Friday, January 6, 2012

2011 Movie Review Post

I saw a lot of movies in 2011 and thought I'd sum them all up in a post.  These are in no certain order.

Thor - May 6th, 2011 - I had terrible expectations for this film and was convinced to go see it by Ringo.  Given some recent disappointing showings of comic book films I really wasn't sure how this one would shake out.

I was pleasantly surprised during the film.  The villain was very "villainesque", we were given a pretty rainbow bridge to look at several times until the dude broke it, and I got to see an unrealistic learning curve of someone from another time adapting to the modern age.  Sir Anthony Hopkins deserved more screen time.

I'd see it again.  I did end up liking the film despite my best effort not to. It was one of my favorites of 2011.  Also looking forward to seeing him again in The Avengers.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 - July 15, 2011 - Being that the first part was a massive disappointment (which is no surprise given that the first half of the book is also a massive disappointment) I was hoping the second half would redeem itself.

For the most part the film did pretty well.  The epic battle was pretty epic.  I enjoyed the speech Voldemort gave at the end. I think my favorite bit was the scene inside the goblin bank vault.

My husband said this movie was his favorite because it was the last one he'd ever have to see of the franchise.  Lets hope J.K. doesn't let him down.

Captain America - July 22, 2011 - Affectionately referred to as Mister 'merica, we both enjoyed this movie a lot.

Chris Evans has done some geeky roles so when we saw how beefed up he got for this one I'm sure we were not the only ones that thought "steroids". Scientists (Stanley Tucci) came up with their own steroid delivery system to turn a geeky kid into a photoshopped fantasy of himself.

For some reason they decided to turn Mr. Smith from the Matrix into a German villain with some added steampunk references.  I've never read the comics so hopefully they didn't veer too off course with the crazy car that was featured in the film.

It was fun to watch but it does make me miss geeky Chris Evans.  Another of my favorites for 2011 though.

Super 8 - June 10, 2011 - I'm a gigantic J.J. Abrams fan (with the exception of Lost but I'll forgive him for that) so I forced Ringo to go watch this one with me.  Most of our friends hate his style of directing with millions of light flares and his dislike to show you what is actually happening in the scene.  I can stomach that much better than The Bourne Identity shaky-cam that made me want to punch a photographer in the eye.

Anyhoo - the film was well acted and directed.  The writing kind of threw me at the introduction of spider aliens (meh) but I held on to the end.

This one is more of a rental.  J.J. you've done better work.  The best thing in this movie was Elle Fanning.  I'm not sure how the Fanning family managed to mutate their offspring into incredible actresses but they did.

Sucker Punch - March 25, 2011 - This is one of those stylized movies that most people are either going to love or hate.  It is completely polarizing. I like some of Zach Snyders stuff and for some reason fell in love with this movie.

I'm not sure if it was the soundtrack (Emily Browning was featured in many of the tracks) or the awesome cutaways to the action scenes but I loved the girl power throughout the film and the cool action sequences.

If you rent this movie I recommend seeing it on Blu-ray so you can get the full HD effect.  Most would consider this a throwaway but it crawled its way into my heart for whatever reason and is there to stay.

The Green Hornet - January 14, 2011 - I had mediocre expectations for this film as well being another comic book adaptation. Apparently Ringo had read some of these because he was able to give me some backstory as I became confused in the theater.

I'm not sure why the movie didn't do well and was panned in many venues but we liked it.  A good blend of comedy and action sequences that weren't boring made the film palatable. Watch it if only for Jay Chou's incredible fight scenes.

I hope they do another one or he gets put in some other American films because he is amazing.

The Hangover Part II - May 26, 2011 - The first Hangover film was an instant favorite in our household and soon became quoted and referred to quite often. You always worry when one of your favorite films has a sequel.

The film is not for everyone (lots of raunch, cursing and such) and it pushes the envelope way past where the first film went.  The writing was good though and they managed to achieve what I didn't think was possible.

We recently picked up the Blu-Ray edition of the film and enjoyed it again. It makes me want to visit "Thighland".

