Top Ten Films of 2011

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Hugo 2011,  PG)
As if I thought that Martin Scorsese had already shown all his talents and limits as a filmmaker, he goes and brings the story of Hugo Cabret to the big screen. Scorsese directing a children's tale? Martin Scorsese once again proves that he can do anything and everything. Even a children's tale. And not only do it right, but treat it no differently than he has with any of his other timeless masterpieces. Nothing is ever done so-so with Scorsese, especially with this delicate and meaningful of a story. You can see and feel the love Scorsese has for this particular story.

The story goes, Hugo (Asa Butterfield) was the son of a talented mechanic, we pick up with this mysterious and adventurous boy in a Train Station in Paris where he is secretly running all the clocks on his own. He sneaks around all day and dodges all encounters with the train inspector (Sacha Baron Cohen). Destined to unlock the mystery hidden inside a mechanical object left by his father, Hugo embarks on an adventure searching for a key that will lead him to imagination and love.

This is a film the Academy would be out of there minds to overlook. The wondrous art direction and costumes, Howard Shore's beautiful score, the sound was breathtaking, and Scorsese's direction is as masterful as you can get. Even the performances from Cohen and Kingsley are genuine and as straight out of a book as you can get. Asa Butterfield ("The Boy In Stripped Pajamas") is something very special in "Hugo", truly special. I am always full of praise when a child actor acts better than some adult actors ever could. I will admit that the film does face a slight pacing issue at one point, especially if you are not familiar with the story as I was. However the pacing doesn't ruin anything or offset anything. As the film reaches it's end you begin to feel overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by how unique, and rich, and meaningful this story is to it's storytellers. Scorsese has devoted and committed his life to film, and not only filmmaking, but also preserving and restoring old film that was lost and abandoned. Sitting in tin cans, slowly rusting and decaying over the course of time. Cinema has touch so many people's hearts in so many ways that to some it is an indescribable feeling that words almost don't seem to do it justice. Scorsese, being in the position he's in today, happens to show through his motion pictures. Hugo is prime A example of the love some of us have in going to the movies. Going to the movies is suppose to be a richly unique experience, a memory which is imprinted right off the screen and into embedded into you most chariest memories. Unlike skating rinks which were huge and now are not needed as much anymore. Cinemas remain palaces to many, and it's movies like "Hugo" a film of pure imagination, the most purest kind are the reminder of why cinemas, over a hundred years after there birth, still exist and are still needed in today's world. One of the year's best films.
The Tree of Life 2011,  PG-13)
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 2011,  R)
The Descendants 2011,  R)
War Horse 2011,  PG-13)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 2011,  PG-13)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2
The end is here. It almost impossible to believe that a series I was in the mix with at the very beginning has new meaning to me over the past ten years. I am not a Harry Potter fan, because I don't get into it like the millions of Potter fans out there do. I am however a film buff. I've grown to love and connect with the film's characters, a group of lovable misfits and daredevils that it is now sad to imagine another Christmas or summer without them.

