Intriguing, delightful or packed with tear-inducing drama, here are the top films of the year.
When one looks back over the year and designates a “best 10” list, it isn’t really a “best” ten. In all honesty it is my 10 favorite films of the year, since one’s personal tastes are such a big part of remembering which films gave you the most pleasure or had the biggest emotional impact, or just made you laugh your ass off. I’m a bigger fan of drama than some critics, so my choices tend to lean toward more serious films. That said, the sci-fi spoof Paul is unlikely to be found on any other “best ten” lists, but it just made me laugh constantly. Here is my year-end list of top movies, starting with my top film of the year, Steven Spielberg’s six-hankie boy and his horse saga, War Horse.
Steven Spielberg has enchanted us once again with a beautifully crafted drama about the horrible cost of war as seen through the eyes of a young man and his horse. It begins with the story of Albert (Jeremy Irvine), the young farm boy who trains a beautiful, courageous colt, Joey, only to see the horse sold by his father to the British cavalry. From there the story concentrates on the remarkable journey of the horse and his adventures until the inevitable reunion between Albert and his beloved companion. This film packs an emotional wallop that had me both crying and laughing through my tears.
Alexander Payne’s dysfunctional family dramedy features the same subtle wit and interesting character dynamics that were found in other Payne films including Election and Sideways. George Clooney stars as a man whose wife is on life support after an accident. Dealing with this tragedy means acting like a responsible parent to his two girls, a role for which he has no previous hands-on experience. Clooney is wonderfully anguished, angry and at moments hilariously clueless.
From writer-director Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist is a black & white French film about the era of silent movies when the talking picture came along and took over. It has been done as a non-dialogue movie (there is music) and stars the best actor winner from Cannes, Jean Dujardin, as a hammy silent film star.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II
The second half of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is a brilliant finish to the series, mixing an action-packed finale with elements of darkness, beautifully integrated moments of humor, heroism from a couple of unexpected sources, and a sense of closure that should satisfy fans of both the books and the movies.
Crazy, Stupid, Love
A marvelous romantic comedy starring Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone and Julianne Moore that skillfully blends the pain of divorce, parenthood, and slapstick into an invigorating mix that works with the clichés in a way that makes them fresh and painfully real. It is both hilarious and emotionally satisfying.
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
David Fincher’s take on the hit Swedish film pays tribute to the original while “Americanizing” it, mostly by making the character of Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) less passive. He has smartly left the titled character mostly intact, and Rooney Mara delivers a terrific performance as a woman who has been betrayed by bad men and fights back fiercely.
With the family film Hugo, Martin Scorsese, who is not only one of the world’s finest filmmakers but also a noted film historian and film preservationist, unleashes his devotion to the magic of movies with a zeal that is enchanting.
While Captain America (starring Chris Evans) is in many ways a set-up movie for next summer’s multi-superhero Avengers film, it stands on its own as an enjoyable superhero flick with a great final showdown between hero and villain.
A sweet and tart film by Finnish superstar director Aki Kaurismaki, Le Havre is about a crusty old Frenchman who helps a young black illegal immigrant evade the police with the help of his friends and neighbors in the port town of the title.
Those pixilated jokesters from Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, returned to their genre-busting spoofs with a road movie featuring a sci-fi twist, an alien encounter (the title character voiced by Seth Rogan). Paul is sweet and often hilarious.
I had no reason to go to the movies last weekend. Instead, here’s a list of my 10 favorite movies to watch during the holidays in alphabetical order.
"If you still want to see this movie, I have obviously not done my job."
From local goodies and stocking stuffers to charitable ideas and more!
It is time to look at the summer movie schedule in July and August. 'The Avengers' got us off to terrific superhero start.
With St. Patrick’s Day coming up this weekend, I’ve put together a list of my favorite movies with an Irish theme or locale. This list includes dramas, comedies, a drama with music, a movie with Sean Connery singing and, of course, the most popular Irish-themed movie in American film history.
While there are the usual stone cold lock Oscar nominees this year, the current award season has divided up the booty just enough to make this an intriguing and challenging year for Oscar prognosticators.
I asked some of the special people in my life why we should NOT make resolutions and got some funny and enlightening answers other than the obvious one — that many of us don’t keep them.
Light off some illegal fireworks, pop open a bottle of champagne and spend this chilly commencement weekend in Atlantic City Weekly's Hot Tub!
A look back at what happened in the Atlantic City area in 2011.
Atlantic City Weekly’s team of photographers captured some fascinating imagery spanning a wide gamut of subjects in 2011.
Here, in no particular order are 11 AC Weekly feature stories we are proud of from 2011.
As we continue our countdown of “Best Lists” at Atlantic City Weekly, here are the 10 best interviews we had in 2011, in alphabetical order.
A look back at 2011 in the Atlantic City area in photographs.
From the Shannon Twins, Paz de la Huerta and the Showboat Bombshells to Rihanna, Britney, Crystal Harris and the Girls of Playboy Golf...
Wisdom and advice for managing your finances, real estate, and life Tara-Nicholle Nelson Inman News® For me, the end of the year is a time for reflection and gratitude, as I gear up to reset my aims and energies for the coming year. As I look back over 2011, one of the blessings for which I'm the most grateful is the ability to bring you books that I believe will enrich your efforts to live well and to make wise decisions when it comes to your homes, mortgages and finances. In case you missed any of them on the first go-round, here are my 10 favorite books we covered this year. (If you're on vacation this week, any of these would be a good use of your reading time as you set up your own plans for improving your finances or your home in 2012.) Finance and investment 1. "Financial Recovery: Developing a Healthy Relationship with Money." After a season of financial illness can come one of recovery -- as taught by Karen McCall, founder of the Financial Recovery Institute and the author of "Financial Recovery: Developing a Healthy Relationship with Money." McCall starts "Financial Recovery" telling her own personal story of chronic overspending and debt...
While I was recovering from surgery last month, several Oscar contenders opened. Here are some quick opinions on those films and what chance they might have when the Oscars are handed out Feb. 26.
After catching up with some Oscar contenders, it was back to new releases at the multi-plex, the "found-footage" horror flick 'Chronicle' and family-oriented save-the-whales tale 'Big Miracle.'
The success of the Bourne trilogy has changed the landscape of spy movies. While there are still James Bond movies, even those have more grit these days. Safe House, starring Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds, is an obvious example of this new direction.
After watching the Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday night, it was clear that The Artist was going to sweep all the major categories on Oscar Sunday and it did, winning for best picture, actor and director, as well as costume design and best film score.
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