URN’s Top 10 Films of 2011
4th January 2012
Hi, it’s been a great year for cinema & to celebrate it we at the Film Show have put together a list of our favourite films of 2011. If you’d like to hear us talk more in depth about our personal favourites of the year, you can find them in the Podcasts linked below. Thanks to everyone who helped with the show this year & here’s hoping for more great cinematic moments this year.
10. Animal Kingdom (Madman Entertainment)
Director: David Michôd
Starring: Jacki Weaver, Guy Pearce, Ben Mendelsohn, Joel Edgerton, James Frecheville
Plot: Following the accidental overdose of his mother, ‘J’ Cody must go and live with his family of criminals in Melbourne. The family are made up of hardened criminals Craig, Baz & Darren under the sinister matriarch Smurf, grandmother to J. All is calm within the family until the return of Pope Cody, J’s violently deranged uncle, with his return sees the arrival of the police and no-one in the family is safe. As both paranoia and violence mount, J must make this decision between his own safety and the safety of the family.
9. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 2 (Warner Brothers)
Director: David Yates
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson
Plot: It’s the dramatic climax to Harry, Ron & Hermione’s adventures at Hogwarts, they must defeat the Dark Lord Voldemort before he can enslave the wizarding world under his will once more. Their quest to destroy his precious horcruxes, the magical objects which give him immortality, draws near to its close. However, as they come closer to their ultimate battle, they will have to face the sacrifices that need to be made and the friends who will be lost. It will be an epic battle between the forces of good and evil and only one can live.
8. Midnight In Paris (Sony Pictures Classics)
Director: Woody Allen
Starring: Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Marion Cotillard, Kathy Bates, Adrien Brody, Michael Sheen, Carla Bruni
Plot: Gil and Inez travel to Paris as a tag-along vacation on her parents’ business trip. Gil is a successful Hollywood writer but is struggling on his first novel. He falls in love with the city and thinks they should move there after they get married, but Inez does not share his romantic notions of the city or the idea that the 1920s was the golden age. When Inez meets her former boyfriend, the pseudo-intellectual Paul, with his girlfriend, Carol, they drink wine in a party and Paul invites the couple to go dancing with Carol and him. However, Gil takes a walk at midnight and discovers what could be the ultimate source of inspiration for writing. Gil’s nightly walks at midnight in Paris could take him closer to the heart of the city but further from the woman he’s about to marry.
7. The King’s Speech (UK Film Council)
Director: Tom Hooper
Starring: Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham-Carter
Plot: Suffering from a stammer from the age of 4 or 5, the young Prince Albert dreads any public speaking engagement and as demonstrated by his speech at the closing of the 1925 Commonwealth exhibition in London, has difficulty whenever in the public sphere. He tries many different therapies over many years but it was only when he meets Lionel Logue, a speech therapist, that he truly began to make progress. Logue lacks medical orthodox but has worked as an elocution coach in the theatre and had worked with shell-shocked soldiers after World War I. Through a variety of techniques – and much hard work – he learns to speak in such a way so as to make his impediment a minor problem and prepares to deliver a faultless speech around the world by radio on the eve of war with Nazi Germany in 1939.
6. Drive (FilmDistrict)
Director: Nicolas Winding Refn
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Albert Brookes, Ron Perlman, Oscar Isaac
Plot: “If I drive for you, you give me a time and a place. I give you a five-minute window, anything happens in that five minutes and I’m yours no matter what. I don’t sit in while you’re running it down; I don’t carry a gun… I drive.” Curt, professional instructions for a curt, professional man. By day, ‘Driver’ is a Hollywood stunt man, but by night he makes his real money in the criminal underworld as a top-flight getaway driver. He is at his professional peak, he is unrivalled in his capabilities behind the wheel of a car; his expertise is such that he has become the go to man for organised crime in Los Angeles. However, something is boiling just beneath the surface, despite his cool demeanour and his calculated actions, when push comes to shove, the driver will never back down.
5. The Ides of March (Columbia)
Director: George Clooney
Starring: Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Evan Rachel Wood, Jeffrey Wright, Marisa Tomei
Plot: Stephen Meyers is the Junior Campaign Manager for Mike Morris, Governor of Pennsylvania and a Democratic presidential candidate. His competition is Arkansas Senator Ted Pullman; both are campaigning in Ohio, the lynchpin of the Democratic Nominations. Working alongside Meyes is Senior Campaign Manager, Paul Zala, a veteran of the campaign trail and hopeful that he may finally have found a candidate who can go all the way. However, they face fierce competition in the form of Tom Duffy, Senior Campaign Manager for Pullman. In a world where all that can be counted on is loyalty and votes, nothing is sacred and everyone must fight for the survival not only of their candidates, but their political careers as well. As the primaries near, Meyers must put his political, as well as his moral integrity on the line as the lines which define both are blurred.
4. The Skin I Live In (El Deseo)
Director: Pedro Almodovar
Starring: Antonio Banderas, Elena Anaya, Marisa Paredes, Jan Cornet
Plot: In honour of his late wife who died in a flaming car accident, scientist, Dr. Robert Ledgard, is trying to synthesize the perfect skin which can withstand burns, cuts or any other kind of damage. As he gets closer to perfecting this skin on his flawless patient, the scientific community starts growing sceptical and his past is revealed that shows how his patient is closely linked to tragic events he would like to forget.
3. True Grit (Paramount)
Directors: Joel & Ethan Cohen
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Hailee Steinfeld, Josh Brolin, Barry Pepper
Plot: Following the murder of her father by hired hand Tom Chaney, 14-year-old farm girl Mattie Ross sets out to capture the killer. She may be under prepared, but she is quick-witted and determined in her endeavour to track down her father’s killer. To aid her in quest for off kilter revenge, she hires the toughest U.S. marshal she can find, a man with “true grit,” Reuben J. “Rooster” Cogburn. Mattie insists on accompanying Cogburn, who’s drinking, sloth, and generally reprobate character do not augment her faith in him. Against his wishes, she joins him in his trek into the Indian Nations in search of Chaney. They are joined by ruthlessly ambitious Texas Ranger, LaBoeuf, who wants Chaney for his own purposes. The unlikely trio must somehow settle their differences on their surreal journey of danger and surprises, as each has his or her “grit” tested.
2. Black Swan (Fox Searchlight)
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Starring: Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassel, Mila Kunis, Barbara Hershey, Winona Ryder
Plot: Nina Sayers is a ballerina in a New York City ballet company whose life, like all those in her profession, is completely consumed with dance. She lives with her obsessive former ballerina mother, Erica, who exerts a suffocating control over her. When artistic director Thomas Leroy decides to replace prima ballerina Beth MacIntyre for the opening production of their new season, Swan Lake, Nina is his first choice. But Nina has competition: a new dancer, Lily, who impresses Leroy as well. Swan Lake requires a dancer who can play both the White Swan with innocence and grace, and the Black Swan, who represents guile and sensuality. Nina fits the White Swan role perfectly but Lily is the personification of the Black Swan. As the two young dancers expand their rivalry into a twisted friendship, Nina begins to get more in touch with her dark side – a recklessness that threatens to destroy her.
1. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (Studio Canal)
Director: Tomas Alfredson
Starring: Gary Oldman, Benedict Cumberbatch, Colin Firth, John Hurt, Tom Hardy, Tobey Jones, Ciaran Hinds, Mark Strong
Plot: In 1973 at the height of the Cold War, the head of British Intelligence, Control, resigns after an operation in Budapest goes horribly wrong. It transpires that Control believed one of four senior figures in the service was in fact a Russian agent – a mole – and the Hungary operation was an attempt to identify which of them it was. Smiley had been forced into retirement by the departure of Control, but is asked by a senior government figure to investigate a story told to him by a rogue agent, Ricky Tarr, that there was a mole. Smiley considers that the failure of the Hungary operation and the continuing success of Operation Witchcraft (an apparent source of significant Soviet intelligence) confirms this, and takes up the task of finding him. Through the efforts of Peter Guillam, Smiley obtains information that eventually leads him to Jim Prideaux, the agent at the heart of the Hungary fiasco. He is then able to put together the pieces of the puzzle, which lead him to the identity of the mole and the true intent of Operation Witchcraft.
Thanks for Listening