You won’t find any carefully ordered ‘Ten Best/Worst Movies’ lists here. Ranking movies like that has always seemed to me a simplistic folly (apples ain’t oranges). Besides, how do you make such determinations if you haven’t seen every movie released in a given year?
And what are ranked lists like this really worth anyway, unless the critic
a) precisely sets out their assessment criteria, and
b) gives some idea of their movie critic credentials (call me elitist, but I give more cred to an educated opinion than an uneducated one – especially in these days when every second bozo is a self-appointed expert on movies, food, music etc).
Just so ya know, I do not consider myself an expert on movies. However, I like to think I have good taste and an astute critical eye deriving from decades of serious fandom. I have done some formal study of film at teriary level, which gave me a basic knowledge of film history and a taste of practical aspects of filmmaking. I’ve also dabbled in screen writing, co-written a feature movie screenplay that didn’t make it to production, done some freelance editing of client scripts, and have been writing reviews regularly for the last 3 years or so, with arthouse being my main focus.
That said, I am dismissive of categories like ‘indie’ and ‘mainstream’. I’m interested only in quality – that is, whether a film is worth seeing. Big budget, small budget, Hollywood, indie – I don’t care. Just gimme quality!
That brings me to my assessment criteria. It would be horrendously complex if I were to set these out in detail. So, at the risk of short-changing myself, here’s a simple summary of my key considerations when assessing a movie, in rough order of importance:
- Emotional engagement. If a film doesn’t move me, I don’t rate it highly. I’m talking about being roused emotionally, not weeping over my choc bomb, necessarily.
- The writing must be tight. Flab is drab. Or worse, irritating.
- Quality dialogue is important. It has to ‘ring true’ while simultaneously performing an appropriate dramatic function (eg: characterisation, exposition, progressing the narrative). And I place a premium on wit.
- The plot has to work. I don’t like logic flaws (and of course, genre and context come into play here).
- Acting performances are crucial, as is casting.
- A movie must have heart. Clever ideas and “originality” aren’t enough. Where there’s no humanity, there’s no interest for me.
- Obviously, elements of craft are important – cinematography, musical score, set design etc.
Awright, now you know more or less where I’m coming from. To business.
The BR Movie Awards for 2011
2011 Movies I Loved (in alphabetical order, linked to my reviews):
Bill Cunningham New York (doco)
Midnight In Paris
Also Terrific (in alphabetical order):
Mrs Carey’s Concert (doco, not reviewed)
My Afternoons With Margueritte (not reviewed)
The Eye Of The Storm (not reviewed)
The Tree Of Life
Waiting for Superman (doco, not reviewed)
127 Hours (not reviewed)
Incendies (not reviewed)
Rabbit Hole (not reviewed)
Crazy, Stupid, Love
Our Idiot Brother
Rio (not reviewed)
I Liked These But Many Folk Didn’t:
Biutiful (not reviewed)
The Skin I Live In (not reviewed)
Agora (not reviewed)
Barney’s Version (not reviewed)
Brighton Rock (not reviewed)
Get Low (not reviewed)
Morning Glory (not reviewed)
No Strings Attached (not reviewed)
Oranges and Sunshine (not reviewed)
Take Shelter (not reviewed)
Tamara Drewe (not reviewed)
The Trip (not reviewed)
Griff The Invisible (not reviewed)
Here I Am (not reviewed)
Higher Ground (not reviewed)
We Need To Talk About Kevin
Dog Of The Year:
Standout Male Performances (alphabetical order):
Bob Adriaens (Snowtown)
Daniel Connors (Toomelah)
James Franco (127 Hours)
Brendan Gleeson (The Guard)
Lucas Pittaway (Snowtown)
Owen Wilson (Midnight In Paris)
Standout Female Performances:
Alexandra Schepisi (The Eye Of The Storm)
Ruth Sheen (Another Year)
Disclaimer: I did not see any of the following movies:
Top 10 Highest Grossing Films In Australia For 2011
1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 – $52.5 million
2. Transformers: Dark of the Moon – $37.3 million
3. The Hangover Part II – $32.6 million
4. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 – $28.5 million
5. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides – $27.2 million
6. Bridesmaids – $27.1 million
7. Fast & Furious 5 – $25.2 million
8. Tangled – $22.2 million
9. Red Dog – $21.4 million
10. Cars 2 – $20.1 million
Other Popular/Highly Rated Movies I Didn’t See
Cave Of Forgotten Dreams
There ya go, then. If you don’t agree, by all means lemme know. Would be good if you could back up your views with some reasons. Always interested in considered opinions on movies, regardless of whether I share them.
Not a bad year for flicks overall. Here’s to 2012!
Previous Annual Awards
The Boomtown Rap Awards For 2010
The Boomtown Rap Awards For 2009
The Boomtown Rap Awards For 2008
The Boomtown Rap Awards For 2007