The Best and Worst Films of 2011

The Best and Worst Films of 2011

Written by FilmFellaJames

It’s a list, but its gotta be done.

The obligatory best and worst of 2011 is the kind of annual list making thing that a film geek relishes in and I am no exception.  I have my favourites and I have my stinkers.  My list has been chopped and changed during the course of the year far more regularly than Katie Prices boyfriends with only Twilight-Breaking Dawn remaining on the very bottom of my list all year, a non-mover.  (To be fair it was there since it was announced, let alone shot, cut and put out to pasture like the fat flatulent marauding cow that is Stephanie Meyer.)  We have had the likes of Super 8 and Melancholia jostling for position, with Thor, Green Lantern, The Beaver and Judy Moody.  Wait, who?  Who gives a shit?  Some have risen to the top like the cream of filmic passions; others have drowned in the mire of nothingness, the thing that nearly killed Fantasia in The NeverEnding Story.

This list will therefore serve as a test designed to provoke an emotional response since many of you may either agree whole-heartedly or not with some of the stuff I have committed to this humble list blog and like John Hancock when told to sign the Declaration of Independence discreetly, I begin.  Let’s all huddle round the laptop or smart phone and take a nose at my top ten and bottom ten of 2011.  Its time well spent while having a crap or having a smoke at the bus stop.

The Cream

The New Year kicked off in mediocre fashion, lets be honest, with highlights such as Season Of The Witch in January 2011 starring Nicholas Cage, you could be forgiven for thinking that 2011 was going to blow, you wouldn’t be wrong.  It was March by the time anything interesting reared its head.

10.  Battle:  Los Angeles.                  

Dir:  Jonathan Liebsman.  Starring:  Aaron Eckhart, Michelle Rodriguez and others.

South African Director Liebsman made something that looked and felt like live action Call of Duty.  It was better than the crap he has made so far, Darkness Falls or Texas Chainsaw Massacre…The Beginning and therefore he makes it into my top ten.  The story is played out, the characters are one dimensional but it was pretty cool and did I mention it being like a live action Call of Duty?  Me likey.  Nice guns, good hustle.

9. X-MEN FIRST CLASS.                           

Dir:  Matthew Vaughan.  Starring:  Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy and Kevin Bacon.

God this was a damn fine superhero movie.  Magneto is without a doubt my favourite comic book villain.  This film captured the essence of what makes him thus.  Brilliantly realised, apart from the bit with the youngsters trying out their skills in the common room scene, the opening to this movie set it up to be something epic and smart.  It was a great romp.

8.  WARRIOR.                                              

Dir:  Gavin O’Connor.  Starring:  Joel Edgerton, Tom Hardy and Nick Nolte.

So, this was a surprise for me.  I didn’t think that a film about two brothers going to war in a UFC match up would pan out to be worthwhile fare, but it was.  Nice and punchy but with a sensitivity I didn’t expect in a film that on paper is a bit silly.  The dude in the voice-over for the film is heard saying something like… “When you were a kid you wanted to know who the toughest guy on the block was, well we wanna know who the toughest guy is on the planet.”  Sheesh, that’s lame writing but don’t let it put you off, it’s a good one.

7.  RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES.           

Dir:  Rupert Wyatt.  Starring:  James Franco, Andy Serkis and John Lithgow.

This movie affected me.  I was glad when the apes kicked our asses.  Nice one smart apes.

6.  FAST FIVE.                                             

Dir:  Justin Lin.  Starring:  Paul Walker, Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson.

As a fan of the franchise – Tokyo Drift excluded – This had my high hopes attached to it.  I worried that the combination of Vin Diesel and The Rock would be a massive let down like the scene from The Expendables with Bruce Willis, Arnie and Stallone.  It wasn’t, you know what in fact?  This film kicked my teeth down my throat for thinking it would be a let down.  Great action.  The best of the series as far as I’m concerned and a very worthy inclusion to my personal top ten.

