My Year of Films: The Reviews from 2011

Film Count (from 1.1.11 to 31.12.11): 51

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows: (Starring Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law)– My rating 8.5/10.

The sequel that had a LOT to live up to. Again, it was brilliantly written, but not quite as spectacular at the first film. Nevertheless, Downey and Law are BRILLIANT together! What a duo! Fantastic story and filmed in such a clever way. Great film to end 2011 with.

Real Steel: (Starring Hugh Jackman & Dakota Goyo)- My rating 9/10.

When I saw that this film included robots – and fighting robots at that I was not thrilled – but wow – I loved this film. it was one of the best films I’d seen all year. I can’t believe that I’m saying that. I thought the story about father-son was really nice. It seemed genuine and I got a little emotional watching it at the end. It really makes you want to cheer. Fab!

Kung Fu Panda 2: (Starring voices of Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, etc) – My rating 8/10.

Surprisingly entertaining. I really enjoyed it. I watched this whilst travelling by ferry to UK from Holland. A funny little cartoon – even though I’d not seen the first installment. Good-vs-evil. Light fun. Full of famous names too.

Tower Heist: (Starring Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy- My rating 7/10.

Let’s rob a rich man! Nice idea. Funny story. Predictable – but funny. A light-hearted film to watch with a heartwarming theme that people would do anything for one another…

The Rum Diary: (Starring Johnny Depp) – My rating 5/10.

‘Paul Kemp (Johnny Depp) is an itinerant journalist who grows tired of New York and America under the Eisenhower administration and travels to Puerto Rico to write for The San Juan Star. Kemp begins the habit of drinking rum and becomes obsessed with a woman named Chenault’. That’s how it is described on Wikipedia. It was more of a drawn out drunken dream to me.

Texas Killing Fields: (Starring Sam Worthington & Jeffrey Dean Morgan) – My rating 6/10.

This was a surpise film that we were not expecting to watch. We went to the ‘Sneak Preview’ evening, where you don’t know what the film is. It was entertaining but rather bland. This film certainly doesn’t portray Texas as a state worth visiting. It all seemed so backwards. Scary open spaces – perfect for ‘doing-away’ with people. Eeeek! What makes it even more grim is that the film was based on true events…

Immortals in 3D: (Starring  Henry Cavill, Freida Pinto, and Mickey Rourke) – My rating 8/10.

What a blood bath! Grim grim grim. I have never seen so many people slaughtered. I liked the film. I am a real fan of all the Greek God films…. Fab! It’s the 60s remakes all over again. Henry Cavill – heeeelllo!

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1: (Starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson & Taylor Lautner) – My rating 7/10.

I went to see this and was entertained. The film was light. I don’t see quite how it has claimed the following that it has. The books must be brilliant. I haven’t read them I might add. Taylor Lautner got enough whoops from the eager crowd (I may have joined in with them – I can’t verify that, of course)… It’s a shame that Kristen Stewart always looks so miserable. It really winds me up. It’s your wedding – cheer up. Oh and it’s TEAM JACOB all the way!

In Time: (Starring Justin Timberlake & Amanda Seyfried) – My rating 9/10.

Films like this one don’t come around very often! Brilliant stuff! I loved the concept of ageing until 25 years and then the counter running out. The scene between Timberlake and his mum is heartbreaking. I was so sad. A great film with so many underlying messages for everybody. I wonder if this is the way that the future will turn out?

Killer Elite: (Starring Jason Statham, Clive Owen & Robert De Niro) – My rating 7/10.

Confusing and James Bond-ish. Too many cooks spoil the broth as some may say. It was a tad Over the Top! I am not sure that I can quite believe that a man tied to a chair can out-fight a man standing. Hmmm. Okay – it’s just a film but this was rather naff. It won’t be winning any Oscars sometime soon.

Abduction: (Starring Taylor Lautner, Lily Collins & Sigourney Weaver) – My rating 8/10.

Go Taylor! His first action movie and it was a pleasure to watch. Okay, okay his acting wasn’t brilliant but the sultry looks were always going to be a winner with me. Yum! The plot was pretty cool – I liked it. There was lots of drama – a good chase between good and bad. Clever stuff. A must see.

Margin Call: (Starring Kevin Spacey, Demi Moore, Paul Bettany & Jeremy Irons) – My rating 4/10.

The film takes place over a 24-hour period at a large investment bank and focuses on the financial crisis of 2007–2008. The film follows (very confusingly) the actions taken by a group of employees during the financial collapse. It’s a bore a minute. The film didn’t seem to follow the usual ingredients of a beginning-middle-end. It just ended and I wondered – oh – so that’s it. A big ‘nothingy’.

