Review of 2011 with a twist

This year has been pretty poor.
According to my calculations, I have seen 47 films this year.   In some eyes, it’s quite an achievement.  In others, it’s pathetic.  Strangely enough, I am leaning towards the latter.  I have missed out on offerings like Midnight in Paris and 50/50 to go to films like Hugo and Green Hornet. D’oh!

An eclectic mix of films has been watched this year and looking back at this list, most of them are of the family-friendly (Tangled, Rango, Kung Fu Panda 2, Harry Potter 7, Tintin and Puss in Boots) or of the superhero persuasion (Green Lantern – I still can’t believe I spent two hours of my life on that filmCaptain America, Thor and X-Men First Class).

Seeing as it is the end of the year and that jazz, I thought I should do a review of the year with my top ten films of 2011.
Have you guessed the twist?
The films will be ones watched in the cinema this year.
I’m not going to judge it on films I have yet to watch but feel I should include i because of critical acclaim, nor avoided for any undisclosed reason, besides the fact that they are most likely unwatchable (*cough* Smurfs – if I want to watch blue people, I’ll put up with Avatar).

So let’s see…in no particular order; these are all fabulous:

1.  Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
The slow and grainy look worked like a charm and Gary Oldman has never been better.  Give him an award or two – God knows he should have earned one by now.

2. Crazy, Stupid, Love
Ryan Gosling has been a busy man this year, starting with Blue Valentine (a late 2010 – early 2011 release), leading to the triple whammy of Ides of March, the universally adored Drive and this quirky rom-com.  Drive is wonderful, but seeing Gosling show off his comedy skills alongside Steve Carell edges CSL slightly for me.  Plus it has the biggest twist I’ve seen in any film this year.

3.  Bridesmaids
A chick-flick it may be, but its gross-out humour and witty script co-written by Kristen Wiig won the hearts of the female filmgoers everywhere.  And the other halves who had to go with them.

4. Thor
Marvel did good this year.  With only a few months to go before the long-awaited (and highly anticipated) Avengers film, Thor and Captain America were introduced.  Both are very good films but given the choice, Thor wins it for being completely badass one minute and goofy enough to break you into giggles the next.

5. 13 Assassins
Technically, this shouldn’t be in here because it was released in its native Japan in 2010 but this Takashi Miike samurai epic was shown in 2011, so it’s staying.  As I have a sensitive demeanor (in other words, I’m a pussy) about horror and hardcore violence, I had slight misgivings watching a film by a guy who made disturbing flick Audition. However, I was not disappointed.  Full-on martial action sequences and some squirmy scenes but not enough to put me off.  Utterly fabulous.

6. Fast Five
For me, The Rock comes second to the cars – it’s always all about the cars.

7. The Help
The strongest film with an all-female ensemble as the main protagonists this year.  The Help is enjoyable, thought-provoking and heart-wrenching in one tidy package.

8. X-Men: First Class
The second Marvel entry in this list but the genius casting of James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender needs to be given an award in its own right.  Seeing the two of them portray Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr across a chessboard always send tingles down my spine.

9. Warrior
Reading several lists re. top films of 2011, I was surprised to find this not as highly featured as it perhaps should be.  Tom Hardy proves hands-down why he was the best person to play Bane in the upcoming The Dark Knight Rises in his performance as a mixed-martial arts fighter going against his own brother. With brilliant supporting performances from Joel Egerton and Nick Nolte, let’s see the trio win an award or two.

10. Rise of the Planet of the Apes
This prequel was thrilling, emotional and you can’t go wrong with the combo that is Andy Serkis and motion-capture.

Honorary mentions
The Skin I live in – as a big fan of Pedro Almódovar, I was in two minds about including this.  Would be in the top ten if it didn’t creep me out so damn bad.

Puss in Boots – enjoyed this film so much, I even giggled like a kid at the cat jokes.  It was a tough choice between this and Fast Five.  And I said it before – it’s all about the cars.

The Inbetweeners Movie – it was funnier I thought it would be.  But I’ve seen it all before.  On the TV.

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows part 2 – this franchise has helped British cinema and I have nothing but respect for the filmmakers and the cast for making the film series a worldwide success.  However, as a fan of the books, the Battle of Hogwarts created such an underwhelming anti-climax, it was so disappointing.  A large black spot in an otherwise fab picture.

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