5.  PUSS IN BOOTS.                                    

Dir:  Chris Miller.  Starring:  Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek and Zach Galifianakis.

Since I have a five year old and a three year old, I watch a lot of kids’ films and TV.  I hate Fireman Sam.  This year I have watched numerous kids films but this, the first animated entry in my top ten is worthy on any list.  It’s got action, it’s got drama, it’s got laughs, but mostly, it has brains.  Stick around for the end credits to see how many brains made this nugget into a work of art that operates on so many different levels its unreal.  Live for danger, fight for justice and pray for mercy…its Puss in Boots.

4.  DRIVE.                                                     

Dir:  Nicolas Winding Refn.  Starring:  Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan.

This is a beautiful action film.  It’s delicate and brutal…like poetry.  A Hollywood stuntman moonlighting as a wheelman dodging a contract on his head?  Why not!!  Superb story, superb performance from Gosling, perfectly apt soundtrack.  Its completeness astounded me.  Magical.

3.  THE ADVENTURES OF TIN TIN.       

Dir:  Steven Spielberg.  Starring:  Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, and Daniel Craig.

Spielberg, in his first animated feature, was the only man*, in my opinion, who could have made this film as impressive, wonderfully realised, dramatic and action packed while retaining the honest wholesome majesty of Herge’s Tin Tin.  I am a massive fan and my five year old daughter, who has all of the early Tin Tin stuff thought it rocked!!  For a little girl to think this about what she would call a boys film, speaks volumes.  It was accessible for both adults and kids alike and as such deserves a good look or 3.

*Polanski and Berri were interested in directing this as well.

2.  TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY.     

Dir: Tomas Alfredson.  Starring:  Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, Mark Strong.

Just when you thought they didn’t make them like this anymore, Tomas Alfredson knocks one out of the park.  Its technical mastery is only surpassed by its personal diligence to character (Gary Oldman in a master class of character analysis…again).  I loved Alfredsons Let the Right One In but good grief, this was operating on a sensory level.  It was so authentic it felt like I could smell it.  For me its worthy of the second spot because of the dynamics at play within the piece.  The characters and the visual accompaniment to them showed vulnerability and emotion in equal measure, but in doing so juxtaposed those elements within a cold, hard examination of men fighting for something they no longer believe in.  It’s not James Bond, it’s smarter and bolder.

1.  MELANCHOLIA.                                               

Dir:  Lars Von Trier.  Starring:  Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Kiefer Sutherland.

Simply put, I do not know how this crazy German bastard did it, but, his film, as unlikely as it could be looking up at my top ten, really stood out for me and enriched my 2011.  Yes, others in the list employed art to manufacture the films they became, but, this was art.  Pure art.  Its technical genius was profound; the slow motion stuff was visual poetry.  The story, what it really meant, was profound as well.  The implications, the suggestions and the very nature of depression so delicately weaving in and out of the ebb and flow of filmic splendour offered up by this piece resonated on a level in my head that usually remains silent.  It struck a chord in my imagination and spun the sci-fi genre on its head.  My girlfriend cried at the end, then shouted at me for making her watch a film so effecting.  She didn’t understand why someone would make a film like this in this way.  I argued that that’s the point, but if you look a little deeper its meaning and its message are the most profound elements of this film.  You might not get it, sometimes I wondered whether Lars himself got it, but if you do…its Melancholia.  Wow.

The Stink

Ever vomited into a shoe?  This is what it looks like people.

10.  STRAW DOGS.        

Dir:  Rod Lurie.  Starring:  James Marsden, Kate Bosworth, and James Woods.

This droll, lacklustre remake of an old classic, which I hate by the way, for all the right reasons, failed to deliver on all counts.  Ass.  Dunno why I bothered to watch this one, oh, wait, yeah I do, I was bored, went to the cinema and because of poor planning and timing this bag of shite was all that was on at the time I arrived.

Toss.  Wonder what Peckinpah would think?

