As my first partial year of reviews comes to a close, I decided that I should sum the year up for my loyal audience. Today, I review all the films released in 2011 that I saw and tell you what my favorite of the year was. I’ll probably keep it to pretty much only what came out in theaters in 2011, and some of them I may not even have officially reviewed yet, but they will be short reviews of about a paragraph describing what I liked or didn’t like about the movie. I may even talk about some of the movies I didn’t see and why. Let’s get right into this review of the films of 2011.
UPDATE: Having just finished writing these and realizing that I’ve apparently seen way too many movies that came out in 2011, I would like to tell you that this is a super long post, but the reviews are all fairly short. I would just skip through and see if you want to know my opinion about any of the movies, but the real meat will be at the end where I just have my three best and three worst movies of the year. If you read the whole thing, thank you for you dedication and I’m sorry for mine.
SEASON OF THE WITCH
Oh yeah, I saw this. And it was every bit as bad as you might expect. I recall pretty solidly bad performances from Robert Reviews Stuff favorite, Nicholas Cage, and the rest of the cast. And this movie was totally not filmed in witch season, as there was only one “witch” that was pretty much just a demon in a woman’s body and not what I would classically think is a witch. It’s so much work to go through all the trouble of getting a hunting license just to find out that you got a license to hunt witches but only one was in the area. Bummer. And for that reason, you may skip this movie with my blessing. Go with God.
I know I saw this, but I can only barely remember the thing. There were a couple of funny parts, but it turns hardcore drama at the end and took me right out of the movie. Vince Vaughn and Kevin James play characters that they always play, and they don’t have a lot of funny things to say, nor funny things happening to them. And then it turns all drama-y at the end. It does have good eye candy in Winona Ryder and Jennifer Connelly though, and is probably the only tolerable Channing Tatum performance I have seen. You don’t need to watch this one either.
THE GREEN HORNET
Seth Rogen also plays the same character he’s usually playing, but he’s pretty funny. Jay Chou brings a good deal of decent action to his role as well. Cameron Diaz used to be hot, but I’ve not found myself interested in her in a good long time. Probably since The Mask; the pinnacle of her hotness in my opinion. And Christoph Waltz is way too good of an actor to have been in this movie. But this movie was not that bad. Decent action, a couple of good laughs. You wouldn’t kill yourself for watching this one.
NO STRINGS ATTACHED
The first of these three identical movies I saw, and probably the second best one. Natalie Portman is gorgeous, and comes very close to being naked in the movie, but is dragged down a lot by her costar Ashton Kutcher. It’s also a comedy for the first bit and pretty dramatic at the end, and though Portman can hold her own against Kutcher in the comedy department, Kutcher cannot match Portman on drama. You don’t need to watch this movie, but you might not hate it.
Probably James Cameron’s least successful movie, but also one of his best looking, next to Avatar. It’s about a dude in a cave with his son and two other people and a storm causes a cave in and they have to try to find the backdoor of the cave. Pretty good acting, really pretty settings, and it’s filmed very well. The story is not that bad either. I found this movie on Red Box, and if it’s still there, I doubt you’ll be that disappointed if you watch it. Take a look.
GNOMEO & JULIET
I already did a review of this, and I really have no idea what I said. Romeo and Juliet turned garden gnomes. It was cute, but kind of pointless, and with a pretty good voice cast. You probably don’t want to watch this movie for yourself, but if you have kids you may not be that pissed about having to watch it.
JUST GO WITH IT
Adam Sandler doesn’t really do good movies anymore, does he? This is the one where he talks his nurse Jennifer Aniston into acting like his ex-wife to get Brooklyn Decker to want to have sex with him, but he ends up falling in love Jennifer Aniston. It’s not very funny, but you get to see lots of Jennifer Aniston, Brooklyn Decker, and Nicole Kidman in bikinis. I still don’t think it’s worth watching.
JUSTIN BIEBER: NEVER SAY NEVER
Don’t you never tell me what never to do, Justin Bieber. …NEVER! I actually did watch this movie with my friend Mike, but I don’t remember hating it as much as I think I should have. It’s like a little documentary about the rise to fame of a young girl named Justin Bieber mixed in with a concert of some shitty songs. I hate his music, so it didn’t hold much appeal to me, but the movie wasn’t horrible. I would say don’t watch it unless you want to make jokes about it, or if you’re a really big fan of the Biebs. But if you are, I don’t want you reading my reviews anymore.