What’s Your Number?: (Starring Anna Faris and Chris Evans) – My rating 9/10.

Maybe I am just a hopeless romantic, but I LOVED this film. It made me smile and feel wonderful from beginning to end. It’s not Oscar-worthy in the slightest and it is from the Rom-Com mould. Films like this always make me feel great. I am due to be married – so why not feel all loved up more and more by watching films like this. I also HAVE to say – phwoar!!! – Chris Evans – hello… I wouldn’t mind him being my neighbour!!

Rango: (Starring the voices of Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher, Bill Nighy) – My rating 3/10.

Yawn. The clips that I saw in the cinema looked hillarious. Clearly the trailer showed all the best bits. This was a weird animation with an odd story that took way too long to get going…. When it was going – it didn’t seem to be going anywhere. What a let down! I was really looking forward to it.

The Three Musketeers in 3D: (Starring Logan Lerman, Milla Jovovich and Orlando Bloom)  – My rating 6.5/10.

It was okay. I was a little underimpressed with the film. I was expecting much much more and it failed to deliver. The millionth remake of the film was clever in it’s filming – I’ll give it that, but adding 3D effects do not make great films. I prefer ‘The Man in the Iron Mask’ film with DeCaprio from 1998.

Friends with Benefits: (Starring Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis) – My rating 9/10.

A complete rip-off of the film ‘No Strings Attached’, but still, this film rocks. It’s great fun. The comedy is fab! Timberlake is drop-dead gorgeous rather fab to watch. His body acting is fab. Of course, the plot is predictable from beginning to end. You know that you’re gonna leave the cinema feeling satisfied with a happy ending. Simple and fun.

Body Language: (Starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess) – My rating 1/10.

This wins the award for being the worst film of 2011. We walked out after about 20 minutes – I couldn’t bear to watch anymore of this Dutch-wannabe-Fame-remake film. Teen movie at it’s most cringeworthy. A group of Dutchies head to New York to take part in a dance-off. Hmmm – original. Not. Yawn! Bad acting and bad storyline.

One Day: (Starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess) – My rating 10/10.

Take your tissues if you go to see this. I’ve been reading the book and the book is brilliant! The story revolves around two people who meet in the late 80s at university. From then onwards their lives intertwine to the present day. Every 15th July we catch up with the story to see where they are in their lives. Realistic. Heartwarming. Shocking. This film will make you sit up and think. Make the most of your life. Live for the day and let the people you care about know that you care about them.

The Devil’s Double: (Starring Dominic Cooper, Philip Quast, Ludivine Sagnier and Raad Rawi) – My rating 8.5/10.

Dominic Cooper – wow – what fantastic acting. He plays both characters in the film and he does it brilliantly. You can tell straight away which character is which, and even though they look the same (as they’re doubles), he manages to pull it off so well. I’d only seen him in Mamma Mia, so was glad to see him trying something a little more serious. It’s amazing to think that this story is based on true events during the Gulf Wars of the nineties.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes: (Starring James Franco and Andy Serkis) – My rating 8/10.

I really enjoyed this film. I wasn’t expecting to like it – but I did. The prequel to the previous films – and it didn’t disappoint. I’m quite a fan of Franco, especially after the 127 hours film, back in the Spring time. The film touches some controversial topics – testing on monkeys – and is really quite sad. The things that science can do – scary!

Final Destination 5 (in 3D): (Starring Nicholas D’Agosto, Emma Bell, Miles Fisher, Arlen Escarpeta, David Koechner and Tony Todd ) – My rating 7/10.

I watched most of this film through my fingers! I was scared. Okay – I’m not a huge fan of horror or gore. This had plenty of gore – in 3D!!! Oh my goodness there was gore. It was VERY visual. The deaths were far more graphic than the previous FDs. If you don’t like needles or eye-lasers then AVOID this film at all costs. Why did I take myself along to watch it? I petrified myself! It was a good film, I’ll give it that – just not for me.

The Ghost (Also known as The Ghost Writer): (Starring Ewan McGregor, Pierce Brosnan, Kim Cattrall & Olivia Williams) – My rating 5.5/10.

The Americans just love conspiracy! They can’t seem to get enough of it. The film was okay. (I sound like a broken record with my endless disappointment with recent films). The accents from Brosnan and Cattrall were off-putting. Dreadful. Brosnan did not make a convincing British Prime Minister either….. Sorry, but I wasn’t buying into this story line. And…what was with the ending? I didn’t see it coming, but was it necessary. Watch it and agree with me… Note to self. Don’t agree to write a book for someone if this is the trouble that follows.

