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YEAR IN FILM: Guardian movie critics unveil their favorite flicks from the year that was

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Michel Hazanavicius' The Artist made Dennis Harvey's 2011 short list.

Body Con: Shame (Steve McQueen, U.K.)

Body Con 2: The Skin I Live In (Pedro Almodóvar, Spain)

Two-state evolution: The Time That Remains (Elia Suleiman, U.K./Italy/Belgium/France)

 

RYAN LATTANZIO'S TOP 11 OF 2011

1. Melancholia (Lars von Trier, Denmark/Sweden/France/Germany)

2. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Thailand/U.K./France/Germany/Spain/Netherlands)

3. We Need to Talk About Kevin (Lynne Ramsay, U.K./U.S.)

4. Drive (Nicolas Winding Refn, U.S.)

5. Certified Copy (Abbas Kiarostami, France/Italy/Belgium)

6. A Separation (Asghar Farhadi, Iran)

7. Into the Abyss: A Tale of Death, a Tale of Life (Werner Herzog, Germany/Canada)

8. Weekend (Andrew Haigh, U.K.)

9. Shame (Steve McQueen, U.K.)

10. Meek's Cutoff (Kelly Reichardt, U.S.)

11. The Future (Miranda July, Germany/U.S.)

 

 

JESSE HAWTHORNE FICKS' PICKS FOR 2011

(FOLLOWED BY THE AMOUNT OF TIMES HE'S SEEN EACH FILM, IF MORE THAN ONCE)

(Updated from the print version)

1. (tie) Meek's Cutoff (Kelly Reichardt, U.S.)

Even though this was on my list last year, it was released officially this year. Minimalist, transcendental, and more dramatic than any other action film this year. (4)

1. (tie) Attack the Block (Joe Cornish, U.K./France)

Subversive, prophetic, and totally addictive! This is one best films of the decade! Believe, bruv! (6)

2. Midnight in Paris (Woody Allen, Spain/U.S.)

Just because this is a crowd pleaser should not detract from Allen's complicated script, shining as bright as ever. Re-watch and be stunned that the ending is much more profound than you may have first noticed. (7)

3. Season two of Louie (FX Network)

Louis C.K. transcended his own brilliant comedy and created 13 genuine existential classics.

4. The Trip (Michael Winterbottom, U.K.)

Steve Coogan finally achieved his art house goal with this pitch-perfect exploration of a man and his own worst enemy. Winterbottom's six-part mini-series for British television was great, but the edited-down feature film is downright life affirming. (5)

5. We Need to Talk About Kevin (Lynne Ramsay, U.K./U.S.)

Director Ramsay (our modern-day Orson Welles, anyone?) and editor Joe Bini have created an hypnotic ride of poetic cinema. Do we really have to wait 10 more years before her Ramsay's next show stopper, like we did after 2002's Morvern Callar?

6. (tie) Hanna (Joe Wright, U.S./U.K./Germany)

A flawless reworking of La Femme Nikita (1991) with crisp dialogue that was light years ahead of anything else this year.

6. (tie) The Woman (Lucky McKee, U.S.)

Audiences were running for the doors at Sundance. This high-concept allegory is one of the most disturbing explorations of misogyny ever put on film. (3)

6. (tie) Sucker Punch (Zack Snyder, U.S./Canada)

This fast and furious pseudo-"feminist" flick seemed to be unfairly treated and totally misunderstood by audiences and critics alike. Get the 127-minute director's cut on Blu-ray, stop letting fanboy nonsense bully you, and revel in Emily Browning's tour de force performance. (2)

7. Young Adult (Jason Reitman, U.S.)

Diablo Cody's script is near-perfect in this look at a 37-year-old who has to reassess where her "determination" has led her. (2)

8. Beginners (Mike Mills, U.S.)

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