The best (and worst) films of 2011: Joshua Rothkopf's picks
Ryan Gosling revs into a glorious L.A. noir.
Tue Dec 13 2011
Through a glittering, nighttime Los Angeles—and the terrain of '80s-synth-scored loner cinema—Ryan Gosling steers his way to a neonoir classic.
Not since American Psycho has there been this keen a portrait of NYC excess and our city's special flavor of swanky self-abuse.
3. We Need to Talk About Kevin
When the most fearless actor of her generation, Tilda Swinton, tops herself in a portrait of grief and recrimination, it's indeed worth taking about.
4. 13 Assassins
More than a decade after Audition (and countless misfires), Takashi Miike makes good on his promise with a bold samurai classic.
5. The Trip
This bickering British road comedy is endlessly quotable, but it also contains an affecting glimpse into middle-aged frustration.
Making Shakespeare work onscreen isn't easy; director-star Ralph Fiennes and a perfect cast lend the Bard's warlike tragedy bite.
7. A Separation
The intimate, humane virtues of Iranian cinema reach their apotheosis in Asghar Farhadi's densely plotted divorce drama, a triumph of propulsion.
Two Montreal siblings are drawn into their troubled Middle Eastern heritage in the year's most potent political drama, worthy of Bernardo Bertolucci.
9. My Perestroika
Today's Russia, a shifting post-Soviet landscape of McDonald's and hazy memories of uniformity, comes to life in this vital, moving documentary.
10. Attack the Block
A great American thrill-maker, John Carpenter, is saluted in every frame of Joe Cornish's subversive alien-invasion movie, the most delirious fun of the summer.
It brings me no joy to heap scorn on a movie by Jean-Luc Godard, but he soils his own legacy with this depressing hash of half-baked ideas and sour poses.