In an attempt to provide an even better overview of the preceding 12 months than I did last year I have enlisted the help of a website that lists every single UK cinema release by date and have tried to check any releases that were moved around or failed to appear. This is an attempt to run through the year in a chronological order but, with the wealth of movies listed here, I’m sure that one or two will be out of place so please bear with me, blame me for any chronological errors and let’s see how the year played out cinematically. Any look back at a full year is, in my view, always best created when it comes from a personal viewpoint and that’s why I’ll be attempting to cover every big release seen by myself this year and linking to my main reviews. Other Flickfeasters have also seen many of these movies, and many other titles that I missed out on, but this is just from my perspective (although regular readers will know the big releases that we all agreed upon and the titles that saw us stand divided). And make sure you brought sandwiches, it can take a long time to spin through a whole year. A year that saw some green do good (a certain Hornet fared quite well while The Muppets, yet to be released here in the UK, has done well in the USA) and some green do bad (Ryan Reynolds may not find his lantern burning quite so brightly in the future). Censorship and controversy were once again stirring up the horror genre with some audience reactions to The Woman and the BBFC taking quite a strong dislike to The Human Centipede 2 (both very good, and very different, films actually, in my opinion). Michael Bay tried to placate everyone that he’d upset with the second Transformers movie by getting plenty right with the third instalment, a typically bombastic and overblown movie from the master of “Bay-hem” but also a bloody good one. Kevin Smith turned everyone against him and then won some people back round with the absolutely brilliant Red State. And remakes, despite how much we like to bash them, fared well. In fact, the one movie that I missed this year that I was desperate to see was, in a way, a remake. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is given a great review here and here . Add the very enjoyable Fright Night movie, the wonderful True Grit, the tense Mother’s Day, the nicely reworked Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark and even the dumb fun of The Mechanic and you have quite a few titles to offer to people who say “all remakes are terrible, soulless things”. The Potter franchise came to an end, the Mission: Impossible franchise (judging by the advance word) came back with a new lease of life and that Tin Tin movie surprised me by being one of my most enjoyable, blockbuster viewings of the year. Nicolas Winding Refn really seemed to win over almost everyone with the excellent Drive while Lars von Trier continued to laugh at the people enjoying his newest clothes while he paraded naked through the streets of cinema and gave Melancholia to many who lapped it up (I was very much in the minority with my hatred of that one). But, let’s get on with listing the big titles and what this one particular reviewer thought of them.
The Next Three Days – I thought it was pretty bad. As I said in my review here – 4/10.
127 Hours – Danny Boyle provides us with more greatness, reviewed here – 8/10.
Amer – Lots of people loved this movie. I wasn’t one of them. I loathed it so much that I forgot to write a review and will wait until I give it another chance. But, for now, it gets a 4/10 for style and nothing else.
Season Of The Witch – Cage, Perlman, CGI, I kinda enjoyed it and said so here – 6/10.
The King’s Speech – Who didn’t love this one? Excellent – 9/10.
The Green Hornet– It managed to be good. Not great, but good – 7/10.
Black Swan – One of the best films of the year, even if it wasn’t all that original at all – 9/10.
I Spit On Your Grave – Another remake and another film I didn’t get to write a review for yet. A lot of people hailed this as an excellent remake and enjoyed how gritty and nasty it was. Balls, I say, balls. The original, love or hate it, had the smart and thought-provoking idea of a woman both being destroyed and also rebuilt due to her sexuality. This remake shows that horrid abuse can turn a young lass into Sarah Connor. Apparently.
John Carpenter’s The Ward – Still not a return to form by Carpenter but not that bad either – 6/10.
Morning Glory – A fun movie I enjoyed but forgot to write a review for. Harrison Ford has a lot of fun, as do viewers – 7/10.
The Dilemma – Quite funny, quite dramatic, quite average – 6/10.
The Mechanic – Jason Statham in a movie where he kicks quite a lot of ass, shock horror, and I liked it – 7/10.
Tangled – Another outing from Disney that I actually don’t mind being labelled immediately with the “Disney Classic” tag, I didn’t review this one yet just to give myself an excuse to keep rewatching it – 8/10 but that may turn into a 9 in the near future.
