Top 4 Films Of 2011

The year of 2011 really wasn’t that great of a year for films, as far as Caliber is concerned. I kept thinking of movies that I’d seen a while ago, and hoping that they were released in 2011, or at least the DVD. However, The Town, The Fighter, Predators, and The Expendables were all property of 2010. Those films are all 5 stars, so check’em out.

Before I start the list, lemme say that the true winner of this list is The Expendables Director’s Cut that was released in December. It’s an absolutely fantastic film, and the greatest action movie I’ve ever seen. It’s incredible, and the fact it actually trumps The Expendables should tell you just how fantastic it truly is. But I thought I wouldn’t take the cheap way out and select an entirely new film. So, let’s get into it.

#4 – Captain American: The First Avenger
Stars: Chris Evans, Tommy Lee Jones
Released: July 22nd, 2011

I was really excited for this film. Matter of fact, I kept my favorite torrent site open and kept hitting refresh the Saturday after it was released. Before it was released, they aired the two Captain America films from the 70’s, and early 90’s on various stations, and that was kinda like you’re in the middle of having sex, and The Ultimate Warrior comes in and starts cutting his WrestleMania 6 promo. Let me take that back, because that would be so cool, except for the part where the girl begins to bitch because I became so stoked via the Warrior that I gave her a flying shoulder block with a rockin’ boner. What an odd picture I have painted.

Anyway, I finally got my chance to check out the film and loved it. You can find my review on the site, just look for it. So, to save myself the time, I’ll just let you read that.

#3 – Limitless
Stars: Bradley Cooper, Robert DeNiro
Released: March 18th, 2011

The premise of this film was absolutely brilliant. Based off a 2001 novel called The Dark Fields, Limitless is about a man who stumbles upon a drug that will allow you to access your entire brain, and even have a 4 digit IQ. The sequels for this could be endless, with a different person taking it and the way it effects their lives.

It has a fantastic build, with Eddie being a down-on-his-luck writer who stumbles across NZT-48, and it opens up his entire world. He’s able to write his entire novel in a day, and create something from nothing in the stock market. He gets involved with some gangsters who end up finding about NZT, and damn well like it. If that weren’t bad enough, once he gets into the world of NZT, he realizes that quite a few others have been on it as well, and with the withdrawls will kill you.

It’s an incredible thriller that makes all the right moves, and has you feeling like you could watch the life of Eddie for hours.

#2 – Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Stars: James Franco, Jonathan Lithgow
Released: August 5th, 2011

This film is absolutely gorgeous. It’s one of the best films I’ve seen in years, and if it weren’t for my love of comics, it would undoubtedly be number one.

The film is a reboot of the Planet of the Apes series, and tells a brand new origin.

There’s a company creating new drugs, and one DR, Will Rodman is dead-set on creating a drug to cure Alzheimer’s because of his father’s advanced stage of the disease. He stumbles across a formula that he feels will work, so they test it on the chimps they have locked up. Sure enough, the formula ended up increasing the chimp’s intelligence where he excels far beyond any primate could ever hope.

Will ends up keeping a chimp at home who’s been exposed to the formula as part of his family. We see over the years as Cesar’s intelligence continues to grow. The shame is that he begins to release how big the outside world is, and he begins to want a taste of it.

I really can’t say enough about this film. Everything about it is fantastic, from the writing, directing, acting, special effects, you name it. It’s incredible to see Cesar start out as a child, then grow up to be come a revolutionist. The relationship between Cesar and his father is incredible, and not something you’ve ever really seen in film, as Cesar starts to realize just what he is, and wants to know where he came from.

A beautiful film, and something I’d recommend to anyone.

#1 – X-Men: First Class
Stars: Kevin Bacon, James McAvoy
Released: June 3rd, 2011

Deciding which would take number 1 was a tough one. The choice factor for me is replay value. If you want to watch something over and over without complaint, then you know it’s one hell of a film. So, for me, I realized that X-Men: First Class is a film that I’d choose to watch a few more times than I would Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

The beginning of the film is beyond fantastic,  something that could have been a film on it’s own, and probably been Oscar worthy. Getting to see a young Magneto use his powers to hunt down the fleeing, cowardly Nazis was a thing of beauty, as I could have watched him do that for hours. Micheal Fassbender gives one of the best performances I’ve seen in years, as you can feel the rage radiating off of him, along with the sadness, mistrust, and roaring ego.

