Better Late Than Never: A Look Back At The 23 Best Films of 2011

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Finally, an extensive look at my Top 23 Films of 2011 and why. ‘But it’s February?’, I hear you ask. I know, I know, I’ve been slack, ok! Better late than never I say. And besides, the list kept changing! Before we begin, I ask that you please forgive the fact that some of the writing will seem pre-dated. I began putting this particular blog together well over a month ago (yikes). Off we go then, Thisfilmisonners! (more…)

Sundance 2012 Round Up

The Sundance Film Festival has the honour of being the first major festival of the New Year and also lands in the middle of awards season, when the conversation is focused on last year’s most important films. This could be considered a blessing, especially for those who are promoting new material whilst getting lauded for previous work, but it could also be quite distracting as the Oscar nominees proceeded to land in the middle of the festival diverting attention away.

So, let’s take a break from the awards season fare and look at what might feature in next year’s race or what either way will be hitting screens later this year. The nine films that I have chosen to showcase stood out for a variety of reasons and include comedy, drama and documentary. I have not seen trailers for any of these movies and was drawn to them because of the cast, the story and from festival buzz.

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The Descendants Review

Supposedly, George Clooney has wanted to work with Alexander Payne since 2004. Back when Payne was crafting his first Oscar winner Sideways, it’s reported that Gorgeous George declared his interest in the role of Jack. Payne did the unthinkable, rebuffing Clooney in favour of a lesser known actor and the role eventually fell to Thomas Hayden Church. Church knocked it out of the park and went on to collect a well deserved Oscar nomination in the process. Whether or not Clooney could have pipped Morgan Freeman to the 2005 award we’ll never know but, one thing’s for sure, he’s the man to beat in 2011.
happy family
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Blu-ray Preview: 30/1/2012

Unlike last week’s parade of mostly bland box office dead weight, this week sees a number of highly anticipated new Blu-ray releases. With numerous quality titles for your delectation, the end of January could bring with it some financial difficulties for those of us with a pathological need to ‘collect’.

First up this week is Nicholas Winding Refn’s 70’s throwback Drive.
Ryan Gosling - Poster boy
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Academy Award Nominations Preview + Predictions

Usually, in this first paragraph I tend to waffle on about prediction techniques and voting bodies. In fact, I wrote a few paragraphs about just that last night, but tablets being tablets, somehow my draft wasn’t saved. Be thankful, faithful reader, as it really was just a load of fanboy/voting body waffle. I’m waffling, aren’t I?

I only ask that you remember what makes the Academy Awards so prestigious and so exciting. They are voted for by the most qualified of filmmaking specialists, all of which have either won or have been nominated for an Academy Award themselves. On top of that, they are peers to every nominee that will be announced tomorrow afternoon in Los Angeles. And as many acceptance speeches in February will acknowledge, there’s no greater honour in film than being recognised by your peers.

Before I unveil my (I’d like to think educated) predictions to you here, exclusively on Thisfilmison.com, I’d just like to raise the point that I personally feel it has been an especially exceptional year for filmmaking. In Hollywood, and as far as Iran, stories have been told in the most beautiful fashions throughout the last 12 months. So much so that my Top Ten list had to be expanded to a Top 25 just to be able to recognise the films that I felt were the best. Twenty-damn-five, which is part of the reason that I haven’t published it yet. It will surface soon, in depth, I promise you.

On to the serious business though. Deserved films and performances will be acknowledged tomorrow, and some will be left out. The ugly truth is that there just isn’t room for everyone, which sad as that may be, does make for an extremely tense and incredibly exciting ten minutes as the Academy prepares to unveil their annual nominations. Without further ado…

oscar
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Golden Globes Preview

Finally, the first big night of awards season is upon us. The critics associations have more or less had their say, and it’s been wide open. Even with ‘The Artist’ claiming the majority of the buzz at the moment, it’s still anybody’s award to win, in almost every category. Prestige that seemed secured only a month ago has been scattered to the wind as latecomers like ‘War Horse’ and ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’ have fought tooth and nail to find themselves smack dab in the middle of the tightest overall race in a fair few years. The latter providing an unexpected Directors’ Guild nomination for David Fincher and as a result thrusting ‘Tattoo’ into the Best Picture…erm…picture.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association have included more than a fair share of heavyweight productions in their nominations for their two Best Picture categories, and also given true, quality comedies a chance to shine this year in the form of ’50/50′ and ‘Bridesmaids’. With all to play for, and excellence oozing in every category, let’s have a look at how things could prospectively pan out from 0100 GMT, a time of night familiar to all you awards buzz-heads.

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“We just come from a bad place.” – a look at Steve McQueen’s ‘Shame’

Over the last few years or so, it seems that the meaning of taboo has gotten lost. For the most part, we have become desensitised to extreme violence and sexual content. Hell, violence is becoming forever sexualised, with sex being occasionally and manipulatively violencised (I’m not the first person on the internet to ever use that word before). And religion? You can pretty much say or depict it in any way you please without hardly offending anyone, it seems. That infamous scene in 1971′s ‘Straw Dogs’ has become entirely socially irrelevant. In fact, not only has it been all but forgotten about, it’s been remade this past year to the sound of little controversy. Where a certain film’s graphic scenes of torture once ignited conversation about how they made us squirm, we all now laugh at the many sequels that followed, praising the most creative ways in which a filmmaker can take a life. So what is left to shock us? What is left to challenge our principles and arouse what is left of our senses?

shame

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Jean Dujardin: Is History On His Side?

There’s been substantial debate amongst my peers and I, as to whether or not Jean Dujardin could actually win the Best Actor Oscar. As we await this years nominations it’s safe to say he’s going to be up against it. If the Golden globes are anything to go by he’s likely to be up against five of the biggest names in the business. Whilst Dujardin should walk the Globes only ‘Comedy Musical category’ when the Academy inevitably make their selection from the Globes’ ten, the Frenchman is going to have to userp one of either Clooney, Pitt, DiCaprio, Gosling or Fassbender in order to make the final five. It’s a tough ask but it made me curious about just how often international performances are recognised by the academy. What follows is the fruits of my diligent labour which I have collated for your statistical pleasure.
Dujardin at Cannes

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The Artist – Review

It would seem that contemporary Hollywood’s current love affair with the silent era isn’t going away anytime soon. Following on from last years Hugo, a love letter from Scorsese to pioneer Georges Méliès, this weekend sees the release of Michel Hazanavicius’ The Artist.
Valentin and Miller

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2012: An Alternative Preview

With the new year just around the corner every movie mag, website and jaded film studies graduate will be spouting off about which films you should be getting excited about next year. In my extensive (read ‘not very extensive’) research, most articles seem to be understandably focussing on the same five or six movies (Spiderman, Hobbit, Avengers, Prometheus, Hunger Games, Dark Knight etc). Here at This Film Is On however, we like to do things a bit differently (Just look at Owen’s beard). So, with all this in mind here’s five films that you’ve probably already heard about but have hopefully forgotten about.
2012
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