As many of my closer friends on Facebook and those who follow me on Twitter probably know, I spent the bulk of 2011 writing, teaching, and doing research for my second feature-length screenplay Caput. That research took the form of film noir, and I spent just about all of my free time seated in front of an old 23-inch Magnavox tube television watching everything from Billy Wilder to Nicholas Ray, from Jimmy Cagney in The Public Enemy, White Heat, and a bunch of what falls between to everything from Humphrey Bogart and a few titles from Edward G. Robinson.
So needless to say it’s a bit difficult to pull together a “Top Ten” list when you’ve only seen eight movies in total through the course of a whole year. And even though I spent an entire week in Cannes during the Festival du Cannes with my short film Cerise, I didn’t even get to see one film while I was there. Not one!
But out of what I did see in theaters during 2011, here’s how they rank up:
8: Green Lantern –– Okay, it was “Boys Day Out” and my buddy Dave and I saw this in 3-D and afterwards compared the movie to all the Green Lantern comics we’d ever read, and concluded that this isn’t really the best interpretation of GL.
7. Captain America: The First Avenger –– It’s been a heavy year for comic-related movies and me, and although I’m not much a fan of Marvel Comics or even Captain America and the Avengers for that matter, I found this movie to be entertaining at best, and quite ridiculous at worst.
6. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo –– This was the last movie I saw in 2011, and while it was very well-done with great performances by both Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara, it’s really nothing more than a straight remake of the superior Swedish version (and not the best testament to any skill David Fincher may have as a director).
5. The Greatest Movie Ever Sold –– The only doc I saw this year, and a humorous and informative one at that! I definitely recommend this one.
4. X-Men: First Class –– Entertainment at its best. I thoroughly enjoyed this installment of the X-Franchise, with wonderful performances by both James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender as the conflicting “brothers” Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr (Magneto).
3. Source Code –– A semi-brainy film for sure (Oh, how I love anything dealing with parallel worlds and other Michio Kaku-like stuff!) in the guise of an action drama. A fun ride which offered up a few minutes of heady conversation at the diner afterwards.
2. Rise of the Planet of the Apes –– By far the most entertaining action film I’ve seen in a long time, and although the CGIed apes could be a bit distracting (mainly at the beginning), my enjoyment wasn’t all that hindered. This experience was enhanced by the fact that I saw Rise of the Planet of the Apes in an AMC Dine-In Theater in Menlo Park, NJ (there’s something to be said about watching a movie like this over a juicy burger, crisp fries, and a Blue Moon fast at your side!)
1. Midnight in Paris –– An absolutely beautiful film and (in my opinion) Woody Allen’s best work to date (but that could also be because it caters to every fiber in my being as a writer and aficionado of classic literature!) This experience, of course, was made even more special because I saw it with my Lady Marinell in Paris (around the midnight hour, too) with French subtitles. Viva la Paris!
As an added bonus, here’s a proper Top Ten List of Films I Wanted to See (But Didn’t) in 2011:
2. The Flowers of War
5. Another Earth
6. The Skin I Live In
7. The Adjustment Bureau
9. Sleeping Beauty
10. Win Win
Most of these are on my Netflix, and once I’m done with my brief James Bond phase, I’ll start catching up on these 2011 films.
That’s all for now, folks. It’s been a superb year for blog writing, poetry writing, classic movies, and book writing for me, and I’m hoping 2012 continues this tradition tenfold.
Happy New Year everyone, and thanks for reading!