With the end of 2011 drawing nigh, as tradition demands, the time comes to sit down and try to remember all the films watched during the year, helped by a couple of generous glasses of moderately priced brandy. All in, 2011 has been a pretty good year for cinema, and while there haven’t quite been standout films to match 2010’s “Confessions” or “I Saw the Devil”, the overall standard has been not too bad. This has been true around the world, with Korea and Japan continuing to churn out strong films and seeing emerging new talent, China finally starting to shift away from identikit period sword epics (if showing an increasing fondness for inadvertently amusing patriotic cameo-fests), and Hollywood managing a respectable number of higher quality blockbusters, with there being a “Super 8” or “Contagion” for every loathsome piece of seemingly deliberate mediocrity like “Captain America”.
My selection for this year, which I’ve decided not to limit to the usual top ten, hopefully reflects this, with films from a variety of genres from all around the globe. I’ve been lucky enough to see almost everything I wanted which came out during 2011, with the one exception of dear old Tom Six’s comically controversy-baiting “The Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence”, mainly due not wanting to view the cut version – a film which might well have ended up either on my list of Best Films or Biggest Disappointments.