Top Ten Movies of 2011 — Number Six

There are human tragedies that are ultimately too enormous to be captured onscreen, but that, of course, doesn’t mean filmmakers should stop trying. Because sometimes, just often enough, they succeed in capturing some small slice of the unthinkable, some glimpse of the appalling capacity of human beings to treat the other members of their vast global tribe as if they were unthinking, unfeeling creatures for no other reason that the brief acquisition of the power to do so. Director Lu Chuan’s City of Life and Death plunges into the darkness of the Nanjing Massacre, a crime against humanity perpetrated on … Continue reading Top Ten Movies of 2011 — Number Six

Top Ten Movies of 2011 – Number Nine

My favorite moment in Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive–the moment that encapsulates everyone that’s special about this reinvention of the old-school action movie–isn’t especially iconic or gripping in a conventional way. It’s not the elevator attack or some burst of shocking violence perpetrated by the main villain. Instead, it’s the moment, in the midst of a tense car pursuit when Ryan Gosling’s character, billed in the credits only as “Driver,” evades his adversary in the other car by simply pulling into a darkened corner in the brick and steel canyons of the city, cutting the lights and killing the engine. The … Continue reading Top Ten Movies of 2011 – Number Nine

Top Ten Movies of 2011 – Number Ten

It really seemed that Errol Morris had decided to devote his considerable talents as a documentary filmmaker to heavier, deeply important fare, never again to revisit the sort of offbeat stories and individuals that he originalyl made his name with in nineteen-seventies films such as Gates of Heaven and Vernon, Florida. Maybe after immersing himself if the self-defeating circular logic of Robert McNamara in discussing the debacle of the Vietnam war and, perhaps even more disheartening, the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison, Morris knew he needed something lighter, weirder, flintier. He couldn’t have found a better subject for a change … Continue reading Top Ten Movies of 2011 – Number Ten