Oh hi there.
Guess who's back? He's back again, to talk about some of the better films of the year prior. But, first thing's first... this last year was a pain in the arse. This is not my most satisfying list. Hey f#&k you fella, you think it's easy?! Think about 2011, and what just kinda, plopped, into theaters. We (yet again) had a "Twilight" movie. Not a single non-franchise/sequel/prequel/comic movie cracked the top ten at the box office. Martin Lawrence afforded himself more blow (cocaine) with a third "Big Momma's House". "We Bought a Zoo" and "Zookeeper" existed. "The Green Hornet" and "Green Lantern" too. Oh, god, "The Dillema" happened.
..."Chipwrecked." Tell you what, I'll just quit 2011 while it's behind us.
BUT, at the end of each year, some good stuff comes out... or, rather, I make/have time to see movies worth seeing. And, by the sheer force of will, met with my still heated passion for the movies, I created a new Top Ten list (because a Top 11 is corny, predictable, and just too got damn hard at this point). I will share my brief thoughts, and some worthwhile clips. Also, there are some consistencies... meaning, I seemed to really dig nostalgia, film history, and the French in 2011.
So, for the Sixth Year running, it brings me pleasure to share with you the top ten films of 2011 (that I saw in theaters, because YOU KNOW I'd see "Shame" if I could for a fun time with Fassbender... what?).
10. Of the four comic book films in 2011, "Captain America: The First Avenger" was not only the most enjoyable and least messily assembled of the bunch, but it was a legitmitately entertaining and involving throw-back. A pastiche of (obviously) "Indiana Jones" and "Superman", the Cap had handsome sets, spiffy effects, nicely staged action and an affable, almost meditative lead in Chris Evans ("Fantastic Four") as the good Captain. His performance brought something to the performance that all the other comic flicks didn't - earnestness. Great escapist entertainment.
To catch a plane - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSvG2Gr4md89. This was one helluva literary adapation. With the assured hand of master director David Fincher ("Social Network"), handling the kind of dark, serious, genre matter he handles best, "Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" had the tremendous luck of being the third iteration of a much lauded story... that was actually more exciting than prior adapations! "Dragon Tattoo" boasted stunning, sumptuous and controlled photography that helped frame this story perfectly. With a story like this, the devil's in the details, and that was a big thanks to Jordan Cronenweth ("Social Network"). All together frightening, sexy (really sexy), and fascinating. Thank god the sequel barely got greelit. I can never tire of Salander.
Credits can't be spoilers, right? - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tcp9Ysi75f0
8. This is arguably a poor man's Alexander Payne film. But, more accureately, "Cedar Rapids" is a scathing, darkly hysterical look at middle America, what people will do to get ahead, and oddly enough, the weird ways we can find friends. Miguel Arteta's ("Youth in Revolt") black comedy was a Sundance hit, that could both make you bitter, and start smiling. Ed Helms ("The Hangover Pt. II") is perfectly cast as a mild-mannered insurance salesman and John C. Reilly ("Step Brothers") is in his element as a crass, over-active jackass, bringing the best cheap laughs we got in 2011.
What about the Tiger? - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJr-WMS91c0
Also, catching a plane... - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ouqe85vvTsw&feature=relmfu
I want to go to there. - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVoDASJ27CQ
What's in the box? - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CX35WGxTQrQ&feature=related
2. To hell with film school. This movies' got everything you need to know. Imagine a hybrid of "Chinatown", the films of Sergio Leone, Don Knotts, Clint Eastwood, thrown into a Looney Tunes-brand blender. "Rango" was a postmodern classic, that was thoroughly enjoyable, unique, and above all, extremely entertaining and fun. Gore Verbinski (those damned "Pirates" movies) was let loose and gets down with his inner Chuck Jones- style excitement for the movies. "Rango" was the most fun you could have at the movies in 2011, because the film itself loved the movies. Crytal visual, gonzo music, great voice casting and more were only cherries on top of this ridiculously good cake.
1. It would haunt me not to call this the best film of 2011. You ever feel like you're in the midst of watching a masterpiece? Something so powerful, moving, grand and memorable? No, this is not an easily susceptible, new-ager speaking. This is someone saying, if there was a more fascinating and momentous film in 2011, then I certainly didn't see it. "The Tree of Life" was Terrence Malick's ("The Thin Red Line") haunting ode to that amazingly pretentious thing we call life. You can't deny the man's epic ambition with this. "Life's" scope is seemingly limitless. And, the thing is... that's just my interpretation! I've argued about this a lot. Some feel like it's a glorified screen-saver at times, or a cheap drama at others. The thing is, in the end, "Life" makes so much sense. Life is just nothing in the great, grand scheme of it all, so appreciate it. There are inexplicable feelings and sensations that bring us together, and Malick boils those down to a series of just, perfect moments. Would you like to see the formation of the universe, or a child learning of anger for his father? The sights and sounds are exquisitely presented to come together in a way that wouldn't make sense any other way. "Tree of Life" is a moving experience, that will stay with you. You will feel it. It is deep, true, and the best film of 2011.