Resurrected Living
"What are you going to do with your new resurrected life? This is the heroic question." Richard Rohr

Top Films of 2011

The following is my list of the top films in 2011.  Some of these films are full of beauty and truth, while others are simply fun and entertaining.  There are a few films I would have liked to have seen in 2011, but didn’t get a chance. They include: Drive, Take Shelter, The Artist, and a few others.  If any of these films are worthy of being in the top 10 I will post a review later. I would love to hear your feedback and see your own top 10.

The Tree of Life may be the most beautiful film I have seen. It is also one of the most spiritual films that has ever been made.  It tackles subjects such as creation and the afterlife in a reverent and respectable way.  The camerawork and images are breathtaking. The acting is superb.  This is easily the best film of the year. Words cannot adequately describe it.  It is something that has to be seen.

Almost top 10 – The Tree of Life is an art film.  People either get it or they don’t.  If you do not want to sit through long scenes with little or no dialogue you may want to check out Of Gods and Men another beautiful film about faith. It is the true story of how a group of Trappist monks respond to local terrorists.

Martin Scorsese is the most talented filmmaker alive today. He is known for making violent films set in New York City. Hugo is none of these things. It is a children’s movie set in Paris. It also incorporates 3D like no film has ever done before. I try and avoid seeing most films in 3D, because it is a gimmick Hollywood has come up with to make more money, but Hugo is one film worth seeing in 3D.  Scorsese not only gives us a Dickonsesque movie full of wonderful performances (most notably Sacha Baron Cohen as the station inspector), but it is also an homage to the silent film era. It’s a must see for children and adults.

Almost top 10 – I have not seen The Artist but there is a lot of buzz around this film which also pays homage to the silent film era.

Moneyball is a baseball movie without much actual baseball.  Baseball is the subject and it is discussed throughout the movie, but we see very little of it played.  Instead the movie is about getting the right players at the right places. It is more about figuring out the right stats, than hiring the biggest names. It also explores the subject of going against tradition, which baseball is steeped in. Brad Pitt gives a great performance, but Jonah Hill really steals the show in his first non-comedic role.

Almost top 10 – If you like a little more action in your films, then don’t miss Warrior, a Rocky-like story about two UFC fighters. My wife hates the UFC, but she liked this movie.

Not many people are putting The Muppets in their top 10, but I don’t care. This movie could have easily been a disaster, but it turned out to be great. Jason Segal poured his heart into this project and it shows. I’m not sure what non-Muppet fans will think of this movie, but anyone who has grown up watching the Muppets couldn’t have asked for anything better. It is smart, witty, and a whole lot of fun.

Almost top 10 – I was also glad to see Winnie the Pooh brought back to the screen in 2011. I was impressed how the filmmakers kept the feel of a book with this children’s classic.

The Help is a great film about the social injustices in the south during the 1960’s. It showed how some people who thought they were living respectable Christian lives were really the biggest hypocrites of all. It also brought attention to the courage it took for people of color to stand up for what was right. The Help is a movie about the past, but it should cause to think about the present. Perhaps we are overlooking certain injustices and we don’t even know it.

I avoid most summer blockbusters, because they’re not worth watching.  This movie is what a summer blockbuster should be.  It’s smart, funny, and entertaining.  I won’t try and defend the artistic merit of this film, because that’s not what it is, but if you like having a good time at the movies Attack the Block will not disappoint.

Almost top 10 – Super 8 has shown up in a few “best of 2011” lists.  I liked Super 8, but not nearly as much as I liked Attack the Block.

The Descendants is a wonderfully acted film about a dysfunctional family having to deal with an unexpected crisis.  The family has been pulled apart over the years by time and circumstances, but now they must learn to live together again.  George Clooney delivers another great performance, this time as a husband and father, and as a descendant of a great Hawaiian family.

Almost top 10 – Clooney also starred in and directed The Ides of March which has some great performances by some of the best actors in the business.

A wonderfully acted film that has the feel of an old Hitchcock mystery.  Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is not action packed.  It is a movie based off of a novel written by an actual British spy.  The action comes in conversations with spies and informants who may or may not be a mole.  This film is confusing at times, but the acting is superb and the look and the feel of the film is exactly what one would hope for in a British spy movie set in the 1970’s.

Almost top 10 – I highly recommend Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, a spy movie that is the complete opposite of Tinker Tailor.

Woody Allen continues to turn out movies year after year, but it has been a long time since he has made anything as good as Midnight in Paris.  If you have never been to Paris, then watching this movie may be the next best thing. It is about a writer in love with a city.  While walking the streets of Paris one night he is mysteriously whisked back in time to Paris in the 1920’s. There he meets F.Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso, and others.

Win Win is a story about how life can become complicated. Paul Giamatti gives a great performance as a man wrestling with the motives behind his actions. This movie is funny, witty, and heartfelt.

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