For the films of 2010, I posted a best and worst list for all the films I had seen at that time [see: THE BEST AND WORST GENRE MOVIES OF2010]. This year I decided to wait until I had a chance to see almost all the Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror films from 2011, which meant waiting to watch the films I missed seeing at the theater and watching them on Blu-ray video disc at home. I have finally watched all the genre films I had planned on watching and have only not watched those that I never intended to watch at all. I counted sixty genre films released to theaters or direct to video/on demand last year. Of those, I watched forty-three of them; eleven at the theater and thirty-two on Blu-ray video disc at home. The remaining seventeen genre films that I did not see were for a variety of reasons, but mostly because I knew I would not like them or just had no interest in the subject matter.
I will not be breaking them down into sub-genre categories as I did for the films of 2010, but instead I will just divide them up into three separate categories based on quality: THE PARAMOUNT (films that I rated from 100 to 85), THE PEDESTRIAN (films that I rated from 84 to 70) and THE PUTRID (films that I rated from 69 to 50). By my grading system, which I incorporated this year, a film can do no worse than a 50 – which I regard as a complete failure. Whereas a film can do no better than a 100, which would be a perfect film – something I doubt I will ever see. My grading system is dived into ten categories, which I then assign a grade of 5 (poorest) to 10 (best) for each. The categories are divided into two sub headings: Technical – which I use to intellectualize a film purely on its merits based on technique and Visceral – which are my emotional responses to a film based on its artistic merits. I break down the Technical heading into five subheadings: Acting, Directing, Cinematography, Script and Special Effects. I break down the Visceral heading into five subheadings: Visual, Auditory, Intellectual, Emotional and Involvement. I’ve been using this system for some time for my own purposes, because I find it keeps me from reacting to a film too viscerally on initial viewings of films I really like, and over-intellectualizing films on initial viewings that I don’t enjoy. I will list the overall grade for each film and give a brief explanation of the films that I have not reviewed previously on this blog.
Super 8 – 96 SUPER 8 – 2011 – SUPER HUMANIST SCIENCE FICTION
Captain America: The First Avenger – 95 CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER – 2011 – A FIRST RATE ADVENTURE!
Cowboys and Aliens – 94 COWBOYS & ALIENS – 2011 – A SATISFYING WESTERN SCI-FI MÉLANGE
Sherlock Holmes: Game of Thrones – 93 SHERLOCK HOLMES: A GAME OF SHADOWS (2011)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 – 93
A very satisfying conclusion to a consistently excellent fantasy series!
Midnight In Paris – 92
Difficult to rate as a fantasy film – which it is – but a deeply rooted time-fixated film that pulls you in.
Attack the Block – 91 ATTACK THE BLOCK (2011) INNER CITY KIDS KICK OUTER SPACE ALIEN ASS!
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides – 89 PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES - 2011 - A VOYAGE WORTH TAKING!
Transformers: the Dark of the Moon – 89
The ultimate guiltily pleasure film that makes the twelve-year-old in me jump up and shout, “Wicked cool!”
The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn – 89
Beautiful, yet sometimes disturbing, animation that perfectly captures the magic of Hergé’s comics.
Sucker Punch – 88 SUCKER PUNCH – 2011 – OR SUCKER PUNCHED?
Fright Night – 88 FRIGHT NIGHT - 2011 - A FRIGHTFULLY FUN REMAKE!
Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol – 88
Just a great escapist adventure, shot in a fantastic dizzying style!
Drive Angry – 87 DRIVE ANGRY – 2011 – TEN REASONS WHY DRIVE ANGRY IS WORTH A SPIN!
Source Code – 87
The premise is fascinating and the characters draw you in enough not to question the logic too much.
The Darkest Hour – 86 THE DARKEST HOUR – 2011 – AN ESCAPIST ALIEN INVASION
X-Men: First Class – 86
A beautiful looking, well-acted take on the first X-Men, but ultimately it stills feels a little too familiar.
Hugo – 86
An amazing visual achievement that is somewhat hampered by a convoluted and sentimental story.
Scream 4 – 85
I still think Wes Craven is one of the best horror directors alive and this is his best film franchise. Scream still works as a satire of the slasher and horror genre in general.
Battle Los Angeles – 84 BATTLE: LOS ANGELES - 2011 - SCIENCE FICTION AT WAR!
Phase 7 – 84 PHASE 7 (2011) A PERSONALIZED PANDEMIC PICTURE
The Green Lantern – 84
A wonderful visual presentation of space-operatic super-heroics marred by underdeveloped characters.
The Adjustment Bureau – 83
An unrealistic premise that is well executed, but is unfortunately still mostly a muddled mess.
Limitless – 83
An interesting idea that is taken to an illogical and somewhat pedestrian conclusion.
The Skin I Live In – 83
Gorgeous cinema photography hides the hideous misdeeds of the main character, until the conclusion that I found too predictable.
Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World - 82 SPY KIDS: ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD IN 4D (2011)
Rise of the Planet of the Apes – 81 RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (2011) APES RISE TOO HIGH OVER HUMANS
I Am Number Four – 80
A fun film overall, but just lacking in any real depth of character or emotion.
The Ward - 80
I love John Carpenter’s style of filmmaking, but the story of this one just isn’t complex enough to carry a feature film; plus the horror element felt forced at best.
Trollhunter – 79 Fantastic special effects, wonderfully added to the handheld-footage cannot make up for a lack of interesting characters or story; it also could have benefited from some more humor.
In Time – 77 IN TIME (2011) IS TOO TIMELESS
Super – 76
A very disturbing take on super-heroics that pushes the boundaries of dark satire into poor taste.
The Thing – 74 THE THING – 2011 – A PALE IMITATION OF THE REAL THING
Tucker and Dale vs. Evil – 73
A funny idea for a short subject film; unfortunately the wonderful performances of the leads cannot carry it to a feature-length film.
Real Steel - 71 REAL STEEL - 2011 - A REAL TIME STEALER
Insidious – 69
Vissualy stunning traditional effects cannot make up for a silly premise and a horror film that lacks any true horror.
Piranha – 69
As dumb as it looks and it doesn’t deliver enough guiltily giggles as it should have.
Immortals – 69
A stunning painting come to life. The story and characters are unfortunately uninteresting and unimaginative.
Priest – 68
A fun mess, that should have worked out a better story, but unfortunately spent more effort on cool looking effects and fight scenes.
Conan the Barbarian – 68
This is not Howard’s Conan and actually makes the pervious film look competent. What a waste of a great character and fantasy setting.
The Green Hornet – 55
Whoever gave Seth Rogan the money to write and star in this dumb-comedic twist on a classic pulp/radio character should have their miniscule brains removed!
The following genre films from 2011 are ones that I may eventually watch, but will most likely not enjoy anyway, but I’ll list them here for completion sake: Suing the Devil, Paul, Final Destination 5, Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame, Don't Be Afraid of the Dark and Creature. These films I will not be watching under any circumstance: The Rite, Red Riding Hood, Beastly, Your Highness, The Tree of Life, Another Earth, Dream House, The Human Centipede II: Full Sequence, Contagion, Paranormal Activity 3 and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1. If anyone can make a convincing argument as to why I should see any of these films, leave your comments as to why and I’ll at least listen.
Overall I think 2011 was a better year for entertaining genre films, if not quality films. The quantity was also bigger, so that no doubt helped push up the averages of quality. Let me know what you think of my list – I’m sure many will shake their heads in disbelief at some of my marks for some films – and I’ll be glad to discuss with you in a civil manner why you think I’m right or wrong in my choices.