Red Riding Hood (Starring Amanda Seyfried) – My rating 6/10

Maybe I’ve been watching too many films recently… I don’t seem to be thrilled by many films. Okay, this film was reasonably good. Seyfried was good – a far cry from the jolly Mamma Mia role that she had. The film was dark, mysterious and also a bit ‘seen-it-all-before’. It looked like it was ‘Van Helsing’ crossed with ‘Season of the Witch’. It didn’t do particularly well in many reviews. It was described as ‘bland’ and ‘painfully clichéd’. I agree.

Super 8 (Starring Joel Courtney, Elle Fanning, and Kyle Chandler) – My rating 6/10

A Spielberg classic? Debatable. It had a little of the magic of E.T. Imagine E.T.-meets-Jurassic Park and this is what you get – A friend said that and I agree. The train crash is dramatic. Excellent stuff. I was really on the edge of my seat. There were loads of jumpy moments. Oh boy, did I jump. I just felt that it was all a bit of a let down. I thought that it was interesting to film it as a late 70s film. I think it might have backfired and made the film seem dated already…. Hmm.

World Invasion: Battle Los Angeles (Starring Aaron Eckhart & Michelle Rodriguez) – My rating 4/10.

Cliché. Shaky camera. Smokescreen. Did I mention cliché? It had all the promise and none of the delivery. The invasion was poorly explained. The graphics were shaky. I think Transformers being out in cinemas at the same time didn’t help. It doesn’t compare on digital quality. Too much of the same shooting and fighting from beginning to end. Too much white smoke making it impossible to see really what was happening. This film was a yawn fest!

The Inbetweeners (Starring Simon Bird, Joe Thomas, James Buckley and Blake Harrison) – My rating 7/10.

I’m a big fan of the TV series ‘The Inbetweeners’. It’s a UK series and very ‘close to the bone’. The film, like the TV series, focusses on four teenage boys who have just finished college. Now they aim to fly off on holiday, to Malaga, to have fun, drink and sex. It’s not quite that easy for them as they’re geeky, nerdy, simple and rather inexperienced. It’s one disaster after another with some rather gross scenes. The idea for the film was good, but it’s better in 30 minute TV parts rather than one long film.

The Adjustment Bureau (Starring Matt Damon & Emily Blunt) – My rating 6.5/10.

The film centres around New York Congressman David Norris who runs a promising but ultimately unsuccessful campaign for United States Senate. Life seems straightforward enough until the ‘men in suits’ start interfering. The film is all a bit of a muddle. The ‘adjustment’ people who are trying to stop Damon and Blunt from being together never explain their purpose. It all has something to do with destiny… By this point, I’d pretty much given up. Blunt is fantastic in the film, given the poor quality of the film. I liked her. I didn’t really like the film much. Rather forgettable.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon (in 3D) (Starring Shia LaBeouf & Josh Duhamel) – My rating 6/10.

I can comment on all the wonderful visuals, the immense scenes and the drama…. But I’m going to moan about it instead and say that it’s way too long. Why is the film almost 3 hours long? I’d had enough after about 90 minutes. The re-hashed storyline was okay – but far from brilliant. The battles had all been seen before. And before that. And before that. One thing I will praise highly is the way the film rewrites history and mixes some historical footage with the new stuff. I liked that. If the film hadn’t been sooooo long, I may have enjoyed it more. Josh Duhamel scores 10/10 just for being himself. 🙂

Bridesmaids (Starring Kristen Wiig, Chris O’Dowd & other unknowns….) – My rating 10/10 (still)….

Okay – this is the first film of 2011 that I went to watch twice! The second time around it was still VERY funny! I just laugh so much when watching it. I must download it once it’s on iTunes.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part 2) (Starring Danielle Radcliffe, Emma Watson & Rupert Grint, etc) – My rating 11+/10.

Simply amazing! The ending was everything I had been waiting for. This film has possibly had the highest expectation of any film in recent times. The final part of one of the best stories ever written. (In my opinion it IS the best story ever written).  The films brings together the cast from films dating way back to the first film in 2001. I particularly loved the scenes where the main characters go back to places that we featured in the first couple of films. The Voldermort-vs-Potter parts are excellent. The hairs were standing on the back of my arms…. My eyes were glued to the screen….. Fingers in my mouth…… Nerves! I knew what was coming but all the same, I was excited. Brilliant brilliant brilliant. Potter fans will be pleased. No wonder this film is breaking all the records!

Bridesmaids (Starring Kristen Wiig, Chris O’Dowd & other unknowns….) – My rating 10/10.

Brilliant! This is possibly the funniest film that I have seen in the last three years! I really mean that. I loved it all and I laughed so hard that it hurt. The wedding dress shop scenes were hillarious. The cinema was in uproar when the scenes unfolded. Classic! I want to go and see this film again in the next week. It’s too good not watch again and again. Well done writers! You really hit the spot.

