Friday, December 23, 2011

Favorite Movies of 2011

Remember how I said that I'm a big reader and how I always have my nose in a book? Well, that statement is semi true. When my nose isn't in a book, you can probably find me glued in front of my TV watching a movie. Movies have been something I've enjoyed since I was little - some of my most vivid memories are visiting the movie theater where my mom worked and hanging out in the back offices.

I've always been around movies, and grew up with a big appreciation for them, and that appreciation has carried over into adulthood. Anything having to do with the film industry - I'm interested in it. Box office, production, directors, you name it - I want to know it. That said, I generally watch movies when they hit DVD, mainly because I'm poor and can't afford to drop $15 at a theater to see something that will be on DVD in two months, anyway. (Hear that, movie theaters? Drop your prices.)

That said, trying to cut down my list of favorite movies from 2011 was difficult! I don't generally see comedies, as my sense of humor tends to fall on the dry side of things and mainstream comedies usually make me roll my eyes at their stupidity (I'm just going to try to sound as pretentious as I can in this blog post... let's see how many followers I can lose.). Horror movies are my favorite, with drama, sci-fi, and anything based on a comic book coming in after.

Sadly, 2011 was lacking in decent horror movies (I can think of two that I really enjoyed), but was lousy with superheroes and book adaptations! Take a look at my favorite movies of 2011.

Genre: Family

Why did I like The Muppets? What isn't there to like about this movie?! I'm a child of the 80s, so I grew up on these guys. Seeing them make their way back to the big screen and doing it so well made me tear up several times during my viewing. What I loved most about The Muppets was that while the remake make the cast a little more modern, the film never lost it's sense of whimsy or playfulness that made The Muppets great from their start.

Jason Segel and Amy Adams are brilliant as the lead human actors, while Kermit, Miss Piggy, and the rest of the gang all join in to help save Muppet Theater from an oil tycoon who wants to destroy the building. It made me laugh (HARD. Several times.), it made me cry (Hard. Several times.), but most of all it made me smile and brought me back to my childhood.

I also happened to see the movie in a sold out theater where I was literally the oldest person without a child, and getting to listen to a new generation experience the muppets for the first time was fantastic.

Genre: Horror

Remember how I said that I loved horror movies? And that there weren't that many good horror movies that were released this year? Scream 4 is the exception to that statement. I may be (and more than likely am) biased, but the Scream franchise is one of the best horror franchises out there. Scream came at a time when horror was dwindling, no one wanted to watch horror movies, let alone produce one. Then came Kevin Williamson who wrote a script that spawned a new generation of horror.

Cut to a new decade when Kevin and director Wes Craven get the cast back together to create a part 4 of an already amazing horror franchise. While horror movies are notorious for producing too many sequels, Scream 4 never feels like a cheesy rip off of its predecessors. If it weren't for the history of the characters (which is done BRILLIANTLY through all three films. It's refreshing to see a horror franchise actually tie all of the sequels together), Scream 4 could have been a stand alone film.

I'm extremely glad that it wasn't as Scream is my favorite horror franchise out there, and the fourth installment only added to (and closed) Sidney's story in an almost flawless way. Not to mention Adam Brody is one of the actors, and as far as I'm concerned, that is never a bad thing.

Genre: Fantasy / Book Adaptaion
Buy Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2

I don't even know where to begin with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. All I know is that what started as a tradition between me and my sister somehow morphed into a tradition of 10 - 12 family members gathering to watch one of our favorite series on the big screen.

Harry Potter will forever hold a soft spot in my heart, and while the final chapter of the films lacked a bit in the details, I do understand that not everything can be transcribed from book to film easily (Fred still need a better death scene, damn it). Deathly Hallows Part 2 closed the Harry Potter films in a fantastic way. I left the theater feeling like Harry's story had been told well, and with tear tracks through my make up because it had all ended.

Genre: Drama / Book Adaptation

Atlas Shrugged  is the adaptation of Ayn Rand's novel of the same name. The novel is over 1000 pages long, with the longest damn soliloquy known to the printed word (I can't say that for sure, but I imagine Galt's speech is the longest to be placed on paper), so needless to say producers needed to split the film into parts. Part one was released this year to select theaters, and luckily (which isn't always the case) Milwaukee actually got to screen the film at a few of our theaters!

For a book adaptation, it was great. For the avid fan of Rand's novel, you will leave the viewing pleased with the way the directors and writers took her words and displayed them on screen. Is it flawed? Sure. Are there things missing? Sure. Is the message still produced loud and clear? Absolutely.

I left Atlas Shrugged more inspired than I've been in a while, and promptly told everyone I knew to see the movie. .... but read the book first.

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