Wednesday, December 28, 2011

12 Best Movies of 2011

It's the end of the year! Time to take a look back at all the great movies this year had to offer. So many in fact, that I had to up my count from ten to twelve! Why 12? Because eff you, this is my movie blog, that's why! Well...ahem...anyways, here are my picks for the 12 best movies of 2011!

I watch a ton of horror films and I don't usually get scared, but Insidious legitimately kept me from sleeping properly for over a week. It's a creepy film about a family whose son goes into a coma and their house becomes increasingly haunted. I love this for multiple reasons. First, the people in it aren't dumb. When the first signs of haunting hit, they actually moved out of the house! Second, it is incredibly creepy with its extreme violin score and things you barely see out of the corner of your eye. And finally, it's a horror movie that delivers with its ghosts and demons. Many thought it had a hokey ending, but I enjoyed it. The only reason it's so low on the list is that I don't think I could ever watch it a second time.

From director Duncan Jones, who also did the great Moon (and is also the son of David Bowie), comes this great little sci-fi movie about a man trying to stop a bomb plot by going back in time within someone else's subconscious. This movie is incredibly paced and has you asking questions faster than it answers them. I love how it keeps twisting and turning at every stop. This also had a controversial ending that many people didn't like, but I loved how open-ended it was. If you haven't seen it, now's your chance to enjoy this twisty, trippy film.

No one was expecting a sequel of a Dreamworks animation to be this good. The characters are fun and silly, the story felt like it fit, the animation and fighting sequences are amazing, and the 3D was well worth it. The only reason this isn't higher on the list is because, looking back, I can't really remember much of what happened within the movie. I do remember it was good, albeit a little too fast-paced. And if you watched this and had more of a Po-hankerin', they have a new Kung Fu Panda cartoon on Nick, which I find highly enjoyable!

Monkeys! Monkeys beating the crap out of people! Ok, so it had more than that. Really, the best thing was Caesar the ape's story arc, from when he was an innocent baby, to awkward teen, to ruthless adult leader. Andy Serkis acted him perfectly and there were some genuinely jarring moments when he really got his mad monkey on.  

Beautifully executed and acted, this espionage tale of a covert team of Israeli spies taking down an infamous Nazi doctor had more twists and turns than an episode of 24. The action is tense and suspenseful and the plot twists just keep popping up where you least expect them. Helen Mirren acts the hell out of her part as a retired spy. And it has a great soundtrack!

7) Thor
Another great movie that no one thought was going to be so good. It's a film about a Norse god being sent to Earth for being a dick for crap sakes! But Hemsworth, Portman, Hilldeston and Hopkins all did a great job making this a fun film. The costume design was as comicbooky as you could get, but it somehow worked perfectly. This was a great film, introducing a character not many people knew of or thought they cared about and flawlessly tied him in with the rest of the Marvel heroes. If not for Thor, I don't think the Avengers project would have been as successful. 

Man, this was tough. I wanted to love this movie way more than I did. If it didn't feel like a 3 hour movie in 1 hour, it might have taken top spot. Even so, it's a slick and gritty noir with cool 80's style and a great, mostly silent, brooding performance by Ryan Gosling. It does a lot of interesting things. It's a beauty to watch every single scene and it has an amazing soundtrack. It's just one of those movies where you want to forget about it, but you can't get it out of your head. 

This is a perfectly told modern fairy tale of a little girl who is very good at killing people. It creates an amazing atmosphere with its beautiful scenes and eccentric music. The action is brutal and spectacularly entertaining. What I love about this is that you look at all these movies trying to remake or reinvent fairy tales (Beastly, Little Red Riding Hood, both of those Snow White movies due out next year) and you see what they're trying to do, but Hanna does it so much better and simpler. If you haven't seen it yet, you should really give this one a try. And also, props to the Chemical Brothers for the wispy, engaging soundtrack.

This movie was not widely seen, sadly, but it is just so good and well put together. Within the first five minutes, you know who the characters are. The main protagonist has a great character arc as he goes from completely unlikeable hoodlum to downtrodden leader. The action and visuals are great, the story is great, and there are just so many things to like about this movie. Why haven't you seen it yet?!

Ok, ok. There is a HUGE bias for this one because of my love of chameleons AND my love of animation, but even so, this was an amazing film. The character designs and animations were astounding, being both cartoony and realistic. The story was fun and filled with great, silly bits of action. With Depp's performance and such a homage to westerns, how can you not love this movie? What's really amazing is how they filmed it, not just by recording the actors lines in a soundbooth, but actually having them act the scenes out.

I was one of the detractors that said there was no way that bad boy Chris Evans (best known for his performance as the Human Torch) could pull off the boyscout, good guy act of Captain America. But I was so, so wrong. His performance made this film. It also helped that the action was amazing, the sets looked like they were taken directly out of the 40's, and the Red Skull looked exactly like the Red Skull. We couldn't have asked for a better Cap, and now we can't get "Star-Spangled Man" out of our heads.

This is another movie I was dreading in previews and couldn't bring myself to get excited for, especially after X-3 and Xmen Origins: Wolverine, but man is this great. No, it's not perfect, and I wish a certain scene had been excluded, but it's my favorite movie that I could easily watch ten more times. With James McAvoy's douchey Professor X, a slick 60's style, a ridiculously evil Kevin Bacon, a great cast of mutants, and a killer soundtrack, it's amazing how well everything worked. But really, the main reason everyone loved this movie so much was Michael Fassbender's Magneto, who was played more like a Nazi-hunting James Bond. The main thing to take away from this is that either Michael Fassbender needs to be the new James Bond like NOW, or there needs to be a movie of Magneto going to town on some Nazi scum.

And that's it for the movies of 2011! Here's hoping we get some more wonderful movies next year!


  1. Out of this list, I only saw Hanna, Rango and Insidious.
    Hanna's soundtrack is amazing. The way the beat drops when the fight scene in the parking garage breaks out is beautiful.
    The "mariachi" band was my favorite part of Rango.
    And Insidious...I had to hold someone's hand through some of it AND when she looked up above his bed and saw what she saw...holy crap.
    Anyway, I will make a point to see the rest of these movies.
    You are wise.

  2. Why thank you!
    Man that one part in Insidious, that might be my scariest part in any movie ever. It was so real, something that was there but wasn't there, I keep expecting to see it out of the corner of my eye whenever I'm alone at night.
    I now have both the Hanna and Rango Soundtracks, Insidious I could never listen to ever again ever. Incidentally, I'll be doing a list of my favorite movie soundtracks tomorrow!