9.   BEASTLY.                

Dir.Daniel Barnz.  Starring:  Alex Pettyfer.

Shit.  It’s supposed to be a modern re-working of Beauty and the Beast but comes out more like something you would find in the following film…

8.   THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE 2 (FULL SEQUENCE).         

Dir.Tom Six.

Bad times.  Bad movie.  Just shit for the sake of it being filmed.  Like Twilight, but less shit and less likely to make you want to puke all over yourself.

7.   APOLLO 18.             

Dir.  Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego.

So shit I was disappointed and I usually give shit films a decent chance, compared to my filmfella brosefs that is.  This is like a “how to make a complete balls up of a cool idea” type film.  Thing is, the idea would be good for an episode of the Twilight Zone, but, that’s it.  Gonzalo did not realise this, poor Gonzalo.  This was a furious drunken wank of a film, to explain, shaky, exhausting, lousy pay off and you will fall asleep in your kebab afterwards.

6.   SHARK NIGHT 3D.

Dir.  I dunno.

Well, the less that is said about this the better, so…

5.   CARS 2.                     

Dir.  John Lasseter and Brad Lewis.

Rubbish, Pixar make great kids films, but, this was not great it was irritating, boring, dull and just rubbish.  Very, very, very disappointed.  Honestly, it was rubbish.

4.   COWBOYS AND ALIENS. 

Dir.  Jon Favreau.  Starring.  Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford and Olivia Wilde.

I can’t really forgive Harrison Ford for Indy: 4, nevertheless I looked forward to this goddam movie all the way through 2010.  Then I went, I watched and I left feeling like I had just watched a bunch of a-list douche bags wandering around a lousy film set.  No character, no feeling, just crap.  It felt amateur.  Why Jon?  Why?  Last week at the office I was championing you for Iron Man, and then you fuck me over with this?  Where is the love?  What did Vince make of it?  Was he angry with you, did he punch you like he punched Bradley Cooper in The Wedding Crashers?  I hope so, I hope so Jon, because this deserves a big punch in the face.

3.   SANCTUM.                          

Dir.  Alister Grierson.

Good grief, what was the point in this?  So James Cameron loves water, good for you dude, go to the shop and buy a bottle of Evian, why spend your money making this toss?  Stop showing off your monies Cameron, make us proud of the stuff you produce as well as direct, like Spielberg, he is winning Cameron, Spielberg is winning like Charlie Sheen Beatch!

2.   ARTHUR.                             

Dir.  Jason Winer.

Dudley Moore was Arthur in the original.  He was a genius and he owned that role like he owned all of the others he played during his short time on this planet.  The next bit I must write in caps.

RUSSELL BRAND IS A TALENTLESS CUNT WHO HAS SULLIED THE MEMORY OF ONE OF MY HEROES, DUDLEY MOORE, BY BEING A COMPLTELY ONE DIMENSIONAL FECKLESS ARSE CLOWN WITH THE COMEDY VALUE OF A TOILET BRUSH FLOATING IN A SEWER OF TURDS.

1.   TWILIGHT – BREAKING DAWN.

Fuck off Twilight.

Well I sincerely hope this gargantuan list of highs and Twilight has entertained you.  Here’s to 2012 and not being consumed by either a giant tsunami, meteor on a collision course or the power of FEAR.

Lists compiled by @filmfellajames

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About filmfellajames
Film critic and blogger, part time rap master, loves UNITED!!!

2 Responses to The Best and Worst Films of 2011

  1. Taffy Manc says:

    From what I’ve seen on that list I’m in agreement except for …Arthur. The original was a classic, and if you don’t like RB this won’t change your mind. Especially the first twenty minutes he spends doing a poor impersonation of Dudley Moore. But it does get better. It actually did get a little emotional in fact later on. But to be fair, you would have to consider sitting through the first part to get there. Bit of a conundrum really.

  2. Tracy says:

    So glad to see that Warrior made someone else’s list too! I loved that movie so much! Nick Nolte was divine.

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