I wouldn't say that 2011 has been a vintage year in the cinema, with some of the most hyped/most loved films leaving me underwhelmed, but there has been enough to warrant a 'best of' list. So, in no particular order here's the first five of the ten that have made The Fourth Wall hall of fame for 2011.
13 Assassins - Takeshi Miike, Japan
why? - The gradual build up, for 'total massacre', for one of modern cinema's great screen villains, the stampede of burning cattle and the relentless second half of the film - one gigantic, superbly choreographed fight sequence.
Le Quattro Volte - Michelangelo Frammartino, Italy
why? - The goats, the dog, the van and the block of wood, the gentle assurance of its direction, its contemplative qualities, it's virtually wordless narrative and for being spiritual but not religious.
Kill List - Ben Wheatley, UK
why? - For messing with genre conventions, for the black humour, for the hammer scene, for 'right, let's go kill this MP then', for the narrative ambiguity, for the ending, for the gripping lead performances.
Melancholia - Lars Von Trier, USA
why? - The unforgettable imagery, Kirsten Dunst's best performance, for Charlotte Rampling's ice queen, the excruciating post-wedding party, its metaphoric qualities, for not being Antichrist and for being beautiful despite its apocalyptic theme.
Drive - Nicholas Winding Refn, USA
why? - For sparking the #gayforgosling hashtag, it's Point Blank aura, its use of LA, for looking and sounding like it could have been made at any time since the 70s, Refn's bravura direction, the soundtrack and the sheer cinematic wow-factor.