2011 – A Year In Review: Part Two

Summer hit hard with the immortal classic blockbuster of May, Water For Elephants, erm, I mean, of course, Priest, maybe? No, there was massive moneymaker disappointment Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, which had Judi Dench in 3D, but it also had no semblance of a plot or pacing, unlike The Hangover Part II, which just ripped off their last plot, added more guns, a possible rape element and even less funny jokes somehow. Even on the Brit side there was disappointment with Joe Cornish finally releasing his directorial debut, Attack The Block, on the public, and the end result was more bland retread than loving homage.

Thankfully, Joe Wright sorted it all out with the magnificent Hanna, and of the two dance troupes doing soundtracks to partially British films, Hanna won that round too.

But we can’t forget about the Oscar fare ceremoniously dumped in the middle of the year, Win Win managed to be both overlong and underwritten. Still, it’s not Paul Giamatti’s worst film of the month.

 

Best Film Of The Month: Hanna

Worst Film Of The Month: The Hangover Part II

All of a sudden we find ourselves in the middle of the year. Days stretch out for eons, the heat hits hard and cinema? Well, let us take a gander.

The best Marvel movie in years was first up, X-Men: First Class dispelled any worries that everyone had with the rushed production for a locked release as, despite Fassbender’s Irish accent in the final act, it was a nearly note-perfect film, a mini-series of a film that did for the X-Men films what was needed, brought it to modern cinematic stylings by way of a 60’s set adventure, and circled Michael Fassbender as the next Bond for sure, as well as the year’s best actor, more on that later.

Another masterful film, Senna, got a release. Comprised entirely of archive material, Senna is a captivating, magnificent piece of work that won’t get an Oscar next year sadly, but was the single best documentary of the year. In summer blockbuster season of all times.

Sequels were big with Honey 2, Transformers 3 and the good one, Kung Fu Panda 2, all released, some are best left forgotten, right world? But you need bad blockbusters to make summer work, which is why Green Lantern exists. Just weeks after X-Men’s release, Green Lantern actively sought to degrade the comic book movie to a place in the early noughties, without any of the charm or sense that those films had.

Comedy had a struggle too, with the massively disappointing Bad Teacher only cracking smiles whenever genius Thomas Lennon popped up, and comedy drama The Beaver was a lot darker than people seemed to expect, but an almost unanimous decision means that Bridesmaids is the bestest comedy ever. Well, until August. Thankfully Bridesmaids put Kristen Wiig on the map in the UK, and maybe she’ll be able to do more than thankless straight-person roles and mixed bags of quirky character pieces.

 

Best Film Of The Month: Kung Fu Panda 2

Worst Film Of The Month: Green Lantern

This Month We Lost: Laura Ziskin, Ryan Dunn, David Rayfiel

As June’s Bridesmaids robbed the box office blind, films kept coming out and disappearing without notice, such as Larry Crowne, The Conspirator and Holy Rollers, but July offered a surprising wealth of good films, with the likes of The Tree Of Life, Super, Hobo With A Shotgun, Horrible Bosses and Arietty popping up.

Karma is a cunt, however, because not content with finally offering us such greatness, it also sent Cars 2, Zookeeper and Beginners our way. Screw you karma, what did we ever do to deserve that? And I didn’t even bother to mention how they dared launch horrid Henry 3D on an unsuspecting public.

Oh, and there was some sort of magic movie that did a fair number at the BO, not that it was clearly half as good as Captain America. I mean, does it have such a powerful line of dialogue as Werner Herzog’s performance here? Didn’t think so.

 

Best Film Of The Month: Super

Worst Film Of The Month: Beginners

Goodbye summer, says August, and in the kind of style reserved for movie stars, a huge explosion of an awesome film in the name of Super 8.

But that wasn’t the only truly remarkable blockbuster of August, no, Rupert Wyatt’s Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes did just what Fox had done in June with X-Men, made a franchise relevant again by allowing filmmakers to make something deeper than the usual fare. Not every film can have an animal lead, certainly not Mr. Popper’s Penguins or The Smurfs, although Conan The Barbarian had a horse steal scenes from the lead. The year’s second best documentary, Project Nim, smartly came out alongside Apes to avoid paying expensive marketing costs and still make enough dough, unlike oddball genre hybrid Cowboys & Aliens (not versus, people), which saw Bond, Dr. Jones and Sam Rockwell do boring things until CGI showed up and livened nothing up.

The Inbetweeners Movie managed to usurp Bridesmaids’ crown for comedy of the year, despite having none of the care, consideration and class of June’s release. Final Destination 5 brought life back into another middling franchise, with better 3D effects and more inventive kills than number 4, and a twist which just made it all better.

3D was a passing fad for Robert Rodriguez, whose Spy Kids had already done that years ago, so for part 4 (Own up, who asked for this?) had a fourth dimension, well, a scratch’n’sniff card, revolutionary.

Arthouse films The Guard and The Skin I Live In got great reports, although one had considerably more sex appeal. I mean, Brendan Gleeson, phwoar, right? And Dominic Cooper? Well, after Captain America, everyone was clamouring for more, so The Devil’s Double gave you two of him, from the director of Next and Die Another Day no less, so that’s clearly a masterpiece.

 

Best Film Of The Month: Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes/Super 8

Worst Film Of The Month: Spy Kids: All The Time In The World 4D

This Month We Lost: Bubba Smith

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