24(NR). Bad Teacher
I was mildly interested in seeing this film, mostly because of the idea of Jason Segal and Justin Timberlake. Ended up seeing this because I went to the theater with some friends to see a different film (Midnight in Paris) but we had the time wrong. The only thing good about Bad Teacher was Jason Segal, and he was severely underused.
23(NR). The Conspirator
This film is about the trial of Mary Surratt, the boarding house owner convicted and hung for conspiracy to kill President Lincoln. I saw this on an airplane.
22(HM). The Green Hornet
Went to the dollar theater to see this, and it was definitely worth the money. I was however hoping this would be more entertaining than it actually turned out to be.
The story of two brothers, one a teacher and another a former marine, who for different reasons enter the same mixed martial arts tournament. This film has garnered a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for Nick Nolte.
20(NR). The Adjustment Bureau
Science-fiction film starring Matt Damon as a man who discovers there is a group of "people" who controls the fate of all human beings by selectively triggering chains of events in everyone's lives. A television show is being developed based on the story.
19(17). The Vanishing on 7th Street
This thriller stars Hayden Christensen as a man who wakes up one morning to find that almost all human have disappeared. He soon finds out that something in darkness is taking people, so in order to survive he has to stay in light at all times.
18(NR). Hobo With a Shotgun
When Grindhouse came out in 2007, there was a competition for a fake movie trailer, and Hobo With a Shotgun won. Four years later, an actual film was made and released, starring Rutger Hauer. This pure grindhouse film is exactly what the title implies, and it great fun.
17(HM). Kill the Irishman
Based on the life of Cleveland mobster Danny Greene, this biopic stars Ray Stevenson and features Val Kilmer, Christopher Walken and Vincent D'Onofrio.
165(NR). Take Me Home Tonight
Topher Grace stars as a recent college grad who returns home to figure out what he wants to do in life. The film takes place over the course of one night in which he tries to win over his high school crush. A fun comedy that takes place in the 80's.
15(NR). 30 Minutes or Less
Fun comedy starring Jesse Eisenberg and Aziz Ansari about a pizza delivery guy who is forced to rob a bank when two men strap a bomb to his chest.
14(5). Hall Pass
Though I did enjoy this film, my expectations were a bit higher than they should have been. The Farrelly brothers are generally hit or miss, and I put this in the middle of the road for their films.
13(NR). The Way
Emilio Estevez directs and his father Martin Sheen stars in a film about a father whose son dies on the Camino de Santiago, a pilgrimage across northern Spain. The father goes to Spain to bring the ashes home, but decides to go on the pilgrimage instead to honor his son and spread his ashes. This is a very moving film that highlights the beauty of northern Spain.
Josh Radnor's (How I Met Your Mother) directorial/writing debut was an enjoyable little indie, but it could have been better. I found the conflicts in the movie a bit forced, as well as the relationships of the three couples. Michael Algieri (Rasheen) and Tony Hale (Sam 2) were bright spots in the film.
11(NR). Dylan Dog: Dead of Night
A fun unknown based on an Italian comic, Dylan Dog stars Brandon Routh (Superman Returns) as a private investigator for the undead. Routh does a good job with relatively weak material, and Sam Huntington (Being Human) is entertaining as always as Dylan's friend/assistant.
10(4). Cowboys & Aliens
I always figured there was a chance this could disappoint me, and it did a bit. However I still found the cross-genre film quite entertaining, and Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig were very watchable. I could have done without Olivia Wilde though.
This was one of the surprise hits of the year, but unfortunately like the first Hangover, I didn't see it until after it was hyped up. I loved the film, I just let me expectations get a tad too high. It's a great comedy and deserves its two Oscar nominations (Melissa McCarthy for Best Supporting Actress and Best Original Screenplay). I already loved Kristen Wiig before this and look forward to more films with her.
This was nowhere near my radar at the beginning of 2011. This Norwegian film is shot as POV (point of view) taken by a film crew following a man who tracks and covers up trolls from the general public. It seems like the POV genre should be overdone by now, but then this little gem comes out. As any great foreign film, I wouldn't be surprised if an American version shows up in the near future...unfortunately.
