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HollywoodNews.com:Here’s a way to end the year or start a new one on a strange note. The New York Times film critics have announced their desired Oscar choices–and snubbed “The Artist,” Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris,” and “Moneyball.” Instead, Tony Scott picked “Bridesmaids,” a gross out movie that has no place at the Academy Awards, and the confounding, incoherent “Tree of Life.” (Talk about the Emperor’s New Clothes.) Among Stephen Holden’s choices are the middling and ultimately not very effective “Margin Call,” and Jason Reitman’s off putting “Young Adult.” Manohla Dargis, of course, has the strangest choices, going for sleep inducements. “Poetry”? “Mysteries of Lisbon”? A Chinese movie about a woman with Alzheimers, and the Portugese version of “Babel.” Those wacky Times reviewers! I say ignore them, and get to “The Artist” Asap, wherever you are.
- Roger Friedman
In this week's Oscar Talk, after a holiday hiatus Kris Tapley and I come back to assess the Oscar race just as Academy voters get their ballots in the mail. This time, there will be five slots for an undetermined number of Best Picture candidates. Any movie that gets too many third, fourth and fifth place votes won't register in the final outcome. This could leave popular titles without passionate fans--such as "Moneyball" or "Midnight in Paris"-- in the lurch. I agree that it's better for Oscar voters to select five movies that they love than to stretch to include a bunch of movies they just like. But if the idea behind the change was to boost »
2011 was one of the best years for film in recent years. There are about 25 films that could have made my top ten list and each film in my top 5 could be my number one. I saw about 100 films this year and I still wish I could have seen more. I feel very comfortable with my top ten and I feel like it was a good representative of the year in film. However I do feel that people looking at this article should go over to Sound On Sight and see all the staff’s individual lists, as well as the honorable mentions that just missed my list. You will find a great collection of films on those lists.
Directed by Sean Durkin
I saw Sean Durkin’s directorial debut in August and knew as soon as the last frame came up that this was the best picture of the year. »
- Josh Youngerman
Cinema had a pretty good year in 2011. The summer saw an onslaught of costumed hero flicks, which to my great surprise were all pretty good. Hollywood has turned off the cheese factor on comic adaptations, lining up great directors and better actors. The biggest surprise of 2011 was the remarkable success of The Artist, a charming silent film by French director Michael Hazanavicius. Since its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, it has been a critical and awards favorite. The Artist should be a lock to win the Best Film Oscar.
My favorite film of 2011 is Gavin O'Connor's Warrior. I had no idea what to expect when I saw this movie in September and was completely blown away. A brutal fighting film, the fisticuffs pale in comparison to the gripping family drama. Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton play two brothers, long separated by the childhood abuse of their father - Nick Nolte, »
In 2011, I saw more new movies than I ever have in the past. Previous years I'd flirted with roughly two per week but, this year, thanks to a full Sundance Film Festival, Fantastic Fest, Butt-Numb-a-Thon and other events like AFI Fest and the Los Angeles Film Festival, that number jumped up to 167. Several of those won't be released until 2012 and others won't get released at all, but it's still a more than sufficient cross section of 2011 releases to adequately speak on the state of film in 2011 and give my top ten movies of the year. (Note: Any film that didn't get an Oscar qualifying 2011 theatrical run did not qualify for this list. That's just my personal rule.) For me, 2011 was the year of "good, but not great." You know the type. A film that does everything right, is entertaining, emotional, but doesn't stick with you once you've left the theater. »
- Germain Lussier
Box office junkies, unite! It’s time to break down the year that was at the movies using the thing that we love most — the numbers!
Blockbuster franchise films reigned supreme at the North American box office in 2011. Of the ten highest grossing movies, the top seven — led by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 with $381 million — are sequels, Rise of the Planet of the Apes (No. 9, $176.7 million) is a prequel, and Thor (No. 8, $181 million) and Captain America: The First Avenger (No. 10, $176.7 million), while not sequels, are part of the larger Avengers franchise which Marvel will roll out next year. »
- Grady Smith
Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris" was the overwhelming winner at the specialty box office this year, topping this chart of 2011's top grossers with $56.3 million. That's over $20 million more than the next film on the chart - the still-climbing "Descendants" (it could surpass that total when Oscar season has come and gone) - and the highest gross ever for a Woody Allen film. While "Paris" is just one of many success stories for Indiewood this year, overall things have taken a slight dive from 2010's big year. While both years saw six films gross over $10 million, 2011 had only 15 $5 million grossers and 24 $3 million grossers. In 2010, those milestones were reached 19 and 31 times, respectively. Also notable was that four of the top five films in 2011 came from the year's first half, whereas last year's list was dominated by year-end releases like "Black Swan" and "The King's Speech." While »
The Welsh star showed up to see McAdams at work on the as-yet-untitled romantic drama and was taken by surprise when director Terrence Malick roped him into shooting scenes.
