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By Sean O’Connell
hollywoodnews.com: With 2012 knocking at out door, let’s take one last run through the top Oscar stories of the day for the final Awards Alley for 2011. What is happening on the Oscar beat as the year draws to a close?
- The Academy is considering moving its Oscar ceremony out of the Kodak Theatre. “Our plan right now is to exercise this [option] and then see what happens, what goes on. We’re open,” Tom Sherak, president of the Academy, told THR. Interesting.
- The N.Y. Times gets a one-on-one with the great Brad Pitt, breaking down »
- Sean O'Connell
Directed by: Michel Hazanavicius
Running Time: 1 hr 35 mins
Release Date: December 23, 2011 (Chicago)
Plot: A silent film star (Dujardin) loses his power in Hollywood when talkie films are introduced, as spearheaded by the appealing Peppy Miller (Bejo).
Who’S It For? Any being with a heart could enjoy this movie, which includes dogs and sharks. A knowledge or previous experience with silent films isn’t even necessary to enjoying The Artist. Just don’t talk during the movie for silence’s sake (or really any movie, for that matter).
Expectations: First seeing the film for the Chicago International Film Festival, I was curious to see how this movie would live up to its hype, and if the movie would aim to be more than a throwback with a cute gimmick. Is anyone going to like this that didn’t love The King’s Speech? »
- Nick Allen
Looking back on 2011, we should have seen it coming. The growing re-obsession with ’80s brands in entertainment. Facebook reconnecting old friends and classmates. YouTube rising to prominence and providing the means to relive memorable moments. Digital music making it virtually effortless to rediscover classic tunes. Nostalgia just became a major part of our lives, at a time when perhaps the present wasn’t the easiest. Naturally, pop culture has corrected itself to capitalize, which is maybe why most movies this year felt so recycled.
The summer season looked like someone had a yard sale for comic books and the best ones were kept tucked away. Thor. Captain America. Green Lantern. Wait, X-Men! Only it’s a new, “first” class set in the ’60s, sans favorites like Wolverine. Earlier, The Green Hornet?
Meanwhile, Real Steel made things used and rusted feel… used and shiny. We all learned a valuable lesson from The Help’s age-old wisdom, »
- Jeff Leins
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
The title of this post is pretty self explanatory, so no introduction is really needed here. But… I do feel compelled to point out the same thing I point out every year. Nailing foreign releases down to a particular year isn’t an exact science. Obviously every film has an actual date of initial release, but most foreign titles don’t hit our shores until the following year, if at all. I try to go by original release date whenever possible though which means some of my choices have yet to be screened in the Us outside of film festivals and import DVDs. That said, here’s a list of my eleven favorite foreign films for 2011 in alphabetical order. (Be sure to check out my lists from 2010, 2009 and 2008 too.) And because I know someone will ask, yes, I did see Certified Copy. The Artist (France) A silent movie star (Jean Dujardin) meets and falls for a young »
- Rob Hunter
We might have bitten off more than we can chew with this year-end list. In trying to single out the top 10 lines of dialogue from 2011, we found ourselves trimming away choice soundbites from such outstanding scripts as Tom McCarthy.s Win Win; Mike Mills. Beginners; the hilarious and infinitely quotable The Trip; John Logan.s rich Hugo screenplay; or Steve Kloves. final Harry Potter adaptation. But there can be only 10. So here are our choices for the Best Lines of Dialogue in 2011, with explanations as to why we cared so deeply about the words that were said. #10: "With pleasure." Jean Dujardin, The Artist The first line of dialogue spoken in Michel Hazanavicius. The Artist, significant because it comes at roughly the 99-minute mark of a 100-minute movie. The director.s impossibly charming ode to Old Hollywood plays with sound in a clever nightmare sequence, but speech . as was the »
Like just about every Us-based critics group — year in, year out — the Online Film Critics Society has placed its focus on English-language productions this awards season. True, critics' fave The Artist, a French-made production, is in the running in several categories, including Best Film, but Michel Hazanavicius' comedy-drama is a) silent (which makes it seem less "foreign") b) set in Hollywood c) features several American/British actors in supporting roles. In any case, Terrence Malick's family drama The Tree of Life, starring Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, and Jessica Chastain, topped the Online Critics list of nominees, with a total of seven nods. Those include Best Film, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay (Malick), and supporting nominations for Pitt and Chastain (photo, with Laramie Eppler and Tye Sheridan). [Full list of Online Film Critics Awards nominations.] Nicolas Winding Refn's thriller Drive, starring Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, and Albert Brooks, was next with six nods. The film itself, »
- Andre Soares
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
Fake Fruit Factory from Guergana Tzatchkov on Vimeo.
