That Movie Guy’s Top 15 of 2011

Well it’s the end of 2011 and it has been a very good year for cinema. We have been introduced to new worlds, actors, directors and creativity. For myself it has been a succesful first year of movie watching and writing, and I would like to thank you my readers.But also I would like to thank  my very supportive family and friends without you I wouldn’t be doing this, your love and support keeps me going. Happy New Years guys and lets look forward to 2012, Diolch yn Fawr Iawn………

Click on the Titles for the review

15.Submarine

What a stunning directorial debut by Richard Ayoade,Precocious Oliver struggles with being popular in school but when a dark-haired beauty takes interest in him, he’s determined to become the best boyfriend in the world. Meanwhile, his parents’ already rocky relationship is threatened when his mother’s ex-boyfriend moves in next door. Oliver makes some unorthodox plans to ensure that his parents stay together and that Jordana still likes him.

14.Tyrannosaur

Another fantastic directoral debut by Paddy Considine,The story of Joseph a man plagued by violence and a rage that is driving him to self-destruction. As Joseph’s life spirals into turmoil a chance of redemption appears in the form of Hannah, a Christian charity shop worker. Their relationship develops to reveal that Hannah is hiding a secret of her own with devastating results on both of their lives.Yet another to be proud of the booming British Film Industry.

13.The Inbetweeners Movie

The summer was dominated by The Inbetweeners Movie, one of the largest grossing films in The UK.Will (Simon Bird), Jay (James Buckley), Neil (Blake Harrison) and Simon (Joe Thomas) – on their last day of college. As Simon is surprise-dumped by the girl he has been chasing for the entire run of the series, Carly (Emily Head), the collective newfound freedom of the group prompts them to up sticks to Greece for a debauched lads’ holiday. While for the other three it’s all about booze and sex ad literal nauseum, for Simon it’s about winning Carly back once he realises she is also in town. Once they chance upon a group of like-minded British girls nearby, though, things change considerably, and they come to wonder if they might all have had their fortunes turn around.

12. The King’s Speech

One of the highlights of the year was watching Colin Firth win his Oscar for his portrayal of George VI.Tells the story of the man who became King George VI, the father of Queen Elizabeth II. After his brother abdicates, George (‘Bertie’) reluctantly assumes the throne. Plagued by a dreaded stammer and considered unfit to be king, Bertie engages the help of an unorthodox speech therapist named Lionel Logue. Through a set of unexpected techniques, and as a result of an unlikely friendship, Bertie is able to find his voice and boldly lead the country through war

11. Bridesmaids

An utter surprise of a comedy in 2011, you would think that it’s a rom-com BUT it’s NOT.Annie (Kristen Wiig), is a maid of honor whose life unravels as she leads her best friend, Lillian (Maya Rudolph), and a group of colorful bridesmaids (Rose Byrne, Melissa McCarthy, Wendi McLendon-Covey and Ellie Kemper) on a wild ride down the road to matrimony. Annie’s life is a mess. But when she finds out her lifetime best friend is engaged, she simply must serve as Lillian’s maid of honor. Though lovelorn and broke, Annie bluffs her way through the expensive and bizarre rituals. With one chance to get it perfect, she’ll show Lillian and her bridesmaids just how far you’ll go for someone you love.

10.The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn

The best animated film of the year by a mile, Stephen Spielberg brought Tintin to the big screen and my lord it impressed.Having bought a model ship, the Unicorn, for a pound off a market stall Tintin is initially puzzled that the sinister Mr. Sakharine should be so eager to buy it from him, resorting to murder and kidnapping Tintin – accompanied by his marvellous dog Snowy – to join him and his gang as they sail to Morocco on an old cargo ship. Sakharine has bribed the crew to revolt against the ship’s master, drunken Captain Haddock, but Tintin, Snowy and Haddock escape, arriving in Morocco at the court of a sheikh, who also has a model of the Unicorn. Haddock tells Tintin that over three hundred years earlier his ancestor Sir Francis Haddock was forced to scuttle the original Unicorn when attacked by a piratical forebear of Sakharine but he managed to save his treasure and provide clues to its location in three separate scrolls, all of which were secreted in models of the Unicorn. Tintin and Sakharine…

9.Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II

2011 was a sad year as the Harry Potter franchise came to an end, after 10 years of following the series the magic is gone.The final chapter begins as Harry, Ron, and Hermione continue their quest of finding and destroying the Dark Lord’s three remaining Horcruxes, the magical items responsible for his immortality. But as the mystical Deathly Hallows are uncovered, and Voldemort finds out about their mission, the biggest battle begins and life as they know it will never be the same again. Harry and the gang went out in a blaze of glory, what and end to an amazing franchise.

8. Rise of the Planet of the Apes

What I thought would have been the sack of crap, but it turned out to be an utter favorite.Scientist Will Rodman works for a major pharmaceutical firm trying to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. The most recent version of his experimental drug seems to have worked on a chimp. Unfortunately, the chimp goes berserk on the same day as a presentation to investors and the animal is put down. Only after the incident does Will realize that the chimp had given birth and had been acting wildly to protect her newborn. He takes the animal, which he’s named Caesar, home as a pet and soon realize it is extremely intelligent, no doubt the effects of the drug on his mother while he was in utero. When Will is forced to put the animal in a secure lock up after it attacks a neighbor, Caesar leads an animal revolt against his human captors and mankind.

