My goal this year was to watch 50 movies (from 2011) and I managed to watch 47. So close! I’m going to keep my goal the same this coming year shoot for 50 movies again. Here’s my list in all it’s amazing glory (yes, this is documented evidence of what I did with nearly 78 hours of my life in 2011).
Kung Fu Panda 2, 6.5/10 (DVD) – Although I felt like the sequel wasn’t as strong as the first movie, I think this is still a perfect entertaining way to pass an hour and a half. Although I found the message (despite a painful past you can find inner peace) uplifting there was something annoying about the presentation. Po is a difficult character to connect with (possibly because he’s slightly annoying..). The comical moments in Panda 2 were alright, but I wish there had been more. Overall, not bad.
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, 8/10 (Theater) – Another really good movie. You can’t help but like Robert Downey Jr. as Sherlock. Shadow’s plot was very engaging and I love the reveal that comes near the end. Plus the whole movie is just very fulfilling on action, intellectual and even emotional levels. Additionally I enjoy the slow motion moments in the film (although that may be, in part, because we’re experimenting with slow motion video at work). I can easily recommend this movie and would say that I enjoyed it even more than the first.
Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol, 8/10 (Theater) – I was pretty excited about his Movie for two reasons. First, it was Brad Bird’s (The Incredibles)live action debut. Second the prop guys for this movie actually called up my company earlier this year and bought some Microtech knives for the movie. Brad did a great job on the movie- very watchable, incredible (and almost believable) action, and an excellent story line. Tom Cruise is starting to show his age, but I think he’s still a great action star. Super fun movie!
Smurfs, 6.5/10 (DVD) – This was a lot more entertaining than I thought it was going to be. If you watch it, rest assured, it won’t assault your childhood memories. I wish the Smurfs had spent more time in their village, but I suppose the New York plot-line was necessary to capture the interest of today’s ADD generation. Just fine for kids and adults will enjoy it too.
Breaking Dawn (Part 1), 6.5/10 (Theater) – I confess to liking this much that I should have (as a manly man). The honeymoon scenes were a little too much for me, but other than that I didn’t really have any issues. There’s a lot of teen angst, but if you just go with it the story is engaging. I’m looking forward to the last movie!
In Time, 7/10 (Theater) – I actually saw this twice. Not because I especially loved, it just worked out that way. However, I found it just as enjoyable the second time. There are certain elements from other movies woven throughout this film which almost makes it comfortable. The acting, effects and such are all passable, but it’s the furturistic Robin Hood story which worked for me.
Cars 2, 7/10 (DVD) – This was a fun movie. I don’t think it was as good as the first, but I liked the mystery/spy elements and it was visually gorgeous. Making Mater the main character probably wasn’t the best move, but overall the it was good. There are some moments in the movie where cars are damaged and I thought that warranted a PG rating (I’m not sure if I’m kidding).
November 8, 2011 Update: Well, my movie watching plans have been uprooted by the arrival of my beautiful daughter. Further complicating my movie watching efforts is the upcoming holiday season (I’m in retail). I don’t know if I’ll make it. It brings me a great deal of sorrow that the last movie I watched was Zookeeper. Pray for me.
Zookeeper, 5.5/10 (DVD)– I like Kevin James, but this film fell flat for me. I didn’t think the animal dialogue was particularly funny and the overall premise of the movie, while sweet, wasn’t very engaging. I think my kids enjoyed it alright, but it’s not one of those movies they will want to see over and over. Overall, there are a few funny moments (thanks to James) and the movie is tolerable.
Real Steel, 8/10 (theater) – Rocky with Robots. While totally formulaic and predictable I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. I thought Hugh Jackman, Dakota Goyo and Evangeline Lilly were all fantastic. The special effects and cinematography were spot on too. Even though it’s clear throughout the movie what’s going to happen (before it happens) I still found it satisfying and engaging. No regrets here!
Hannah, 6.5/10 (DVD) – More info coming soon (yeah… kind of looking live never at this point).
Contagion, 6.5/10 (theater) – This was a drama, not an action movie (I was caught off guard). Don’t bother seeing it in IMAX- that was a waste! The cast was good and the story was interesting enough (though a little monotonous).
