Jarv looks back at 2011 in film.
Ordinarily when I do these retrospectives, I look back at the films with a UK release date of 2011 and pick out 10 films that I rate to be the best of the year. However, in all honesty, when I was looking at my top 10 of this year, there are an awful lot of films that aren’t worth a best of year list. So, to mix it up a bit, I’m going to do something marginally different and give out a lot of gongs in different categories to films that I think are worth mentioning.
So, let’s look back at 2011 and reminisce.
First up, let’s start with the negative ones:
Disappointment of the year.
Runner up: Black Swan
You’re not going to hear this a lot on this article, but Koutch is absolutely right about both these films even if he is a bit harsh on Black Swan.
Black Swan is the only film to appear in two of these categories. While by no stretch of the imagination an actually bad film, this massively overrated film was one that I was stoked to see. I like Aronofsky, and so imagine my disappointment when the boredom of this set in. Redeemed by a superb performance from Portman, and a brilliant ending, it’s a crying shame about the narcolepsy inducing first third.
However, Green Lantern is an entirely different kettle of fish. In this day and age there is absolutely no excuse for a superhero film to be this, well, shit. At best this flirts with mediocrity, but most of the time it’s a completely flaccid and faintly embarrassing mess. I was well on board for this film being good, in that the Guardian had been supremely snotty about it for the months before it was release. Yet, what did we get? A kind of even gayer Top Gun, complete with daddy issues (fucking yawn), a load of messy CGI and a lot of laughable crap about the colour yellow. Not good, not good at all.
Only Mark Strong comes out of this even remotely in credit, and this is actually Mrs. Jarv’s tied pick for worst film of the year. Luckily, this is my list, and I don’t think it’s that bad, but it was hugely, hugely disappointing.
Overrated Film of the Year
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Runner Up: Black Swan
For similar reasons to Black Swan’s appearance in the list above, I cannot believe that this film was so far overrated. As we discussed the other day, even the lesbian scene in it is overrated.
However, this had nothing on Tinker Tailor. The collective critical splurge over this film is hard to believe: buckets of jizz have literally been flung at this film. It just, honestly, isn’t that good and is fact mostly boring. However, to be fair, this is another film that could not in any real justification be called bad. It can, however, justifiably be called heartless, cold, and well, dull. Still, when it sweeps up in award season, I’ll be totally unsurprised, and will merely shrug my shoulders and put it down to the fact that Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is nothing but pure critic bait.
Worst Film of the Year
Runner Up: New Year’s Eve.
This is actually testament to how fucking awful Sucker Punch is. I know this is only the 2nd year of the new decade, but I won’t be surprised if in 2019 we’re naming it as the worst film of the decade, which is just recognition of the cinematic atrocity that it is.
New Year’s Eve is a fucking horrible film, and indescribably awful on almost every level, however even at its wankiest it doesn’t compare to the horribly boring and frankly fucking ugly extended music video that is Sucker Punch.
With the sensibilities of a retarded adolescent, a script written by a howler monkey on an LSD binge, Sucker Punch is an obnoxious and juvenile ode to the worst and most embarrassing coke fuelled fantasies kicking around one man’s brain.
Fuck you Snyder, you wanker, and isn’t it about time you stopped inflicting your dismal fucking movies on us and went back to shooting music videos where you clearly belong.
Sucker Punch: hateful garbage of the rankest kind.
That’s enough negativity, time for the positive reviews:
Surprise of the Year
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Runner Up: Thor
I had Thor written off as total fucking garbage. I thought it was going to be unspeakable fish-out-of-water crap about a third teir Marvel Funnybook hero. Probably involving daddy issues. However, I was being grossly unfair, and not only did I end up thoroughly enjoying the big stupid film, it struck me as being one of the better superhero movies out there. So, where I was prepared to laugh it off the screen, I actually found myself rooting for it in a strange kind of way.
