Best Movies of 2011... So Far
|Chris Hemsworth (left) &|
Natalie Portman in "Thor"
So far, film in 2011 could also be referred to as the year of the animal. Animated animals included Rango, Hop, Kung Fu Panda 2, and Winnie the Pooh.
Live action films involving animals included Water for Elephants, African Cats, The Hangover 2, if you count the monkey, as well as Rise of the Planet Apes, starring James Franco.
Movies that didn't involve actual animals but had animals in the titles were The Beaver, Cat Run, Green Hornet, Dylan Dog, and Beastly, which had a teenage boy turning into a kind of monstrous animal in appearance.
Sequels are of course a staple of any film year in recent memory. This summer blockbuster season brought Cars 2, The Hangover 2, the third Transformers, Scream 4, the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean, Fast Five, and the eighth and final Harry Potter.
Aside from animals, Portman and sequels, another common thread in movies so far in 2011 are alien invasions. Hollywood churned out three TV series dealing with alien invasion, V, The Event, and Falling Skies, but the box office was alight with alien invasions too. We had Battle: LA, Super 8, Paul, Cowboys & Aliens, as well as Apollo 18, which has been delayed release until September.
Finally, three important figures died this year who deserve mentioning. I honor Elizabeth Taylor, Sidney Lumet and Farley Granger. All of whom contributed greatly to the silver screen in big ways and small ways. All of whom will be greatly missed.
Best Movies of 2011... So Far
1. TREE OF LIFE by Terrence Malick
2. I WILL FOLLOW by Ava DuVernay
3. THE LAST LIONS by Dereck Joubert
4. WIN WIN by Thomas McCarthy
5. CEDAR RAPIDS by Miguel Arteta
6. THE WAY BACK by Peter Weir
7. BRIDESMAIDS by Paul Feig
8. MEEK'S CUTOFF by Kelly Reichardt
9. JANE EYRE by Cary Fukunaga
10. MIDNIGHT IN PARIS by Woody Allen
The major movie studios, Warner Bros, Fox, Sony and Universal slapped NATO, the National Association of Theatre Owners, in the face when they announced that they're collapsing the VOD or Video On Demand window for some of their films. This is already in line with what some smaller studios are doing like IFC and Magnolia Pictures.
NetFlix continues to grow and expand. Facebook streamed The Dark Knight. T-mobile enticed new customers with Inception on its new phones. The Hulu website bought the rights to the Criterion Collection. The Dish Network bought Blockbuster Video. EPIX and LOGO-TV are cross-platform channels, offering movies on TV and online.
With iTunes and Amazon still going strong, many Americans are more likely to get their movies through a button on a remote or a click of a computer mouse.
Best VOD or DVDs of 2011... So Far
Best Drama / Comedy
1. FISH TANK (Feb. 22) by Andrea Arnold
2. RED HILL (Jan. 25) by Patrick Hughes
3. DISAPPEARANCE OF ALICE CREED (Nov. 23, 2010) by J. Blakeson
4. ALL GOOD THINGS (March 29) by Andrew Jarecki
5. THE NEXT THREE DAYS (March 8) by Paul Haggis
6. MY GIRLFRIEND'S BOYFRIEND (March 1) by Daryn Tufts
7. THE TAQWACORES (April 5) by Eyad Zahra
8. DIRTY MOVIE (Feb. 15) by Christopher Meloni
9. RUBBER (June 7) by Quentin Dupieux
10. CEREMONY (June 21) by Max Winkler
Best Alternative Feature
1. THE TILLMAN STORY (Feb. 1) by Amir Bar-Lev
2. NO ONE KNOWS ABOUT PERSIAN CATS (March 15) by Bahman Ghobadi
3. WINNEBAGO MAN (Nov. 2, 2010) by Ben Steinbauer
4. HOWL (Jan. 4) by Rob Epstein & Jeffrey Friedman
5. BIUTIFUL (May 31) by Alejandro González Iñárritu
6. CROPSEY (May 10) by Barbara Brancaccio & Joshua Zeman
7. UNDERTOW (June 1) by Javier Fuentes-León
8. VIOLET TENDENCIES (May 24) by Casper Andreas
9. STRAIGHTMAN: 10TH ANNIVERSARY (April 5) by Ben Berkowitz
10. STRAPPED (Dec. 7, 2010) by Joseph Graham
11. ANOTHER YEAR (June 7) by Mike Leigh