7(22). Cedar Rapids
Ed Helms (The Office, The Hangover) gets his first starring role in this film about a small-town insurance salesman who goes to an insurance conference in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and discovers much about the world and himself. The supporting cast is great, including John C. Reilly and Anne Heche. Since Cedar Rapids was released, Helms's Office character Andy has become the new boss of Dunder Mifflin Scranton in place of Steve Carrell.
6(NR). Tucker and Dale vs Evil
I waited a long time for this film to finally be released, and I am very happy it did. TnDvE takes the horror genre of teens going to the woods and getting killed by rednecks and flips it around. In this comedy, Tucker and Dale are two "rednecks" who are heading to their new vacation home in the woods when they cross paths with a car full of college kids. Of course the kids look at them and think they're sketchy rednecks when in fact they're a couple of nice guys. Through a series of miscommunications, the college kids think the rednecks are trying to kill them (which is not true) and end of killing themselves trying to attack Tucker and Dale. It's always great to see an original idea in film, and it doesn't hurt to have two great comedic actors in Tyler Labine and Alan Tudyk headlining this indie comedy.
Plus their panel at Comic-Con 2011 was awesome!
I haven't really thought about the M:I series since the disappointing second film, which led to one of the best surprises of the year for me. I saw this over the holidays on IMAX and it was an incredibly exciting film. Tom Cruise's Ethan Hunt is a decent character, but I love the new supporting team of Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg and Paula Patton. In typical spy movie fashion, we are treated to international locations Budapest, Moscow, Dubai and Mumbai. The action sequences were some of the best I've seen in a while, including a Moscow jail escape and Mumbai parking garage fight. The highlights though were the two scenes in Dubai, the first involving Ethan Hunt scaling the tallest building in the world and the second a chase scene through the streets of Dubai during a massive sandstorm. Both were literally heart-pounding.
Super is about a man named Frank (Rainn Wilson) whose wife (played by Liv Tyler) leaves him to be with a drug lord (played by Kevin Bacon). One night, Frank has a vision of God and television superhero The Holy Avenger (Nathan Fillion) basically telling him to go out and fight for good. Frank soon becomes a super hero called The Crimson Bolt, and with the help of sidekick Boltie (Ellen Page), they try to fight crime and save his wife. Super is written and directed by Troma product James Gunn (Slither), so you can bet you’ll see some fun gore. Overall, this is one of the more realistic takes on the super hero genre and a refreshing one at that.
3(HM). Horrible Bosses
I had a feeling this could be a great comedy based on the cast, but there was little information available when I wrote my Most Anticipated list. Three friends, played by Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day are miserable because of their respective bosses (Kevin Spacey, Colin Farrell, Jennifer Aniston) for various reasons. The three friends decide to kill their bosses. It is a funny film.
Paul stars the awesome duo of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz) as two British friends who travel to America to see science-fiction and extraterrestrial hotspots. While on the road they stumble upon an Alien named Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen). They try to help Paul, who escaped from a government facility, find a way home. Along the way they are chased by government agents (played by the always great Jason Bateman and Bill Hader). The film co-stars Kristen Wiig and Sigourney Weaver. This really is a fanboy treat, which numerous sci-fi and Spielberg references throughout the film.
1(3). The Muppets
2011 was the year the Muppets made their triumphant return. I have been a fan of the Muppets my entire life, starting with Muppet Babies when I was very young and continuing all the way through my discovery of The Muppet Show and the various films. Unfortunately over the last several years they have become somewhat of an afterthought in pop culture. Thankfully Jason Segal (How I Met Your Mother) helped revive the franchise and lovable characters with a film that mimics real life in that the Muppets have been out of the spotlight for a long time and are trying to make a return. The soundtrack (mostly written by Bret McKenzie of Flight of the Conchords) is wonderful with a great combination of silly songs and moving ones. The new rendition of "Rainbow Connection" gave me chills. Hopefully we'll be seeing more of the Muppets in the near future.
1. X-Men: First Class
2. Captain America: The First Avenger
3. Attack the Block (going to watch this tonight)
4. The Thing
6. In Time
7. Your Highness
8. Super 8
9. Kung Fu Panda 2
10. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
11. A Good Old Fasioned Orgy
12. Rise of the Planet of the Apes
13. The Adventures of Tintin
14. Crazy, Stupid, Love
15. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
17. The Three Musketeers
19. I Saw the Devil
21. Midnight in Paris
23. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
24. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides