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Best Of The Year...So far

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Mark Kermode | 10:47 UK time, Friday, 12 August 2011

It's time for my mid-term report on 2011. Today I reveal my top five movies of the year to date.

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Related reviews on BBC 5 live

  • Source Code
  • Senna
  • Le Quattro Volte
  • Benda Bilili!
  • Hear Mark Kermode review the week's new films every Friday from 2pm on BBC Radio 5 live. Kermode & Mayo's Film Review is also available as a free podcast to download and keep.


    • Comment number 1.

      Right off the top of my head, without putting any thought into it or checking what I have seen this year, my Top Five Films of the Year So Far are as follows:

      1. Source Code - Smart science fiction made by a man who knows how to tell a story with a camera. What more could you want?

      2. X-Men: First Class - I liked this one a lot more than Mark. At a time when I think there are WAY too many comic book movies, with more on the way, it is perhaps ironic that two of my top five should be comic book movies. What can I say? Younger, spikier, slicker, though not as good, this film reminded me of Star Trek (2009) in the best possible way.

      3. Bobby Fischer Against the World - A documentary about chess! Don't let that put you off, it's great.

      4. Senna - Everything the Good Doctor says, plus, I like Formula One.

      5. Captain America - A real surprise this one. A good ol' fashioned blockbuster, evoking the spirit of Raiders. Not nearly as good as that Spielberg classic, but thoroughly entertaining.

      I've not seen most of the films on Mark's list, so I will be sure to check those out when I get the chance.

    • Comment number 2.

      What a good year this has been for documentaries - you also mentioned Armadillo, and I'd add Inside Job as well. Kind of like the way last year was great for animation (this year, not so hot, alas.)

    • Comment number 3.

      There's a typo: instead of Source code it says Souce code. Sounds a bit like Sauce code. haha

    • Comment number 4.

      This year has been crappy for me so far, but I think yoru Source Code entry is surely peppered with some Duncan Jones bias? It was ok but even this years crappy output thus far had better than this.

    • Comment number 5.

      I've seen a lot of awful films at the cinema this year- Hangover 2, Bridesmaids & X-Men: The Mutant Who Sh***ed Me.

      The only one that sticks out in my mind has been Submarine. A great story wonderfully shot & acted with an amazing soundtrack.

    • Comment number 6.

      Oh & I'd like to add Potiche as the 2nd best film I've seen this year too.

    • Comment number 7.

      What no Harry Potter part Deux?

      and can you do the worst films first as thats what I always look forward to although if Transformers 3 : Dark Moomins isnt number one i'll eat something nasty........

    • Comment number 8.

      What about Transformers?!?!!

    • Comment number 9.

      this year has been really disappointing, i think i've been to the cinema maybe 10 times

      but so far...
      True Grit (oscar film but so far best of the year)
      Tree of Life (totally pretentious but still astonishing)
      The Rise of the Planet of the Apes
      Source Code
      Upside Down (wished there was more on smaller bands like Medicine, Telescopes but overall a very good doc)

      Never Let Me Go

    • Comment number 10.

      The only one of those that I've seen to date was La Quattro Volte, and it's my film of the year so far. The single-take scene with the sheepdog was truly inspired, for example. I walked out of the cinema not knowing where I was, or why I was there.

    • Comment number 11.

      My favorite films released so far in the UK this year are - True Grit - Black Swan - Le Quattro Volte (Best Goat film ever made) and my favorite is Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life - It may be flawed but there is simply nothing else out there like it -

    • Comment number 12.

      I forgot "A Separation"

    • Comment number 13.

      Thank's for that doc having only seen 'Senna' and 'Benda bilili' ive added the other 3 titles to my wish list. Hope to see 'apes' and 'the big picture' soon, but so far have'nt seen one stand out film this year (i'm a tough customer to please)

    • Comment number 14.

      No Harry Potter? Sad.

    • Comment number 15.

      I expected to see HP7b in this list. It may not be the greatest work of art, but it is quite clearly the most significant film of the year as it marks the end of a 14 years long (books+films) franchise which is dear to millions.

    • Comment number 16.

      I saw Black swan twice now... It's an OK film. Far from bad. I read a lot of reviews which were laudatory which I can understand... But it all gave me the impression that the film was more extraordinary, more unique than I found it to be when I eventually saw it. It scores high in some ways but in other ways I thought it was lacking. I mean it has moments where things come together in ways which are beautiful but I just feel the script in its entirety could or perhaps even should have been better. I can see how I may come across as a know-it-all by saying all of that but it's just how I feel. It could have been better. Which is kind of a bummer as there are some good ideas on display.

    • Comment number 17.

      Hmm so far I'd say :

      2.Midnight in Paris
      3.Source Code
      4.Super 8
      5.Rise of the Planet of the Apes

    • Comment number 18.

      Oh for pity's sake, Doc, it pushing six weeks since 'Transformers 3 And The Truth About Blockbusters'. I could care less about Kristin Scott Thomas and your words being twisted, son! Are you ever going to respond!?

    • Comment number 19.

      an Schultz re: 9.

      I also liked "Upside Down", although perhaps inevitably, the involvement of the main players in the production suggests perhaps a lack of objective distance. Aside from the narcotics problems (discussed in a boastful manner if you ask me!) McGee was presented unquestioningly as a genius, his failures only being alluded to obliquely.

