Tuesday, January 10, 2012

2011: A Year In Review

2011 was a great year. We had the end of the Harry Potter franchise, big-budget action flicks, four superhero films, lots of comedies, and a few surprises. But which were the 10 best films and the 5 worst this year? The fifteen flicks I am about to name fit that category. Here are the 10 best and 5 worst films of 2011.


1. SUPER 8

A wonderful homage to Steven Spielberg. The best part of the film is the story. In the age of big-budget alien invasion flicks, this one stands out because it has a great emotional core to it. It has a bunch of great actors, genuine thrills, and heart. Definitely the best film of 2011.


Without a doubt, the funniest movie of the year. The entire 103 minutes of the film will you have you laughing. There is not a single thing about this film that's not funny. Jason Segal and co. have made a Muppet film that feels funny and fresh while appealing to both adults and children. The best comedy of 2011.


Steven Spielberg's War Horse is one of the best of the year for many reasons. I've narrowed it down to two. The emotional core of the film is wonderful. I'm not an animal lover, but that was just great. Spielberg does it perfectly, having the interaction between Albert and Joey last long enough so that you care, but not so long that there is no time to do anything else. The other reason is the horrific war sequences, that are definitely horrific, but not so violent that it would not have been PG-13. Best editing of the year in this film and another instant Spielberg classic.


Ghost Protocol is one of the best action movies I've seen in a long time. It's smart, and gives you no time to slow down and relax. It continually gives you action scene after action scene. And the action scenes are extraordinary. Tom Cruise climbing the Burj Khalifa is pure adrenaline. The film also leaves room for some comic relief in the form of Benji (Simon Pegg). The plot isn't the best, but when you have some of the most brilliant action scenes of the year, it doesn't need to be.


My personal favorite of the Avengers prequels is Captain America for two reasons. Firstly, it's fast paced. The film has non-stop action and a good plot. It also has a fantastic setting. The World War II setting is awesome. The action is a nice blend of war action and sci-fi action. The acting is great and Tommy Lee Jones's portrayal of Chester Phillips belongs with Tony Stark as the best performance from these prequels.


I love the Transformer films. While I know people hate them because of the plots, I think that they are awesome summer popcorn films. This one stands out to me because it manages to forget the mediocre Revenge of the Fallen and deliver a better mystery and a lot more action. The special effects are breathtaking and if the effects don't win an Oscar, I'll be shocked. The acting is mediocre as usual, but if you're looking for The King's Speech, you are not in the right movie. This is a purely great summer popcorn movie.


I'm a huge Harry Potter fan and it was great watching it opening day at the theater. It was an awesome experience. But the more I watch this film on DVD, the more I question how great it truly is. Was it a great movie or was it what that the movies were ending and we were so emotionally involved in the films that we automatically thought it was great? I'm going with the 2nd option here. I'm not saying that Deathly Hallows-Part 2 was a bad movie; it was far from it. What I'm saying is that it was not as great as we thought it was when we first watched it, because half of the movie is what we bring to it. Overall, Deathly Hallows and the Harry Potter movies overall was a truly great experience that is one of the best film franchises of all time.


An unexpected surprise came with Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Nobody thought this movie would be any good, but it turned to be one of the summer's best. The star of this film is Andy Serkis, who delivers an awesome performance as Caesar. The action sequence on the Golden Gate bridge is one of the best action scenes of the year. Rise of the Planet of the Apes was a smart action thriller that unexpectedly delivered and was a hidden gem found in the typical trash of August.

9. CARS 2

A lot of people hate Cars 2. Okay, the plot is Pixar's weakest. There is no good heart to the film. In fact, there is no emotional core at all. Mater does get annoying but I love the spy element in this film. And while this may be the worst of the Pixar films, it still is pretty good.

10. HUGO

Hugo is one of the best movies of the year because it combines two great elements. It has a great fantasy element and great drama. This is a love letter to cinema mixed in with in with a fantasy film. Martin Scorsese delivers his first kids film and it is a great one.



By far the year's most disappointing film. Walking into Green Lantern, I wasn't expecting The Dark Knight, but I never thought it would be as awful as it was. At the least, I was hoping for an enjoyable action and CGI-fest but it didn't happen. The story was terrible, and the action even worse. This film lost a lot of money and I hope that the next Green Lantern film is a complete reboot.


Finishing close to Green Lantern, Cowboys and Aliens is another horrible summer blockbuster that disappointed on so many levels. The first half of Cowboys is Aliens is actually pretty good, with some good thrills and drama. Then after Olivia Wilde comes out of that fire, it was downhill from there. The mediocre action, acting and story don't help that really bad plot twist. I give Favreau credit for trying and original film, but this one fails in many ways.

3. RIO

The second half of Rio is actually pretty good. It has fun dance numbers, action, and the qualities of a good animated movie. But the fact Rio's first half is such a dreadful, boring mess keeps it from being a decent film. Too many characters, too much focus on color and bright and bubbly animation, and not enough story. Overall, some fun musical numbers but overall Rio is just bland.


I wasn't expecting much from Puss in Boots. The last two Shrek films were horrid, but for some reason, I went to see this movie. I was pretty much waiting for it to be over. The animation is the best so far from a Dreamworks animation film, but the story is disengaging and paper-thin. Some of the action scenes are fun, but it doesn't end in the right place, and drags on too long. Another poor addition to the Shrek series.


I was expecting a lot from Tintin. Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson making a movie together that is similar to Raiders of the Lost Ark. I was in all the way. But the fact that Tintin, despite it's awesome animation, is so boring, is just plain disappointing. Tintin is leagues away from Raiders and has a pretty lame script. The dream team of Edgar Wright, Steven Moffat, and Joe Cornish really disappointed me with this movie.

Honorable mentions for Top Ten: Thor, Fast Five, X-Men: First Class, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

Honorable mentions for Bottom Five: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Mr. Popper's Penguins

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