The choices for the top films of 2011 are as varied as the personalities of the writers who selected them, therefore they are being presented exactly as the writers would like. Some have simply listed their picks, some didn’t respond and others have written more… much more. Is there an overall Top Ten consensus to be had from all of this? Sort of; some films came up enough times to be included in a Top Thirteen. Here’s the overall Top Films of 2011 followed by, in alphabetical order by writer, the individual picks for their Top Ten Films of 2011…

(number of writers’ lists film appears on in parentheses)

  1. Bellflower (4)
  2. I Saw the Devil (4)
  3. Attack the Block (3)
  4. Drive (3)
  5. Martha Marcy May Marlene (3)
  6. Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey (2)
  7. Melancholia (2)
  8. Moneyball (2)
  9. The Muppets (2)
  10. Red State (2)
  11. Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles (2)
  12. Take Shelter (2)
  13. We Need To Talk About Kevin (2)

Jessica Baxter

  1. Crazy, Stupid, Love
    If you haven’t seen this romantic comedy, you may be surprised to see it on this list. Believe me, I’m as surprised as you are that I was actually tickled and moved by this genre-transcendent film. Before this movie, I thought Ryan Gosling was just another pretty boy actor with zero substance. But if you’ve seen “Blue Valentine” or “Half Nelson” (I had yet to), you already know that I was dead wrong. Baby Goose gives an incredibly nuanced performance as the professional-caliber lothario who teaches Steve Carell how to be a cold-hearted snake before falling a*s-over-elbow for the beguiling Emma Stone. I gave it just three stars in my review upon its release. But it stuck with me throughout the year and I now think I sold it a little short. Today, I bequeath it an extra star!
  2. Fright Night (2011)
    I’m generally anti-remake. What’s the point, when there’s a perfectly good movie by the same name that already exists? But I couldn’t deny the fun of “Fright Night”. Colin Farrel is very much in his element here as the douchebag vamp who cons a Las Vegas suburb into being his dinner.
  3. Conan O’Brian Can’t Stop
    It’s the “Don’t Look Back” of comedian documentaries, revealing Coco as a neurotic, bitter and astonishingly talented man.
  4. American Animal
    Sometimes, a film about people having an ongoing conversation ends up being as engaging and multi-faceted as a real conversation. I was pondering this one long after it was over.
  5. Being Elmo: A Puppeteers Journey
    You don’t have to dig Elmo (or have a kid who does) to enjoy the story of Kevin Clash, the man behind the furry red monster who loves everyone. But it probably helps.
  6. Bellflower
    I don’t know if this film succeeded in putting Evan Glodell on the map. But he sure deserves all the hype surrounding his triple threat performance as writer, director and star of this story about a relationship gone nuclear.
  7. The Thief of Bagdad: Re-Imagined By Shadoe Stevens, Featuring the Music of E.L.O.
    The title barely scratches the surface of how awesome Shadoe Stevens’ pet project ended up. He spent years searching for the perfect soundtrack to appropriately honor and elevate the magic of his favorite film of the silent era. He finally found it in the music of the Electric Light Orchestra, resulting in an eerily harmonious marriage that takes you on an adventure of the senses. {Cough, cough, cough.}
  8. Kill List
    “Kill List” sneaks up on you from behind and bludgeons you in the brains (in the best possible way).
  9. Drive
    This movie is ultraviolent, effortlessly cool and sexy as hell. Ryan m***********g Gosling. I wanted to see it again immediately after it ended.
  10. The Future
    Every once in a while, I go into a film knowing it’s about to become one of my all-time favorites. Miranda July’s oddball storytelling is just my bag, plain and simple. From the opening monologue delivered in the shaky, high-pitched voice of a terminally ill cat, I fell in love with “The Future” and immediately planned the rest of our lives together. Like her first, equally perfect feature film, “The Future” is about the lengths people go to feel connected and the weird things that fear drives them to do. It’s hilarious, existential, uncomfortable, heart wrenching and completely devoid of pretension. I hope they figure out how to keep heads alive in jars, a la “Futurama” because Miranda July’s brain is incredible.