      The fact is that for every Primal Scream or Oasis, there were probably 10 Kevin Rowlands or Mishkas - the sort of folly that ate money and went absolutely nowhere. Indeed, the whole "Loveless" episode was only superficially covered (given the legends told about it); the initial sale of half the company to Sony and the reasons why this sort of drastic action was necessary are mostly hand-waved away.

      I must say that a Creation Records film, in the spirit of "24 Hour Party People" would be a rather delicious prospect!

    • Comment number 20.

      5. 127 Hours
      4. Bridesmaids
      3. Scre4m
      2. Paul
      1. Black Swan

    • Comment number 21.

      It's my turn:

      5. Black Swan - baroque, preposterous, over the top, lewd, leering, insensible and utterly insane. I loved every second.

      4. The Silent House - I must admit that I can recognise there are better 2011 films to choose from, but this one made an incredible impression on me because it's the only horror film to have scared me (and boy, did it scare me!) since I watched The Shining on TV when I was about 12, and that was 16 years ago.

      3. 13 Assassins - brutal but sublime. The first half is a highly impressive and often harrowing evocation of a time and a place. And then when the action begins, the film throws you right into the middle and doesn't let you escape. I felt emotionally and physically drained after the 45 minute climactic battle scene. That kind of drainage is surely what we seek from the cinema.

      2. Cave of Forgotten Dreams - my favourite documentary of the year (so far). I'd have never thought I could be so moved by stick-figure drawings on a crusty wall.

      1. Super 8 - just as Silent House lived up to the genre-label 'horror', Super 8 is the most enjoyable and thrilling summer blockbuster adventure I've seen in many years. Completely unpretentious and unironic, old-fashioned in a good way, it does absolutely everything right (and apparently cost far less that the average megamovie, which ultimately doesn't mean much but it's interesting to know). There's hope for the future of big crowd-pleasers. Also, plenty of kids will see this, and realise that their parents have wasted alot of money on tripe like Transformers (all three) and Pirates of the Caribbean (all four).

      Thanks for having me, buddy.

    • Comment number 22.

    • Comment number 23.

      Two more weeks of no wittertainment...that's a lot of cold turkey, doc. I can't take it!

    • Comment number 24.

      Frankly it's been a poor year so far - too many unnecessary sequels, prequels, superhero movies etc. Same old I guess but the only three films I've seen this year that I wouldn't mind seeing again are:

      1. Melancholia (von Trier's best work to date; no film has left me this sad since Cronenberg's Dead Ringers)
      2. Tree of Life (it's all over the place but the Doug Trumball sequences are amazing)
      3. Rise of the Planet of the Apes (stupid title and a prequel to boot but surprisingly gripping and entertaining)

      Really looking forward to upcoming films like Drive, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and the new Cronenberg. Here's hoping the year ends on a high note...

    • Comment number 25.

      Perhaps you shouldn't count documentries... They have their own category, it's documentry!

      Two things I'll never go to see in the cinema, a documentry and porn. OK 1 thing...

    • Comment number 26.

      Submarine. By far the best film of the year so far. Both funny and genuinely sweet, one of the few films that really captures what it's like to be a teenager. A british film that is actually cinematic, with a great soundtrack and fantastic performances all round. Also any film that references two of my favourite films Taxi Driver and Don't Look Now automatically gets my vote.

    • Comment number 27.

      Hey the typo is fixed! That's cool.

    • Comment number 28.

      I'm assuming Mark hasn't seen Rise of the Planet of the Apes yet, so won't complain about that one, but no Tree of Life? I know it polarised opinion, but I was transfixed by it.

    • Comment number 29.

      So far for me it has to be Bridesmaids. Would love to have seen Julia's Eyes were it not for the fact that the film was only on about two screens.

    • Comment number 30.

      I was a bit disappointed by Julia's Eyes. Not a bad film as such, I just felt it lacked direction, mainly as a result of it not being able to decide if it was going down the supernatural route or not.

    • Comment number 31.

      1. The Fighter (I saw it first in January)
      2. Stake Land
      3. Senna
      4. True Grit
      5. Inside Job

      1. A Serbian Film
      2. The Tourist
      3. Swinging With the Finkels
      4. The Dilemma
      5. Sucker Punch

    • Comment number 32.

      Great minds Mark I wrote a blog on the same thing last week

    • Comment number 33.

      The Best films I've seen at the cinema so far this year are:

      5. Captain America - The biggest surprise so far this year. Like other posters have mentioned, a return to the classic Raider's blockbuster mode. Good old fashioned entertainment.

      4. Black Swan - One of the best urban paranoia films since Jacob's Ladder. A psycholigcal thriller that both thrills and amuses the film buff within us due to its homages to Polanski and Cronenberg.

      3. Hanna - I'm very surprised this film hasn't been mentioned anywhere on the list. An interesting and surreal spin on the already tired assassin sub-genre. Almost as if Werner Herzog decided to make an action film. Shame the film didn't make much of an impact at the cinemas, since it really is something. However I do hope it will find its audience through Blu-Ray and DVD sales.

