Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Official Ranking of 2011 Films That I Saw: Yet Another Post Demanded by My Readers

December is becoming the month of reader's requests. Just consider it my Christmas gift to you. Or proof I'm running out of things to say. It is one of the two.

I should start this post by admitting I really haven't seen enough movies to fairly judge the very best pictures of the year. I once was able to see close to a movie a week, but those days are far past me. But if anyone wants to pay me to watch movies and then review them, I'd be more than happy to up my movie watching count. I have a sneaky feeling that the arrival of Baby Spicer means that the amount of movies I watch may actually be lower in 2012. I hope that doesn't turn out to be true, because 2012 has several movies that I'm pretty amped up to see.

Here is my list of the worst to best films from 2011 -- which I've seen.

10. Battle: Los Angeles - The trailer made me expect some over the top spaceships battle with huge explosions and mind blowing special effects. Instead, it was a 'war drama' that happened to involve alien -- which is actually a really cool concept. Except this was the war drama equivalent of a half boy half lemur creature that consumed a bowl full of paint chips then proceeded to smash its own head with a hammer. What I am saying is that not only is this movie stupid but it is the kind of stupid that beats itself to the point of being even more stupid.

9. Scream 4 - This film probably has one of the best meta style intros ever, and was incredibly fresh and creative. But then it proceeded to be the exact same movie we saw 3 times previous. I guess that is fine because it is comforting to get what you expect and paid to see. At the same time, the original was considered so cutting edge and different when it came out, but now it has become predictable and stagnate just like all the films it was originally mocking and lampooning. Plus it really has stopped being any form of scary, and I think it’s time to either find new characters or even better, just call it the end to a series.

8. Thor - I went into this film not expecting a thing, but then being pleasantly surprised for a good portion of it. The first half was mixed with great special effects, some unexpected comedy, and a good dose of action. It was building up to this epic climax, which made the ending that much more of a fart to the face. It did a pretty good job of convincing me to save my money for the sequel, which is a nice way to ensure I can pay for my bills and stuff -- so I appreciate that.

7. Cowboys and Aliens - This got panned pretty hard by most critics and was essentially a bomb in the box office based off the amount of money that was put into this film. I still stand by liking it, even if it didn't redefine its genres or anything like that. It built up the story well, and it paid everything off. It wasn't like many movies where the aliens are these invincible monsters but all of sudden start becoming weaker than a flock of lambs all because the heroes found out where their heart is. In the world it created, it followed its rules well and was 'realistic.' I had fun watching it while I munched my popcorn and my intelligence wasn't insulted that badly, and really, that is all I ask from my special effects driven summer blockbusters.

6. Super 8 - I really wanted to love this movie to bits. There is parts of this film that are absolutely magical and remind me why cinema captured my imagination as a child. I absolutely love the '70s setting and its homage to some of the classic 'aliens come to a small town' films from that late '70s/early 80s. I felt the film started to unravel a bit at the halfway point, and the ending became a little too cliché while also trying to shove a message down my throat. I also admit this film may end up ranking higher if I watch it again and don't have such high expectations for it.

5. The Lincoln Lawyer: I've never read the book and didn't read any previews, so I had no idea what I was watching -- other than Matthew McConaughey practice law inside his car (probably a Lincoln). It started out as a paint-by-the-numbers crime movie until the big twist was revealed. It was actually an interesting morality play where the lawyer had to question his own ethics, and realize that he may actually care more about his clients than he originally believed. It is a fun little thriller that actually allows you to have some deep discussion after.

4. Albert Nobbs - Glenn Close does an amazing job, and I really like how the film examines the concept of love. Is love an ingrained thing or is it environmental? What was it that the main character was really looking for? I also find it interesting to see how women were viewed at the time, and how several characters look down on a woman wanting to be a man but are also so oblivious of why it was done to begin with. The only main charge against the film is that the main character is hard to relate to and that may take away from the impact of the end of the film.

3. Rise of the Planet of the Apes - I wasn't even a slight bit interested in watching yet another 'reimagining/prequel' until the positive reviews started piling in. As I said before, the ape portion of the story is magnificent and incredibly well done. This was a definite surprise hit for me. It may have taken top spot as favourite film if the human side of the story wasn't so lazily thrown together.

2. Source Code - This is fun little science fiction film that provides lots of great action and special effects but also has a pretty compelling story. It has a great ending for a film geek like me who enjoys debating the bigger message behind it or what exactly it all really means. I like it when a science fiction movie can be fun and action packed but also throw a worthwhile story that makes you think just a tad.

1. X-Men: First Class
- This is another movie that I wasn't the least bit interested in based off the trailers, but my wife really wanted to see it so I did it out of duty for her. This is more proof why I always need to listen to my wife. This was a surprisingly good movie, and one of my all-time favourite comic book films. It deals with some deeper issues like discrimination and how one goes about creating change, but also is jam packed with awesome effects and action. A really great prequel and I think the best of all the X-Men films.

Now, for an added bonus (in no particular order) here are the 10 ten movies from 2011 that I still hope to see.

10. Adjustment Bureau - I originally was planning on seeing this film instead of Source Code, but apparently, the local cinema doesn't hold movies until I decide to go watch them. Jerks.