Bad Teacher (Starring Cameron Diaz, Justin Timberlake) – My rating 7/10.

Light-hearted and funny! I really enjoyed this cringe-worthy film. Perhaps I found it so funny because I’m also a teacher. I’d never do any of the things that Diaz did in this film, but…..there’s always the chance. Timberlake is so geeky. It’s actually quite amusing watching him. There are actually people like that in the world too. Oh dear. Well, the film is easy-to-watch. It won’t go down as a classic, but hey ho. Who needs a classic every time?

X-Men: First Class (Starring James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender) – My rating 5/10.

First Class this was not. Ok, I’m not a huge Marvel fan. I know, I know, you’re now asking why then I would watch X-Men. Well, it was entertaining. Corny but entertaining. Good effects, odd storyline and characters that I couldn’t relate to. I don’t have any of those special powers. 🙂 Great for kids and comic fans.

The Hangover Part 2 (Starring Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Zach Galifianakis. Todd Phillips) – My rating 8.5/10.

I laughed and I laughed. This film was hillarious from beginning to end. The 2009 film was great and this did not disappoint. A film to make you cringe at the mere thought. Some great shockers! I am not sure that I will ever be visiting Bangkok. Let’s just say that the film did the city no favours. A must see for comedy fans.

Unknown (Starring Liam Neeson and Diane Kruger) – My rating 9.5/10.

What a superb film. Hooked from the beginning! The plot is brilliant and the action scenes had be on the edge of my seat. I had my hands to my face and felt as though I was there. This is one of the best films I’ve EVER seen. Top 3 for 2011 for sure. It is based on a 2003 French novel, translated into English: Out of My Head, by Didier van Cauwelaert. I may have to read that sometime soon. Go and see this film. You will LOVE it!

Pirates of the Caribbean 4 (in 3D) (Starring Johnny Depp, Jeoffrey Rush and Penélope Cruz) – My rating 7.5/10.

The fourth film in the series was not a disappointment. I wasn’t that impressed with the third installment (then again, I wasn’t looking forward to the 3D film either – I think it’s overrated). The film surprised me and was enjoyable to watch. It did go over the same old, same old…. There was nothing new here, but the effects were good.

Fast and Furious 5 (Starring Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster and Dwayne Johnson) – My rating 5/10.

The filming was good. The screenshots and action was pretty cool. The plot was stretching reality to the limit. I’m sorry, but two cars cannot physically drag a HUGE metal vault (full of cash, I might add) through the streets. I know, I know….it’s a film, but even so the plot had me shaking my head. The acting was poor. Johnson is awful and the parts with him-vs-Diesel are cringe-worthy. Too much testosterone and not enough acting school methinks.

Thor in 3D (Starring  Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins) – My rating 8.5/10.

All the ingredients that I was expecting. I was not let down by this film based of myths and legends. I was surprised that Thor was ever part of Marvel Comics (I had no idea). I knew about the hammer-weilding character from ancient stories. Chris Hemsworth was great in the lead role. I’d made my mind up on that even before the topless scene (honest). Great all-round entertainment. I can really sit back and relax with films like this.

The Next Three Days (Starring  Russell Crowe and Elizabeth Banks) – My rating 7/10.

Action and suspense. A gripping story about a mother who is convicted of murder and the lengths to which a husband will go to free her. Easy-to-watch and full of action once the plan takes shape. It’s shocking to think that this might happen in real life. Crowe plays a man on a mission and one so desperate to free his wife that he makes so many mistakes. It was edge of the seat viewing.

Source Code (Starring  Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga and Jeffrey Wright) – My rating 9.5/10.

The first film since Inception that stunned me with its amazing storyline. Brilliant from beginning to end. This film brought in elements that gripped me from the start. I loved how the film took a situation and repeated over and over to allow the viewer to work parts out for themselves. I suppose it also had similarities to the film Vantage Point. Vera Farmiga is a superb actress – very understated. I hope to see her in many more films. I worked out the whodunnit part. I was so pleased with myself.

Limitless (Starring Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro) – My rating 6.5/10.

One tablet to turn your life around. Half of the time, watching this film, I felt as though I’d taken some odd tablet. The filming takes you on a journey through corporate life and how someone’s fortunes can change. What would life be like if you could use 100% of your brain. Well – now I know. A little exciting at times, gruesome in other parts….. Not bad. I’ve seen a lot better so far this year though. (Gosh – Look at me getting all critical).

The Mechanic (Starring Jason Statham) – My rating 6.5/10.

