Well, here we are again, closing out the movie year. It wasn't a great year overall, but there were some good movies, which I would like to point out and up, here. Hopefully, you will be able to check some of them out. As usual, there were a lot of movies I missed for various reasons, so you can expect forthcoming reviews of: Carnage, The Iron Lady, We Need to Talk About Kevin, A Dangerous Method and The Guard.
This year impressed upon me the fact that comedies are under-appreciated when it comes to winning awards. Bridesmaids was probably the funniest movie I've seen in years, and Kristen Wiig's performance was perfection. But she will likely not be recognized (although the Golden Globes may award her in the comedy section) because so many awards are reserved for the serious, "important" films.
As usual, we had an onslaught of biopics. Sitting through the insufferable, agonizing J. Edgar made me frustrated that Hollywood keeps churning these movies out. And there's no end in sight, because we aren't going to run out of public figures to portray on the screen. Moreover, I fear that Leonard DiCaprio and Meryl Streep will play all of them. They will be cryogenically frozen in a few decades, or maybe cloned, so that they can do biopics into perpetuity. I am, however, interested to see Julianne Moore play Sarah Palin in HBO's upcoming movie Game Change.
George Clooney twice proved my expectations wrong. The Descendants was a really fine piece of entertainment. And The Ides of March was not. In fact, this was the year of expectations being thrown out the window. I dragged my feet to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. It's probably the best movie I've seen all year. That good. I also thought that Bad Teacher would be good. Wrong again. I didn't expect The Beaver to be as good as it was. It's really worth seeing (despite what you may think of Mel Gibson). And Horrible Bosses was better than I expected, though not as good as the two best comedies of 2011 (Paul and Bridesmaids). Jennifer Aniston's performance was the highlight of the movie. (Kevin Spacey was good too.) Watching her play the aggressive dentist, tormenting the affable Charlie Day, was hysterical. You could tell she was having a good time playing against type.
Favorites of 2011
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
The Tree of Life (the parts where the director, Terrence Malick, wasn't being a pretentious boob)
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
Kristen Wiig, Kristen Wiig in Paul and Bridesmaids
Kenneth Branagh in My Week With Marilyn
Shailene Woodley in The Descendants
Kevin Spacey in Margin Call
Melissa McCarthy in Bridesmaids
Craig Roberts in Submarine
Mel Gibson in The Beaver
Jennifer Aniston in Horrible Bosses
Sally Hawkins in Submarine