Films I Remember Watching In 2011

These are all worth seeing for various reasons, some for the cinematography, some for unquietness, and some for the story, except for one; Conan the Barbarian. Most I highly recommend. There are some movies I have re-watched to see if they stand up to the test of time. I can honestly say, one of the worst movies I have ever seen I watched this year, Conan the Barbarian (2011). A bunch that were highlights for me were: 13 Assassins, You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger, Black Death, I Am Love, Ushpizin, Mammoth, Slueth, Eleanor's Secret, and The Illusionists.
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You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
Sally's parents' marriage breaks up when her father undergoes a mid-life crisis and impulsively weds a prostitute. Meanwhile, Sally's own marriage also begins to disintegrate. (98 mins.)
Director: Woody Allen
“ Woody Allen at his best. High society, interesting and beautiful people and a tragic ending. What more could you want? ” - Blair Barkley
I Am Love (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Emma left Russia to live with her husband in Italy. Now a member of a powerful industrial family, she is the respected mother of three, but feels unfulfilled. One day, Antonio, a talented chef and her son's friend, makes her senses kindle. (120 mins.)
Director: Luca Guadagnino
“ Bittersweet in every way. ” - Blair Barkley
13 Assassins (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A group of assassins come together for a suicide mission to kill an evil lord. (141 mins.)
Director: Takashi Miike
“ Great cinematography, great story about honour and the abuse of power. Action and artsy. ” - Blair Barkley
Ushpizin (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
An Orthodox Jewish couple's faith is tested after praying to the Lord for a child on the Succoth holiday. (90 mins.)
Director: Giddi Dar
“ A very well written story about a couple living out ones faith and pushing the boundaries of tradition for tradition sake. One of my all time favorites. ” - Blair Barkley
Sleuth (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
On his sprawling country estate, an aging writer matches wits with the struggling actor who has stolen his wife's heart. (88 mins.)
Director: Kenneth Branagh
“ This film is like theatre. Two great actors from tow different generations duelling it out and riffing lines back and forth. A must see for any film critic. ” - Blair Barkley
Mammoth (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
While on a trip to Thailand, a successful American businessman tries to radically change his life. Back in New York, his wife and daughter find their relationship with their live-in Filipino maid changing around them. At the same time, in the Philippines, the maid's family struggles to deal with her absence. (125 mins.)
Director: Lukas Moodysson
“ A haunting social commentary film about a modern family, the sex trade, and trying to find each other in this crazy world. ” - Blair Barkley
Black Swan (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A committed dancer wins the lead role in a production of Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake" only to find herself struggling to maintain her sanity. (108 mins.)
“ Just great. ” - Blair Barkley
Black Death (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
Set during the time of the first outbreak of bubonic plague in England, a young monk is given the task of learning the truth about reports of people being brought back to life in a small village. (102 mins.)
“ Yes, the story is a bit of a stretch, but what makes this film for me is how authentic this film presents sword fighting. In one of the action scenes all the fighters start to get tired after waving around their swords for 10 minutes. You just don't see this in hollywood action films. Our hero in Gladiator never gets tired. Let's face it, swinging around a sword is hard work. Also it shows how brutal hacking someones arm off is and doesn't cut away. It's true other films attempt to show the brutality of sword fighting with spraying blood and large scale massacres, but in my opinion come up sort compared to the humanness of Black Death. Others will rate this film with an overall 6, but because of the authentic presentation of wielding a sword at another human being, I give this a higher rating. This film also delves into the power of deception, religion, and what faith is. A quirky little film, but its originality won me over. ” - Blair Barkley
The Town (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
As he plans his next job, a longtime thief tries to balance his feelings for a bank manager connected to one of his earlier heists, as well as the F.B.I. Agent looking to bring him and his crew down. (125 mins.)
Director: Ben Affleck
“ A highly polished film. Not much to say about a film that simply crosses all of it's "t's". ” - Blair Barkley
Pollock (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
A film about the life and career of the American painter, Jackson Pollock. (122 mins.)
Director: Ed Harris
“ Just great acting here. Nothing fancy, no special affects. Just a good story about a man, a woman and his art. ” - Blair Barkley
Horrible Bosses (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Three friends conspire to murder their awful bosses when they realize they are standing in the way of their happiness. (98 mins.)
Director: Seth Gordon
“ One of my new favourite comedies, right up there with The 40 Year Old Virgin and Wedding Crashers. ” - Blair Barkley
The Illusionist (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A French illusionist finds himself out of work and travels to Scotland, where he meets a young woman. Their ensuing adventure changes both their lives forever. (80 mins.)
