Daily Archives: March 8, 2018
The Best Movies of 2011
Below is my list of the best movies that I have seen that were released in 2011 (even if some were made in 2010). I have included trailers for each movie. I would love to eventually write a review of each of these films and talk about why I enjoyed them so much. But for now, just know that I highly recommend all of these movies. I will continue to add to this list if I see any more movies from 2011 that are worthy of this list.
The Town (2011)
The Lincoln Lawyer (2011)
Source Code (2011)
The Beaver (2011)
In Time (2011)
Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (2011)
30 Minutes or Less (2011)
Take Me Home Tonight (2011)
Movies that were good, but did not quite make the list are:
The Adjustment Bureau (2011)
The Ides of March (2011)
The Window (1949)
(I could not find a trailer for this film to post with my review, so here is a very short clip instead).
I saw this movie for the first time on a 16mm print when I was about 8 years old. It was enough to spook me back then. I love watching old movies like The Window and being transported back in time to a simpler time. You can see what the big city was like back then and how it has vigorously transformed, over the years.
Recently, I got to attend a special showing of this film at The Heights Theater in Columbia Heights, MN as part of an RKO Film Noir Festival. People often ask me, what “Film Noir” is.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary the definition of “Film Noir” is: “a type of crime film featuring cynical malevolent characters in a sleazy setting and an ominous atmosphere that is conveyed by shadowy photography and foreboding background music; also: a film of this type.”
I do not think that “Film Noir” could be defined any better.
The Window is about a 9-year-old boy who is notorious for crying wolf. One night he looks through his neighbor’s window and witnesses a murder. Of course, nobody believes him except for the killers and they want to silence him.
The movie was directed by Ted Tetzlaff and the noteworthy cast includes Bobby Driscoll, Barbara Hale, Arthur Kennedy, Paul Stewart, and Ruth Roman.
The premise of this movie has been duplicated many times (i.e. Rear Window (1954), Disturbia (2007)) because the subject matter itself, is pretty scary. Could you imagine living next to a killer?
The film holds up today because of the tension that it is able to build up throughout the story. The length of the movie was quite fitting in order to keep it more intense throughout without it having much of a chance to slow down.
Bobby Driscoll does an exceptional job for his age. He holds his own throughout the whole movie. He actually won a special Academy Award for his performance in The Window as the “outstanding juvenile actor” of 1949.
The villains of The Window are quite ruthless for the time that the movie was made. In particular, Paul Stewart delivers a memorable performance. Stewart made quite a career as a character actor. He became typecast as the “bad guy” or gangster, mostly because he was awesome playing those parts. Besides The Window, I really liked him in Mr. Lucky (1943).
You just cannot get the same shadow effects now as you could in black and white, back in the day. The malevolent characters, sleazy setting, and foreboding background music all excellently portray an ominous atmosphere that is the classic “Film Noir”, The Window.
If you enjoy a good thriller, The Window still holds up today. You could even watch it with your kids and help teach them never to “cry wolf.”
I rate this movie a 9 on a scale of 1-10.
If you liked this film then you might also enjoy:
Rear Window (1954)
Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
Murder, My Sweet (1944)
Murder on the Orient Express (2017)
The Girl on the Train (2016)
Red Sparrow (2018)
This movie appeared like it would be a cross between Atomic Blonde (2017) and Black Swan (2010). I always find it interesting how after such a unique film like Atomic Blonde is released, shortly after we get a copycat movie (I will talk more about this concept in a post in the near future).
I have gotten fed up with actors and actresses feeling the need to be politicians. As if their political opinions matter. Please just do what you do best and stick to filmmaking. It gets a little old when they stir up the negativity.
All politics aside, Jennifer Lawrence is a talented actress. I feel that she proved her ability in her role in Silver Linings Playbook (2012). She has a tendency to make insanely outrageous statements that are about as inappropriate as some of the things that come out of President Donald Trump’s mouth. This has started to taint my view of Lawrence as an actress. If she was a little more careful with her words publicly, I would respect her more.
Prior to seeing this movie, I went to the theater with an open mind. Instead of having a biased and negative opinion before even seeing the film, I thought I would let Jennifer Lawrence’s acting do the talking and drown out the crazy things that she says publicly.
Red Sparrow is about a damaged Russian ballerina who finds herself training to be a “Sparrow”, a Special Agent of sorts for the Russian government. She is tasked with getting information from the American C.I.A. and becomes entangled between both governments working against each other.
The movie was directed by Francis Lawrence and the noteworthy cast includes Jennifer Lawrence, Joel Edgerton, Matthias Shoenaerts, Jeremy Irons, Charlotte Rampling, Mary-Louise Parker, Ciaran Hinds, Joely Richardson, Douglas Hodge, Bill Camp, Sakina Jaffrey, and Thekla Reuten.
The film did in fact, feel like a cross between Atomic Blonde and Black Swan. However, there was much less action than Atomic Blonde and far more drama. It has the surprising sexual darkness of Black Swan, only much more magnified. The graphic violence in the movie is a lot more twisted and vicious than Atomic Blonde.
I did not think that Jennifer Lawrence was going to be able to pull off a Russian accent. I was worried that this would really take away from the movie. For the most part, the accent was OK though. Towards the end of the film, it started going in and out, but overall was believable. Her performance was quite gritty. There were some surprisingly twisted nude scenes. It definitely has the shock value.
Edgerton’s character was likable, but he was a little underused. His character was not quite developed enough. That was acceptable, because it really is Jennifer Lawrence’s movie. However, I feel like this did take away from the film. The chemistry between the male lead and female lead was just not there.
I did feel like Red Sparrow was trying really hard to be like Atomic Blonde. All the way down to platinum blonde hair and Stoli vodka. Charlize Theron was a much bigger badass in Atomic Blonde than Jennifer Lawrence was Red Sparrow. Atomic Blonde was a lot more fun and exciting. The dark subject matter in Red Sparrow was not broken up with any humor or much fun. I feel that took away from the overall quality of movie because it makes the 2 hours and 19 minutes runtime feel like that amount of time. They did not cut the tension and therefore it felt like it was trying too hard to be too dark.
This is a shadowy spy thriller that pulls no punches. It is intentionally and methodically puzzling. The film is a little rough around the edges, but overall is well-made and well-acted.
I rate this movie a 7 on a scale of 1-10.
If you liked this film then you might also enjoy:
Atomic Blonde (2017)
Black Swan (2010)
Casino Royale (2006)
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)
Mission: Impossible (1996)
Mission: Impossible III (2006)
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011)
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015)