      2. Taxi Driver*

      1. Apocalypse Now*

      * The only thing I'm going to say in regards to these two masterpieces is that 2011 so far has been a very poor and dissapointing year. So much so that probably for the first time ever re-releases are in my top five favourite films I've seen in the cinema so far this year.

      Let's hope the autumn and winter will bring in a few good films; I'm already looking forward to seeing Drive, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Kill List, The Guard to name a few.

    • Comment number 34.

      Surprised to see people mentioning blockbuster movies, but they've been pretty good this year except for Transformers (Fast Five, X-Men), but Black Swan came out last year and it's kind of cheating (cause it was so good).

      1. "Tree of Life" - I've seen nothing quite like it, even among arthouse films. I took my father to see it, and that was a great experience because like Inception, it left a lot to talk about after the movie ended of how the film depicts childhood with all the naivety, wonder, mistakes, and nostalgia through stunningly-shot, sweeping low camera angles making you feel like a kid. If you give into the film's spirituality, there's a lot to connect to, like the duality of the parents' philosophies on life with grace vs nature (it's evil!), or the existential rumination on God and fate.

      2. "Arrietty" - Studio Ghibli's best film since "Spirited Away", it left me crying like a baby at the bittersweet ending. The world is imaginative, even if it's based on the Borrowers, and gives you a strong female protagonist. I haven't cried over an animated movie since "Waltz with Bashir" and "Grave of the Fireflies", but this isn't because there is a war but a genuine love of the characters with mature themes like extinction of a race, the qualities of a human, and friendship separation. Since Pixar failed this year, this is the clear Oscar contender for best animated film.

      2. "Melancholia" - Lars von Trier at his most mature and respectable. If you're into your genre-bending sci-fi being emotional, minimalist, and humane (Solaris, The Fountain), Kirsten Dunst coming out of depression to face an apocalypse is just perfect. The opening and ending left me speechless; opening is a spellbinding super-slow-mo montage (one of the most mesmerizing intros caught on film) and the bold ending left me speechless. Wallpaper-worthy cinematography, great character development with the focus on duality of the sisters, characterisation, moodscapes, and clever pacing.

      3. "Bridesmaids" - The best comedy of the year, and also the sweetest with more of a focus on characters to give you funny situations instead of just funny choreographed moments. The cast is great, Kristen Wiig is a delight and so is the against-type gentleness of Chris O'Dowd (IT Crowd).

      4. "Submarine" - The British Wes Anderson film, so its style doesn't feel as inspired with tweed, quirky characters, colour palette, and a protagonist much like "Rushmore". If that's your thing, Richard Aoyate's debut is smartly photographed with some art film nods and making the life of a teenager feel overly theatrical. It's kind of predictable, the overly theatrical parts that would never happen in real life, and the quirky girl's personality is never explained or worth exploring (unlike "Eternal Sunshine..." or "Scott Pilgrim"). Great teenage movie though, Kermode said it best: "A really good, dark, brittle, edgy but truthful comedy about being a teenager...IN SWANSEA!"

      5. "X-Men First Class" - Oh hey, a blockbuster movie that focuses on characters! Where you can genuinely care for characters' survival in an action scene! James McAvoy is great as a twist on Professor Xavier's younger years as a genius who'll use his smarts to get into a girl's pants, and Michael Fassbender is captivating as a revenge-fueled Holocaust survivor that does the prequel to a villain better than the 3 prequel Star Wars film ever could. It's the best X-Men film, without a doubt.

    • Comment number 35.

      While I agree with you on Senna and Source Code I have to disagree with you on Julia's Eyes. It's ok. Until the final act where is falls into the very same company of the horror movies it strives from being. Julia’s Eyes wants to be a dark, tense, sophisticated horror film. What we do get however is a Michael Bay style conclusion with no tension, no scares and completely without merit. It’s a generic final act that ruined the film completely for me and my patience was warring thin with it anyway. I never felt engaged in the human side of the story; I never felt that tension as much as I did in The Orphanage (which I love). Belen Rueda was superb but she alone was not enough to save the movie from its occasional silly narrative, I found it hard to believe that the man had that impressive stealth skills. You, Mark, got me really hyped up for it. Sadly it turned out to be the biggest disappointment of the year so far.

      The Resident, Hall Pass and The Dilemma rank as my worst films.

    • Comment number 36.

      Top 5 -
      1. Super 8
      2. Animal Kingdom
      3. Submarine
      4. Senna
      5. Bridesmaids

    • Comment number 37.

      My top 5 so far are:

      5. 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes' - The surprise film of the year so far. Thought it would be ghastly from the trailer but actually it's a intelligent and powerful dramatisation of Nature vs. Nurture and Animal Cruelty vs. Genetic Science. Serkis should be the first Chimpanzee to win an Oscar.

      4. 'Attack the Block' - Surprised nobody else has put this? Cornish's tale of urban youth and alien invaders is fast-paced, insanely witty and explosive. It'll wipe a huge cheesy smile across your face bladddd.

      3. 'Source Code' - Fantastical and thought-provoking Sci-Fi Actioner with brilliant performances and enough intrigue to demand repeat viewings. It's this year's 'Inception'.

      2. 'True Grit' - Another masterpiece from the Coens. Beautiful cinematography, sure-footed direction and the best performance of the year from newcomer Hailee Steinfeld.

