Today: February 28, 2024

Heidi's Choice

Here at Filmjuice a storm has been brewing like a well-timed cup of tea. That storm is the raging debate as to what films were the best of 2011.

Part 4

Here at Filmjuice a storm has
been brewing like a well-timed cup of tea. That storm is the raging
debate as to what films were the best and the worst of 2011.

Strong words
were spoken, harsher words were whispered, Smurfs were thrown and, in one case,
a Drive/ Kill List hammer was raised. A truce was called, hugs were
shared and a weeping rendition of A Real Hero was sung, and a solution found;
each Filmjuice Editor would have their own Best & Worst of 2011 List. So,
without further delay, Ladies and Gentlemenm behold Features Editor Heidi Vella
who kicks off with the final of the FilmJuice team’s Best Films Of
2011

Neds
Peter
Mullin’s first film for eight years was both brutal and compelling in a
way only certain British films can be. Unflinchingly, Mullen delves
into very British themes of class, education and gangs set in a 1970s
Glasgow estate. Unknown actor Conor McCarron is stand-out as the high
achieving Catholic school boy who turns psychotic after he’s spurned by a
middle class family because of his lowly roots. Misplaced in society,
he escapes his lot in life – an alcoholic father and tormenting school
bully – by taking up a fate he’d tried to escape: he becomes a knife
wielding misanthrope who eventually joins the Non-Educated
Delinquents, or Neds. Arbitrary hallucinations involving Jesus Christ
on the cold concrete of a Glasgow estate top this one off as Peter
Mullen’s best film.

Wuthering Heights

Andrea Arnold’s reimagining of Emily Bronte’s only novel, Wuthering
Heights, didn’t quite stay faithful to its source – but it was all the
better for it. Arnold banished stuffy period drama protocol and stripped
Cathy, Heathcliffe and Wuthering Heights to its bare bones. She swapped
class issues for that of race and painted its central tormented
character, Heathcliffe, in a much more flattering light than the novel.
She captured enchanting aspects of nature – a gentle flapping of a
moth’s wings – and juxtaposed these kinder elements of nature with its
more ferocious – a blustery hail storm – reflecting her boisterous and
pensive protagonist’s passion and angst with that of nature’s movements.
This film firmly marks Arnold as an auteur of the 21st century.
Wurthering Heights Review

We Need To Talk About Kevin

Tilda Swinton gives an outstanding performance as the mother of a
Columbine style mass murderer in Lynne Ramsay’s adaptation of Lionel Shriver’s
We Need To Talk About Kevin. Ramsay tells Shriver’s story in a
non-linear narrative so the viewer never gets the full picture until the
very last minute, just like in the book; simultaneously, she cleverly
avoids a straight book to screen adaptation, which would have encouraged
too many comparisons of the two and inevitable criticism. She deploys Almodóvar’s
signature trick of cleverly using colour and food throughout as a
symbol for what’s happened and what’s to come, creating a visual feast
of textures and colour. It’s ultimately an intelligent thriller full of
interesting ideas about motherhood, blame and responsibility.

The Inbetweeners Movie

It may have got negative reviews for making all the obvious moves, but
it’s still laugh-out loud funny and hide between your hands cringe
worthy. Continuing on from the series, friends Neil, Simon, Jay and Will
going on a lads holiday to Magaluf. Did we really expect or want
anything other than bad dancing, crude jokes and watching Neil bag all
the old ladies? Nah. The best surprise of the movie was, however, clunge
imaginer-extraordinaire Jay discovering a penchant for curvy girls and
crying as he left his lady at the airport. Classic.
The Inbetweeners Movie Reivew

Incendies

Besides a nod here and there at a few film festivals this Canadian/
French film about twins who are forced to go on a search for the truth
about their mother’s past, has largely remained under the radar this
year. This is despite it being worthy of a top ten mention. This
multi-layered drama respectfully and poetically deals with war, rape, genocide, courage, family and identity with an exceptional performance from its lead actress Luba Azabal. She
plays a woman who has escaped a tortuous past in what could be Lebanon,
but we’re never really told, left to the conclusion this could be any
Middle Eastern country. Her story begins with the murder
of her refugee lover and ends with her death in Qubec ,where her twin
children are left with the task of discovering who their mother really
was.
Incendies Review

Submarine

Richard
Ayoade’s (Moss from The It Crowd) wistful directional debut was a
pleasant surprise this year. Accompanied by a soundtrack especially
recorded by the Arctic Monkey’s lead singer Alex Turner, Ayoade
amusingly delves into youth angst, love and fickleness on a Welsh
seaside. Oliver is a cerebral and shy teenager whose life changes when
he falls in love with a brusque young girl whose mother is dying of
cancer. Couple this with the fact his own home life isn’t exactly going
swimmingly it leads to many amusing and tender situations. It’s funny,
touching and hilarious in parts.
Submarine Review

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Ram-packed with top British talent such as Gary Oldman, John Hurt and
Colin Firth (to name but a few) and directed by Swedish Thomas
Alfredson, director of the original Let The Right One In, it was
doubtful Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy would be anything
but good – but it’s actually brilliant. Slick, seamless, but never
flashy or false, its intricate plot never loses its way or becomes
tedious. It puts James Bond to shame. Oldman, as usual, is stand-out as
the humble and mild-mannered George Smiley.
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy Review

The King’s Speech
A good year for British
cinema started off with The Kings Speech, which Colin Firth promptly won
an Oscar for. Since that moment what hasn’t been said about
the film? The attention is justly deserved; The King’s Speech was
charming, touching and made the royals appear sincere again. It also
aptly highlighted the creative talent and passion of the British film
industry just as the Tories mercilessly announced the closure of the
British Film Council, from which the film was part funded.

Attack The Block
Who
thought Aliens attacking a South London estate could be so funny?
Turning people’s expectation of gang violence on a gritty London estate
on its head, first time feature director Joe Cornish managed to make a
sci-fi movie that was fresh, laugh out loud funny and could appeal to
all – sci-fi fan or not.
Attack The Block Review

X Men: First Class

Whenever you go and see a prequel to a successful film franchise, you
know your gambling the £10 ticket fee on whether it’s going to be good
or not. Anyone who saw X Men: First Class will surely agree it was money
well spent. Fans find out why Xaviar is in a wheel chair and why the
once best friends are now mortal enemies, but it’s largely down to the
brilliant writing of Jane Goldman, Ashley Miller, Matthew Vaughn and
Zack Stentz that First Class works so well. Casting James McAvoy as
Xavier and Michel Fassbender as Magneto and putting Vaughn behind the
camera helped makes this a brilliant and worth prequel.
X-Men: First Class Review

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