Nicks’s Picks 12/21/11
THE BEST AND WORST OF 2011
2011 IN REVIEW
With 2011 now completely under wraps, I am in the unenviable position of ranking the best and worst of the year in film. Over the course of this year, I have seen over one hundred and thirty different movies, many of which I have thankfully long-since forgotten about. I would have to admit, however, this has been a good year for films. I have seen actors really surprise me by pushing the envelope such as Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer in The Help. Then there is the opposite end of the spectrum, where actors really scrape the bottom of the barrel as Russell Brand in Arthur. As the multitude of award shows begin to hit the airwaves this next week, you will have the opportunity to see and hear information about films you both have seen and never heard of. When the opportunity arises, check out some of these movies and see how they rate with you. I am anxious to see what 2012 cinema masterpieces have in store, but until then, here is my list, ranked in order, of The Best and Worst of 2011.
1. The Artist, The Weinstein Company
2. The Help, Dreamworks & Touchstone
3. Drive, Film District
4. War Horse, Dreamworks & Disney
5. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, Warner Bros.
6. The Descendants, Fox Searchlight
7. Midnight in Paris, Sony Pictures Classics
8. Take Shelter, Sony Pictures Classics
9. The Tree of Life, Fox Searchlight
10. Win Win, Fox Searchlight
1. Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life
2. Nicholas Winding Refn, Drive
3. Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
4. Alexander Payne, The Descendants
5. Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
1. Michael Fassbender, Shame
2. Jean Dujardin, The Artist
3. Michael Shannon, Take Shelter
4. Brad Pitt, Moneyball
5. George Clooney, The Descendants
1. Tilda Swinton, We Need to Talk About Kevin
2. Viola Davis, The Help
3. Michelle Williams, My Week with Marilyn
4. Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
5. Elizabeth Olsen, Martha Marcy May Marlene
Best Supporting Actors:
1. Albert Brooks, Drive
2. Andy Serkis, Rise of the Planet of the Apes
3. Christopher Plummer, Beginners
4. Alex Shaffer, Win Win
5. Armie Hammer, J. Edgar
Best Supporting Actresses:
1. Octavia Spencer, The Help
2. Shailene Woodley, The Descendants
3. Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs
4. Jessica Chastain, The Help
5. Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids
The Worst Films of 2011
1. Your Highness – James Franco, Natalie Portman and Danny McBride team up. Good film, right? Um, nope. Matter of fact, it beyond stinks. I got in free and I want a refund!
2. The Hangover Part II – Simply watch the first film in the series in a foreign language.
3. The Smurfs – To use a cliche, this movie Smurfs.
4. Arthur – I would rather have a tooth drilled without Novocain that sit through this drivel again. A remake of a below average film to begin with. Now that’s smart.
5. The Change Up – This is a perfect example of why you want someone writing your script that isn’t still taking drugs left over from the 70′s.
Until next time, have fun at the movies and try not to eat too much popcorn!
FREE DVD GIVEAWAY
We are doing a Free DVD Giveaway! If you are interested in a chance at winning a free copy of Dolphin Tale, Heart Specialist, Atlas Shrugged, Wrong Turn 4, Burn Notice: Fall of Sam Axe, Henry’s Crime, Rio, Louie, Look: Season One, The Nickel Ride and 99 & 94/100 Dead, or Transformers Prime: Darkness Rising, it is really easy! All you have to do is send me an email at HoustonMovieGuy@gmail.com. The subject line of the email should read DVD GIVEAWAY. In the body of the email, be sure to put your name, full mailing address and which DVD or Blu-ray you would like. Winners will be selected by random drawing. Best of luck!
MYSTERIES OF LISBON – Music Box Films
Based on a 19th-century novel that’s usually characterized as sprawling, Mysteries of Lisbon is an incredible melodrama that is sure to capture your fancy! Director Rául Ruiz has called it one of his most theoretical films, but this multi course feast is no self-conscious demonstration of molecular gastronomy. The storytelling is straightforward, with a classical sheen, even as mischief and hallucination puncture the serene surface. The running time should not be cause for dismay; with 100-plus films to his credit, Ruiz is nothing if not a master of tone and pacing as he moves his players through the drawing rooms, hotels, convents and monasteries of Western Europe and, briefly, Brazil, unwrapping stories within stories within stories. A must own for your family library!
