Top 5 Films of 2011

As 2011 draws to a close, I look at my favourite films of a great year at the cinemas!

5. The Guard

In any other year, ‘The Guard’, would be by far the funniest comedy of the year. It’s unfortunate then, that this year the biggest Irish film for years, has had to put up with ‘The Inbetweeners Movie’, and in my opinion, just falls short of its opponent. It stars Brendan Gleeson as a policeman in a sleepy little Irish village, let’s say he’s very ‘relaxed’, and is partial to the odd prostitute and drug-taking every now and then. His American counterpart Don Cheadle, is a direct opposite, and cannot believe how lax Gleeson’s character, Boyle, is in his approach to working. It’s a fantastically funny, violent and genuine film, that has it’s heart in the semi-right place, and entertains its audience, with a wonderful cast of the stranger stereotypes of Ireland.

4. The Inbetweeners Movie

I’ll be honest, my expectations for this weren’t very high at all. Sitcoms don’t usually translate well to the big screen, with only a few success stories, and the rest ending in huge flops. However, the ‘Inbetweeners Movie’, is brilliant. It’s hilarious, and isn’t afraid of challenging anything. The same outrageous humour from the TV series is yet again evident here, with more outrageous jokes, nudity, you name it, it has it. The four main stars make the transition seemingly easily, with only a few hiccups, and, of course both Will (Simon Bird) and Jay (James Buckley) stealing the show, with brilliant lines for both. The fact it made a huge £45 million at the UK box office alone, and held the top spot for a month, is a sign that they are the public’s favourite stars of the moment. With such success, it could be that we see a sequel sooner rather than later, which isn’t a bad thing as the ‘Inbetweeners Movie’, is possibly the funniest film of the year.

3. Black Swan

I really didn’t expect to like this. Ballet, really? However, ‘Black Swan’, is much more than a simple ballet film. No, ‘Black Swan’, is a psychological thriller, in which we see it’s main character driven to the edge of insanity, by the titular role. Natalie Portman deservedly won the Oscar for Best Actress, with her spell-binding performance as tormented dancer Nina Sayers, who wins the role of Swan Queen in the production of Swan Lake, and promptly wishes she hadn’t. Mila Kunis and Vincent Cassel are excellent supports, but Portman steals the show, as the childlike Nina, who still lives with her ‘mommy’ and devotes her life to her profession. Director Darren Aronofsky pulls a blinder out of nowhere, as Nina mentally deteriorates, seeing things that aren’t really there, physically ‘transforming’, all which lead up to a shocking climax. This was the most surprising and artistic film of the year.

2. Senna

Overtaking ‘The Damned United’, in becoming my favourite sports film ever, Senna is a special film about a special man. Ayrton Senna was one of the greatest ever sportsmen to have ever lived, so this documentary, that actually has a progressive storyline is interesting, explosive and sad, tackling all of the major emotions. He was a controversial figure for some, but for others his class was the most attractive of his traits. His skill is displayed through a series of onboard camera shots, which, especially round Monaco, show the level of attention and concentration that the driver’s had to make, his hands are all over the place! As the end draws near, motor-racing fans will draw deep breaths and brace themselves, whilst those who’re unknown to the sport and the man himself, will be shocked and saddened, by the conclusion to this brilliant sporting acheivement.

1. Drive

 A stylish piece that is as much about murder than it’s actual title, ‘Drive’, is a spectacular acheivement. Directed by Dane, Nicolas Winding Refn, ‘Drive’, manages the feat of a good hybrid movie, the combo of driving and murderous acts is a dodgy one, but here it is done well and in such a style, that it simply must be up for any major awards. Lead Ryan Gosling carries the film almost effortlessly, as he character, known only as the ‘Driver’, maintains a cooly, silent edge to him during the film’s entirely, he certainly has the least dialogue out of every character, and let’s his actions speak for him, as he becomes more deep and troubling as it progresses. Don’t go into it thinking you’re going to get a ‘Fast & The Furious’, because you’re not. With ‘Drive’, the audience are getting slick car chases, emotional acting, bloody violence and a pulsating soundtrack that continues to enthrall through. ‘Drive’, is my movie of the year.

Honourable mentions go to: Super 8, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Horrible Bosses, Hanna, Tintin and 50/50.

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