Lee Byung-hun, I Saw the Devil This year, the Austin Film Critics went for some unusual — though not exactly "surprising" — choices. Well, with one exception: Jee-woon Kim's revenge thriller I Saw the Devil, their Best Foreign Language Film. To date, Us-based critics have gone instead for Pedro Almodóvar's The Skin I Live In, Asghar Farhadi's A Separation, or Takashi Miike's 13 Assassins. Earlier this year, I Saw the Devil, about a young man (Lee Byung-hun) out to avenge the murder of his pregnant wife, won an Asian Film Award for Best Editing. [Full list of Austin Film Critics winners.] Martin Scorsese's 3D ode to the magic of movies, Hugo, was selected as the Best Film of 2011. Elsewhere, Us critics have been leaning more heavily toward another ode to the magic movies, Michel Hazanavicius' black-and-white silent comedy-drama The Artist, which, curiously, failed to top any of the Austin Critics' categories. Take Shelter's »
- Steve Montgomery
Streaming or downloading movies is a convenient way to rent a flick even though the picture and sound quality are not as good as Blu-ray, but those fun behind-the-scenes extras are not usually available digitally. To keep you spinning physical discs for years to come, studios are including innovative and often immersive bonus features on the DVDs and Blu-rays of your favorite movies and TV shows. Read all about this month's best extras served up on shiny silver platters that take you beyond the feature presentations. Midnight in Paris: Woody Allen fans know that the director's discs are usually barebones affairs with no extras. The romantic comedy Midnight in Paris is Allen's highest-grossing film ever and features Owen Wilson as hopeless romantic engaged to the...
- Robert B. DeSalvo
Chicago – With 2012 staring us in the face like a bad movie concept (oops), it’s time to go over the worst films of 2011, if only to purge the refuse from our souls. If you think film critiquing is martinis with F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald – or the plot to “Midnight in Paris” – then strap in and read on.
If we were to add up the percentages of the 2011 film release year, the larger number of star ratings would fall in the middle to horrible category of the please-please-me range, but that is the nature of populist movie-making. The film business is about demographics and butts-in-the-seats, and what’s on screen – as long as it has a vampire in it – has become irrelevant. Can we all handle that truth? Thank goodness for awards season.
- email@example.com (Adam Fendelman)
Michael Sheen has filmed a cameo in Terrence Malick's forthcoming untitled drama. The Midnight in Paris actor was visiting girlfriend Rachel McAdams on the set of the Tree of Life director's new project and was asked to step into the role of Ben Affleck's on-screen boss while there. "My girlfriend was in a film that Terrence Malick did so I went to visit her on set," Sheen recalled in an interview with BBC 5 Live's Simon Mayo and Mark Kermode. (more) »
- By Jennifer Still
Asa Butterfield, Sacha Baron Cohen, Hugo I Saw The Devil: Austin Film Critics Biggest Surprise Winner Best Film Hugo, directed by Martin Scoresese Top Ten Films (runners-up) Drive by Nicolas Winding Ref Take Shelter by Jeff Nichols Midnight in Paris by Woody Allen Attack the Block by Joe Cornish The Artist by Michel Hazanavicius Martha Marcy May Marlene by Sean Durkin I Saw the Devil by Jee-woon Kim 13 Assassins by Takashi Miike Melancholia by Lars von Trier Best Foreign Language Film I Saw the Devil, South Korea, directed by Jee-woon Kim Best Director Nicolas Winding Refn, Drive Best Actor Michael Shannon, Take Shelter Best Actress Tilda Swinton, We Need to Talk About Kevin Best Supporting Actor Albert Brooks, Drive Best Supporting Actress Jessica Chastain, Take Shelter Best Original Screenplay Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen Best Adapted Screenplay Drive, Hossein Amini Best Cinematography The Tree of Life, Emmanuel Lubezki Best Original Score Attack the Block, »
- Steve Montgomery
 I find it difficult to say whether 2011 was an unusually strong or unusually weak year for films. As in any year, there were pleasant surprises and disappointments alike. If I had to pinpoint the one thing my favorites tend to have in common, though, it's a sense that each of them were made with great love by people who cared desperately about them. I don't think there's anything anyone can say at the start of a top 10 list to totally deflect the disgruntled comments from readers who incensed to see that X made my top 10 when Y didn't, etc., but I'm still going to throw out the usual caveats. There are certainly deserving films that were left off just because I forgot about them, or because I missed the theatrical run, or because I couldn't fully appreciate them due to my own biases, or what have you. I also want »
- Angie Han