7.Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Gary Oldman’s portrayal of George Smilie was another highlight of this year, by far the performance of a life time.In the early 1970s during the Cold War, the head of British Intelligence, Control, resigns after an operation in Budapest, Hungary goes badly wrong. It transpires that Control believed one of four senior figures in the service was in fact a Russian agent – a mole – and the Hungary operation was an attempt to identify which of them it was. Smiley had been forced into retirement by the departure of Control, but is asked by a senior government figure to investigate a story told to him by a rogue agent, Ricky Tarr, that there was a mole. Smiley considers that the failure of the Hungary operation and the continuing success of Operation Witchcraft (an apparent source of significant Soviet intelligence) confirms this, and takes up the task of finding him. Through the efforts of Peter Guillam, Smiley obtains information that eventually leads him to Jim Prideaux, the agent at the heart of the Hungary fiasco…

6.X-Men: First Class

The best superhero film this year, blew all the other ones out of the park.Before Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their powers for the first time. Before they were archenemies, they were closest of friends, working together, with other Mutants (some familiar, some new), to stop the greatest threat the world has ever known. In the process, a rift between them opened, which began the eternal war between Magneto’s Brotherhood and Professor X’s X-MEN.

5. Black Swan

One of the strangest films I have seen in a while, but Black Swan is a classic that I will be watching again and again.Nina (Portman) is a ballerina in a New York City ballet company whose life, like all those in her profession, is completely consumed with dance. She lives with her obsessive former ballerina mother Erica (Hershey) who exerts a suffocating control over her. When artistic director Thomas Leroy (Cassel) decides to replace prima ballerina Beth MacIntyre (Ryder) for the opening production of their new season, Swan Lake, Nina is his first choice. But Nina has competition: a new dancer, Lily (Kunis), who impresses Leroy as well. Swan Lake requires a dancer who can play both the White Swan with innocence and grace, and the Black Swan, who represents guile and sensuality. Nina fits the White Swan role perfectly but Lily is the personification of the Black Swan. As the two young dancers expand their rivalry into a twisted friendship, Nina begins to get more in touch with her dark side – a recklessness that threatens to destroy her.

4.Warrior

Another surprise this year was Warrior, I never anticipated a sport film to be so dramatic and thrilling.Two brothers face the fight of a lifetime – and the wreckage of their broken family – within the brutal, high-stakes world of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighting in Lionsgate’s action/drama, WARRIOR. An ex-Marine haunted by a tragic past, Tommy Riordan returns to his hometown of Pittsburgh and enlists his father, a recovered alcoholic and his former coach, to train him for an MMA tournament awarding the biggest purse in the history of the sport. As Tommy blazes a violent path towards the title prize, his brother, Brendan, a former MMA fighter unable to make ends meet as a public school teacher, returns to the amateur ring to provide for his family. Even though years have passed, recriminations and past betrayals keep Brendan bitterly estranged from both Tommy and his father. But when Brendan’s unlikely rise as an underdog sets him on a collision course with Tommy, the two brothers must finally confront the forces that tore them apart, all the while waging the most intense, winner-takes-all battle of their lives

3.50/50

Cancer is always a risky topic to base a film on, but this dark comedy has stuck out for me this year.The story is about Adam (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a rule-following, mild-mannered twentysomething who lives in Seattle with his girlfriend, Rachael (Bryce Dallas-Howard), and works at Seattle Public Radio. His life takes a sudden and dramatic turn when he is diagnosed with a rare form of cancer that has taken over his spine. A laidback kind of guy, Adam handles each hurdle with surprising ease and levity while engaging in somewhat helpful counseling from Katie (Anna Kendrick), a young psychologist the hospital assigns him. Before long, though, his complex relationships with Rachael, his best friend Kyle (Seth Rogen), and his needy mother (Angelica Huston) become even more convoluted with the introduction of chemotherapy and medicinal marijuana into his life. As the severity of his condition increases, Adam begins to reassess his life, his relationships, and the nonplussed façade he uses to get himself through.

2. Senna

One of the greatest documentaries I have ever watched, Senna is one of those films I will never forget.The story of the monumental life and tragic death of legendary Brazilian motor-racing Champion, Ayrton Senna. Spanning the decade from his arrival in Formula One in the mid 80’s, the film follows Senna’s struggles both on track against his nemesis, French World Champion Alain Prost, and off it, against the politics which infest the sport. Sublime, spiritual yet, on occasion, ruthless – Senna conquers and transcends Formula One to become a global superstar. Privately, he is humble, almost shy, and fiercely patriotic, donating millions to his native Brasil and contemplating a life beyond motor-racing. Yet he is struck down in his prime on the blackest weekend in the history of the sport, watched live on television by 300 million people. Years on he is revered in Formula One as the greatest motor racing driver of all time – and in Brasil as a Saint.

1. Drive

This film is cool, bloody, retro and my film of the year. Nothing has stood out more than Drive, if you haven’t seen it yet please do.Drive tells the story of an unnamed stunt driver (Ryan Gosling) moonlighting as a getaway driver for a crime syndicate run by Bernie Rose (Albert Brooks). Seemingly a loner, the driver becomes involved in the life of his neighbour Irene (Carey Mulligan) and her young son Benicio (Kaden Leos). After agreeing to drive for Irene’s newly paroled husband Standard (Oscar Isaac), and finding himself on the wrong side of assassination contract, the driver embarks on a mission to protect Irene from the vicious gangsters who would seek to harm her to get at him.

SEE YOU GUYS IN 2012

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