BEST PICTURE 2011
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
The final installment of a series has to be the most important. All of the story elements build to the grand finale. It must hit all of the story elements and reach an emotional catharsis or it will be a let down. Thankfully Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2 delivers on all fronts. For most of the series we've known that Harry has been marked as the chosen one. But all answers are revealed and the dark and terrible secret of Harry's life comes forth. The film begins with a calm scene by the sea, but that belies the breakneck pace found in the rest of the piece. There is so much story to get through that director David Yates takes the movie full throttle about 20 minutes in and then never lets up. Will the trio of Harry, Ron, and Hermione find the remaining Horcruxes? Will Harry fulfill his destiny? Who will live and die? And Will Ron and Hermione finally admit their affection? But as great as the ensemble cast is, the film turns on 3 performances. The first is Radcliffe himself. This was the most emotionally harrowing part of Harry's journey. Like Frodo at the Crack of Doom, this is simultaneously his highest and lowest point. Radcliffe captures Harry's utter terror at what lays before him, which makes his courage in the face of that fear all the more powerful. The second is Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort. Up until this point he has been the perfect embodiment of evil. And yet as he begins to feel is impending peril, Fiennes allows us to see the Dark Lord's vulnerability almost to the point of pity. And finally there is Alan Rickman as Severus Snape. I shall write more on this later, but suffice to say his moments in the movie never disappoint. All in all, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2 is a fond and glorious end to the 10-year-journey we've all taken with the Boy Who Lived.
Green Lantern – I know I am in the vast minority in my affection for this movie. But I will defend it up and down as one of the most fun superhero movies of the year.
The Way – A beautiful story about fathers and sons, strangers and friends.
Of Gods and Men – I don't think I've ever seen such a Catholic movie, not in terms of preachiness (which it strangely does not do), but immerses you in the richness of monastic liturgy and life.
Rango – Not only is this funny, but it has a such a wonderful hero's arch. Not to mention the movie is gorgeous in its graphics