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Tag:never let me go

Top 11 films of 2011

This year has been a ridiculously good year for cinema - particularly British cinema. It started off with a raft of excellent January releases, with The King's Speech and 127 Hours leading the UK Oscars charge, but it's a mark of how much talent there has been throughout the year that three British directorial debuts have made their way into my top films of 2011. Documentaries, too, have been overwhelmingly strong - Senna has made a lot of "Best of 2011" lists, but Project Nim, Pina and TT3D hoovered up a decent amount of box office cash as well, some even proving that 3D might be more than just a passing Hollywood phase.

But enough of this. What you all REALLY want is yet another list of movies that some opinionated person thinks were better than all the other movies released this year. So, going by the only way to judge these things (theatrical release dates), here are the Top 11 Films of 2011.

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Director: Joe Wright
Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Eric Bana, Cate Blanchett, Jessica Barden
Certificate: 12A

Everyone thought the same thing when they saw Atonement: "What a beautiful, flawless film. If only Saoirse Ronan had a gun." We get our wish with Hanna, Joe Wright's stylish Euro-thriller about a teenage girl (Ronan) raised in the wilds of Finland by Eric Bana. And like any teenage girl raised in the wilds of Finland by Eric Bana, Hanna is really good at killing people. Killing people. To death. 

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Paul invaded the UK box office this weekend with £5.52m, the highest opening of 2011 to date. But the surprise of the week was Justin Bieber hitting rock bottom: Never Say Never 3D took just £820,592. The Beliebers won't be able to, erm, Belieb it.

Simon Pegg and Nick Frost taking top spot was expected, of course, given that the film landed in cinemas on Monday. While £5.52m is technically a record-breaking figure, it had four days of previews to rack up that total.

Compare it to, say, the superior Hot Fuzz, which got £5.92m on its opening weekend with just Wednesday and Thursday previews and you get a better picture. Paul took around £3.2m over the weekend alone - a way behind Tangled's debut of £5.11m in three days. But with a lot of negative reviews (and without Edgar Wright or 3D), Universal will be pleased to label their sci-fi a smash hit.

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Gnomeo and Juliet stole the UK box office crown this week, keeping The King's Speech in a solid second place with £1.98m following its BAFTA victory.

It's a convincing win for Gnomeo and Juliet, which sits pretty at the top with a £2.95m debut. Not bad, given The King's Speech is still holding the most screens in the UK (543), but impressive with two other 3D animated kids movies out in force.

Yogi Bear put £1.82m into its pic-a-nic basket of soul-destroying naffness - again, a strong start given the competition, placing it in fifth place, £120k below Tangled. Disney’s fairytale has the fewest screens out of the three CGI contenders, but has now amassed a three-week total of just over £13m.

Fourth place went to True Grit, the Coens' remake, which performed astonishingly well in the US. It managed £1.82m from 372182000 screens, putting it shoulder to shoulder with Yogi Bear but without the 3D uplift. An average of over £4,000 per screen is pretty good for Paramount's Western, especially given the awards love going round to everyone else at the moment.

Black Swan and The Fighter also both posted takings of over £1m, lining up at number seven and eight respectively. That’s eight out of the UK Top Ten all taking over £1m at the box office. Eight. This never happens. Literally - it's never happened before. The BAFTAs are to blame for this box office silliness. As people flock to see the major nominees, money is flying into cinema cash registers.

It's sad to see The Fighter drop 50% to take £1.2m - compared to Black Swan's more typical 38% dip - but with so many movies out this week and the existing releases performing so well, there are only so many screens to go round. Black Swan's been out twice as long as The Fighter, but its £12m total gross is triple that of the boxing drama, which says a lot for its wider appeal. It's also showing in 100 more screens.

Perhaps the week’s most intriguing release was Never Let Me Go - demonstrating what happens during awards season if you don't get the nominations you wanted. It took just £625k from 265 screens.

A good comparison is last month's Conviction, which also had no BAFTA nominations. That took £279k from a similar spread of cinema screens, so it's not a terrible result given the heavyweight box office rivals. But a lack of nominations (and a low marketing push compared to Fox Searchlight's other movie, Black Swan) has left Mark Romanek's brilliant romance at the wrong end of the release schedule. Here's hoping Keira Knightley staring at people on the London Underground will help it stay afloat for one more week.

