5 Favourite Films of 2011:
- The Trip (dir. Michael Winterbottom) - Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon play sort of themselves in a semi-scripted not-quite road trip as they travel the North of England in the bleak (and beautiful) mid-winter, dining at restaurants and 'critiquing' the food - "the tomato soup was tomatoey. And soupy." - while arguing over who does the best Michael Caine impressions. What could be better? Not a lot. This homesick-inducing film would have to be my favourite of the year.
- Midnight in Paris (dir. Woody Allen) Woody Allen directs Americans in Paris in a time-tripping romantic comedy with a clear love of the city throughout the ages, including the present.
- Too Big to Fail (dir. Curtis Hanson) Excellent - great acting, snappy dialogue and a huge issue: focussing on the Lehman Brothers' bankruptcy and the subsequent global financial meltdown. It is delivered with intelligence and dignity, bravely putting forward both sides of the argument.
- Limitless (dir. Neil Burger) If you could take an unauthorised drug that would lead you to be smarter and better at everything without knowing the consequences, would you? Of course you would. What happens when the consequences catch up with you? Bradley Cooper may or may not find out in this smart sci-fi thriller with several twists.
- The First Grader (dir. Justin Chadwick) Beautifully shot although entirely predictable film about an 84-year-old man attempting to go to primary school in Kenya, to take advantage of the new free education system. If you allow yourself to be swept up in the emotion, you will be moved even if you are manipulated.