I expected a pretty good deal from the cast of this movie, but it just didn’t deliver. I like Ed Helms, John C. Reilly, Anne Heche, Sigourney Weaver, and Tom Lennon a lot, but I just didn’t think any of this movie was that funny. You get to see Anne Heche either naked or almost naked, if that’s something that would appeal to you. But it’s just not funny enough to recommend.
I AM NUMBER FOUR
I reviewed this movie AND watched it twice, which no one should ever do because it’s not a good movie. I remember thinking this could’ve been a pretty awesome TV show for the Nickelodeon generation, but as a movie you’re thrown off by mediocre performances and a story that adds superpowers to it’s stars whenever it writes itself into a corner. You can skip this movie as well.
The whole thing is based around a concept that would never work ever. Wives giving their husbands free pass to fuck around on them for a weekend so they can go out and find out they’re not nearly as desirable as they thought. It doesn’t go well, but there’s a happy ending. A happy ending, but a sadness in the fact that Jason Sudikis, Jenna Fischer, and Christina Applegate are so good normally, but they picked a script that wasn’t funny. Skip it.
This was actually a pretty cute, decently funny little animated movie about a chameleon that gets lost in the desert and comes upon a disheveled town of small rodents, then becomes their sheriff. I don’t know why I went into this thinking Johnny Depp couldn’t be funny because I’ve seen him be funny before, but the movie surprised me. I grant that I went in with low expectations, but the movie gets my kudos for surpassing them. Check it out, especially if you have kids.
BATTLE: LOS ANGELES
I saw this movie having no idea what it was about. Aliens attack LA. There’s your premise. But there was a pretty good deal of action, a nice gritty look, and decent performances. I liked this movie.
I make no secret of my undying love for Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. This movie doesn’t change my feelings. I also like Kristen Wiig, Seth Rogen, Jason Bateman, and Sigourney Weaver quite a bit. This movie definitely doesn’t waste it’s cast. The story of two English nerds finding, and attempting to save, an alien could have been funnier, but it was still funny enough to be worth a watch.
How disappointing could a movie about really hot chicks kicking a lot of ass be? THIS DISAPPOINTING! There are indeed a lot of really good looking ladies in Emily Browning, Abbie Cornish, Jamie Chung, Jena Malone, and Vanessa Hudgens, and even a little Jon Hamm for the ladies, and it delivers a good amount of really awesome action scenes, but the rest of the movie is mopey, nihilistic boringness. It’s probably worth at least one viewing for fellas, but ladies probably won’t be interested at all. This movie should’ve been so much more appealing than it was, but it wasn’t that great.
I only vaguely remember watching this thing. Jake Gyllenhaal is a soldier put in a machine that sends him back to a certain time for a limited time only and he has to find out what happened after an explosion on a train. It’s a pretty interesting take on time travel with a nice twist ending and a good deal of tension and action. I kind of liked this movie, so I say check it out and tell me if I’m remembering it wrong.
I reviewed this movie as well, and I REALLY liked this movie. So much so that I bought it on BluRay shortly after my first viewing. It’s like a much darker version of Kick-Ass with Rainn Wilson and Ellen Page in it. Watch this thing.
The first movie I reviewed on this site was a remake of a classic comedy I still haven’t seen. It was much better than I expected, with a fair deal of funny parts in the movie and some well done drama at the end. I hate Russell Brand, but I still think this movie isn’t as bad as I had heard it was.
My sister asked me to watch this movie, and it included a good deal of action, some pretty good fights, and a decent enough story, but the whole movie just didn’t make anything of an impression on me. I think you won’t hate it if you watch it, so I recommend you do so that you can remind me what it’s about, because it’s pretty forgettable.
A bird finds love in the place where it least expected it, but the audience saw coming from a mile away. It’s not that bad beyond the pointless, irrelevant musical numbers. Good for kids, but easily passable for adults.
If you start watching this horror movie about 10 minutes in, you may be able to avoid the 4 false-starts that still piss me off to this day. It’s not that bad, but I’m entirely bored with the Scream franchise and think they should just stop before they reach Saw amounts of embarrassing. You can watch this, but make a sandwich after you hit play and come back oblivious to the ass-raping they give to the people that watched it.
DYLAN DOG: DEAD OF NIGHT
One of my earlier reviews, this one has Brandon Routh and Sam Huntington as paranormal investigators, and as the only decent performances in the movie. They did some interesting things with Huntington’s character, but it was few and far between, and the rest of the plot was ill-conceived. It was based on a comic book that (if this movie is any indication) you can not read. No reason to watch this movie.
