze of ladders, catwalks, passages and gears of the clockworks themselves, feeding himself with croissants snatched from station shops, and begins to sneak off to the movies.

    3. "The Tree of Life"

    Scenes portray a childhood in a town in the American midlands, where life flows in and out through open windows. There is a father who maintains discipline and a mother who exudes forgiveness, and long summer days of play and idleness and urgent unsaid questions about the meaning of things.

    2. "Shame"

    Michael Fassbender's brave, uncompromising performance is at the center of Steve McQueen's merciless film about sex addiction. He's a loner with a good job, who avoids relationships because of his obsession with sex. He is driven to experience multiple orgasms every day. His shame is masked in privacy. He wants no witnesses to his hookers, his pornography, his masturbation.

    1. "A Separation"

    This film combines a plot worthy of a great novel with the emotional impact of a great melodrama. It involves a struggle for child custody, the challenge of a parent with Alzheimer's, the intricacies of the law, and the enigma of discovering the truth. In its reconstruction of several versions of a significant event, it is as baffling as "Rashomon."

  3. #3
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    London, Ontario
    How did I miss this, Smokey.

    I'm not huge Roger Ebert fan, I'll admit, not that I hate the guy. (I miss Gene Siskel with whom I almost always agreed.)

    Of this list I've seen The Descendants, Hugo, and Deadly Hollows, Pt.2. and I'd like to see The Separation. I guess I'm getting jaded; wouldn't cross the see street to see any of the others.

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