2011: The Year in Review (Part I)

Back in January — within the first ten days of the start of this blog, even — I previewed the entire 2011 release calendar. You can see those articles here:

The 2011 Release Calendar (January & February) and  The 2011 Release Calendar (March & April). We’ll stick with these two for now, since this will be split into three parts. (You won’t need to read them first, though. They’re only there in case you want to double check that I did, in fact, say what I said. You can cross-check what I thought I’d say from there alongside my Year in Review articles here, here and here.)

What I did was, I went and looked at all the films (as they were scheduled at the time) — what they were about, who was in them, who directed them — and basically formed an opinion on what I thought I’d think about the films. It was the kind of thing where — by this point, I know exactly what I’m gonna think about certain movies, or at least I think I do. So I figured I’d preview all the movies that were coming out, guess what I’d think of them, then revisit the list at the end of the year and find out just how right (or wrong) I was.

It’s that time. Now I get to go back — I deliberately didn’t read those preview articles after I wrote them. I didn’t want my actual opinions of the films to be swayed by what I thought I’d think. And now — I get to see which films surprised me, for better and for worse, and which fell precisely within my expectations (for better, and for worse). I’m excited to see how I did.

A few more points to make — some films I include on here were not part of the release calendar, for whatever reason. Some may have been on my Rest of 2011 article, because they didn’t have official release dates at the beginning of the year. Some I may have previewed but may not have seen. Either way — I’ll specify if I didn’t preview it or whatever the circumstances are. Otherwise, you’ll see how we’re doing this pretty quickly. It’s very straightforward. Also, if you’re familiar with how things are done around here, with articles like this, there tend to be some — well, easter eggs. Just want to point that out, for those who may not think to look. Just gonna highlight that, hover over it, if you will.

That hint was about as subtle as a Michael Bay movie. I hope you figured it out, Summer Sanders.

So, with that all said, let’s see how I did…

JANUARY

First, a couple of 2010 films with 2011 release dates:

Country Strong

What I said about it back in January:

“This is Gwyneth Paltrow throwing out Oscar bait like Chief Brody. You’re gonna need a better movie.”

3 stars. 2 if its schmaltzy. So, probably like 2½, and it sways either way based on whether or not there’s something I like or something that pisses me off.”

What I actually thought about it:

“Ha. Ha ha ha. Ha ha.”

2 stars.

Final Review:

Definitely underwhelmed. This movie sucked. Boring as all hell, and I swear at least an hour of this film was nothing but shitty country music performances.

2 stars.

How close was I?: I’d say pretty close. If it wasn’t so schmaltzy, it really could have been a 3-star movie. But it wasn’t. I’m calling this one right on the money.

Barney’s Version

What I said about it back in January:

“I don’t like Paul Giamatti.”

“But I do like Dustin Hoffman, so this is a begrudging watch for me.”

” It sounds like one of those soap operas that they pretend is a comedy, but the laughs aren’t really there.”

2 stars. 3 if it’s actually funny.”

What I actually thought about it:

I never actually got around to seeing it. I have it in my possession too, and I still never got around to it. I was gonna, but then I started doing this directors thing, and I thought about finding where it is and putting it on, but then I figured I have better things to do and that I didn’t care enough about this movie to watch it just for this list. I’m sure I’ll see it eventually, because I have it. For now — meh.

The Way Back

What I said about it back in January:

“Peter Weir can do no wrong. And by wrong, I mean, less than 3 stars. All his movies are interesting in some way.”

“I’m sure this will be worthwhile.”

“As long as this isn’t Defiance, it’s a 4 star movie. 3 if it’s riddled with clichés.”

What I actually thought about it:

“I really enjoyed this movie. I just didn’t love it. It’s very engaging, it’s just — nothing really happens.”

“They walk, say shit occasionally, some people die, they get new people, they die, people leave, and that’s it. It’s engaging, but, I just didn’t love it.”

3.5 stars.

Final Review:

That’s about right. Solid film, just not great. See it for the cast and for the director. Otherwise, stick with Master and Commander. It was much better.

3.5 stars.

How close was I?: Very close. I don’t think I awarded half-stars back then. So this, to me, is pretty exact. If I had to pick between 3 or 4 (on Netflix), I’d give it a 4. So, I’m calling this one on the money as well.

