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The Lucky 13: Best of 2011

January 2, 2012

Well, 2011 is FINALLY over, and it was a great year for movies. Here are my Lucky 13 picks for the best that 2011 has offered us. If you agree or diagree, please, comment down below. If you want, share what your favorite films were.

FYI, if you don’t see “The Artist” on this list it’s because I’ve yet to see it, but it’s on my to do list.

13. “The Ides of March” – George Clooney directs a well rounded cast that includes the likes of Ryan Gosling, Paul Giamatti, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Evan Rachel Wood. The film tells the riveting story about a political aide who gets into more than he bargained for on the campaign trail during the Democratic primary. Clooney tells a story about the game of politics and how dirty it can get.

12. “X-Men: First Class” – Just coming off “Kick-Ass”, it seems like writer/director Matthew Vaughn can’t get enough of superhero fever. Being the fifth “X-Men” movie Fox has produced, and already having two duds, many of us fans weren’t expecting such a genius superhero movie; with a fantastic story, powerhouse acting, and a throwback to comic book nostalgia. “First Class” goes for the old school 60s James Bond feel and succeeds by doing so. Plus, it has Michael Fassbender as Magneto, a role the studio is already headlining a campaign for him to earn the Best Supporting Actor Oscar Nomination.

11. “Beginners” – I’m among the small group of individuals who saw Mike Mills’ “Thumbsucker”. I really enjoyed that film, it was stylistically captivating, and had the perfect blend of drama & comedy. Mills returns six years later with “Beginners”, an even sweeter film, about a young man (Ewan McGregor), who falls in love with a french actress (Mélanie Laurent), owns a talking dog, and coping over the loss of his father (Christopher Plummer), his openly gay father. Plummer gives one of the best performances of his career and is nearly a shoe-in for the Best Supporting Actor nomination. Mills creative style in editing, cinematography, subtitles, music, makes this new-wave indie movie a must watch.

10. “50/50” – Seth Rogen is producing & co-starring in yet another cancer comedy? But, the first one to get it right??? After the trailer premiered last summer, it might’ve be unsettling for some, perhaps even a little too sensative, but in the long run this movie actually does work. Thanks to it’s honest script, written by Will Reiser, which the movie is based on. Joesph Gordon-Levitt plays the character that Reiser is based, he plays a radio editor who’s diagnosed with a spinal cancer. The film reflects on the times of coping with the cancer and how it affects the people around him emotionally. JGL & Rogen giving winning performances, as does Anjelica Houston, who plays Levitt’s mother. The screenplays honesty helps make the laughs enduring, as well as the dramatic portions  are all the more compelling.

9. “Martha Marcy May Marlene” – It’s not catagorized as a horror film, but it should be, because “Martha Marcy May Marlene” is a damn scary picture. First time writer/director Sean Durkin has crafted an intense psychological thriller about a girl named Martha, (Elizabeth Olsen) who recently escapes a ‘Manson family-like’ cult. She resides with her sister & brother-in law (Sarah Paulson & Hugh Dancy) at a lake house hundreds of miles away from the cult. Martha is enduring frightening visions of the past and is having a hard time telling what’s real & what isn’t. The movie is one big mind-fuck after another, drawing in silent tension as it’s power over the viewer. John Hawkes plays the leader of the cult, Patrick, who has this charm that is overpowering, yet scary when it needs to be.

8. “Midnight in Paris” – I haven’t seen Woody Allen film this good, in similar style of fantasy since “Purple Rose of Cario”. Its got that same quality of magic and happieness, you won’t be able to help yourself from smiling and laughing the entire time.

7. “The Muppets” -There’s just so much goodness in this movie, it’s hard to nit-pick at it. “The Muppets” is a glorious return to Jim Henson’s creations. It’s a movie for a new generation as well as old. “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” scribes, Jason Segel & Nicolas Stoller, have reignited the fire of old school Muppets humor while still maintaining it’s cultural significants for todays generation. And, Flight of the Concords Bret McKenzie’s music is one for the ages.

6. “The Descendants” – “The Descendants” may very well be Alexander Payne’s best movie since “Election”, and George Clooney’s most mature performance to date.

5. “Source Code” – Duncan Jones returns with another smart sci-fi thriller, that’s in the vein of an Alfred Hitchcock mystery, blended with “Quantum Leap”. You’ve also got some really strong performances from the films essential cast. Watch the first five minutes down below and tell me it doesn’t grab your attention.

4. “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” – David Fincher is one of my top favorite directors working, “The Social Network” remains my favorite movie of the past decade. As promised from the first teaser trailer, this movie is truly the feel BAD movie of Christmas. After watching Fincher’s two and half hour (plus) murder mystery, you’re gonna feel dirty, violated, disgusted, and appalled after seeing this version of Stieg Larsson’s epic crime tale, and you know what? That’s why I loved it!

3. “The Guard” – John Michael McDonagh has created a well crafty little crime-comedy, the look of the film is as colorful as it’s characters. Brendan Gleeson & Don Cheadle’s on screen chemistry is pulpy to the max. I am extremely bothered by the Hollywood Foreign Press for not recognizing this movie for any nomination at this years Golden Globes. Fingers crossed for some Oscar recognition, at least for Brendan Gleeson’s performance and it’s screenplay.

2. “Hugo” – I’m proud that [Martin] Scorsese found a perfect balance of old school filmmaking styles, like claymation animation & model miniature effects, with the new wave of filmmaking in 3D. It’s a true testament to the art of filmmaking, something that I hold close to my heart.

1. “Drive” – It’s safe to say that I’ve found my favorite movie of the year. This is the year of Ryan Gosling! Role after role he’s found something interesting for us all to enjoy, but the role of Driver will go down as a cult favorite amongst all movie geeks. Nicolas Winding Refn has crafted an 80’s style ultra violent crime noir for the ages.

HONORABLE MENTIONS: “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”, “The Tree of Life”, “Paul”, “Super 8”, “Moneyball”, “Captain America: The First Avenger”, “Thor”, “The Adventures of Tintin”, “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”, “The Way”, “Friends with Benefits”, “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol”, “War Horse”, “Warrior”, “Melancholia”, “Young Adult”, “The Trip”, “Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey”, “Super”, “Contagion”, “Attack the Block”, “The Artist”, “Red State”, “Like Crazy”, and “Rango”

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