"Every year, Librarian of Congress James H Billington personally selects which films will be added to the National Film Registry, working from a list of suggestions from the library’s National Film Preservation Board and the general public," reports Ann Hornaday for the Washington Post. This year's list of 25 films slated for preservation:
Allures (Jordan Belson, 1961) Bambi (Walt Disney, 1942) The Big Heat (Fritz Lang, 1953) A Computer Animated Hand (Pixar, 1972) Crisis: Behind a Presidential Commitment (Robert Drew, 1963) The Cry of the Children (George Nichols, 1912) A Cure for Pokeritis (Laurence Trimble, 1912) El Mariachi (Robert Rodriguez, 1992) Faces (John Cassavetes, 1968) Fake Fruit Factory (Chick Strand, 1986) Forrest Gump (Robert Zemeckis, 1994) Growing Up Female (Jim Klein and Julia Reichert, 1971) Hester Street (Joan Micklin Silver, 1975) I, an Actress (George Kuchar, 1977) The Iron Horse (John Ford, 1924) The Kid (Charlie Chaplin, 1921) The Lost Weekend (Billy Wilder, 1945) The Negro Soldier (Stuart Heisler, »
I came out of this film feeling something I rarely do at the cinema. It was more than lightness of heart, and more than a sense of bedazzlement at what I'd just seen. I think it would be permissible to call it happiness. Simply put, The Artist is the funniest, subtlest and most enjoyable experience of the movie year. It's also a thoroughly achieved work of art which, against expectation, succeeds by an inspired omission. The French director Michel Hazanavicius has made a film about the silent age of Hollywood which is itself a silent film, shot in a silvery black and white that could charm the tinsel off your Christmas tree. Or rather, it's nearly silent, saving its best joke till the very last and relying instead on a triumphant match of visuals to a swooning orchestral score. By the end you'll wish you had a pair of spats and a topper. »
So what were the top films of 2011? It's a really tough question to ask, and a pretty bold one to answer among peers with equally strong opinions. I've been reading through a lot of the 2011 film retrospectives, top 10's, and best of lists with many critics complaining about 2011 being a light year for great film. I personally disagree. Sure the mega-plexes didn't offer much substance in 2011, but cheer up Charlie because if you stuck close to the arthouse theaters then you found the golden tickets. The nominations and votes of the Smells Like Screen Spirit staff have been tallied and scored to represent the collective opinion of the total results. As always we encourage you to agree or debate in the comments section; so without further ado I give you Smells Like Screen Spirit's Top 10 Films of 2011: 10. Bellflower "Painfully discussing the highs and lows of love, as well »
- Dave Campbell
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
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
"The Artist" is still number one in the eyes of the critics. But watch out for "The Tree of Life" – because when it comes to hard-core cinephiles, Terrence Malick's dreamy, meditative piece has begun to get more love than Michel Hazanavicius' silent charmer. When we checked in with critics awards around the country about a week-and-a-half ago, "The Artist" (left) held a comfortable but not insurmountable lead: It had won six best-film awards from regional and national critics' groups, to three for "The Descendants," two for "Tree of Life" and »
- Steve Pond
The Film Editing category is more interesting than you may initially imagine. The award for editing was first handed out in 1934 when it went to Eskimo. That year only three films were nominated, the other two were Cleopatra and One Night of Love. One film that was not nominated was Frank Capra's It Happened One Night, which went on to win Best Picture along with four other Oscars. It also marked the first of nine times in 78 years that the film that eventually went on to win Best Picture was not nominated for Best Film Editing. The other eight not to be nominated, but eventually won Best Picture were The Life of Emile Zola, Hamlet, Marty, Tom Jones, A Man for All Seasons, The Godfather, Part II (the only one in the trilogy not to be nominated for editing), Annie Hall and Ordinary People. So, as you can see, »
- Brad Brevet
"Refn's pulp fantasia — with the iconic Ryan Gosling sporting a cheesy scorpion jacket, a toothpick and a lack of dialogue unrivaled since Clint Eastwood's spaghetti westerns — reminded me just how much I love movies," writes Sean Burns. "Refn's boldly artificial flourishes, graphic violence and swoony romanticism conjured an alternate universe I adored basking in, over and over. Throw in Albert Brooks as the villain, and I don't want to admit how many times I went back to see it again."
Also in the Philadelphia Weekly, Matt Prigge, whose #2 is Kenneth Lonergan's Margaret, on his #1, House of Tolerance: "Like Margaret, Bertrand Bonello's dreamy look at a tony, turn-of-the-century Parisian brothel was initially hated, with some at Cannes calling it the fest's worst. It fared better at Toronto, »
By Ryan Bushey
This one breaks down pretty easily. Jean Dujardin is the ideal candidate since his breakthrough performance as the silent film star in The Artist should play favorably with foreign HFPA. The movie is incredibly likable. Dujardin is incredibly expressive in a script written with select scenarios. Dujardin’s performance is captivating and the audience cannot look away despite the little dialogue. This movie is original and is a perfect tribute to old Hollywood. Dujardin is a stellar performer who deserves this adoration.
Click to read more…
- Scott Feinberg
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
With more movies in limited and general release than ever before, 2011 was a ridiculously crowded year for both casual and discerning moviegoers alike. One by-product of the glut is a refreshing lack of consensus; so many films have been championed in so many corners – while those same films get trashed in others – that our cultural need to rally behind obvious points of praise and awareness have been gloriously undercut. 2011 was the year to see and love films that spoke to you, and to be prepared to argue the case with fellow cinephiles. In other words, 2011 was the year the gloves came off. To say that none of the 30 films on our staff-voted list is universally beloved is putting it mildly; but then, that’s the nature of polls like these.
Every year we’ve run this poll, there’s been a runaway winner; this year, the top 2 films were tied »
- Simon Howell
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