The Company Men

What I said about it back in January:

3 star movie, 4 if the performances are standout.”

What I actually thought about it:

“It got a bit depressing at moments, and also a bit — overbearing — at times… but on the whole, a very good movie. Surprised it didn’t get more attention.”

4 stars.

Final Review:

Liked it a lot. Great performances by Affleck, Cooper and Jones. Highly recommended. Though be prepared to get depressed.

4 stars.

How close was I?: Pretty exact. The performances were standout.

Okay, now for the January films…

Season of the Witch

What I said about it back in January:

“This, to me, is like waiting for Christmas presents. No matter how bad this is, it cannot be bad.”

“Cage movies are rarely about the plot. And the worse the reviews, the more entertaining I expect it to be.”

“I expect this to be 3 stars. 4 if it’s really over the top. Cage movies are rarely not (at minimum) worthwhile.”

What I actually thought about it:

“This is a typical Cage movie for 85 of its 95 minutes. It’s passable at points, and it’s laughably bad at points. And you wonder what compelled him to do it. But, like all Cage movies, especially the “bad” ones, it has ten minutes that are just so batshit insane that they redeem the entire rest of the movie.”

“I could not tell you what happened for most of this movie’s runtime…it’s all a blur. What I can tell you, however, is that, in this movie’s final ten minutes, Nicolas Cage fights the most hysterical-looking CGI demon I have ever seen. It looked like a cross between a gargoyle and a turd.”

“Nicolas Cage. Has a fistfight. With a demon! That idea is so fucking insane that it redeems every bit of the rest of the film.”

3 stars.

Final Review:

He has a fistfight with a demon. The heart wants what it wants.

3 stars.

How close was I?: Dead on. It wasn’t over the top at all. Solid 3 stars because of the demon fight.

The Dilemma

What I said about it back in January:

“Here’s a movie destined to fail with me.”

“I’m thinking the same thing you are – this movie seems like it would be right up Ron Howard’s alley. I mean, Cinderella Man – practically the same movie! They should have called this A Beautiful Marriage, because that movie was hi-larious!”

2 stars. 3 if it’s funnier than I expect. Possible 1 and unforgivable status. Will be monitoring closely.”

What I actually thought about it:

“This movie was exactly as I thought it would be — schizophrenic. It didn’t know what it wanted to be. It’s a drama, yet they tried to market it as a comedy and tried to insert comedic moments.”

2 stars.

Final Review:

Not Unforgivable, but pretty bad. I’d say avoid this at a fair cost. Definitely a bottom 25’er of the year.

2 stars.

How close was I?: Right on the money. I expected it to be bad and not Unforgivable. I’d say that’s exact.

The Green Hornet

What I said about it back in January:

“Boy, this had train wreck written all over it from June, didn’t it?”

“There is no way this movie is going to be good.”

“At most, and I mean, at most, this is 3 stars. I can’t see it being a strong 3 though. Really can’t.”

What I actually thought about it:

“This was a very weak three stars.”

“It got three because, I wasn’t ever really bored while watching it. I just wasn’t all that interested.”

“It was a bad idea from the top down, with bad choices in every single role, from star to — strangely — director. A misfire through and through.”

3 stars.

Final Review:

That review up there covered it pretty well.

3 stars.

How close was I?: About as exact as one could ever be.

The Heart Specialist

What I said about it back in January:

“Urban romantic comedy that isn’t Tyler Perry. There’s always one a year. I will not be seeing this. Recent examples include: Something Else, Just Wright – oh, fuck it. You don’t know what these movies are, anyway.”

“2 stars. Whatever.”

What I actually thought about it:

I didn’t see it. Imagine that.

How close was I?: It’s like I’ve known me since I was born.

No Strings Attached

What I said about it back in January:

“This has Unforgivable written all over it.”

“The script is 3 stars. The movie I’d imagine to be a solid 2, maybe a 1 of unforgivable if they cut out the good stuff.”

What I actually thought about it:

2 stars.

“Here’s a film I assumed would be Unforgivable….Then I read the script. Which was actually pretty good…Which I thought would mean, if they shot it right, a 3 star movie. But, like all movies nowadays, it seems they cut all the good lines from the script and just had the characters speak plot.”

“I believe this movie will not make the Unforgivables list. It’s still a bad movie though. But I don’t think it’s quite bad enough to warrant an Unforgivable tag.”