      1. 'Arrietty' - The best animated film of the year without a doubt. Sumptuous, irrevocably gorgeous and bitter-sweet. It's the perfect Ghibli film and I just wish more people were able to see it. Plus it's proof that CGI isn't always the way forward.

    • Comment number 38.

      This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

    • Comment number 39.

      Good list Mark!! I'm so please that Source Code is there too:
      it's probably my favourite so far. Inventive, moving, funny, gripping... and something really unusual these days: shorter than 90 minutes!!!
      Here's my review

    • Comment number 40.

      Can't believe I missed off 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2' in my top 5, I'll have to think of something to replace....

    • Comment number 41.

      SUBMARINE - The teenage arrogance and obsessions and realization of parental flaws told in a non-gimicky but aesthetically interesting way!

      ATTACK THE BLOCK - Too easily dismissed. Cornish may downplay the social commentary this film, which is precisely why it is so socially relevant. Subconscious decisions are more revealing.

    • Comment number 42.

      To be honest I found the latest Harry Potter was okay, but not worthy of best film. In fact I find that the entire series is flawed.

      It all stems back to the scene in the third film, where they time travel to help Black. Now if they have the ability to time travel, then anything that happens in the following books/movies can be easily resolved by going back in time to prevent a person's death, or a particular event from happening, oh let's say the resurrection of Voldermort.

      Let's face it, Hermione uses it all the time to do two classes at once, but she doesn't bother to use it, or let Harry use it to save the lives of **spoiler** in Goblet of Fire, or his **spoiler** in Order of the Phoenix, and most importantly the death of **spoiler** in Half Blood Prince. Oh and let's not forget the deaths of **spoilers** in Deathly Hallows part 1 and 2.

    • Comment number 43.

      You are absolutely right about SOURCE CODE. It's the most fun I've had all year and I never took my eyes off the screen to look at the people beside me, I didn't care, I was just completely in that movie.

      Look out for a very small indi called ANOTHER EARTH. Budget-wise this is on the opposite end of SOURCE CODE, but it is just as intelligent and just as engaging. I loved it and it's brilliant so look out for that across the pond.

    • Comment number 44.

      Top 5

      1. HP7part 2 (even though I was idiot enough to see it in 3D...d'oh!)
      2.Rise of the Planet of the Apes (the human's CGI was very poor)
      3. 13 Assassins (Seven Samuari-lite....but what a battle!) film, isn'it?
      5. True Grit (remakes anyone?)
      I must also mentione Meeks Cutoff and of Gods and Men. Roll on the end part of the year and the LONDON FILM FESTIVAL I say.

      worst thing I've seen all year MICMACS on that there BlooRay thingamie....nice photography...terrible film :(

    • Comment number 45.

      Best thing on Blu-Ray this year: THE GREAT WHITE SILENCE followed by CROSS OF IRON

    • Comment number 46.

      5. 13 Assassins- Very exciting battle sequence.
      4. Black Swan- Dark, funny and great performances. Argento-esque in places, but I think it would have benefitted from more gore.
      3. 127 Hours- you really felt for the protagonist and it really uplifting by the end.
      2. Drive Angry 3D- a really enjoyable and outlandish action movie. Nicholas Cage is great.
      1. Attack the Block- probably the best British sci-fi movie in years. Seems extra poignant now, when inner-city youth is under so much scrutiny.

    • Comment number 47.

      Nice one, Mark, for standing up for 'Source Code', a film that is at my number 3 right now! I am looking forward to seeing 'Julia's Eyes', but for now here it is:

      1 - The Conspirator - Nobody saw it, but for me it was surprisingly stirring cinema from Robert Redford

      2 - 13 Assassins - Stunning, surprisingly artful, and a ridiculously good closing 45 minutes, of course! Miike at the cinema...excellent stuff!

      3 - Source Code - He is such a good director, I fully agree with the Dr, a filmmaker to watch!

      4 - Fair Game - I probably give this more props than some think it should get, but I think it did a great job of telling the story without preaching, and was genuinely gripping, with two great central performances

      5 - Limitless - Holes aplenty, and I doubt it will be there at the end of the year, but for now it clings on to the bottom spot by the skin of its teeth. Exciting, inventive, well worth the watch!

    • Comment number 48.

      My favourite five movies of the year, thus far are:

      1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Deux (yes I'm a Harry Potter fan)
      2. Red Dog (a sweet, Aussie movie with character and heart and funnily enough, a red dog)
      3. Hanna (gripping thriller - great performances)
      4. Sunshine and Oranges (moving story about British children shipped to Oz and brought up in horrific conditions)
      5. Bridesmaids (laugh out loud, great performances all round).

      Look forward to seeing next week's Worst movies by the good Dr K.

    • Comment number 49.

      Off-topic but @StuartYates: Rowling went to a lot of trouble in OotP (#5) to destroy all the time-turners because that was obviously a problem she had created for herself. (Without also addressing the much bigger problems of the, what, seven completely different ways of magical transportation that all have to not work at various points of the story or it goes wrong - which makes the time-travel thing look trivial by comparison!)

    • Comment number 50.

