Yes, we have a Search Option

12 January 2012

2011 Review in Movies

So 2011 finally ended and my brain decided to keep up and make a quick re-cap of the year in movies. I watched a ton of movies, but not all of them on the cinema. I’m poor, I can’t afford going to the movies, so I guess the best possible option was to catch up with 2010 as well. Now, many of the movies I watched are not from 2011, obviously, so I am making this different from last year’s list. Besides, I haven’t watched many bad movies, not enough to make a top five, or even a top three, so I’m giving more praise than bashing.

Without any more delays, here’s my list, starting with the bottom of the barrel, and then going up.

MEH-VIE OF 2011.


- Cowboys and Aliens.

The first movie to appear on this category happens to be the biggest disappointment of 2011. It’s very sad when the MAD TV parody is actually an improvement over the original product. The director of Iron Man, Steven Spielberg produces, and it stars Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford and Doctor Thirteen from House MD. What could possibly go wrong? Well, when your movie has five different writers, and it’s paced like a parade directed by a narcoleptic you have yourself two big problems. Mixing aliens and cowboys is not that difficult guys, and this movie is an example of how not to do things. It’s not bad, and it has a few memorable moments, but in the end it’s just a watered down version of what could have been a great film.


- Pirates of the Caribbean: Unecessary Sequel that Blows Shit.

When I look back at the original Pirates of the Caribbean I keep thinking, “That movie is fantastic, so good!” Then I look at this and I go, “Wow, nothing is away from the powers of decay now, isn’t it?” I was shocked by how fucking bad this movie is. Johnny Depp is not enough to save this film, and when the only thing worth saving from your film is Penelope Cruz, you know you have problems. The film drags, half dead, trying to get to the end while pulling from the audience with its putrefactive limbs and it reaches the point that it’s more sad than actually unnerving. The special effects make The Last Airbender look good (yes, I fucking went there), the story is stupidly complicated, and the actors feel devoid of the passion they showed in previous movies. I didn’t watch the 3D version of this film, but I could tell right away when the 3D appeared in it. There were so many parts where things stuck out of the screen, from swords to skeleton hands, that it felt ridiculous. This 3D gimmick is turning into the wide-angle lens of modern cinema, and it’s getting annoying. Learn from James Cameron before using it guys. Really, stop it. And don’t make more Pirate movies, we have had enough of this faffing around.

Take a deep breath, and now let's leave the negativity outside.
Okay, so we took all the awfulness away, which is quite little compared to what I had to suffer last year, now let’s focus on the good stuff! There is a lot guys. Half of it belongs to 2010, and the other half to 2011, so I will be fair and make it into two categories. Now first of all, I don’t want to make Top Fives, so I am doing runners up, and then an absolute winner. I liked all these movies equally, and there’s always one that stands out over the rest. It also makes it easier for me, since it’s more equal, more balanced, better. There’s no favoritisms but for the movie I like the most. Is that good? Then let’s get on with it!



- The Fighter.

This movie caught me off guard in several occasions, and my process of warming up to it was quite weird. I had a predisposition to love this movie, but as soon as it starts it hit me as “Assholes: The Motion Picture”. But as the movie progresses I started to warm up to these characters, understand their motivations and feel the drama that surrounds their miserable lives, making the catharsis of the victory much more satisfying. I can talk about how David O’Russell has redeemed himself into my eyes, how Marl Walberg shuts up all his haters, or how brilliant Amy Adams is, but everything is quickly gobbled by Christian Bale and his overpowering talent. This guy got a storm of praise, and well deserved. They should create new awards and categories just to away this guy, because he is unbelievable in this movie. Just his performance alone is more than worth the price of the movie.

- Scott Pilgrim VS The World.

The blurb on the description of the DVD quotes a guy from MTV saying “Get ready to have a new favorite movie”. It hurts me to say this but, even though with me it’s not true, it can easily be true for many other people, because this movie is fantastic. You know those kind of movies that come into that moment of your life when you are a teenager, that are really cool to watch but sometimes they try to talk down to you and treat you like a grown up kid instead of an adult? Well, this movie doesn’t down talk you, completely the opposite. The story of Scott Pilgrim fighting to get a relationship going is more love story than videogame spoof, as director Edgar Wright uses all the videogame and sub cultural imagery of the comics to portray what a guy goes through trying to get a girlfriend. If you put thrilling action sequences, cartoony special effects, a great soundtrack, and the talent of a fantastic cast, you have yourself a great action/romantic comedy movie. Edgar Wright is making an art out of gender splicing.

- Tangled.

