The Best Movies Of 2011

WGBH's Jared Bowen and Boston Globe film
critic Ty Burr.

It’s been another banner year for Hollywood with more than a billion tickets sold. We’ve seen the return to form of one of America’s most critically acclaimed directors with Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, the end of one of the most popular franchises in film history with the 8th and final Harry Potter film...even a 24-hour film experience here in Boston as the MFA screened, The Clock. With so many movies to see and so little time, we turn to Boston Globe film critic Ty Burr and our own Jared Bowen - a couple of certified film fanatics, to walk us through some of the best of the year.

Jared Bowen's Picks

Jane Eyre
Directed By: Cary Fukunaga
Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Machal Fassbender
Michael Fassbender explodes off the screen (and into a year of prominence) in an exquisitely rendered film.

Directed By: Paul Feig
Starring: Krisen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne
I definitely did not see a funnier movie this year. And let me be upfront—I loves me some low-brow. And how about something revolutionary—give Melissa McCarthy the Oscar.

The Debt
Directed By: John Madden (Proof, Shakespeare in Love)
Starring: Helen Mirren, Sam Worthington, Tom Wilkinson
Intense and riveting—it’s great when the film ends and you can finally catch your breath (which you’d been holding forever).

Midnight in Paris
Directed By: Woody Allen
Starring: Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams
A quirky sweet film with a most novel concept

The Help
Directed By: Tate Taylor
Starring: Emma Stone, Viola Davis
All glossy and slick and somewhat pat—but that doesn’t matter after an extraordinary cast led by Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer and Emma Stone is finished

War Horse
Directed By: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Jeremy Irvine, Emily Watson
Spielberg opens and closes the film with a distracting John Ford take. But for the actual war crux of the film, War Horse slips into Spielbergian rhythm and just gallops brilliantly.

My Week with Marilyn
Directed By: Simon Curtis
Starring: Michelle Willims, Kenneth Branagh
What I like to call a Vanity Fair film—completely overstylized in lighting, costumes and set and for all that I love it. Eddie Redmayne is just utterly charming (even though he only ever smiles) and Michelle Williams is just absolutely captivating as Marilyn. Plus there’s an equally decadent supporting cast including Branagh, Ormond, Dench, Wannamaker and more.

For Kids - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2
Directed By: David Yates
Starring: Danielle Radcliff, Emma Watson
Jared Says: This series went off the rails for me awhile back. But this edition completely returned me. Just an exceptional end to the series.

Ty Burr’s Picks

The Artist
Directed By: Michael Hazanavicius
Starring: Jean Dujardin, Berenice Bejo, John Goodman, James Cromwell
Hollywood, 1927: As silent movie star George Valentin wonders if the arrival of talking pictures will cause him to fade into oblivion, he sparks with Peppy Miller, a young dancer set for a big break. *Opens this Friday

The Clock (MFA film installation)
Directed By: Christian Marclay

Le Quattro Volte
Directed By: Michelangelo Frammartino
Starrring: Guiseppe Fuda
Italian film - An old shepherd lives his last days in a quiet medieval village perched high on the hills of Calabria in northern Italy

Bill Cunningham New York
Directed By: Richard Press
Starring: Bill Cunningham and others
A documentary profile of the noted veteran New York City fashion photographer.

A Separation
Directed By: Asghar Fahadi
Starring: Peyman Moaadi, Leila Hatami and Sareh Bayat
Iranian film - A married couple are faced with a difficult decision, to improve the life of their child by moving to another country or to stay in Iran and look after a deteriorating parent who has Alzheimers.

Directed By: Nicolas Winding Refn (Bronson, Valhalla Rising)
Starring: Ryan Gossling, Carey Mullligan, Bryan Cranston, Albert Brooks 
A Hollywood stunt performer who moonlights as a wheelman discovers that a contract has been put on him after a heist gone wrong.

Directed By: Bennett Miller (Capote)
Starring: Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Robin Wright, Philip Seymour Hoffman
The story of Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane's successful attempt to put together a baseball club on a budget by employing computer-generated analysis to draft his players.

Win Win
Directed By: Thomas McCarthy (The Station Agent, The Visitor)
Starring: Paul Giamatti, Amy Ryan, Jeffrey Tambor
A struggling lawyer and volunteer wrestling coach's chicanery comes back to haunt him when the teenage grandson of the client he's double-crossed comes into his life.

For Kids - Hugo
Directed By: Martin Scorsese
Starring: Voices of Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Christopher Lee
Animated film set in 1930s Paris, an orphan who lives in the walls of a train station is wrapped up in a mystery involving his late father and an automaton.


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