Sanctum – It may have been pushed with the name of James Cameron but this impressive movie could stand on it’s own merits, in my view – 7/10.
Gnomeo & Juliet – A fun, colourful take on the classic Shakespeare tale. Not a classic but good fun nonetheless – 7/10.
Just Go With It – An Adam Sandler film. Good grief, I need to actually rewatch this before I write up a full review but it was decidedly mediocre and really felt as if it was made just to let the stars have fun in Hawaii.
Never Let Me Go – It may never have realised the full potential of the source material, according to some, but this film will remain seared in my memory for one scene in which Andrew Garfield embodies the very essence of a devastating realisation, and that calibre of acting is what helped me decide on my rating and full review – 7/10.
True Grit – The Coen Brothers provide audiences with a remake that makes everyone forget about the horror of The Ladykillers. At last. Wonderful stuff, fully deserving of all the praise it received – 9/10.
I Saw The Devil (pictured) – I saw this amazing film and I can’t believe I forgot to mention it in my list of contenders for film of the year. Because it is – 10/10
Yogi Bear – *Shudder* – 3/10
Your Highness – *Another shudder* – 4/10.
I Am Number 4 – The director of the excellent Disturbia and the so-so Eagle Eye returns with another decent movie that was sadly ignored by many moviegoers. I liked it – 7/10.
Paul – Pegg. Frost. Rogen. Wiig. Bateman. Hader. Other folk. Perhaps not as funny as many hoped it would be, this one is a definite grower and a nicely crafted comedy and homage flick all in one – 7/10.
Drive Angry – Nic Cage drives out of Hell and proceeds to kick ass effortlessly. In 3D. With Amber Heard. This was a blast and I need to buy it on Blu-ray. Not big, not clever. But fun, fun, fun – 7/10.
The Rite – Oh dear, oh dear. In a year full of misfires and bad major releases (just look at the underwhelming figures for Cowboys & Aliens to confirm my viewpoint), The Rite has the dubious honour of being one of the very worst cinema releases I saw. Hopkins needs to get back on track ASAP – 3/10.
Unknown – Liam Neeson does his Taken hard-ass act again. But not half as well – 5/10.
The Adjustment Bureau – A romance with sci-fi trappings, this one grew on me once I got rid of my expectations – 7/10.
Rango – Strange, and strangely fantastic – 8/10.
Hall Pass – Nope, not all that funny. Though I did giggle a few times. But I am easily pleased. And generous – 5/10.
The Resident – Just manages to get an average score, thanks to the stars and one or two fun moments – 5/10.
Limitless – Slick and enjoyable – 7/10.
The Lincoln Lawyer – Even slicker and even more enjoyable – 8/10.
Submarine – It was quite a good year for British films and Submarine was up there with the best of them – 9/10.
Faster – Dwayne Johnson becomes the forgotten Driver of the year – 6/10.
A Turtle’s Tale – Nope, just no. Saved by some nice 3D animated moments – 5/10.
Hop – Actually tolerable, my daughter was quiet while it was on and I chuckled a few times. Reviewed here – 6/10.
Sucker Punch – Would it be a bit of an annoyance to say that this may well be one of the most misunderstood movies of the year? While I, as much as anyone else, like to bash anyone in the head who goes along with the “oh, you just didn’t get it” defence of a movie I’d have to concede that, in this instance, I THINK a lot of people missed out on the layering of the film and took it as it looked on the surface, as a movie about sexy gals fighting folk in videogame levels. I certainly got more from it than some people – 7/10.
Beastly – I probably shouldn’t have even told people I watched this one, let alone the fact that I thought it was okay, considering the central audience it was aimed at – 5/10.
Red Riding Hood – Another film aimed at young girls I somehow ended up watching and not hating – 5/10.
Source Code – The second directorial sci-fi flick for Duncan Jones proves that he’s a talent to keep an eye on but it’s also a lot less satisfying than the quite brilliant Moon. It’s also another title I have yet to review – 7/10.