CATCH .44 – Anchor Bay
Bruce Willis, Malin Akerman, Nikki Reed, Deborah Ann Woll and Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker star in the tough, sexy story of three hit women sent to rural Louisiana to intercept a big money dope deal. But when they get to the near-empty roadside café, bullets blast apart what was supposed to be a simple transaction. It could be a huge, bloody misunderstanding but it might also be a deadly double-cross. Shea Whigham and Academy Award nominee Brad Dourif co-star in this intense crime thriller with a killer twist.
BURKE & HARE – IFC Films
William Burke (Simon Pegg) and William Hare (Andy Serkis) luck into some easy money when they discover they can sell a fresh cadaver to Dr. Knox (Tom Wilkinson) at Edinburgh Medical College for dissection. After somehow producing another corpse to sell, Burke and Hare suddenly find themselves in a lucrative if unsavory business. However, the next cadaver is not quite so easy to obtain, and when word gets out of how profitable the trade is, the duo find themselves blackmailed and in dire need of more bodies. Murder is not a laughing matter, but then again, this is the 1820′s. Co-starring Isla Fisher and directed by John Landis, who returns to feature films after more than a decade to helm this dark, grisly comedy, based on an entirely true story.
MARGIN CALL – Lionsgate
Set in the high-stakes world of Wall Street, Margin Call is an entangling thriller involving the key players at an investment firm d uring the earliest hours of the 2008 financial crisis. When an entry-level analyst unlocks information that could prove to be the downfall of the firm, a roller-coaster ride ensues as the firm’s employees must weigh whether to save their own company (and their jobs) at the risk of fleecing millions of investors.
WWE SURVIVOR SERIES 2011 – WWE
The Superstars of Raw, SmackDown, and NXT all battle to be the ultimate survivors! For the 25th consecutive year, the Superstars of WWE come together for Survivor Series. Its unique 5-on-5 elimination matches have always been favorites among WWE fans and this year will see some unique teams built and destroyed. Many of the biggest superstars in WWE look to leave an indelible mark on the sports entertainment landscape.
RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES – Fox
Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a revolution; an action-packed epic featuring stunning visual effects and creatures unlike anything ever seen before. At the story’s heart is Caesar (Andy Serkis), a chimpanzee who gains human-like intelligence and emotions from an experimental drug. Raised like a child by the drug’s creator (James Franco), Caesar ultimately finds himself taken from the humans he loves and imprisoned. Seeking justice, Caesar assembles a simian army and escapes — putting man and primate on a collision course that could change the planet forever.
BOBBY FISCHER AGAINST THE WORLD – Docurama
In 1972, America was chess-obsessed. The Soviet Union used chess to demonstrate its intellectual superiority to the West, but along came a young, lone American, who demolished the Russian masters of the sport. At the height of his career, Bobby Fischer was better known than any other man in the world. Relentless press attention, political pressure and a monomaniacal focus on chess ultimately led to his undoing. Filmmaker Liz Garbus uses the narrative tension of the 1972 match between Fischer and the defending World Champion, the Russian Boris Spassky, to explore not only the politically charged period of the early 1970s but also the nature of genius, madness and the game of chess itself.
FAMILY GUY: Volume Nine – Fox
Meet the Griffins: Peter, the big, lovable oaf who always says what’s on his mind. Lois, the doting mother who can’t figure out why her baby son keeps trying to kill her. Their daughter Meg, the teen drama queen who’s constantly embarrassed by her family. Chris, the beefy 13-year-old who wouldn’t hurt a fly, unless it landed on his hot dog. Stewie, the maniacal one-year-old bent on world domination. And Brian, the sarcastic dog with a wit as dry as the martinis he drinks. The animated adventures of his outrageous family will have your whole family laughing out loud. There’s a killer amongst us as the citizens of Quahog gather at James Woods’ mansion for a night of intrigue and murder! Will Peter solve the mystery…or will he just make it worse, as usual? Join all your Family Guy favorites for this classic whodunit, plus 13 other hilarious episodes, including the show’s milestone 150th episode, the controversial “Extra Large Medium,” and more!
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