Rio, 6/10 (DVD) – More info coming soon (or possibly never…)
Priest, 6/10 (DVD) – I had no idea what to expect going into this. I think Paul Bettany is a great actor, but I wasn’t sure he was the right choice for the lead here. The plot is interesting (with some twists you can see from a mile away), but somehow I felt uninvolved. Part of me actually hopes there’s a Priest 2, but most of me is sure there won’t be.
Just Go With It, 7/10 (DVD) – This was a fun movie. The plot is a little ridiculous, but it allows for some great moments and exchanges. Great date movie!
Season of the Witch, 5/10 (DVD) – Nicholas Cage what have they done to you!? This movie might actually be one you could skip. It’s almost hard to watch… and *spoiler alert* is should really be called “Season of the Demon,” since it’s not actually about witches. And bad endings? This is the worst- almost everyone dies (and anyone you care about even a little definitely dies). And yet, there are some good action scenes and a few mysteries to keep you guessing should you decide to have a peek.
Sucker Punch, 6.5/10 (DVD) – Visually I thought the movie stunning. I liked the action and mini missions, but the plot didn’t quite do it for me and the ending was certainly disturbing. I’m sure I sound like a broken record, but it’s worth a watch.
The Help, 8/10 (theater) – I thought this was well balanced, insightful, charming and well written and acted. It deals with a sensitive topic in a delicate way. I read a harsh review that said the movie is designed to make white people happy they aren’t “that racist.” While I can see that angle I think the overall “The Help” is well intentioned.
Cowboys & Aliens, 7/10 (theater) – I really liked the mix of western & sci-fi and thought the movie was a lot of fun. It’s not epic, by any means but it’s satisfying.
The Green Hornet, 6.5/10 (DVD) – This movie was watchable, but unfulfilling Seth Rogen is awful, as usual (I don’t get him). I thought the plot was light, but the movie was well filmed and the special effects were good. Kato was the highlight.
Captain America, 6.5/10 (theater) – I found this movie a bit disappointing. Captain America is one of my favorite super heroes so maybe I had my expectations set too high. I liked Chris Evans as CA- no real issues with the cast in general. Many of the action scenes looked off to me (something off in CGI or something) and I didn’t feel like the plot went anywhere (maybe it wasn’t supposed to). Not silly, but not quite right for me. Still worth a watch though!
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, 7.5/10 (theater) – Much better than it’s predecessor (which was booooring). Lots of good action, nice flow, cinematography and effects. The characters seemed a little stiff sometimes, but maybe war does that to you. Definitely a good way to cap the series off. My one beef: The ending (epilogue) is a little silly. Everyone is supposed to be in their late 30’s, but they just have some grey painted into their hair. I felt like the aging could have been done much more realistically. Call me picky.
Rango, 6.5/10 (DVD) – I thought the animation was first rate. I also thought Johnny Depp did a great job. The story was fun, but somehow flimsy. The movie’s biggest weakness was that it tried to be funny, but a lot of the humor fell flat for me.
Beastly, 6/10 (DVD) – Basically a “real life” version of the Disney movie. It has a good message, but I feel like ultimately the movie is a bit shallow.
Lincoln Lawyer, 7.5/10 (DVD) – It’s great to see Matthew McConaughy as a lawyer again. Good pace & nice twists. I like a movie that can create a nice mixture of tension and mystery without doing anything too over the top.
Horrible Bosses, 7/10 (theater)- A fun idea, but I wasn’t happy with the overall resolution. Fun strong performances all around.
Skyline, 6.5/10 (DVD)- Visually impressive, given its budget. No A-list stars here but mostly solid performances. The plot is a little simplistic (one random day aliens attack) and the ending is weird.
Sanctum, 5/10 (DVD) – Soulless, for the most part. I didn’t really connect with any of the characters. Ultimately that may have been a good thing (warning: spoiler) since almost everyone dies. It’s watchable, but quite forgettable.
Bad Teacher, 6/10 (theater) – Some very funny parts, but nothing particularly memorable. It’s kind of fun to see the “bad guy” win sometimes.
Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon, 8/10 (theater) – I actually went and saw this twice. I enjoyed it much more the second time (Bay’s frantic pacing makes it hard to follow everything the first time around). I have a few issues with the plot, but the action & special effects are second to none. I didn’t like how they wrote out Megan, but Rosie worked okay for me. Much better than the second.
