Thursday, 26 January 2012

2011 Film In Review

I'm the first to admit I didn't see a lot of new films in 2011. I think I only actually went to the cinema twice - to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 and to see Thor. Two visits a year is about par for the course for me nowadays, for all the usual reasons - price mostly, but also the ads, the cellphones, and the general boorishness of audiences. Sadly this past year, the only two dedicated video stores where I live went out of business as well.

It wasn't always this way. From the time I was a kid, I'd venture out at least once a week to watch movies on the big screen. I got to the drive-in a few times every summer. With the advent of the video store*, obscure rentals became an overriding obsession (eventually leading to the weird world of mail-order video). I loved movies so much by the end of first year university, I decided to major in Film Theory. I suppose it's just as well I didn't actually finish that degree, since having a B.A. Major in Film Theory is about as useful as a ceiling fan in a hurricane.

So once I was in and now I'm out. Way out. If I haven't conveyed just how out of touch I am nowadays, please note that many of the titles I looked up for inclusion here actually came out in 2009 (and were therefore omitted). These aren't in any numerical order. I have three broad categories: just plain good movies, flawed good movies, and movies that really disappointed me.

Good Movies

A Top 7 of 2011 was fairly easy to come up with. These were films that surprised me and took things in unexpected (wonderful) directions, or else showed applause-worthy style or skill. Or both. Or all three. They're movies that fully committed to what they were doing and did it with gusto. Yes, some of these are technically 2010, so blow me (please blow me).

Kill List
I Saw The Devil
13 Assassins
Hobo With A Shotgun
The Woman
Black Swan

I would include a further 10 films in this category which simply didn't appeal to me quite so much as the Top 7 but were still essentially really great or at least interesting movies.

Troll Hunter
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Midnight In Paris
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
The King's Speech
True Grit
Beats, Rhymes and Life

Flawed Good Movies

Next up are flicks I mostly enjoyed but had a few dumb moments or a third act that went awry, things like that. They were okay in other words. I'd still recommend them if you're looking for something to watch but with some reservations. Please note: Drive Angry was, for me at least, so single-mindedly awful (aside from William Fichtner) that the whole thing became awesome and hilarious, and that merits its inclusion here.

Killer Elite
Margin Call
Source Code
Captain America
Green Lantern
X Men: First Class
127 Hours
The Ides of March
Super 8
Drive Angry

Disappointing Movies

I'm tempted to put Thor here because it was really the biggest disappointment of the year for me (I'm a big Kirby-era Thor fan) but I also have to confess that it could have easily been ten times worse than it was, and all in all I probably just had unfair expectations.

Anyways, these were flicks that may have had one of two good scenes but overall just left me cold.

The Thing
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Season of the Witch
The Rite
Black Death

*my favourite video stores being Suspect Video and Eyesore Video!


scarfish69 said...

I've never heard of the majority of those movies, granted I don't keep up with things. [possible spoiler ahead] Troll Hunter was good but the end kinda sucked, it was just too inconclusive. Last film I watched (well, rewatched after reading the book) was Let the Right One In. Great movie but I can't decide if the book or movie was better. The film just seemed so condensed, no natural flow the 2nd time around.

Sorry to read you're having health problems and they're interfering with the band. Hope things get better.

Pius said...

Thanks, scarfish69.

I've been meaning to read Let The Right One In. I really enjoyed the film (I haven't seen Let Me In yet) and I've read that Håkan's character is explored a great deal further in the novel, which sounds great to me.

Chris Dankland said...

Hi, just want to say thanks for linking my pothead novel post on metafilter, that was unexpected.

The Woman looks awesome, I'm gonna download that today, and there are several other on your list I'd like to see too--your blog is great, thanks again

Pius said...

Thanks very much, Chris - and it was my pleasure to pass your pothead post along. It was very well received, which is never a sure thing with Metafilter, haha.

I discovered your blog through Dennis Cooper's, in case you're interested. Great stuff!