Friday, 2 March 2012

February Films Part 2: The top 9

 After yesterday's list of the other nine films I watched this month, it's time for the top nine!  Bookended by two great foreign films and featuring two unique and funny takes on the superhero genre, it has been an incredible month for my film watching.  I love every one of these films.  Don't be surprised if quite a few of them turn up on my 'Best of 2011' list when I finally get round to making it.  And there's at least one that might end up on my 'Best of 2012' list.  Please enjoy and don't be afraid to criticise, agree or generally sound off in the comments section below.  Thanks as always for taking the time to read, skim or get involved!

9. Cell 211 (Daniel Monzon, 2011)

Riddled with ridiculous plot elements but very tense and well-acted, this prison and politics thriller is great entertainment as long as you can switch off your plot-hole detecting area of the brain.  When the new guard gets stuck behind bars in a prison riot on his first day on the job, he must pretend to be a prisoner or face the wrath of the vicious, angry mob that are protesting their treatment at the hands of the corrupt, brutal guards.  Sounds silly?  It is but it handles the tension and action superbly with a great idea that isn’t afraid to make the odd political point.

8. Hesher (Spencer Susser, 2011)

Joseph Gordon-Levitt takes the reins from Rainn Wilson and becomes the unhinged nutter after Wilson’s ‘Super’ anti-hero.  This time Wilson is the depressed Dad of a boy who is in need of his father back after the death of the wife/mother.  Hesher (JGL) comes into their life with long hair, Metallica on the stereo, clothes that need washing and plonks himself on their sofa in his underpants.  It’s as weird as it sounds but thoroughly enjoyable and unique.

7. Chronicle (Josh Trank, 2012)

It’s a superhero spin on the tired ‘found footage’ formula.  When three high school dudes discover ‘something’ underground, they suddenly develop powers of telekinesis.  One of the teens is weird kid Andrew who likes to film everything and has a few anger issues.  Climaxing with a creatively shot smack down that flies, explodes and rips through a city on a meager budget, Chronicle is a very impressive directorial debut.

6. Super (James Gunn, 2011)

Shut up crime!  Mentally unstable Rainn Wilson puts on a costume and starts battering baddies when his girl (Liv Tyler) leaves him for a smarmy drug dealing prick (Kevin Bacon).  It’s hilariously OTT with a couple of lovably psychotic performances from Wilson and sidekick Ellen Page.  Dark, violent and bloody funny!

5. Crazy, Stupid, Love (Glenn Ficara, John Requa, 2011)

Surprisingly sweet and funny rom-com with a stand-out turn from Ryan Gosling and great performances from all the leads (Steve Carrell, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone).  When Moore decides to divorce Carrell, he hooks up with serial shagger Gosling for a series of man-dates to learn the art of seduction.  It all leads to a hilarious confrontation of characters in love with other characters, secrets being disclosed and surprising relationships revealed.  Clever, funny and sweet, it’s the best rom-com I’ve seen since (500) Days of Summer.

 4. Everything Must Go (Dan Rush, 2011)

Will Ferrell excels in a serious role.  After losing his wife, job and house, Ferrell takes to sitting in the front yard amongst the belongings his wife has left him with.  Sinking back into alcoholism, he encounters a number of sweet but troubled characters that in their own ways need his help as much as he needs theirs.  Not much happens but it’s beyond charming and Ferrell show’s another side to his lovable persona.

3. Carnage (Roman Polanski, 2012)

Middle class couples at war over brawling boys.  Hilarity ensues once the alcohol flows.  Very stagey but gifted with perfect performances from a brilliant cast.  Put Kate Winslet and Jodie Foster in any movie together and I'd pay to see the fireworks.  Add in John C. Reilly and Christph Waltz and keep the entire cast virtually in one room for the entirety and you have a recipe for success.

2. Tyrannosaur (Paddy Considine, 2011)

Paddy Considine impresses with a directorial debut of staggering power.  An alcoholic meets a sweet charity shop worker who is grappling with her own demons.  Harsh, realistic and unforgettable.  Olivia Colman and Peter Mullan are outstanding with power house performances gifted by an excellent script.  Eddie Marsan delivers another astonishing bastard.

1. In a Better World (Susanne Bier, 2011)

Best film of the month.  Oscar winning Danish film directed by Suzanne Bier that follows two bullied boys as they stand up to anyone they feel oppressed by.  Meanwhile one of the boys’ fathers is a doctor in Africa dealing with the repercussions of a brutal, psychotic warlord who mutilates the locals.  Dealing with violence, revenge, death and despair, it’s brilliantly acted with a couple of perfect central performances from the two young boys.  The adults are just as convincing and the story builds towards unbearably tense confrontations and an explosive climax.  Brilliant.

So now you know what I think.  But who really cares about that?  What do YOU think of these films and my ranking?  What's the best the film you saw this month?