However, that’s nothing compared to the overall shock that was Rise of the Planet of the Apes. When this was announced, having been burnt by Burton’s turdy effort at Planet of the Apes, I had this on the “ignore” list. Then the trailers started arriving and my interest shot up from the bottom of the Mariana trench. However, I did still maintain a healthy degree of scepticism given that it was a remake of Conquest, and therefore bound not to be a good film. Yet, in the end, it turned out to not only be a very good film, but a borderline great one, and if I’d done a top 10, Rise was pencilled in as either number 3 or 4 depending on my mood.
Congratulations, monkey boys, this was a genuinely special effort.
Non-English Language Film of the Year
Runner Up: 13 Assassins
OK, I had to think about this one for a bit, as there’s been a fair old whack that I haven’t seen, but I wanted to give Norwegian Wood some recognition.
Miike’s 13 Assassins was a wonderful slice of full-on Samurai stabbery, and one I thoroughly enjoyed, but Norwegian Wood was in a different class.
Taking Murakami’s oft-described unfilmable book, Norwegian Wood was a beautifully shot, supremely acted, gloriously miserable slice of cinema. This emotionally gruelling Japanese film really did reach inside me, tear my heart out, and then stomp all over it. Genuinely one of the most powerful films of the year, Norwegian Wood is a slightly flawed, but singularly lush and always majestic slice of misery porn. Absolutely outstanding and a film that I’ve now put myself through twice without the impact diminishing in any way. Highly, highly recommended, but keep the prozac handy.
Happy film of the year
Runner Up: Fast 5
I thought about this long and hard, but the winning films in my positive category are all, well, fucking miserable. Even the runners up have a strong thread of misery. However, I don’t just sit around watching movies designed to rape your soul. So, in honour of that, here are the two best non-Misery Porn movies of the year.
Fast 5 was a big, brash explosion filled giggle, that I thoroughly enjoyed when I saw it. It’s probably my action movie pick of 2011 and was every bit as dumb as the fifth film in a truly paste-eating franchise could be. Nevertheless, it’s also great fun.
In contrast, Gore Verblinski’s spectacular Rango is a light and witty cartoon take on westerns. Starring Jonny Depp as the titular lizard, Rango is a film that I’ll come back to time and time again in the future. Just great fun, and a film that I’m thoroughly pleased I saw.
English Language Film of the Year
Runner Up: Animal Kingdom
And now for the misery. Unlike Droid, I’ve found that the best films that I’ve seen this year have all been pretty fucking miserable.
Animal Kingdom saw it’s release in the UK in the winter, and this gritty slice of Aussie drama, underpinned by several fantastic performances, instantly announced itself as a contender for my film of the year. Frankly, I loved this portrayal of the Aussie criminal underclass, and I can’t recommend this film enough.
However, Kill List was something else entirely. I’m not going to write a lot here, because this is the type of film that you need to see without knowing anything. Don’t even read my review about it. Kill List is an uncompromising, terrifying, and simply fucking magnificent horror movie that is to my mind the best film in that sagging genre since The Descent.
The only film I saw released this year that was more powerful than Norwegian Wood, Kill List is a punch to the bollocks and a stomp to the head. If there’s one film released in 2011 that I consider to be required viewing, this one is it.
Absolutely outstanding and I cannot recommend it enough.
I’d like to give a few more mentions to a few more films.
Firstly, in terms of both Disappointing and Overrated films- Brighton Rock. Completely failed to live up to the novel or the original, and was a complete let down.
For the crappy list, it’s testament to how bad 1 and 2 are that they held off My Soul to Take, Hobo with a Shotgun and Insidious. All are fucking terrible, and all worthy of little more than absolute derision.
And I’d like to give a nod to Green Hornet, which almost took Thor’s spot as number 2 on the surprise list. Genuinely a complete shock, and a film I really enjoyed despite the presence of massive, massive cockhead Seth Rogen.
Right, that’s me done.