Best Films of 2011: My Picks
by Caress Thirus
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Surprise was the feeling I left the movie theater with most often in 2011. Filmmakers are getting smarter: they know what critics look for, and they know that audiences just aren’t impressed by throwing the hottest actors together in a movie with a few one liners or explosions. Here are the films that shut up my inner movie critic (for the most part) in 2011.
Drive was one of those movies that made you forget about your world for a few hours. Most of the audience members left like I did: quiet. In shock. Reflecting on Ryan Gosling’s epic ability to be an action hero, but remain so suave and not to become a cliché, annoying tool at all. The movie was so well-done that I would argue nothing has ever been made like it, and the future of action films will change because of Nicolas Winding Refn’s revolutionary execution.
2. The Adjustment Bureau
I’m not a chick flick kind of girl, and this movie is definitely a chick flick in disguise. However, the mental bends, twists, and turns make the viewer put aside his or her previous judgments about the genre and to pay attention. The Adjustment Bureau is really a film all its own. Though cheesy and overdone in some instances, it’s sure to delight audiences at least once.
The bright colors and spinning cameras used in this movie probably had the filmmakers wondering if they should issue an epilepsy warning at the beginning. That being said, this psychological twister was really wonderful. Though it was nothing like I expected, I found myself getting more and more interested in what happened to Bradley Cooper’s character, Eddie Morra, as the fantastic drug became a part of his life and made him into something he wasn’t. Definitely worth many watches.
4. Source Code
5. Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Rise of the Planet of the Apes was the film that surprised me the most in 2011. I originaly had no plans to see it, but after hearing such rave reviews I succumbed to the madness. Wonderful madness it was. James Franco gives an understated performance as the scientist who has a rocky home life and is a little too-deeply involved in his work, and Andy Serkis shines as Caesar. I couldn’t help but cheer for the ape as I followed his tough story, and though I was disappointed in the ending, at least it guaranteed a sequel.
6. Crazy, Stupid Love
Ryan Gosling shines once again in Crazy, Stupid Love, a film by Glenn Ficara. Though some of the occurrences in this film are downright silly, the film deals with relevant relationship issues that occur so often in the world today, and audiences are sure to relate with at least one of the rocky romances. The intertwining of the characters and the coincidences are very close (maybe too close), but viewers are sure to enjoy the film just the same. This is coming from a chick-flick hater: Watch Crazy, Stupid Love.
7. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
I never saw any of the Mission Impossible movies before this one, and I enjoyed it enough to see this film twice. The action in the fourth installment of the films that made Tom Cruise an American action star is so wild and intense that I missed most of it the first time I went to see the movie. I couldn’t take it. The second time I allowed myself to peek through my fingers at the crazy stunts (most of which Tom Cruise did himself). The fight scenes are believable, and the getaways are smooth and clever. Tom Cruise proves that he’s still got it, and another movie in the franchise might be overkill, but it’s completely possible.
Here’s hoping we are even more impressed by 2012!
Caress Thirus is a student at Roosevelt University and a film enthusiast.
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