Tuesday, January 3, 2012

DB's Best (or Favorite) Films of 2011

And now the best films and those that are my favorites (which on some level is the same thing). As always I'll also look at my favorite pieces of movies. I know thats cheating but truth be told sometimes all a movie can muster is a glorious moment. After`that I'll take a look at the whole films that have stayed with me since I saw them earlier in the year (You will find reviews of all of the complete films somewhere on the blog)

First up the best pieces of the year:

The Angel parts of $9.99 an animated film about people in an apartment building in Australia. There is simply something so wonderfully off kilter about the angel who crosses through one of the tenants life.

The Funeral and dancing scenes in Sabu's MONDAY. While the whole movie is wonderful, these two sequences are so wildly brilliant the rest of the film is lessened by them.

The final song in SWELL SEASON. Watching the performance from backstage at Radio City Music Hall is as magical a moment as you'll find in a musical.

Patrick Breen in BLEEDING HOUSE. Evil. Evil. Evil and the reason the film works.

The I won't go out with you song from SELL OUT. All of the music is wonderful but that one song transcends everything and is one of the best songs from any musical, movie or stage, that I've ever seen.

The heroics of GREEN LANTERN. Say what you will about the movie as a whole, they nailed what it is to be a hero.

Mel Gibson in THE BEAVER give the performance of a life time, which in this case is one of the best I've ever seen.

All of the performances in ONCE FALLEN. Its a middling movie with a kick ass cast making you wonder why they aren't all super stars. I love the stars and their characters I just wish they had a real plot to act in

The opening montage of MELANCHOLIA. Beautiful, scary and it makes the rest of the film unnecassary. Its a perfect mini-movie.

While the first half of the Korean horror film Sector 7 plays like a bad comedy in front of green screens, once the moster shows up in the second half the film redeems itself with one of the ugliest most, stomach churning beasts ever put on film. Put it in the top ten greatest monsters ever put on film...maybe even the top three. The movie isn't particularly good but the monster is as great as they come.

Anthong Wong shows yet again why he is one of the best actors ever in PUNISHED. Its a great film that made my Finds list and just missed the Best list because it got lost at the NYAFF amongst other films. That said Wong's turn as a father who wants revenge for the death of his daughter, only to find out the cost to himself and those around him is masterful, and it's way hopefully heartbreaking.

The best complete films:

I want to start by saying that one of the best experiences I had going to the movies this year was seeing Mott The Hoople the movie at the New York Film Festival. From the time spent waiting on line when we got a wave from Ian Hunter as he went in, to Hunter's entry to sustained applause, on through the screening where you could feel everyone in attendance being one with the movie to the point where they sang along and danced in their seat, this was a pure joy. This was what movie going is supposed to be, everyone expeirencing one moment together. It was glorious. It was what I always thought going to a film festival, or even the movies, should be. It was so much better than most other screenings where it was simply a collection of solo people sitting in the darkness alone together. I loved the experience more than I can say and it could only have been made better if I could have stayed for the Q&A (damn late starting movie).

WOOCHIE TAOIST WIZARD- Great fun even if it's too long.

ALWAYS SUNET ON THIRD STREET - it manipulates the audience and you know it but you don't care because you feel too good. It also has one of the best Christmas scenes ever put on film.

THE KINGS SPEECH- One of the few times in recent years Oscar got Best Picture right.

KARSKI REPORT- A film that changes everything you ever thought you knew about anything. Put this on my list of one of the greatest films ever made.

13 ASSASSINS- One of the greatest action films ever made. Sure the cut International version works but the full scale Japanese version is even better with the additional 20 minutes a serious contender for one of the best films of any sort ever. Movies don't get better than this.

MON MON THE WATER SPIDER- One of the most romantic films you'll ever see, and one of the best films Ghibli ever made...unfortunately it's not available outside of the Ghibli Museum, which is a gross injustice. Do what you have to to see this film because Movies don't get much better than this.

