Monday, January 2, 2012

Just 353 Days Left Till Armageddon! Time for the TEN BEST FILMS OF 2011!

Artist rendering. Not the actual armageddon.

Happy New Year!

With only 353 days till the end of the Mayan Calendar, I feel it's important that I at least try using this blog a little. 

So, considering the limited time we have left, I figure that this is the perfect time to unleash my TEN BEST FILMS OF 2011 LIST.  Yes, this incredibly soon-to-be-irrelevant-due-to-the-upcoming-end-of-times list includes films that I did not review, films that I may not remember, and films that I possibly did not see. 

Find out if your favorite films made it after the jump.


This is in no particular order.

1. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  I was more than a little wary of this film when I heard it was going into production.  I enjoyed the original Swedish film and, like many others, saw no reason to remake it.  For what, we all screamed?  The original JUST came out.  Like JUST-JUST.  Anyway, the more I thought about it, the less it bothered me, despite the glaring precedence set by films like the amazing Let the Right One In getting butchered and packaged as the American travesty Let Me In.  I suppose our love of destroying good stuff is the true American horror story.  Anyway, unlike Let the Right One In, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo has sequels.  And they aren't very good.  They come across as made-for-television dramas, which they are, and they're a little more than underwhelming.  So David Fincher, fine, let's see what you got.  And it was damn good.  Rooney Mara (Nightmare on Elm Street) "is" Lisbeth Salander.  I thought Noomi Rapace did an awesome job (for a chick).  But Rooney Mara somehow manages to tuck his ball and chains in and play Lisbeth with the perfect amount of femininity to make the androgynous character--I'm sorry, what?  Oh.  Well, that explains a few things.  Anyway, go see this.  It's amazing.  

Fuck You, Seth Rogen.  Leave that child alone!
2.  50/50.  I don't like Seth Rogen (Undeclared).  I found that describing himself in Zack and Miri Make a Porno as a "beluga whale" was accurate and I have since harbored an intense loathing for beluga whales.  But this film is amazing: heartwarming, heartbreaking, hearty beef stew, Hearts on Fire by John Cafferty, whatever.  The point is this film has a heart, which is lacking in so many films nowadays. Also, if you watch this film, you can pretend you're doing something to fight cancer. 

3.  DriveRyan Gosling (Young Hercules), when not espousing academic feminist jargon, finds time to actually make damn amazing films.  Billed as something of a John Hughes film with head smashing, Drive brings back from the 80s (and makes cool) electro-synth-pop with its amazing soundtrack featuring groups such as Electric Youth.  With fantastic performances all around, one of the tensest, most adrenaline-filled car chase openings I've ever seen (and it doesn't, in any way, resemble a Michael Bay film), and dripping with cool, this film goes right up there with films like Grosse Pointe Blank for simply making me believe in film-making again.

4.  Rise of the Planet of the ApesJames Franco (Deuces Wild) has more chemistry with the ape than he does with his super-hot love interest played against type by super-duper-hot Freida Pinto (You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger).  If this isn't enough to get you to see this film, there's also a fantastic story, astonishing effects, and great performances by a motion capture-heavy cast headed by the indomitable Andy Serkis (Inkheart).  I swear, I can barely recognize him in any of his roles.  Talk about disappearing into a character.  I guess that's why they call it "aping around."  Okay that's enough, I'll stop. 

5.  Warrior. Succeeds in ways that The Fighter can only dream of, and that includes the multiple points of views, half naked dudes, and blood and guts.  There's not much to say about this film except that it's fucking brilliant and shit.  Also, I had serious doubts about Tom Hardy (Sucker Punch) as Bane in the upcoming The Dark Knight Rises film, but after seeing this, I was completely floored.  The man can act.  But he's British so it could just be his accent fooling me.

6.  Attack the Block.  When I reviewed this film here, I was amazed by the casting, the story, everything.  And that hasn't changed.  It's utterly hilarious, terrifying, and offers an interesting look at race, poverty, and socio-economic conditions in London.  Do yourselves a favor and purchase this film.  It's got a bunch of low-budget aliens that look awesome killing a bunch of smart-mouthed street urchins who are armed with fireworks and bats.  Holy crap, I need to watch this again.

7.  13 Assassins.  I have a simple rule in life, one that has served me well through the past three decades: Japanese movies are weird.  Now, there are exceptions, sure, but by and large I've found this to be true.  Even the animation.  If you really think about it, those are fucking weird.  Don't even get me started on their pornography.  Anyway, I haven't really delved into the Samurai/Spaghetti Western genre of Japanese films, and I'm really glad I did with this gem.  A period piece set during a particularly violent time in Japanese history, this film offers an in-depth look at the dying samurai culture at the brink of modernization.  While this film was made in 2010, it didn't hit the States AKA the only place that matters till 2011, so yes, I feel I can include it on this list.

Outtakes from a Madonna video?
8.  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. I really don't know if this is that great a film, but it's the end piece to the most amazing franchise ever.  What other franchise can say it's consistently put out this level of quality in its films?  Sure I was pissed at the end due to the little inane changes, and the film really does come off as action scene after action scene, and occasionally I'm left wondering why everything feels so rushed.  But I'm a Potterphile through and through, and this was a worthy, if flawed, conclusion to the past ten years of my life.  Part 1 was, in my opinion, better.  But nevertheless, I happily include this film on my list.  I shall miss you, my Dark Lord.  <3

9.  The GuardBrendan Gleeson (Mission Impossible 2) delivers a steady stream of ignorant, racist jokes at Don Cheadle (The Meteor Man).  This is one funny-as-hell, smart, irreverent Irish film that has a whole lot of heart.  And hot hookers, for some reason.  Cheadle and Gleeson have an amazing chemistry together, and both men really feed off the energy derived from the other.  With the film's comedic story centering on drug trafficking, corruption, and murder, I'm amazed that so few people heard about this, much less saw it.  Mark Strong (The Eagle) is also in this, which is always a plus, since he's pretty much the greatest villain-actor of our time.

10.   And I leave this spot empty to symbolize the human spirit and our need to constantly get better.  Or is it for the Holy Ghost at dinner?  Shit.  Okay, seriously I couldn't decide on a tenth film from the Honorable Mentions list below.  Go screw yourselves. 

HONORABLE MENTION (in no particular order):

A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas
Horrible Bosses
Paranormal Activity 3
Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol
Fast Five
The Lincoln Lawyer
Take Me Home Tonight

I'll be back soon with my New Year's Resolutions, and how I plan to be a vegan for the next year or so. 

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