Saturday, December 31, 2011

Disgruntled Monkey's Top 10 Movies of 2011

And so the year ends and now is the time to look back at the year that was and make the inevitable top ten list. I know it’s like pouring water into the ocean, it’s not going to make much of a difference, but it’s still something I find fun. Now I will point out that one movie missing from this list that I’m pretty sure would be here is The Muppet movie. Australia still needs to wait another 2 weeks before we get it, but there is no doubt in my mind that I would of loved it. I’m a massive Muppet fan; in fact some people may think I’m a Muppet given human form. Other than the tragedy of missing the Muppets, I’m pretty happy with my list. As always this is my own personal list and the impact they had on me.

10: Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

This was just a well down action movie, with an incredible pace that sucked you into the set pieces. Sure it’s nothing that will change the world, but any movie that gets me this jazzed and has Tom Cruise in it, has to have some merit. Also in a time where movies seem to have this kinetic frenzy of editing, it’s nice to have a movie that relishes in the action and really lets you see what’s happening. After this movie I’m ready for Mission Impossible 5.

09: The Adjustment Bureau

It’s all about the magic hats. Well not really but this movie touches upon destiny, love and free will, and it does it in such a charming way. I’m a sucker for some love stories and this definitely hits all the things that I like. Some people may laugh at some of the aspects of the movie, but all around it’s very solid, and helped by some great performances by Matt Damon and Emily Blunt.

08: Super 8

The ending of this movie could have been much better, but before it went a little off I was hooked. A coming of age story mixed with alien on the loose wouldn’t seem to work but it does. By giving the kids an extreme problem, they are forced to do a bit of growing up. The movie is helped by the chemistry of all the kids involved, you could get a real grasp of the friendship they had. They also had the right balance of smart but not too smart, so I had no trouble believing kids would act this way. Made me remember the good times I had as a kid watching The Explorers and Goonies.

07: 50/50

Cancer comedy. It doesn’t really seem like those two words should be grouped together. It would also make people take a step back and ponder whether any movie that is a cancer comedy would work. Surprisingly not only does it work, but it was a great film. The comedy and seriousness blend together to make a touching movie that doesn’t get too depressing but still offers genuine human emotions. Joseph Gordon Levitt is great and Seth Rogen proves that he does have a deft touch to be able to act when he wants.

06: Bridesmaids

In a year that the Hangover tried to get another bite of the cherry, by doing the exact same thing, it was Bridesmaids that showed that you can do movies in a similar vein but change it enough to be better. Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph share a great chemistry and the movie is damn funny as well as being touching. I liked the relationship between Kristen Wiig and Chris O’Dowd and how it took typical romantic comedy beats and switched them around. A great comedy that managed to find a bigger audience than what you would think.

05: Contagion

Contagion isn’t about characters, it doesn’t let us get that close with the people that we are watching but then again that’s no it’s agenda. This is a movie that studies the world as a whole, how our systems mean nothing when up against our honest human impulses. Fear takes hold, fear spreads, and there is nothing that can be done. I was so glued to this movie that time just passed so quickly. Honestly want to watch this movie again and go through it slowly so I can see all the little details of how our society breaks down.

04: Hanna

This movie rests on the shoulders of its lead actress and she delivers with such force that Saoirse Ronan is one to watch. At first I wondered how the fairy tale theme would mix with this tale of a little girl assassin, and then after watching it I realised that this is the type of fairy tale people will tell of our age. It has all the beats of the stories we were told, but it’s distinctly from this era. In keeping with that idea we get a terrific score by the Chemical Brothers, which is modern but works so well with everything playing out on screen.

03: Warrior

Is it predictable? Yep. Have you seen this type of movie before? Probably. But is it a great movie? Hell yes. The fact that in the last fight I was on the edge of my seat, yet still knew the outcome of the movie is a testament of the power of this movie. It manages to connect with our base emotions and while it’s a story we’ve seen, it’s one we won’t get bored from. Add to that some great acting, as well as camera work that really captures what Mixed Martial Arts is all about and you have a movie that should please a fair few people.

02: Tree of Life

After watching Tree of Life I was a little depressed but honestly I’m not sure why. The movie doesn’t have a traditional story and leaves everything up to the audience. It’s a hard movie to get into, and I understand that this isn’t for everybody, but I still thought visually the movie was spectacular and it’s one of the reasons why I still go to the cinema. So even though I left on a slightly depressed note I still loved the movie. This is visual poetry, it’s a movie that refreshes me from all the drivel that gets put out, and I hope Terrence Malick makes more movies like this.

01: Drive

This is not an action movie, this is an intense character study with action beats. If you can keep this in mind then you’re already ahead of the game when watching this movie. Drive gave me the same buzz as Heat, a beautiful film, a deep film, a film that didn’t shy away from some of the more violent aspects of human nature. When I left the cinema I knew that this would be my number one film of 2011. Ryan Gosling’s performance is great, so subtle and yet if you pay attention you can see a lot of what is going through his characters head. I can’t wait for this movie to come out on Blu Ray as I’ll watch it back to back with Heat. That’ll be a great night.


  1. Love the way you describe the films and well reviewed. will have to look through your reviews.

  2. I couple of those I haven't seen, but the ones I have - spot on!

  3. Pretty great list with some unconventional picks. I appreciate that. We overlapped in a few areas. Here's mine: