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One Last Look at ’11

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Yes, last year ended almost a week ago, but that doesn’t mean we can forget about it yet. If you have yet to see one of those “youtubes” that “mashup” all of the past year’s releases into one “megamix”. Of course, since we live in the day and age of the internet, we have 3 very promising candidates for the best one of the year. What one’s your favorite?

 

The 2o11 Portfolio

by hatinhand

 

Filmography 2011

by genrocks

 

2011: The Cinescape

by oyguvaltshappy

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New Year Optimism

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Well, it’s a new year, and instead of doing any resolutions that would have surely be broken by now, why not look for the good in the new year by counting down what movies I’m looking forward to most in the next 12 months. I’m sure there will be one’s I’ve never heard of that will be my favorites, but here are the ones I know about, that look or sound pretty sweet.

20. The Woman in Black

Daniel Radcliffe not attending Hogwarts!

19. World War Z

I don’t know much about WWZ, but I do know it’s a zombie flick with Brad Pitt, so I’m in!

18. Django Unchained

Quentin Tarantino has been trying to get this made for a while now. Hopefully the movie’s like a fine wine and ages well with time on the shelf.

17. Skyfall

Still have yet to see an entire 007 movie, this might be the first of the bunch.

16. Battleship

Still looks like a Michael Bay Transformers clone, but who’s complaining; stuff blows up!

15. ParaNorman

I kinda like Coraline, but it could have been better. Enter Norman.

14. Dark Shadows

Just your usual Burton/Depp/Bonham-Carter movie.

13. The Cabin in the Woods

Never been a fan of horror movies, but this one looks like it turns the genre on its head.

12. Brave

Pixar! Accents! Red-haired chick!

11. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

The title alone is enough to get my butt in a seat. Who doesn’t love some revisionist history?

10. Mirror Mirror

Live action, hammy comedy version of Snow White. Added bonus of visuals by director Tarsem.

9. The Hunger Games

It’s based off a book series, which gives me hope that that the new Twilight is much more manageable.

8. John Carter

Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo, A Bug’s Life, Wall-E) tries to follow in the path of Pixar friend Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol)

7. Moonrise Kingdom

WES ANDERSON!!!!!!!!!

6. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

I only saw the Lord of the Rings trilogy last year, but it was enough to make me think Peter Jackson can do no harm in Middle Earth.

5. Prometheus

Have you seen the trailer? I’ve never seen Alien, but I really want to now.

4. Snow White and the Huntsman

Early frontrunner for Snow White adaptation of the year. Even with Kristin Stewart.

3. The Amazing Spider Man

Yes, it’s too soon for another reboot. But Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield taking over? Admit it, you’re going to see it.

2. The Avengers

If only there was a movie that combined Hollywood’s love affair with the superhero movie….

1. The Dark Knight Rises

So far, Christopher Nolan can do no harm. So why not add some more amazing actors (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy) and call it the movie of the year now?

2011: My Favorites

So, now is the time that everyone is releasing their best of the year lists. Unfortunately I haven’t seen nearly as many movies from this past year to make any educated rankings. Eventually I will have seen Black Swan, The Artist, 50/50, and all of the others and make a proper list, but until then here are my favorite movies from 2011 (That I’ve seen).

5. Thor

It was a surprisingly good year for the superhero movie, as Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman brought the Asgardian King to life. It was so good in fact, that Thor isn’t even the only one on the list. But anyway, what’s not to love about the fish out of water scenario. Bonus points for giving us the future villain of the upcoming Avengers movie, Loki.

4. Crazy Stupid Love

I honestly never would have thought to see a romantic comedy on a list like this in a million years. But somehow Crazy Stupid Love did the impossible and made me not hate myself for enjoying a rom-com. Steve Carrell and Ryan Gosling is something that should have happened a while ago. Same could be said for Emma Stone and Julianne Moore.

3. X-Men: First Class

Another surprise here, as First Class brought a different side to the superhero genre. Add to that some amazing shots, which I detailed in my review, and you got something that makes it in the top 3. Not to mention I’m a big James McAvoy fan, and Michael Fassbender is slowly becoming one of the hottest actors in Hollywood.

2. Source Code

The plot isn’t quite on par with that on Inception, but consider Source Code to be confusing plot device 101. If you get through it and enjoy it, move up to the graduate level studies. But really, from beginning to somewhat twist ending, Source Code was one of the most entertaining of the year. Not bad for a 8-minute sequence played over and over.

