I usually post my movie review stuff on www.cecilyknobler.net, but I figured, hey, it's Christmas..
Based on this year's top ten movie list, I've been accused of either having no heart (due to my elimination of "Hugo" and "War Horse") or being a big old softie girl (due to literally every choice on my list.) Well let me set your minds at ease: I am a girl. I am not a softie. "Hugo" is actually very loosely based on Hugo Chavez (false statement) and the War Horse purposely kills like eight people. Now are you judging?
So without further adieu, here's my list of favorite movies for 2011.
Top Ten, 2011
The Trip A+
I loved this Steve Coogan road-trip dramady across Northern England, not just because I'm an Anglophile or because there's a Joy Division song in it. I loved it because what other movie has dueling Michael Caine impressions? Riddle me that!
This is one of those films that was somewhat killed by its own PR campaign. It was marketed as a quirky rom-com (with a feisty dog!) when in fact, it was a quiet, thoughtful movie about relationships, (father/son, man/woman, man/man.) Ewan McGregor is perfectly cast and okay yes, there's a really adorable dog involved.
The Artist A+
Based on this, I hope silent movies replace 3D as the future of film. These actors (most of them French) do more with their facial expressions than most can do using everything, (I'm talking to you, Scarlett "Flat Affect" Johansson.) An homage to the silent days of film, plus a little 40s-era Gene Kelly thrown in for good measure. I'm getting giddy just writing about it. (Please note: I might have just switched bodies with Rex Reed.)
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close A
I'm still crying and I saw this a week ago. Eric Roth (who wrote the screenplay) has this way of making you think that your two hours spent with him unlocks some sort of existential key to everything. Sure, it's manipulative, but so were most of my boyfriends and that didn't stop me. Tom Hanks seems a little miscast, but everything else fits as tightly as Roth's screenplays always seem to. Still…crying…
Look, those who know me know I'm strictly a football-chick. (You can take the girl out of Texas, but you can't make Romo win in December. Wait, what?) But baseball will do, especially when you mix in writer Aaron Sorkin and "Capote" director Bennett Miller. Plus, Brad Pitt doesn't hurt matters. It's exactly what it needed to be: smart.
With the exception of one scene in a wedding dress shop (which may have scarred me for life) this was clever, absurd and just an all around great time. Written by women, for women. (I used to be a copywriter for a tampon company.)
The Muppets A-
What I'm about to say may upset some of you. As a kid, I enjoyed the Muppets (but keep in mind, I also had a crush on Charles Grodin, true story!) But then there were a couple of decades where I did not like them at all. Fozzy's awful stand-up paralleled the hell I was going through while watching comics at open mic nights. I flip-flopped on wanting to strangle Miss Piggy or sprinkle her on my Cobb salad, (She's lucky I don't eat bacon.) But then Jason Segal came along and restored my faith in this magical Jim Henson creation. And the songs! "Flight of the Conchords" Bret McKenzie wrote some of the catchiest tunes ever and the classics (e.g., "The Rainbow Connection") are simply heart-wrenching.
A fascinating documentary from Errol Morris about a woman you've probably never heard of…and that's what makes it work. You've got your standard kidnapping, sex-games and dog cloning (you know, the basics) and it will keep you on your toes (or on the edge of your seat, your choice) till the end.
Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey B+
We’re back to Jim Henson. Frankly, I never asked myself, "Who is the puppeteer behind Elmo?" but I'm glad this movie came along to tell me. Kevin Clash does for puppets (and Muppets) what Steve Wiebe did for Donkey Kong. (Check out "King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters" if you don't know what that means.)
Midnight in Paris B+
Sharp, quaint and the casting of Owen Wilson in the "Woody" role was a good call. If nothing else, check this out to see Corey Stoll as Ernest Hemingway.