Empire recently revealed our top 20 films of the year — insert furious forum comment here — but we couldn’t let 2011 end without polling some of the biz’s biggest names for their top pick. Get clicking to find out what blew Robin Williams away, which teen heartthrob chose a gynecological horror, and who believes Anonymous is the year’s greatest masterpiece.
“I love Attack The Block. Man, I got off on that picture! I immediately told people about that movie, because it’s so much fun and totally original. What’s the director doing next? I want to be a part of it!”
“I thought The Skin I Live In was freaky, but I really liked it. I also saw a very interesting film called Shame. That one was freaky too!”
“I thought Anonymous was phenomenal. It got a mixed reaction, but I thought it was so cool and beautiful. I’m not a Shakespeare buff, but I’m fascinated by that historical period. It’s such a cogent argument they make. I don’t have an opinion on who Shakespeare was, but I thought the movie was phenomenal. I was riveted.”
“Bridesmaids. It was a real game-changer, the performances were fantastic and it was genuinely hilarious. I think it changed the face of comedy forever. It’s one of those films I was just grateful it was made. It’s nice to sit in a movie theatre these days and go, ‘Thank you, somebody, for making this! Not just as an actor or a woman who does comedy, but as a person.’ I’m so happy that that film exists, and I’m grateful for it. It’s increasingly rare in this day and age. I love Bridesmaids. When I was on SNL, I left Kristen [Wiig] alone about it. But I hung out with her. She’s awesome.”
“Bridesmaids. Kristen Wiig just nailed it. It’s hilarious. Kristen was on the Conchords, so I know her a little bit. Yeah, I think that’s the best comedy of the year. I loved that they got that band, Wilson Phillips, out of retirement for the end scene. I am not a fan of Wilson Phillips, but I thought they did a brilliant job of bringing them back to life. That was a triumph.”
“I’ve only seen a few, because they’ve only just started to send out the Academy screeners. But Take Shelter blew me away. Woody’s movie about Paris was pretty wonderful, just because it was so sweet, but Take Shelter as a performance piece is just an amazing study of madness and prophecy. Michael Shannon is incredible and it makes you think: what would it be like to be possessed by that?”
“If I had to pick, it’s Tree Of Life, man. For all of its so-called ponderousness, that film is like an art installation, but in a really wonderful way. It stuck with me for a while and I still think about it. I always use that as the mark of a great film.”
“I just thought Submarine was the most wonderful film, with some fantastic performances and some of the best direction I’ve ever seen. I’m so proud of Richard. I’d read it a couple of years ago, but he’s so feckin’ creative. I came out of that film and I know how little they had to shoot with and there were literally shots where I didn’t know how he did it. That doesn’t happen a lot. There’s a shot where it goes slo-mo for a second and the wind hits the girl very quickly but everything’s in slow-motion. It’s a beautiful piece of filmmaking.”
"My favourite film of the year was Jane Eyre. It's been my favourite book since I was a child and I just thought it was such a beautiful adaptation, so lyrical. And Mia Wasikowska was just perfect as Jane. I loved that, that's my favourite film."
”I loved Fast Five. I saw it on the big screen and it was just so much fun. My expectations weren’t that great, but it really kicked ass. That scene with them dragging the safe through the city? That kind of stuff always wins me over."
“It’s a tie between two films. Tree Of Life, because it’s Terrence Malick, the pro, coming in and acting like a young punk who’s totally throwing out every rule. It reminds me of when Sidney Lumet did Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead, a veteran directing like a hungry 18 year-old starting out. And then Bellflower. It’s got a few hiccups, some serious problems in it, but it’s like, ‘Holy crap, this guy (Evan Glodell) is going to be an important filmmaker.’ So it was a great year for both ends of the spectrum — olds pros coming in and kicking ass, and people just starting out.”
A friend of mine directed an amazing film called The Adopted. It’s a French film, and the actress Melanie Laurent directed it. That’s my favourite film of the year. The acting is phenomenal, it’s brilliant and beautifully told and incredibly touching. I loved that film.