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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Five Best: 2011 Movie Moments Part 2

scene from "The Descendants"
courtesy of
Today, we continue our look back at the most memorable movie moments and scenes from 2011. Here are the second set of five, in alphabetical order.

Five Best 2011 Movie Moments Part 1

The Help - Just Desserts 

Forgive the broad treatment of the Civil Rights movement and the "white girl saves the day" side of it and The Help is a really entertaining, inspirational film. But, of all the upstanding charm it contains, the most memorable moment is outspoken maid Minny (Octavia Spencer) baking a "peace offering" for her employer Hilly (Bryce Dallas-Howard). Minny's chocolate cake is more than just flour and icing, after all; it has a secret ingredient that brings the house down. Upon Hilly's realization (and once again when she realizes it's been published into the title book) of what she has just eaten, the graceful film becomes a dirty comedy for a few brief, hilarious moments.
Hugo - Melies' Movies

Martin Scorcese's PG-rated masterpiece is really a giant thank you to the film industry as a whole, specifically the early masters. A young boy named Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield) lives in the walls of a train station, searching for the answers to a mystery left to him by his father. His resourceful nature leads to an imaginative film and a beautiful montage of moments from the great George Melies' early films, a wonderful tribute to all that is film.
Melancholia - Opening Montage

Most that have seen Lars Von Trier's rumination on depression and the apocalypse would most likely point to the conclusion as the most memorable part. For me, the opening montage of people, places, and things slowly falling to pieces is the highlight of the film. Photographed in the most laborious slow motion you will ever see, it brings a sort of magical calm to a film that dives deeper into the internal darkness of the mind and psyche than any you'll see for a long time.
Midnight in Paris - Opening Panorama

Woody Allen's return to his "A game" gives us a simple story that signs, seals, and delivers a love letter to the city of love. Allen begins his film with gorgeous shots of Paris, lingering long enough to give the audience enough to wet their palettes, but wanting more. The beautifully shot film envisions Paris as the long standing home to art, love, and everything that can make you feel alive again. The opening shots in Monmartre set the stage for this wonderfully imaginative film.
Moneyball - Winning Home Run

In Moneyball, we meet General Manager Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) and his numbers guy Peter Brand (Jonah Hill) as they try to put together a contender using sabre-metrics and statistics, rather than the talent scouting upon which the game has been traditionally built. But even the intellectuals have to succumb to the beauty of the game, when you're down to your last out, and it takes more than a spreadsheet to get a victory. Scott Hatteberg (Chris Pratt) steps up to the plate and even those who hate the game have stars in their eyes as the seemingly impossible happens.

One more week of memorable moments from 2011, so stay tuned for next week's list.

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