This thriller has many undertones from previous movies. James Bond comes toi mind when you watch this. It’s entertaining – nothing new. The storyline is somewhat predictable. I could have written it for them, but all in all it was ok. I like the ending. Is that a compliment? I don’t think I ‘connected with the characters’. Hey ho – It was good for my Thursday night free film.

I Am Number Four. (Starring Alex Pettyfer) – My rating 8/10.

I’m not a big Sci-Fi fan, but this one ticked all the right boxes for me. A great film with a gripping plot. I jumped out of my seat a couple of times (one serious jump almost had me over the back of the seat). Pettyfer, a Brit, played the role of Number Four really well – Good to look at too. It’s all about nine aliens hiding on Earth. They are being hunted by the Mogadorians, who destroyed their home planet (and they’re ugly things). Number Four, moves from place to place with his ‘protector’ and tries (not very well) to keep a low-profile. Add the ‘ah-factor’ to the film, a bit of action and it’s all round good entertainment. Apparently, the sequel is due out in the summer of 2011.

Hereafter. (Starring Matt Damon and Cécile de France) – My rating 5/10.

Two words sprang to mind after watching this film. Long and depressing. I’d seen the trailer for the film months ago and forgot what the main plot was – so had an awful shock when I sat watching the tsunami scene at the beginning (a bit too close to reality being the day after I’d watched news of the tsunami in Japan). The film had moments to shock and looked at the afterlife. All in all though, the 129 minutes seemed to drag on and on without real substance. The storyline involving 11-year old twins is devestating and the link to the London bombings of 2005 had me jumping in my seat. Uncomfortable viewing and not well executed.

No Strings Attached. (Starring Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher) – My rating 8/10.

I know – I know – I’ve scored it really quite well. It’s typical, clichéd rom-com stuff that has been done a thousand times before. But. There’s always a but. The ingredients work and this film works. The relationship between Portman and Kutcher is great. The film is believable. If you watch it and don’t think it could happen, well then, I think you’ve led a sheltered life. Haha. I laughed – I cried (only a little, but still the musical arrangement did its magic). I left the cinema feelings all warm and guey. Doesn’t that make you sick?

True Grit. (Starring Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon) – My rating 7/10.

Although Bridges and Damon are the ‘big names’ making the headline on the posters and bringing in the crowds, this film is made truly wonderful by the actress Hailee Steinfeld as the character Mattie Ross. True Grit is a story of revenge. The humour is brilliant! I laughed out loud so many times. Ross is a feisty character who knows her own mind (at 14 years of age) and will not stand for anyone treating her like a child. The relationship between Ross and U.S. Marshal Reuben J. “Rooster” Cogburn is heartwarming. I’m not a big fan of ‘Westerns’, but this one was a refreshing change. There are so many brilliant lines in this film…. Go see it!

127 hours. (Starring James Franco) – My rating 8/10.

This is wonderful. The opening sequence of the film is amazing. I love the split screen idea and the artwork. I was hooked straight away. James Franco plays Aron Ralston really well. The film is based on a true story about Ralston, a real-life mountain climber, who in 2003 finds himself trapped in the middle Utah. I watched parts of the film through my fingers (namely, the bit when he breaks his own arm and then cuts it off). It is emotional, graphic and psychologically traumatic. I cannot imagine what it must have been like to be trapped by a boulder. The film depicts the emotions so well. This film will give ‘The King’s Speech’ a run for its money in the Academy Awards. It’s also amazing to note that the family (the first to meet him after his escape) were from Voorburg, The Netherlands (which is about 5 minutes from where I live). More about the film on Wikipedia here.

The King’s Speech. (Starring Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham-Carter) – My rating 10/10.

An amazing film. This is a ‘must-see’. I was shocked and surprised by the film as it showed how little I knew about some aspects of history. There are moments that you can almost feel what it was like to be watching and listening to ‘Bertie’ giving a speech. The story is heart-warming and refreshing. By the end of the film the hairs on my arms were tingling. Award winning all the way!!! I blogged a little more about this film.

Season of the Witch. (Starring Nicholas Cage) – My rating 6/10.

The film promised so much more than it delivered. The start to the film was good, a real build up to the problems and suspicions of having a witch in the village. As the journey began there were some moments that I had to hide. (OK, I’m not the best one for handling ‘jumpy’ moments. This film had a few cliché moments that had been seen many times before. The ending was a bit too predictable. Hey ho. Light entertainment. 

The Dilemma. (Starring Vince Vaughn and Kevin James) – My rating 4/10.