Final Review:

That’s about it. 2 star movie. Really shitty, not Unforgivable. (I believe. We still have a few days before that gets finalized.)

2 stars.

How close was I?: I’m awesome.

The Mechanic

What I said about it back in January:

“Yeah…here’s a movie that can be 3 stars if it’s not boring, and probably will be closer to 2.”

3 stars, possibly 2. That’s really it. No other possibilities.”

What I actually thought about it:

“I misjudged this one…I figured I could just skip it. But actually, this was pretty solid.”

“It’s somewhere between a 3 and a 3.5, but my misjudgment of it and my enjoyment of it leads me to give it 3.5 stars. This was actually very watchable.”

Final Review:

It’s definitely somewhere between a 3 and a 3.5. I’ll stick by the 3.5 stars just because I thought it would be a weak 3 and it wasn’t.

How close was I?: Close, but I still think I misjudged it. I was off a little bit, be it .2 stars or a 1/2 star. Either way, not quite exact.

The Rite

What I said about it back in January:

“Won’t see it, don’t give a fuck. Tony Hopkins gets to overact, because no one lets him just act anymore.”

1 star. Maybe 2.”

What I actually thought about it:

I haven’t seen it. But I have to assume I’d have found this laughably bad, especially at the end when Tony Hopkins goes all-out, using his Lecter voice and hamming it up. And based on that, I don’t think I’d ever have found this Unforgivable, just because I’d be laughing at how bad it was, rather than get pissed off at it. Though I’d imagine this is in the bottom 25 films of the year.

How close was I?: From what I can tell, based on those who have seen it, I’d have been pretty close if I did watch it.

From Prada to Nada

What I said about it back in January:

“What demographic is this playing to? The Confessions of a Shopaholic one? Because that movie fucking tanked.”

2 stars. And I’m being generous. Not that I will ever see this movie.”

What I actually thought about it:

I never saw this movie.

How close was I?: You tell me.

FEBRUARY

The Roommate

What I said about it back in January:

“Remember SwimfanThe Stepfather? Those, “this person may be crazy and killing all my friends” movies? Where the person is clearly crazy but only to the protagonist, and does creepy shit to them while also seeing totally okay to everyone else? Yeah, it’s going to suck. Have fun wasting money, America. ”

1 star. Nuff said.”

What I actually thought about it:

“Forgot about this one already. Only realized I’d seen it when I saw it on this list. Standard shitty genre thriller. Roomie is weird, kinda crazy, kills people. She dies at the end. The end. Bad but not awful awful. It’s one of those you just avoid knowingly (kind of like The Rite). It’s not Unforgivable so much as it’s, just regularly bad.”

2 stars.

Final Review:

Regularly bad pretty much covers it. (Not sure how I ended up watching this one. I must have been druuunk.)

2 stars. Maybe 1.5.

How close was I?: Exact on the expectations, slightly off on the actual rating. Still, I consider this one to be dead on. I knew exactly what I was gonna think about this one.

Sanctum

What I said about it back in January:

I didn’t.

What I actually thought about it:

I didn’t see it.

Final Review:

I don’t give a shit about this movie, and I bet you didn’t even remember that it came out until I mentioned it just now.

How close was I?: Exact. Didn’t know about it a less than a month before it came out, didn’t see it. Not even on my radar.

The Eagle

What I said about it back in January:

“I don’t know what the fuck this movie is about. Let’s assume a bird. Whatever. I won’t see it.”

2 stars. Because it’s ancient.”

What I actually thought about it:

Didn’t see it.

How close was I?: I’m great at knowing what I won’t give a shit about enough to see.

Gnomeo & Juliet

What I said about it back in January:

“I gauge animated movies by their budgets. My guess is this will be a movie that doesn’t gross more than $60 million.”

“I’m guessing it will by highly inoffensive, mostly pandering to children, and have one or two jokes that are worthwhile.”

3 stars. Unless they really do something wrong, in which case 2.”

What I actually thought about it:

“Really enjoyed this. Totally harmless kids flick, made better by some smart references to the Shakespeare. There’s also some great wordplay in this, along with some very suggestive lines, which I like to see in my kids movies. A little something for everyone. Pretty enjoyable all around, and very minimally annoying. You could do worse for a kids movie.”

