Friday, 20 January 2012

My top ten movies of 2011

The title of this post is a big ol lie! This isn't a top ten list at all. It's a top twelve. When I combed through the list of movies I saw last year I starred the ones that entertained me the very most. Some wildly amused me (Bridesmaids), some kept me on the edge of my seat (Mission: Impossible), some charmed me completely (The Artist), and two fit every category of movie-going joy I know (Crazy Stupid Love and Drive). When all was said and done, my top ten was a top twelve.

This wasn't an entirely easy process for me. It never is. I am an easy person to entertain. As long as the movie isn't pure crap (I'm looking at you Bad Teacher!) I will probably find something redeeming and enjoyable about it. If for an hour and a half, a movie doesn't bore or offend me then I am likely pretty pleased to have seen it. For the record, the most offensive thing a movie can do is assume that the audience is made up of idiots. Because I am so easily entertained, I could have starred nearly every movie I saw last year. I tried to be more discerning, but I'm not gonna lie, I mean Footloose was really, really good!

My top 12 in a very loose (and not agonized over) top down order based on sheer entertainment value and enjoyment level:

#1. Bridesmaids
I loved this movie. It was funny, well written and fun from beginning to end. I giggled from the time it started until it ended. I had received free passes to see a preview of it and loved it so much that when it came out in wide release, I went back and paid full price to see it again. I have to add that my mom didn't like this movie and I cannot for the life of me understand why. Yeah it had some good crude bathroom humour but done in such a ridiculously fun and charming way. Yes, I believe I just referred to Melissa McCarthy defecating in a sink as fun and charming.

#2. Drive
Ryan Gosling, 80's sounding infectious pop music, hot pink titles, an intriguing story, creepy-cool visuals, car chases, shootouts, crazy unexpected bursts of violence, a scorpion jacket, and a sweet love story. This slow moving, character driven movie was compelling and thought-provoking. I wanted to see it again in the theatre but just never got around to it. It has been nominated for a BAFTA and I am hoping it gets an Oscar nod or two.

#3. Crazy Stupid Love
Again, Ryan Gosling, in all his shirtless wonder. As Emma Stone's character exclaims when she sees him shirtless, dude looks photoshopped. This movie is a triple threat, drama, comedy, and romance. A Dromancedy if you will! (I am more proud of that word than I probably should be). In terms of what I'm looking for in a movie that I wish I could experience for the first time over and over again, Crazy Stupid Love has it all!

#4. Footloose
Everybody cut, everybody cut, Footloose! Better than the original I dare say. Updated and less bleak than the original. And the dancing is just so damn fun to watch!

#5. 50/50
Aside from being a touching, heartwarming and ultimately uplifting film, this movie was enjoyable just to look at for a couple of reasons; it was filmed in Vancouver, so it was fun to see so much of our fair city (even if it was posing as Seattle), and it stars the adorable and talented Joseph Gordon-Levitt who is just a pleasure to watch do anything. This movie has the distinction of being the one movie this year to get me to do the ugly cry - twice!

#6. Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol
I'm not sure I took a single breath during the Dubai hotel sequence. Tom Cruise is crazy! My palms were actually sweating. It was interactive movie-viewing at its best! Without any 3-D tricks. I saw it on IMAX and I'm so glad I did. Also filmed in Vancouver (posing as ... everywhere!) it was fun to spot my neighbourhood! This was just good, clean, adrenaline-pumping fun!

#7. Hanna
The opening scene made me cringe and wonder what I'd gotten myself into. The next 109 minutes were thrilling and made me glad I was there. The story of a 16-year-old girl (the amazing Saoirse Ronan) who was raised by her father to be the perfect assassin, dispatched on a mission across Europe, tracked by a ruthless intelligence agent and her operatives.

#8. Moneyball
I didn't have much of a desire to see this movie. I'm not a big fan of Brad Pitt and it is a movie about baseb..zzzz. What? Oops, sorry did I drift off there?! Well, thankfully Moneyball is the least boring movie about baseball ever! I was enthralled and fully entertained! And Brad Pitt was, dare I say it, great! Jonah Hill ruled the movie and the side story about Billy Beane's relationship with his daughter captured my heart - so sweet!