Oh, oh, oh. What a cringe-worthy film. I actually watched parts of this ‘comedy’ through my fingers. The film is based around two guys (best friends) who are partners in a car design firm. They’ve been best friends since their college years and then one day one of them sees the other’s girlfriend kissing another man. Should he say? Should he not? The dilemma begins…… The film includes possibly one of the most irritating scenes where one character has something crucial to say, yet is interrupted time after time. (That would never happen in real life!!). I left feeling suitably frustrated. The funny parts of the film were soon forgotten. Not worth watching until it makes it to TV in a few years time….. Even then I’d only watch it by accident.

The Tourist. (Starring Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp) – My rating 9/10.

I have to be honest and say that I never really rated Jolie as an actress, but since watching Salt and now this I may be a converted Jolie-fan. This film is fantastic! It has a great pace and I have to admit that I was hooked from the beginning. Again we return to Venice (It seems to have become the film-set for all action movies in recent years). The film centres around Jolie’s character being followed (not very subtly) and a series of traps being set. Who’s good and who’s bad? It’s one to work out. I don’t want my blog to be a spoiler but this is one film that is worth going to see. More about the film on Wikipedia, here.

Love and Other Drugs. (Starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway) – My rating 7/10.

I went to the cinema expecting this to be an easy comedy-romance. It was actually pretty good. I was surprised by the twist in the storyline. The film touches on issues surrounding Parkinson’s disease and it’s done incredibly well. This is a film to make you think. I left it feeling quite warm inside. More about the film on Wikipedia, here.

The good, the bad and the incredibly boring (when it comes to movies).

Calling all movie buffs (film buffs). Does that even translate into US English? I love the cinema and I’m going about twice a week at the moment. I’m using my ‘unlimited’ pass as much as possible before going away on holiday. I just don’t want to miss anything good. I’ve seen some great films recently…. But for every couple of great films there are some dull ones. Maybe you’ve noticed the ‘My 2011 Films’ tab on my homepage. I’m giving a snapshot into all the films I watch this year. My current total (up to 27 July 2011) is 25 films.  

Superb film.

Here’s my list of greats from the last 15* films I’ve seen:

  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (in 3D). (I’m going to see this again very soon).
  • Bridesmaids (I went to see it twice).
  • The Hangover Part 2.
  • Unknown.
  • Thor (in 3D).
  • Source Code.
  • I Am Number Four.

Here are the ones that were okay – we’re talking nothing special:

  • Bad Teacher.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean 4 (in 3D).
  • The Next Three Days.
  • Limitless.
  • The Mechanic.

Here are the ‘wooden spoon award winners’. The ones I wish I’d stayed at home for……:

  • X-Men: First Class.
  • Fast and the Furious 5.

*If you counted you’ll see 14, but I saw Bridesmaids twice….. And it’s my blog. I make the rules.

You can read more about the other films that I have reviewed here.

Is there a film that I should have seen? Any recommendations? Please let me know below. Comments gratefully received.

I met Darth Vader…in Berlin.

Just got back from a weekend trip to Berlin. It’s a fantastic city – I was there two years ago and couldn’t wait to get back. The sun was shining and it was baking hot (28 degrees). Lovely, especially for May in Europe.

I got to Pariser Platz (the huge square by the Brandenburg Gate) and bumped into Darth Vader. Random but funny. I thought I’d share the picture with you all.

10 film reviews of 2011

2011 has been a mixed year so far with regards to the films (movies) that have been released. I’ve seen 10 films at the cinema so far and thought it would be good to pop them up on a post. Check out my short, personal reviews of the ones I’ve seen. I’ve rated them too – but remember, it’s my blog and it’s my opinion. Hahaha. You don’t have to agree – I challenge you to prove me wrong.

You can also keep up to date with my film reviews here.

I Am Number Four. (Starring Alex Pettyfer) – My rating 8/10.

I’m not a big Sci-Fi fan, but this one ticked all the right boxes for me. A great film with a gripping plot. I jumped out of my seat a couple of times (one serious jump almost had me over the back of the seat). Pettyfer, a Brit, played the role of Number Four really well – Good to look at too. It’s all about nine aliens hiding on Earth. They are being hunted by the Mogadorians, who destroyed their home planet (and they’re ugly things). Number Four, moves from place to place with his ‘protector’ and tries (not very well) to keep a low-profile. Add the ‘ah-factor’ to the film, a bit of action and it’s all round good entertainment. Apparently, the sequel is due out in the summer of 2011.

Hereafter. (Starring Matt Damon and Cécile de France) – My rating 5/10.

