BEST MOVIES OF 2011
Drive is something we rarely get to see. It’s a smart action movie. I can’t remember the last time I saw an action movie with a brain. Some action movies have attempted to be smart, but most of them have failed. It’s not easy to pull off. This movie does more than succeed. It excels. Before I saw Drive I thought it would just be a good heist movie. I didn’t have high expectations. I was blown away. After sitting through so many mindless action movies this past year, it was a revelation to see this one.
I am just going to come out and say that “Moneyball” is the best movie about baseball ever made, and one of the best sports movies ever made. Now I am not a big baseball fan. I have never seen a baseball game from beginning to end, I just find it boring to watch. I also hate it when people talk about fantasy-baseball stats. So when I heard that this movie was going to combine the two, I was expecting to be completely bored out of my mind while watching. I was pleasantly surprised, when the end credits rolled I was blown away at what I just saw. This movie took lots of risks, and they all paid off, this is a different kind of sports movie. It did something that another sports movie has never done for me. It has kept me interested in a sport I can’t stand in real life. This movie succeeds on so many levels delivering a sweet, emotional, funny, dramatic, and complex ride. It’s safe to say that “Moneyball hits it out of the park.
Alexander Payne has made yet another great movie. The Descendants is a great movie with know visible faults to it. What it does best is surprise you. Hearing about the plot it seemed like it was going to be a 30 minute soap opera TV show extended into an almost 2 hour movie. But it managed to be a very compelling movie. Payne’s last movie was the flawless Sideways, after he did that my bar was set very high for his movies. He did not let me down with this one in the least. This guy has just mastered human emotions. The Descendants is an emotional roller coaster, and it’s well worth the ride.
4. Young Adult
Young Adult is a movie that takes lots of risks, and doesn’t play out the way you would think. It also has a lead character that isn’t really likeable, and by the end we don’t like her anymore. Surprisingly it all works out amazingly. The performances from Charlize Theron and Patton Oswalt are nothing below phenomenal. Reitman still hasn’t made a bad movie, and he re-tams with Diablo Cody for a script that embodies it’s characters completely. The dialog launches this movie into something special. I never thought you could have a character study with this kind of character, but this movie proved me wrong.
What plagues all fighting movies is predictability. You can usually always predict how they are going to end. Some unravel in away where, although you know what is going to happen, you get so caught up in everything going on that you don’t think about it. Well, this is one of those films. What the Warrior does really well is convey emotion. This is important in this type of movie. If there’s no emotion, then all the fights scenes would get boring quickly, no matter how well done they are. No emotion equals no caring for anything that happens. This movie takes time to develop its characters. The characters of both brothers, Tommy and Brendan, are developed separately in the first half of the movie. This movie is not perfect. It is flawed. But any problems I had with it were set aside and forgotten by the end. I would strongly recommend that you do not watch any trailers for this movie. That trailer pretty much showed the whole movie.
6. The Ides of March
As political thrillers go this is one of the best I have seen in a long time. It’s highley inteligent, great sotry, honest look into politics, creates drama without the use use of action, many thems explored. It doesn’t hurt that the acting is top motch either. Clooney is a well know Democrat, so I originally thought this would not be a good movie to watch if you are a Republican. But the movie doesn’t target or really even consider Republicans. The movie has two parts to it. The first part of the movie is basically just politics. The dialogue and plotting are first rate, and if you enjoy politics, then you will absolutely love the first part. It is everything that happens behind the scenes. The second act is the thriller part. There is a twist, and it changes the netire tone. It dels with both the politcal aspects, and the thriller aspects. All in all everything concideds to dielvier a politial thriller at it’s best.
Another reason 50/50 works so well, is that it never tries to force you into any particular emotion. This movie will make you laugh a lot, but it will also make you tear up at times. The comedy in the movie is in a way what a good comedy should be, they use smart jokes instead of your typical poop and fart jokes that I have been seeing at comedy films quite a lot recently. The drama is as it should be as well, it lets you feel the emotion without manipulating you.
Questions are raised and answers are left to our own opinions and interpretations. It’s a journey that causes us to look inside ourselves and discover how far we’d allow our minds to dissolve before losing trust. Sanity is put against insanity, both possessing unknown definitions. The nuanced study of psychological could have been taken a bit further though. Take Shelter is a marvelous and unique experience. It did so much right. Still, I have to say that I felt that there was something missing that could have pushed it over the edge. This, of course, would be that ending. If they would have done something unique with the ending then this movie would have been completely perfect. Still, even with that said, there’s still lots of great things. Every reaction to the characters is dealt with in a realistic way. The acting is top-notch, there is great suspense, very good script and direction, and great visuals and editing. After you finish seeing Take Shelter for the first time it will have the same effect on you as a tornado does – you will be blown away by the sheer power of it.
9. Midnight in Paris
While watching Midnight in Paris you get so involved in the story you forget your watching a movie. You just never want it to end. As soon as it was over I wanted to experience it again. Seen it three times and it still hasn’t gotten old. The characters are so well written and acted that they feel real. It’s enchanting, with a plot you should let unfold for yourself. It’s deep, meaningful, and funny. Paris looks really great as well. Woody really knows how to show off a city. Woody Allan has delivered one of his best movies, finally, he’s back.
MI4 was easily the biggest surprise of the year. Now, I’ll wrap up this mission. Awesome action. Great story. Excellent team chemistry. Good script. So much fun. This is the best “summer” movie I’ve seen in a very long time; and it was released in winter! I don’t know how that worked, but it did. If you are not entertained by Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol then entertaining you is, really and truly, an impossible mission.
Three Honarable Mentions in no particular order.
Finally, I got to see a spy movie that I’ve been waiting for. After seeing Spy Kids 4and Columbiana, I was dreading another spy movie. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, although a lot better than those two, was never engaging in any way. The Debt has pretty much everything. It has action done well. It has compelling characters. It deals with the psychological problems presented by a life of spying. It enthralled with interesting dialog that kept me glued to the screen and listening intently. It has great action and tension that kept me on the edge of my seat. This movie isn’t perfect and if you nitpick you can find flaws here and there. But this is perfect prescription if you’re longing for an intelligent and satisfying spy thriller. It’s the best movie in its genre to come along in a long while and well worth the viewing.
While you can nitpick all you want at this, if you let yourself enjoy this you will find a great Christmas movie. This is that type of movie that will join the pile of Christmas movies that you will want to watch every year around the holiday’s. I’ve been waiting for another one to add and wasn’t expecting this to be the one. It’s sweet, has a good story, great animation, voice talent, script, direction, it all wraps up for a great treat!
This movie blows every other financial thriller in recent time out of the water (Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps I’m looking at you). You know what, Margin Call is the best movie about finance ever made. It has outstanding performances, a great script, good directing, great human characters, it’s not dumb down, it’s interesting, it can be deep at times, and most importantly, it’s not boring. While not perfect, it is pretty darn close.