2011: The Skinny

Here it is, in descending order- my favorite films of 2011!

I have not seen Take Shelter, Tree of Life, Week with Marilyn or Martha Marcy May Marelene yet- so they are sadly left to the wayside on this list. (I can’t see everything) This is culled from films that I saw in 2011 that were released in 2011. I did not see everything. This is merely the favorites of what I DID see.

1: Midnight in Paris

This is the story of Gil, a screenwriter on vacation with his fiancé and in-laws in Paris. He is a romantic, and loves the world of 1920’s Paris. His Fiance is the wrong woman for him. He knows this, but is committed to the relationship. She wants him to be realistic and stay in Hollywood writing crappy scripts. He wants to move to Paris and become a novelist. He gets her a pretty moonstone necklace as a gift, and she complains that it is not pearls. Her mother supports her in this “cheap is cheap”. Following this particularly crappy day, he goes walking off into the city late at night…and finds himself transported in time to the 1920’s! Every night, he meets all the luminaries of the period (Hemingway, Picasso, Fitzgerald) all while returning to 2010 during the day. The film follows his epiphanies as he sees what his life is really like.

Owen Wilson has turned in his finest performance yet as Gil, the protagonist of our tale. Rachel McAdams is delightfully annoying as his fiancé, every man’s potential worst nightmare of a wife. Michael Sheen is perfect as the douchey know-it-all that McAdams find so fascinating. The revolving door of classic figures from the 20’s were perfectly cast- with Adrian Brody receiving particular praise for his Salvador Dali! Marion Cotillard is absolutely perfect as Adriana- the woman Gil meets in the 20’s. She is at the forefront of a series of amazing French actresses that have been rocking my world for a while. Ludivine Sagnier and Melanie Laurent make appearances on this list although I wonder where  Audrey Tautou is!? She had no films this year

Woody Allen has written and directed a wonderful movie, which is clearly the film of the year. I do not know of one person who dislikes it. Well worth your time.

2: Sherlock Holmes 2

I delved into it more fully in my blog, but this film was a wonderful continuation of the Sherlock Holmes that Guy Ritchie gave us 2 years ago. Jared Harris is terrific as Professor Moriarty– the great nemesis of Holmes. RDJ continues his great performance as the master detective of 221B Baker Street, but Jude Law continues to rise to the challenge as gives us a terrific Watson. The chemistry between these 2 is flawless. They need to make more movies together.

3: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

I had little hope for this film. Of the original Planet of the Apes films (I refuse to acknowledge the Tim Burton remake- with the exception of a great Paul Giamatti performance) one of the best was part 4: Conquest of the Planet of the Apes. This film is a reimagining of it. What could have been a bad, bad thing became one of the best science fiction films made in years. Andy Serkis delivers an Oscar worthy motion capture performance as Caesar, the intelligent ape. John Lithgow is great as a man suffering from Alzheimers. What this film does that is so awesome is that it gives us a believable premise for how the Apes could realistically take over the earth. This is the best Apes film since the original, and is worth your time.

4: X-Men 1st Class

Talk about another come from behind victory. While the Planet of the Apes films slowly descended into garbage over 40 years, X-Men nosedived in short order from one of the best superhero films ever made (X-Men 2) to the abyss that was X-Men 3 and continued to slide in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. This movie flat out ignores the fact that #3 or Wolverine ever happened (something wolverine 2 is also said to be doing). It jumps back to the early 1960’s, as a young Professor Xavier puts together his team of Mutant heroes. The character of Magneto, as in the previous films, steals the show. While Ian McKellan is a fantastic actor, it is clear that he cannot be believably de-aged to appear as if he was in his late 20’s. Luckily, we had one of the best friggin actors on the planet ready to jump in: Michael Fassbender.


You may remember how he stole the show in Inglorious Basterds…not an easy thing to do with Christoph Waltz also stealing the show.


Essentially,  Inglorious Basterds was a huge act of grand larceny against Brad Pitt…

but I digress. Fassbender is on a hell of a roll in the last few years. I have a funny feeling that his recent film “Shame” would have made it on this list, but I did not get a chance to see it. Based on reviews from critics I trust Shame is awesome. I have no doubt that this man will be getting an Oscar really soon. I don’t know which film it will be for, but it is coming.

This film, like any, is not without its flaws. I am looking at you Betty Draper…

Seriously now. How on earth could the inclusion of the above image be a BAD thing in a movie? She is just that damn untalented.

5: Captain America


The epitome of a Marvel Comics film. In fact, the best entry into the Marvel Avengers film series. Chris Evans nails it. Hugo Weaving nails it. Everyone is on the money. Tommy Lee Jones and Stanley Tucci were perfectly cast. Dominic Cooper (who appears below) was great as Tony Stark’s Father. If you have not seen this yet, why are you reading my Blog? Get your ass out there a rent it.

6: Beginners

I covered this fully in my Blog as well. In fact, I am just going to be lazy and repost what I originally wrote: (hehe)

Ewan McGregor will always be remembered for Star Wars, Moulin Rouge, and his other big budget fare. I think this is a sad thing. Beginners is a great example of the type of film Ewan McGregor excels at.

The story of a man who’s father is dying and reveals a secret- He is gay. The film follows how the son deals with the news, and his father’s cancer, as he meets and falls in love with a lovely actress who, like he, has issues with making long lasting connections. Christopher Plummer delivers a terrific performance as the father, while Melanie Laurent, one of my favorite actresses who is FINALLY breaking into American Cinema, is the love interest. This movie reminds me a lot of 500 days of Summer, and in a good way.

