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My Top 10 Movies of 2011

January 5, 2012

10. Senna – PG-13

It seems like there are always one or two really good documentaries every year, and Senna definitely fits that description.  I don’t care much for motor “sports,” but this movie isn’t really about that as much as it is the meteoric rise and sudden death of one of the greatest racers of all time.  The best documentaries have a natural character arc, and Senna doesn’t disappoint.  It’s worth a watch even if you have no interest in racing.

09. Warrior – PG-13

Warrior is completely unbelievable, quite predictable, moderately clichéd, and somehow still manages to be entertaining.  Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton play brothers who haven’t seen each other for many years, but both end up in a mixed martial arts tournament. Nick Nolte is their recovering alcoholic father.  Their performances are  fantastic.  Several other real life MMA personalities also play themselves.  If you like sports movies at all it’s worth a watch to be sure.  I think you could enjoy it just for the universal theme of life’s struggles, but I tend to like sports movies so I can’t say for sure.

08. Red State – R

Kevin Smith can’t win with some people.  I can’t think of too many filmmakers who are willing, or able, to make such a drastic departure from their traditional style.  Red State follows three typical high school kids and their attempt to respond to an online classified ad offering sex with a mature woman.  That could be a story element for a typical Kevin Smith film, but that is pretty much the only similarity aside from a lot of often clever dialog.  The rest of movie is a thriller involving a psycho preacher and his congregation (read family).  Several familiar faces like John Goodman, Kevin Pollak, and Stephen Root play opposite a strong performance from Michael Parks as the aforementioned preacher.  If you are a thriller fan that likes brainless dialog, and non-stop action/gore then you probably won’t like Red State.  It’s definitely a more methodical journey.

07. Bridesmaids – R

I kept hearing Bridesmaids was like Hangover for women.  I see where that comparison comes from, but it also kept me away.  I finally succumbed after looking at the cast that includes: Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Rose Byrne, Chris O’ Dowd, and Melissa McCarthy.  There are also tons of familiar faces scattered throughout the film like Jon Hamm, Terry Crews, Michael Hitchcock, and Matt Lucas.  Certainly a capable cast, and it doesn’t disappoint, although I have to say McCarthy steals the show.  Like Hangover there are tons of funny moments, and more than a few disgusting ones.  If you like Kristen Wiig you should be good to go.

06. Rise of the Planet of the Apes – PG-13

I refused to watch this one until someone finally told me Tim Burton was in no way involved.  With that guarantee in hand I was safe to commence viewing.  I was treated to an exemplary prequel to the original Planet of the Apes with references galore.  The cast is strong with the likes of James Franco, Freida Pinto, John Lithgow, Brian Cox, Tom Felton, and Tyler Labine, and Andy Serkis.  As a casual fan of  the original this one seemed to fit really well.  The amazing advances in technology have allowed for exceptionally skilled performances from actors like Serkis, and do so in a way that doesn’t force the viewer to recognize the illusion.

05. Paul – R

Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Seth Rogen, Kristen Wiig, and Jason Bateman all in the same film.  I don’t really have to say anything else do I?  I do?  How about Jeffrey Tambor, Jane Lynch, David Koechner, Sigourney Weaver, Bill Hader, Joe Lo Truglio, Blythe Danner, and some guy named Steven Spielberg?  Still not interested?  Then screw you.  I don’t think I want to associate with you.  Go away.

04. Your Highness – R

Okay, I probably like Paul more, but two of my favorite actresses in a fantasy setting, and more importantly costuming,  must be rewarded.  That, and I love Franco and Danny McBride.  Any movie that involves a minotaur penis deserves consideration.  What needs to be considered is another matter entirely.

03. X-Men: First Class – PG-13

As a non-Marvel comic book fan I have enjoyed every X-Men movie.  This one is the best.  That pretty much sums it up.

02. Hesher – R

I looked forward to this with a great deal of anticipation after seeing the trailer with Metallica music playing.  They let them use their music, and the movie poster utilized the classic Metallica font.  Joseph Gordon-Levitt based his character on Cliff Burton.  How epic is that?  Devin Brochu, Rainn Wilson, and Piper Laurie are all strong.  Oh yeah, and Natalie Portman.  She can dress poor and nerdy, but she’s still hot.  Dare I say hotter?

01. Super 8 – PG-13

Super 8 is almost like a cross between The Goonies, E.T., and Romeo and Juliet.  If that doesn’t at least partially interest you then you are in need of some self-reflection.  Six kids are making a zombie movie on Super 8 when they become entangled in a military conspiracy involving an alien.  The kids are all solid, but Elle Fanning especially so.  Kyle Chandler, Ron Eldard, and Noah Emmerich are also quite good as the main adults in the movie.  To top it all off, Michael Hitchcock makes an appearance as a policemen.  It may not be the best movie of all time, but it is certainly entertaining.

