Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Films of 2011: Five List Hero Recommendations

The Help
Directed by Tate Taylor
Unashamedly pushes all of the right buttons to create a superbly emotional movie.  It has a strong plot with an even stronger cast.


Directed by Bennett Miller
Brad Pitt has an uncanny knack of choosing great films to star in and this is no exception.  Thankfully, you don't need to know anything about baseball to enjoy this movie as it will have you cheering until the end.  Pitt is accompanied by an excellent cast with great turns from Jonah Hill and Philip Seymour Hoffmann.


The Skin I Live In

Directed by Pedro Almodovar
Spanish veteran Pedro Almodovar serves up possibly the most insane film of 2011 with The Skin I Live In.  As the film jumps back-and-forth from past to present, Almodovar gradually allows us to discover the shocking details of what's been occurring at the home of surgeon Robert Ledgard (played by Antonio Banderas) until we reach what, in my opinion, is one of the most memorable endings of recent times.  The movie won the BAFTA for Best Film Not in the English Language.


The Lincoln Lawyer

Directed by Brad Furman
Cocky, arrogant, but ultimately excellent at his job.  Brad Furman's film adaptation of The Lincoln Lawyer takes us into the ultra-confident world of criminal defense attorney Mickey Haller (played here by Matthew McConaughey).  The film has sharp directing and a smooth soundtrack, leaving the overall effect of a movie almost as slick as the lawyer himself.  The story, originally written by author Michael Connelly, sees Haller take on a case involving spoilt rich boy Louis Roulet (played by spoilt rich boy Ryan Phillipe).  Haller believes that Roulet is innocent but there are a few twists along the way that prove the case to be his biggest test yet.



Directed by Neil Burger
My pleasant surprise of 2011 was a movie that can be considered a Jekyll and Hyde of the 21st Century.  I expected little from Limitless, mainly due to its cock-sure advertising and the fact that I wasn't particularly a fan of Bradley Cooper (following The Hangover and All About Steve).  However, this movie changed my opinion of the actor - from the early scenes when he's an unmotivated writer, to his awakening through drugs, and then when the inevitable problems occur - Cooper is excellent.  He transforms through different emotions and a variety of personalities.  Neil Burger (whose previous work includes 2006's The Illusionist) directs the film with enough flair to keep it interesting and believable throughout, and, come the end, the film leaves you pondering on the question: what would I have done in his shoes?


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