#9. The Artist
I had to do a bit of smooth-talking to get my sister to go see The Artist with me. She didn't have much interest in seeing a black and white silent movie. As we sat among a sea of white-haired movie patrons waiting for the movie to start, I felt the pressure of having talked my sister into a movie that I knew nothing about, all based on one positive word-of-mouth review. What if the black and white silence is gimmicky? The movie began and, admittedly, it took about 10 minutes before I felt no longer aware of the 'gimmick' which wasn't gimmicky at all! It was charming and beautiful and entirely enjoyable.

#10. Midnight in Paris
I am a fan of the Woody Allen movies I end up seeing, which seems to be every other one or so. Apparently, I'm on the right track because I hear that every other Woody Allen movie is not very good. I somehow jumped on the right schedule! I am also an Owen Wilson fan, and a fan of Paris and charming time travel stories, especially when the time travel is into the character doing the traveling's favourite era.

#11. The Help
I struggled with putting this movie on my list. I read the book two weeks before seeing the movie and so it was nearly impossible not to make comparisons and see what was different. It's a mistake I will try to avoid in the future. Having said all that, I was fully entertained, if not a bit distracted by my brain. The cinematography was beautiful. I'm frustrated by two minor changes to the ending of the movie because when it comes down to it, they aren't really minor changes at all in how much they alter the message of the book.

#12. My week with Marilyn
Michelle Williams is a wonder! Having said that, I also struggled with putting this movie on my list. I enjoyed every part of MWWM, so I have no reason not to add it to my top movies. It's like the difference between an A and an A+ on a college paper; it did everything right, it just didn't go over and above for me. Other than Michelle Williams of course, she really is a wonder!

#13. Super 8
I didn't star this movie at all originally. I looked back over my list and wondered how on earth I could've missed it. Kids, aliens, Steven Spielberg, JJ Abrams. This movie was like the love child of Goonies, E.T, Stand By Me, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Cloverfield - all great movies!

Ok, ok, so I snuck in a last minute 13th movie! Whaddaya gonna do?!

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Movies 2011

I wasn't going to do it but I am such a movie person and such a list person that I can barely stop myself!

I was able to compile a list of all the movies I saw in 2011 by relying on lists made by my two movie buddies. I knew that the list was going to be shorter than years past but I didn't really know by how much. Turns out it was a fair amount. I saw only 31 new movies in the theatre in 2011.

Because I am me, and slightly O.C.D. with my list making, I categorized the list of 31 movies 7 different ways: chronological, how many per month, by days of the month, by days of the week, alphabetical, from favourite to least favourite, and then my top movies of the year.

I won't bore you with the statistics (though I probably really will at some point) and instead just jump into the full list. My top picks for the year will be in another post.

Movies I saw in 2011 in chronological order

No Strings Attached
Blue Valentine
Cedar Rapids
The Adjustment Bureau
The Lincoln Lawyer
Source Code
Something Borrowed
Super 8
Midnight in Paris
Bad Teacher
Forks over Knives
Horrible Bosses
Friends with Benefits
Crazy Stupid Love
The Help
Our Idiot Brother
Ides of March
Breaking Dawn
The Muppets
New Year's Eve
Young Adult
My Week with Marilyn
Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol
The Artist

I saw only one absolutely terrible movie this year and it was Bad Teacher. Awful movie!

There were so many other movies that I wanted to see: Martha Marcy May Marlene, Margin Call, Beginners, The Trip, The Tree of Life, Another Year. But for whatever reason I just didn't get out to the theatre as often in 2011. I would like to think that for 2012 I'll be back in the swing of regular theatre going, but it is Jan 20th today and I have yet to see a movie this year!

Thursday, 5 January 2012

2012 - here we go!

Usually at this point in the year, I write blog posts about the year in review. I'd cover events, concerts and movies. I know of one person who actually uses my movie review list to help decide what movies to rent but that's it. This past year, I didn't keep track of any of the movies that I saw. I kept no running list throughout the year. In a way, I knew I could skip it because I knew that the two people I see movies with the most were both keeping their own lists and at the end of the year I could use their lists to compile my own - which I think I will do.

I have no interest in writing a year-in-review post. I have no desire to look over the past year and pick through the things that happened. It was a year like any other, with ups and downs, and I am happy to be putting it behind me and moving forward. I learned some valuable lessons and had some experiences. I spent a year of sowing (years of sowing actually) and I am optimistic that 2012 will be a year of reaping.

So to 2012!
Cheers to all of you!
May this be a year of blessing and reaping for you all!