James McAvoy is no slouch, and delivers a performance equal to that of Fassbender when it comes to the eventual antithesis of Magneto, Dr Charles Xavier. He’s calm, intelligent, passive, and brilliant.

Most super-hero films are jam packed with action, and you know you’re watching one. With First Class however, it felt like something you’d see at the Oscars. With a beautiful look, script, and acting that really went far and above the levels that most super hero films aim for.

Not only one of the greatest comic book films ever, but my choice for film of the year.

Honorable Mention:

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
This was a fantastic action film that just kept going, and going, and didn’t give you any down time, which was awesome. No boring retred, with a ton of new scenarios and scenes to the action genre. Great stuff.

Crazy, Stupid, Love
Probably the best romantic comedy I’ve seen since The Wedding Singer. The thing with most rom-coms, is they aren’t fucking funny, they’re also extremely cliche’. Sure, I watch a lot of action films with the same plot, but it’s the journey of the action film that I like. To see what they do different. With a rom-com, there’s not much different you can do, but when they can bring something fresh, it’s a hit. Steve Carrell is pitch-perfect as a loser who get’s dumped by his wife, and is taught the ways of being the man by Ryan Gosling. His son is in love with the babysitter, and the babysitter is in love with his father, Steve Carrell. It’s along the lines of Love Actually, as it all tends to tie together. If my list had gone to #5, this would have been on it.

The Expendables [Director’s Cut]
I didn’t include this in the list, because in all fairness it had been released in 2010. But honestly, this is the best film of 2011, and in all honestly, the greatest action film I’ve ever seen. It has it ALL. Over the top violence, gun fights, martial arts throw-downs, car chases, tons of explosions, one-liners, an awesome cast, and everything else under the sun that I demand. It’s a flawless film that trumps the original. It’s fucking incredible and DEMANDS you go and cop it. Now.

Most-Overrated:

Drive
Rolling Stone called this the film of the year. That is VERY incorrect. It starts off great, with Ryan Gosling being the wheel man for a couple thieves. It’s actually a lot like the beginning of The Transporter. If the film was more of this, and less of everything else, then they would have really had something. But this film fell short due to being all over the place, not having anything too interesting going on, and Ryan Gosling wearing a weird stunt-driver mask for absolutely no reason at all.

The Hangover Part II
When this first came out, there were a TON of great reviews. However, as the end is near, people seem to have come to their senses. The first Hangover is one of the best comedies of all time. It was brilliant, funny, inventive, and something you could watch a million times over and always find something new. With the sequel, it’s literally like the just photocopied the first script and slapped a “II” on it. I was literally shocked at how lazy they were with this, they did NOTHING, I repeat, NOTHING new. It was one of the most pathetic examples of a sequel I’ve ever seen.

Best TV Show:
Sons of Anarchy

It wasn’t an easy decision, because there’s a lot of fantastic television on these days, but SOA just rose above the rest. With a show like Breaking Bad, one of the greatest shows of all time, it’s still kicking ass in it’s 4th season, but it’s lacking the original humor and quirkiness it had. It’s so deathly serious, and depressing at times. It’s the humor, and awkward situations that took place in the first & 2nd season that really made this show work. My other runner up was True Blood. A fantastic show with some of the best writing I’ve ever seen. However, the 4th season just didn’t live up to the bar set by the 3rd. Don’t get me wrong, the show is still leaps & bounds above most other programming, it just didn’t live up to True Blood standards. The other show, is of course, my hero, Dexter. I’ve loved every season of Dex, and haven’t seen this “decline” that some people talk about. This one had a great story line, brought in new twists, and just flat out kicked a lot of ass. I have no complaints about season 7, but it just couldn’t edge out the greatness of SOA’s season 4.

Season 4 of SOA felt like it might be the last, because it was bringing to light a lot of secrets that were held in the group. So much went on, that I can’t really get into it here without explaining a lot and divulging some spoilers. Needless to say, it’s some of the best writing, acting, directing, and everything else in between that’s ever been seen on TV. Depending on how they go with the next few seasons, SOA is on track to be the greatest TV drama of all time.

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~ by Caliber Winfield on January 16, 2012.

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