Movies: The Best Of 2011 (So Far) And The Absolute Worst

This photo collage is representative of the year's best films.

Recapping the year in movies if one lives in Las Vegas is difficult. That’s because several good titles have been released in New York and Los Angeles in order to qualify for the Academy Awards. While many that haven’t been released here have been screened for local reviewers so they can give their group awards, moviegoers in Las Vegas may have to wait weeks for some highly regarded movies — already playing in the ‘burbs outside New York and LA — to open. That is a pity.

With this in mind, here is my list of the best movies of 2011. They are in alphabetical order because I cannot pick “a best.” Many are good and none really better than all the rest. I believe that this fact means moviegoers are lucky to have so many excellent films to see.

The Artist: Not playing yet in Las Vegas, this very modern silent movie is, in a word, wonderful. Add it to your “must-see” list.

Bridesmaids: The year’s funniest. (Review)

Crazy Stupid Love: Almost as funny as Bridesmaids with a smart script and an excellent cast, especially Steve Carrell, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. (Review)

The Descendants: George Clooney at his best and the welcome return of writer-director Alexander Payne. It’s a stunning family drama. (Review)

Drive: Modern noir done to perfection. Ryan Gosling and Albert Brooks are outstanding. (Review)

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close: Not playing yet in Las Vegas, this is a very moving, well done movie about a boy whose father dies on 9/11 at the World Trade Center. But it’s not a 9/11 movie. It’s about what happens after.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo: Yes, it contains graphic sex and other violence, but this is a movie well worth seeing and it is proof that Rooney Mara is an actor to be reckoned with. (Review)

The Help: A faithful translation to film of an excellent book. Also the best ensemble cast performance of the year. (Review)

Hugo: A real departure fro Martin Scorsese, this venture into 3-D is a movie that tells the story of movies. It’s the best 3-D I’ve ever seen, by the way, and Asa Butterfield is a kid to watch. it is a classic. (Review).

Midnight In Paris: Woody Allen is back and Own Wilson’s performance is very, very good. (Review)

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol: The year’s best action film. (Review)

War Horse: Speilberg has done it again. War Horse is a very realistic depiction of another time and another place. It is honest — without being too graphic — about the horrors of war and the humanity of humankind. Lovely movie. (Review)

Warrior: If you had told me I’d like a film about MMA fighting, I’d have told you that you lost your mind. But it was a terrific movie — interesting story and outstanding performances. (Review)

There may be a few more to be added to this list in the next several weeks and, next week, the best performances of 2011.

In 2011 there were a lot of movies that weren’t too good, but the very worst movie of the year is:

I Don’t Know How She Does It: Many, many reviewers (including me) went for the obvious and said, “I don’t know why they did it.” It is awful. (Review, if you dare…)