Five Best and Worst Films of 2011

Courtney Button

As the year draws to an end it’s the filmic article you have all been looking forward to with silent fervour. Looking back on the last 11 months, there have been some triumphs of cinema, making the potential Oscar winners very hard to guess. Films which have had an impact on you, and will be fondly remembered and talked about for years to come. On the other end of the scale there have been films so woefully inept and lacking in any positive points that their existence cannot be reasonably justified. Films that you wish you’d never bothered leaving the house for. So for your consideration, we have the five best and five worst films of 2011 (so far).


Five Best

  1. Senna (Dir: Asif Kapadia) – A documentary focusing on the life and career of Formula 1 racer Ayrton Senna. A film which appeals to any audience despite whether they are interested in Formula 1 or have even heard of Senna. Concentrating on the hero/villain dynamic of Senna and rival driver Alain Prost the film has more action, thrills, emotion, tension and drama than any other film this year, whether it be fictional or documentary.


  1. Drive (Dir: Nicholas Winding Refn) – Ryan Gossling puts in a career making performance as the driver in Winding Refyn’s stylish and violent thriller. A getaway driver/stunt driver falls for the girl next door and is forced to protect her and her son from gangsters after a deal goes bad. The film sticks in the mind long after having been viewed. It mixes excitement, beauty and flashes of violent action with one of the best soundtracks of the year.


  1. Kill List (Dir: Ben Wheatley) – An amazing British film from an up and coming writer/director. A war vet who has trouble adjusting to life at home teams up with his old army friend to be an assassin. Things take a turn for the strange as the seemingly unconnected people make it clear that they know the main character. The film maintains an atmosphere of ominous peculiarity and has one of the scariest and most intense scenes of any film this year. Not for the weak stomached.


  1. Tyrannosaur (Dir: Paddy Considine) – One of Britain’s best actors, Paddy Considine, writes and directs his first feature, adapted from his award winning short Dog Altogether. Joseph, a widower with a violent temper, becomes friends with a Christian charity shop worker, Hannah, who is abused by her husband. The film depicts two people, with troubled lives, finding some goodness and happiness but without being mawkish or sentimental. It presents Paddy Considine as a new filmmaker of great talent. Violent and bleak, it’s not for the faint hearted but those who can sit through it will be greatly rewarded.


  1. The Skin I live In (Dir: Pedro Almodovar) – The Spanish Auteur brings an arty take on the body horror genre. A plastic surgeon keeps a beautiful women hostage in his house, using her to test an artificial skin of his creation. A film that was in danger of becoming dull after the first half hour turns out to be one of the year’s best. It surprises at every turn and pulls a genuinely shocking twist half way through. It is one of the most original films of the year and brings something new to a genre which has been done to death in recent years.

Five Worst

  1. Scream 4 (Dir: Wes Craven) – Wes Craven puts the last nail into the coffin of the horror franchise. The original cast return to Woodsborough after ten years and Sidney’s presence starts off another round of killings. The iconic mask is tainted once more by a hugely unnecessary sequel. Dire from minute one to minute 111, the film is plagued by a lack of scares, laughs or decent acting. The threat of more sequels is scarier than the entire film.


  1. The Inbetweeners Movie (Dir: Ben Palmer) – The curse of the big screen adaptation of a British sitcom continues with this teen ‘comedy’. The four lads from the series go on holiday before heading off to university. As a fan of the series I came to the film with trepidation which turned out to be fully warranted. The fun is gone as wooden acting forms one dimensional characters in predictable set piece after unfunny set piece. Please, no more.


  1. What’s your Number? (Dir: Mark Mylod) – The Romcom genre regurgitates the same film that’s been made a million times over. Apparently over 90% of women who have slept with over twenty men are likely not to marry so Ally tracks down her ex’s to find if any are worth marrying. A complete lack of laughs and an over abundance of cliché flood a film that has nothing to say and nothing to add. There are good romcoms out there. This isn’t one of them.


  1. Attack the Block (Dir: Joe Cornish) – What could have been great turned out to be a massive disappointment. A gang of youths defend their council estate from an alien invasion. A technically well made debut from Joe Cornish is undone by its central group of protagonists. Making me hate the lead characters in the first five minutes means I won’t want to spend the length of a film with them. The 88 minute running time ends up feeling like hours as the film drags on to an unsatisfying conclusion.


  1. The Hangover: Part 2 (Dir: Todd Phillips) – The sequel to the surprise hit of 2009 serves up more of the same. The Wolfpack head off to Thailand for another wedding and another bachelor party gone wrong. This is just the first film in a different setting, doing the exact same set pieces just bigger but nowhere near as funny. If there is a third to come, please think of something original. Copy and Paste just isn’t good enough.

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