Thor – Kenneth Branagh clearly enjoys providing audiences with a superhero movie that has more than it’s fair share of Shakespearean moments and themes. Audiences clearly enjoyed it. I’ve still to write up this one so I have an excuse to rewatch it – 7/10.
Attack The Block – A fantastic film debut for great Brit, Joe Cornish, review pending – 8/10.
Blitz – Statham. Considine. Aidan Gillen. Not a great film but a little bit different from the norm – 6/10.
Cowboys & Aliens – another one I was late in getting to and another one I really enjoyed. Nothing unmissable but I’m surprised that this one “underperformed” at the box office – 7/10.
Captain America: The First Avenger – I didn’t see this one until this week (hence the lack of review – a legitimate reason this time) but I must say that it was superb and, for me, THE comic book movie of the year. A perfect blend of action, drama, humour, heart and FX work – 9/10.
The Hangover Part II – Perhaps the lack of laughs here is what helped me to stay teetotal in the latter part of 2011 – 4/10.
Insidious – One of the very best standard horror movies in a long time, though not without flaws – 8/10.
X – Men: First Class – For me, this was one of the disappointments of the year. I am in a minority that consists of about 10 people. But I stand by my review – 6/10.
Kung Fu Panda 2 – I liked it. I reviewed it here and so did my daughter, albeit briefly – 7/10 from me and 10/10 from Sadie.
Kill List – Another movie that I have to fully form my opinion on. It’s an interesting and twisted movie but one that seems to have been embraced by people who feel it is disturbing and unsettling (which it is) and graphic and unique (which it actually isn’t) – 7/10.
Mother’s Day – An excellent home invasion thriller with a very good cast – 8/10.
Green Lantern – Ryan Reynolds, eh. I like him. A number of other people don’t. This film won’t convert anyone – 6/10.
The Beaver – Mel Gibson goes a bit mad but this time it’s safely onscreen. Jodie Foster directs, and also stars with Mel and Anton Yelchin, and the movie almost reaches greatness despite being overshadowed by the real-life antics of the main star. An interesting, flawed, dark film but it could have been so much more – 6/10.
Bridesmaids – Justin doesn’t agree with the majority here, but almost everyone rated this as the comedy hit of the year. And, for a change, I didn’t argue with them – 8/10.
Transformers: Dark Of The Moon – Considering these robots are meant to be in disguise, Michael Bay wisely gets them tearing up the big screen as often as he can. This third movie is the best of the lot – 8/10.
Super – A bit of a darker riff on Kick Ass material but still well worth seeing as it tries to stay true to a darker vision – 7/10.
Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part II– An amazing end to an amazing film series, review pending – 8/10
Horrible Bosses – One of the best comedies of the year – 8/10.
Zookeeper – Bah, the downside of watching so many movies is enduring stuff like this – 4/10.
Super 8 – Despite stiff competition, this was probably my disappointment of the year – 6/10.
Rise Of The Planet of the Apes – The blockbuster that seemed to satisfy everyone this year, a resounding success – 8/10.
The Inbetweeners Movie – Not bad but not great. Certainly had moments of greatness though – 6/10.
The Guard – Another movie that I’ve given myself an excuse to rewatch (alongside the great In Bruges) – 8/10.
Conan The Barbarian – decidedly okay – 6/10.
Final Destination 5 – A surprisingly fantastic movie coming after the worst entry in the series so far – 8/10.
Fright Night – Colin Farrell had a great year and this was another great film that he seemed to have a lot of fun with – 8/10.
Apollo 18 – Another “found footage” movie, not bad but just not enough in it to make it great – 6/10.
Friends With Benefits – I really enjoyed this one. What else can I say? – 7/10.
Jane Eyre – I expected more from this lavish adaptation – 6/10.
Colombiana – Whatever it says about me, I also expected a bit more from this action flick with Zoe Saldana in the lead role – 6/10.
The Change-Up – Audiences seemed to be quite a grumpy lot this year but perhaps that was more to do with a crumbling economy and more to worry about than the latest movie releases. I REALLY liked this movie and I laughed. A lot – 8/10.
