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5 fantastic films



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Updated: February 29, 2012 1:52AM

LOS ANGELES — Associated Press reviewers Christy Lemire and David Germain saw the same films in 2011, but they clearly weren’t seeing the same pictures.

Here are their Top 5 picks.

The top 5 films of 2011, according to AP Movie Critic Christy Lemire:

1. “Martha Marcy May Marlene”: The year’s most haunting film, with a star-making performance from Elizabeth Olsen as a young women who struggles to assimilate to the outside world after fleeing a cult.

2. “50/50”: It’s a comedy about cancer, which would sound like a tricky proposition, but director Jonathan Levine has crafted a film that’s uproariously funny, and he finds just the right tone every time. .

3. “The Myth of the American Sleepover”: No one saw this movie. It was only in theaters for a few weeks and it didn’t even make $40,000. And that is such a shame, because not a single moment rings false in this quietly observant, gently insightful feature debut from writer-director David Robert Mitchell.

4. “The Tree of Life”: Bold, gorgeous, ambitious, self-indulgent, maddening — Terrence Malick’s opus about nothing less than the origin of the universe is all these things and so much more.

5. “Bellflower”: Evan Glodell directed, wrote, co-produced, co-edited and stars in this ultra-low budget film — his first feature — which essentially suggests that getting your heart broken is tantamount to the apocalypse.

The top 5 films of 2011, according to AP Movie Writer David Germain:

1. “The Artist”: Cinema finally is back where it belongs with this boxy, black-and-white, silent gem about a 1920s screen idol whose career is muzzled by the talkies. Director Michel Hazanavicius lets us all in on his wondrous dream, a film whose every moment delights with grand visual tableaux, lush music, ageless performances by Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo and the most adorable dog this cat lover has ever seen.

2. “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”: Gary Oldman makes the role of John le Carre’s spymaster George Smiley completely his own, inhabiting Smiley’s stillness and impenetrability, somehow conveying the man’s subsurface passion while barely twitching a muscle.

3. “Hugo”: If we must have 3-D talking pictures, they all should be held to this standard. Scorsese’s 3-D enfolds viewers in 1930s Paris, letting fans walk right alongside his two child heroes as they restore a bitter old man’s faith and sense of wonder.

4. “Le Havre”: Finnish director Aki Kaurismaki’s simple tale of a French shoeshine guy and an immigrant youth is sly and stealthy. Sweet yet unsentimental, understated yet rich in spirit, the film is populated by old souls who are a joy to watch, led by Andre Wilms as the shoeshiner who steps into the guardian angel role for an African boy who is in France illegally.

5. “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”: Rooney Mara. Wow. It seemed a thankless task to follow Noomi Rapace, the electrifying lone-wolf in the Swedish-language adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s best-seller. But Mara goes deeper and darker with a controlled detonation of a performance in David Fincher’s Hollywood version.


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