1. Super 8

J.J. Abrams joining forces with Steven Spielberg would probably make my favorites list with 60 minutes of grass blowing in the wind. Fortunately, I’m somewhat justified in putting them in this top slot. More than anything, Super 8 made not only me, but many others, remember why we love the movies. It brought back nostaligia, while still adding something new to the table. It was the perfect combination of old school and new school. It was, my favorite.

Ranks: Favorite Christmas Movies

We all have our favorite Christmas movie. Some tend to go to the classics, some to the animated, others to the comedies. So, while my list of favorites might not be your list, feel free to share your own in the comments!

10. Miracle on 34th Street

I have yet to see the original 1947 version, this ’94 movie was based off of. But even though the newer version is probably a lesser movie, I always had a soft spot for this one. 90’s staple Mara Wilson does the perfect job of showing the change from cynic to believer, all while making us believe for ourselves. The story maybe a tad gimmicky, but what Christmas movie isn’t?

9. Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town

This is Christmas TV at its finest. This is what I think of for holiday entertainment. While Beiber did his best to desecrate it, Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town, is still my favorite of all of TV specials (sorry Rudolf, Baby New Year, and Frosty). If I were to want to know what Santa sounds like, I would go straight to Mickey Rooney. No superhero can match this origin story.

8. Edward Scissorhands

While it isn’t exactly a “Christmas movie” per se, it is the tale of how a town got its first snow. Say whatever you want about this choice, but I will mention this movie however many times as possible due to my love for it. Like any good movie, it completely surrounds you in its world. Classic Burton + Depp + Elfman.

7. Home Alone 2

The original Home Alone is probably a better movie, but for some reason I think of the sequel when Christmastime comes around. Maybe it’s the toy store owner and the turtle doves, or the crazy bird lady, but the deuce is the more Christmas-y one. Anyway, who doesn’t love to see a kid come close to murdering two burglars?

6. The Santa Clause

No one can tell me otherwise that The Santa Clause 3 was horrendous. The Santa Clause 2 was okay. But that first one, had the premise and a star to make it a non-quite classic, but great Christmas movie nonetheless. Tim Allen is probably at his comedic peak right here, so take a trip back before Last Man Standing.

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Ranks: Christopher Nolan

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7. Following (1998)

Following “follows” a man who does just that, follows complete strangers around town. This was Nolan’s first feature length film, and to me was just shaky enough to land last on the list. The first hour or so is completely forgetable, but don’t glaze over it. The last 20 minutes makes the whole boring parts of the movie (AKA the entire beginning) worth it. It is a whirlwind of “WHAT!?!?” plot twists are revealings that will make you want to rewatch. A crazy directorial debut.

6. Insomnia (2002)

Robin Williams as a bad guy? Um, okay? Al Pacino as a sleep deprived cop? Yeah, that sounds better. Nolan’s films often go into the brain’s of his characters. What are they thinking? What are their motivations? And here we have “am I going crazy?”. You’ll find yourself questioning what you saw and who’s who in this one. Very unknown film, but shouldn’t be.

5. The Prestige (2006)

Nolan once again, doesn’t show what happens 1,2,3, but more like 3, 1 1/2, 2, 3. Christian Bale and Michael Caine return from Batman and join forces with Hugh Jackman and Scarlett Johannson to give us the most interesting and intense movies about magicians ever. It’s tagline could be applied to any one of these Nolan films: “Are you watching closely?”

4. Batman Begins (2005)

To be completely honest, I almost put this one at number 2. It’s true, that this is my personal favorite superhero/comic book movie ever. When it was first released, no one had ever done it quite like Nolan. It does a excellent job at showing the back story behind Bruce Wayne, along with setting up for future features. Not to mention Cillian Murphy makes an excellent, if not underrated villain.

3. Memento (2000)

This is the one that put Christopher Nolan on the map. The plot is original, to say the least. A man who suffers from short term memory loss trying to find the murderer of his wife. He doesn’t know who to trust, only that his body, covered with tattoos holds the clues to finding the killer. The reversed timeline may take some getting used to, but you won’t regret it.

2. The Dark Knight (2008)

Audiences worldwide probably were only able to utter one word after seeing the second Batman film from Nolan: Wow. Can you blame them? Not only was it as good as Batman Begins, but the incredible performance by Heath Ledger as the Joker made it, in most peoples minds, ten times better. Makes you wonder if Dark Knight Rises will be able to top it.

1. Inception (2010)

What can I say? I came out of the theater, my mind basically swimming in the complexity of Inception. I’ve never had this experience before, and the next few days it continued popping into my head.  That is why Inception, in my head, is Christopher Nolan’s best work. Inception grabs onto you and never lets you go. The entire cast is gold, including DiCaprio, Page, and Hardy. Inception made my next movie feel like a huge letdown, which asks the question, can Nolan do it again?