      My top 5 -

      Black Swan (It came out in 2011 here, so it's going in)
      X Men - Not even Take That on the soundtrack or January Jones could bring this one down.
      Super - Is it a comedy? Sometimes. Is it a disturbing journal of a demented lunatic? Definitely. Is it strangely touching? Yes.
      Rise of the Planet of the Apes - Only saw this last week, but it was pure entertainment, and a worthy prequel for fans of the original.
      The Conspirator - Hear the one about the American Gov. murdering a woman?

      Guilty pleasure - Sucker Punch
      If only because it's kept me in computer desktops for the past 8 months.

    • Comment number 51.

      @Richard Shaw- How does Submarine reference Taxi Driver? I've been wracking my brain but can't figure it out.

    • Comment number 52.

      Here we go.

      1. Source Code
      2. Super
      3. Submarine
      4. Cave Of Forgotten Dreams
      5. Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes

      Special Mention:

      Jaws & Jaws 2 retro double bill screening at the Prince Charles. Still awesome!

    • Comment number 53.

      ....and my worst?

      1. X-Men: First Class (A wasted opportunity and sinfully boring)
      2. Super 8 (Enjoyed it up until the big reveal, then.... oops! Oh dear)

      I'm sure that Transformers 6 and Harry Potter 12 are great? I'll never know.

    • Comment number 54.

      An excellent year for documentaries. I'm fairly amazed that neither Cave of Forgotten Dreams nor TTD3D: Closer to the Edge didn't make it into TGD's top five - or is the dislike of 3D really that strong?

      Life in a Day strikes me as also worthy of a mention.

      These films have stayed with me in a way that other good films, like Source Code, really haven't.

      And Benda Billili is now added to my list of videos to hire...

    • Comment number 55.

      @ Scurra If it's not explained in the film then it's a major plot hole.

    • Comment number 56.

      @Stuart Yates re: Plot Holes.

      At last! Someone who agrees. I have to say that, having watched ALL of the Potter films in a week-long catch-up session, I am thoroughly "not on the bus" (Hogwart's Express?) with the franchise. Too many plot-holes, plausibility gaps, jarring tonal problems (death, maiming, crypto-fascism AND broomsticks, potions and silly character names?), wooden acting... it just doesn't add up to a whole hill o'beans, y'see?

      And before people start hitting out with that hoary old defense "they are kids films!", yes but that doesn't excuse lazy writing - being aimed at children does not automatically mean it has to be implausible or far fetched (in-universe, I mean) - one only has to look at Pixar for numerous examples of good quality children's entertainment.

    • Comment number 57.

      The Taxi Driver references in Submarine are subtle, but they are there. Firstly the whole voice over narrative - the way we get to here what the main character is thinking, the way the main character views himself as almost superior to those around him. Secondly the lingering overhead shot of the desert is a direct reference to shot of the fizzing tablet in Taxi Driver. Richard Ayoade mentions this on the dvd commentary, but I definetly noticed it when I watched it in the cinema. I also think the style of the filming is also slightly Taxi Driver-esqe, possibly because Scorcese was influenced by the French new wave cinema, as was Ayoade.

    • Comment number 58.

      I never really understand why people do that. The constant winking to other movies that have been made. It's like you make a painting and you have one section that is deliberately Dali-ish. Or you write a song and in the middle you go all Rolling stones on us and say that is a tribute. Nonsense. At least I think it is. Now if your ENTIRE movie is a tribute then OK... Or your movie is "Inspired by", as they say. But I find it irritating when people stick a tribute in the middle of their movie as I think it's just kind of disrespectful to your own work. Like I said, it's like you've written us a heartfelt song and in the middle you go "Hey how about those Beatles?". Give me a break!

    • Comment number 59.

      Nevermind the word "us" in the penultimate sentence of my previous comment. I didn't mean it the way I wrote it. haha

    • Comment number 60.

      My top 5 of 2011 overall (awards season and one upcoming film included)

      5. Attack the Block- virtually unique in the field of British cinema, and utterly unique in its intimate interest in the youths it portrays. And it's definitely better at doing what it does than Super 8.

      4. Troll Hunter- due out next month, but I caught an advance screening and it blew me away. It may slip on repeat viewings, because I'm still not certain that I like that ending, but what a brilliant and inventive horror mockumentary it is.

      3. The King's Speech- it endures the Oscar fatigue rather well, but you don't need me to tell you why it's so good. Touching, well-written, brilliantly acted, and as the good doctor says, a film that pulls off a happy ending in which the hero declares WW2.

      2. Rise of the Planet of the Apes- this, to me, is "Batman Begins" great. "Casino Royale" great. "Abrams' Star Trek" great. Rupert Wyatt revitalises the series with tragic sci-fi overtones, and the help of an astonishing and frankly awards-worthy performance by Andy Serkis. Perhaps the best film of the year, but not quite my favourite...

      1. Captain America: The First Avenger- Like Apes, I feel that this is a film that succeeded in everything it set out to do. But my favourite film of all time is Raiders of the Lost Ark, and this film just felt like it was made for me. The Marvel formula is invigorated by the war movie trappings- never mind that it ends with another tease for next summer, the journey it took to get there was truly dazzling.

      Worst of the year is the emotionally infantile catastrophe of Something Borrowed, by a long, long way. I'm not in the target audience, but then neither should any other human beings. Sorry, Dr. K, but your daughter is wrong...

    • Comment number 61.

      @Sapphire77 You've obviously never heard any Oasis records then.