This is a charming film that delivers its message of life, death, regret, and love in an outstanding way. Worth your time.

7: Devil’s Double

I also covered this one in a previous blog (with text stolen from it) but suffice it to say: that if Michael Fassbender loses the Oscar race to anyone this year, it should be to Dominic Cooper…

I have certain habits when I am on the computer. One is that I always have the TV on. it has become one of the better ways for me to discern how good/bad a movie/tv show is. If it can grab my attention and keep it while the wonders of the Web lay before me, then its pretty good.

The First film in my reactivated Netflix queue is The Devil’s Double, based on an autobiography of a body double for Saddam Huessein’s eldest son- Uday. Dominic Cooper, who came to my notice as Howard Stark in Captain America plays the 2 roles of Uday, and Latif the double.

Sadistically evil is the only way to describe Uday. Dominic Cooper has shot forward in my estimation as one of the best actors out there. He is on a tear right now, with this, Captain American, and My week with Marilyn (review forthcoming) all out this year. Mark my words- he is an actor to watch.

The lovely Ludivine Sangnier, who blew me away 8 years ago in The Swimming Pool, finally returns to my film viewing as Sarrab, one of Uday’s girlfriends.

If you have not seen this movie yet, I encourage you to do so. Lee Tamahori has finally redeemed himself after Die Another Day with this amazing film. I expect this to be among the “Best Picture” nominees come Oscar Sunday.

8: Muppets

Come on! You know you love them! Pure Nostalgic heaven. Muppets are back.

9: Harry Potter 7 Part 2

The grand finale to the Harry Potter extravaganza! The three kids in these films: Dan Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson were surrounded by the greatest actors that their country has to offer…No…actually ALL of them. Something had to rub off, and much rubbing off was going on in the making of this series (they were teenagers after all). Ralph Fiennes FINALLY gets to act in one of these films (he performances thus far were essentially cameos) and Alan Rickman, who has been setting up the character of Severus Snape for 10 years, finally gets his payoff as the hero of this series. Snape is awesome, and Alan Rickman is the reason.

10: Paul

See that orgasmic look on Simon Pegg’s face? That was me every summer..in the exact same spot he is walking.

A movie that was made specifically for me. That is the only possible explanation. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost go to Comic-Con. That was the set up of this film. I love Comic-Con. As an 8 time veteran, I am about as in love with that show as you can get. Like me, their characters are completely gaga over Comic-Con. After the show, they decide to go see the famous UFO sites of America…and pick up an Alien. Luckily this alien has the voice and mannerisms of Seth Rogen, which serves to elevate this film into the stratosphere. Their great adventure takes them on a geek ride for the ages, all while Sigourney Weaver is trying to catch them. Ripley….Epic. Literally everyone I know emailed me immediately after seeing this film and wanted to tell me about it. That’s a sign of great film.

Honorable Mention:

Bad Teacher

I had no intention of seeing this film. The wave of stink was flowing off of this, and I decided to never see it. However, being bored this week, I threw it onto my netflix queue. When it arrived, I popped it in my dvd player and holy shit was I wrong. This film delivers a flawless comedy. Justin Timberlake was fantastic. Jason Segel was awesome as a Gym teacher. Actually, the entire cast of this film was phenomenal. I cannot think of one actor that did not perfectly fit the role. Cameron Diaz has made her best performance in years. To those that squawk that Hangover 2 is not on this list, I will admit that it was very funny, but was essentially a carbon copy of the original, and was not as great (sorry). I also did not get to see “Your Highness”, “Horrible Bosses”, or “Bridesmaids” yet, so they were not in the running.


The Fucking worst movie of the year.

There could only be one choice really.

Now answer me- What is BEST in Life?

Not this.

What a horrific pile of dogshit. Offensive to me on all levels. I cannot fault the cast, but I can sure as shit fault the writers and director. Here are their names. Ban them from making movies.


Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer: The geniuses that gave us Dylan Dog.

Sean Hood: This guy is actually not a bad writer. He did “Sick Girl” for Lucky Mckee years ago and he was the guy brought in to attempt a fix on this armpit of a script…and after a little research (research? moi?!) I have found that this is what he had to say:

“Unfortunately, the work I do as a script doctor is hard to defend if the movie flops. I know that those who have read my Conan shooting script agree that much of the work I did on story and character never made it to screen. I myself know that given the difficulties of rewriting a script in the middle of production, I made vast improvements on the draft that came before me. But its still much like doing great work on a losing campaign. All anyone in the general public knows, all anyone in the industry remembers, is the flop. A loss is a loss.”

I kinda feel bad for the guy now. Not for Oppenheimer and Donnelly though. They need to stop writing movies.

Director: Marcus Nispel. This douchebag has been fouling the silver screen for years now. This semi-sentient queef got his start directing music videos  and he has somehow since broken into hollywood with an amazing cavalcade of original productions:

2003: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: Horrific remake of the original, and not horrific in the good sense.

2004: Frankenstein: Ok, come on. Who actually knew that there was a 2004 remake of Frankenstein? I live for this and I was clueless.

2007: Pathfinder: remake of a well regarded 80’s film from Norway. I have not seen it, but Its likely crap. But I will give him a pass on this one.

2009: Friday the 13th: It had plenty of boobs, but essentially ruined Jason Voorhees while shitting all over the original in the process. very bad.

2011: Conan the Barbarian: nuff said.

At least he is not going after another classic film I love as his next project…

2012: The Fly… son of a…

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