Two words sprang to mind after watching this film. Long and depressing. I’d seen the trailer for the film months ago and forgot what the main plot was – so had an awful shock when I sat watching the tsunami scene at the beginning (a bit too close to reality being the day after I’d watched news of the tsunami in Japan). The film had moments to shock and looked at the afterlife. All in all though, the 129 minutes seemed to drag on and on without real substance. The storyline involving 11-year old twins is devestating and the link to the London bombings of 2005 had me jumping in my seat. Uncomfortable viewing and not well executed.

No Strings Attached. (Starring Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher) – My rating 8/10.

I know – I know – I’ve scored it really quite well. It’s typical, clichéd rom-com stuff that has been done a thousand times before. But. There’s always a but. The ingredients work and this film works. The relationship between Portman and Kutcher is great. The film is believable. If you watch it and don’t think it could happen, well then, I think you’ve led a sheltered life. Haha. I laughed – I cried (only a little, but still the musical arrangement did its magic). I left the cinema feelings all warm and guey. Doesn’t that make you sick?

True Grit. (Starring Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon) – My rating 7/10.

Although Bridges and Damon are the ‘big names’ making the headline on the posters and bringing in the crowds, this film is made truly wonderful by the actress Hailee Steinfeld as the character Mattie Ross. True Grit is a story of revenge. The humour is brilliant! I laughed out loud so many times. Ross is a feisty character who knows her own mind (at 14 years of age) and will not stand for anyone treating her like a child. The relationship between Ross and U.S. Marshal Reuben J. “Rooster” Cogburn is heartwarming. I’m not a big fan of ‘Westerns’, but this one was a refreshing change. There are so many brilliant lines in this film…. Go see it!

127 hours. (Starring James Franco) – My rating 8/10.

This is wonderful. The opening sequence of the film is amazing. I love the split screen idea and the artwork. I was hooked straight away. James Franco plays Aron Ralston really well. The film is based on a true story about Ralston, a real-life mountain climber, who in 2003 finds himself trapped in the middle Utah. I watched parts of the film through my fingers (namely, the bit when he breaks his own arm and then cuts it off). It is emotional, graphic and psychologically traumatic. I cannot imagine what it must have been like to be trapped by a boulder. The film depicts the emotions so well. This film will give ‘The King’s Speech’ a run for its money in the Academy Awards. It’s also amazing to note that the family (the first to meet him after his escape) were from Voorburg, The Netherlands (which is about 5 minutes from where I live). More about the film on Wikipedia here.

The King’s Speech. (Starring Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham-Carter) – My rating 10/10.

An amazing film. This is a ‘must-see’. I was shocked and surprised by the film as it showed how little I knew about some aspects of history. There are moments that you can almost feel what it was like to be watching and listening to ‘Bertie’ giving a speech. The story is heart-warming and refreshing. By the end of the film the hairs on my arms were tingling. Award winning all the way!!! I blogged a little more about this film.

Season of the Witch. (Starring Nicholas Cage) – My rating 6/10.

The film promised so much more than it delivered. The start to the film was good, a real build up to the problems and suspicions of having a witch in the village. As the journey began there were some moments that I had to hide. (OK, I’m not the best one for handling ‘jumpy’ moments. This film had a few cliché moments that had been seen many times before. The ending was a bit too predictable. Hey ho. Light entertainment. 

The Dilemma. (Starring Vince Vaughn and Kevin James) – My rating 4/10.

Oh, oh, oh. What a cringe-worthy film. I actually watched parts of this ‘comedy’ through my fingers. The film is based around two guys (best friends) who are partners in a car design firm. They’ve been best friends since their college years and then one day one of them sees the other’s girlfriend kissing another man. Should he say? Should he not? The dilemma begins…… The film includes possibly one of the most irritating scenes where one character has something crucial to say, yet is interrupted time after time. (That would never happen in real life!!). I left feeling suitably frustrated. The funny parts of the film were soon forgotten. Not worth watching until it makes it to TV in a few years time….. Even then I’d only watch it by accident.

The Tourist. (Starring Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp) – My rating 9/10.

I have to be honest and say that I never really rated Jolie as an actress, but since watching Salt and now this I may be a converted Jolie-fan. This film is fantastic! It has a great pace and I have to admit that I was hooked from the beginning. Again we return to Venice (It seems to have become the film-set for all action movies in recent years). The film centres around Jolie’s character being followed (not very subtly) and a series of traps being set. Who’s good and who’s bad? It’s one to work out. I don’t want my blog to be a spoiler but this is one film that is worth going to see.

Love and Other Drugs. (Starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway) – My rating 7/10.

I went to the cinema expecting this to be an easy comedy-romance. It was actually pretty good. I was surprised by the twist in the storyline. The film touches on issues surrounding Parkinson’s disease and it’s done incredibly well. This is a film to make you think. I left it feeling quite warm inside.

