We pick the best movies of the year. 2011 was a decent but not an outstanding year for movies. This was a year of huge CGI spectacles and low-budget gems. While nearly all movie critics pick the top 10 best movies of the year, we prefer to rank the year’s best according to their respective category.
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
Director Brad Bird put the mission back into Mission: Impossible. Ghost Protocol proves that you don’t need over-the-top CGI to make an exciting action movie. However, it helps to dangle Tom Cruise outside of the tallest building in the world. Runner-up: Fast Five.
Crazy, Stupid, Love
Midnight in Paris
Take Me Home Tonight
Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family
In a year of gross-out comedies, Woody Allen’s charming Midnight in Paris reminds us that the conventional adult comedy may be dying but it’s not dead. Runner-up: Bridesmaids.
The Ides of March
In the Land of Blood and Honey
Water for Elephants
The Help may have the best dramatic performances of the year but no drama captures the scope and overall historical importance of America’s troubled past like Clint Eastwood’s J. Edgar. Runner-up: Hugo.
We Bought a Zoo
You’d be hard pressed to find a more solid dramedy this year than 50/50. Joseph Gordon-Levitt delivers a surprisingly honest portrayal of a new cancer patient working through the stages of grief. Runner-up: The Artist.
Paranormal Activity 3
Insidious is creepy, unsettling and nightmare inducing. What else can you ask for? Runner-up: Paranormal Activity 3.
The Adjustment Bureau
Attack the Block
Captain America: The First Avenger
I Am Number Four
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
X-Men: First Class
You don’t have to be a mutant to enjoy X-Men: First Class. This well-written prequel tells the story of Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr before they became sworn enemies and chess competitors. Runner-up: Super 8.
The Devil’s Double
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
The Lincoln Lawyer
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
Director Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive is a gritty crime thriller that unsuspectingly draws in the viewer with each and every frame. Ryan Gosling’s performance is among the year’s best. Runner-up: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
The Adventures of Tintin
Kung Fu Panda 2
Puss In Boots
The Adventures of Tintin, Steven Spielberg’s first animated movie, isn’t perfect but it’s definitely a breakthrough. Actor Andy Serkis is the king of CG-animated performance capture and Peter Jackson’s Weta Workshop advances the technique. Runner-up: Rango.
Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop
Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel
Forks Over Knives
George Harrison: Living in the Material World
Page One: Inside The New York Times
POM Wonderful Presents The Greatest Movie Ever Sold
George Harrison was so much more than just a Beatle. Martin Scorsese’s intriguing documentary George Harrison: Living in the Material World covers everything from Harrison’s musical influence on The Beatles’ later years to his involvement in the film industry. Runner-up: Tabloid.