    • Comment number 62.

      5. Source Code - although extremely far fetched nailed on by a silly ending(leaving it at the moment of 'finality' on the train more than sufficed) it really is a blast as they might say in the papers. Great leading role for Jake too.

      4. Rabbit Hole - looks at grief unlike Antichrist did..great performances all round. lighter than you would expect considering the source material.

      3. Black Swan - outrageous, tragic, dark, very 'Lynchian'. i like...a lot!

      2. Senna - Swoops you along and expalins about the man behind the wheel in a very inimitable, warm way. sensational stuff.

      1. 127 Hours - One man with his arm trapped under a boulder. Boring way!!! Franco, considering how wooden he was in Spider man, is beyond exceptional.

      Oh and hasnt it been a poor year for film? i think so...

    • Comment number 63.

      @ Sapphire77
      The references to Taxi Driver in Submarine are not just there for the sake of winking at that movie, they stand on there own. They are used for effect, not just as a reference. The lingering shot of the desert shows us the main character's state of mind, his depression due the loss of his girlfriend, staring into his pudding. The whole voice over narrative is perfectly suited to the character; someone who tries to deal with situations by thinking about them rationally and who is slightly self-important. As for the whole style if the film, there is nothing wrong with emulating the French new wave style. Painters are clearly influenced by other painters.

    • Comment number 64.

      Top five films of the year so far (in no particular order):

      1. Poetry - Korean film with the acting performance of the year from central lead Jeong-hie Yun

      2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt 2 - a billion dollar art movie. Exactly, how one should make franchise films (are you listening 20th century Fox and the producers of X-Men?)

      3. 127 Hours - Danny Boyle proves yet again that's he's un-pigeon-hole-able!

      4. Source Code - back to the 70s

      5. Hanna - Worth it alone for Blanchet and those legs!!

    • Comment number 65.

      Mark, I am appalled, simply appalled that Submarine did not feature anywhere on your list. Bar Black Swan (which under your ruling wouldn't count), it is by far my favourite movie of the year. Downbeat comedy that reminded me of Juno, made me nostalgic for teenage years (which I only just passed) and a surprisingly good soundtrack make it a simply beautiful experience (and I was the only one in the cinema at all enjoying it).

    • Comment number 66.

      I am so glad to see Super has been mentioned - I think it's an excellent film, well acted by Rainn Wilson and especially Ellen Page (who looks stunning in a super hero costume). On first watch, my mouth hung open for the majority of the film, i laughed for almost the rest, and I did nearly shed tears at a couple of points. I have susequently seen the film twice more and am excited to see it again...

      Not many films have the ability to catch me off guard and still maintain my interest.

      We need more films like this; clever, moving, funny, engaging and downright Super

      Top 4 (as I haven't seen anything to take the fifth spot yet)

      #1 Super
      #2 Black Swan
      #3 Source code
      #4 True Grit

    • Comment number 67.

      5) Rubber - a surreal delight
      4) Super - witty and affecting
      3) Attack The Block - wicked, Blud!
      2) Paul - proof that Pegg and Frost can work well without Edgar Wright
      1) Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes - Best Actor Oscar for Mr Serkis NOW!

    • Comment number 68.

      Kill List is about to be released. Having seen it (twice) in Cannes I think it's a game changer for British Horror and if you don't agree I'll be very surprised. I expect it to be in a lot of top 5 lists by the end of the year!

    • Comment number 69.

      I'm really surprised The Lincoln Lawyer hasn't got a mention anywhere here. I thought the film was incredible when I saw it earlier in the year, and I haven't seen or heard any mention of it by Mark :(

      The other film that sticks in my mind is Rise of the Planet of the Apes - but that might be because I saw it only yesterday. Really wasn't expecting much from that one, and I was pleasantly surprised.

    • Comment number 70.

      In no particular order, the best films of 2011 so far are –

      Cave of Forgotten Dreams
      Point Blank
      Super 8
      Black Swan
      Source Code -

    • Comment number 71.

      My Top 5:

      5: True Grit - The Coens at their best, I think. Great cast, especially Hailee Steinsfeld. Although the (spoiler) the some many years later bit at the end could have been left out, but that could be what the book is so what do I know.

      4: Source Code - Although it's a little bit confusing at times - it's great to see science fiction being taken seriously again. Let's hope Duncan Jones carries on making these great science fiction films. Although the ending of it is a bit soppy .

      3: The Fighter - It's ok I guess, Dr. K is right that the only way Christian Bale's over the top performance works is with Mark Whalberg's under-preformance.

      2: The King's Speech - Good acting and good cinematography, I really enjoyed it even with my anti-monachy stance. Although, a part from Colin Firth, I don't think it derserved all the oscar wins.

      1: Black Swan - This is probably my best film of the year. Aronofsky is at his best when he does the Polanski-spiraling down into complete insanity-narrative, such as Pi and Requiem for a Dream. The acting is good and the script is brilliant. I think it might be my best film at the end of this year as well, but we'll see.

    • Comment number 72.

      My top 5 films of 2011 are:

      X-Men First Class
      Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
      Rise of the Planet of the Apes
      Scream 4 / Source Code / The Troll Hunter (Tie for 5th)

      A few other films that I liked this year include, Drive Angry, Fast & Furious 5, The Next Three Days, Unknown, Super 8 and Insidious (the last two I need to watch again though to see how they hold up on a second viewing). If we are including films that came out at the very beginning of the year, then I would also include I Saw the Devil and Black Swan.