Limitless - March 18, 2011 - We saw this film right before taking a cruise and I was able to finally download an electronic version of the book that the film is based on and read it on the cruise so I could compare the two.

There are some massive differences between the movie and the book (some of which I really like the movie version better) but the overall feel is fantastic.  I love the way the photography was done to capture the feeling of skipping time, of being on the smart drug and of being off the drug.

The book I feel was more realistic but the movie had a more satisfying ending. I was actually angry when I read the books ending and I'm glad they didn't use that in the film.  Definitely a film to see.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes - August 5, 2011 - I'll be honest, we saw this film out of boredom while we were at Cocoa Beach visiting Kennedy Space Center.  There wasn't much else playing at the theater so I convinced Ringo to see it even though he was totally against it.  We both were skeptical about the incredible reviews the movie was receiving.

We were both totally wrong about the film.  It had a great feel to it, great writing and great acting. You totally wanted the apes to destroy the world by the end of the film after seeing what had been done to them.  I don't think they really needed Malfoy to make a cameo appearance though.  This was a surprise favorite of 2011 for me.

Priest - May 13, 2011 - I'm a huge vampire and zombie movie fan. For months I'd been inundated with the trailers for this film and was so excited to see it.

I was sort of let down when I did. Paul Bettany did what he could but it just wasn't that compelling of a film when it comes down to it. Typical Western "Damsel in distress" with a shake of vampires and other creatures added to it. Meh.

I wanted to like this film but I had a hard time doing that.

It would make an entertaining rental but not something I'd want to see more than once or twice.

Kung Fu Panda 2 - May 26, 2011- I'll admit it - I'm a huge sucker for animated films. We loved the original Kung Fu Panda a lot so we watched this one one night as we were movie hopping at the theater.

It was a great continuation of his story, the animation was really nice and they continued with the awesome scenery that I loved so much in the original.

I can almost say I liked this one more than the first one. It is too close to call.  The story of how Po came to be raised by a crane was cute and his journey to find his family home was very sweet.  If you have kids you probably already own this one. One of my favorites for 2011.

Hanna - April 8, 2011 - Another female heroine film that was featured in 2011, Hanna is about a girl you don't want to trifle with that has a serious score to settle.

Speaking of scores, the Chemical Brothers did an amazing job on the music for this film.

This little girl is such a fantastic actress and action star it makes me want to stand up and cheer with each bad guy she takes out. I love that Cate Blanchette plays a villain in this film too - she does a great job of making you hate her.  This was another 2011 favorite.

Insidious - April 1, 2011 - The trailers for this movie completely freaked me out so I had high hopes for this film every time I saw the trailer.

85% of the movie is fantastic.  Then it gets ridiculous at the end and the costuming of the "demon" makes the film take on a 1970's vibe with the bad clown makeup on him. I couldn't hold back a laugh when I saw how ridiculous it became.

That being said - the film is good and for most of it you're gonna be pretty darn scared. The ending is left open for a sequel.  I'm not sure I'll see it if they make one because of the high possibility of them making it pretty bad.  A good rental if you watch it in the dark.

Take Me Home Tonight - March 4, 2011 - This was one of those films that will sneak past you if you aren't paying attention. It came and went pretty quickly.  Fortunately for us, my husband is a huge 80's fan so we ended up getting to see this gem before it did the disappearing act.

If you love the 80's rent this film.  Great soundtrack, great comedic actors and pretty good writing. Topher Grace gets to break out of the typical "goodie two shoes" role and play a guy that is kind of at a dead end in his career without any real direction in his life except towards a hot girl from high school.

The situations are funny and Anna Faris adds a lot to this film as does her husband Chris Pratt. Rent it, you won't regret it.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo - December 21, 2011 - We saw this last weekend actually and both of us were hesitant to even bother since we've watched all of the Scandinavian versions of the films and really loved them.  I was afraid to see what an American team did with it.

