My Ridiculously Late Best of 2011 List – Theatrical releases and festival fare

Most people around me are living in the future. Everything is 2012 this, 2012 that, but I’m still focusing on 2011. I entered the world of film reviewing in July 2011, and as a result I’ve been playing catchup for the entire year. December was brutal, and it is only now that I feel I have seen enough of what 2011 had to offer to actually make a ‘best films of the year’ list. Since many people have not had a chance to see the films offered at the festivals in 2011, I have taken the privilege of separating my top 20 into the top 10 theatrical releases and the top 10 festival films. I hope you enjoy my lists, and if you agree or disagree then let me know!

On with the show.


10. Hanna

9. The Illusionist

8. Troll Hunter

7. Attack the Block

6. The Artist

5. Midnight in Paris

4. Drive

3. Café de Flore

2. 50/50

1. Take Shelter


10. You’re Next

9. The Divide

8. A Lonely Place to Die

7. Sleepless Night

6. The Innkeepers

5. A Letter to Momo

4. Kill List

3. Some Guy Who Kills People

2. Redline

1. The Raid


Seal of Approval Additions from TIFF 2011

About a week ago I surreptitiously put up a new page called ‘Entertainment Maven Seal Approval’. This is the best-of-the-best and the heart of what Entertainment Maven is all about. Post to post, the quality of the products reviewed will vary greatly, but clicking on the seal of approval trims the fat, even very positive reviews are excluded if the product is not GREAT.

Below are my seal of approval additions from TIFF 2011. Also, I realize the irony that the seal of approval does not have an actual visual seal, but I am graphically inept. I will try to change this in the future. Click on the title of the film to be linked to my review.

On to the films!

A Letter to Momo

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An enchanting animated film that was seven years in the making and doesn’t disappoint. The characters feel real and Momo’s animated facial expressions have to be some of the best I have ever seen.

Alois Nebel

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A haunting tale from the Czech Republic. The combination of black-and-white and rotoscope animation creates a gloomy atmosphere will not be easily forgotten by viewers.

Kill List

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One of the most disturbing and shocking films I have ever seen.

The Raid

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The use of a little known martial arts style called Silat provides the genre with a breath of fresh air. Sure to go down as one of the greatest action films ever made.

Sleepless Night

Image is not the property of Entertainment Maven

Cops and robbers all night long in a Parisian night club.

You’re Next

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Scary and funny, always a difficult combination to pull off, but one of the most enjoyable when it is done right. You’re next pushes all the right buttons.

TIFF 2011 – Just Around the Corner!

It’s almost time for one of the best film festivals on the planet! If you’ve been following Entertainment Maven then you know that I will be covering/reviewing the entire Midnight Madness segment of the festival, that focuses on wicked, weird and wonderful films from around the world. Midnight Madness features the programming of Colin Geddes, who in the past has unveiled exciting horror, martial arts, action and black comedy films. If you like to stay up late, experience a few thrills and don’t mind being shocked once in a while, then Midnight Madness is probably for you.

In addition to the Midnight Madness program, I will also be attending and reviewing seven other screenings, for a total of 17 films in 11 days! Gasp! Make sure to check in with Entertainment Maven throughout the festival (September 8 – 18) to see which films impressed and which ones fell flat on their faces. Below is a list of the seven additions to my lineup. Check out the Midnight Madness preview here. If you need to buy tickets or just want to see what is still available, then check out the TIFF website.

Let the madness begin!

388 Arletta Avenue


A thriller set in Toronto, in which a married couple are unknowingly under constant surveillance. Will the privileged couple discover the true nature of the voyeurs or will they fall victim to their own paranoia? The interesting thing about this film is that every single shot is from either a surveillance or handheld camera.



A film that promises to transcend the horror genre by taking a fresh look at the primal fear of the unknown. Clive Owen plays a father who cannot protect his daughter from a faceless intruder named Hollow Face. The film blurs the line between real and imaginary as the family searches for a way to protect themselves from their unseen assailant.

The Moth Diaries


A vampire story set in an all-girls boarding school. Like Intruders, The Moth Diaries will walk the fine line between the real and the imaginary.

Alois Nebel


This is my dark-horse pick of the festival, an animated film out of the Czech Republic. The trailer for Alois Nebel just oozes atmosphere. The film follows a troubled train dispatcher haunted by memories of the Cold War.

The Sword Identity


Although it will probably contain some excellent traditional fighting scenes, The Sword Identity is being billed as a philosophical or historical essay on screen.

From up on Poppy Hill


From Goro Miyazaki, the son of the great Hayao Miyazaki, comes the director’s second feature length film. From up on Poppy Hill tells the story of a group of teens that stage a protest in an attempt to save their clubhouse from being demolished, in order to make way for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

A Letter to Momo


Seven years in the making, A Letter to Momo is a hand drawn animated tale about supernatural events on a small island and young Momo’s attempt to find the source of the disturbances.




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