In January, I posted a list of the films I was most excited for in 2011. Now that we’ve passed the mid-point of the year, it seems like a good idea to check in with that list and see how my experience of the list has been.
So, as can be expected, some of these movies will be disappointing. So far, there have been several movies from my list that were so poorly reviewed, I haven’t even seen them. I normally don’t put a ton of stock in critics, but when Rotten Tomatoes shows that 8 or 9 out of 10 people who’ve seen a movie didn’t like it, I’m less apt to spend money to see it in the theater, especially when I can just wait for Netflix to send it to me. Most of these also found my excitement waning with each new trailer.
The movies from my list that I haven’t even seen yet, even though they’ve already been released, are: Battle: Los Angeles, Sucker Punch, Your Highness, Green Lantern
Then there were films that were enjoyable, but not extraordinary. These are the ones I liked just fine, but which probably won’t end up on any of my best of the year lists: The Adjustment Bureau, Paul
The biggest winners for me so far, from the list, are the rest:
I included this film in my list on a bit of a flyer. I’d loved Duncan Jones previous outing, Moon; I wanted to fall back in love with Jake G. after some lackluster nonsense over the last few years; and I think Michelle Monaghan is one of the sexiest women alive. Thus, the film had plenty of reasons I wanted to like it, but I wasn’t so sure that would turn into actual enjoyment.
Fortunately, I loved it. It was smart, sharply directed, and the twists and turns were far more clever than normal. If you can get through 20 minutes of a movie with me still trying to guess what will happen next, you’re doing a great job in my book. That doesn’t happen very often unless writers are just being flat out dishonest, but that wasn’t the case here, they just did a great job slowly unveiling the whole picture.
The performances were strong, with Jake being the perfect charming, earnest lead who was easy to root for.
Also, my favorite part, which contains BIG, HUGE spoilers, so look away if you don’t want anything spoiled. All the spoilers will be italicized, so it’s safe to read again once the print goes back to normal.
So, this film will definitely have my favorite cameo of the year, unless Jesus Christ himself shows up in a movie. From the very beginning of the movie, anyone who has ever loved Quantum Leap will draw immediate connections. It’s not exactly the same, but once he goes into the bathroom, looks in the mirror, and freaks out to see someone else’s face looking back at him, many of us were going, “Ha, awesome, just like Quantum Leap.
Well, that’s where the awesomeness kicks in. The main character has had a fight with his father last time he spoke to him, and now has no way to get in tough aside from using the body he is inhabiting to try and stop the train from blowing up (the general plot of the movie, for any who don’t know.) Well, later in the film, he gets a cell phone and calls dear old Dad, pretending to be a friend of the man’s son. They start talking, and the voice on the phone sounds familiar. In fact, it sounds exactly like Scott Bakula, star of Quantum Leap. That’s when he says it, the father finds out the man knew his son and says “Oh, boy.” In case you’ve forgotten, or never knew, that’s what Scott Bakula’s character Sam said at the end of every episode of Quantum Leap. He would leap into a new body, look in a mirror or find himself in a crazy situation, and say, “Oh, boy.”
Best. Cameo. Ever…. (okay, tied with Bill Murray in Zombieland) and you never even see his face. Thank God for directors who embrace this sort of thing.
So, back to spoiler free content. If you haven’t seen this movie, you should at least give it a chance. It will be available on Netflix as of the 26th of this month.
Ok, yes, the “love story” between Thor and Natalie Portman was poorly drawn and uninteresting. Very much so. Doesn’t matter, I still loved the movie.
It was comic book goodness. Many time, when a movie embraces the silliness of its premise, it just ends up being a heaping pile of bullshit. Not so in this case. It just made it more fun. For example, the fact that they paid homage to the reality that the character of Thor in the comics often speaks in Shakespearean English, by having Chris Hemsworth’s Thor speak with a Shakespearean accent. (And for the folks out there who said it was an Australian accent because the actor is Australian… you need to go listen to an Australian person speak. It doesn’t sound like Thor in this movie. It was the quasi-English accent that actors use to play Shakespeare. It was a joke. The same accent Peter Dinklage uses to play Tyrion Lannister. It’s not a poorly executed English accent, neither character has ever been to England. It’s the fake accent people use to make things sound old and storied.)
Thor was a great balance between silly and badass. I loved Hemsworth as Thor.
It also made me excited for the potential of The Avengers next year.
X-Men: First Class
I’ll quote myself from a previous ‘five things’ post: “Such a wonderful recovery from all that was terrible about X3. God, how I hated X3.
A cool 60′s vibe, a sexy cast led by the always charming Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy, and plenty of mutant fun. If there’s a sequel, it will be impossible for me to root against either main character.”
In addition to that, I can add that Fassbender isn’t just charming, but is one sexy-ass motherckufer.
This is my favorite comic book movie of the year so far.
Already shared my love for this one, at length, here.
Harry Potter 7.2
What words could there be? It wasn’t as emotional for me as I anticipated, in that I never choked up. That’s probably just because with a book as good as this one was, it is nearly impossible to match the emotional notes Rowling hit so perfectly. I have a feeling I’ll be rereading all seven books soon.
Coming up from my list soon are: Captain America: The First Avenger, Horrible Bosses (which is already out, and I will be seeing it soon), Cowboys and Aliens.
Also, Attack the Block comes out the 29th. It’s by far the film I’m most excited to see, but I’d never heard of it when I made the original list.