It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I don't think they captured the raw feel that the Scandinavian film did but Rooney Mara made up for most of that with her amazing portrayal of Lizbeth Salander. The story seemed to have a completely different pace than the Swedish version.  It was kind of hard to grab on to in the beginning they were going so fast.  It is worth a comparison to the original version and if you haven't seen that you might enjoy it even more.

Bridesmaids - May 13, 2011 - This movie had amazing writing in it.  I was surprised more guys didn't want to see this movie.  So many people referred to it as a chick flick when it clearly is not.

Watching a train wreck happen on screen becomes fun when Kristen Wig and Maya Rudolph have anything to do with it. It probably should be nominated for an Academy Award in something.

Anyone that has been in a wedding or has had one of their own will understand so many things that happen in the film. The end sequence is totally cute too.  One of my faves.

Paul - March 18, 2011 - Seth Rogan does a fantastic job voice acting this little alien guy.  I'm sure it was a blast for him to do because it is really fun to watch on screen.

We're huge fans of Simon Pegg and his faithful sidekick Nick Frost so we naturally flocked to the theater when this film was released and we were impressed with the results.  The collaborative writing between the two of them is real magic and I was happy to see that Universal gave them a budget to really make it look good on screen.

The addition of Kristen Wig's character is so funny. If you are a sci-fi nerd and don't mind a little bit of raunchiness in your films you should see this one.

The Adjustment Bureau - March 4, 2011 - They should call this "the love story on the run" because there is a lot of running around that occurs.  I was surprised by how good this movie was because the trailers were not that great.  I think I was even more surprised that my husband liked it since he normally hates films that involve any sort of love story.

The film presents an interesting concept and Matt Damon carries it out quite well.  I think the casting choices were very smart and that kept the movie interesting and compelling.

It makes me want some sort of fancy hat every time I see it.

The Rite - January 24, 2011 - I really wanted to like this film.

When Anthony Hopkins can't save your movie you know you're in trouble.  He tries really hard though and the only scenes worth watching are the ones with him in it.  I found the main character annoying however and kept hoping a demon would take him out.

Not worth a rental.  Just skip this one.

Arthur - April 8, 2011 - Russell Brand plays a grow up rich child in this quirky film.

I think that just about sums it up - its a quirky film with all sorts of stuff happening in it. Not a bad film per-se but not a great one either.

Rent it but don't buy it. They kind of ruin the movie adding in the love story element when all I wanted to see was him doing crazy stuff.

Oh well.

Gnomeo & Juliet in 3D - February 11, 2011 - I had to bargain with the husband to see this one.

I love gnomes.  I love animated movies.  They took two things I love and combined them into something completely adorable.

I wish I could add gnome sound effects to everything I did in real life, I think it would make my day more interesting.

The husband didn't care for it but I thought it was awesome.  Rent it especially if you have kids.

Your Highness - April 8, 2011 - I was dragged to this movie and wasn't that impressed with it.

Some of the jokes fell flat and the story wasn't that great.  It is mediocre writing with mediocre acting even by James Franco.

My husband thought it was totally awesome so guys will probably like this film a lot.  IMO skip it.

Puss in Boots - October 28, 2011 - Another film we movie hopped into. I didn't really have an urge to see it but it started soon after another film ended so we hopped on over.

I found the story incredibly long and drawn out.  It took forever to get anywhere and I found myself wondering how long I'd been sitting in the freaking theater.

If you love cat jokes, puns, sad stories and references you will probably find it completely amusing.  I did not.

Skip it.

Water for Elephants - April 22, 2011 - I'm a gigantic Reese Witherspoon fan and I love the book so when I saw that she was starring in the film I thought it was going to be amazing.  Until I saw who they cast as young Jacob.  Robert Pattinson isn't a great actor but I decided to stomach it.

I lured my husband to the theater by telling him Christopher Waltz was in the film and played a villain. I felt bad by the end of the movie that his part had been so watered down there wasn't much he could do with it.  They should have left some of that water for the elephants.

Walking out of the theater my husband said "So that was Fried Green Tomatoes but in the circus." I had to agree.  Some of the photography in the film was beautiful to watch though.  The book was better in this case.  They had to take too much out to make it PG-13.

