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Top Films of 2011

Posted by on Feb 20, 2012 in Lists | Comments Off

Nearly two months late but at least posted before the Oscar deadline, here is my Top Films of 2011 list.  It contains twenty ranked films and numerous “Honorable Mentions” and “Dishonorable Mentions” on PAGE 2.  I tried to balance what I thought are the best made movies with my favoritism as well as taking critical consensus into consideration.  Of course, the gap between some ranked films is larger than others, but for more reasoning I elaborate under each film.  I only chose films that were actually released in the U.S. in 2011 AND are eligible for the 84th Annual Academy Awards (February 26, 2012), unless otherwise noted (for instance, Blue Valentine hit most theaters in early 2011 but I saw it before the Oscars last year and therefore it made my Top Films of 2010 article).

Also, although some would argue I have 48 hours in a day which allowed me to see an insane amount of movies (22) in one week at Sundance 2012 (reviews and wrap-up coming soon!), I wasn’t able to catch everything that came out in 2011, so if a noteworthy film didn’t make the list or isn’t an honorable mention, then I probably haven’t seen it or heard enough about it.  Then again, some of the honorable mentions include films I’ve heard are good but haven’t seen yet.  On PAGE 3 I list all the films I saw in 2011, or at least the ones I remember or had written down as seen in theaters/reviewed or eligible – so if it’s on that list and it didn’t make the top 20 or honorable mentions list, then it didn’t leave a lasting impression or maybe just missed the cut (still, the Page 3 list of all 2011 films I saw include my review rating for each movie).

Please feel free to mention any films that I missed and you believe deserve to be acknowledged. I will probably return to update these lists as necessary until the Academy Awards’ presentation. Also please feel free to discuss and debate my choices in the comment section found at the bottom of the post.

Lastly, PLEASE VOTE for your favorite/top film of 2011 at the end of the article!!! (And if you vote “OTHER” please use the comment section at the bottom of the article to write what your choice would be).

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Top Endings of 2011

Posted by on Feb 20, 2012 in Lists | Comments Off

WARNING: Clearly, this is a spoiler-filled article.  Unless you’ve seen the films, you shouldn’t ruin the ending by reading the details under each one.

Endings have the power to either make or break a film, or any story really.  Many good movies have been ruined by cheap or false conclusions.  On the other hand, numerous films achieve greatness in their final moments.  And contrary to common belief, sometimes ambiguous or open-ended finishes are the perfect way to conclude a story.  Not all movies should be wrapped up in a tidy package, which is usually disingenuous.  Indeed, this year had many ambiguous endings that totally deserved it, as you will see on this list of my Top Endings of 2011.

Judging from my list of nominees, I apparently “enjoy” grim endings. Only a couple choices here are actually uplifting or redemptive.  On the other hand, some of 2011’s best films certainly had ambiguous, potentially bleak conclusions (though many viewers tend to claim these kinds of endings ruin the movie).  In short, it seems as though I value honest storytelling over cheap packages; in other words, open-endings and oftentimes harsh endings are better than abrupt, tidy wrap-up that feels disingenuous to reality.  You’ll find this to be true with most of the films listed below, though I thoroughly enjoyed many other endings to this year’s films but not all of them have stayed with me as much (i.e. many blockbusters or comedies had fun endings but didn’t leave strong, lasting impressions on me).

Please VOTE for your favorite opening scene/sequence to a film in 2011 at the bottom of this article. (If you vote “OTHER” please say what movie in the comment section at the bottom of the article)

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Top Openings of 2011

Posted by on Feb 20, 2012 in Lists | Comments Off

Screenwriting 101: if you don’t have the audience hooked within ten minutes, you’ve lost them.  Oftentimes you can sense greatness in a film right away.  This is a small compilation of some of 2011’s best opening scenes or sequences.  Some of them are pure adrenaline while others are meticulous about establishing characters or the tone of the story.

Please VOTE for your favorite opening scene/sequence to a film in 2011 at the bottom of this article. (If you vote “OTHER” please say what movie in the comment section at the bottom of the article)

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Top Trailers of 2011

Posted by on Jan 14, 2012 in Lists | Comments Off

As another year of cinema has concluded, the time to recognize the highlights of the year has come.  This feature puts a spotlight on the “top” trailers of 2011.  This is not a definitive list of the best, per se, but it is an attempted settlement between what might be considered the finest previews and my personal favorites.

