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Yet another film review site’s year in review… below are the films I watched in 2011 that are worthy of another mention.

The Best:
Real Steel – hands down, the most fun I had at the cinema all year.
The Guard – ultra blunt, black humor. Gleeson steals the show, but don’t forget about Don.
TrollHunter – captivating and humorous ‘found footage’ about Trolls, with a superb central character.
Your Highness – so good I’ve watched it twice. Swords and tits medieval questing film, with swearing.
Fast Five – despite being one of the worst scripts of the year it delivers the action, cars, babes and guns in abundance.
Black Swan – follows a high-pressure demented dancer. masterclass at both sides of the camera.
Hobo with a Shotgun  – nasty, bloody, schlocky horror in the vein of banned ‘classics’. Perfect homage.
Drive – moody and broody stylized tale of a stoic badass. Bursts of ultra-violence.
In Time – solid sci-fi concept with great execution and plenty ticking clock scenarios.

Stinkers:
The Dilemma – utter stinker of a ‘bromance’, less rom-com and more wrong-non-com…
Giallo – former master of horror gives us a masterclass in shit direction. Made in 2009, not released until 2011 because the star, Brody sued them!
Battle: Los Angeles – loud, blurry, messy, scrappy, shaky telling of an alien invasion. Nice SFX though.
The Eagle – Jamie Bell tramping around the woods for a few hours in a boring Scottish history class.
Faster – about as braindead as the central character. The Rock + Gun – Script – Action = steamy turd.
Bad Teacher – fell asleep, total stinker
A Lonely Place to Die – sloppy and nasty Scottish horror set in the bonnie hills and highlands.
The Tree of Life – WTF WTF WTF WTF, and some more WTF.

Best of the rest:
Infernal Affairs – the daddy of all Asian crime/mob pictures. Never gets old. Never gets boring.
Amores Perros – storytelling at it’s finest, no fancy tricks, just riveting drama.
James Bond January – all 22 spy films watched and reviewed in 1 month. Links to every article.
Black Mirror – prophetic, cutting UK TV Drama about life in the near-future.
The Good Wife – arguably the best show on TV at the moment. Stories, characters, production…
Timecrimes – pre-Triangle sci-fi thriller/horror. Original, clever, not spelled out.
Sleepers – fantastic example of drama and acting making sweet, sweet movie babies.
Alice Creed – Tight, tense drama with just three characters.
Jennifer’s Body – expectation-blasting teen-horror movie, surprisingly dark and funny.
Matador – Brosnan at his peak as the strangest hitman in cinema.

Hobo with a Shotgun [Blu Ray]: tells the tale of an individual with no permanent residence, and his acquisition of a short-range firearm… Duh! Being born the same way as Machete, I had some reservations before starting this – but they were short-lived. EVERYTHING about this film is an authentic ode to the horror/exploitation ‘masterpieces’ I grew up watching from the 70s and 80s. The setting is a dystopian, lawless town, so rotten that only the eponymous anti-hero can clean it up with a shotgun. There’s fantastic gore every 5 minutes, and all kinds of insane and outrageous blood-soaked SFX. The story is so absurd and OTT that you simply can’t begin taking seriously. – it’s essentially a cheap vehicle used to maximise the blood ‘n’ guts factor. Rutger Hauer is a little too good for this type of film, fleshing out an emotional, solid central character. Abby also makes a good scream queen, and the rest of the cast are enjoyable stereotypes. The colour pallet is very saturated; bright and poppy, the blood leaps off the screen – Hauer’s face was also what BD was made for; the faithfully recreated Carpenter-esque 80s sci-fi horror synth soundtrack and gunshots pump out of all speakers – this is worth the Blu Ray upgrade if the film sounds like your bag. All in all, the video, music, plot, gore, sleaze and nastiness all combine to make this feel like an authentic retro film – unlike the one crappy video-grain effect used on Machete. This beat every expectation I had, and while it’s no cinematic masterpiece, it’s certainly an absolute must-see for all horror/B-movie/retro movie fans.

Score: 8/10