Ranks: Top 5 Charlie Chaplin Films

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True, most 13 year-olds don’t list Charlie Chaplin as one of their favorite actors. Yes, I was peculiar, but it did give me something. It gave me a jump start on seeing nearly everyone of his films.  I still have yet to see a handful (A King in New York and other minor works), but I have seen the bulk of his filmography and with that introduction, I give you: (In my opinion) his top 5 movies.

5. The Gold Rush (1925)

Chaplin took his tramp character out for riches in what Chaplin often desired to be his most memorable film. Set during the Klondike (Not California) Gold Rush, the Tramp gets stranded, chased by a hallucinating partner, and gets rejected by the girl. This could be the one that comes to everyone’s minds when they think of Chaplin. The Gold Rush included classic scenes like the balancing cabin, the giant chicken scene, and, of course, where he proceeds to eat his shoe.

4. Modern Times (1936)

Charlie got all allegorical in ’36 with his story about humanity and the rise of the machine. Not as many classic scenes as The Gold Rush, (although sliding through the giant gears is right up there) but the story is the star in this one. Chaplin, who would later do more of the same, used the situation around him (The Great Depression) and made everyone laugh. Just the Tramp doing what he did best.

3. City Lights (1931)

This was were he showed just how hard he could pull on the heartstrings. In his usual Tramp style, he falls in love with a blind beggar girl. However, due to some misunderstandings she thinks he is extremely rich. Thanks to his diligence and hard work, the Tramp saves enough money to pay for a surgery that will give her sight. In Shakespearean fashion, she isn’t interested once she realizes who he really is. Pure tragedy.

2. The Great Dictator (1940)

This is one of my favorite movies period. In a classic case of mistaken identity, the Tramp (this time as a Jewish Barber) is somehow misled into taking the place of Adenoid Hynkel, the leader of Tomania (in case you’re an idiot, IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE HITLER!). Not only does it make you laugh, but it makes you think. Especially because, during its release, Germany and the States were still at peace.

1. The Kid (1921)

The quintessential Charlie Chaplin movie; The Kid covers both the comedy and the pathos of heartbreak. The storyline is quite simple, poor man raises child, government tries to take him. But the originality used in the humorous scenes is unreal. Add the terrific scenes with “the Kid”, Jackie Coogan, and this silent turns into Chaplin’s best film.

Ranks: Pixar Films

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The opening of Cars 2 has come and gone and with it has come some “meh” reviews. Not very commonplace. Is it the end of Pixar’s brilliance? I’m gonna say no, with the original “Brave” and a Monsters Inc. prequel coming soon, but just for fun’s sake let’s rank the Pixar movies from 1995-2010 (Cars 2 excluded).

11. Ratatouille (2007)

I have no clue why but Ratatouille had no effect on me. In fact it was a while since it came out on DVD that I finally saw it. When I did, I thought it was good, but there wasn’t any real magic happening. Maybe it was just the combination of rats and kitchens that got me.

10. Cars (2006)

For Cars it was Larry the Cable Guy voicing Tow Mater. I kinda liked him, but then I realized who was voicing him and I kinda hated him. Who knows? Also, didn’t some gas company put eyes on cartoon cars a while ago? (Chevron?)

9. A Bug’s Life (1998)

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen this, but from what I can remember when it originally came out was it competing with “Antz”. It had a Seven Samurai feel to it, which is awesome for a kids movie. It was also pretty funny with the Lady Bug and Caterpillar doing their thing.

8. Monsters Inc. (2001)

Pixar was really flexing their muscles by making a kids movie about the monsters that are hiding in their closets. Beyond that they made some of the most lovable monsters in the process, and perhaps the cutest animated kid ever in Boo. The animation was spot on too. Did you see how many door were in that final chase scene? Also, commonly overlooked: the slimiest villain in Pixar history with Randall.

7. Toy Story 2 (1999)

Pixar returned to their roots with the second of the Toy Story trilogy in 1999. They seemed to pull of the impossible not only by matching the sentimentality (Jesse’s owner leaving her had Kleenex moment written all over it), doubling the villains (Stinky Pete and Zurg still not as good as Sid), and even introducing Jesse and Bullseye as key characters.

6. The Incredibles (2004)

Animated movie about a superhero family in hiding during the explosion of the superhero genre and still make it interesting? Sure, why not? Everyone of these characters was so compelling, whether it was Bob’s yearning for the past, Dash’s desire to use his abilities, Violent and her debilitating shyness, or Helen keeping it all together. Everyone in this movie shines, and Pixar proves it can hang with any genre.

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