Not my favorite movie of the year by a long shot, but certainly the one that surprised me the most. I went in knowing that I should not look for good performances (PAUL WALKER!), but Dwayne Johnson did good work. The story didn’t make a lot of sense in parts, but that’s not why you’d watch this. The action is pretty fantastic. Unrealistic, over the top, but fantastic. Definitely worth a watch.
My opinion of any comic book movie has to be weighed against my extreme nerdiness, but I kind of liked Thor. I was unfamiliar with the character, but the story did a good job of getting me informed, and keeping me entertained with action. I liked all of the performances, and the movie had a fantastic, epic look to it. I would say it’s greatest failing point is that they did more talking than fighting, and one fight in the middle that should have been epic was over too quickly. I still recommend it.
This movie is basically the female-friendly version of The Hangover. I love Kristen Wiig and Rose Byrne, and I’m fond of Maya Rudolph as well, but it was a person I had never seen before in Melissa McCarthy that sold me on this movie. She just came in to deliver hilariousness and left. I don’t think I’d call the movie overall hilarious, but I’m also a fella. There are still a couple parts in this movie that you cannot help but laugh out loud at, no matter your gender. I enjoyed the movie a great deal, but I think women are the ones that will love it.
Some really good looking settings and creatures, and some really good looking Maggie Q, did not save this movie. There were a couple good action things, but they were too spread out by pretty uninteresting story points. You can skip this.
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES
Easily the worst Pirates of the Caribbean movie, and that should come as no surprise. I loved all three of the original Pirates movies, and would rather this one not have existed. Nothing super interesting in the action elements, Jack Sparrow wasn’t as charming to me, and even Penelope Cruz didn’t do anything for me. I’m sure they’re making another one, and I hope they take it seriously and try not to fuck it up. You can skip this as well.
KUNG FU PANDA 2
This movie had no reason to be made. I really liked the first movie for it’s decent amount of comedy, good story, and overall entertaining feel of the movie. The second one wasn’t bad, but it took steps down in all of those categories. It’s still decent, and kids will like it, but have them watch the first one instead. They won’t know any better.
I really thought this movie should’ve resonated with me a lot more than it did. I love J.J. Abrams, I love Steven Spielberg, and it was a decent movie, but it just couldn’t reach awesome status. Good action, good story, great performances by the kids, but it was so heavily “almost there” for reasons I can’t even put my finger on.
This is a sequel to the worst Pixar movie available. Cars wasn’t awful, but it was mediocre amongst a plethora of awesome animated features. Take the step down most sequels take, add that to the giant step down Disney sequels take, and you have this movie. Not funny, not interesting. Your kids will like it, but they’re stupid. Don’t bother with this movie.
TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON
My opinion of this movie may take a hit because of the fact that I was forced to watch this movie in 3D, and I hate 3D. But this movie was still a pretty enjoyable big dumb action flick. Shia LeBeouf is enjoyable, even though I feel like I really want to hate him. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is definitely hot (pushed up a notch or two because of her accent), but still a step down in hotness from Megan Fox. She is, however, not a twat, so I liked her more. John Malkovich was also an interesting, if underused, character. You know Michael Bay can do big dumb action, and he does. But this time he doesn’t have two annoying (and racist) Autobots running around the movie, nor does he have testicles on a character that is supposed to be intimidating. Overall, I enjoyed it. Certainly better than the second movie.
I know I shouldn’t have watched it. I knew every time I saw it on RedBox that I shouldn’t watch it. I even knew when I was watching it that I shouldn’t be watching this. I was right. It wasn’t funny for more than a minute of the movie, and Rosario Dawson and Joe Rogan are the only performances in the movie worth a damn. I don’t need to tell you not to watch this, do I?
HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS – PART 2
This movie picked up where it’s predecessor failed by keeping the plot moving throughout with good action, good story, and some great performances. I just reviewed these movies a week ago, but I’ll recommend them all, and especially this one. A great ending to the series, though I still kind of wish it wasn’t over yet.
CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER
Marvel just keeps pumping them out, don’t they? And all three of them are so much better than the only DC movie that came out. I found this one particularly entertaining. I like the quasi-futuristic period film style of the movie, I like that they made Chris Evans into a scrawny fuck for the first portion of the movie and then let him be big hunk of meat Chris Evans for the remainder, allowing him to whoop some ass in great action scenes to help the great story. It starts off a little slow, but once it gets going, it doesn’t slow down. Really good comic book flick.
FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS
Another friend fucking movie, and another previously reviewed film. Probably the best of the three, this was a pretty charming movie due mainly to it’s stars, Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake, and to some good writing. It starts off strong, but kind of lost my interest around the sex scenes in the middle (though possibly because I was too busy staring at Justin Tim…Mila Kunis). It goes a little drama, but thankfully not that much. Enjoyable, but perhaps easily a movie you can miss.
COWBOYS & ALIENS
A super forgettable little action romp. It starts off pretty strong and interesting, but gets kind of slow and boring after the first big alien attack. I appreciate them trying to work with the fairly ridiculous premise, but it was too little action for a movie that didn’t have much else to offer. Olivia Wilde is hot though.
Nowhere near as bad as I expected going in, but still a little annoying and pointless. No one was asking for the return of the Smurfs, and this movie showed us why. It had a couple of funny parts, mainly because of Neil Patrick Harris, and a couple of sweet moments and a nice little message to the movie, but overall it’s still a miss. Just nowhere near as big of a miss as I thought going in.
ATTACK THE BLOCK
A pretty nice little movie from out of Merry Old England, it tells the story of aliens attacking a block. Little gang banger kids have to defeat them, and learn a lesson about karma hidden in an alien pheromone. The aliens were super well done and freaky, it was pretty funny when it wanted to be, and was overall very interesting. Check it out.
It starts off as juvenile and as disgusting as it can, and the story is as predictable as it is overused, but this movie won me over by the end of the movie. It had enough laughs to make it worth the watch, and I’m always a big fan of Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman, even if they do poor impressions of each other. Olivia Wilde is in this as well, and she’s still hot. In fact, she gets naked in this movie, if I recall correctly. …Which I don’t because it was a body double. But you can forget that little piece of information and enjoy that. It’s a decent enough movie anyways.
RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES
Don’t be frightened by their overuse of the words “of” and “the”, this is a solid movie. I really liked this movie when it came out in theaters and went right out to buy it when it came out on BluRay. I haven’t had time to rewatch it since the theaters, but I remember liking it a lot. Really good story, great acting (especially from Andy Serkis as Caesar the ape), and some good action to boot.
A movie that probably wanted to be really meaningful and make a strong point, but it’s hard to find it as significant when I was not alive when these kind of events were going down. It was fairly charming, and had some really good performances from Viola Davis and Bryce Dallas Howard, but it just didn’t have the impact I assumed it might have. Worth a watch, but I wouldn’t expect a nomination for it.
30 MINUTES OR LESS
I really didn’t want to watch this movie, but I was forced to by a review request. My review has been up for it, so it’s no surprise that I’m saying I didn’t like this movie. Not only did I go in being annoyed by the fact that it was so clearly based on a real man’s death, but the people involved in the movie wouldn’t admit it, but it also wasn’t very funny. Three of the four starring characters are nothing of a draw for me. Jesse Eisenberg is a fine actor and good in some things, but he can get tedious. I don’t like Aziz Ansari. And, of course, Danny McBride is losing steam with me in a big bad way. Nick Swardson, as usual, is the most funny person in a movie, but he couldn’t save this movie.
CONAN THE BARBARIAN
Conan the Barbarian? Oh I loved that movie! Arnie at his finest and … what? Oh, the remake. No, it’s not good. Few action scenes, bad dialogue, weird grunting noises spurted out at random during fights, and bad performances. I recall boobs though. Still, don’t watch this movie.
OUR IDIOT BROTHER
One of the biggest comedy let downs of the year for me (from what I hear, mainly because I didn’t see Hangover Part 2). I goes in expecting a funny, laugh out loud, broad comedy, but instead it’s more like a drama with a few mild chuckles. I love the main four actresses (Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel, Emily Mortimer, and Rashida Jones) and the main actor (Paul Rudd), but there was almost no funniness to be found here. T.J. Miller is the only one able to get a laugh out of me in this flick.
Red State will be mentioned later in this review, but I didn’t want it to go without notice that I did watch a movie in September.
PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3
Very similar to the other two Paranormal Activity movies, but technically superior. I would say I liked the first PA movie more because it was the one that introduced the concept, but this is the one with the best story and the best thrills. I definitely recommend checking this movie out, if for no reason more than three of the ghost gags that are coming to mind.
