It’s no secret that I love movies. I have been writing movie reviews for over 15 years now, and 2011 brought out a few real gems. What follows is a list of the 15 essential films of the year in my humble opinion. Notice there are no vampire romances or young sorcerers with horn rimmed glasses. Nor are there any 3D movies listed. Can’t stand ‘em. They give me a headache. Let me know what you think, whether you agree or not. I’d love to hear your opinion.
1. Super 8
Director J.J. Abrams is the new sci-fi king and he proved it once again with this
excellent tale of a group of teenagers who set out to make their own Hollywood blockbuster movie, but get more than they bargained for while filming a scene involving an oncoming train.
2. Rise Of The Planet of The Apes
The franchise springs back to life with the greatest Apes
movie ever. Great acting, good script, excellent motion capture effects and enough references to the past Apes
movies to make the fan boys swoon.
3. The Help
From the highly successful novel. An aspiring author during the civil rights movement of the 1960's decides to write a book detailing the African-American maid's point of view on the white families for which they work, and the hardships they go through on a daily basis
One of the funniest movies I have seen in years. Annie (Kristen Wiig), is a maid of honor whose life unravels as she leads her best friend, Lillian (Maya Rudolph), and a group of colorful bridesmaids (Rose Byrne, Melissa McCarthy, Wendi McLendon-Covey and Ellie Kemper) on a wild ride down the road to matrimony.
5. Money Ball
In this true story, Brad Pitt stars as Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane and his successful attempt to put together a baseball club on a budget by employing computer-generated analysis to draft his players. Also stars Jonah Hill and Philip Seymour Hoffman.
A scientist (Liam Neeson) awakens from a coma, only to discover that someone has taken on his identity and that no one, (not even his wife, Diane Kruger), believes him. With the help of a young woman, he sets out to prove who he is.
7. X Men First Class
A superb prequel to the X Men franchise, this one tells the story of how Professor X and Magneto first met and became best friends, prior to becoming enemies. Excellent 30 second cameo from Hugh Jackman as Wolverine.
Marvel continue to build the lineup of super heroes who will dominate the summer 2012 film season in The Avengers.
Another good one, another cute cameo from Stan Lee, and of course, the sexy Natalie Portman.
9. Water for Elephants
Life is a circus. A veterinary student abandons his studies after his parents are killed and joins a traveling circus as their vet. Reese Witherspoon, Robert Pattinson.
10. The Muppets
Yeah! Someone finally brought back the Muppets! Kermit never looked better.
11. Captain America: The First Avenger
Oh, the Marvel Comics heroes are all springing to life. Another prequel to 2012’s huge Avengers
movie. Cappy is an excellent adventure in and of itself.
12. Real Steel
Hugh Jackman stars in this fine sci-fi story about boxing robots, but the real story is in the relationship between Hugh's character and his son.
13. The Lincoln Lawyer
Matthew McConaughey, Marisa Tomei. A lawyer conducts business from the back of his Lincoln town car. Excellent action and drama.
14. The Hangover II
It would be impossible to outdo the original, but this sequel is still darn funny. More adventures.
Saoirse Ronan (The Lovely Bones
) and Eric Bana star in this top notch thriller, laced with suspense, action and a wonderful sense of mystery.
-Michael Buffalo Smith