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Having faithfully kept my New Year’s Resolution to attend the cinema more often I’m in a position to do something I wasn’t able a year ago, round off the year by listing my ten favourite films to hit screens in the preceding twelve months. I’d like to do this with games each year too but gaming is a hobby that demands more time and money than I have to give to be able to do this, maybe next year. I admit I’m cheating a bit here since I haven’t seen every 2011 release I plan to so I’m kind of banking that none of the last handful of pics will be worthy. Anyway, here’s Rose Red Prince’s ten favourite films of 2011. Click the links at the end of each entry to read my full review.

10. Sherlock Holmes – A Game of Shadows

Making a last minute dash to squeak into the edge of the list is the last film I caught during the calendar year, this very entertaining sequel to Guy Ritchie’s 2009 hit adaptation of the popular detective stories. Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law retain their effortless chemistry and the breezy style returns in full measure as Holmes and Watson take on Professor Moriarty. Review

9. Super 8

Harking back to a simpler time for blockbuster cinema this unashamedly old-school homage to classic Spielbergian family sci-fi (read: E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial) was an exercise in escapist nostalgia. The results are effortlessly endearing as a hugely likeable young cast witness the most spectacular train crash from which a mystery beastie escapes. Review

8. The Guard

Brendan Gleeson plays a controversial yet loveable Irish bobby in this superb black comedy that gives cinema its newest ant-hero. Forming an unlikely partnership with Don Cheadle, Gleeson is a towering force in Ireland’s answer to police buddy movies. Hilarious and touching it’s one of the year’s finest comedies. Review

7. Arrietty

You can always count on Studio Ghibli to create something magical whatever they’re doing and even without Hayao Miyazaki directing they don’t disappoint with this beautiful and surprisingly faithful adaptation of Mary Norton’s much-loved novel about little people. The colourful animation brings the minute world to life and the story still resonates on a universal level. Review

6. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

This muted and brilliantly acted adaptation of John Le Carré’s spy novel proved a cultural phenomenon among British moviegoers who flocked to cinemas to see Gary Oldman’s mesmerising performance as George Smiley, the semi-retired spook in search of the mole operating in the Circus. Review

5. The Adventures of Tintin – The Secret of the Unicorn

Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson collaborated with cutting edge motion capture animation and dazzling visuals in this fast-paced and thrilling adaptation of Hergé’s timeless comic books. With a fine cast and some of the most breath-taking set pieces of the year it’s a breathless joy throughout. Review

4. 50/50

Taking a topic as decidedly unfunny as cancer and turning it into a bawdy comedy required a seriously delicate touch which Joseph Gordon-Levitt produced with his perfectly judged performance of a twenty-something diagnosed with the big C. An excellent cast and a brilliant balance of comedy and drama combine to make writer Will Reiser’s personal true story the most emotionally involving film of the year. Review

3. The Skin I Live In

Antonio Banderas gives a performance approaching a career best in this unforgettable film from auteur director Pedro Almodóvar about a plastic surgeon obsessed by his beautiful captive. With a deeply unpleasant twist that could have you shrinking in your seat it’s the kind of film you’ll be thinking about for days if not weeks. Review

2. Tangled

Disney combine fairytale with crisp CG animation in their classy and hugely enjoyable telling of the Rapunzel story. With a well-conceived cast of colourful characters voiced by a perky cast and a mother-daughter relationship with depth at the centre of the story the film is an absolute delight that demands repeat viewings. As such it’s the only film on this list I’ve already bought on DVD. Review

1. The Tree of Life

Terence Malick’s profound meditation on the nature of life is without question the most divisive film of the year. A film made with a firm disregard for accepted narrative conventions was dismissed by many as pretentious but at its heart is a genuine and uplifting message that deals with death and loss in a positive way. Featuring astonishing cinematography, fantastic acting and a magnificent score it’s a film that reminds us of the beauty of the world and for that it’s Rose Red Prince’s Film of the Year. Review