Director: Sylvain Chomet
“ Sad and beautiful. The line drawing and water colour style are lovely. ” - Blair Barkley
Triage (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
The wife of a photojournalist sets out to discover why he came home from a recent assignment without his colleague. (99 mins.)
Director: Danis Tanovic
“ Collin Farell in a different kind of role than his usual hero characters. ” - Blair Barkley
Black Robe (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A young Jesuit priest seeks to convert the Indian tribes in Canada while also trying to survive the harsh winter. (101 mins.)
Director: Bruce Beresford
“ An amazingly balanced depiction of "the new world", religion, and how Aboriginal tribes and colonizers clashed. What I like so much about this film is that it makes everyone look bad, or everyone look good. The English and French brought over some helpful things, but mostly brought destruction and deceit. The Aboriginal culture was both beautiful and brutal, though no less brutal than the "white man". Religion brought both forgiveness and judgement, disrupting an intricate tribal system. I think the film did well not to favour any one perspective, but presented all sides of a very harsh and convoluted time in history. ” - Blair Barkley
The Box (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  
A small wooden box arrives on the doorstep of a married couple, who know that opening it will grant them a million dollars and kill someone they don't know. (115 mins.)
Director: Richard Kelly
Under Suspicion (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
A lawyer is asked to come to the police station to clear up a few loose ends in his witness report of a foul murder... (110 mins.)
Director: Stephen Hopkins
“ The ending is what redeems and makes this film. If it wasn't for the interesting ending, this film would get a lower rating from me. But saying that, you can't go wrong with two of the greats like Hackman and Freeman. ” - Blair Barkley
Eleanor's Secret (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Natanaël, seven, still doesn't know how to read. His eccentric old aunt bequeaths her house to his parents and her book collection to the young boy... (80 mins.)
“ A beautiful little story with beautiful art. It mostly gets a high ranking from me because the art is so original and beautiful. ” - Blair Barkley
Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
An urbane fox cannot resist returning to his farm raiding ways and then must help his community survive the farmers' retaliation. (87 mins.)
Director: Wes Anderson
“ Anderson always amazes me. ” - Blair Barkley
My Kid Could Paint That (2007 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A look at the work and surprising success of a four-year-old girl whose paintings have been compared to the likes of Picasso and has raked in hundreds of thousands of dollars. (82 mins.)
Director: Amir Bar-Lev
“ Debates one of the more controversial questions, what is and isn't art? Also an interesting look inside a family, the art world, and how to deal with and navigate a young child's fame. ” - Blair Barkley
Black Snake Moan (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
A God-fearing bluesman takes to a wild young woman who, as a victim of childhood sexual abuse, looks everywhere for love, never quite finding it. (116 mins.)
Director: Craig Brewer
“ A simple man with troubles of his own, helps a girl get straight. It's true this film crosses some lines, but the story of one human genuinely helping another seems so honest, despite the other over-the-top cult classic feel of this film. The story is so endearing, it's definitely original, and it's definitely Samuel Jackson = high ranking. ” - Blair Barkley
The Door in the Floor (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
A writer's young assistant becomes both pawn and catalyst in his boss's disintegrating household. (111 mins.)
Director: Tod Williams
“ Painful characters to watch, but also very interesting characters to watch. A painful family melodrama, but a good one none-the-less. ” - Blair Barkley
Arthur and the Invisibles (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.0/10 X  
Ten-year-old Arthur, in a bid to save his grandfather's house from being demolished, goes looking for some much-fabled hidden treasure in the land of the Minimoys, a tiny people living in harmony with nature. (94 mins.)
Director: Luc Besson
“ One of my favourite action animated movies. More creative than a Disney flick. ” - Blair Barkley
The Borrowers (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  
A secret family of four-inch people living inside the walls of a house must save their home from an evil real estate developer. (89 mins.)
Director: Peter Hewitt
“ Great fun for the whole family. The characters are great. Refreshing compared to the Disney formula. ” - Blair Barkley
Away We Go (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A couple who is expecting their first child travel around the U.S. in order to find a perfect place to start their family. Along the way, they have misadventures and find fresh connections with an assortment of relatives and old friends who just might help them discover "home" on their own terms for the first time. (98 mins.)
Director: Sam Mendes
“ Dead-pan humour and a sweet couple, make this film endearing. Though some might just find this boring or the couple too odd. ” - Blair Barkley
King of California (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
An unstable dad who after getting out of a mental institution tries to convince his daughter that there's Spanish gold buried somewhere under suburbia. (93 mins.)
Director: Mike Cahill
“ A good family movie about a quirky father and daughter relationship. ” - Blair Barkley
Predators (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
A group of elite warriors parachute into an unfamiliar jungle and are hunted by members of a merciless alien race. (107 mins.)