GRAVE ENCOUNTERS- I love this film. It up-ended expectations and forever wrecked ghost hunter TV shows in my eyes, not to mention scared the crap out of me.

SEMPER FI- How one man refuses to let the government screw the men and women who serve our country. I dare you not to cry- repeatedly. This is on the short list for an Oscar and deservedly so

ROMANTICS ANONYMOUS- Pure joy. One of the absolute joys of the year and one of the treats of Tribeca. Best of all it will make you feel good for months after you see it.

ABRAXAS- A movie to make you tingle all over. A monk finds that there are many oaths to god, even through punk rock. Its like the end of last years amazing Live Tape all over again.

A BOY AND HIS SAMURAI- Time traveling samurai as pastry Chef. Winner of the Audience award at NYAFF and rightly so. I have yet to meet a single person who has seen it who wasn't in love with it. This movie will make you feel good to be alive and then some. Why the hell doesn't this have a major US release?

MR TAPS HOLIDAY- Short film is so off kilter you'd never expect it to be one of the most touching films of the year. Why do I love the NYAFF so much? Because they always manage to find wonderful films like this.

RINCO'S RESTRAUNT- It made me feel stupidly happy on a level I can not explain. Rarely in all my life have I ever been made this blissfully happy by anything ever (except maybe only the birth of my niece). It's a wonderful film about life and miracles and cooking. Why isn't this out on DVD with good English subtitles?

MACHETE MAIDENS UNLEASHED- a perfect exploitation film, except it's documentary.

LAST RONIN- What happened after the story of the 47 Ronin is a kick in the chest and quite simply an awesome experience. When it was done no one in the audience moved for a good while. The film may have ended but we were all haunted by what we had just seen. If you want to understand honor, loyalty and duty see this film.

CAPTAIN AMERICA- They nailed it. Its a near perfect comic book on film. And had they not forced a connection to The Avengers it would be a perfect film.

LE HAVRE-Perfectly retro and modern. How do you make a modern update of a movie about the French Resistence? Make it about illegal immigrants. Its a realistic fable that makes you feel good. How good? I had to fight John about who was going to write it up (He kicked my ass thanks to Bully's help)

RESURRECT DEAD: THE MYSTERY OF THE TOYNBEE TILES - solving a real life mystery has rarely been so damn fun.

OLD FISH-I'm running a review in January for Chinese New Year, and all I can say until then is this was the called by anyone who saw it at the New York Asian Film Festival in 2009 as the best film of the year no one's seen. I'll say it again in 2011- its one of the best film almost no one in the US has ever seen. Its about a man who works in a bomb squad and its not what you expect--- and its basically true. (From the director of The Message which is mentioned below))

ADJUSTMENT BUREAU - Forget the science fiction, this is just a wonderful romance

WESTFRONT 1918- as devistating an anti-war film as they come. Find this film and see it. It will leave you talking to the screen.

ONCE UPON A TIME IN ANATOLIA- A perfectly paced meditation of life and murder (And it's out in theaters soon)

THIS IS NOT A MOVIE- Its something else, something more. Go see it when this comes out in a a theater near you (AND LETS GET ITS DIRECTOR OUT OF PRISON)

ANONYMOUS- Did Shakespeare write his plays? Does it matter? Not really since this is just a great tale.

PATIENCE AFTER SEBOLD- a true cinematic journey.

The second part of DRIELEBEN. Divorce it from the other two parts of its a trilogy and you have a wonderful film about the relationship of two old friends.

THE MESSAGE- An epic war film about secret codes and the resistence during the Second World War. It may not seem all that great on the first go through, but once you realize whats going on its an amzing piece of filmmaking.(This has the same director as Old Fish)

And lets not forget BRAID and SCRAPPERS which I talked about yesterday.

I'm reserving judgement about Coriolanus. I need to see it again to see to determine how good it is. Certainly Ralph Finnes has positioned himself to be a great director.

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