My top 25 films from 2011:
The universe lives inside us all.
Ghosts of the past revisit the living, with mesmerizing visuals and sound.
Depression, so perfectly portrayed that the end of the world seems like a relief.
A steamroller of a movie that goes in directions you cannot possibly predict, leaving all with impossibly difficult choices.
How statistics and economics influence the world of sports.
A delightful truffle.
Filmed poetry obsessed with our longing for the trappings of the past.
Female relationships portrayed with feeling and laughter.
The power, and impotence, of documentary filmmaking.
A most perfect drama about the implications of adultery.
Divinity and bravery in the face of terror.
An artist's journey through fame and spirituality.
A lovely--and failed--menage a'trois.
Movement and space, exquisitely filmed in 3-D.
Life, falling apart and in need of repair.
Modern self-absorption comes under fire.
A gloriously photographed trudge towards closure.
The values of quietude and understanding, seen through one unique artist's eyes.
A woman scrambled, attempting to re-enter the world.
One family's strengthening in crisis.
So much opulence and power, wasted.
A fascinating, exciting peer into horrifying dictatorial power
What is this man doing?
OF NOTE: 50/50, Beginners, Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Certified Copy, A Dangerous Method, The Descendants, Film Socialisme, The Guard, Hanna, The Help, The Interrupters, Into The Abyss, Jane Eyre, Meek’s Cutoff, Midnight in Paris, My Week With Marilyn, Pariah, Project Nim, Le Quattro Volte, Reagan, The Skin I Live In, Source Code, Successful Alcoholics, Take Shelter, The Trip, Tyrannosaur, War Horse, Warrior, Winnie The Pooh
BEST UNRELEASED MOVIES: 4:44: Last Day on Earth, Corman's World, Disabled but Able to Rock, Footnote, Goodbye First Love, Habemus Papum, The Kid with a Bike, Margaret, Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, Play, Sleeping Sickness
GUILTY PLEASURES: The Beaver, Crazy Stupid Love, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, The Muppets, Red State
OKAY, I GUESS: Captain America: The First Avenger, Carnage, Cold Weather, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Page One: Inside the New York Times, Paul, Rango, Texas Killing Fields, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Water for Elephants
OVERRATED: Cinema Verite, Drive, Hugo, The Ides of March, The Iron Lady, Margin Call, Shame, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Rampart, Too Big to Fail
WORST OF THE YEAR: Larry Crowne, We Can't Go Home Again, Chillerama, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, J. Edgar, Bad Teacher, Albert Nobbs, Super 8, Frankie and Alice, 30 Minutes or Less, Horrible Bosses, The Sunset Limited, The Conspirator, Our Idiot Brother, Conan O'Brien Can't Stop, Another Earth
NEED TO SEE: Attack the Block, Immortals, Mildred Pierce, Mysteries of Lisbon, Poetry, Senna, Submarine
FAVORITE NON-2011 FILMS I DISCOVERED THIS YEAR: On The Bowery (Lionel Rogosin, 57), "I Know Where I’m Going!" (Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, 45), K Street (Steven Soderburgh, 2003), Brewster McCloud (Robert Altman, 70), Encounters at the End of the World (Werner Herzog, 2007), A Man Escaped (Robert Bresson, 56), King of New York (Abel Ferrara, 90), The Constant Nymph (Edmund Goulding, 43), The Edge of Heaven (Fatih Akin, 2007), River of Grass (Kelly Reichardt, 94), Enter the Void (Gaspar Noe, 2009), High School (Frederick Wiseman, 68), Storytime (Terry Gilliam, 68)
Best Picture: The Tree of Life
Best Director: Terrence Malick -- The Tree of Life
Best Actor: Brad Pitt -- Moneyball and The Tree of Life
Best Actress: Kirsten Dunst - Melancholia
Best Supporting Actor: Jonah Hill -- Moneyball
Best Supporting Actress: Sareh Bayat -- A Separation
Best Original Screenplay: Asghar Farhedi -- A Separation
Best Adapted Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin and Steven Zallian-- Moneyball
Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki -- The Tree of Life
Best Production Design: Jack Fisk -- The Tree of Life
Best Costume Design: Rolf Borzik and Marion Cito -- Pina
Best Editing: Hank Corwin, Jay Rabinowitz, Daniel Rezende, Billy Weber, Mark Yoshikawa -- The Tree of Life
Best Sound: Akritchalerm Kalayanamitz -- Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
Best Music Score: Ludovic Bource -- The Artist
Best Special Effects: The Tree of Life
Best Thriller: The Devil's Double
Best Comedy: Bridesmaids
Best Documentary: Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory
Best Animation: Winnie The Pooh
Best Action Film: Source Code
Best Entertainment: The Artist
Most Promising New Director: Aleksei Fedorchenko -- Silent Souls
Most Promising Actor: Jean Dujardin -- The Artist
Most Promising Actress: Elizabeth Olsen -- Martha Marcy May Marlene
Most Underrated Films: Contagion and General Orders No. 9
Most Neglected Films: A Little Help, Silent Souls and Tuesday After Christmas
Best Re-Discovery: Birth (Jonathan Glazer, 2004)
Most Imaginative Film: The Tree of Life