DIG’s 2011 Movie Awards
Published: Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, February 1, 2012 23:02
Awards season is a time when people reflect on the best films of the previous year. Unfortunately, the categories of award shows like "The Oscars" or the "Golden Globes" often skip over some of the more interesting films of the year. Here at Dig Magazine we have chosen ten films that deserve awards whether the "academy" recognizes them or not.
Best Use of 3D of the Year:
"Hugo" directed by Martin Scorcese.
The announcement of "Hugo" was a perplexing one. Not only was legendary filmmaker Martin Scorcese's next film going to be based on a children's book, but it would also be shot in 3D. It seemed strange that a director like Scorcese who has so much love for the art of film-making would choose to use a medium that is so often a gimmick to increase ticket prices. However, once the film was released it all made sense. The story of a young orphan in a 1930s train station who finds out about the magic of film after following a series of clues left by his dead father is engaging for all ages. The extra dimension is used to perfection in nearly every shot. In fact, the 3D actually helps to enhance the themes of the film, which is about the wonders of film-making. "Hugo" is a movie that proves that 3D can be used well. Not only that, but the film reinforces the notion that even after almost 100 years, the art of film-making continues to inspire and amaze people.
Best Role-Reversal of the Year:
"Drive" directed by Nicolas Winding Refn.
After films like "The Notebook," "Blue Valentine," and "Crazy, Stupid Love," there was one question that "Drive" needed to answer: can Ryan Gosling play a badass? Five minutes into Nicolas Winding Refn's "Drive," that question is answered with a resounding "yes." Playing a cold, calculating getaway driver with a heart of gold and an awesome scorpion jacket, Gosling transforms himself into one of the most interesting protagonists in years. After starting a relationship with a heartbroken single mother (Carrie Mulligan), Gosling's "Driver" gets wrapped up in a botched robbery that spirals out of control. The film pays homage to the '80s with a simplistic plot, bright pink credits and a synthesizer soundtrack; but Refn's direction makes it feel like something we've never seen before.
Best Action Movie of the Year:
"Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol" directed by Brad Bird.
Many people had "disavowed" Tom Cruise after his recent media outbursts and bizarre home-life. This film reminded everyone that the man is one of the biggest movie stars in the world for a reason. Directed as the first live-action film by Brad Bird, a Pixar alum whose previous films were "Ratatouille" and "The Incredibles," this film has a fast-paced kinetic style which is refreshing for a big-budget action film. It is clear that Bird's background in animation helped him plan out each shot beforehand, rarely letting the camera stay still for more than a minute. Compared to "Mission Impossible 3," the actual mission doesn't seem as important, and the villain pales in comparison to the one played by Phillip Seymour Hoffman, but you will be having too much fun to even notice.
Best "Return to Form" of the Year:
"Midnight in Paris" directed by Woody Allen.
Woody Allen releases a film almost every year, but the last truly memorable work he did was 2005's "Match Point" starring Scarlett Johansson. Every film since has been fairly mediocre, and many fans had started to wonder if the comedic genius had lost his touch. "Midnight in Paris" proved that he still has some unique ideas. Cleverly marketed as a traditional romantic comedy, the film takes an unexpected time-bending turn in the first act. Rather than a romantic comedy about people, the film is actually about how we as a species have always had a romantic fascination with past generations. Owen Wilson is charming and funny as the most recent vessel for Woody Allen's neurotic wit, and the film makes you fall in love with Paris even if you've never been there.
Best Dark Comedy of the Year
"Young Adult" directed by Jason Reitman.
"Young Adult" is the first film that director Jason Reitman and writer Diablo Cody have teamed up on since 2007's "Juno." Cody's writing has received a lot of hate from the public in the past few years because of its over-the-top quirky hipster dialogue. In "Young Adult," she tones down the quirkiness and goes much darker, to great effect. The story of Mavis Gary, a divorced 37-year-old former homecoming queen who returns to her hometown in Minnesota to win back her happily married ex-boyfriend is hilariously uncomfortable. Anybody who ever hated the popular kids in high school is bound to find something to relate to in this film. Mavis' train wreck of a plan is both sad and satisfying to watch as it falls apart. Comedian Patton Oswalt gives a surprising performance as an old classmate who also lives in the past for different reasons.