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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.

Infernal Affairs / 無間道: the Hong Kong triads have inserted a loyal mole into the police force, who themselves have an undercover officer in the same gang – which cover will get blown first? As soon as it starts you can tell that this is simply great storytelling; it’s not dumbed down, there’s no filler and most interestingly, very little shooting/action for a cop-gangster film. The scenes where both sides are simultaneously involved are truly heart-pounding – even after seeing this and the re-make several times each. Maximising the espionage, tension and suspicion this grips you like an anaconda for the entirety, and doesn’t let go until the final scene. The police mole also throws up an interesting moral dilemma in the final third of the movie. None of the highly-watchable central actors put a foot wrong, with solid performances from the who’s who in Hong Kong cast – the only rubbish character is the ridiculous, annoying girlfriend that should have been written out. Until recently, you knew that a foreign film was decent when Hollywood re-made it – sure The Departed is brilliant, but is essentially this with a 60 minute longer runtime. Infernal Affairs is better than decent, it’s better than brilliant, it is the gold standard of police dramas. Absolute must-see.

Score: 10/10

So Kai and Novroz recently posted a couple of memes and tagged me in them. Here are my ten movie-related facts, and a sneak peek inside the life and times of your author. Please don’t use any of this information against me going forward.

  • I only started this site to document all the films I watch; at my peak I was averaging around 2-3 per day and trying to remember which movies are which (let alone good or bad) is usually a nightmare. Everything else I get out of this site – like readers and comments – is a bonus!
  • The earliest films I have memories of seeing are Papillon, Predator, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Mary Poppins – odd one out?
  • First time I went to the cinema without my parents was to see Spice World (it was my little sister’s birthday, honest!)
  • The films I’ve seen most times would probably be BASEketball, The Lion King and the start of Commando (after a lot of nights out)
  • I tried every weekend for 2 months to convince the staff at my local that I was old enough to legally watch The Matrix, I failed every weekend and had to wait for the VHS.
  • I only have three film posters in my house: Infernal Affairs, Goodfellas and Burn After Reading – none of them are up at the moment though :(
  • Studied Politics, International Relations and Film at university: the Film courses turned my fondness for movies into a voracious hobby and I genuinely couldn’t have guessed it would become the most useful, or relevant, to my future self at the time.
  • The pile of films I’ve yet to watch is probably bigger than most people’s DVD collection, definitely have an amazon wishlist addiction. I’m simultaneously proud and ashamed of that pile.
  • You wouldn’t believe how long it takes to chop a page full of notes into a concise paragraph! Sometimes I think it’d be easier and faster writing normal reviews. (Note: it’d be good to see people take the ‘Paragraph Film Review Challenge’)
  • Currently writing a screenplay for my first short film, plan to shoot, direct and edit it too but we’ll see how that works out with no experience… The story’s somewhere between (500) Days of Summer and Idle Hands at the moment.

No meme would be complete without the ability to spread. From my daily blog fodder I choose…

Michael Bay is The Antichrist – top reviews and movie news

Critic Planet – the internet’s biggest critic

Fandango Groovers – Big hittin’ movie review site

Suture Me In – Startup site with a bunch of reviews and mini awards

Tartan Films – Another startup, one dedicated dude watching every release by (Palisades) Tartan