Jonathan Melville: I’ve enjoyed cinema heaven in 2011

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WITH the Internet Movie Database suggesting that around 8000 films were released in 2011, seeing even a fraction of those was always going to be tricky.

While Hollywood continued to churn out forgettable action flicks, CGI cartoons and a few Jennifer Aniston efforts, some gems did manage to make their way out of development hell and on to our screens.

Trying to come up with a list of my favourite 2011 films took some debate, discussion and deliberation but I finally whittled them down to the following five:

1. Drive: Grabbing my attention in its tense opening moments, Drive felt like a 1940s film noir updated to present day, with a few car chases thrown in to please the multiplex crowd. I’m already planning multiple re-watches on Blu-ray.

2. The Artist: What could have been merely a gimmick – this is a silent, black and white, movie set in 1920s Hollywood – turned out to be one of the most memorable films of 2011. Go see it from tomorrow.

3. Animal Kingdom: Family values come under the microscope in this terrific Aussie crime thriller. Ben Mendelsohn is hypnotic as Pope while Jacki Weaver is the granny from hell.

4. Bridesmaids: Kristen Wiig’s chaotic comedy managed to be rude without being overly crude, touching rather than mawkish and laugh-out-loud funny in all the right places. Comedy of the year.

5. Take Shelter: This low-budget apocalyptic drama stood out for both its measured pacing and Michael Shannon’s performance as Curtis. Proving himself to be one of the finest actors working today, Shannon ensured Take Shelter made it into this top five.

Did I miss your favourite film of 2011? Let me know your top five on Twitter at @jon_melville.

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