Mark Bell
Narrative Features

  • Attack the Block
  • Gandu
  • I Saw the Devil
  • The Innkeepers
  • Insidious
  • Milocrorze: A Love Story
  • The Music Never Stopped
  • Prairie Love
  • Red State
  • Submarine

Documentary Features

  • The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye
  • Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey
  • Better This World
  • Fightville
  • Guilty Pleasures
  • Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory
  • Page One: Inside the New York Times
  • Pom Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold
  • Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles
  • Where Soldiers Come From

Short Films

  • The Birds Upstairs
  • Charles Bukowski’s The Little Tailor
  • God of Love
  • Hollow
  • The Magus
  • Pillow
  • Shadow of the Unnamable
  • Tumbleweed!
  • Two-Legged Rat Bastards
  • The World of Film Festivals

Phil Hall
Non-fiction Films

Narrative features

Short films

Amy R. Handler

Rick Kisonak

  1. Melancholia
  2. The Guard
  3. Contagion
  4. Bridesmaids
  5. We Need to Talk About Kevin
  6. Take Shelter
  7. Midnight in Paris
  8. 50/50
  9. Moneyball
  10. The Last Mountain

As a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association, I get to help decide every December which of the year’s releases will be honored with a Critics’ Choice Award in January. It’s usually a lot of fun to look back at the best movies and put together a list of nominees from scratch. Traditionally, the greatest challenge is whittling down my list of candidates. But 2011 has been different. For the first time, I found it difficult to come up with enough nominees.

Not that it’s been a terrible 12 months — unless you happen to own a theater (ticket sales have been down all year). Now that I’ve seen the best 2011 has to offer, though, I feel it fair to categorize it as resoundingly underwhelming. There was no shortage of good films — just a near-absence of great ones.

  • Most Stellar Performance
    Brendan Gleeson (The Guard), Michael Shannon (Take Shelter), Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady), Elizabeth Olsen (Martha Marcy May Marlene) and Kirsten Dunst (Melancholia) all did vastly impressive work, but it was Bridesmaids’ Melissa McCarthy who absolutely blew me away. That’s just an incredibly inventive piece of acting. I need a sequel. And fast.
  • Most Annoying Performance
    A number of normally reliable actors turned in underwhelming performances this year: George Clooney turned in two (The Ides of March and The Descendants), as did Jodie Foster (The Beaver and Carnage). Tom Hanks was annoying as hell in the embarrassment that was Larry Crowne. But, let’s face it, nobody was more annoying this year than Sarah Jessica Parker in I Don’t Know How She Does It. I read on Wikileaks they’re forcing detainees at Guantanamo to watch that thing. I’m pretty sure even Dick Cheney wouldn’t have signed off on that.
  • Best Comedy
    There were lots of good ones — Cedar Rapids, Everything Must Go, Midnight in Paris, 50/50, Horrible Bosses and The Guard among them — but nothing came close to Bridesmaids. It’s in a league of its own. Any word on that sequel?
  • Lamest Comedy
    As mentioned already, The Beaver, Larry Crowne and I Don’t Know How She Does It were très lame. So were Bad Teacher and 30 Minutes or Less. One picture took lameness to a new level, however, if only because it squandered more comic talent than all of those films combined. I give you Tower Heist, the old-school romp that reminded us precisely why they don’t make them like that anymore.
  • Biggest Letdown
    This could easily prove the year’s most crowded field. Disappointing, sub-par work poured in from every corner of the movie-making world. Werner Herzog (Cave of Forgotten Dreams) was shockingly off his game. Alexander Payne (The Descendants) turned in a ho-hum, seven-years-in-the-making followup to Sideways. George Clooney missed the mark as director, cowriter and star in The Ides of March. Since when does Roman Polanski waste his time and talent on over-the-top, sitcom-y gabathons like Carnage? A Dangerous Method snapped David Cronenberg’s streak of winners. And I can’t imagine what Steven Spielberg was thinking when he made War Horse. I’m still trying to figure out who the target audience is for this thing — 12-year-old girls who love horses and collect World War I memorabilia?

