Did you know that 2011 holds the record for most sequels released in a single year? 8 of the top 10 highest grossing films of the year were sequels. Ridiculous.
But anyway here are my favorite 11because it’s 2011 duhfilms of 2011 are as follows:
Honorable mentions: Bridesmaids was hilarious, and proved that a female driven movie could appeal to all audiences and be financially viable. Sucker Punch didn’t live up to expectations, but I still enjoyed it for what it was. X-Men First Class was the only superhero movie (amidst MANY) that I fully enjoyed this year, except maybe Thor. Pirates 4 surprised me by returning to the roots of what made the franchise so great in the first place.
11. Harry Potter and the Dealthy Hallows Part 2
I had to decide between this and Hugo and ultimately chose this. But I have to say, Hugo is spectacular and a rare film that’s actually worth seeing in 3D, namely because Mr. Scorsese actually filmed it on 3D filmed and used the extra dimension as an artful storytelling device, and not just a cheap gimmick.
On to Harry Potter! Holy shit I cried so much. This movie was, thankfully, a satisfying end to a franchise that has defined an entire generation. I was a bit worried given how…slow…and…angsty….and unfinished Part 1 felt, but Part 2 did not disappoint whatsoever. The action is magical, and they managed to squeeze as much from the book into this last film as is possible while still crafting a solid film that can stand on its own. The best thing about this movie is that it ties the entire series together, bringing back every character and plot thread and resolving them appropriately. Every character gets their moment; I don’t think there’s a fan out there who could didn’t leave the theater happy.
10. I Saw the Devil
This gory Korean thriller is without a doubt one of the most disgusting things I have ever seen, but the movie is so solid that you can’t look away. And you wouldn’t want to; Director Kim Ji-Woon has made every shot an integral part of the story, and to blink for even a second is to miss a vital part of the greater film. This film manages to rise above what at first glance seems to be torture porn with a powerful story of revenge that raises all kinds of juicy moral questions. You may be cringing in pain/disgust for most of it, but you’ll also be on the edge of your seat the entire time.
9. Super 8
Spielberg and Abrams have teamed up to create a modern day classic. This movie is a testament to the spectacle and sense of awe that movies can create, all seen through the eyes of the surprisingly great child actors. Elle Fanning is amazing, proving that her sister doesn’t have all the talent. Kyle Chandler from Friday Night Lights is tragically underused, but does an impeccable job nonetheless. The two directors’ styles compliment each other well, and while this picture doesn’t break much new ground it does remind us of what movie magic is all about. And it just so happens that the movie is about making movies, funny that. This might have been my favorite film of the year if the final act hadn’t fallen somewhat flat, but keep in mind that Spielberg/Abrams flat is still lightyears beyond most movies’ peaks.
Oh, and MAJOR props to the advertising people who said ‘Fuck you standard movie posters, we’re doing this shit in landscape even when we’re in portrait and you can’t stop us!’ Definitely winner of best movie poster of the year.
Gay movies all suck. I don’t meant that in a bad way it’s just that…well, they’re notoriously awful. I say this as a movie-loving man-loving-man. Most are little more than exploigaytion flicks (see what I did there) that use abs, camp, abs, and been-there done-that cliched gay tropes to sell to a niche audience. And abs. Weekend is the exception to that rule. While it certainly has its fair share of skin (it comes with the territory) it also has one of the most realistic portrayals of gay men I’ve ever seen. Both mainstream and gay media struggle to portray the community accurately, and Weekend has captured a rare look at gay men as people. Not caricatures for straights to watch or fantasies for gays, but real people.
7. The Devil’s Double
This is here almost entirely for Dominic Cooper. The guy has been on my radar for some time now, winning me over more and more with each role he’s taken on. From History Boys to Mama Mia! he’s always been a standout, and even in his first major starring role he somehow manages to steal the show…from himself! Playing two roles that play opposite one another is challenge enough for an actor, but to it so damn well, and to make both characters distinct and fully realized is a real feat. My hat is off to Mr. Cooper, very nice work sir, very nice.
Also, runner up for best poster.
6. The Muppets
While I take issue with this movie’s seriously lack of Pepe the King Prawnwhose one scene in the movie I’m convinced was added in last minute to appease complainers like meit’s a pretty small issue when you consider the Muppets could very well have fallen into obscure nostalgia-land were it not for this movie. Jason Segal and Amy Adams bring the Muppets back in full force, with a heartfelt story that returned the Muppets to their former glory while also introducing them to a new generation. In terms of sheer anticipation this one was definitely my number one this year, and thankfully I was not dissapointed.
