The Velvet Café

A room for thoughts about movies

My top ten list of the summer 2011

with 20 comments

Joel over at Deny Everything made a list of his top ten of the summer of 2011 and this inspired me to make one of my own.

Candidates for the list were movies that I watched during the period June 1 to August 31 in a cinema. This means that for instance Dogtooth and Source Code qualify for the list because they had their release in Sweden this summer, even if they’ve been launched previously in other parts of the world.

1. Dogtooth
Creepy and fascinating about a family living in complete isolation from the world. The film opens for different interpretations. Some say it’s about the politics of Greece. I watched it more from a personal, psychological level. If the parents put up arbitrary, artifical limits, don’t we do the same to ourselves? We believe whatever false idea of fear and defeat that comes into our minds rather than challenging them. Our barriers are just as imaginary as the walls surrounding the garden in Dogtooth. But again: I suppose you could also watch it just like a sort of horror movie. In any case, it resembled to nothing I’ve seen before.

2. Incendies
A tragedy that grabbed me all way through.

3. Melancholia
Lars von Trier is not everyone’s cup of tea, but I was quite shaken up after watching this movie. Kirsten Dunst was wonderful as the depressed Justine and some of the images of Earth on a collision course with the planet Melancholia were breathtaking. I loved the low-tech approach. You don’t need a chaotic NASA control room to create the tension. All it takes is a small piece of steel wire. It was unfortunate about von Trier’s odd behaviour at Cannes and the overreactions to it, which stole the attention from the movie as such.

4. Beginners
I cried.

5. Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows 2
A worthy end to the series, which brought back some personal memories.

6. Submarine
It made me laugh, which is a tricky thing to do since I’m grumpy and picky when it comes to comedy.

7. The Tree of Life
While parts of it were a bit over my head and I encountered some difficulties to stay awake, the cosmic scenes and the score mesmerized me.

8. Hanna
Highly paced, thoroughly enjoyable as long as you didn’t make the mistake to start thinking about it.

9. Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Motion capture > ape costumes. And we all need to learn how to deliver a proper “no”. I enjoyed it a lot.

10. Source Code
I love time-travel themed movies. This wasn’t the best one ever, but deserves a spot on my ten-top list for the summer.

Additional notes
Two movies ended up just outside of the list: Super 8 and Bridesmaids. They’re not unforgettable, but still good views.

Midnight in Paris is not on the list, since it isn’t launched in Sweden until September 2. Otherwise I suspect it would have had a good chance to get a spot, considering my general love for Allen’s movies.

Written by Jessica

September 1, 2011 at 5:00 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

20 Responses

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  1. Awesome list. Hanna is amazing. Such energy!

    Alex Thompson

    September 1, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    • It is! I would happily watch it again because of the energy, the flow and the wonderful score.

      Jessica

      September 1, 2011 at 6:24 pm

  2. Very interesting list. I love seeing a list that has stuff similar to mine, but also wildly different.

    I didn’t really care for Dogtooth all that much, for example. I pretty much couldn’t stand the constant depression of the characters in Beginners. I also had huge problems with Source Code.

    But then you’ve got other choices, like Submarine and Hanna and Incendies that I absolutely love. Great stuff.

    Corey Atad

    September 1, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    • Without the differences we would have very little to discuss, wouldn’t we? I think the experience you have of a movie also can depend on quite temporary things. Your state of mind that day. I didn’t like Certified copy very much at all; I almost fell asleep watching it. Perhaps I would have felt differently if I had watched it rested and awake. Source Code was a perfect match an eveneing when I craved for simple entertainment. And so on. I think that as long as we base our ratings on one viewing only, they are a bit shaky due to circumstances.

      Jessica

      September 1, 2011 at 7:11 pm

  3. Cool list! I couldn’t finish Dogtooth, but I can appreciate, I think, the reasons people are responding to it – definitely a unique film.

    I didn’t care for Midnight in Paris as much as others seem to though I am very much a Woody fan – really looking forward to reading your take on it when you get a chance to see it!

    Melissa/oneaprilday

    September 1, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    • Awww… I hope I disagree with you! We’ll see. Hopefully I’ll get to watch it within a week or so.

      Dogtooth WAS quite hard to watch. Not sure if you endured until the bathroom scene? That was tough for me. It’s a unique film as you say and not for everyone, with an ending that is perfect, but also a bit frustrating.

      I wish I had had someone to discuss the movie with after watching it. I actually DID see it with my 18 year old, but she didn’t really want to talk about it with me.

      Jessica

      September 1, 2011 at 7:31 pm

  4. I was expecting to love MiP, and it was just a bit of a disappointment – we can discuss my specific compliants more, hopefully, after you see it. 🙂

    I didn’t make it that far in Dogtooth, and yeah, I just wasn’t sure it would be worth the pain by the end. I was watching it by myself, however, and I could see that having the prospect of discussing it with a good friend afterwards might change my experience or my willingness to endure painful scenes.