You Instead – Mildly diverting but completely missable – 4/10.
African Cats – Disney provided people with the box office stinker of the year in the shape of Mars Needs Moms but tried to beat that with this pretty dire documentary – 3/10.
Crazy, Stupid, Love – A hugely enjoyable romantic comedy that feels a bit different from many others. It’s basically a chick flick for guys to enjoy – 8/10.
Drive – universally adored? No movie ever is nowadays but this came pretty damn close, and I went with the majority this time around – 9/10.
30 Minutes Or Less– Another disappointment for me but it certainly has some laughs and is worth a viewing – 6/10 (subject to change as it perhaps grows on me with repeat viewings).
Melancholia – Some people, in fact I’d have to grudgingly admit that many people, loved this film. I disliked it so strongly that I considered getting the poster of it tattooed on my backside. Just horrible, self-indulgent crap to my eyes – 3/10.
The Woman – An astonishing horror movie from the fantastic Lucky McKee – 9/10.
Red State – Kevin Smith hits it out that park. Not enough people see past his name. Possibly his best film – 9/10.
Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark – A very well constructed remake – 7/10.
Paranormal Activity 3 – Better than the second movie but a completely misleading trailer led to a lot of disappointment amongst the enjoyment – 5/10.
The Adventures Of Tintin: The Secret Of The Unicorn – Absolutely fantastic cinematic wonderment – 8/10.
The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) – A lot grosser than the first movie but also an improvement upon it, thanks to the mix of nastiness and absurdity putting the joke absolutely beyond a shadow of a doubt (ironic, considering the reaction to it) – 8/10.
The Thing – I still love Mary Elizabeth Winstead and I did enjoy this movie. But it wasn’t great and comes nowhere near the greatness of the John Carpenter film (which was, to be honest, the expected outcome anyway) – 6/10.
And that would cover most of the main releases, though there was also fun to be had with the likes of Stag Night Of The Dead, Being Sold, Orcs! and a number of other independent products. I’m still looking forward to catching up on a few titles (13 Assassins, The Tree Of Life and the latest Mission: Impossible movie spring immediately to mind) but they are also reviewed here on Flickfeast if you want to see how they were received and I think, overall, I gave it a good old-fashioned try. Which is all you can do when wading in the constant tide of movie releases.
Flickfeast maintained some great festival coverage once again this year with trips to Cornwall, great coverage of the 55th BFI London Film Festival, a nice time for Patrick Gamble at the Empire Big Screen event (my jealousy is FINALLY beginning to subside, Patrick), great reports from the CPH PIX Film Festival, some horror fan kept going on about Dead By Dawn and then there was some kind of movie-related thing that happened in my home city in June. Oh yeah, the EIFF 2011 (where I caught a few other movies in case you’re wondering about a few titles missing from above). Add in the many reviews for our theme months, we had some great coverage of horror, sci-fi and some magical Christmas movies just in the last few months alone, and the many great Top 10s and overview articles that prompted discussion and debate and I think it’s safe to say that the site, and all who read it, show that the love for all things cinematic is as strong as it ever has been. Despite that damn 3D fad trying to upset everyone.
In 2012 we will have some more great stuff coming. The Dark Knight Rises, Spiderman gets rebooted (something I, like many others, am not too keen on but there’s a great cast lined up for it), The Avengers aim to conquer all, The Iron Lady will show a woman who also aimed to conquer all, The Muppets get to the UK (do check out the trailer that brilliantly parodies the trailer for the remake of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo), Ghost Rider returns and The Hobbit finally comes to our screens, even if we do have to wait a long, long time for it. The Hunger Games should provide some food for thought while I’m personally looking forward to seeing Neighborhood Watch, Django Unchained and, yes, Skyfall (which may end up being preceded by something a little Bond-related here on the site – maybe). But this is the tip of the iceberg. I’ll be wrong, as usual, and have a number of new favourites by the end of next year. But that’s all part of the fun.
What are you looking forward to seeing in 2012? What did you enjoy most in 2011? Put your thoughts here and remember that we’re all just expectant viewers staying optimistic together when those houselights dim and the projector starts up.