Picture copyright Universal.
So which were my best and worst films of 2011….
Sometimes I pretend I’m Claudia Winkleman and BBC Radio Leeds entertain me by inviting me in to talk films, filmmaking and erm the movies on the wireless. I recently gave my review of films in 2011 so I thought I’d enlighten those who missed it, on this here blog.
2011 was a mixed bag at the multiplex and if like me, you can’t sit through Harry Potter/Twilight fare without sleeping then you’ll appreciate my picks. Thank goodness for the indie cinema Cottage Road in Leeds otherwise I might well have moved back to London.
Here is my selection of the best and worst of 2011.
My stand out, favourite film of 2011. Hats off to Kristin Wiig, actress/comedienne who wrote and starred in this hit movie. Annoyingly billed as the female version of the Hangover, insinuating women need a replacement for an already funny film (we don’t). Luckily, it was anything but repetitive/unoriginal. A maid of honour goes up against a bridesmaid in a bid for her best friend’s affections with hilarious, wee in your pants consequences. Women genuinely talk as we do in real life and the plot’s sole intention was not targeted at bagging a man (yawn), oh and there’s no Jennifer Aniston in sight. What’s not to love? WHAT I ASK YOU?!
Attack The Block
Joe Cornish’s diretorial debut was praised by audienes and critics alike. A group of hoodies (who ultimately challenge your preconceptions) must fight aliens to reclaim their South London block back. Lead actor John Boyega is a star to watch, he brought wonderfully tender moments to this British Sci-Fi flick and the low fi special effects make this film a real contender against the bigger budget films. Well done to the British Film Industry.
Water for Elephants
Watch this film for the elephants alone. OK, don’t. Watch Attenborough for that, but do watch this film. It reminded me of a modern day Swiss Family Robinson. I was honoured to meet Ken Annakin, the director of the latter film in LA when my short film screened before his classic a few years ago and it was thrilling to hear how incredibly chaotic it is working with animals. Water For Elephants makes it look easy.
Robert Pattison is compelling as a vetinary student who flees to join the circus when his parents are killed and Reece Witherspoon, mesmorising as his unlikely love interest. I particularly loved the fact the novel which the film is based, was written as part of Nanowrimo, a National Novel Writing Month author Sara Gruen partook in, to complete it.
Kenneth Branagh in the directing chair made for a fantastical and moving comic strip adaptation. Warrior Thor is cast out of the realm of Asgard and must live on earth with humans where he becomes one of their finest defenders. A fast paced, thrilling movie for all. Geek chic.
Natalie Portman’s Oscar winning role was as beautiful as it was disturbing. When a ballet dancer achieves her dream of playing the lead in Swan Lake-Princess Odette, she slowly starts unravelling becoming more like Odile, the Black Swan.
Darren Aronofsky has directed 4 actors in Oscar Nominated performances (Ellen Burstyn, Mickey Rourke, Marisa Tomei and Natalie Portman) and is one of my all time favourite (I aspire to be like you one day) directors. The Wrestler is ingenius and as they say, an actor can only be as good as the director. I like this saying as it reveals what a shared responsibility acting truly is.
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
Did a finer Sherlock ever exist than in the hands of Shamanistic Robert Downey Junior? I think not. In the second unmissable installment from director Guy Ritchie, the boys are back to fight their fiercest adversary, Professor Moriarty. Revolver is a distant memory. Guy must be relieved.
Rise of The Planet Apes
Andy Serkis’ motion capture work as lead Chimp Caesar is astounding (and should be after he’s the man to call if you want a monkey-Gollum, King Kong) and this film became an instant summer hit without all the hoohah, reinvigorating the action genre for all. A genetically enhanced Chimpanzee uses his greater intelligence to free the other apes. How clever.
I watched and utterly loved the TV series but if you were a fan of the show, please don’t rent this movie out on DVD. Yes I know it was a hit at the Box Office but this sloppy, repetitive, unfunny screenplay was clearly rushed out to capitalise on the success of the TV Show and failed critically in my opinion.
The ensemble cast of boys work-of course they do, they have chemistry that’s built up over the years but they are forced into an overly long script with love interests who look old enough to be their mothers (or older, much older sisters at the very least). I wanted to walk out of the cinema after 10 minutes. I stayed, but only because I’d paid a babysitter. Bums.
Should be renamed Bad Film. Cameron, I know roles are tougher to come by these days but please, at what point did this seem a good idea?
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
A fourth Pirates Of The Caribbean movie? Really? I like a bit of Johnny Depp as much as the next person but this is getting ridiculous. Even Johnny’s sick of seeing himself as Jack Sparrow- he looked thoroughly bored going through the motions in the movie. It now feels over familiar, tired and far too noisy film for my liking. If I want that, I’ll stay at home. Please Hollywood, we can’t take anymore.
There are many, many more whoppers but I’m getting depressed writing about them.
Bring on The Iron Lady, Men in Black 3, The Bourne Legacy (sans Matt Damon-I know) and other promised beauties to fill the big screen for 2012.
Over and out.