3.5 stars.

Final Review:

Ehh, ten months later, my memory of this was that it was a 3 star movie, but I don’t want to make it seem like I’m doing that just so I could have been right, so we’ll keep the other rating.

3.5 stars. (3 on Netflix.)

How close was I?: Great with what I’d think about it, way wrong on how much it made.

Just Go with It

What I said about it back in January:

“Here’s unforgivable nominee #1… Sandler just manages to miss being nominated every year and Aniston is Public Enemy #1.”

“Is it possible to give this less than 1 star? I’m going to go into this film looking to not put it on my Unforgivables list. This film needs to do anything right in order to make it off, and I guarantee it will still find a way to be on.”

0 stars. Unforgivable. Almost guaranteed.”

What I actually thought about it:

Oh, you’ll find out in a couple of days.

Final Review:

Unforgivable.

How close was I?: Was it possible to not be right on this?

Justin Bieber: Never Say Never

What I said about it back in January:

I didn’t.

What I actually thought about it:

I said never.

Cedar Rapids

What I said about it back in January:

“Here’s an interesting movie. It was on the Black List. Very highly ranked, too. Which leads me to believe it wasn’t all due to studio rigging. However, being dumped in January and starring Ed Helms are two things that give me pause. Also, Miguel Arteta gave us the abortion that was Youth in Revolt last year.”

1 star. 2 if I don’t get angry. 3 if it really wins me over. Doubtful.”

What I actually thought about it:

“This film — was harmless. I can’t say I was bored, but I can’t say I was particularly engaged, either. It was just kind of there.”

2.5 stars.

Final Review:

That’s about it. Just not for me, at all. Didn’t much care for it.

2.5 stars.

How close was I?: Fairly close. I said 2 if I don’t get angry, 3 if it wins me over. I didn’t get angry, and it didn’t quite win me over, but I was about 60% engaged. So, I was slightly in the area, but I did expect this to be a lot worse than it was.

Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son

What I said about it back in January:

“What happened to Big Momma’s house? That’s how you know the economy is really in the toilet.”

“Martin Lawrence must keep a Spitzer hooker on retainer, because that could only explain why he keeps making these movies.”

0 stars, not Unforgivable because it’s a sequel. But, there’s still that chance anyway.”

What I actually thought about it:

“It’s terrible. But we all knew that, didn’t we? Will it be Unforgivable? Maybe. I doubt it, though. I dislike putting sequels on there.”

“They took her house, what more can they take? (Note: Apparently not her dignity.)”

1 star.

Final Review:

…apparently not her dignity.

1 star. (0 in spirit.)

How close was I?: Pretty exact. I reserve official 0 stars for Unforgivables (plus Netflix doesn’t let me give less than 1), so, while this isn’t an “official” 0 star movie — it fucking blew.

I Am Number Four

What I said about it back in January:

“This sounds like it was the alternate title to Star Wars.”

“Wikipedia describes this as a ”teen science fiction film.” Yeah, I think that’s what Jumper was. Jumper also came out this exact week 3 years ago. Hmm…”

2 stars. Maybe 1. I assume it’ll look competently made and just suck. That’s usually what gets something a 2. Tried and failed gets 2. When it looks like you weren’t even trying, that’s a 1.”

What I actually thought about it:

“Shitty, generic action teen movie. Knew this one was gonna suck going in. I was not interested at all from moment one.”

2 stars.

Final Review:

It was shitty. I was right.

2 stars.

How close was I?: I’m so fucking awesome.

Unknown

What I said about it back in January:

“This is Taken part 2. And I bet, like all sequels, it won’t be nearly as good. And Taken was only a 3 star movie to begin with.”

2 stars. Maybe a 3 if Liam really beats the shit out of some people. But this doesn’t look like that kind of movie. Maybe it’ll get a 3 because Diane Kruger is gorgeous. I still say 2.”

What I actually thought about it:

“Not as good as Taken, but we’ll take it. It was actually more engaging than I thought. I assumed, that since he wasn’t beating the shit out of people, that it would be bad. But, actually, it’s almost a solid three stars.”

“If you had to pick a January or February movie from this list, this is one of the more tolerable ones. It’s like — you need to get shot in the arm, the leg, or the hand. Probably the arm is the safest and least painful. Right? Less arteries and shit. This is like getting shot in the arm, while the other ones are like getting shot in the hand and the face.”

