Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Best Movies (and a little TV) Seen in 2011

The Best/The Silver Medals/Honorable Mentions

These are my faves that I saw this year—it’s impossible for me to see everything on my meager salary, and who in their right mind would want to see every film released in a year?
That’s like saying that a person has to eat in every one of NYC’s restaurants and diners: it’s an almost impossible task that’s sure to make you sick to your stomach.

And if a movie from 1928 that I’ve never seen before turns out to be better than any other film I’ve seen this year, then why not include it on my “Best Of"?

That said, the majority of the films listed are first-time-viewings—unless otherwise indicated.
As for the films listed that I’ve seen before, what can I say?
These flicks are perennial favorites, movies that are, to me, CLASSICS and always deserve to be on a “Best Of” list.
(That might not be fair—what? I’m gonna put Casablanca on my list every year I see it? Maybe…
—but when a masterful old timer stomps some young pup and its new tricks, The National Film Board of Ivanlandia is there to cheer them on.)

Then there are those movies that click so just right with me that I know they’re a “new perennial fave.”

Meanwhile, I am sorry that I never got around to writing up many of these flicks, but that’s what the future is for, right? (Jeez, I’m full of rhetorical questions today, aren’t I?)
And films I have written about have been URL’ed so’s you can have yourself hours of fun! (A few films, like Up Tight!, Crawlspace and The Monitors, have links to sites that covered these worthwhile flicks when I didn’t.)

(in order of year released)

The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928; Carl Theodor Dreyer)

Shadow of a Doubt (1943; Alfred Hitchcock)

These Are the Damned (1963; Joseph Losey)

Kitten With a Whip (1964; Douglas Heyes)

The Naked Prey (1965; Cornell Wilde) new perennial fave

Skidoo (1968; Otto Preminger) seen before/perennial fave

Up Tight! (1968; Jules Dassin) new perennial fave

The Devils (1971; Ken Russell) seen before/perennial favorite

Los Angeles Plays Itself (2003; Thom Andersen) [Interesting gap in the years there, between this film and the previous one…]

Aachi & Ssipak (2006; Jo Beom-jin)

There Will Be Blood (2007; Paul Thomas Anderson) seen before/ new perennial fave

I Saw the Devil (2010; Kim Ji-woon)

Super (2010; James Gunn)

13 Assassins (2010; Takashi Miike)

Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil (2010; Eli Craig)

Insidious (2011; James Wan)

Rango (2011; Gore Verbinski)


Macbeth (1948; Orson Welles)

Last Year at Marienbad (1961; Alain Resnais)

A Big Hand for the Little Lady (1966; Fielder Cook)

The Wild Angels (1966; Roger Corman) perennial fave (and an award-winning blog entry! YOWZAH!)

Why Man Creates (1968; Saul Bass; short film)

Brewster McCloud (1971; Robert Altman) seen before/perennial fave [mega-post on this fave in the works…probably ready in a year or so…}

The Outside Man (1972; Jacques Deray)

Assault on Precinct 13 (1976; John Carpenter) seen before/perennial fave

Dreamchild (1985; Gavin Millar) seen before

Alien Abduction: Incident at Lake County (1998; Dean Alioto) seen before

Dream Home (2010; Ho-Cheung Pang)


My Son John (1952; Leo McCarey) (HINT: replace the word “communist” with “homosexual” and the flick becomes even more inadvertently hilarious—a camp classic that clearly craves a cult!)

Run Silent Run Deep (1958; Robert Wise)

Ikarie XB-1 (1963; Jindřich Polák)

Battle of the Bulge (1965; Ken Annakin)

The Monitors (1969; Jack Shea)

Riot (1969; Buzz Kulik—and produced by William Castle!)

Sometimes a Great Notion (1970; Paul Newman)

Pretty Maids All in a Row (1971; Roger Vadim & Gene Roddenberry)

Crawlspace (1972; John Newland) (Arthur Kennedy, not Klaus Kinski)

ZPG (1972; Michael Campus)

A Cold Night’s Death (1973; Jerrold Freedman) seen before

Cops and Robbers (1973; Aram Avakian) –from an original script by Don Westlake!

Let Sleeping Corpses Lie (1974; Jorge Grau)

Airport ’77 (1977; Jerry Jameson) It’s not so much a disaster movie, as an all-star action-adventure/caper/soap opera (keep your eyes open for a youngish M. Emmet Walsh playing a hero!), with the film’s last third being a high-tech rescue mission.
Most inadvertently interesting scenes from a sociological point of view? James Stewart on the Navy ships: Airport ’77 was made with the cooperation of the DoD, and all the sailors you see are the real deal. Meanwhile, Stewart—although retired by then—was a general in the US Air Force. The respect those swabbies show to Jimmy Stewart is quite genuine!

Fast-Walking (1981; James B. Harris)

Lion of the Desert (1981; Mustapha Akkad)

Pet Sematary (1989; Mary Lambert)

Scandal (1989; Michael Caton-Jones)

G.I. Jane (1997; Ridley Scott) I don’t know why this flick was so hated when it came out—I found it really enjoyable.

Mission to Mars (2000; Brian De Palma) See above—additionally, I found this flick’s conclusion (inside the Martian Head-structure) to be quite moving.

Linda Linda Linda (2005; Nobuhiro Yamashita)

[REC] 2 (2009; Jaume Balagueró & Paco Plaza)

The Other Guys (2010; Adam McKay)

Apollo 18 (2011; Gonzalo López-Gallego)

Ironclad (2011; Jonathan English)

Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011; Rupert Wyatt)

2011’s Best TV
Sons of Anarchy Seasons 1-3 (2008-2010)
Parks and Recreation Seasons 1-3 (2009-2011)
Breaking Bad Seasons 1-3 (2008-2010)
Louie Season 1 (2010)
Downton Abbey Season 1 (2010)
The Shield Season 6-7 (2007-2008);

(No surprises here, really—everybody loves these shows, right? But what’s funny is that, aside from these shows and an occasional episode of Dragnet, Adam-12 or the 1960s version of The Outer Limits, that’s about it for my TV viewing. I don’t have the time to watch TV shows, there are too many movies to see!)

For a look at 2010’s “Best Of,” go HERE

Coming Soon (promises, promises…):
—The Worst of 2011~I swear I’m not being contrarian!
—2011’s Index!
—December’s Movies: time off from work meant plenty of couch time!

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