The Best Films of 2011
10. Young Adult : After a trio of passable yet unspectacular films, Jason Reitman finally hits one out of the park with this subdued, gleefully cringeworthy character study.
9. Attack the Block: Though a good portion of the dialogue is rendered unintelligible by heavy accents, Attack the Block is nevertheless one of the most innovative and downright exciting sci-fi thrillers to come around in quite some time.
8: Midnight in Paris: Woody Allen offers up what is clearly his best film in ages, with the movie's irresistible time-travel conceit the tip of the iceberg in terms of its pleasures.
7. 50/50: Anchored by Joseph Gordon-Levitt's typically stellar work, 50/50 is that rare comedy/drama that elicits just as many laughs as it does tears from viewers.
6. The Adjustment Bureau: A smart and stylish sci-fi drama, The Adjustment Bureau is often as romantic as it is thrilling.
5. Sarah's Key: A superb adaptation of a superb book, Sarah's Key overcomes an uneven opening half hour to establish itself as an impressively wrenching historical drama.
4. One Day: Criminally overlooked, One Day stands as one of the most engrossing and frequently moving romances to hit theaters in years.
3. Café de flore: This absorbing and utterly audacious drama confirms Jean-Marc Vallée's place as one of the most promising up-and-coming filmmakers working today.
2. Incendies: Denis Villeneuve follows up 2009's stirring Polytechnique with this absolutely jaw-dropping piece of work.
1. In a Better World: There wasn't a single film released in 2011 that engaged me as consistently or moved me as deeply as Susanne Bier's In a Better World. A true masterpiece.
The Worst Films of 2010
10: Melancholia: It just wouldn't be a worst-of list without Lars von Trier, although, to be fair, Melancholia is slightly less interminable than Dogville, Manderlay, and Antichrist. Faint praise indeed.
9. Creature: This utterly incompetent horror effort starts off poorly and only gets worse from there.
8. Just Go With It: Adam Sandler's almost impressive streak of mediocrity hits a new low. (Fair is fair: I haven't, as of this writing, seen Jack and Jill.)
7. Hoodwinked Too: Hood vs. Evil: One of the worst animated films ever released to theaters, Hoodwinked Too: Hood vs. Evil is an absolutely endless mess that is sure to leave small children as bored as adults.
6. Red Riding Hood: An intriguing concept is squandered from the word go by filmmaker Catherine Hardwicke, with the strong performances rendered moot by the ugly visuals and muddled narrative.
5. Hall Pass: The Farrelly brothers hit rock bottom with this misguided and hopelessly unfunny comedy that boasts as unappealing a premise as one can easily recall.
4. Apollo 18: The found footage genre hits a new low with this absolutely interminable waste of time.
3. Meek's Cutoff: Meek's Cutoff may be an accurate retelling of the Old West experience, yet Kelly Reichardt couldn't have emerged with a more dull and pointless endurance test if she tried.
2. Hobo with a Shotgun: Astonishingly amateurish, Hobo with a Shotgun simply never becomes the outlandishly fun endeavor that filmmaker Jason Eisener has intended.
1. Dogtooth: Obnoxious and smug, Dogtooth takes a one-note premise and stretches it to an endless 94 minutes - with the film's critical success nothing short of baffling. One would be hard-pressed to name a more infuriating cinematic experience.