The King’s Speech: A British Historical Drama

The 2010 film, The King’s Speech looks back at the British Royal Family back in the 1920s and 1930s. The story focusses on ‘Bertie’ (Prince Albert), who then became King George VI, and his struggle against his stammer.

Image from Wikipedia

 

There are moments in the film where the audience is taken back in time and can almost share the discomfort that crowds of people must have felt. The scene where Bertie is speaking at the close of the 1925 British Empire Exhibition at Wembley Stadium shows just how difficult his public life must have been. His duty to speak to the public cannot be avoided and as history shows, it would only increase with time.

Image from Wikipedia

It is amazing to watch how the film progresses. The techniques used by Lionel Logue are extremely unorthodox, and for anyone who knows anything of the British Royal Family, completely unthinkable. I sat open-mouthed at the ways in which Logue spoke to the prince. I was astounded to think that elements of the film had historical truth.

It is not surprising that the film has been nominated for BAFTAs and Academy Awards (Oscars). A truly deserving film!

“As the actor of the year in the film of the year, I can’t think of enough adjectives to praise Firth properly. The King’s Speech has left me speechless.”
— Rex Reed, New York Observer

This film is yet another example of the popularity of films regarding British Royals. ‘The Queen’, ‘Elizabeth’ and ‘Young Victoria’ have all be great successes.

“Not a great deal was written about His Majesty’s speech therapist, Lionel Logue, certainly not in the official biographies. Nor was much published about the Royal stutter; it appeared to be a source of profound embarrassment.”
— David Seidler

 It is not surprising that official biographies failed to mention Lionel Logue. His personality and work ethic tend not disagree with royal protocol.

King George VI

Films such as this always make me want to find out more about the historical facts. I wanted to read more about the abdication of King Edward VII.

I was surprised and shocked to discover that he had met Adolf Hitler against the advice of the British Government in 1937. I was also shocked that it has been suggested that Hitler planned to reinstate Edward as the British monarch had history turned out differently.

The amazing support of King George’s wife, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother), really came across well in the film. It is amazing to think that she outlived her husband by almost 50 years. She had not planned for a life in the public eye, yet she went on to be such a figure of resistence in the Second World War and then in recent times helped to stabilise the popularity of the monarchy as a whole.

The film also depicts the shift from Edward to George which ultimately resulted in Queen Elizabeth II being one of the greatest British monarchs of all time.

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Which is the best film/movie of all time?

 

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve often seen this question asked in magazines, on the television and on online blogs and forums. Still, I don’t think that I am any clearer as to which film or films are the ‘best’. Can any one film be defined as the best? I very much doubt it (but that’s my opinion). What does it need to be the best?

  • The biggest box office hit of all time?
  • The biggest budget?
  • The most Oscar wins?
  • The most ‘talked about’ film?
  • The one that most people choose as their ‘personal favourite’?

I’m thinking of films that I would class as being possible contenders for the ‘best’ of all time. Here is my short and perhaps clichéd list. (These are not my favourite films by the way).

  • Stars Wars
  • Schindler’s List
  • Inception
  • Titanic
  • Gone With The Wind

If I cheat, I would probably add these films (even though they are a series of films)…. I’m allowed to cheat. It’s my blog.

  • Lord Of The Rings (Trilogy)
  • Harry Potter (from beginning to end). *I haven’t seen the final and most anticipated ending yet….. Roll on Summer 2011.

I did some important research today. I chatted with colleagues at work today (ah, that sounds better) about this blog entry and asked which films popped into their heads.

  • E.T.
  • The Sound of Music
  • Blade Runner
  • Silence of the Lambs

These were their answers…. I had to agree with some. A debate started……….”Well it depends on which era you’re thinking of” or “Well there are different genres too”. Good points, making it even more difficult to pick an all time great.

This weekend I watched ‘The Shawshank Redemption‘. I was challenged by a friend of mine to watch it. My friend was shocked (and I mean visibly shocked) when I explained that I had never seen the film. Not only had I never seen the film – I had no idea what it was about.

The film is a mammoth. It’s 143 minutes of film….. But, worthwhile in every way. I was told that I would become a ‘more rounded individual’ for watching it. Perhaps I am now? I am debating whether the film should be added to my provisional list – ‘best films of all time’.

Maybe whoever you are and wherever you are reading this you think I have missed a movie great. maybe you think Disney’s ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’ should be listed too……. I like a challenge.

Why am I even doing this blog? (Perhaps you’re wondering?)

If anything, I really enjoyed being challenged to watch a film that I’d never seen before. Not just because I hadn’t seen it, but because it had been so highly regarded by a close friend. I might end up with some classics to add to My List for 2011.