Firstly, Happy New Year!
Secondly, welcome and thank you for joining me at the new blog! I’m aware many of you read my past year-end posts on my old PULP FRICTION AUSTRALIA page, which I discontinued in favour of this much more *ahem* self-promotional portal. But mainly because it made sense to put everything in one place. Feel free to go back and read my old pieces at PFA, however -- they’re not going anywhere.
Emerging from a cinematic year with optimism for the next, as I did at 2010’s end, is a risky proposition. Dreams and expectations, in this internet-driven age of hyperbole and rock-or-suck impunity, can be shattered in a cold, orphaned instant. Or, the impossible can happen: Your expectations could be exceeded...
Yeah, okay. So that didn’t happen in 2011.
But… my expectations weren’t reduced to rubble, either.
If nothing else, world cinema in 2011 – at least, the relatively infinitesimal speck of it I managed to see – was remarkably well played, for the most part. Sure, the stinkers were out there if you wanted to find them: THE HANGOVER PART II, ABDUCTION, BIG MOMMA’S HOUSE: LIKE FATHER LIKE SON, NEW YEAR’S EVE, GREEN LANTERN, RED RIDING HOOD, THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN, ZOOKEEPER, THE ROOMMATE, BUCKY LARSON: BORN TO BE A STAR and, well, anything starring Adam Sandler or Nicolas Cage, had more than their fair share of vocal detractors. But you know what?
I didn’t see any of them. Potential dodged bullets, all.
But I also didn’t see such acclaimed efforts as A SEPARATION, SENNA, MONEYBALL, INCENDIES, CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER, RANGO, HIGHER GROUND, PROJECT NIM, THE FUTURE, THE HELP or BEING ELMO, so, y’know… swings and roundabouts.
Before I count down my (newly expanded!) favourite films of 2011, allow me the indulgence to get personal for a moment…
My nascent filmmaking career has had its own twists and turns this year. In a year where everything seemed to take me three times as long as it should (post-production on past shorts, development on future projects), I managed to make my fourth short film – and first horror film – to compete for a place in an upcoming anthology picture called THE ABCS OF DEATH. Shot in two days and edited over two weeks with a small and fantastic team, T IS FOR TALK RADIO may not have made the competition finals, but proved to be the most artistically fulfilling project I’ve originated thus far, and won our little production company lots of new fans around the world.
Which means I’ll have to make something even better next time. <gulp>
But it has given me the confidence to head into 2012 with a small head of steam, at least.
Now… enough about me – let’s hit the list!
(WARNING: Everything before this paragraph was written a couple of days before New Years Eve, as I was beginning to come down with a savage case of the ‘Flu. Everything after this paragraph was written in a haze of Lemsip, Neurofen, Echinacea/Vitamin C/Garlic/Zinc and Ease-a-Cold tablets. So, while the rankings were decided beforehand, if the reviews make little grammatical/conceptual sense… I blame the drugs.)
In a first, I’ve opened up my usual top 10 films to 25, as I felt at least ten films I saw this year were worthy of more than an “Honourable Mention”. But then there another five which wouldn’t go away, either. Doesn’t usually go down like that, so I thought I’d acknowledge it this year. A gold star to stick on 2011’s yearbook, if you will.
As for which films qualify, any film I saw which was commercially released to the public in cinemas, on DVD or at ticketed film festival screenings during 2011 is eligible. My field this year? 117 feature films and documentaries.
I’ve also done away with my Bottom 10 list this year, as a) I’ve purposely avoided the worst releases of the year and b) I’d prefer not to focus upon the negatives in what was, largely, a pretty strong year for movies. Also, I kind of like to celebrate why we love to go to the pictures in the first place.
Speaking of which:
Let’s do this.
PAUL ANTHONY NELSON’S TOP 25 FILMS OF 2011
And now… My #1 film of 2011…
And before we go…
THE WOMAN, KNUCKLE (documentary), MIDNIGHT IN PARIS, UNCLE BOONMEE WHO CAN RECALL HIS PAST LIVES, BRIDESMAIDS.
BEST AUSTRALIAN FILM:
SLEEPING BEAUTY, by a nose over MAD BASTARDS.
One more thing: Loosely connected to MELANCHOLIA and watching movies, I so wanted to put this picture at the beginning of the post -- Yes, it’s Udo Kier at Austin, Texas’ Alamo Drafthouse cinema... salivating.
Yeah, I know what you’re thinking: YES.
Please leave any thoughts you may want to share on this list, of 2011 film in general, on Twitter at @mrpaulnelson or @cinemaviscera, or email me at email@example.com!
Before I sign off, I would like to extend a massive THANK YOU to everyone who made it through to the end of this epic tome, and to those who have followed me on Twitter, or Liked our Facebook page, visited this site, or just lent their support to Cinema Viscera this year!
Paul Anthony Nelson
What fresh hell is this?
A semi-regular blog exploring films, popular culture, current or future projects and (more often) year-end wrap-up and opinions from CINEMA VISCERA's co-chief, Paul Anthony Nelson.