2.5 stars.

Final Review:

That’s about it. Not that great, but not horrible. Only works when it’s released in the middle of other shitty movies. Otherwise, you have no business seeing this.

2.5 stars.

How close was I?: Pretty close. I figured it would be worse than Taken, and it was. It slightly was better than my expectations, but I did say it was gonna be a 2 and listed some things that might have made it a 3, so, 2.5, I’d say, is right on the money (especially since I didn’t do half stars back in January).

Rubber

What I said about it back in January:

“This might be my most anticipated movie of the year. I cannot wait to see this one.”

What I actually thought about it:

Huh…I didn’t write it up. Oh well, I’ll do so here. This is a 4 star film, even though I will treat it in the future as a 5 star film. That is to say — I fucking loved it. It’s brilliantly executed from start to finish, and it’s so fucking weird and offbeat that it’s just a joy to watch. I loved this.

Final review:

Everything I said up there. 4 stars, even though I’ll be treating it like a 5 star film (just to get people to watch it).

How close was I?: There wasn’t really much of a chance that I wouldn’t like this one. The idea is just so unique that it had to be good.

Drive Angry

What I said about it back in January:

“2 Cage movies in 2 months? Holy jumping fucking shitballs! This is like hitting the Mega Millions.”

“Done. 3 stars. Nice likelihood of 4 if it’s really off the wall…I also don’t know what the title means but I hope he does a lot of it.”

What I actually thought about it:

“Oh dear god, this movie was fucking incredible! I really did not expect this kind of greatness. I expected fun and crazy, but this was fun, crazy, and really fucking crazy.”

“Okay, let’s set the mood: The movie opens with a car driving out of hell. Hell looks like a castle with a drawbridge and a moat. The car jumps that, while a voiceover uses the phrase “bad ass motherfucker” no less than twice. Then, Cage shows up in Los Angeles, runs a car full of 20-somethings off the road and proceeds to execute them all. Then, he shows up at a roadside diner in the middle of nowhere and within about thirty seconds talks a waitress into wanting to fuck him. This is all in the first six minutes of the movie. The rest of the movie is about him trying to protect a baby from some satanists, and William Fichtner as hell’s “accountant”, who basically has a free pass from hell to chase Cage and is having so much fucking fun going around blowing shit up. Plus, there’s a scene where Cage fucks a woman and kills people. We’ll set the scene again: Cage is sitting on a bed, fucking a woman in the lotus position. He’s wearing sunglasses and is holding a bottle of Jack Daniels. She is having the best sex of her life. For him, it’s Tuesday. A bunch of men come in, ready to kill. Cage, mid-coitus, rolls off the bed, maintaining insertion, and kills them all. She, naturally, orgasms just as he puts a bullet between the eyes of the last guy.”

“I guarantee you, there is no universe that I exist in, in which a movie like that does not get at least four stars. This will go down as one of the best movies of 2011 for me. Definitely will not make the Top Ten list, but believe me, I’ll be mentioning it several times among my favorites come year end.”

4 stars.

Final Review:

I said it all.

4 stars.

How close was I?: Exact. 4 stars if it’s really off the wall. It was really off the fucking wall, MJ.

Hall Pass

What I said about it back in January:

“No…. Just … no.”

1 star. Maybe 2. Probably 1. Not unforgivable, likely, but still, 1 star.”

What I actually thought about it:

“What a god-awful unholy piece of shit this movie is.”

Nothing happened! At all. And when it did, I just stared at it, blankly, amazed that someone thought this would be entertaining. This is an almost certainty to make my Unforgivables list.”

1 star.

Final Review:

Yup. (Check the Unforgivables list in a few days.)

1 star.

How close was I?: Close, but no phallus. I said likely not Unforgivable, but otherwise, was dead on. So I mark this as one of those wins everyone else is excited about, but you’re like, “We could have done all this stuff better.” The Belichick win.

MARCH

The Adjustment Bureau

What I said about it back in January:

“Here’s a movie that was pushed back from last October. I’m not sure if this was a mark of quality or just too much Matt Damon.”

4 stars. Has to be. 3 if it’s bad, 5 if it’s really good. Damon has not made a bad movie since Stuck on You.”

