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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.

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Review: X-Men First Class (2011)

I was late to the game when it came to the X-Men films, and although they were arguable the ones that made superhero movies box-office guarantees, the effects are a tad lacking nowadays. Add to the fact that the last one I saw, X-Men Origins: Wolverine was subpar at best, and X-Men: First Class wasn’t the most drool worthy thing when I heard about it. What sets First Class apart is the fact it really isn’t like any of the other 4. A new cast and a more character driven plot shows us how good an expected “popcorn flick” can be.

Set in the 1960’s, First Class is really the Origins for the rest of the crew, specifically Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender). Although I love McAvoy, Fassbender really stands out due to the arguably better role as the concentration camp survivor who needs to control his rage. The two of them, along with familiar faces like Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) and Beast (Nicholas Hoult) go after another mutant (Kevin Bacon) who, like all good villains, is attempting to start World War III.

Casting? Great. Bacon plays the villain quite well, while Fassbender and McAvoy bring their steady acting chops to the table. We also find out that Jennifer Lawrence of Winter’s Bone fame, can also work on a blockbuster like the X-Men franchise. Story wise, the plot is great, showing us a side of Mystique and Magneto that we never knew. They actually make their choice seem somewhat logical. Technically speaking, First Class stays well above the average with some fantastic effects, including a certain final battle scene involving a coin, that is beauty on film.

My Rating: A-