Jessica Chastain, Brad Pitt in Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life Lars von Trier, Kirsten Dunst, A Separation, John Hawkes : Online Film Critics Surprise Nominees Best Picture The Artist The Descendants Drive Hugo The Tree of Life Best Film Not in the English Language 13 Assassins Certified Copy A Separation The Skin I Live In Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives Best Animated Feature The Adventures of Tintin Arthur Christmas Kung Fu Panda 2 Rango Winnie the Pooh Best Director Michel Hazanavicius – The Artist Terrence Malick – The Tree of Life Nicolas Winding Refn – Drive Martin Scorsese – Hugo Lars von Trier – Melancholia Best Lead Actor George Clooney – The Descendants Jean Dujardin – The Artist Michael Fassbender – Shame Gary Oldman – Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy Michael Shannon – Take Shelter Best Lead Actress Kirsten Dunst – Melancholia Elizabeth Olsen – Martha Marcy May Marlene Meryl Streep – The Iron Lady Tilda Swinton – We Need to Talk About Kevin »
- Steve Montgomery
This week at Indiewire we're offering a series of charts reflecting the big winners at the box office this year. Today's chart takes on the best per theater averages of limited debuts in 2011. While most years see the final month or two offering the biggest per-theater-averages of the year (a la "Black Swan," "The King's Speech," "Up In The Air" and "Precious" in recent years), 2011 was something of an anomaly. Far and away the two biggest limited debuts of the year - and among the biggest of all-time - came from two consecutive weekends in May. That would be when Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris" and Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life" would gross downright stunning $90,000+ averages coming off their Cannes debuts. The biggest debut of the final months of the year was "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" - which averaged $77,641 in early December. While "The Descendants" notably »
We start the Top 7. You finish the Top 10. Or in this case, I give you 14 films.
Two themes seemed to keep popping up in 2011; nostalgia and forgetting. The forgetting specifically came in the form of Alzheimer’s disease. Friends with Benefits, A Separation, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, The Descendants, and 50/50 all had a key character with Alzheimer’s. On the flip side, nostalgia seemed central to many films. The Artist is an homage to silent films, while Hugo pays tribute as well. The Muppets and Winnie the Pooh told stories that could have existed when those timeless characters were first created (tapping in to our nostalgia). Young Adult exists because of high school nostalgia. Super 8 is the nostalgia of Steven Spielberg through the eyes of J.J. Abrams. Midnight in Paris is most-definitely an obvious nostalgia for Paris in the 1920s.
Don’t forget to remember. That »
- Jeff Bayer
By Ryan Bushey
Another short one. I feel like Clooney will gain the globe for this. Again, The Ides of March is a lackluster film but it does have its merits. The HFPA seemed to love Clooney so this could be a lock. The direction in the movie is good, just not great. Unfortunately, the silver fox of the silver screen might get this solely on his A-list status. Clooney and his writing partner Grant Heslov should get some recognition for adapting the play Farragut North into the script. The more preferable contenders should be Michael Hazanavicius’s The Artist or Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris. Both are crowd-pleasers.
Click to read more…
- Scott Feinberg
Yesterday, I counted down the biggest disappointments from this year in film, which included a set of blockbusters that just didn't live up to the hype generated leading up to the release, and failed to deliver a quality movie. But today, we're looking on the positive side of the year's biggest films in the form of five films that sort of caught audiences off guard by being surprising hits both at the box office and with most critics. I haven't included lower key favorites like Midnight in Paris, but films like Woody Allen's comedy are smaller, personal choices, and will show up on another list later this week. See the list below! So without further adieu, here are the films that really surprised myself, audiences and critics in 2011 by really coming through as great pieces of entertainment and all around high quality movies: #5. Real Steel - With the huge »
- Ethan Anderton
By Sean O’Connell
hollywoodnews.com: You hear this complaint almost every year: “This was a terrible year for film.” It’s often made by moviegoers who didn’t go out of their way to find unconventional, challenging (and frequently rewarding) cinema.
A simple scan of the films we’ve included in our annual Top 10 list – as well as the 10 follow up titles – will tell you that there were plenty of films worth celebrating in 2011 … and there will be even more coming next year.
But before we jump ahead, with the New Year arriving in a few days, let’s run through the best films we managed to see in 2011. We expect our coverage for most of these movies to extend into January and February as the Oscar race continues. But for now, these are the movies that moved us most. If we missed any, let us know in our comments section:
- Sean O'Connell
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