Just give me moar Pepe next time kthx.
5. I Melt With You
Haunting is the best word I can think of to describe I Melt With You, from director Mark Pellington. Pellington’s experience is with music videos and it shows in the best way possible; there’s a visual poetry to Pellington’s film style, and a musciality to his camera work that I loved. The camera shakes and jumps during the raucous partying and stays still for moments of focused silence. The movie is just dang pretty to look at, a wonderful juxtaposition with what is ultimately a very sad tale. The story is of four middle aged men who get together for a reunion, do a shit-ton of drugs, and then revisit a promise they made to each other in college. To say anything more about the plot would kill the movie for anyone who hasn’t already seen it. The cast is spectacular, and the reason I saw the movie in the first place. Jeremy Piven, Rob Lowe, Thomas Jane, Carla Gugino are all faves of mine, and Christian McKay is just incredible. But Thomas Jane really shines in this one.He’s half naked most of the movie and fully naked in one scene, worth the price of admission tbh. Jane plays the life of the party and the ultimate downer superbly, and really drives the film forward to one of the most satisfyingly unsettling ends I’ve seen in a long time.
4. Paranormal Activity 3
Sequels are hard enough to get right, but threequels? Just as rare as the good gay movie is the good third sequel, but Paranormal Activity managed to do it, though this is technically a prequel. Knowing full well what to expect from this franchise it could be very easy to fall into a recycling of old tricks, but new director Oren Peli (of the flawless Catfish) manages to play with the audience’s expectations and deliver something fresh. The scares are much bigger and in your face and the format has been retooled so that you don’t know when they’ will hit you. But when they do hit, they hit hard; the subtlety of the first film may be gone, but this is the third film after all so to try and revisit that film’s quiet slow pace would be foolish and boring. Instead the Paranormal crew continues to expand upon the original story, providing an origin of sorts for the haunting that plagued the families of the first two films.
They weren’t kidding: the last fifteen minutes will indeed, ‘mess you up.’
3. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
It’s a damn shame that this movie is drastically underperforming at the box office because, holy shit is it amazing. Daniel Craig plays his role admirably, undermining the cliche male-action hero role by playing a sensitive level-headed lead. Rooney Mara steals the show as the female lead Lisbeth Salander, and her performance matches the power one might expect from the character if you’ve read the book. This is another hard movie to talk about without giving too much away, so I’ll leave it at this: See this movie as if your life depended on it.
Michael Fassbender’s penis. That is all.
Okay, kidding, though his penis did make this movie 100x more enjoyable than it already was. Steve McQueen and Sassy Fassy make for a powerful one two punch, delivering one of the most gripping films of the year. The story of a sex addict could easily come off as dishonestly angst-ridden or unintentionally comedic, but Fassbender’s raw, emotional portrayal of Brandon Sullivan hits all the right notes. This is far from an uplifting holiday picture, but is by far one of the best I’ve seen this season and without a doubt all year. The NC-17 controversy surrounding it also makes me happy in a weird way, because it calls into question the ridiculously flawed ratings system we have in this country. The fact that a major Oscar contender has been rated NC-17 forces audiences to examine what is and isn’t appropriate, and decide for themselves. In this case while the content is very explicit, it’s never vulgar or pornographic. It’s art. Simple as that.
1. Winnie the Pooh
Surprise, surprise. Despite being barely longer than an hour and being totally lost beneath the shadow of all the mostly terrible summer blockbusters that came out, this movie stuck with me more than most of the rest. Why? Well…I can’t fully put my finger on it but there’s something to be said about smiling from ear to ear the entire time I’m in the theater. There wasn’t a second that I didn’t enjoy or that I spent thinking about something else. I was completely engaged from start to finish, and didn’t look away. When I think about the movie-going experience, something I value quite a bit, this was the by far one of the greatest I’ve had in some time. To be honest I wasn’t expecting this to be as great as it was, but there I was sitting in a near empty theater laughing my butt off to the point that I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t be happier that Disney has brought back traditional hand drawn animation, and if every film were as heartfelt, entertaining, and gorgeous to look at as Winnie the Pooh then we could very well see a second Disney Renaissance. As a total Disney fanboy, I’d be all for it.
Silly old bear.
What were your favorites this year?
- amazingetc posted this