    • Comment number 73.

      I love doing these top 5 film lists. Here's mine:

      5. Source Code: It is so good to intelligence acction thrillers being made at the moment, a film filled with ideas about reality, identity, time, right and wrong. It has great performances and Duncan Jones is sure to make bigger films.

      4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallow Part 2: It great to see a movie has a set end and doesn't try to fit everything in a trilogy. It is a filling end to the series, filled with action, battles, adventure, comedy and simply a great time at the cinema. Hopefully David Yates can now branch out a bit more, either make the Stand trilogy or go back to making gritty thrillers.

      3. X-Men: First Class: I love the X-Men, their cartoons, their comics and the Bryan Singer films. But Brett Ratner had to ruin X-Men: The Last Stand and Tom Rothman undermined Gavin Hood during Wolverine. Thank good for Matthew Vaughn was able to inject live into the series, making a stylist, action packed film, exploring the origins of the mutants and making sure there was a lot of substane behind it. Michael Fassbender is easily my favourite contender to be the next James Bond.

      2. The King's Speech: I'm British so I have to love film. It is a film also filled with great action, well written and easily compelling, whether it is the relationship been King George VI and Lionel Louge, George VI's personal struggle, his relationship with his father to wider themes about the monchery, the growth of the media and the media's interest in the royal interest.

      1. Hanna: I hate it when some people say dramatic directors can't direct action because well, Hanna is prove of that. Joe Wright was able to make a fast pace film with great fight scenes (particular the one with Eric Bana in Berlin), a wonderful performance from Saoirse Ronan, as well as the rest of the cast and that pumping soundtrack is hard to forget.

    • Comment number 74.

      NIce top 5 so far Dr K, a good mix of blockbusters, drama and documentary. I think it's been a pretty good year for movies so far. I will definitely check out Le Quattro Volte and Benda Bilili. Judging by how much you liked Le Quattro Volte Mark, you may aslo enjoy Sweetgrass if you haven't seen it already:
      I don't know whether we can include films that were up for oscars last year, some of them were released early this year in the UK.
      Out of these early ones I would pick Animal Kingdom, True Grit and Black Swan. Animal Kingdom stands out for me as a powerful and tense drama with some superbly realistic acting from all involved. Some of the scenes had me on the edge of my seat with my heart in my mouth, quality stuff.
      If we're talking more recent movies then my top five would be:
      Actually it's very hard to narrow it down to 5 I have enjoyed so many.
      Special mention must go to Submarine which I enjoyed immensely, a great start from Richard Ayoade.
      5. Win Win - A beautifully written, touching comedy drama with a surprisingly flawed lead character.
      4. Attack the Block - Joe Cornish has made rather a good start in the directing game with this action packed, tightly scripted alien movie.
      3. TT3D Closer to the Edge and Senna - Like Mark I have no interest in motor racing of any kind yet these two stunning documentaries (both very different from each other) had me gripped from start to finish.
      2. Super 8 - A perfect nostalgia trip for me (could have done without the excessive lens flares), great script, lovely acting particularly from the two leads Joel Courtenay and Elle Fanning.
      1. Rise of the Planet of the Apes - For me the title says it all, this movie really did make the Apes franchise rise llike a phoenix from the ashes. A superbly paced action movie with a heart at its centre in the form of Caesar the ape, loved every minute. It includes THE cinematic moment of the year (so far, though I doubt if it will be beaten) in my humble opinion. Anyone who's seen it will know what I'm talking about!

      For more detailed thoughts on this an others here's my humble and badly written blog

    • Comment number 75.

      Black Swan
      The Tree of Life
      Benda Billili
      A Better Life
      Rise of the Planet of the Apes

    • Comment number 76.

      my top 5 so far:
      5. 13 Assassins
      4. Win Win
      3. Rango
      2. Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes
      1. Senna

    • Comment number 77.

      Source code would possibly have been my film of the year had it ended 2 minutes earlier than it did. But it didn't, which completely ruined the whole film. I'd have to say Senna.

    • Comment number 78.

      My favorites of the year, following your guideline on not including Oscar films (which means my actual favorite film I've seen this year, True Grit, is ineligible)
      5. Source Code
      4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
      3. Super 8
      2. Rise of the Planet of the Apes
      1. Senna

    • Comment number 79.

      My top 5 are

      1. Source Code
      2. 13 Assassins
      3. Captain America: The First Avenger.
      4. THOR
      5. Rise of the Planet of the Apes

    • Comment number 80.

      My best of the year (so far) is a film I didn't even get to see in the cinema because they were too busy filling the screens with garbage like Transformers or something.

      The film is the South Korean film "I Saw The Devil", a twisted revenge film about a cop whose wife was murdered by a serial killer. Brilliantly played by the two main leads, especially Choi Min-sik (Oldboy) as the killer.

    • Comment number 81.

      Best of the year so far for me is easy. The Guard. Howling with laughter for 60% of the film and the other 40% had a story and script strong enough to hold the attention of the audience. The film wasn't based on the jokes but miles funnier than any comedy I have seen in the past 2 or 3 years. The humour was balanced between subtle scripted wit and ridiculously Spinal Tap-esq slapstick. A complete winner of a film.