Slight spoiler alert:

Ignore those people who get hung up on the believability of the derailment scene.  The movie has an alien with telepathic powers and technology necessary to make a ship out of toasters, and the derailment is the part they can’t believe?  These people are morons, and should be shunned.

My Top 10 Least Favorite Movies of 2011

January 4, 2012

10. The Hangover Part II – R

I actually still enjoyed this film despite the fact that they pulled an Austin Powers, and made it exactly like the first film with one key exception: a monkey.  Monkeys are awesome.  Not awesome enough to sate my anger from being shoveled the same film in a different location, but still awesome.

09. The Green Hornet – PG-13

I don’t exactly hate this movie either, but I needed ten movies to be on my least favorite list.  That, and this one just never did much for me.  It was at best a decent popcorn flick, but Seth Rogen is one of my favorites and decent just doesn’t cut it.  Also, what a waste of Cristoph Waltz’s talent.

08. Our Idiot Brother – R

This film had several of my favorites: Zooey Deschanel, Paul Rudd, Rashida Jones, Adam Scott, and Elizabeth Banks.  It still managed to suck.  It just felt generic.  Not just unoriginal, but even inadequate during the few times of originality.

07. Arthur – PG-13

I never saw all of the original, but it surely couldn’t have been this sterile.  I like Russell Brand, and Helen Mirren is just plain awesome.  Neither is utilized properly in this film.  Mirren is excellent of course, but otherwise wasted on this sorry piece of crap.  Brand doesn’t seem to be given full opportunity to do what makes him funny.  He was hamstrung by the original I think.  I like this film for introducing me to Greta Gerwig who I instantly liked, but it seemed like she was a poor man’s Zooey Deschanel here.

06. Contagion – PG-13

A phenomenal cast for this one (Marion Cotillard, Kate Winslet, Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Laurence Fishburne, and Jude Law), but was there a plot?  OK, a horrible disease strikes.  Who’s the protagonist?  It just seemed like four people’s perspective of the situation slapped together.  There was some fantastic technique, but I just kept waiting to feel something beyond a passing interest in the characters.  In many respects this should be number one because of the sheer disappointment, but the otherwise excellent filmmaking still shines enough to save it from that fate.

05. Batman Year One – PG-13

The worst Batman ever.  At least George Clooney made an okay Bruce Wayne.  Bryan Cranston was excellent as Gordon though.

04. Everything Must Go – R

One of those dramas where something bad happens, and then when you think nothing worse can happen they kick the three legged dog after it tripped on it’s freshly broken front leg just to be reassured at the end that bones can heal. Forget that nonsense. Real comfort comes when the dog is put down.

03. Transformers: Dark of the Moon – PG-13

Sigh.  I wasn’t even given the benefit of looking at Megan Fox.

02. The Smurfs – PG

You might be stunned, but it just wasn’t very good.  I expected very little, and was given even less. Well done.

01. Atlas Shrugged: Part I – PG-13

This one hurts.  I couldn’t even get half way through.  Why can’t they just do a mini-series on HBO instead of making this third-rate crap?

The movies of 2011 that I have seen

December 31, 2011

Once again, I used this awesome site.

The Green Hornet
The Adjustment Bureau
Red State
Battle: Los Angeles
The Lincoln Lawyer
Paul
Your Highness
Arthur
Thor
Bridesmaids
Hesher
The Hangover 2
Kung Fu Panda 2
X-Men: First Class
Green Lantern: Emerald Knights
Super 8
Green Lantern
Cars 2
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II
Captain America: The First Avenger
Cowboys and Aliens
The Smurfs
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
30 Minutes or Less
Our Idiot Brother
Contagion
Warrior
Everything Must Go
Senna
Submarine
Batman Year One

I have seen part of the following:

Atlas Shrugged: Part 1
Gnomeo and Juliet

I intend to see the following films:

The Debt
Johnny English Reborn
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn
The Darkest Hour
The Muppets
The Descendants
Puss in Boots
Tucker and Dale vs Evil

Star Wars is kind of messed up

April 10, 2011

Clearing my bookmarks again – part deux

March 3, 2011

This is Guillermo from Jimmy Kimmel Live at the Grammys.  Dave Mustaine did not take the joke well:

A really well done fan video of Doctor Who with music from The Muppet Show:

I could have sworn I posted this before, but here’s an audio essay from Stephan Fry about language:

Any similarly, a video about Grammar Nazis that spoofs Inglourious Basterds:

