I can’t explain why but not ashamed to say that I sometimes verge on feeling misty-eyed when I read some of these AFI tribute citations every year. Of course, one or two leave me feeling cold as ice sometimes too.
BRIDESMAIDS marches down the aisle of American comedy with a vow to make you laugh long and loud. Kristen Wiig’s comic star shines bright as her and Annie Mumolo’s ingenious script upends the wedding dream myth by capturing the horror of being named Maid of Honor. Raunchy and uproarious, the fiercely funny ensemble is guided with a sure hand by director Paul Feig, and Melissa McCarthy’s explosive turn marks her arrival as a true original.
THE DESCENDANTS paints a richly convincing family portrait at once painfully funny and profoundly poignant. Alexander Payne’s strikingly original film balances the intimacy of family tragedy with the expansive politics of dynastic inheritance in the year’s most human comedy. With the weight of paradise on his shoulders, George Clooney delivers an eccentrically elegant turn as the reluctant patriarch who must come to terms with how to let go and when to hold on.
THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO invites audiences into a cold, forbidding world of family secrets and implores them to help solve the mystery. Director David Fincher brings Stieg Larsson’s novel to dazzling, dark and disturbing life that pulses with cinematic pleasure. From the astounding opening credits until the harrowing journey ends, Fincher leads a stellar cast including Daniel Craig, Christopher Plummer and Rooney Mara, who carves the name “Lisbeth Salander” atop the list of 2011’s most transcendent performances.