I love every character in this movie so much, but The Dog is the real hero. No?
And it goes without saying that Snowy is a major hero in The Adventures of Tintin. Totally badass doggery.
8. Hugo Cabret – Hugo
As a young boy struggling to find the truth, to understand his place in the world, and to discover a family, he is a hero for many of us struggling to do the same thing.
9. Jane Eyre – Jane Eyre
I guess when you are adapting one of the most famous pieces of literature in history, it’s hard to make it one of 2011’s great characters. So, I suppose this is largely in praise of Mia Wasikowska’s performance as the young woman who had just about everything possible go against her, and yet remained strong, self-possessed, and loved well in spite of her life’s difficulties.
10. Lisbeth Salander – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Maybe I shouldn’t include another violent character as a heroine. I will anyway, because there is a part of me, deep inside, that is just so tired of the realities of this world. I want there to be an avenging angel who violently preys on the monsters and villains who prey on the weak and unheard. Maybe it isn’t one better part of me, but it is a part of me I’m not ashamed of either.
11. Everyone – Beginners
I absolutely loved this film and the characters that inhabited it. So much of it resonated with me, and the faults, courage and beauty of these characters stay with me still. You should see this movie.
People must know me well, because multiple friends have been checking in to make sure I watched the trailer for Moonrise Kingdom. Thanks, friends. It looks like Wes Anderson will be cranking the quirk switch up to 11. Rejoice!
This five things is movies I’ve seen lately that I think you should see, too. I haven’t had much chance to write lately, but I wanted all of my friends out there in the internets to have some recommendations from me. Here are movies that have a whole-hearted seal of approval because they enchanted, inspired, moved, and entertained me recently.
1. The Adventures of Tintin
This is the best adventure film I’ve seen in years. I loved every second of it. The motion-capture pushed past the uncanny valley and into truly compelling, beautiful visuals, with great performances by the actors being captured. If you’re in the mood for a detective adventure, skip Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows and go see this instead.
Granted, there was a speech in the movie that felt like it was written in response to a conversation I had with Emily four or five days earlier, making the film deeply personal, but I was enjoying the hell out of it long before then.
I can’t believe that fucking Chipmunks 3 is making tons of money while this is floundering and failing. This is why we can’t have nice things America, this is why we can’t have nice things.
2. Another Earth
A new planet appears in the sky on the same night that a young girl makes a life-shattering mistake. The rest of the film carries on from there in a slow, emotionally suspenseful film that kept me on the edge of my seat far more than thrillers and horror movies do.
I always think it’s funny when people praise some piece of SciFi, most often Battlestar Galactica, by saying “It’s not like most SciFi, it’s more about people and politics and life than anything else.” Those people clearly know absolutely nothing about real SciFi. Classic (read ‘good’) Science Fiction is always using aliens, or robots, or spaceships to talk about something else. Asimov, Bradbury, Dick, Vonnegut, etc. etc. etc. It’s always about people, relationships, politics, the human condition. This film is a story that uses the big, exciting premise that another earth appears in our sky to tell a small, painfully human story about a girl who just wants another chance.
3. The Secret of Kells
This movie is available on Netflix Instant, so most of you can watch it whenever you want. Please do. It’s a remarkably beautiful movie. The animation, which is rooted entirely in the aesthetic of Celtic spirituality and mythology, is reason enough to watch the film. Every frame is carefully crafted to illuminate a story which is itself about illumination.
It’s a wonderful film, which at times is dark and tragic. Yet, it has to be, because it is a story of the power of beauty, art, and faith to be a light in the darkness. This film genuinely was a light in my darkness over these last few weeks. I’m pretty sure it became another of my ‘once a year-ish’ movies.
4. The Artist
Sweet Lord. This film is pure, unadulterated cinematic joy. Almost entirely silent, and when it isn’t silent it is very intentionally and carefully done. The Rotten Tomatoes consensus is: “A crowd-pleasing tribute to the magic of silent cinema, The Artist is a clever, joyous film with delightful performances and visual style to spare.” I couldn’t agree more.
I was already in love with Jean Dujardin from his turn as OSS 117, but this seals the deal. If I ever meet him I will kiss him right on his french lips. That’s right folks, you read it here first. I want to kiss Jean Dujardin on the mouth. And Bernice Bejo, who was also delightful in the OSS 117 film Cairo: Nest of Spies, isn’t too shabby either… wee-ow!
5. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
The other films on the list were inspiring. This was just well-crafted bad-assery. It was simply flat out cool. I wasn’t as big a fan of the books as many, but watching this film I think I got it and felt what I’d been missing. For many, I think this story connected because deep down we wish there were violent champions for the weak against the villains and monsters.
Every year, I post the movies I should have watched, but didn’t. For one reason or another, I just missed these ones. It’s really just my way of making a list of movies I missed so that I remember to check them out soon. This year, I helped myself out by checking out a bunch of ‘Best of 2011’ lists to find some gems I missed altogether.
Here are 20 movies I should have watched this year. As always, in no particular order. Please add to the list, or tell me what you thought of movies I put on the list that you’ve already seen. Please. Pretty please. Someone comment!!
That’s right, losers. Richard Marx lyrics. Now that song can be stuck in the heads of anyone old enough to remember it.
Anyway, last year’s ‘most excited’ list was remarkably hit or miss. This year’s probably will be as well. To keep that at least a bit more under control, I’m only going to do the first half of the year, with another list to come heading into July.
Also, as always, there will be great movies I just don’t know about yet, so if you see a glaring omission, holla at’cha boy.
First off, the movies I am undoubtedly excited about, to varying extremes.
1. Chronicle – February 3rd
Seattle. Super powers. Salisbury Steaks. Okay, so that last bit was just for alliteration. However, Seattle and supes is enough to get me excited, even if the found footage thing is a little (or a lot) old by now. Movies like the original [REC] show the medium does have life in the right hands. Let’s hope that’s the case here.
2. The Secret World of Arrietty –February 17th
Screenplay by Hayao Miyazaki. That’s all that needs to be written. Case closed.