My Top Ten 2011 Favorites

The title speaks for itself. Of course, there are loads of titles I could have included on this list but omitted (either because I haven't yet seen them, or they are getting plenty of love in other lists), in favor of drawing attention to some titles that you might have missed, as well as including a title or two of films that were an unexpected surprise IMO (think: Apes). Enjoy!
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1.
The Artist (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A silent movie star meets a young dancer, but the arrival of talking pictures sends their careers in opposite directions. (100 mins.)
“ I know it's on every Top 10 list, but for good reason. This film will melt the iciest heart. It makes you fall in love with the movies all over again, a thousand times. I've never witnessed a movie that's harder to get people to see, who then become themselves instant converts. Seen it twice. It makes me happy. ” - chgaines-1
 
2.
The Descendants (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A land baron tries to reconnect with his two daughters after his wife is seriously injured in a boating accident. (115 mins.)
Director: Alexander Payne
“ Again, I know this might be a predictable choice, but it's really something special. I am also a little biased because I once lived in Honolulu and Alexander Payne's knack for highlighting the details of culture and lifestyle completely won me over. This film is a gift. ” - chgaines-1
 
3.
We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Kevin's mother struggles to love her strange child, despite the increasingly vicious things he says and does as he grows up. But Kevin is just getting started, and his final act will be beyond anything anyone imagined. (112 mins.)
Director: Lynne Ramsay
“ I was surprised not to see this on more Top 10 lists, and come to think of it, it's not really being discussed that much as an awards contender. It's a dark, brilliant take on parental guilt and Tilda Swinton is at her very best in this film, not to mention the supremely talented director Lynne Ramsay (RATCATCHER, MOVERN CALLAR). ” - chgaines-1
 
4.
Your Sister's Sister (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
Iris invites her friend Jack to stay at her family's island getaway after the death of his brother. At their remote cabin, Jack's drunken encounter with Hannah, Iris' sister, kicks off a revealing stretch of days. (90 mins.)
Director: Lynn Shelton
“ Very, very assured and marvelously observed and acted (Mark Duplass, Emily Blunt, Roesmarie DeWitt) new film from Lynn Shelton (HUMPDAY). ” - chgaines-1
 
5.
The Lie (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.1/10 X  
A man's life is altered unexpectedly after telling a lie to get out of work. (80 mins.)
Director: Joshua Leonard
“ Feature film based on the TC Boyle story of the same name. The story, if you're familiar with it, has you tied in a pretzel of humor, sadness and agony, but it's so very very well done. ” - chgaines-1
 
6.
Phase 7 (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  
Inside a quarantined apartment building a man must protect his pregnant wife from his new neighbors. (95 mins.)
“ I was lucky to see this film at this year's Edinburgh International Film Festival, and I was just really impressed with its low-budget inventiveness as well as its jaw-dropping horror sequences, suspense and sly humor. Well-balanced and satisfying horror/sci fi! ” - chgaines-1
 
7.
Perfect Sense (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A chef and a scientist fall in love as an epidemic begins to rob people of their sensory perceptions. (92 mins.)
Director: David Mackenzie
“ After a debut at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, then playing around on the festival circuit, this looks like it may get a February 2012 US release. A very ambitious, steamy, scary dreamy look at the way the human race shuffles off its mortal coil. ” - chgaines-1
 
8.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A substance, designed to help the brain repair itself, gives rise to a super-intelligent chimp who leads an ape uprising. (105 mins.)
Director: Rupert Wyatt
“ This film is a great reminder that Hollywood can still surprise with a great story. ” - chgaines-1
 
9.
Monsieur Lazhar (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
At a Montréal public grade school, an Algerian immigrant is hired to replace a popular teacher who committed suicide in her classroom. While helping his students deal with their grief, his own recent loss is revealed. (94 mins.)
“ Canada's Oscar entry. Touching and poignant, MONSIEUR LAZHAR is the story of Bachir Lazhar, an Algerian refugee who becomes the substitute teacher at a school dealing with the suicide of his predecessor. ” - chgaines-1
 
10.
Albatross (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
Beth, a bookish teenager, befriends Emilia, an aspiring novelist who has just arrived in town. Emilia soon begins an affair with Beth's father that threatens to have devastating consequences. (90 mins.)
“ Features great performances from current "it" girl Felicity Jones, as well as the always-great Julia Ormond and soon-to-be "it" girl Jessica Brown-Findlay. Life in a British seaside tourist town gets topsy-turvy. ” - chgaines-1