My Top Five Films of 2011

I think it’s been quite a good year for decent films, and when I first sat down to compile the list, I had selected 9 films as being in contention. Narrowing it down to 5 was tricky, and I’m sorry to Blue Valentine which ended up being relegated to 6th spot.

So without further ado, here are the votes from the Manchester jury:

Number 5

Animal Kingdom

Dysfunctional family personified. Gritty but fascinating Australian film following events in the life of a teenage boy, envelopped by his gangster family after the death of his mother. Not an easy watch, but worth the effort.

Number 4

Norwegian Wood

At the time, I wrote that this Japanese film was a “…very beautiful, at times achingly sad look at grief, guilt and growing up”. It’s raw, and haunting, and worth a viewing.

Number 3

Source Code

I do like a high-concept movie, and this was an easy choice for my top five. A fast pace and a plot that keeps you thinking from beginning to end – what’s not to like! Director Duncan Jones made one of my favourite films of this century (Moon) and I can’t wait to see what he has lined up next.

Number 2

The Skin I Live In

Almodovar on top form again.  A friend of mine just described this film as ‘heavy going’, but I didn’t feel that at all. The humour punctuated the seriousness perfectly, and the underlying bizarreness of the story is presented so stylishly, I found it impossible not to love every minute of it!

Number 1


I’m not alone in raving about this film this year and yes, it is a documentary. But it is also an extraordinary piece of story-telling, about an extraordinary man. Pieced together entirely from pre-existing footage, it’s a film I have recommended to everyone (probably more than once!).  I nominated it as “best film seen this year” when I saw it at the beginning of June, and it has remained there ever since. Put in on your DVD list, and enjoy!


I’d love to know what you liked this year, and if you agreed with my choices.  Happy New Year! 

The worst films I’ve seen in 2011

Now then, I am aware that some of these choices have been hailed elsewhere as excellent films, and one has even won an Oscar.

But this is a personal reflection, so here are the films I have bitterly regretted parting with money to sit through this year.

Number 5


Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer and a dog. I had no interest in any of the main characters, and described it as ‘an emotionless rom-com’.

Number 4

Black Swan

Natalie Portman won an Oscar for this, and I just laughed all the way through. Apparently it’s not a comedy.

Number 3


I really do heart Matt Damon, but even he couldn’t redeem this film. It’s ridiculous from beginning to end, and I don’t know why he did it because he sure as hell can’t need the money.

Number 2

The Green Hornet

I was so bored watching this that I couldn’t even be bothered to write my review. What on earth was I thinking?

Number 1

The Deep Blue Sea

I don’t think I’ve come across one poor review of this film. And yet it was far and away the most awful, self-indulgent clap-trap I have seen in a long time. I disliked both of the main characters intensely.  I wanted to slap her, and tell her to grow up and get over herself.  I wanted to walk away from him and never see him again. Dreadful, dreadful, dreadful. I want my money back. And the two hours I spent in front of the screen. You get the picture.


So there you have them.  Feel free to comment, argue, disagree etc, or let me know the worst film you saw in 2011.  Top 5 tomorrow!

5 films I wanted to see this year

In trying to decide on the best and worst films that I’ve seen this year, it occurred to me that there are a few which I wanted to see which may have challenged for a slot in the top 5.  

So here (in alphabetical order) are five films that I didn’t get round to seeing this year. But I will. Soon.

Dreams of a Life – because I almost saw it last week, but decided it wasn’t really what I wanted to see at Christmas.

Drive – because I like Ryan Gosling. His Blue Valentine almost made it into my top 5.

The Guard – because everyone I know who’s seen it says it’s really funny and worth a view.

Tyrannosaur – because it had limited release but a whole load of postive reviews.

We Need To Talk About Kevin – because clearly it’s a film that needs to be seen.

Watch out for my worst 5 films of 2011 tomorrow.