    The biggest letdown for me, though, had to be The Artist. Talk about not living up to the hype. Black and white and silent for the most part, it’s a cute experiment with a couple of clever touches, but the best film of the year? Please.

  • Biggest Surprise
    Michael Fassbender’s willy. The suddenly much-in-demand actor (also this year: X-Men: First Class, A Dangerous Method and Jane Eyre) certainly gave new meaning to the phrase “endowment for the arts” with his performance alongside Carey Mulligan in Shame, writer-director Steve McQueen’s NC-17-rated portrait of a sex addict. But the biggest surprise wasn’t the nonstop frontal nudity; it was that this glum snoozefest ever made it to the screen. A meaningless movie about meaningless sex. That would’ve made a pretty good tag line, actually.
  • Most Unnecessary Remake
    Do you ever wonder about the thinking behind these things? Old bad movies don’t beg to be updated, and timeless classics are unlikely to be equaled by new versions, so what’s the point? All I know for certain is that choosing Sam Peckinpah’s 1971 masterpiece Straw Dogs was about as dumb as studio decisions get. What’s next — Justin Timberlake in a redo of Chinatown?
  • Least Superfluous Appropriation of a Comic Book, Video Game or Toy
    I’m going to cheat on this one because, frankly, I didn’t see any nonsuperfluous movies this year that would fall under this heading. Does it get more superfluous than Green Lantern and Cowboys & Aliens? I don’t think so. My vote therefore goes to James Gunn’s one-of-a-kind Super, in which Rainn Wilson plays a fry cook who switches careers and becomes a masked crime fighter called the Crimson Bolt. Ellen Page is great in the role of his “kid sidekick,” Boltie. Super only seems like it was based on a comic book: Gunn wrote the script. But it’s a superhero story. One of the weirdest and most wonderfully original I’ve seen.
  • Most Inexplicable Hit
    Speaking of Green Lantern and Cowboys & Aliens: At the box office, they came in at No. 21 and No. 26, respectively, among the hundreds of films released this year, and together took in well over $200 million domestically. I’d call that inexplicable.
  • Most Inexplicable Flop
    What kind of a world do we live in, I wonder, where I Don’t Know How She Does It is the 128th most successful motion picture of the year, and The Guard — a work of monumental genius — is the 136th? Have people lost their minds? Brendan Gleeson is universally acknowledged to be Ireland’s finest living actor, and his Sgt. Gerry Boyle, a County Galway cop with a fondness for liquor, ladies of the evening and LSD, is one of the most brilliantly original movie creations in recent memory. It’s beyond inexplicable.
  • Most Reprehensible New Movie Trend
    A particularly egregious trend that’s emerged over the past year is the arthouse affectation of the no-ending ending. Meek’s Cutoff pulled this stunt. As did Martha Marcy May Marlene, Shame and Rampart, to name a few offenders. I hope the fashion will prove short lived. If a director’s going to ask us to give our attention to a picture’s beginning and middle, it’s only good manners to provide an ending.
  • Best Omen of Civilization’s Impending Downfall
    The very scary fact that the science in Contagion is sound. I mean, if you believe the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health. I asked Santa for a gas mask after reading that.
  • Best Movie With No Movie Stars
    I’ve got to go with Attack the Block, writer-director Joe Cornish’s delightfully demented sci-fi/comedy mashup about a South London teen gang defending their hood against an alien invasion. No stars, no budget, just loads of fun.
  • Worst Movie With an All-Star Cast
    Take your pick — Tower Heist, Larry Crowne, Cowboys & Aliens, I Don’t Know How She Does It. They each blew big time, and I guarantee you every one of their big names got paid more than it cost to make Attack the Block.
  • Best Documentary
    I’m bummed that it’s not making more reviewers’ top-10 lists, but maintain that The Last Mountain is one of the most important films of 2011. Bill Haney’s shocking documentary indictment of Big Coal also ranks as one of the year’s most horrifying. Freddy Krueger looks like Mr. Rogers next to some of the walking, talking monsters in this movie. Every bit as incendiary as Inside Job. You owe it to yourself to make this No. 1 in your Netflix queue.
  • Best Movie Vermont Probably Won’t Get Until 2012
    Bridesmaids 2! I can dream, can’t I? More realistically, I’d say the post-holiday season is likely to bring such presents as Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Albert Nobbs, The Iron Lady and — the best of the bunch, for my money — We Need to Talk About Kevin, the super-creepy story of a woman whose worries about her son’s psychological well-being are brushed off by everyone around her, until the day he unleashes a one-man high school massacre. Tilda Swinton is riveting.
  • Worst Picture
    OK, I think we’ve sufficiently razzed a handful of the year’s lesser efforts. Being stinky is one thing, however, and being the most detestable is something else. It requires more than mere idiocy or derivativeness or dullness. This year, one film crossed a line you don’t approach if you have even an ounce of good taste, and that was the WWII weepie Sarah’s Key. I’m sorry: You just don’t get to play the Nazi card if all you’re trying to do is jerk tears and tug heartstrings. Watch a few hours of TLC: There are any number of tried-and-true alternatives. In 2011, nobody stooped lower than director Gilles Paquet-Brenner. Just what the world needed: movie history’s first Holocaust chick flick.
  • Best Picture
    Melancholia. I know, I know. No one’s going to see the latest from Lars von Trier except critics and the hardcore arthouse crowd. But that doesn’t change the fact that nothing released this year came close to matching its dark humor, artistic fearlessness and otherworldly beauty. Two things I doubt anyone will contest: Kirsten Dunst gives the most complex performance of 2011, and this is one movie that definitely has an ending.