Horrible Bosses - July 8, 2011 - I normally will not set foot in a theater if Colin Ferrell is cast in the film but I made an exception for this movie. I hate Colin Ferrell with a passion ever since I sat through Phone Booth.

I will say, my exception was worth making to see this film.  We've all had terrible bosses in our jobs and this film is no exception.  I think Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Anniston and *cough* ok I'll say it - Colin Ferrell did a fantastic job portraying bosses we all can't stand.

Watching three guys try to plan and execute a way to take out their bosses was worth stomaching a little bit of Colin Ferrell.

Crazy, Stupid Love - July 29, 2011 - I'm not sure why I liked this movie so much really.  It isn't amazing but I found it good. Watching Steve Carell get slapped in the face several times by Ryan Gosling was worth it.

The story is okay.

Probably more a date movie than anything else though. Its a cute date movie.  I ended up with the Blu-Ray because I liked it a lot.

30 minutes or Less - August 12, 2011 - Because of the failure that was Your Highness I didn't have great expectations for this film. Thankfully I was wrong.

This movie is a rollercoaster ride of laughs and confirms that Jesse Eisenburg is a great actor. Aziz adds a lot of good comedy to the film too.

I'm not sure why my husband likes Danny McBride as much as he does but whatever his reasons are I'm glad that he does a good job in a movie like this.  I think any movie where Danny McBride handles explosives it makes sense for his character.

Worth a rental.

Super - April 1, 2011 - I was unable to see this in the theater since they didn't play it in Tampa but I kept hearing about this movie on Doug Benson's podcast.  I finally grabbed it when it was available in Netflix.  The movies on this review were all ones I saw in the theater but this will be the only exception since I wasn't able to!

It's a really dark comedy but Ellen Page adds so much to it I love it. Rainn Wilson owns this character and he did a great job on the film.

I know in listening to Doug Benson's podcast that the filming for Super wasn't easy and was miserable at times to do the weather and the production time available to film but it was totally worth it.  I really like this movie.

Paranormal Activity 3 - October 21, 2011 - I'm a big Paranormal activity fan even if I came late to the game.  I didn't discover the film until it was available on Netflix streaming but I found it so creepy I went home and made my husband watch it so he could be creeped out too.

Good films are ones that you share with others so they are as freaked out as you are.

The 2nd one was kind of a let down but I liked the 3rd film better than the 2nd.  Most of it had me grabbing my husbands arm until they got to the ending which was kind of weird.  I didn't really care for it.  I also know  a lot of people got kind of upset that trailer footage didn't match what was shown in the film and I kind of agree.  Still, worth a rental if you saw the first two.

In Time - October 28, 2011 - I'm a big Andrew Niccol fan. I love his concepts and most of his other films.  Gattaca is one of my all time favorite movies and one of my fondest memories that I have from my teenage days.

In Time has a cool concept and Niccol plays on the separation of wealth that exists now but in a different medium - minutes of your life.  Instead of dollars separating the poor and the rich you've only got time.

I do think my glowing arm would give me issues while trying to sleep.  Anyway - I liked the film a lot and I think Niccol did a good job writing it. The acting in it is pretty decent too.  Worth a rental.

Drive - September 16, 2011 - I'm going to wrap this up with my favorite movie of the year.  Drive is another one of those sleeper films that not many people knew about.  It didn't have a huge marketing push.  I'll be honest, we saw it because Albert Brooks is in it and he's one of our favorite actors.

I was pleasantly surprised at the story and how it is woven together. Refn put his own directoral spin on the film in such a way that created pure magic.  The soundtrack added so much to the film and the way he chose to let some scenes just have silence as a background too - it was done very well.

Arthouse meets action - it just grabs you from the very beginning.  I think it would surprise most people to know that it's really a love story when you get down to it but it is done so well.  I do warn you, there is violence and gore involved.  You're totally cheering for The Driver when he starts on his rampage.

Worth owning. I have it on pre-order.  And that's it for 2011!  I hope 2012 brings many good films my way.

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