CPA’s Top Films of 2011

The following is a compilation of the films I liked best in 2011.

The Company Men (♦♦♦♦): This movie is sad, brutal and realistic all at once. In spite of it, I did like it. I think it was a serious attempt to depict what millions of Americans have lived through this latest recession.

The Adjustment Bureau (♦♦♦♦): I had a great time watching this movie; it is creative, imaginative, sexy and fun. Matt Damon never looked sexier, and he is totally believable as a young and charismatic politician. Emily Blunt is charming and beautiful.

The Beaver (♦♦♦♦½): This movie is a searing, poignant drama, devastatingly real yet uplifting in the end. Mel Gibson delivers a performance that is among his best ever.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (♦♦♦♦): This last installment is as dark as it gets. This fine film is certainly surprising, enlightening and brings the franchise to a well rounded ending. Long live Harry Potter!

Midnight in Paris (♦♦♦♦): This little movie is delightful, delicate and funny. Paris may be enchanting, but under the steady writing and direction of Woody Allen, Paris is simply magical. The music is lovely and transporting. The shots of Paris are breathtaking whether by day or night. Suddenly daydreaming doesn’t seem so bad…

Sarah’s Key (♦♦♦♦): This movie is like an onion: with each layer a new secret, a key revelation comes to the surface. Deeply satisfying on every level, Sarah’s Key works great as a mystery, a journalistic investigation and as the eye opener that is meant to be.

Captain America: The First Avenger (♦♦♦♦): Chris Evans’ screen presence resembles that of another superhero (Christopher Reeve as Superman).This movie is a lot of fun, with subtle jokes and plenty of war action to please the audience.

Win Win (♦♦♦♦): The acting is stellar and the script is a jewel. The sports also pull you in. The ultimate lesson of this film is to care about the things that are truly important like family and friends, and this message is delivered without sermons… A jewel of a movie.

The Debt (♦♦♦♦): It is wonderfully acted by young and old actors alike, thus there’s a sense of continuity in the time elapsed in the film, instead of a break. The characters are so flawed, so human, and their mission has gone so wrong, that one has no other choice but empathize with them.

Mozart’s Sister (Nannerl, la soeur de Mozart) (♦♦♦♦): This French movie is a work of art. It is wonderfully acted and full of emotions as only great art can elicit. The musical score is fantastic, and so is the European setting of the movie.

Moneyball (♦♦♦♦): There are magnificent performances in this film, starting with Brad Pitt--whose acting is a tour-de-force--and his wingmen Jonah Hill and Philip Seymour Hoffman. The script is funny at times, but overall provides all the drama and excitement deriving from our favorite past-time.

The Ides of March (♦♦♦♦½): I really liked this film, not only due to its contemporary resonance, but to the tremendous performances delivered by the entire cast. George Clooney directs, produces and co-writes the script, but it is his acting that makes this movie worth your while. This is his best performance since Michael Clayton.

The Skin I Live In (La Piel que Habito) (♦♦♦♦): In this suspenseful thriller, Spanish director Pedro Almodovar has outdone himself. The movie keeps the themes of sexual preferences and transgender issues—so common in his previous works—to a minimum. In this film, however, the constants are marital betrayal, revenge and the use of scientific inventions for personal gain.

J. Edgar (♦♦♦♦): Leonardo DiCaprio delivers his best performance yet, and Armie Hammer is equally amazing as his lover-friend. Judi Dench and Naomi Watts have minor roles but fundamental in J. Edgar’s life: Hoover’s controlling mother and his loyal secretary.

My Week with Marilyn (♦♦♦♦): Williams, with the help of an amazing script, successfully manages to portray Marilyn in all her human complexities: as a magnetic actress able to command the cameras at will, but also as a drug addict and insecure belle, who needed constant adulation to feel noticed.

War Horse (♦♦♦♦): Epic, beautiful film with war scenes that drag along a bit, but with a satisfying ending. The cinematography in this film is fantastic and so is the photography.

Still to be watched:

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
We Bought a Zoo
The Artist
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
The Iron Lady