After the utter disappointment that was “Princess and the Frog” I was really weary of watching the next Disney movie. I heard they were going back to the typical formula of Princess and evil mother, world discovery, innocence breaking, blah, blah, blah…I was bored by the concept before watching the film. But then my best friend came up to me and said, “Hey man, I watched Tangled and it was great, you should watch it”. So, I trusted his word and we watched Tangled together. And I loved it. It’s the typical Disney Princess formula, but with improvements. It’s a 3D movie, but it has the soul of a 2D animated film. There’s not a single obvious cultural reference in it, the speech is pretty much timeless, and the story is really good. It’s an upgrade of the Rapunzel tale, which explains every single nitpick and plot hole the original tale had. The animation is amazing, simply gorgeous. If you are a fan of animation like me you will have a blast watching this movie. The characters are great too: Rapunzel is likeable, the thief is a lovable jerk, the horse is hilarious, and the evil mother is intimidating enough. It might have a forgettable score, but the songs were really good. If you want to recover your faith in Disney, check this one out. You won’t regret it.

- Tron Legacy.

I count myself in the marginally small group of people who just sit down to watch this movie because it’s a lot of fun. I don’t make any question towards plot holes or mixed motivations, and I just enjoy how goddamn fun this movie is. Rather than being a remake, or a carbon copy sequel of the original Tron, this movie follows up on the story and expands the universe. Instead of one on one disc wars, we have a massive arena with multiple players at the same time. The light cycle grid has several levels, power ups, and even traps. Instead of having a small grid, we have a big one filled with all sorts of dangers. Many people complained about several things like “Why is there dust in the Grid?” or “Why is there a camp program running a bar?” For any question you may have, go to the TV-Tropes page of both Tron and Tron Legacy, and discover the best fandom in the surface of the planet (yes, they are even better than us bronies guys). If we add the (always) marvelous double performance of Jeff Bridges, the Daft-Punk score and the cliffhanger ending, you have a very fun, very enjoyable sequel. Is it perfect? No. But that doesn’t mean you are not entitled to enjoy it.


- True Grit.

I am not one for westerns, but when I watch them I only watch good ones. Just to tell you how good this movie is I will tell you my reaction when this movie ended. It was at the last five minutes of the film. I was sunk on the couch, watching the movie with my best friend next to me, silent. My tongue was stuck to the ceiling of my mouth. The final line of narration is said. And then the credits start to roll. I turn to my friend, and I say:

“That movie was great.”

I took a moment, as my friend nods and I add.

“It was fantastic!”

It’s not until the movie ended I realized I was watching a film, I was so immersed in it. The Coen Brothers are known for making wonderful movies, but this one is definitely their best. It’s better than Fargo, it’s better than Big Lebowski, and it’s better than No Country for Old Men. It was funny, it was heartbreaking. It was enjoyable, it was sad; it took my emotions, tore them and made a gun with them to blow up my mind. It’s full of great characters and memorable performances, and a story that engages you from the first word to the last. This is probably one of the best films of the decade, top ten easy. Both objectively and subjectively, this movie is wonderful all the way around.



Yes, I need to use this, so shut up and tolerate.
- Bridesmaids.

Many people compared this flick to The Hangover, to the point of describing it as “The Hangover with chicks”. I never watched The Hangover, and I don’t want to, but for what I know it’s about three blokes that get lost in Las Vegas and don’t remember what they did the last night. So it’s like that episode of The Simpsons turned into a two hour long movie. So I was actually glad to see that Bridesmaids is not about that at all. It’s about a woman hitting rock bottom while her best friend is about to get married, and the many clashes she has with the bridesmaid that’s organizing the whole wedding. There’s some gross-out humor, done rather tastefully I must say; there’s a small lesbian scene; and a bunch of slapstick and well written dialogues. The fact that Chris O’Dowd (Roy from The IT Crowd) is the love interest only adds to the comedy of the whole thing. Overall it’s a very entertaining, very harmless, and outrageously funny movie. It also adds a lot the fact that I imagined the whole film with ponies instead of humans. That billboard…Goddamnit Hasbro!

- Thor.

Like many other movies, and like many other people who watches movies, I was already building up ideas towards this film in particular. I will come out and say I never read the Thor comics. Norse mythology is not my cup of tea. I am from the Tony Stark school of comic books. However, when I heard Kenneth Branagh was going to direct it I threw the hands to my face. “What!?” I said, “Kenneth Branagh directing a super hero movie? This is going to blow big time!” I dreaded it, and I had no positivity in me when I went to watch it. Well, it’s on my favorite films of the year for a reason. Not only Kenneth Branagh does a great work in this movie, but he is the only director who could have done it! As I said I never read the comics but this movie, for such a simplistic storyline, feels really big. It feels like watching an opera with super heroes and government agencies in it. It’s grandiose, it’s bombastic, it has great looking silly costumes, and memorable performances. Anthony Hopkins keeps down the hammy level and delivers a great Odin, while Christ Hemsworth is brilliant as Thor. When you see him you see Thor! It’s like when you see Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, or Ron Perlman as Hellboy. This is perfect casting. Not to mention Natalie Portman being adorkable, and Stellan Skarsgard playing a character who’s not an asshole. It’s also a great build up for The Avengers, but overall it feels like its own movie. Like I said, it’s big, bombastic and grandiose; the opera of super heroes.

