It was the year of good movies. Not many GREAT ones, but a lot of above average offerings worthy of year-end consideration. It happens. Unlike past seasons when awards mark the icing on an already creamed cake, it took to the very end of 2011 to get to the good stuff (again, GOOD…not GREAT…). As a result, making this year’s list became a process of amiable elimination. Any number of titles could be substituted for the ten listed, though it would be hard to find something as special as our chosen number one. Indeed, for as much as we enjoyed David Fincher’s take on the sinister Swedish thriller The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, it just couldn’t match the manic menace of the film we found the best. It just couldn’t
Among the other also-rans are such splendid entertainments as JJ Abrams’ Super 8 and Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (which he produced and Pixar’s Brad Bird directed - brilliantly, one might add), the superb silent nostalgia of The Artist and the motion capture magic of The Adventures of Tintin. Rise of the Planet of the Apes and X-Men: First Class proved that there was still something vital and viable in the popcorn pic, while Rango and The Rum Diary argued that there’s no such thing as too much Johnny Depp (well - except for the dull fourth installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise). Off the beaten path, Take Shelter showed that a potential apocalypse could be a very personal and probing issue while Trollhunter proved that, when handled with a bit of panache, the found footage film could actually work - as long as you have giant monsters trudging through the backdrop. Heck, even Kevin Smith’s anti-religious diatribe, Red State, won us over with its chutzpah and approach.