My inherent love of Greek mythology did not save this movie from overall mediocrity. The writing was fair, and the action scenes were outstanding when they happened, but there were too few of them and spaced out too far for a movie with fairly middling acting. The look was pretty great throughout as well. If it had been written better, I would feel so much more confident in recommending it, but now I can only meekly suggest that maybe … y’know, if you want … maybe you could like, I don’t know, watch it maybe … ?
I ain’t seen none of them yet, but I really wanted to watch Sherlock Holmes and MI: Ghost Protocol. I even kind of want to see War Horse, but I just haven’t yet. And that absolutely ruins my streak of having seen at least one movie each month this year. DAMNIT!
THE WORST FILMS OF 2011 (AKA THE SHITTIES)
Remember what I said about comic book movies and weighing my opinion of them? Weigh them with this: This movie sucked. I really like Ryan Reynolds, but I admittedly have no affection for any DC comic character besides Batman. I can still appreciate a DC movie if it’s well made, but this was Green Lantern. Ryan Reynolds was charming (as he typically is), but this movie didn’t have any action that did anything for me, and the CG was pretty lame. You don’t need to watch this movie. I had heard so much talk about this movie not shaping up well before it came out, but I did my best to keep in high spirits about the movie, and that’s why I was so disappointed when I watched it.
A piss-poor excuse for a comedy with Danny McBride playing every character Danny McBride has ever played, plus an English-ish accent. The humor is beyond juvenile. The only reason to watch this movie at all is because Natalie Portman gets into a thong and bikini, and there’s a nice body on that one. There were some non-Portman boobs as well. But that can be found in a Google search, so don’t pain yourself with the rest of this movie.
AND THE LOSER
A movie I have not been able to stop hearing about, and possibly the worst movie I watched all year. It’s like an action movie that was handed to some pretentious, hipster, art school student. Ryan Gosling puts on a weird jacket and forgets how to have conversations with people, leaving us to enjoy the shitty, techno/80’s soundtrack. It’s not until the end that a little bit of action wakes me up. The rest of this movie is almost unbearably slow, and the dialogue was practically not there. So much time was spent with characters that should have been talking just staring at each other, probably wondering why the teleprompter was broken. And practically no one in this movie decided they wanted to emote for the audience. I’m guessing the director probably roofied the cast and decided to film while he waited for rapin’ time.
If you watch this movie, do so knowing I hate it and will want to dissect your brain to figure out why if you tell me you liked it. This was the only movie in recent memory that actually caused me to look at the person I went to the movies with thinking “Is this movie fucking serious?”
THE BEST FILMS OF 2011 (AKA THE ROBBIES)
I’ve done a review for this one, but I would like to take this time to repeat that I really like this movie. It’s the kind of horror movie I like, with a lot of tension and little to no gore. It looked really good, and had plenty of subtle little scares and pop out and scare you scenes that I was getting really freaked out in the theater by myself. Rose Byrne and Patrick Wilson are really good in it, and the movie is executed very well. I’ve already told you to watch this. Why haven’t you?
I had heard Kevin Smith talking this movie up so much on Smodcast that certainly there was no way it could live up to it, right? WRONG! I loved this movie. Granted, I wasn’t as big a fan of the ending, and I do prefer Smith’s comedies, but this was still a great movie. The story was fantastic, the action was exciting, and the performances were the best I’ve ever seen from a Kevin Smith movie. It also looked drastically different from every other Kevin Smith movie, and you probably wouldn’t even know it was his movie unless you knew already or recognized his wife. Definitely a movie to check out. It would have won best movie of the year were it not for …
X-MEN: FIRST CLASS
Coming out in June, I took this movie as “Happy Birthday to you, Robert!” June is a month for awesomeness. First it gives you guys the greatness of me, then they give you X-Men: First Class. Maybe a few more awesome things too, but I’m not going to look that up. First Class easily breaks into the lead of the pack in the X-Men movies that I was already really fond of (because I call X-Men Origins simply by Wolverine so that it cannot tarnish the X-Men name). In a year with three really good Marvel movies, this one jumps to the front of the pack with great action, great story, and great performances by Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Kevin Bacon, and pretty much everybody on the screen except for January Jones, who kicked Emma Frost in the vagina. She looked the part really well, but just could not be bothered to participate in the film. Thankfully, she was a fairly small part in the movie, which allows this movie to still claim the title of my favorite movie of the year.