Director: Nimród Antal
“ One of the more memorable openings in any film. Yes the premiss is simple and overdone, but I think it's the acting that makes this film work. If there were generic actors, it would have been just another generic shallow action flick with nothing to offer. But because the actors bring depth to their characters and some clever directing is clearly happening, this action film rises above. ” - Blair Barkley
Human Nature (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
A woman is in love with a man in love with another woman, and all three have designs on a young man raised as an ape. (96 mins.)
Director: Michel Gondry
“ One of my favourite screen writers. ” - Blair Barkley
Backyard (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
The true story of the border town of Juarez, Mexico where since the mid-1990s thousands of women have gone missing or turned up as sun-burnt corpses in the desert. Can new police captain Blanca Bravo stop the savagery? (122 mins.)
Director: Carlos Carrera
“ You must see this film. It's nothing to look at, and it's a hard watch, but it's the kind of story we all need to be aware of. ” - Blair Barkley
Super 8 (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
During the summer of 1979, a group of friends witness a train crash and investigate subsequent unexplained events in their small town. (112 mins.)
Director: J.J. Abrams
“ A throw-back to classic Speilburg. ” - Blair Barkley
True Grit (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A stubborn teenager enlists the help of a tough U.S. Marshal to track down her father's murderer. (110 mins.)
“ A western well done. ” - Blair Barkley
Rango (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Rango is an ordinary chameleon who accidentally winds up in the town of Dirt, a lawless outpost in the Wild West in desperate need of a new sheriff. (107 mins.)
Director: Gore Verbinski
“ Characteristic of a witty and weird Johnny Depp role reunited with the director of Pirates of the Caribbean. And the CGI is amazing. ” - Blair Barkley
Cassandra's Dream (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
The tale of two brothers with serious financial woes. When a third party proposes they turn to crime, things go badly and the two become enemies. (108 mins.)
Director: Woody Allen
“ This could have been a much higher rated film, but the ending bothered me and left me wanting more, maybe because it was too abrupt. ” - Blair Barkley
The Secret of Kells (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A young boy in a remote medieval outpost under siege from barbarian raids is beckoned to adventure when a celebrated master illuminator arrives with an ancient book, brimming with secret wisdom and powers. (75 mins.)
“ This was promising to be one of my new favourites. The animation is spectacular and stunning, the story was very cool with some Irish history, but something about the film left me wanting more. Too bad, I was wanting to put this as a 9, but something was missing; but maybe this is because my expectations were too high in anticipation. That being said, don't miss this one, it is a unique visual treat. ” - Blair Barkley
Lost in La Mancha (2002 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Terry Gilliam's doomed attempt to get his film, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, off the ground. (93 mins.)
“ This is a good documentary, but the reason I didn't give it a higher rating is simply cause this is a difficult film to take in because of all of the challenges trying to finish Terry Gilliam's dream film. But their is nothing wrong per say with the direction of this documentary, but the lack of direction with trying to complete the film this film was about. Though an interesting look at the behind-the-scene of making a movie and seeing Johnny Depp off the silver screen makes this movie a must see for movie lovers. ” - Blair Barkley
It Might Get Loud (2008 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A documentary on the electric guitar from the point of view of three significant rock musicians: the Edge, Jimmy Page and Jack White. (98 mins.)
“ Being a musician, I loved getting into the heads and hearing the stories behind some of the great guitarists. Oh, and the film song they all jam on while the credits are rolling is just a terrible rendition of a great song; my band did it better. Just goes to show that even the masters are human and don't always get it right. But any music lover would love hearing stories from these greats and how they create the music they are known for. ” - Blair Barkley
Appaloosa (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Two friends hired to police a small town that is suffering under the rule of a rancher find their job complicated by the arrival of a young widow. (115 mins.)
Director: Ed Harris
“ Solid action film, but nothing new. Just good acting. How can you go wrong with Vigo and Ed? ” - Blair Barkley
Youth Without Youth (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
A love story wrapped in a mystery. Set in World War II Europe, a professor is changed by a cataclysmic event and explores the mysteries of life. (124 mins.)
“ I'm usually a fan of artsy movies that draw you in and challenge your idea's about film and storytelling. But to be honest, this was a bit too convoluted for me. Don't get me wrong, it looks great, and there are great performances, but I won't be re-watching it because I want too, but to figure it out. I have read this is a very personal film for Coppola and I think this is what alienates it's viewers. ” - Blair Barkley
Limitless (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
With the help of a mysterious pill that enables the user to access 100 percent of his brain abilities, a struggling writer becomes a financial wizard, but it also puts him in a new world with lots of dangers. (105 mins.)