    • Comment number 82.

      @ SteveDave (61)

      I'm not very knowledgable regarding Oasis so I don't really know what you mean. The best I can come up with is that they are heavily influenced by other bands? Being inspired by other people... I never said that was wrong. If I had then that would have been silly. But being inspired by people isn't the same as sticking tributes in your work which is what I was referring to.

      @ Richard Shaw (63)

      That's very interesting. It sounds like an interesting piece of work but I just think that when people reach inside of themselves and try to be as original as they can, they come up with things that I find the most interesting. When people "borrow" or do "homages"...I always think that they could have also used their talent to explore new, uncharted areas which I think is an (even) more worthwhile endeavor. But being inspired by people is fine. I never said it wasn't. I was referring more to actual tributes like e.g. that moment in Kick-A** where some people say that Hit-girl is deliberately dressed up in a way so that it is reminiscent of a character in Kill Bill. That kind of stuff. It may depend on the movie, though. I mean if people don't take their movie seriously to begin with it may not be out of place. That last sentence isn't meant to offend, btw. Nor is any other sentence. haha

    • Comment number 83.

      Currently Source Code is the best this year for me. Thought provoking and full of big ideas, but driven by simple emotions and desires in many ways. Duncan Jones is a director who clearly is aware of how to get the best out of everything to tell a story. And in my opinion Source Code was better than Inception if we are to compare it to another revered modern sci-fi film. Inception had a rather sluggish start then proceeded to become a bit excessively heavy. None the less still an excellent film though, but not a masterpeice.

      And does not warrant as much repeat viewing as Source Code does.

    • Comment number 84.

      My best of the year came after the Good Doctor had recorded this. It was ROTPOTA-terrible title, brilliant film but then I saw Kill List which is now the best film I have seen since Inception. A complete stunner of a film. A surprising, very funny, sometimes violent, very scary and unnerving gem of a film. People have to go out and support films like this. Small film, major impact.

    • Comment number 85.

      My Top five, up to now:

      5. Source Code,
      an intelligent and crafty piece of film, another milestone in Duncan Jones' career. I am very much looking forward to his future project as I think Jones has given the movie industry a boost of creativity, similar to director Christopher Nolan when his work hit the big screen (which does not mean Nolan lost his creativity on the way).

      4. True Grit,
      I'm a huge Coen Brothers fan, even though I did not like The Big Lebowski after my first viewing, and I still do not consider it the best or among the best of the Coens' films. Jeff Bridge and Matt Damon were masterful but what stuck in mind was the performance by Hailee Steinfeld who in this movie seems so drive by revenge and seems to be willing to go through hell and back again which to me marked her as one of the focal points of the movie.

      3. 13 Assassins,
      a movie in the vein of classic samurai films, of which I'm a huge fan of, and it was made by Takashi Miike whos work I greatly admire and like. While there were moments of violence and cruelty, compared to Miike's previous work this can be seen as a more quiet and classic film rather than is earlier more provocative work.

      2. Arriety the Borrower,
      a studio Ghibli film, which I can highly recommend to anyone who loves Hayao Miyazaki's work. The only problem I had with it that it was that the studio had to go and dub it twice in the English language, once with British and once with American voice actors. Did they see it necessary that for the American release all the characters need to sound American. Why didn't they continue in such a manner as in older movies such as Valley of the Wind or Ponyo where both British and American actors were chosen to do the characters' voices, with such actors as Patrick Steward and Liam Neeson as the voices of certain characters. The story of the borrowers is based on a series of British novels, and English is spoken in Great Britain, so if it's all Egnlish what is the point?

      1. The King's Speech,
      With stunning dramatic performances by Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter who were all cast perfectly, and not to forget Timothy Spall who is known for playing rather sinister characters (like in Sweeney Todd or Harry Potter) playing Winston Churchill. But this is not where it ends, we also have Michael Gambon and Guy Pearce and several others who all add their stunning portrayals to this great piece of film.

      My bottom five, please don't ask me how someone can watch these movies, it's actually pretty easy, you go to the cinema:

      5. Arthur,
      Russel Brand thinks he's funny, but he's just plain obnoxious.

      4. Priest,
      I am familiar with the source material and I hate what they did with it turning it into a "cheap" and dumb 3D blockbuster with a weak plot in which vampires dwell in a futuristic wild west inspired setting, both elements not present in the mangas it was apparenty based on.

      3. The Hangover Part 2,
      dissappointing and unnecessary.

      2. Let Me In,
      just unnecessary.

      1. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,
      Even more unnecessary than the first two sequels and the forementioned movies.

    • Comment number 86.

      I rarely do this as trailers can be misleading but I'm going to say this will surely be in my top 5 films of the year. Is anyone else here as excited about this as me? (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy)

      It's hard to see what could possibly go wrong:

      1.) It's an excellent novel.
      2.) On the face of Let the Right One In, Thomas Alfredson looks like a great director.
      3.) Has to be one of the best cast lists I've seen in the last decade or so.

    • Comment number 87.

      Man, Abduction would be great and taylor lautner will hit the action scenes im still waiting for movie downloads online.


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