I'm not really a man of melancholy and traditions,
unless they are just plain and unmistakably useful. So here we go again, my rundown of the 10 best movies I've discovered in 2011. A list of films you simply need to see,
if not you risk the chance of missing out big time. No new content, but a
solid reminder should you have missed some of my film reviews this year.
10. Balade Triste De Trompeta
If you're looking for some prime Spanish amusement then look no
further than De La Iglesia's latest film. A truly amazing mix of action,
drama, comedy and exploitation-like elements, featuring everything from
clowns to machine guns and even some old-fashioned warfare. It may take
a little time to get used to the many genre shifts, but once you're
hooked this film won't let you go until the credits start rolling.
Juliets is a warm and cozy anthology project that limits itself
remarkably well to the boundaries of its initial concept. The film
features three expanded short films, each transporting Juliet to a
different time frame and exploring the classic Juliet character in each
of its settings. The three directors involved clearly grabbed this
chance to put their skills on display, turning this project into a
pretty effective recap of the strengths of Taiwanese drama cinema.
08. Revenge: A Love Story
Still high on the success of Dream Home, Josie Ho's 852 Films
released Revenge: A Love Story. And while operating in a completely
different genre altogether, the marks of its origin are clear enough.
This film is one mean, cold-hearted son of a bitch, presenting a
stone-cold revenge story with the proper grit and nastiness, leaving you
quite perplexed but strangely satisfied. A great return to form for Cat
III films, only a lot more stylish compared to its predecessors.
07. The Fourth Portrait
Definitely a film for those who can stomach 90 minutes of subdued
and stilted arthouse drama. There isn't much in the way of a coherent
storyline, most scenes are detached snippets torn from a young boy's
life and there is no real conclusion to this film. The execution is
absolutely lush though, sporting stunning visuals, a beautiful
soundtrack and an overall warm and calming atmosphere. The Fourth
Portrait may be a rather demanding film, but when you engage yourself it
does deliver in spades.
06. Sodium Babies
Some films are made with so much love that they start to tear at
the seams. Sodium Babies is not a perfect film and could use some
cleaning up left and right, but the Decaillon brothers put in so much
passion and energy that it's pretty easy to forgive the film's faults.
Especially when many of the scenes do manage to impress, resulting in
moments of sprawling and dazzling cinema throughout this little gem.
It's a pretty unique film, freed from genre conventions and obvious
clichés, hurling its way to a great finale.
Slowly but surely some modern influences are creeping into
traditional Taiwanese drama cinema. Even though Blowfish is quite
traditional at its core, the film is more direct and a bit more daring,
though without actively effecting the typical atmosphere of these type
of films hold. The result is a warm, loving drama with some modern
touches left and right. Lee paints visual poetry with only a few passing
dialogues and two actors who give their all.
Forget Nakashima's colorful and uplifting films, with Confessions
he taps right into a darker part of his soul. The result is a wry and
gritty revenge tale that circles out of control as things progress. At
least, the story itself does because Nakashima holds a tight grip on the
direction and leaves absolutely nothing to chance. A stunning film
boasting an effective punch in the gut, leaving you behind somewhat
dazzled and bewildered.
2011 was not a particularly good year for Belgian cinema, lucky for
us Benjamin Vir&eactue; provided us with some hope for the future.
Even though Cannibal sounds like simple genre fare, it couldn't be
farther from the truth. This film is a dark, brooding and surprisingly
atmospheric little horror film with completely turns itself around in
the final 30 minutes and manages to linger long after the end credits
faded from the screen.
Redline is one of those rare films that managed to materialize
itself against all odds. It's not a realistic project, catering only to a
very limited audience but sparing no expense whatsoever to be the
biggest and boldest piece of animation extravaganza ever produced. If
you are part of its limited target audience though, it's without a doubt
one of the best things to have come along in years, sporting two hours
of over-animated fun and weirdness where no frames were spared to blow
you off your chair.
01. Honey PuPu
Honey PuPu is easily the biggest surprise of the year for me. A
film that isn't just about young people, but is actually constructed
using the language and living patterns of youngsters today. A film that
breathes the internet generation, finding meaning and beauty in
aggregation of ideas and content rather than finding it in purity and
depth. It's a lush mix of beautiful visuals, great music and modern
poetry. Definitely not for everyone, but if you're interested in the
generations that will at one time take over from us, a must see.
Definitely my boldest and brightest recommendation of the year.
My Top 2011 production year
01. 5.0* - Xiao Shi Da Kan (Honey PuPu)
02. 4.5* - Hetun (Blowfish)
03. 4.0* - Wu Xia (Swordsmen)
04. 4.0* - Attack the Block
05. 4.0* - Sien Nui Yau Wan (A Chinese Fairy Tale)
06. 4.0* - B+ Jing Taam (The Detective 2)
07. 3.5* - Red State
08. 3.5* - Apollo 18
09. 3.5* - Winnie the Pooh
10. 3.5* - Alyce
My Flop 2011 production year
01. 0.5* - Smurfs, The
02. 0.5* - Marley & Me: The Puppy Years
03. 0.5* - Bende van Oss, De
04. 0.5* - Shark Night 3D
05. 0.5* - Thor
06. 0.5* - Gnomeo & Juliet
07. 0.5* - Tree of Life, The
08. 1.0* - Gooische Vrouwen
09. 1.0* - Hellraiser: Revelations
10. 1.0* - Faces in the Crowd