Super 8, 7.5/10 (theater) – This was a really fun throwback! It was ET meets Goonies meets Close Encounters.
Green Lantern, 5/10 – (theater) I feel like this movie had a lot of potential, but I didn’t feel like Ryan Reynolds was a good choice for Hal Jordan (I like Reynolds in other movies). Overall weak (and sometimes just weird) acting made the movie very hard to take seriously. I also felt like the CGI wasn’t up to par. Didn’t work for me.
I Am Number Four, 7/10 (DVD) – I thought overall this movie was pretty cool (I haven’t read the book). Lots of action, a little confusing a times, and an ending that leaves you a little empty.
The Tourist, 6.5/10 (DVD) – I’m not sure if I like the Depp & Jolie chemistry and Depp isn’t really an action star, but overall the movie isn’t bad. You can see the plot twist coming mid movie, but it’s still satisfying.
X-Men: First Class, 7.5/10 (theater) – Excellent overall production and very good character development. Doesn’t follow the continuity of the other movies and that’s a little annoying, but it’s still a very good movie.
Thor, 7.5/10 (theater ) – the Marvel movies are generally really well done and this is no exception. I never cared for the Comic version of Thor and even in the movie I found him a little dull. Still, the acting was good, the special effects were top notch and I really enjoyed myself.
The Mechanic, 5/10 (DVD) – I don’t know why, but I like Jason Statham. This movie is kind of a hashed together version of other movies I’ve seen- very unoriginal. I didn’t find the action of plot to be very satisfying, but it’s mindlessly entertaining overall.
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, 7/10 (theater) – This is sort of a re-boot. I like that Disney took the movie back to its adventure roots. This is a fun installment with plenty of action, a fun plot and plenty of over the top acting.
Fast Five, 8/10 (theater) – How can you not love Vin Diesel and The Rock pounding on each other? They traded in the underground racing angle and gave this movie more of an “Italian Job” heist film. Over the top action makes for a great adrenaline rush.
Source Code, 7/10 (theater) – The “science” in stuff like this is always a bit of a head-scratcher, but this is a fun movie with a nice mixture of mystery & thrills.
Limitless, 7/10 (theater)- The everyman’s fantasy brought to life- a pill that makes you awesome. Fun action movie, not deep but engrossing enough.
Adjustment Bureau, 7/10 (theater) – special place in my heart, since it’s just like a story I wrote when I was younger. There are a few plot holes that might bug sci-fi geeks.
Battle: Los Angeles, 6.5/10 (theater) – Gritty, edge of your seat action. Aaron Eckert is great. The shaky (intentional) camera work at the beginning of the movie was unwelcome. Kind of like Independence Day without the hokiness.
Unknown, 7.5/10 (theater) – Fast paced, with a great plot twist. I really enjoy Liam Neeson. It’s not as cool as “Taken” but it’s still worth a watch.
The Way Back, 6/10 – (theater) – Visually appealing and well acted but ultimately sort of soulless. It didn’t evoke the emotion I expected. Very slow paced.
The King’s Speech , 8/10 (theater) – Excellent in all respects. Rush really stole the show! Deserves it’s Oscar nomination.
The Dilemma, 6/10 (theater) – I was expecting more from Ron Howard. Had it’s moments, but came across as a little shallow. Naturally I loved the idea of creating “real” engine sounds for electric cars.
Black Swan, 7/10 (theater) – A disturbing psychological thriller / drama. Well acted, passionate and worth a watch. [Yes, technically from 2010, but I saw it 2011].
I enjoyed Limitless right up until the end. Basically the same problem as Scott Pilgrim. Both just ended wrong; Both needed a tragic twist at the end.
Scott Pilgrim actually had an alternate ending where Scott chooses Knives instead of Ramona. I don’t know if there’s an alternate ending to Limitless but I’m pretty sure I’d prefer it, whatever it is.
Since I’m on this topic I may as well add The Little Mermaid. It’s just wrong: Rich girl wants to be something she’s not, makes a deal with the Devil, falls in love, and Daddy pays for it all in the end.
I strongly suspect that there are some smart people in the film industry who know that, for example, Limitless shouldn’t have ended that way, but they are at the mercy of brain dead marketing departments.
Hannah also went wrong but I can’t make any suggestion how to fix it.