My Top 17 Films of 2011

My Yearly  Top 17 List is a tad different — it includes films from any year that I just happened to catch for the first time during 2011.

So here we go….

17.  CRAZY STUPID LOVE (2011) – this was a perfect blend of a polished Hollywood film with a splash of indie sensibility. Thankfully Carell and Gosling are comedic gold in this.  I still don’t get what people like about Emma Stone though. 

16.  RUSSIAN DOLLS (2005) – after discovering actor Romain Duris in HEARTBREAKER I found this gem of a film he was in as well.  A great international cast (Audrey Tautou is in it!) makes the film very enchanting.

15.   COLD WEATHER (2010) – this movie admittedly started a bit slow for me. But when it gets going it sucked me in because it took a genre and played with it….for better or worse (at least they tried and that was cool for me).  The score lent to a very eerie, unique atmosphere. I’ll also be keeping my eyes peeled for more from Trieste Kelly Dunn.

14.  HAPPINESS (1998) – very dark and perverse….a bit disturbing but funny as hell.

13. HEART OF NOW (2010) – this tale truly surprised me.  I wasn’t sure what to expect but Marion Kerr captivated me with every frame and this film resonates and inspires.

12.   ATTACK THE BLOCK (2011) – loads of fun – SUPER 8 on steroids. I’ve got a crush on Jodie Whittaker.  And we all know John Boyega has blown up since his breakout role as “Moses” in this film.

11.  WIN WIN (2011) – just a charming film that sneaks up on you by the end.  Felt like real, genuine, broken people who strive for something more and you watch it all unfold with assured directing and fun performances.

10.  HEARTBREAKER (2010) – could any film be more fun?  Leave it to the French to make a fresh romantic comedy.

9.  PARIAH (2011) – pretty much the last minutes of the film were so powerful that it made the movie for me.  And it was great to see so many unrecognizable faces giving amazing and truthful performances.

8.  50/50 (2011) – the trailer actually didn’t hook me so I went to this based on reviews and word of mouth via twitter.  I’m also not a big Seth Rogen fan.  Having said that, this was a powerful film.  Very thought provoking and Gordon-Levitt is always stellar….always giving his all in every role he does.  Anna Kendrick surprises and shows she’s going to be around for a long time.

7.  BLUE VALENTINE (2010) – definitely a tough watch if you know the structure of the film and how the story will eventually end.  But the performances by the leads are so raw that you feel almost bad for intruding on them.  Not sure you will “enjoy” it, but you won’t forget it soon.  And the end credits sequence is killer (click here for details on it)

6.  THE DESCENDENTS (2011) – strong performances by Clooney and Woodley anchor this film which I found tragic and touching.

5.  WEEKEND (2011) – saw this at Ted Hope’s Goldcrest screening series and was enchanted by its charm and romance.  I was not expecting to love these characters as much as I did.

4.  MARY AND MAX (2009) – a whimsical, humorous and touching film.  I’d never heard of it before until a friend told me to see it.  It totally caught me by surprise.

3.  MIDNIGHT IN PARIS (2011) – one of Woody’s finest in years.  I usually don’t like Owen Wilson but he’s very charming and appropriate in this film.

2.  BAD TIMING (1980) – dark, erotic, edgy and so compelling. Some very brave and assured filmmaking by Nicolas Roeg. - See more at:

2.  BAD TIMING (1980) – dark, erotic, edgy and so compelling. Some very brave and assured filmmaking by Nicolas Roeg.

1. DRIVE (2011) – although there were a few issues I had with it…it was so refreshing to see an auteur make the film he wanted and get a wide theatrical release. The film was visually stunning and had some very inspired sequences.  Out of all the films this year, this is the one that supercharged me to believe in myself and stay true to my vision when making a movie.  And it’s cool to know that this was Nicolas Winding Refn’s 9th film….meaning that it takes time and experience before one is mastering the craft and firing on all cylinders.  It’s funny….I wouldn’t necessarily say this is the BEST film of 2011, but it definitely affected me the most artistically and as a movie-goer so that’s why it sits at the top.

The trailer is too revealing so here’s the opening sequence.  It gives you just enough without spoiling anything at all.  - See more at:

The trailer is too revealing so here's the opening sequence.  It gives you just enough without spoiling anything at all.