IanTheCool's Reviews
Short Reviews of Movies, Board Games, and Other Stuff

My Top Ten Films of 2011

10. Contagion

As a former microbiologist, I appreciated this movie a lot.  It provided a very realistic idea of how something like this might go down.  And hey, its pretty much the film version of one of my favourite board games: Pandemic!

9. Moneyball

The game about baseball statistics proved to be much more interesting than its premise thanks to a great script by West wing alum Aaron Sorkin and the performances of Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill, not to mention the unsinkable Philip Seymour Hoffman.  Slow and methodical, but worth it.

8. The Adjustment Bureau

You might have forgotten about this one, since it came out all the way back in March.  It was probably the first good film to be released this year, strongly supported by excellent chemistry between the two leads, Matt Damon and Emily Blunt, and in interesting concept which sees a group of mysterious strangers controlling everyone’s lives.  But what really makes this a neat flick is that the mystery behind these mystery men is actually explained rather than kept at arms length, like most Big Brother stories.

7. Drive

Drive is not the type of movie you’d probably expect it to be.  Its an art film wrapped up in a heist film.  Its very stylish and very cool, with some brutal bursts of violence juxtaposing some oddly quiet car chases.  The only thing preventing this film from being higher on the list is a miscast Carey Mulligan and a less-than-stellar ending.

6. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

I think one of the things which thrills me so much about this movie was that it was so unexpected.  It came from a movie franchise which is 15 years old and only produced one other worthy film.  But then came MI4 and it knocked audiences’ socks off.  This is what a competent action film looks like.  Brad Bird knew exactly what he was doing and knew just how to keep us riveted the entire 2 hours.  Its worth checking out just for the Dubai scenes alone; both the high risk stunt outside the windows, and the seat-inducing double meeting.  Great stuff.

5. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2


I’m not sure what more needs to be said about this one other than whats been said so many times over the blogosphere about the legacy of the franchise and what have you.  But I will say that on its own merits, Harry Potter 8 is one great movie, and one of the best in the series.  I haven’t really decided whether its better than Deathly Hallows 1 or not yet, but its certainly a thrill ride and a very satisfying conclusion.

4. Another Earth

I was very impressed by this little-known sci-fi flick, which is really a human drama disguised as a sci-fi flick.  But that’s not to say the science fiction aspect isn’t important; on the contrary, its crucial.  Everything ties in so beautifully together and this story of Rhoda and her derailed life after tragedy is one which will really touch you.  Also, it has a great ending.

3. The Tree of Life


Critics loved this film, but many movie-goers were turned off by Malick’s naturalistic and poetic approach.    I thought this film was not only beautiful but thought-provoking as it spoke to the uncertainties of the universe and questioned our place in the larger scheme of natural history.  And yet he did it in a way where even the lives of a suburban family in the 60s are as important as mind-blowing events in the cosmos.  A masterful achievement.

2. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo


I was far more impressed with this movie than I expected to be.  The story wasn’t new to me; I had both read the novel and seen the Swedish film.  But the team behind the movie here did such a wonderful job, I immediately fell in love with this adaptation.  it was stylish, moody, and cool throughout almost every moment.  Rooney Mara gave a great turn with one of the most interesting fictional characters to come along in a while.  the script was tight and flowed brilliantly.  A great effort in every aspect of the film-making process.

1. 50/50

I’ve gone with a more emotional choice as my film of the year.  This may surprise the readers of this blog, as I haven’t actually written a review for this film yet.  I haven’t decided whether or not I am going to write one, because I know that if I do its going to get personal.  Suffice it to say that this film held a lot of resonance with me, far more than it would of had it come out a year earlier.  This is a movie which manages to be honest about the cancer it portrays without being so honest as to be intensely uncomfortable.  Its a great balancing act between sincere drama and touching comedy, and it really got to me.

So there are my favourite films of 2011.  Overall, this was a better movie than last year, despite the fact that 2010 had two monster successes with Social Network and Inception.  But this movie, though it didn’t have any powerhouses like those, probably had more overall quality.  The top ten this year are on average better films than the top ten last year.  So looking back, I suppose that 2011 was alright after all.

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16 Responses to “My Top Ten Films of 2011”

  1. Will check 50/50 out, since i have not heard of it till you mentioned it.

  2. Nice list! Many of our choices overlap… thats always a nice little affirmation :D

    The only one I would disagree with (You know, in terms of quality, obviously your choices are YOUR choices LOL) is the “Adjustment Bureau”. Man… I hated that one. Just slow and talky… zzzzzzz LOL

    Other than that great list. I’ll note that “Another Earth” is worth checking out when I get the chance!

    (Nice blurb on Tree of Life btw Ian, very well said)

  3. Nice list! There are some films on there I haven’t seen but will have to check out. Loved the Adjustment Bureau and Ghost Protocol.

  4. 10. Loved Contagion the second time around, glad to see it hear.
    9. Not a fan. Baseball makes me sleepy.
    8. I like it, I don’t love it.
    7. Favourite movie of the year (*starts foaming at mouth)
    6. Didn’t see.
    5. Love it. Perfect end to a great series.
    4. Brilliant, unexpected sci-fi movie.
    3. Ambitious. I like it, I don’t love it.
    2. Love it. Mara was stunning.
    1. Great movie.

    Overall, this is an excellent list. Bravo.

  5. 50/50!!!!!! YEEEEEEES I LOVED IT :D So glad you made that your number one (it would be two for me)

    Great list my friend!

  6. A great list! Yes! While some werent my particular faves, I can see why they made your list. Glad you appreciated 50/50 so much!

    Always love reading movie lists like these. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Wow glad to see another “Another Earth” lover. Such an eerie and soulful movie and that last shot is nothing short of astounding. Nice to see The Tree of Life and HP 7.2 in there as well. Overall, we have quite similar selections in our top 10 :D

  8. Nice List Ian, I have not seen Another Earth yet and have no intention of breaking my streak of never seeing or reading any Harry Potter lol. That being said I like your list better than the list put out by the Academy.

  9. Hey, someone besides me who liked The Adjustment Bureau! I took some gentle ragging for writing a very favorable review of that one. Glad to see I’m not the sole holdout on it. :D


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