Noah Lee

  1. El Bulli
    Possibly an odd pick considering how many strong documentaries were out this year. However, I’ve always been fascinated by El Bulli and chef Ferran Adrià and this inside look into how they operate was completely eye opening. I covered it in my review but even come the end of the year I still think it is a magnificent piece of work.
  2. The Yellow Sea
    During Fantastic Fest when asked what was the best thing I saw this is the movie that would always come to mind immediately. Hong-jin Na has produced a thrilling action film that after one of its many chase scenes had the audience, and myself included, applauding in the theatre. No other action film this year got that sort of reaction from me and alongside it’s nonstop hatchet fights, its why I think The Yellow Sea is something one cannot miss.
  3. Hesher
    I’ve been a fan of Spencer Susser since seeing his short “I Love Sarah Jane” and knowing he was paired with the exceptional Joseph Gordon-Levitt on a feature film, I was beyond excited to see the result. And I was ecstatic to find out they delivered a movie that not only makes me belly laugh every time I see it but I feel shows true emotion from its young lead Devin Brochu that we don’t really get from a lot of the other performances in more higher regarded films this year.
  4. Martha Marcy May Marlene
    Aside from the blowout performance from Elizabeth Olsen, “Martha Marcy May Marlene” chilled me and left me wanting to discuss it’s many layered nuances like no other movie this year. It feels far more genuine than some of the other art house fair released this year and its sense of dread, sadness and fear are exceptionally real.
  5. The Muppets
    While I do love Jason Segel, even I wasn’t convinced he could do the Muppet franchise justice. But he did and in doing so produced a movie that had me smiling throughout and put me in touch with my childhood in a massive wave of nostalgia. It does everything a Muppet movie should, hits all the right comedic and heartfelt moments and gives us a resolve that even brought a tear to my eye.
  6. Snowtown
    If any movie left me feeling genuinely gut punched the two times I saw it this year, it was “Snowtown.” A true story of Australia’s notorious serial killer John Bunting, as told from the perspective of young James Vlassikis, a teen befriended by Bunting to join his gang in a murderous spree. Director Juztin Kurzel has created an atmospheric, haunting tale that is filled with a cast of unknowns who are stunning in their unflinching performances. And special note has to be made of Jed Kurzel’s score which left me so breathless, I immediately used my phone to buy it off iTunes after the film.
  7. Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles
    I believe I heard our own head editor Mark Bell talking about this movie on the Film Threat podcast and knowing just what the Toynbee tiles were, I knew I had to check it out. This documentary, which has unfortunately flown under the radar of so many film fans, had my wife and me shaking our heads in disbelief and shock. It not only covers the how and what of a decades old mystery of these tiles, which are seen throughout the world, but Jon Foy actually gives us a resolution to this fascinating and odd story. It was completely compelling and I’ve been recommending it to people as much as I can.
  8. I Saw The Devil
    Nobody does revenge movies like Korean film makers. This year’s best of those and also the second best horror film, which explores the nature of revenge, compassion, evil and remorse, is shockingly brutal and yet deftly handled as to never wade into absurd territory. Jee-Woon Kim is one of the finest Korean directors working right now and when paired with Byung-hun Lee and Min-Sik Choi, you get nothing short of an amazing work of horror and thrills like “I Saw the Devil.”
  9. Bellflower
    Exploding out of Sundance and SXSW Evan Glodell’s “Bellflower” is a romance story with an acid bite. Shot on self-modified Coatwolf cameras, starring Glodell himself, the radiant Jessie Wiseman and the exceptional Tyler Dawson (seriously, someone give him more work!) and featuring a fire breathing car named Medusa, this is a movie I’ve gone back to many times this year. Superficially it seems a straightforward relationship gone sour story with flamethrowers, which is already cool enough, but underneath is a flavorful exploration of the divergent paths our lives can take in small moments and a look at how people around us can affect our lives.
  10. Attack the Block
    It seems popular to love this movie and I was certainly one of the first wave of people to champion and hype this British creature feature. And why wouldn’t I? Joe Cornish has taken a cast of unknown teens and thrown them into, by far, the best monster movie we’ve had in a long time, wrapped in an ultra-slick urban package with a pumping soundtrack by Basement Jaxx. If one movie this year was pure cinematic joy for me it was “Attack the Block” and I’m proud to make it my number one pick for 2011.