Just like the BAFTAs, the box office spotlight is still shining firmly on Colin Firth. £1.98m is less than we're used to seeing for Tom Hooper's drama, but it's been out for six weeks now. Six. By rights, it shouldn't be anywhere near the £2m mark. It's running total is now up to £33.7m, which makes it the 44th highest grossing movie in the UK of all time. And that's before it gets a kick from its Best Film triumph on Sunday - we're way past Slumdog Millionaire now, but that increased by £300k immediately following its BAFTA for Best Film, reversing a 32% drop from the previous week.

Paul tries to jump the royal shark by hopping into cinemas on Monday this week, so it should secure a top spot at the box office next week after 4 days of previews. But expect The King's Speech to stick around - just below Justin Bieber and Big Momma, who are both bringing their booty into play. And as half-term approaches, prepare for Yogi, Gnomeo and Rapunzel to squabble among themselves to see who can attract the most children. 


Director: Mark Romanek
Cast: Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield, Keira Knightley
Certificate: 15

You wouldn’t know to look at it that Never Let Me Go is part science fiction. Adapted from Kazuo Ishiguro’s softly spoken tale of mortality, it’s full of gentle words like “carer” and “donor”. Google “Star Wars Episode II” and you get an idea of what’s going on. The basic assumption sets events in an alternate world but this is essentially a story of doomed romance. And we all love a bit of doomed romance.

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It's been a busy week for fans of franchises, remakes, spiders and Swedish bum rape. Yes, the first pictures of Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander (in W Magazine) and Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man have been officially released. And what with the trial by rape auditions and the backpack stolen off some poor kid, the photos show an interesting direction for each character:

Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man
Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander



Gemma Arterton. Andrew Garfield. Tom Hardy. Aaron Johnson. Emma Stone. Yes, this year's BAFTA Orange Wednesdays Rising Star Award candidates are all rising and/or mostly risen.



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There's a strong positive buzz forming around Mark Romanek's Never Let Me Go. Adapted from the Booker-shortlisted novel by Kazuo Ishiguro, Romanek's drama looks even better thanks to this new trailer, which turned up online at the Guardian.

Starring Keira Knightley, Carey Mulligan and Andrew Garfield, the movie follows a group of students at the mysteriously idyllic Hailsham, a boarding school with a sinister plan for their futures. As they prepare for the wider world and grow out of childhood, the students soon find themselves torn between the love they feel for each other and the reality they must soon face.

Supported by Sally Hawkins and Charlotte Rampling, the strong cast are all ready for the Toronto International Film Festival, followed by the opening slot at the London Film Festival in October. The film will then hit UK cinemas on Friday 21st January next year.

Read on for the full trailer. Then go check out the rest of the LFF line-up over here.

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The 54th BFI London Film Festival has officially been launched. And we were there to discover the line-up/annoy people by tweeting/eat free food. The good news is that the programme is pretty exciting, with Black Swan, The American and Let Me In leading the way alongside opener Never Let Me Go and closer 127 Hours. The bad news? There were no croissants left.

With 197 feature films scheduled over the festival's two weeks, the 2010 LFF will see stuff shipped in from 67 countries (including the USSR, the official place of production for the archive showing of the brilliant Man with a Movie Camera).

The highlights for homegrown talent include the return of Ken Loach with Route Irish and Mike Leigh with the acclaimed Another Year, but also Tom Hooper's The King's Speech (starring Colin Firth), Peter Mullan's intriguing Neds, and the debut of Andy DeEmmony, whose West Is West follows up East Is East.

Subtitled quality comes in the shape of Takashi Miike's 13 Assassins, the mental Jan Svankmajer's surreal Surviving Life, and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's Biutiful. There's also a chance to see the controversial Palme d'Or winner, Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives.

Other notable inclusions include The Kids Are All Right and Richard Ayoade's directorial debut Submarine. Meanwhile, the clearly insane Kaboom from Gregg Araki will vary things up a bit, as will Will Ferrell's dramatic turn in Everything Must Go.

But most exciting of all are Anton Corbijn's George Clooney thriller The American, Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan and Matt Reeve's remake of Let the Right One In - on the big screen, the footage for that really does look impressive.

The London Film Festival runs from Wednesday 13th to Thursday 28th October. The full programme is on the festival's official site - check it out and share your excitement. Then come back and enjoy our non-stop coverage when the whole thing kicks off.

For now, here's a picture of the sexy free bag handed out at the launch. It had free chocolate in it, which was great. But it would have been better if it contained a croissant... 


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