Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Beta's Top Ten Favorite Movies of 2011

I’m a bit late with this but here is my Top Ten Favorite Movies of 2011 list. Two things to take in mind:

#1: As with last year I was unable to see every single movie released within the last twelve months. So there may be films that are better than the ones on the list. I never got to see The Help or Hugo, for example, and I heard they were pretty damn good. I guess I also missed out on a lot of Oscar Bait films this year since they simply weren’t playing where I’ve been living. Sigh.

#2: This list is purely opinion based. This isn’t a listing of the objectively best made movies of 2011; it’s a list of one regular dude’s movies he liked the best. If you don’t agree with this list feel free to write your own; it won’t be any less or more valid than mine.

Check out the list after the jump.

#10: Friends with Benefits
Gee, I wonder if they'll end up falling in love?
 Adorable Panda Score: 4 out of 5 (Review

I’m planning to review this movie this month (It should be the first review of the year, actually) so I won’t talk too much about it now. I will say that I only just saw this movie for the first time about two weeks ago and I liked it so much I had to bump The Adjustment Bureau and that I was shocked about how much I enjoyed it. I didn’t see too many romantic comedies this year but I find it hard to believe that too many of them were better than this one. A fun film; stay tuned for my review.

#9: Captain America – The First Avenger 
The Star Spangled Man...WITH A PLAN!!!
Adorable Panda Score: 4 out of 5 (Review

There were a lot of films based on comic books this year and there have been critics who have said that the era of this genre being profitable is waning. This might be true but thankfully the quality of the films themselves has remained relatively strong. The fifth movie in Marvel Studio’s cinematic experiment Captain America is the only one that can be said to be just as good as Iron Man (And it may actually be better). There were a lot of good films this year but the number of ones that are more fun than this are very small. With a badass main character, a musical number, and filled with Nazi punching I walked into the film a bit worried but walked out with a big smile on m face. More so than most other films’ Marvel Comics has churned out this has made me the most excited for the upcoming Avengers movie.

#8: The Muppets
They're the superheroes of puppetry
Adorable Panda Score: 4 out 5 (Review

The Muppets’ return to the big screen was a welcomed experience, just as many of us assumed it would be. Jason Segel, who is pretty much the guy responsible for making it happen, should given some sort of medal. I’ve only seen a few family friendly flicks in 2011 but none were as well done, as funny and clever, or as full of adult appeal (Because, and this is often forgotten, family films are different from children films in that they should be for EVERYONE and not just the seven year olds). I’m not sure if this will be leading up to anything else but it would awesome if this was the first of a new series of Muppet movies…and it would be really good if the creators actually let the Muppets star as opposed to human actors. Just a thought.

#7: Drive
Actually this film could probably also be titled "Talk"
 Adorable Panda Score: 4 out of 5 (Temporary)

There are two type of Crime Dramas  in film (More or less): ones that glorify crime with stylized action and ones that show the gritty, often depressing, reality of crime. Drive is the latter and it was awesome. It came out of nowhere, literally no one seemed to be expecting it, and it floored everyone. Ryan Gosling’s performance was fantastic as the nameless driver. The score is good, the acting is great and it really makes me want to stay the hell away from the criminal underworld. It’s smart, it’s unique and it’s dark; this flick has most of the tools you need for a great film and ends up having very little flaws. It’s The Transporter if that film was, you know, good.

#6: 50/50
Seth Rogen almost redeems himself for the Green Hornet nonsense
Adorable Panda Score: 4 out of 5 (Review

Ah JGL; you make everything good and filled with sunshine. This movie is both sad and impactful, something that really got to me when I saw it. It’s a reminder that cancer can strike anywhere and anyone, even young and otherwise healthy people. It’s wasn’t the funniest films I’ve ever seen but it had more moments than it didn’t have, that's for damn for sure. With a top notch cast and solid writing (The film is semi-biography) it was one of the most enjoyable surprises of the fall movie season. Another win for Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

#5: Hanna
It's like a wathcing a dream
A dream where a lot of dudes get the shit murdered out of them
 Adorable Panda Score: 4 out of 5 (Temproary)

Like with Kick-Ass I’d say the main draw of this film is seeing a young girl with impossibly high skill in combat kill her way across the film. Unlike Kick-Ass this was intentional as Hanna was supposed to be the damn main character. There’s a weird feeling like you’re watching a fairy tale…an oddly violent fairy tale where the main character takes on the CIA. With a soundtrack by the Chemical Brothers this was one of the most unique films of the year from its first day in theaters in April and wasn’t really topped in that category throughout 2011 (At least not by many films).

#4: Source Code
"No one can tell you what the source code is
"You have t see it for yourself"
 Adorable Panda Score: 4 out of 5 (Temporary)

Leave it to Duncan Jones to make the most original science fiction film of the year. While perhaps not as deep as his previous film Moon, Source Code had everything you need for an enthralling movie. The film keeps you guessing all the way through, both because of the terrorist plot as well as the question of how main character Colter Stevens came to be involved with the Source Code program. It’s a Science Fiction version of Groundhog’s Day, but smarter than you’d think which puts it on my list.

#3: Limitless
The Lesson: Drugs Make Everything Brightly Colorful
 Adorable Panda Score: 4 out of 5 (Review)

All year I seriously considered giving this the top spot. It’s a really well written thriller, one of my favorites. It’s also a very stylized film that manages to be likable without begin too stylized. The concept is intriguing. It’s a very cool movie that almost feels like a spiritual successor to Fight Club (Which is weird since Fight Club’s director did a different film this year). I’m not exactly what you’d call a Bradley Cooper fan but it’s hard not to enjoy the hell out of Limitless.

#2: X-Men – First Class
 Adorable Panda Score: 5 out 5 (Review

Mathew Vaughn was tapped to do X-Men 3 but dropped out due to the unrealistic deadline Fox was imposing on him. Then they hired…someone who I don’t feel the need to give any more Google hits. Then X-Men 3 sucked like crazy. This past year Vaughn got the opportunity to direct his own X-Film and it managed to be the best one ever. More original and smarter than the average superhero comic, as well as being surprisingly touching, the film is likely the best comic book movie since The Dark Knight, albeit with a completely different tone. So long as you pretend none of the other X-Films happen this is one of the best films ever produced from a Marvel Comics.

#1: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Rooney Mara: Not Goddamn Supporting Character
Adorable Panda Score: 5 out of 5 (Review

I’m not really sure how a film that could conceivably be referred to as a remake could manage to get on my list but here we are. I really liked the original flick. It was a pleasant surprise; much like I assume it must have been for all the people in this country who happened to catch it and liked it enough for it to garner critical acclaim. So when I heard about an American version in the works I was skeptical. Shockingly this flick defied my expectations. It was nearly as brutal as the original film, it was a legitimately tense thriller, and featured a super badass main character expertly portrayed by a young up and comer. There was some hype about this movie but it managed to live up to it. The fact that it actually takes place in the same country as the book is a great achievement in itself but it even goes further and comes off a bit closer to the original story than it’s film predecessor. A lot of people probably won’t be watching this movie for a variety of reasons (Some of them being really stupid) but I’m here to tell you that this was en of the best made films I’ve ever seen. Seeing as I loved both Fight Club and The Social Network it’s possible that David Fincher may have solidified himself as one of my favorite directors with this latest work. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is my favorite film of the year and it did so by a pretty wide margin. 

That’s my list for 2011. I'm excited for 2012.

Then "Wrath of the Titans" happened and then all of humanity lost


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