I found 2011 to be a very good year at the movies, with a wide variety of clever comedies and gripping dramas and rousing action films and even audacious attempts to grasp the essentially ungraspable: war in the Middle East (“Incendies”), the 2008 economic collapse (”Margin Call”), the very meaning of existence (“The Tree of Life.”)

But the New York Times reported in late December that movie box office totals for 2011 were down about half a billion dollars from 2010. What’s the deal? (AP cites 16-year low for movies). A major problem in 2011, according to the Times, was that “a spate of smaller movies aimed at younger audiences bombed.”

Best of 2011

Best of 2011

10. The Artist
9.    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
8.    The Guard
7.    Incendies
6.    Jane Eyre
5.    Margin Call
4.    Midnight in Paris
3.    Moneyball
2.    Tree of Life
1.    Young Adult

Perhaps one reason that 2011 seemed like such a good year to me and many of the people I’ve talked to was that there were plenty of movies aimed at adults, and some of them – good movies like “Midnight in Paris” and “The Help” and the engaging George Clooney family drama “The Descendants” – were successful enough to stay in the theaters for months.

When choosing what I thought were the 10 best movies of 2011, I didn’t automatically eliminate movies with robots or superheroes in them, but none seemed to come to mind. (Although Martin Scorsese’s intermittently marvelous “Hugo,” which didn’t quite make my 10-best cut, features an automaton.) The list is alphabetical rather than by order of preference, but I have to say, I wouldn’t argue if you infer that the movie at the top of the list was my choice for the best movie of 2011, read full


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