2011 Screens Top 10s
Marjorie Baumgarten's Top 10 list
1) Melancholia Lars von Trier rides in as a brooding horseman of the apocalypse in this all-encompassing film experience, which is certainly better than exiting Cannes as persona non grata.
2) 13 Assassins My favorite surprise of the year was this carefully calculated and executed samurai action film from Takashi Miike, whose production quantity is usually more notable than its classical quality.
3) A Separation While an Iranian couple deals with irreconcilable differences, they remind us of the complexity of morality and the possibility of making uncensored films in Iran.
4) Le Quattro Volte Calculatedly meditative yet casually metaphysical, this Italian film is austere, funny, beautiful, and transfixing. With beguiling simplicity, the film embraces the eternality of life and your inner goat spirit.
5) Hugo Martin Scorsese shows us why we shouldn't give up on 3-D, bringing artistry and ingenuity to the process while kicking all gimmickry to the curb.
6) Midnight in Paris Like the professional magician he always dreamed of becoming, Woody Allen conjures 1920s Paris and makes us believe in the artifice and that all his great movies are not behind him.
7) Moneyball In the course of analyzing and displacing the shibboleths of America's favorite pastime, Moneyball becomes a study of how newer models of evaluation can overtake outmoded ways of thinking.
8) Attack the Block Smart, quick, funny, and economical, this British alien-invader film is the source of the most fun I've had at the movies this year.
9) Rango Not only is Rango a Western cartoon, but it is also one that is clearly aimed at adults more than the children who happen to accompany their custodians to the theatre.
10) The Tree of Life Peerless in ambition and transcendent in large swaths, The Tree of Life nevertheless falls short of its own lofty goals.
Shame, Drive, The Guard, Meek's Cutoff, Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
The Artist, Martha Marcy May Marlene, The Descendants
Cedar Rapids, The Last Circus, Contagion, In a Better World
ACTING KUDOS (MALE)
Brad Pitt (The Tree of Life), Michael Fassbender (Shame), Michael Shannon (Take Shelter), Brendan Gleeson (The Guard), Ryan Gosling (Drive)
ACTING KUDOS (FEMALE)
Kirsten Dunst (Melancholia), Tilda Swinton (We Need To Talk About Kevin), Carey Mulligan (Shame), Rooney Mara (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo), Glenn Close (Albert Nobbs)
Martin Scorsese (Hugo), Lars von Trier (Melancholia), Steve McQueen (Shame)
BEST SCREENPLAY (ORIGINAL)
A Separation (Asghar Farhadi), 50/50 (Will Reiser), Contagion (Scott Z. Burns)
BEST SCREENPLAY (ADAPTED)
Moneyball (Steve Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin), Rise of the Planet of the Apes (Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver), Hugo (John Logan)
I Melt With You: Men behave badly and then behave even worse. We feel even more wretched for having tolerated the display.
Give Viola Davis an award for any movie you want, but dear Lord, please, not for The Help. Same goes for John Hawkes in Martha Marcy May Marlene.