Let me start by recapping the Harry Potter films.There was never a Potter film that I did not like, they have all earned a three star rating and some a three and half and even a four star rating. The 1st Potter film in my eyes is still the weakest of them all, which made it difficult to jump on broad the Potter series right away. However, you can't skip one of these films, even the 1st film is vital to the whole Harry Potter story which is why I still enjoy the film. It wasn't until "The Chamber of Secrets" when I saw the direction the series was heading, and the possibility of it being great fun and a well worth wild franchise. "Prisoner of Azkaban" continued to surprise me with the series stepping into darker waters while still being a kid friendly film. Then came "Goblet of Fire", the HP film that I went head over heels for. I still love "Goblet of Fire" very much. It is an excellent portrayal of the turn of events in the series and change in the film's characters. It is the point of the series where characters start drifting away from childhood and begin to enter into a more coming of age. "Order of the Phoenix" was a step down in the Potter films in my book. Still a good film, but it was a difficult challenge to top HP3 and especially HP4. One major problem I had with the film is that it is the only Potter film to not be penned by screenwriter Steve Kloves, and I could instantly see that in the film's structure. It was also the first Potter film to be directed by David Yates who I wasn't very thrilled with right away after seeing "Phoenix", but like I said I still enjoyed the film for what it had to offer. "Half-Blood Prince" was a step up for me with David Yates, however I still was not convinced with him being the final director, nor was I convinced that HP would ever again reach the level of greatness I saw in "Goblet of Fire". Then came "The Deathly Hallows: Part 1", a film I walked into with mild expectations, and I was blown right out of my mind with. It was the best Potter film I had seen, and was one of the top 5 best films of the year! "Deathly Hallows: Part 1" is a complete and total breakaway from the normal Potter story formal, which I absolutely loved! Suspenseful, thrilling with the characters in their strongest portrayals. To me I love the do-or-die build up in a series. The moments where things feel like they are collapsing with no possibility of hope in sight. Most film series with the same continuing story have these moments, "The Lord of The Rings", "Star Wars", "Pirates of the Caribbean", even "The Matrix trilogy". "The Deathly Hallows: Part 1" was done to almost pure perfection.

Now we come to "Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows: Part 2", a finale I was already walking into with high expectations, thanks to "Deathly Hallows: Part 1". My expectations were met. The cinema magic of "The Deathly Hallows" is that while each part is only half of it's book source. They truly feel as if each one were based on a whole book.

"The Deathly Hallows: Part 2" picks up immediately following the tragic end of "Part 1" and before the audience knows it we are heading straight into the battle for Hogwarts, where anything goes and anyone can die. Harry and his dearest friends continue their quest to find and destroy Voldemort's horcrux's, which is the only way to destroy the dark lord once and for all. A quest which is constantly met with pain, suffering, and hardship, but also strengthen and friendship. "The Deathly Hallows: Part1" was an excellent portrayal of the three main characters coming together and laying down their lives (as usual) to fight this final battle. "The Deathly Hallows: Part 2" is an excellent portrayal of everyone laying down their lives to come together to fight evil. We see characters and even places that we haven't seen since the first two films, and here we are on HP7: Part 2. There is no need for introductions or reminders of what these places are what happened at these locations to make them important. Having seen all the previous Potter films, I knew and remember all the locations and characters and was thrilled to be back in places that I though I would never revisit and to see characters I hadn't seen in a long time. That is why it is crucial to see all the films in this series, and in order.

David Yates once again has me convinced that he was truly ideal to film the this final chapter in the Harry Potter series. With dazzling special effects, outstanding cinematography from Eduardo Serra, another beautiful film score from Alexandre Desplat, and once more a final great job of Steve Kloves in adapting J.K. Rowling's novel to film, especially this time. The strongest point in the whole film once again isn't in it's action or it's showdown, it's in the scene of showing the all the vital connections that where leading to this final conclusion. Connections made all the way to the very beginning of the series and along the way.

What marked the Harry Potter series so special to me was that when you walked into a new film you already knew the characters, minus the new ones of that story. These are characters that we have grown side-by-side with for ten years. Now it is time to find a new set of characters to grow along side with. Something I don't see happening for quite some time, and that is why so many are so sad to see the franchise come to an end. At least in my eyes that's why.

"Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows: Part 2" is a beautiful and wonderful franchise film, bringing a sad and a very emotional closure to a group of characters we have loved and related to for the past decade. It is the final bow of an amazing and very talented cast of actors and actress, as well as an amazing film crew. I do admit that "Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows: Part 1" is still my favorite. However, "The Deathly Hallows Part 2" is more than I could ever ask and look for in a film franchise's conclusion. This is one of the year's best films, and one of the best final conclusions to a franchise I have ever seen!
The Artist 2011,  PG-13)
Rango 2011,  PG)
Midnight in Paris 2011,  PG-13)
Drive 2011,  R)
The Adventures of Tintin 2011,  PG)

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