Director: Neil Burger
“ A solid a 7 as 7 can get. I really liked it for what it was, fun. ” - Blair Barkley
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
Lucy and Edmund Pevensie return to Narnia with their cousin Eustace where they meet up with Prince Caspian for a trip across the sea aboard the royal ship The Dawn Treader. Along the way they encounter dragons, dwarves, merfolk, and a band of lost warriors before reaching the edge of the world. (113 mins.)
Director: Michael Apted
“ Another good addition to a good family action series. ” - Blair Barkley
Bridesmaids (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Competition between the maid of honor and a bridesmaid, over who is the bride's best friend, threatens to upend the life of an out-of-work pastry chef. (125 mins.)
Director: Paul Feig
“ There are some really amazing moments and hilarious scenes in this movie, but over-all it's doesn't live up to those great moments. ” - Blair Barkley
Noise (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
A man who is being driven crazy by the noise in New York City decides to take vigilante action against it. (92 mins.)
Director: Henry Bean
“ I love the story this film is telling and agree with it whole heartedly. ” - Blair Barkley
Rio (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
When Blu, a domesticated macaw from small-town Minnesota, meets the fiercely independent Jewel, he takes off on an adventure to Rio de Janeiro with the bird of his dreams. (96 mins.)
Director: Carlos Saldanha
“ A solid good family movie. Nothing new, formulaic, but nice fun. ” - Blair Barkley
Ned Kelly (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
An innocent man becomes one of the most wanted criminals the world has ever known. (110 mins.)
Director: Gregor Jordan
Mongol: The Rise of Genghis Khan (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
The story recounts the early life of Genghis Khan who was a slave before going on to conquer half the world in 1206. (126 mins.)
Director: Sergey Bodrov
Valhalla Rising (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.0/10 X  
Forced for some time to be a fighting slave, a pagan warrior escapes his captors with a boy and joins a group of Crusaders on their quest to the Holy Land. (93 mins.)
“ This film looked great. The cinematography was stunning; 9 out of 10. And this film also presented a very unique look into the "new world" that hasn't been seen on film before. But something about it just wasn't engaging enough for me. But still worth a watch if just for the things I already noted. ” - Blair Barkley
Centurion (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
A splinter group of Roman soldiers fight for their lives behind enemy lines after their legion is devastated in a guerrilla attack. (97 mins.)
Director: Neil Marshall
“ I surprisingly good action film. Some of characters were a little "thin" and not really developed, but the main actor may have a promising career ahead of him. There were some cliche's. But for just a fun night with some popcorn, this will do. It won't disappoint. ” - Blair Barkley
Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Steve Rogers, a rejected military soldier transforms into Captain America after taking a dose of a "Super-Soldier serum". But being Captain America comes at a price as he attempts to take down a war monger and a terrorist organization. (124 mins.)
Director: Joe Johnston
“ I might recommend watching this if I could remember. I kind of remember watching this and liking it, but now I can't remember :) Though I do recall a cool looking Red Skull/Hugo Weaving who was the actor of the Elven king in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Mr. Smith from Matrix and was also in a great movie, The Interview. ” - Blair Barkley
Hot Tub Time Machine (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
A malfunctioning time machine at a ski resort takes a man back to 1986 with his two friends and nephew, where they must relive a fateful night and not change anything to make sure the nephew is born. (101 mins.)
Director: Steve Pink
“ Clever but not very good. ” - Blair Barkley
Conan the Barbarian (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  
A vengeful barbarian warrior sets off to get his revenge on the evil warlord who attacked his village and murdered his father when he was a boy. (113 mins.)
Director: Marcus Nispel
“ I can honestly say, this is the worst film I have ever seen, and I have seen a lot of films. I usually give most films a 7 or up, and if it's bad I give it a 5. If it's really bad a 4, but this film is an embarrassment. I didn't care for the characters, I was bored half way through, the action wasn't planned out, the cinematography was choppy and the atmosphere of this fantasy world I didn't care for. Even well respected actors could not have saved this movie. About the only thing that was good was the CGI. I looked at what else this director had done and he did Pathfinder, which I saw. I would say Pathfinder is a 4 or 5, basically a bad hollywood action film. But this was even worse than a bad hollywood action film. Something went wrong in the editing room. Or maybe the director didn't give the editor much too work with in the first place. I feel sorry for the actors who's careers this might effect. This director might not had have much of a career left. To make low budget cult and horror movies, at least there is an audience for that, but high budget fantasy action films that offer nothing, there is no audience for that. ” - Blair Barkley