9. Crazy, Stupid, Love - Yeah, I know it is a romantic comedy. It looks like it might actually be funny, and more importantly, it looks like it may go against the usual formula. Rather than just make me want to stick a screwdriver up my nose to ease the pain, it may be deeper than most of the other films that claim to be romantic and funny.

8. Attack the Block - It is an independent film about an alien invasion. That is about all I know about it, but a few people went on and on about how this was better done than Cowboys & Aliens. You can consider me interested.

7. The Debt - It is a spy thriller with Nazis and history and Helen Mirren. So, I'm game.

6. 50/50 - Yes, I still like Seth Rogen. Live with it. Besides, this looks like an attempt to be a little more serious and deeper than his previous films. Plus Joseph Gordon-Levitt has proven to be a pretty damn fine young actor.

5. The Ides of March - It a political morality play with George Clooney and Ryan Gosling. I'm sure they'll be acting the hell out of this sucker. It looks like it can be a mighty fine drama, and the trailer made it seem like it will have lots of layers and character development.

4. In Time - The reviews weren't kind and it bombed in the box office. I still am intrigued by the concept, even if I don't like the fact I want to see a Justin Timberlake film.

3. Anonymous - Basically jumps on board with the "Shakespeare is a fraud' crowd. I don't actually buy any of this being historically accurate, but I don't need that kind of thing to enjoy a movie.

2. The Muppets - I actually can't believe I haven't seen this yet. As a kid I watched almost every episode of The Muppet Show and dragged my parents to the theatre for all the movies in the 80s. I even had the picture book of the Muppets Take Manhattan. This movie will be seen -- oh I promise you that.

1. We Need to Talk About Kevin - I wanted to see this at TIFF, but Emily thought it would be took dark, so we saw Albert Nobbs instead. I'm still intrigued to see this movie, and I'm sure it will rile up much discussion and debate.

But what about 2012? What movies do I want to see in the future? Well, I want to see lots. But here are 10 I've chosen because I actually was able to find trailers for them.

The Woman in Black - This looks legitimately spooky and will probably keep me up at night after I watch it. I'm not sure if there has been a good legitimately scary spook fest in a long time and this may finally be it.

Safe House - I am not really a fan of Ryan Reynolds, but I really, really, really, really love Denzel Washington. This film seems to bring out the classic Washington charisma and attitude; so there is a chance this could be pretty great.

Chimpanzee - I like monkeys.

Men In Black 3 - This falls under "movie I saw no reason for being made and definitely didn't want to see but dang, then I had to go see the trailer." This looks really fun.

Snow White & the Huntsmen - I'm really tired of this whole "let's remake classic fairy tales into edgy films' phase that is going on in Hollywood, but this one actually looks like it could be really good. It has a decent cast and the trailer gives me hope this could be a rather exciting epic fantasy.

The Dark Knight Rises - Christopher Nolan has created two amazing movies -- not just really good comic book or Batman movies. If the movie is able to live up to the trailer, then we may have one of the greatest trilogies ever.

The Expendables 2 - I had a lot fun with the original, and this one has now crammed in even more classic action stars. I just wish they'd have brought along The Rock and Vin Diesel in order to do a combining of several generations of action stars kind of deal. This one looks like it might be just as explosively fun and stupid as the first.

The Hobbit - I've already got my geek on in blog form on this one.

Brave - It is Pixar and that really is enough to entice me. I also like the fact they're making a strong female lead and that it is set in old Scotland. This looks like this could be one of their best.

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close - This isn't the first movie about living life post 9/11, but it is going in a different direction than most previous. This is the first I can think of that deals with the child living life after losing a parent to the tragedy. It looks like it has potential for being a heartwarming and emotional film that deals with some powerful issues. It could risk being 'sappy' and 'preachy', but it has a strong cast and I have faith it could be one of the better dramas of 2012.

And that is enough lists about movies for today.

7 comments:

  1. Anonymous5:31 pm

    Vincent Ho via Facebook:

    No Avengers or Spiderman next year? And yes The Muppets is a must see! If I don't see you this holiday, Merry Christmas to you and the rest of the Ho-clan!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous5:32 pm

    Melinda Mary via Facebook:

    YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE MUPPETS!!! What are you doing on Facebook... or blogging... GO!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Actually, both Avengers and Spiderman look pretty cool, despite the fact I didn't want to like them. They were on my list of movies I wanted to see, until I cut my list to just 10.

    And yes, I need to see The Muppets.

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  4. rockclimbordie1:12 am

    Dude--.......i don't even know how to start here---Super 8 is one of the most hilarious movies that came out this year--ya let me down SPicey--i'll let you know when my list is finished and posted. You DO need to watch 50/50 and Crazy Stupid Love though--those are definitely on my list--CSL might even be second.

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  5. I let you down because I ranked it too high? Or that I didn't mention how I laughed non stop through a film not designed to be a comedy?

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  6. rockclimbordie1:27 pm

    I think it was designed to be an sci-fi/adventure/comedy. I keep telling people it's like a mix of ET and The Goonies! It should have ranked higher!

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  7. I did admit that I likely need to see it again with different company and a different frame of mind. There is potential it could end up ranking higher on a second viewing.

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