Seen on the Big Screen: 2011When I sat down and compiled the list of films I had seen on the big screen during 2011, I was unimpressed. Not that some of the films weren't good, but rather the list was rather limited. My goal was to sort through the good and bad and develop a top 10 list for the year. Unfortunately, we'll just have to settle for a top eight list. Honestly, that isn't terribly accurate either. I guess this is, in actuality, the list of eight original films that I watched this year. Bummer. I guess those were the only films I watched on the big screen that weren't re-releases. I feel guilty that I missed all of the summer superhero film except for one. Perhaps between now and the end of the year I'll be able to get to the theater and add another to the list, but honestly, I don' think there's much to see.
1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II (5 out of 5 stars)
A great film to conclude the entire series. I'll admit to not reading the entire series of books yet, but I've enjoyed watched the characters evolve on screen. Powerful story. Excellent effects. Beautiful soundtrack. The epilogue was a bit unnecessary, but I understand it was in the book. Best film of the year for me.
2. Captain America: The First Avenger (4 out of 5 stars)
As a kid, I had two superheroes who stood above the others: Captain America and Spider-Man. Every time a superhero makes his debut or return to the big screen, the story dedicates too much time telling his origin tale. While Captain America hasn't appeared on film since those bad made-for-TV flicks during the late-70s, I understand why the filmmakers allowed more time to establish the Steve Rogers/Captain America background. With that in mind, I think it did slow the pace significantly. I thought the film looked great, and stay through the credits. Absolutely worth the wait.
3. Moneyball (4 out of 5 stars)
As a serious baseball fan, I have one rule when critiquing films about the game: never judge against The Natural. Regardless if the film is fiction or non-fiction, they never come close to Barry Levinson's 1984 masterpiece. With that said, I loved Moneyball. I read the book when it was originally released. When I learned the film was in production, I was curious how they would adapt the book for film. Simply stated, a job well done. The film addressed an interesting topic relevant within the game today. Old versus new. Scouting versus statistical analysis. Brad Pitt was excellent as a former jock turned executive, but he won't be walking away with any Oscar buzz for this role. I was pleased to see Jonah Hill depart from his typical Superbad-esque characters. Though based upon actual events of the Oakland A's, I was happy Moneyball didn't receive a Hollywood ending.
4. The Conspirator (4 out of 5 stars)
An interesting film about the eight people arrested and charged with conspiring to kill President Abraham Lincoln. The film centers around a former Union soldier turned lawyer and Mary Surratt, the owner of a boarding house where John Wilkes Booth met and planned the assassination. The film was released on the 146th anniversary of Lincoln's death.
5. Super 8 (3 out of 5 stars)
I posted a full review of the film during the summer. You can find that here.
6. Bridesmaids (3 out of 5 stars)
I enjoyed this film, but I'll admit that I am not a huge fan of gross out humor. This was definitely one of those films. While the label "chick flick" certainly applies, I do think the comedy does appeal to everyone.
7. I Am Number Four (2 out of 5 stars)
Nothing great here. A sci-fi film with plenty of action and very little story.
8. Your Highness (no stars)
Bad. Not funny. Waste of time. Sorry I spent money on this film.