Saturday, 7 January 2012

The most memorable films of 2011

As everyone is compiling their best of/worst of lists for 2011 I didn't want to feel left out.  I know that if I do a best of/worst of list it wont be in any way original so I have plumped for my most memorable instead:

10:  Fast 5

I don’t like Paul Walker.  I don’t like Vin Diesel.  I don’t know why I keep going to the cinema to see the Fast and Furious films.  It’s like I catch some uncontrollable and incurable cinema disease approximately every two years.

It was incurable until The Rock and his perspiring head bulldozed his way into the mix.  I wish I could say that I hated this film but rightly or worryingly The Rock cranked up the ass-kicking to the max.

The chances of GI Joe appearing on next years list because of The Rock is very likely to occur.

Fast 5 was badly acted and poorly scripted but it was noisy and fun which cancels Paul Walker out.

9:  X Men: First Class

I always knew First Class would be on this list but I didn’t know it would feature so low.  I love anything to do with X Men which meant that I was reaching uncharted levels of manic excitement in the days before the films release.

First Class came out just as Michael Fassbender’s potential greatness was becoming more apparent and by the third act it was all but confirmed.  Then the strangest thing happened during the finale.  Magneto suddenly started channelling Irish Batman.  The sudden Irishisation of Magneto was the biggest “What The Fuck” moment of 2011 and caused much googling and IMDBing on the journey home.

Fassy was still the best thing in the film. The fact that he is Irish is an added bonus.

8:  Tangled

I didn’t see many animated films in 2011.  The increase in CGI flicks means that the market is becoming over-saturated with third-rate family films.  Tangled was the exception to the rule. The film was in keeping with the Disney classics of old and managed to turn a relatively short fairytale into a very decent film.

It had all the hallmarks of Disney with the princess, dashing prince, comedy animal sidekicks and songs.  “Mother Knows Best” is up there with my favourites.  It was a great film which looked absolutely stunning in 3D.

7:  Burlesque

I would like to remind you that this list is a compilation of my most memorable films of 2011 and not the best otherwise I think it would be safe to conclude that Burlesque wouldn’t even make the shortlist. 

I need to give you some context about the town I live in.  It is so shitty that McDonalds shut its doors and left.  Whenever the announcement came that we would be getting a cinema of our very own I didn’t believe it.

Burlesque was one of the first films I had the pleasure of seeing in my newly built local cinema.  Not once.  Twice.

The screen broke down after ten minutes and everyone came over all British by not wanting to complain. We sat watching a juddering screen until we were essentially kicked out by the apologetic staff.  We were given a free pass to make up for the inconvenience.

The sad thing is I went back the next night to be served by the same person who gave me the free ticket.  The staff member commented that my friends and I must have really been enjoying the film to come back so soon. 

Cinematic dignity left me that night and it was sometime before I clawed it back. 

6:  Warrior

Warrior suffered greatly from the fact that The Fighter was released first.  Despite it not being based on true events Warrior has a much stronger story and performances and by the end of the film my sporting nerves were shot.

I can remember the day I went to see Warrior quite clearly as I had no interest in seeing it.  I think I was campaigning for something else but I cannot for the life of me remember what it was.  It was one of those going to the cinema for the sake of going to the cinema moments but I am glad I did. 

5:  Cowboy and Aliens

The idea of James Bond, Indiana Jones, Jon Favreau, cowboys and aliens had scope for so much potential.  It should have been epic but instead it was complete and utter shite.  What made it all the more offensive is that Cowboys and Aliens didn’t have the good grace to know it was shite and therefore took proceedings far to seriously to even allow me to have some “so bad its good" fun.  Cowboys and Aliens is memorable for what it could have and more importantly what it should have been.

4:  Insidious

I am fussy about horror films and generally I go for supernatural horror rather than an out and out blood fest.  Insidious, for the first two acts at least, was absolutely terrifying.  I was so scared I can remember thinking to myself that I am not going to make it until the end of the film - then it all went wrong.  After the reveal that the child of the family had been possessed by a gay Darth Maul the film went from terrifying to hysterically funny.   

 The very second the tone of the film changed

This sudden change in tone was made all the more memorable as the entire audience picked up on it at the same time and from that moment onwards a good laugh was had by all.  By the time the end credits rolled the entire screen was hyper. 

3:  It’s A Wonderful Life

I didn’t know that It’s A Wonderful Life would be getting a quick run in the cinema.  The only reason I knew was because I got a text from a friend saying she had booked me a ticket and to keep that particular Sunday afternoon free.  As brilliant as the film is it was made all the more memorable as I was there with the other two thirds of The Nerdy Trio.  It was one of those moments when I realised that on either side of me are two of the best friends I am ever likely to have. 

2:  The Guard

It’s very rare that I will go to the cinema to see a comedy and it’s even rarer that I go to the cinema to see a comedy which actually manages to be funny.  The Guard is home-made, low budget and is easily the best comedy of the year.  Brendan Gleeson is excellent as the sharp witted Sgt Gerry Boyle who also conveys quiet emotion during the few scenes with his terminally ill mother. 

1:  Senna 

I am the sort of F1 fan freak that sets their alarm for 4.00am on a Sunday morning to get up and watch the Japanese Grand Prix.  I absolutely love the sport but unfortunately I never had the pleasure of watching the Senna years as they unfolded.

I saw Senna on the last night of its run in a sold out screen at the Queen’s Film Theatre.  The documentary was very well put together and gave very strong accounts of Senna’s personal life and his racing career.

From a cinema experience point of view from the minute the caption of “San Marino 1994” appeared on screen I was in tears and I don’t mean that one single tear that sneaks out which automatically causes you to start shifting awkwardly in your seat.  I and about thirty strangers grieved for about twenty minutes.  It was the most emotional cinema experience I am ever likely to have.

Senna failed to make the short list for the 2012 Oscar race which is the ultimate crime.  It will in all likelihood get a nomination for best film but it won’t win.  It deserves a statuette but unfortunately it has been put in the wrong category.  

Senna is easily the most memorable film of 2011.


  1. Funny -- the only movie I enjoyed from your entire list is the one you think is 'shite' -- Cowboys & Aliens! haha!

    We will have to agree to disagree ;-)

  2. Insidious was awesome and definitely one of the most memorable highlights this year.

    Cowboys & Aliens... well, I kinda enjoyed it. Not much but enough to give it a 6/10.
    But I fully agree with "is memorable for what it could have and more importantly what it should have been".
    My god, this could have been an uber-epic mega-masterpiece, but instead Favreau gave us a disappointing and quite forgettable scifi-western that no-one really cares about.

  3. Linda: I hated Cowboys and Aliens as it made me so angry that it wasted so much potential!

    If we didn't disagree about film occasionally we wouldn't have any passion for it!

    Thanks for reading. :-)

    Maynard: We still talk about how much fun we had with Insidious.

    I looked back at my initial Cowboys and Aliens review and I gave it a 3/10.

    I didn't like it at the time and I'm now holding a grudge with Favreau as got it it completely wrong!

    Thanks for reading. K :-)

  4. Great list K, really enjoyable to read. Gay Darth Maul had me rolling!

  5. By the way, Senna is still on my to watch list, it's being offered on Netflix streaming, so I plan on watching it at some point.