Critics Survey Says: Top Films of 2011 are Tree of Life, Melancholia

Brad Pitt and Laramie Eppler in the Tree of Life/Photo © Merie Wallace/Twentieth Century Fox
Brad Pitt and Laramie Eppler in the Tree of Life/Photo © Merie Wallace/Twentieth Century Fox

The results of the annual Indiewire Critics Survey have been released. Now you can see how your favorite critics (Roger Ebert, anyone?) ranked the year's top films and performances, and how their feedback measures up against that of others. It looks like, for all its controversy, Terrence Malick''s "The Tree of Life" is the film that elicited the most critical approval, followed closely by Lars von Trier's "Melancholia." Both deal with human tragedy on an intergalactic scale. Was 2011 the year we decided making contact was futile?

On that happy note, let's talk about the jolliest, most suicide-focused Christmas movie that ever was, "It's a Wonderful Life." The mad geniuses at the AVClub have generated a master list of twenty-two TV shows that borrow the film's plot, from "It's a Wonderful Mork" to a very special episode of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."

If you're one of the pathetic lost souls still holding out for a new "Ghostbusters" sequel, Bill Murray may have given his definitive answer. According to the National Enquirer (yeah yeah, we know), Murray sent shredded copies of the script to Harold Ramis and Dan Aykroyd along with a note commenting that "No one wants to pay money to see fat, old men chasing ghosts!" Regardless of whether you agree with him, you've gotta admit that he's gotten his message across loud and clear. If this really happened. (I really want this to be true!)

Hope you're not sick of talking about the "Dark Knight Rises" trailer yet, because we've got stuff to say. First of all, it's nice to see Christopher Nolan paying homage to Tim Burton and Michelle Pfeiffer's dandy work in "Batman Returns." Second, who knew that Gotham City had its own stadium? And third, it's fascinating to see how the filmmakers have tapped into the national zeitgeist by giving a thematic nod to the "Occupy Wall Street" movement via Catwoman's character, even if they didn't wind up actually filming at the protest sites. Anyhow, it's pretty incredible that such a bloated franchise can still yield a film that's full of surprises.