There are numerous inherent flaws and absurdities in the process of compiling Top 10s and Best ofs; nonetheless, here are my favorite films released in Los Angeles in the calendar year 2011. In my version of this imperfect exercise, “favorite” is almost (but not exactly) congruent with “best.”
Some years it’s tough to scrape up 10 films worth mentioning; other years it’s tough to cut the worthy list down to a mere 10. This year, I’m glad to say, was one of the latter. So I’m going to segregate animation and documentaries to shoehorn in a few extras.
Before you curse me for not even mentioning your No. 1 choice, remember that there were 600+ movies that opened locally this year. I diligently saw a few hundred ... which means I still missed another few hundred, including some that you (or someone else) considered “must-sees.”
The range of genres and scale make some comparisons ludicrous: Do I choose “Tree of Life” over “Rango”? “Rubber” over “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol”? As a result, my list has been (and continues to be) constantly in flux. What follows is a snapshot as of my copy deadline:
1. “Melancholia” (Lars von Trier)
2. “The Artist” (Michel Hazanavicius)
3. “The Tree of Life” (Terrence Malick)
4. “The Trip” (Michael Winterbottom)
5. “Hugo” (Martin Scorsese)
6. “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” (David Fincher)
7. “Certified Copy” (Abbas Kiarostami)
8. “Carnage” (Roman Polanski)
9. “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol” (Brad Bird)
10. “Rubber” (Quentin Dupieux)
Best animated feature: “Rango” (Gore Verbinski)
Best documentary: “Pom Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold” (Morgan Spurlock)
Other titles that have gone on and off my list include “Midnight in Paris” (Woody Allen), “The Guard” (John Michael McDonagh), “Le Havre” (Aki Kaurismaki), “The Descendants” (Alexander Payne), “Tyrannosaur” (Paddy Considine), “Point Blank” (Fred Cavaye) and “Attack the Block” (Joe Cornish).
Finally, three of the most ambitious, off-the-wall movies I encountered deserve mention, even though none got a full release: “Mr. Nobody” (Jaco Van Dormael), “Love Exposure” (Shion Sono) and “The Last Circus” (Alex de la Iglesia).
-- Andy Klein