Don Lewis
I suuuuck at year end “Best Of” lists. Why? Because I take them so seriously. I could sit here and debate with myself for hours and trust me, I do. But I want to really be honest about my favorite movies of the year because it means a lot to me. And whenever I look back on lists I see movies that are on there that I honestly haven’t thought of since compiling that list. What kind of “Best Of” is that?? Anyway…

I’m sure readers will roll their eyes and claim my stupidity, but that’s what makes this stuff also…fun. So here’s my top 10 of 2011. The best I could do.

  1. Take Shelter
    No other film from 2011 simultaneously moved me, angered me and scared me as much as “Take Shelter.” A simple story of a man trying to provide for and protect his family grows increasingly more terrifying as he is haunted by vivid nightmares that feel so real, they have physical effects on him. But like any great film, “Take Shelter” is about much much more than what you see on the surface. The film touches on how our country handles mental illness, the sour economy and what it means to live in and belong to a community. I even felt sorry for conspiracy nuts for a minute which for me to feel empathy towards under-informed, easily mislead nutters is really saying something. Yet even all of those areas are much deeper than what you see on the surface. “Take Shelter” isn’t only the best film of 2011, it’s the best post-9/11 movie to date. Also- Michael Shannon turns in the best performance of the year.
  2. We Need to Talk About Kevin
    Part horror film, part dark comedy and all terribly affecting, “We Need to Talk About Kevin” is an arthouse look at the “bad seed” strain of horror films featuring kids. A classic trope that has gone through countless transformations, “We Need to Talk About Kevin” takes an intensely female/mother point of view but never gives the viewer any easy answers as to why the titular character is such a bastard. Was he born bad? Did mommy do it? Was dad not tough enough? Was it violent video games? We never really know and that’s sad and powerful at the same time as is the entire cinematic experience. The result is a film you find yourself going back to time and time again in your mind all the while praying that your kids turn out to be nice people.
  3. Moneyball
    This is a movie I liked well enough when I saw it but then grew on me and hasn’t stopped growing on me since. I’m a huge baseball fan but that doesn’t matter and this film isn’t about that, really. It’s about living and succeeding in modern day America and it’s about how we value and judge people. In a world where stats and opinions are a google click away, it’s those who think outside the box and see importance in areas others discount who can truly change things and make a difference. Oakland A’s General Manager Billy Beane has the mindset of Steve Jobs in the his stubborn inventiveness but his own human foibles keep him from reaching “Apple” levels of success. But in the end, “Moneyball” is a truly great American success story.
  4. Drive
    “Drive” takes the cake for being one of the highest quality of ballsiest “I do what I want!” movies ever. At once quiet to the point of awkwardness yet stylized to the point of fetishism it still remains to be completely engrossing, constantly pulling itself back from the edge of self-parody. It’s like…art, man. But seriously, “Drive” is a genre piece that takes genre to another level and that’s no easy task these days. This is one of those films that a decade from now will still be eminently watchable and influential.
  5. Warrior