Indeed, 2011 featured numerous excellent trailers for both blockbusters and strong independent dramas.  Unlike 2010, though, this year does not quite have a clear frontrunner (click on the link to see my “Top 10 Trailers of 2010”), as many critics have been divided on what the number one preview of the year was.  Nonetheless, many of the lists are comparable with an overlap of choices, just not in quite the same order.  In other words, trailers this year did not lose quality as much as only little-to-nothing stood completely above the rest like Inception and The Social Network’s previews did last year; you could make a case for several of the previews in my top ten to be number one, and the gap between a few may be small in some cases.

While reading this post you may click on the embedded video clip and watch for yourself.  The title’s link will take you to the film’s IMDB page.   I provide more analysis for each of the previews listed and give a few notes about certain Honorable Mentions as well (found on page 2 of the post).

Qualifiers:

  • The following list of previews can be in virtually any form (teaser trailers, full-length theatrical trailers, extended previews, red-band trailers, etc.).
  • The preview must have been initially released in 2011; the movie itself did not have to be released in 2011 (it could be a preview released in 2011 for a 2012 film).
  • Furthermore, the trailer does not necessarily have to represent the movie that well; it may be far better than the actual film (i.e. any Transformers trailer).
  • Obviously, the trailers should excite or intrigue viewers and possibly convince them to go see the film.
  • Also, I took into account how well the trailers have been made, from their soundtracks to editing and so on.
  • Whether or not the previews spoil the plot is a factor too; doing so might disqualify a trailer that otherwise could have been on the list (a special category of these will be found at the end as well).

Lastly, don’t forget to VOTE for YOUR favorite preview of 2011 at the end of the post.

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The Top 10 Films of 2010

Posted by on Jan 13, 2011 in Lists | 4 comments

At last, here is my article listing and explaining my Top Ten Films of 2010 and other movies deserving of Honorable Mentions. I attempted to balance various considerations: which films I thought are the best made, favoritism, and critical consensus regarding the movies. I elaborate under each entry on my Top Ten and Honorable Mentions lists. Some films may be highly praised but not anywhere on my lists; in that case, I either A) did not see the film/hear great things about it, or B) I did see it/hear about it and chose not to include it in the article. As a ground rule I only chose from films that were actually released (to U.S. theaters) in 2010 and eligible for the 83rdAnnual Academy Awards (February 27, 2011), unless otherwise noted. I want this post to be both informative and entertaining; it is lengthly so come back to read more about the films if you cannot finish all of it at once.

I decided to include a decent number of honorable mentions; I did not want to leave many well-made or very enjoyable movies out of the mix. Some of the honorable mentions definitely deserve the recognition. The honorable mentions are divided into four categories. The first group mentions films that I have not (yet) seen but received widespread acclaim. The second set includes four extraordinary documentaries, none of which I have seen but read and heard great things about. The third one contains movies that I have seen and either I liked or they received high praise but not enough to warrant a spot on the Top Ten. The fourth and final category consists of films that premiered at 2009 film festivals and/or were eligible for the 82nd Academy Awards but were not actually released in the U.S. (limited or wide) until 2010; the films in this group basically are foreign films that should be accredited.

Viewers can vote on their favorite or top film from 2010 at the end of the post. Please feel free to mention any films that I missed and you believe deserve to be acknowledged. I will probably return to update these lists as necessary until the Academy Awards’ presentation. Also please feel free to discuss and debate my choices in the comment section found at the bottom of the post.

 

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Top 10 Trailers of 2010

Posted by on Jan 2, 2011 in Lists | 0 comments

The following list of previews may be either teaser trailers or full-length theatrical trailers. To qualify, the preview had to have been initially released in 2010; the movie itself did not have to be released in 2010. Furthermore, the trailer does not necessarily have to represent the movie that well; it may be far better than the actual film. I chose and ranked the following previews based on a few different factors. For instance, the trailers should excite or intrigue viewers and possibly convince them to go see the film. Also, I took into account how well the trailers have been made, from their soundtracks to editing and so on. Whether or not the previews spoil the plot is a factor too. I tried to choose the top ten based on a combination of my favorite trailers and the best made ones. I provide more analysis for each of the top ten listed and give a few notes about certain honorable mentions.

At the end of the post, you can vote on which preview is your favorite of 2010.

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