2011: The Year In Film So Far


Greetings from the former home of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, Crossville, Tennessee!  Yes, Jeff and I are on our way back to Texas.  It’s been a wonderful vacation but I have to admit, I’m looking forward to seeing a movie at the Plano (or Dallas) Angelika on Sunday.  I’m not sure which movie but, as long as it’s a movie, I’ll be a happy girl.

That’s because I love movies.  Movies are what I schedule my life around.  My birth certificate says I was born in 1985 but I know that I was born in the year of Brazil, Prizzi’s Honor, Blood Simple, and After Hours.  If each year can be judged by the quality of the films then how is 2011 looking now that we’ve reached (and passed) the halfway mark?

Right now, as I sit here in this hotel room in my panties and my beloved Pirates shirt, I’d say 2011 is shaping up to be an average year.  There’s been a few films that I loved and there’s been a few that I’ve absolutely despised but for the most part, this year is shaping up to be comfortable and rather bland. 

Much as I did last year at this time, I’m going to take a few minutes to mention a few high points (and low points) of 2011 so far.  Agree?  Disagree?  Make your opinion known.

Best Film (So Far): Hanna, without a doubt.  Joe Wright’s stylish thriller hasn’t gotten half the acclaim that it deserves.  Runners-ups: The Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Incendies, Jane Eyre, Kill The Irishman, Of Gods and Men, Red Riding Hood, Sucker Punch, The Source Code, Super, 13 Assassins, The Tree of Life, Win Win, X-Men: First Class

Best Male Performance of the Year (so far): Paul Giamatti in Win Win.  Runners up: Bobby Cannavale in Win Win, Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Hesher, Matthew McConaughey in The Lincoln Lawyer, and Rainn Wilson in Super.

Best Female Performance Of The Year (so far): Sairose Ronan in Hanna. Runners up: Lubna Azabal for Incendies, Ellen Page for Super, Amy Ryan for Win Win, and Mia Wasikowska for Jane Eyre.

Best Ending (so far): The charmingly low budget zombie film that runs over the end credits of Super 8.

Best Horror Film (so far): Insidious.

Most Underrated Film Of The Year (so far): A tie, between Sucker Punch and Red Riding HoodRed Riding Hood, as a matter of fact, was so underrated that I had to see it a second time before I really appreciated it.

Best Bad Film: Beastly.  Silly but kinda fun in a really, really odd sort of way.

Worst Film of The Year (so far): The Conspirator, a bore of a movie that was apparently filmed through a filter of grime.  Runners up: Priest, The Beaver, Battle L.A. (sorry Arleigh, Leonard, and Erin), Season of the Witch, Your Highness, and The Green Lantern.

Biggest Example of A Missed Opportunity This Year (So Far): The Adjustment Bureau, which could have been a great Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind-type of film but instead, turned out to be just another predictable and shallow example of new age triteness.

The Get-Over-It Award For The First Half Of 2011: The Conspirator, a film that attempts to be relavent by using the 19th Century to comment on political issues from 2006.

My Prediction For Which Film Will Be The Most Overrated Of 2011: Last year, I predicted The Social Network and, surprise surprise, I was right.  In fact, the folks at AwardsDaily.com are still bitching about how The Social Network lost best picture to The King’s Speech.  (By the way, a few other choice pieces of wisdom from Awards Daily: The Beaver is Jodie Foster’s best film ever and only elitists should be allowed to comment on film.)  This year, I’m going to predict that the most overrated film of 2011 will be the unnecessary remake of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

My Prediction For What Will Be The Worst Film Of 2011: The winner here is another remake — Rod Lurie is remaking Straw Dogs and this time, he’s setting it in the South.  You know what?  Go back to Vermont and fuck yourself ragged, you dumbass, blue state elitist.  

So, that’s 2011 so far.  There’s still quite a few films that I’m looking forward to seeing: Another Earth, The Debt, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark; Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy; Hugo, and most of all, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2.

A Quickie With Lisa Marie: The Source Code (dir. by Duncan Jones)


Okay, I’ll admit it right now: I’m way too late in reviewing this film.  Seriously, if you were planning on seeing The Source Code, then you’ve probably already seen it by this point.  You already have your own opinion about the film.  Why do you need hear mine?  You’re probably saying, “Girl, move on.”

And to that I say: “I do what I want!”

Anyway…

The Source Code is a surprisingly smart and occasionally even moving little sci-fi thriller.  Jake Gyllenhaal plays Colt Stevens, an army helicopter pilot who, as the film begins, awakens to find himself on a commuter train with no idea who he is or how he got there.  The woman sitting across from him (played by Michelle Monaghan) seems to know he is.  The confused Gyllenhaal wanders around the train trying to figure out who he is.  He goes into the train’s restroom, looks in the mirror, and sees a stranger staring back at him.  And then the entire train blows up.

Suddenly, Gyllenhaal wakes up again.  He’s apparently trapped in a dark chamber with his only link to the outside world being a computer screen.  An army officer (Vera Farminga) appears on the screen and explains to him that he was sent into the past in order to find out who bombed the train.  And he will continually be sent back into the past to relive the few minutes before the bomb goes off.  He’s told that the past cannot be changed, the people on the train cannot be saved, and his only mission is to discover who planted the bomb. 

It’s a clever little plot (one that would do Philip K. Dick proud) that has a lot more twists and turns than is obvious from a simple recap.  Along with a smart script, the film has a cast who bring a lot of conviction and nuance to their roles.  Jake Gyllenhaal, in particular, redeems himself after his unfortunate work in Love and Other Drugs.  However, the film’s real hero is director Duncan Jones who gives The Source Code both a heart and a brain.  His work here confirms that talent that was evident in Moon and I’m looking forward to what he gives us next.