Lists by llcruize
Your Highness had my girl Nat in it, but even her in full British accent, butt-kicking mode couldn’t rescue this from being a bit of a disappointment for me. Conan the Barbarian was something I was curious about being a fan of the original Arnold movie. The first 20mins give you a lot of hope that this would be a fun movie. In the end, this film suffers from being more Krull than Conan. Red Riding Hood had all the elements; atmosphere, Gary Oldman, but ended up forgettable. Just Go With It is Sandler as his most predictable. He really needs to try and stretch himself, he looks to be falling into a rut after having stretched himself with Funny People. Cars 2 was a huge disappointment for me. Any other studio and this is a great fun movie, but we expect more from Pixar. The Mechanic is another Statham B-movie waste of time. Season of the Witch had my man Nic Cage, but the lackadaisical production values really hurt this one. The Roomate is nothing more than Single White Female dumbed down. Arthur had potential, Brand was perfect casting, but too much reliance on the original story and a detached performance from Greta Gerwig sank this movie. Spy Kids: All the Time in the World had its moments, but felt like a pale shadow to the original trilogy of movies.
There you have it, the 10 films that disappointed me the most this year. All in all, a good year at the theater and home viewing.
First up, Cowboys & Aliens. This was a highly anticipated film by me. It wasn’t bad, but it also wasn’t as good as I hoped. Bridesmaids I know is getting a lot of love and I enjoyed it, but something about Kristen Wiig’s character just really bugged me. The Change-Up was a rehashed body changing comedy that had moments of fun, but felt all too familiar and stale. Friends with Benefits and No Strings Attached both mined the same territory; good looking people unlucky in love deciding to be friends who sleep together. Though the casts were good, the movies only mildly entertained. Hall Pass and Horrible Bosses both had the potential to really be funny and in parts were, but both failed to live up to the potential of the premises. 30 Minutes or Less was fun to watch, but felt rushed. Green Lantern was a missed opportunity, what it really did best was show how cool a sequel set in Oa could be. Bad Teacher continued the string of R-rated comedies this year. Though it did well at the box office, IMO it was not consistently funny. Battle Los Angeles took the alien invasion story to the urban streets, which was welcomed. But borrowing from an ID4 plot element ended up tarnishing this for me. Priest was another Paul Bettany action film that looked good, but underwhelmed (when did he become the go-to British religious action star?). The animated Gnomeo & Juliet has a great soundtrack and the spin on the Romeo & Juliet storyline was fun, in the end though, not something I see myself watching again. Jumping the Broom had some good actors in it, but in the end the sentiment was laid on a bit too thick and unnatural. The most frustrating movie in this list is The Green Hornet. They got everything right about this film except for one thing; Seth Rogen playing Britt Reid/Green Hornet. He relies too much on his usual carefree/bum-there-well persona that it ends up making what would have been rated an 8 by me rated down to a 6.
There you have it, the 15 films that didn’t get a total thumbs down from me, but will not see subsequent viewings. The final list that will come out is my 10 worse films I saw in 2011.
This list contains more sequels than my top 15 list. The Twililght Saga: Breaking Dawn, The Hangover Pt 2, Scream 4, PoTC: On Stranger Tides, and Transformers: Dark of the Moon made it on to this list (and were enjoyed by me in that order). All of these were strong sequels, with Breaking Dawn, IMO, being the best. Stewart shows some real acting chops in this one. Hangover pt 2 was more of the same, not as fun as the first, but still a riot. Scream 4 was surprisingly good and offered a fresh perspective. Stranger Tides was more of a Jack show and I for one enjoyed that. Dark of the Moon, for me, was a step down from the previous Transformer movies. Say what you will about Megan Fox, her and Lebouf had great chemistry and that was sorely missed this time out. Beyond the sequels, this list contains another eclectic mix of movie genres. Immortals was a great showcase for the new Superman, Henry Cavill. Limitless would have scored an 8 had it not coped out in the end, but still was very entertaining. Source Code was a fun concept with two highly likeable leads. Adjustment Bureau, a Philip K. Dick adaptation also had a fun concept and likeable leads. Unknown continued Liam Neeson’s string of elder statesmen action genre. “Pats” broke away from the Twilight movies and gave a very good performance in Water for Elephants. Paul was a fun ride. It was another that teetered on an 8 but it’s continual religion bashing soured it some for me. Lincoln Lawyer showcased Matthew McConaughey’s talents (would love for him to be my lawyer). Drive Angry, was an absolute crazy wacky wild spin of a movie. By far, Nic Cage’s best movie of the year. And finally, Justin Bieber: Never say Never, say what you will, the kid does have genuine musical talent. This documentary was very well done.
So there you have it, the 15 honorable mentions of the year. Below are the movies listed in order of enjoyment. Next up my “Rental only 15”. These were not the worse films of the year, but are films I recommend as a rental only.
Fast Five and Sucker Punch are the only two films that earned higher than an 8 from me this year. Sucker Punch was probably the most divisive movie of the year. The "Fast" films are that rare franchise that has matured AND gotten better. They smartly have embraced the past while adding new blood that has reinvigorated the franchise and adopted a true team concept. Speaking of that, M:I: Ghost Protocol re-established Cruise as an action force by smartly moving away from a one-man show and embracing a team concept, more in line with how the franchise existed in TV form. The Help continues Emma Stones impressive slate of performances. She is already a force to be reckoned with. But she is not the only reason to see this film; Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer and Bryce Dallas Howard are absolutely wonderful. Speaking of wonderful performances and Emma Stone, the film Crazy, Stupid, Love, was THE romantic dramedy of the year. Steve Carell gives his best performance to date and an ensemble cast including Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore and my fav, Emma Stone, take the genre to the next level. X-Men: First Class, Captain America and Thor (my favorites of that genre in order) showed you can be smart and entertain in the comic book genre and not have to exist in the Nolan ultrarealistic comic world. The horror/suspense genre scored some major points with me this year with Insidious and Paranormal Activity 3 (best theater experience of the year). Both films scare, not gross or shock. Two of the biggest surprises this year were Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Hanna. Rise defied the reboot laws and successfully jump started an all but dead franchise. Hanna was a little independent film with BIG time action, concept and execution. Soul Surfer was as inspirational as the true story it is based on. Super 8 brought back my younger days in a fantastic way. Harry Potter: Deathly Hallows pt 2 ended the franchise on a major high note. The only reason it didn’t join the 9 star club is not following the battles more diminished some of the emotional context for me. Still, that is nitpicking from me really as this continues to get regular rotation from me on Blu-ray.
That is it for my top 15. Below are the films listed in order of how I enjoyed them. Look for my Honorable 15 coming soon.