Friday, December 30, 2011

Uncle Zack picks the best movies of 2011

The critics have chosen the so-called best movies of 2011 and as usual it is an abysmal assortment of films you’ve never seen or even heard about. And why would you? They went nowhere.
What I found interesting is that, for the most part, they chose the same films. Here’s a list of their most popular choices.
The Artist
The Descendants
Meek’s Cut-off
Le Havre
The Tree of Life.
The only one I’ve seen is Hugo. Now here’s the thing. This movie received glowing reviews and praise as one of Scorsese’s best.
It was a snore.
The first 40 minutes simply features a boy in a train depot in 1930’s France. That’s it. 40 minute of a boy wandering a train station. Then we are subjected to the usual plot contrivances. The boy’s an orphan (oh, boo-hoo) the war injured cop is too shy to talk to the pretty girl and the crusty old man turns out to have a heart of gold. Fortunately, none of you have ever seen a movie with those elements.
This bomb was in and out of theaters faster than the latest Harold and Kumar disaster. Now here’s my point. How do the people who review movies get their jobs? Since all the movies they chose tanked, shouldn’t they be fired?
A new movie comes out, you think it looks interesting and go to the reviews to see what the critics say, then you base your decision on what they wrote. Is it funny? Is it action packed? Is it engaging? Is it a chick flick? Will the kids like it?
These are the questions the critics no longer consider or address. Over the last few years movie critics have become social activists, and push movies with themes that appeal to their sense of how society should be.
That’s not their job. Their job is to watch movies and provide you with clear information on what it contains so you can decide whether you would like to see it.        
  But to be fair there really wasn’t much to choose from this year, mostly sequels of one sort or another, so the studios should share some of the blame. Still there were some originals that were worth seeing, for example:
Rango.  Fun, clever, witty and edgy enough to hold your attention.
Cowboys and Aliens. Got panned by the critics but it brought something new to an old genre. Action-packed, fast-paced and well acted.
Source Code.  A truly intriguing science fiction film with enough twists and turns to keep you riveted.
Battle L.A.  This is a guy flick, period. So much action and adrenaline that you leave the movie feeling like you had been fighting alongside them.
Before I announce my personal favorite of the year let me explain how I critique a movie. I strongly dislike movies that feature some poor abused group during some horrible time in their country’s history who at the end triumph over all odds. Those movies have been done to death and I’m just plain sick of them.  For example I enjoyed The King’s Speech and Forrest Gump but did not like Slumdog Millionaire or The Help. I love anything that’s new, different and brings something to the table that I haven’t experienced before. And so, my favorite movie for 2011 is…

 Sucker Punch. I will be the first to say this movie isn’t for everybody and the first 20 minutes drag but only because pulling off something this different requires a lot of set up, but once you get into it, you’ll be amazed. The visuals and the music are simply amazing. Plus it features a tragic murder, an insane asylum/nightclub, an impending lobotomy, a carefully planned escape attempt, a murderous hospital administrator and steam-powered Nazis, yeah, that right, stream-powered Nazis. If you enjoy movies well grounded in fact and realism, this isn’t for you BUT, if you have a taste for something you’re going to remember and talk about long after the other movies you’ve seen are long forgotten this is the pick of the litter.