    I intentionally allowed “Warrior” to slip by me at movie theaters when it was released. While it was earning critical raves, I couldn’t help but think the film was a UFC version of “Rocky.” Boy was I ever wrong. Sort-of. While “Warrior” does feel familiar as it treads the same territory as many movies about professional fighting, it has more heart and soul than any film of it’s type since, well, “Rocky.” The acting is outstanding and the characters are drawn so well you cannot help but be taken in by each man’s plight. “Warrior” completely drew me in and since I like you all so much I’m not afraid to admit I cried at the end. Plus, I dare you to get in a room full of people who’ve seen this and not argue about who you want to win the final battle.
  6. I Saw the Devil
    “Ho-lee s**t.” I swear I said that to myself four or five times in “I Saw the Devil” and I meant it. This film is downright amazing and batshit crazy. No one does revenge films like the Asian filmmakers and Korean Jee-woon Kim seems as unable to stop himself from turning it up to eleven as the seemingly possessed antagonist and protagonist in this film. Shades of “Oldboy,” “No Country for Old Men” and “Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia” blend together for a wild ride that you kind of don’t want to end. And when it does finally? Ho-lee s**t. Find this film. It’s on Netflix Instant right now in fact. Do it.
  7. Young Adult
    While many have convinced themselves of a lifelong hate for all things Diablo Cody based on her sassy/annoying vernacular in “Juno” which won her an Oscar for best screenplay, those same people are really blowing it if they avoid “Young Adult.” This movie is low-hanging fruit for those who hang onto lame prejudgment and if you live your life like that (ie; bitchy) you gotta see this. “Young Adult” is downright nasty and mean yet funny as hell! In fact I think Cody’s writing and insight is as honest and biting as Louis CK or any other comedian working in their prime like say, Bill Hicks or Richard Pryor. Charlize Theron and Patton Oswalt are amazing in this film and I can’t remember a more uncomfortably cringe worthy scene in a film this year than the one that takes place at a party that closes out the second act.
  8. Martha Marcy May Marlene
    The first time I saw this film I dug it, but it didn’t really grab me. But like a sneaky virus you thought you avoided, it grew on me and I found myself reflecting back to many images, scenes and lines of dialogue in the film. It’s funny because the first time I saw it, I thought it was kind of wonderfully confusing but upon further viewings, the beats in the film are fairly loud and conspicuous. That doesn’t detract by any means but rather lets the great acting shine behind a fairly brilliant use of editing. Plus there’s 4-5 shots in the film where I’ve actually wondered aloud “how did they GET that shot to look that way?!” “Martha Marcy May Marlene” is quiet, strange and totally engrossing.
  9. Attack the Block
    I was avoiding this film like the plague due to an overabundance of geek blogger masturbation about it, but I’m glad I looked past that and gave the film a shot. It’s awesome! Another genre bender, this film takes sci-fi and horror and mashes them up with heavy doses of insightful youthful angst which are all things we’ve seen a zillion times in a film. But somehow “Attack the Block” feels new and different. Probably because it’s really fun and wholly original even though it’s couched in a geek friendly arena that has never been treated so smartly before.
  10. Red State
    I’m a big fan of fragmented storylines and “Red State” has that in spades. While many complained that the film felt too all over the map and rudimentary, I was along for the ride hook line and sinker. I never knew what might happen next and for a fairly cynical movie fan who thinks he’s seen it all, it’s rare that a film keeps me guessing. I will cop to the fact that the more I see the film, I think it missed some great opportunities to hone in on some honesty and insight about the state of our country. Plus, had the film truly ended the way you think it might, it would have made my top five. But still, Michael Parks is flat-out amazing and once the film steps on the gas, it never stops going.

