Sunday, January 8, 2012

2011 movie Round-up

I saw 11 new movies in 2011. I have already written about all these films in this blog but I wanted to put my ratings and some brief thoughts for all of them in one post. You can click on the 2011 or individual tags to see more longer reviews of each movie. I will also be doing an Oscars post once the nominations are announced on January 24th. These films are organized from my highest to lowest scores, but I'm not really ranking them against each other.

The Tree of Life
My favorite movie of the year. This is the first Terrence Malick movie I've seen so far. I am ecstatic that special effects genius Douglass Trumbull was involved with this film. The beginning of the world scenes and great cinematography make this an incredibly beautiful film to watch in awe.

Source Code

Director Duncan Jones is now 2 for 2 in my book. Source Code is not as good as Moon but its a great sci-fi thriller.

X-Men: First Class

I was pleasantly surprised at how good this one was. This was pretty much what I wanted out of an X-Men movie as it seems like that took the best parts of the planned Magneto movie and retooled it into this film. I'm looking forward to the sequel, which supposedly will involve the Kennedy assassination!

Captain America: The First Avenger
I wrote a long post on Captain America after I got to see it at an advance screening! I plan on re-watching it (and all the Marvel Studios movies) before The Avengers comes out next year so we'll see if my opinion of it changes.

Winnie the Pooh
Disney can still make great animated features if they try. The running time could have been longer but I'd rather a great short feature than a longer one that is mediocre.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
The Harry Potter movie series ends with a bang. I still feel it was an unnecessary cash grab to release the final film in two parts though. I have a feeling that this won will win an Oscar simply because no Harry Potter film has done so even though it doesn't really deserve one. How about a special achievement award for making a series of 8 films with (mostly) the same actors and no true clunker?

The Adjustment Bureau
Philip K. Dick goes mainstream (yet again) but unlike some recent adaptations (Next) this different sort of interpretation works. I don't know why they had to change the title of the short story it is based on though. What is wrong with "The Adjustment Team"?

The Muppets
The Muppets are back after a over ten year hiatus! Not one of the best Muppet movies but certainly a good one and a worthy entry in the series. Humor is subjective but I found it quite funny.

Super 8
J.J. Abrams loves his lens flare! Although influenced by early Spielberg I saw more Stand by Me here than E.T. While this wasn't one of my top favorites of the year I quite liked it and would like to see more movies like this being made, just with less CGI.

I liked but didn't love this when I first saw it back in May. It's the worst of the Marvel Studios movies thus far but not bad as there are far worse comic books movies out there.

Stylish directing from Neil Burger and solid acting save a film from its generic plot. I've heard the book this movie is based on is quite different (I haven't read it) so I won't blame the author. Overall Limitless is a mixed bag that manged to be a surprising success. I'm looking forward to Burger's future film projects; at the moment he is attached to direct a movie based on the video game Uncharted.


  1. Wow. You were lucky. It looks like you didn't see a single bad film from 2011! I...haven't been so lucky...

    The worst films from 2011 that I actually saw were "The Tunnel" and "The Ward."

    Both were horror films...

    As for 2011 films that I would recommend...I would add to your list the following:

    -We Have a Pope
    -The Turin Horse
    -Red State
    -Kill the Irishman
    -The Guard
    -1,778 Stories of Me and My Wife

    All of them are reviewed on my Mini Reviews site.

  2. Yeah I managed to avoid bad 2011 movies so far.
    Thanks for the recommendations, I'll add them to my list!

  3. Hi Chris:

    It's nice to see another Ursinus person writing about movies (I'm from the Class of 1989).

    FWIW, here's my Best of 2011 list:

    1. Cave of Forgotten Dreams
    2. (tie) The Way and A Dangerous Method
    3. Hugo
    4. Nostalgia for the Light
    5. Bill Cunningham New York
    6. Martha Marcy May Marlene
    7. Moneyball
    8. Meek's Cutoff
    9. Attack the Block
    10. MI-4
    11. Young Adult
    12. Rise of the Planet of the Apes

    (From what I hear, Melancholia and Le Havre could potentially make my list, but they have yet to show up in my neck of the woods.)

    Keep writing,
    Andrew Spitznas

  4. Hi Andrew,
    Thanks for the comment! I haven't seen any of those movies yet. About half I want to see and the other half I never heard of before! I'll have to add them to my 2011 want to see list so thanks for the suggestions.

    Do you have your own film blog? If not you should think about starting one.

    1. Hi Chris:

      I highly recommend Nostalgia for the Light in particular. In documentary form, it covers much of the same ground as Tree of Life, but for me it was much more affecting.

      I'm seriously thinking about starting a film blog. Over the past couple of years, I've written a book chapter on Akira Kurosawa (my personal artistic hero), and I've written capsule reviews and a director profile for a couple of websites. After several months of not writing, I'm kind of keen to start up again.

      In the meantime, I'll continue to enjoy sites like yours!


  5. Hi Andrew,
    Thanks again for the recommendations, I'll have to check out Nostalgia for the Light when I get the chance.

    If/when you do start a film blog please let me know as I would love to check it out!