    Melissa/oneaprilday

    September 1, 2011 at 8:12 pm

  5. Interesting list indeed. Of the films in that list, only five of those I saw but 4 of them will be in my final 2011 list with The Tree of Life at the top though it is not an easy film to watch as I hope to see it again on DVD for another take. It’s a film that defies everything that we know as films. I also liked Hanna, Source Code, and HP 7.2.. Dogtooth, which I consider as a 2009 film, is in my long list of the best film of the 2000s. Definitely one of the most fucked up films I had ever seen. I’m dying to see Melancholia because Lars von Trier puts my ass in the seat.

    I definitely recommend to see Midnight in Paris, it’s Woody’s most fulfilling film in more than 20 years. It’s that fun to watch and I walked out of that screening with a big smile on my face.

    Steven Flores

    September 1, 2011 at 11:11 pm

    • Fucked up is a good way to describe it I guess. But not in the way that it gets incomprehensible and offputting. I’m not terribly sophisticated as a film watcher and it worked on me. Glad to hear you liked Midnight in Paris.

      I do expect that some of those movies will be on my personal top list for 2011, even though there is some fierce competition. Movies such as The King’s Speech, Never Let me Go, Of Gods and Men, True Grit came up over here this year. I loved them all.

      But alas, when it’s time to vote for the best movies of 2011 at the Filmspotting forum, it’s the US showing that matters for what year a movie is considered to belong to.

      Jessica

      September 1, 2011 at 11:23 pm

  6. I’ve only seen Hanna which I really liked.

    Out of interest, how many movies did you see in the cinema in that 3 months (~12-13 weeks) timespan?

    Carra

    September 2, 2011 at 12:54 am

    • Hm… Good question. To be honest I’m not 100 percent sure of the date of every movie I’ve watched, since I didn’t start writing reviews until the end of June when I joined the Filmspotting forum. So there are no records of it. So I might have missed some. But roughly: the movies I watched in a cinema during this period which didn’t make the list were:

      Bridesmaids, Super 8 (mentioned above), Thor, X-men: First Class, Kronjuvelerna, La Prima Cosa Bella (The first beautiful thing), De vrais mensonges (Beautiful lies). So all in all 17 movies. So making it into the top 10 list wasn’t insanely hard I guess. 🙂 However, I love all of the movies on my list.

      Jessica

      September 2, 2011 at 7:53 am

      • Yeah, I was thinking that you saw 13 movies and then made a top 12 🙂

        Carra

        September 2, 2011 at 6:02 pm

        • Hehe, well there were a few more than 12 of them as you see. And there’s quite a difference in standard. X-men, Thor, Kronjuvelerna, De vrais mensonges were all bad, while I like everyone on my top 10 list.

          Jessica

          September 3, 2011 at 12:18 am

  7. I cried during “Beginners” as well – good list.

    Sam Fragoso

    September 2, 2011 at 1:25 am

  8. I’ve seen none of them. Incendies sounds very interesting indeed, though I would have to be in the right frame of mind to watch it (otherwise I suspect I would get ultra-depressed for a time). Rise of the Planet of the Apes has moved from a “might be nice to see one day” to a “would like to see one day” based on your review.

    Lewis Maskell

    September 2, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    • If I can get someone more than me to watch Incendies I’m happy. It’s not a blockbuster, but I think it’s very good and engaging, although a tragedy, as mentioned. I hope you’ll find enjoyment in Planets of the Apes. I did.

      Jessica

      September 3, 2011 at 12:20 am

      • I wished they had stayed closer to the Conquest of the Planet of the Apes film from 1974 in tone and its way darker than this summers re-hash eventough its kind of dark too.

        Thanks for the link and I’m glad I could inspire you to round-up the summer of moviegoing.

        Joel Burman

        September 3, 2011 at 1:06 am

  9. Well I can’t argue with too much of this. I haven’t seen Dogtooth, though 😦 Loved Incendies, I admired Melancholia but just did not enjoy it at all (and I do like Lars Von Trier). I also liked Beginners, and I am glad to see Hanna on there. It was such an energetic film. I still need to see Submarine, which comes out here next Thursday! Nice list!

    Andrew Buckle

    September 4, 2011 at 1:00 am

    • I’m wouldn’t use the word “enjoy” to describe my reaction to Melancholia either. But I think he portrays depression in a remarcable way. I hope you’ll enjoy Submarine as much as I did! In that case you can definitely speak of enjoyment!

      Jessica

      September 4, 2011 at 4:49 pm


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