Honorable Mentions:

  • The Muppets
  • The Skin I Live In
  • Stakeland
  • Winnie the Pooh
  • Rise of the Planet of the Apes
  • Bridesmaids
  • Tree of Life
  • Hugo
  • Shame
  • Tucker & Dale vs. Evil

Best indie films you haven’t had a chance to see…yet because no one’s picked them up:

  • Without
  • Homecoming
  • Green

I’ll be sorry this wasn’t in my Top 10 Later:

  • Melancholia


  • Sucker Punch
  • Hangover 2
  • Incendies
  • Transformers 3
  • Your Highness

Stuff I didn’t see but bet I like

  • Margaret
  • The Descendants
  • War Horse
  • The Adventures of Tin Tin

Michael Nordine
Narrative Features:

  • The Tree of Life
  • Drive
  • Meek’s Cutoff
  • Of Gods and Men
  • Jane Eyre
  • House of Pleasures
  • A Separation
  • Bellflower
  • Redland
  • The Muppets


  • The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu
  • Nostalgia for the Light
  • Cave of Forgotten Dreams
  • The Arbor
  • If a Tree Falls


John Wildman
My 2011 Top Ten list is comprised of this year’s films that most excited me, entertained me, and gave me hope that there were new artists and great film minds coming up with cool-a*s ideas that I could look forward to for the near future. These films managed to convince me that as bad as the film business is right now and as difficult as it is to make a film that isn’t a sequel or a re-make, product placement fest, mind-numbingly stupid or wrist-cuttingly boring, that it can be done to ever-dizzying heights.

  • Bellflower
  • The Color Wheel
  • Green
  • A Separation
  • Melancholia
  • I Saw the Devil
  • Martha Marcy May Marlene
  • Pariah
  • Miss Bala
  • The Woman

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  1. Mark Bell says:

    I’ll fix the misspelling, but glad I got it right when I reviewed the film (you put me in a brief panic).

  2. We´re very honoured to be on Mark Bells list of FILM THREAT’S TOP FILMS OF 2011. Actually, I just stumbled on that list and I am still stunned.

    After all the years of hard work on “Shadow of the unnamable”, this means a lot to us.

    Thank you Mark!

    PS: minor correction: it´s “Shadow of the unnamable”, not “unnameable”. It´s how Lovecraft spelled it (old english version).

  3. Michael Hawk says:

    You know what made Worst in Show so good? All the puuuuuuuuuuuuuuupies!!

  4. Don R. Lewis says:

    Well, whatever anonymous internet movie website poster “nate” says should be taken completely seriouuuuuuusly.

  5. Mark Bell says:

    Yeah, Don! How dare you increase the instances of the letter “u” in the word “suck” and/or “sucks” when talking about your own issues with creating lists or talking about your own documentary! How am I supposed to take you serious as a journalist with a critical opinion when you can’t even insult yourself correctly!?!

  6. nate says:

    Yes, because a writer using multiple u’s to spell “sucks,” twice no less, is a journalist with a critical opinion meant to be taken seriously.

  7. Don R. Lewis says:

    Plus, I heard it suuuuucks.

  8. Mark Bell says:

    I think I’m safe. I have a credit in the film, so me putting it in the top ten would be like Don putting it in the top ten; since even he didn’t think to do so, I should be okay.

  9. Bwakathaboom says:

    Methinks you’re going to regret not putting “Worst in Show” on your Best Documentary list the next time you podcast with Don 🙂

  10. Mark Bell says:

    Regret? I doubt it. I don’t think one of my top film choices of 2011 will haunt me to my deathbed…

  11. sieve says:

    You are gonna regret putting I saw the devil on your listt once the initial ow f**k that had to hurt wears off you are left with a pretty shitty pplot and to many eye rolling coincedeces and logical flaws. It won’t hold up after even 2 veiwings.

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