Friday, 16 December 2011

[525] The Underappreciated Film Gems of 2011

It's the end of the year! Time for retrospective lists and features. This year, Den of Geek have changed the system for their 'film of the year' vote. Previously, writers could submit their top five, along with an accompanying paragraph explaining their choices. This meant I could rabbit on about any sort of flick I'd enjoyed, but knew the Geeks-at-large wouldn't pick.

This year, the top fives have been collected, and conformed into a general top ten, with each entry getting their own article next week. This left a lot of stellar choices languishing on the voting room floor. Thankfully, the editing bods decided to give many of these films their own list, under the 'Underappreciated Gems' tag. In my opinion, it's a far more interesting list. Well, I would say that, as I contributed 250 words about Midnight In Paris, one of my favourite films of the year.

See what I said below, or click through to the full article here. It's full of films I've seen and loved this year, and some I've shamefully missed. Tune in next week for the top ten.

It’s surprising that more hasn’t been made of this, but this year two old film masters - Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese - both made rhapsodic odes to 1920s Paris. And, even more so, 2011 saw Scorsese, ever faithful in terms of quality, beaten by his fellow bespectacled New Yorker.

Unencumbered by Hugo’s CGI, 3D and two-hour runtime, Midnight In Paris is Allen’s breeziest, funniest and most charming film in decades. Its pseudo-fantasy set-up is established with the most economic of storytelling, as Owen Wilson’s neurotic hack, adrift in the French capital, is whisked away in a vintage car by F Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. From there, it’s smooth sailing, as Allen peppers the film with pitch-perfect cameos from a host of Jazz Age Parisians, from the braggadocio of Corey Stoll’s Hemingway, to the surreal trio of Dalí, Buñuel, and Man Ray.

The film has the whimsy, wit and existential themes of the director’s best work, and can sit proudly next to The Purple Rose Of Cairo, Radio Days and Bullets Over Broadway in the perky, period sub-section of his oeuvre. But what makes Midnight In Paris stand out is that, after two decades where Allen’s comedy films became increasingly kitsch, broad and forced, he manages to capture that old, familiar, incessant humour once more - where laughs are not hard-won, but easily given.

Read the full article here.

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