- X-Men First Class.

For a long time superhero movies have been afflicted by one, single, solitary problem: Lack of character. There is a lot of focus on explosions, action scenes, and all that jazz. Now that’s good, but if we don’t care for the characters that are involved in these action scenes, then the effort on making the pixels look like fire and explosions are worthless. There have been movies that tried to fix this, and some of them succeeded moderately, like Unbreakable, Spiderman 2, and Iron Man. However, I think X-Men First Class is the first movie that gets this right. Why? Because, and this is what’s rare about it, this movie is so well written you can actually understand the bad guy! It’s so well portrayed that you understand Magneto’s motivations, and you get why he wants to terminate all oh humanity. But it doesn’t stop there, oh no. It delves even deeper into these characters, analyzing the relationships between them and how they are going to be torn apart to set the events for future movies. The potential crush between Charles Xavier and Mystique, the friendship between Xavier and Eric, the relationships between the teenager superheroes and how they work and train together to ultimately turn into the first class of X-Men. It’s not a perfect movie though. The actress who plays Emma Frost is completely forgettable except for the fact that she has terrible acting skills, and Kevin Bacon is not enough in this movie, but I can go as far as calling it the best superhero movie ever made. And after a decade of having two to three superhero movies every year, that’s a big thing to say!

- The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn.

I saw the trailers for this film and it looked awesome. I saw critics talking about it and they said it was awesome. I heard movie makers going to see it, and they said it was awesome. My best friend went to watch it and he said it was awesome. So, of course, I went to see it. And you know what? It’s fucking awesome! I know it’s hard to say it, but sometimes you have to join the herd (hahaha, I am such a witty brony) and admit that the majority is totally right. The Adventures of Tintin is exactly what everybody is saying: A modern Indiana Jones. It’s fun, it’s thrilling, it’s interesting, it has a great story, it has great acting, and for an animated feature that doesn’t come from Pixar this is a lot of praise! Many of my concerns came from the fact that they were using the same technology from AVATAR, that motion capture technique that, if done wrong, makes the characters look like puppets. Well forget about those concerns, because there’s none of that here. Those dead eyes like in The Polar Express: Gone. Jamie Bell does a great Tintin and his animation is brilliant. He’s wise, he’s naive, and he’s hungry of information. He acts like a true reporter! And Andy Serkis is fantastic as Haddock, but of course, this comes from the guy who blew half the world away with his performance as Gollum. It’s no surprise he’s going to be good. Featuring one of the longest action sequences in recent years, shot in one single shot, and a pacing that’s measured to the inch, this movie wins in so many levels it’s unbelievable.


- Super 8.

This year started really well, really hardcore, and then it slowed down to a point I thought I wasn’t coming back to the movies for the remaining six months. Then Super 8 happened, and I regained my passion for movies again. There’s been a lot of Steven Spielberg in 2011, so much so that it’s pouring onto 2012! He produced a lot of movies, and directed two, but if any movie is worth to be the best of all the ones he’s been involved into, then Super 8 is that film. Directed and Written by J.J. Abrams this movie is a perfect example of what the 80’s would’ve done with a 100 million dollars budget. The whole alien subplot is nothing but a background for the real core of the movie to stumble before our faces: The kids. If you grew up with a camera on your hands or on your night stand, you can totally identify with these kids. It’s that feeling of placing that camera at night, thinking: “If something happens, I can record it on video!” That’s what makes this movie so enjoyable, how spontaneous and realistic the characters are, how believable they are. These are not kid actors that are trying to make a career in Hollywood (like Haley Joel Osment or Dakota Fanning). These kids look and act like real kids. They are emotional, they are passionate for their silly movie, they tell lies, they are awkward, and they act terrible inside their own movie. How good are these actors that I can say good things about the stupid zombie movie!? But the plot is great too. All alien conspiracies aside, it’s all about the well known coming of age story about coping with the loss and moving on with our lives. It’s a big movie made out of small moments, like when the protagonist finds an old movie with his mother in it, or when he lets go the medallion at the end of the film. These small moments are more powerful than any explosion or roar. But, even with that, the stuff involving the alien is really well done too! It’s shot with a lot of suspense, great pacing, and enough tricky shots to keep you wondering about what the hell is that thing. Like I tweeted after watching it, this movie is E.T. + The Goonies + Cloverfield, without the negative parts and all the positive.

So that’s my review of 2011 in movies. I guess I could do the same for videogames, but let’s be honest; there’s a lot of 2011 videogames I didn’t even started playing. However, 2012 is looking promising already: Brave, The Avengers, Prometheus, The Dark Knight Rises, Men in Black 3…I think it’s going to be a good year.

1 comment:


    Well...damn! That's a whole lot of reading! Imma do something. Imma go comment on last weeks episode review and THEN try to read through this monster! Then I'll comment again...should be worth it at any rate.