And Stephen Fry again on the subject of language via a skit from a Bit of Fry and Laurie:

And Rowan Atkinson with John Cleese on stage doing a skit from back in the day:

And Stephen Fry (he’s awesome, and I kept clicking on more videos) on Whose Line is It Anyway?:

And again:

Once more:

Somehow I discovered than another favorite Brit comedian, Matt Lucas, was featured on an album.  That led me to the discovery that last year they did a 25th anniversary concert of Les Misérables.  I loved the 10th anniversary concert, and in some ways the 25th is better.   Here is Lea Salonga’s Fantine (I prefer her Eponine, but she’s awesome as always):

This is one of the encores, and I have to say that Alfie Boe is quite a bit less annoying than Wilkinson.  I like them both:

And Nick Jonas as Marius was surprisingly decent.  If he had more power behind his voice (he was still just 17 at the time I believe) then he would easily be my favorite.  Even at 17 his Marius is more manly than Michael Ball’s (I still like his performance in many ways too).  If Jonas can get some more oomph and therefore not chop off the end of phrases he’ll be pretty darn good.  Apparently, he played Gavroche on Broadway:

This is Matt Lucas’ Thernadier.  He has also signed on for the part in the West End production:

They’ve also announced that a film version of the musical will finally be made too.  I just hope they get singers that can act rather than actors who can kind of sing.  I like Gerard Butler, but still think he was a poor cast in Phantom.  I hope they don’t get stars that can’t do the key parts justice.

Finally, here’s a Les Miz medley as performed at The Royal Variety Performance.  I love Tom Baker:

Clearing my bookmarks again

January 30, 2011

Here’s a full length BBC version of 1984 done in 1954.  I’ve only watched the first ten minutes or so, but it’s already better than the version done in 1984.

This is amusing and interesting all at the same time, but the language is NSFW:

Ricky Gervais’ 2011 Golden Globes bits.  I don’t see what the problem was.  I thought it was hilarious:

Finally, Stryper is putting out a covers album. I must say I was never a fan, but this cover of “The Trooper” is pretty awesome:

And “Blackout.”  Man, I love Scorpions:

And “Carry On My Wayward Son” to name a few:

My Top 10 Movies of 2010

December 31, 2010

10. The Other Guys – PG-13

This one has the benefit of a fresh watch behind it.  I did really enjoy it, but I think it would easily be knocked off the list given a few of the films I have yet to see, and probably would be if I watched Cop Out again.  While Cop Out was an homage to 80s buddy cop films, The Other Guys was a spoof, and it delivered with strong perf0rmances from Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg.  The rest of the cast is good too with the likes of Michael Keaton, Steve Coogan, Rob Riggle, Dwayne Johnson, Derek Jeter, Samuel L. Jackson, and Eva Mendes.  Eva Mendes.  Eva Mendes.  No, that isn’t a typo.  I just felt like writing her name three times. She’s that awesomely hot.

09. Hot Tub Time Machine – R

This isn’t the best comedy ever made by any stretch, but it has several things working in its favor.  First, they travel back in time to the magical 1980s.  I loved the 80s way before that show came out.  Sure, it was often cheesy, and the fashion was almost always hideous, but the music and the movies are made from pure awesome.  This movie tapped into some residual gnarliness by using John Cusack as a conduit.  The rest of the cast is pretty solid too with Craig Robinson, Rob Corddry, Clark Duke, Collette Wolfe, and Lyndsy FonsecaChevy Chase and Crispin Glover both have small, but enjoyable parts as well.  William Zabka, aka Johnny from the Karate Kid, also makes a cameo appearance as does Thomas Lennon.  So, this movie is set in the 1980s, has a solid soundtrack, and an even better cast.  Even if none of that was true I would still be tempted to add this movie to the top 10 because of two words: Lizzy Caplan.  Nuff said.

08. Youth in Revolt – R

The main reason I watched this was for Zach Galifianakis, but the rest of the cast includes Michael Cera, Portia Doubleday, Jean Smart, Steve Buscemi, Fred Willard, Ray Liotta, and Justin Long.  Not too shabby.  The story itself is pretty cool too.  Cera’s character goes to criminal lengths in order to woo Doubleday’s character.  I need to watch it again to see if it holds up well, but I liked my initial viewing.

07. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World – PG-13

Michael Cera strikes again.  This time in order to woo his even hotter counterpart, played by Mary Elizabeth Winestead, he must fight off her seven exes in a crazy and colorful video game inspired reality.  If you like video games and comic books, you’ll be right at home.  In fact, the movie is based on a comic book.  The rest of the cast is also strong, and full of hotties.  The cast includes Alison Pill, Ellen Wong, Brie Larson, Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza, Abigail Chu, Satya Bhabha, Chris Evans, Mae Whitman, Brandon Routh, Thomas Jane, Clifton Collins Jr., and Jason Schwartzman.  They all did a good job, but Kieran Culkin stole the show as the gay roommate.

06. Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage – unrated

An awesome documentary on one of the most underrated yet influential bands of all time.  It doesn’t hurt that Rush happens to be one of my favorite bands too.  Still, I think even non-Rush fans could find this to be an enjoyable watch.  There are remarks from tons of people like Les Claypool, Jack Black, Sebastian Bach, Kirk Hammett, Billy Corgan, Taylor Hawkins, Tim Commerford, Vinnie Paul, Mike Portnoy, Trent Reznor, Gene Simmons, Matt Stone, Zakk Wylde, the guys themselves, and several others.  I definitely whipped out the old four-string after watching this one, and finally got around to reading Anthem too.  I’m hard pressed to name many movies that actually inspire me to do something.

05. Inception – PG-13

I’m pretty sure the hype and South Park’s spoof tainted my appreciation for this film.  I still enjoyed it, but I think I would have liked it a lot more if I would have gone in cold.  The cast is stocked full of solid components, the action is well-paced, and yet a ton of dialogue is interspersed to help make sense of the still easily confused story.  The greatest aspect of the movie is the fact that there is no clear cut conclusion.  Well, there is, but what that conclusion means is very much up for debate, and the nerds of the net have seen to that ad nauseam.  This was the first thing I had seen Marion Cotillard in since an episode of Highlander, and her performance definitely makes me want to see more.  Listing the rest of the cast would take another page.  It’s chocked full of awesome.

04. Sherlock Holmes – PG-13

I was watching this film, and thinking that the director really ripped off Guy Ritchie.  Then I saw it was Guy Ritchie, and felt a lot better about enjoying it like I did.  Before I realized it was him I felt a little disloyal.  Now I just feel sheepish for not remembering it in the first place as I’ve really liked his other stuff.  Robert Downey Jr., is solid as usual, as is Jude LawRachel McAdams might be the cutest woman in the business, and Mark Strong has fast become one of my favorite actors.  The music was as raucous as the action, and I can’t wait for the unveiling of Moriarty via a sequel.

03. Wild Target – PG-13

You know how I said Rachel McAdams was the cutest woman in the business, Emily Blunt might be the most alluring.  Again, there are more attractive women, but I just really dig her.  I didn’t even watch this because of her, but was quite pleased with her performance.  I mostly got it for Bill Nighy, and Rupert Grint.  Meanwhile Rupert Everett, Eileen Atkins, and Martin Freeman round out the cast.  Admittedly, I am a bit of an anglophile, and particularly so when it comes to comedies, but I really liked this film.  It was lighthearted, but had enough emotion to it to keep me from discarding it as just another comedy.  I definitely plan on watching this one again, if nothing else than to see Bill Nighy in action.  In many ways, I think of him as the ideal debonair man.  He’s not quite as pimp as Cary Grant, but I’m not sure there is anyone else out there that comes as close to being as cool.

02. MacGruber – R

If not for The Blues Brothers, this would be the hands down best SNL film of all time.  It might be anyway.  I think Jorma Taccone is amazingly funny anyway, and he took vulgarity to new heights with this one.  The sound alone deserves some kind of award.  This movie could have failed miserably, but the story works and the cast is perfect.  Will Forte is there of course, as is Kristen Wiig.  They are joined by Ryan Phillippe, Val Kilmer, Powers Boothe, Maya Rudolph, and several cameo appearances.  The whole ongoing taunting between Forte and Kilmer’s characters is epic.  If you like absurdly vulgar comedy then this is the movie for you.

01. Kick-Ass – R

As apt as a name as you could possibly get.  If I had a shot at Lyndsy Fonseca I would try becoming a superhero to woo her too.  Strictly speaking, Aaron Johnson‘s eponymous character gives being a superhero  a shot first, and getting the girl was a nice result.  What a result.  He may get all of his bones broken, but he’d still be a lucky bastard in my book.  Mark Strong is awesome. I think I mentioned that in the Sherlock Holmes section, but it’s worth repeating.  Christopher Mintz-Plasse also turns in a surprisingly deep performance.  Well, as deep as the movie can yield anyway.  Nicolas Cage also finally gets the perfect role for using some over the top acting, and he delivers.  As awesome as that cast is on its own, Chloe Moretz blows them all away.  Critics pissed and moaned about a girl saying and doing the things she does in the film, but it is based on a comic, and she kills it.