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

2011 – A Year In Review: Part One

2011, we hardly knew yee.

It seems like only a few months ago when there was snow on the ground, Tron: Legacy in the cinemas and early buzz for that Colin Firth film about swearing, yet here we are, twilight days of the year upon us all of a sudden, and what have we learned, what have we really learned in a year where Gulliver’s Travels became the respected family comedy that people dismissed eagerly in December 2010. So, from The Adjustment Bureau to Zookeeper, let us take a trip down recent memory lane.

January, cold, dark days that open the year, saw in it’s first few weeks such eclectic titles as 127 Hours, The King’s Speech, Blue Valentine, Black Swan and Season Of The Witch. Many were Oscar contenders, or attempts, such as Conviction, Barney’s Version and The Dilemma, but the highlights were of course the releases of NEDs, Tangled and The Mechanic, how can you be so down on a film where Jason Statham and Ben Foster are running down a building, doing the Tom Cruise, with more violence and swearing?

Best film of the month: Blue Valentine

Worst film of the month: It’s Kind Of A Funny Story

This month we lost: Pete Postelthwaite, Peter Yates and John Barry.

February, and with awards season in full swing, we saw such fare as The Fighter, Rabbit Hole and A Little Bit Of Heaven (with the most outstandingly awful trailer of the year) take to the multiplexes. The Coens’ True Grit remake finally made it to our small shores, so all of the UK could wonder together just what in the world Jeff Bridges was gargling about half the time, and 3D treat Drive Angry gave us Amber Heard’s cut off jean shorts in our face, and a shooting sex scene to rival Shoot ‘Em Up.

February was also one of the many months of bad comedy, with Just Go With It, No Strings Attached and Big Momma’s: Like Father, Like Son destroying senses of humour all over, and none of them have a scene as jaw-dropping as February’s The Rite.

The Oscars came and went, The King’s Speech somehow gaining a best picture and director for a forgettable, tv movie when The Social Network remains an outstanding cinematic achievement of late, made even more outstanding when put alongside Mo… No, that’s November.

What The Oscars Got Right: Adapted Screenplay for Social Network, Original Score for Trent Reznor’s Social Network, Film Editing for The Social Network.

What The Oscars Cocked Up: Toy Story 3 is not the best animation, the Wolfman shouldn’t be an Academy Award Winner, Roger Deakins still hasn’t got that Oscar.

Best film of the month: Rabbit Hole

Worst film of the month: Paul

This month we lost: Len Lesser and Gary Winick.

March, and the sun was staying up longer (I know this because I was on night shoots on the first week, and we were waiting much longer than the week before for the sun to bloody go down), big new releases started to come out, in the shape of Rango, The Adjustment Bureau, Battle: Los Angeles and Limitless, we saw Werner Herzog’s 3D documentary Cave Of Forgotten Dreams get a release, and West Wing writer John Well’s The Company Men got completely ignored, March is a tough month, but this year it at least had some memorable films in it.

Best film of the month: Submarine

Worst film of the month: Hall Pass

This month we lost: Michael Gough and Elizabeth Taylor

Oh April, you start to get warmer, hints of summer, and then you pour rain on us to make things worse. But it’s ok, because we got Duncan Jones’ second feature, Source Code, one of the only 4-act films to get a wide release with Scre4m, the least seen of the animated Oscar contenders, Winnie The Pooh, the painfully underrated Cedar Rapids and two great blockbusters in the guise of Fast Five and Thor. Also in the mix, the year’s second and third 3D documentaries, TT3D: Closer To The Edge and Pina 3D, and Zack Snyder’s rape-fantasy Sucker Punch.

Best film of the month: Source Code

Worst film of the month: Sucker Punch

This month we lost: Sidney Lumet and Tim Hetherington.

The adventure will continue in part two, May through August, coming next week.