What I actually thought about it:

“This movie, for me, was the best movie of 2011 so far. At least, as of March.”

“I’ve got a hunch that it’s really only four stars and I’m pushing it to five because of all the crap that it’s surrounded by.”

4 stars. (Bordering on a 5.)

Final Review:

I was overdoing it a bit, but, in my defense, it was March, and everything around it pretty much sucked balls. Still, this was really great. One of the few movies from the first 2/3 of the year I’ll care to see again.

4 stars.

How close was I?: Dead on. It had to be 4 stars. That’s how it made sense.

Beastly

What I said about it back in January:

“Anyone give a fuck? Didn’t think so.”

2 stars. 1. I won’t see it.”

What I actually thought about it:

I didn’t see it. (I know me so well.)

How close was I?: (See previous parenthetical.)

Rango

What I said about it back in January:

4 stars. This will be entertaining. 3 if it’s too kiddy. But Johnny is usually a sign of quality.”

What I actually thought about it:

“I really enjoyed this movie. It was a bit too indulgent in — whatever it is it wanted to indulge in — but, it was very fun to watch. There was something about it that made me not give it a 4, but, it’s still a very strong 3. I did enjoy the movie a lot.”

3 stars.

Final Review:

I’d call it a solid 3. Didn’t love it, but respect the hell out of it because they made a western, and that’s such a rarity today.

“I’ll speak well of this movie whenever it comes up.”

How close was I?: Off by a star, but I did say 3 if it was too kiddy, so I did leave some room for error, so I wasn’t that far off.

Take Me Home Tonight

What I said about it back in January:

“Here’s a film that was shot in 2007. That should tell you a lot about it.”

“Seems generic. Seems like it takes place over one evening. Still, seems generic.”

2 stars.

What I actually thought about it:

“It was. Not particularly funny, not particularly dramatic. Just kind of there. I wasn’t bored, so, 3 stars. Not bad for a one-off.”

Final Review:

Yeah, it wasn’t bad the one time I’ll ever see it. Pretty generic, but watchable generic.

3 stars.

How close was I?: Off by a full star. I think it was the watchability factor I had wrong. Because the generic factor I had correct.

Battle: Los Angeles

What I said about it back in January:

“Take one part Skyline, and one part … Cloverfield oh, no.”

“This seems like it’s going to be a fairly interesting concept made to action-y with boring dialogue and contrived minor characters. Just like those two films I mentioned up there.”

2 stars. Maybe 3 if it looks pretty.”

What I actually thought about it:

“I fucking hated this movie. Hated, hated, hated it.”

“My problem with this movie is — it’s all terrible action and no plot. You’d think that would be okay. But, unlike something like Shoot ‘Em Up, this one didn’t have fun with it. This was a deadly serious movie. It was like, marines, aliens, fighting. Shitty stock soldier dialogue, “What will you do when it’s all over?” “Ha ha, I bet you’ve never even slept with a woman!” “Oh, man, I want to have sex with your sister when I’m home.” That kind of dialogue. Then, they shoot stuff. And do so for the rest of the movie. This is what the rest of the movie sounds like if you’re just listening to what they say: “Get down!” “Move move move!” “Cover me!” “We have to destroy that tower!” “Sarge!” “You’re in command now!” “I’m getting you out of here! I promise!” “We have to do this, for America. For us.” “Shoot it! Shoot it now!” “Watch out!” Etc. Etc. Etc.”

“I can’t put it on the Unforgivables list because — I didn’t get angry when I watched this. It made me upset, but not angry.”

1 star.

Final Review:

“I have no difficulty in saying, if you liked this movie, you are an idiot, and I’ve lost just a little bit of respect for you as a person.”

1 star. Really a 2 in execution, but I hated this, so, 1 star.

Really toying with making it Unforgivable, and leaning toward it at the moment. We’ll see what happens.

How close was I?: I didn’t mention the Unforgivable possibility back in January. So, this was worse than I expected (in terms of how angry it made me).

Mars Needs Moms

What I said about it back in January:

“Here’s the springtime animated movie that will make a shit ton of money.” (Ha, ha ha ha ha. It tanked.)

3 stars. Possibly 2. I don’t like these kinds of movies.”

What I actually thought about it:

Didn’t see it. I assumed it would have made more of an impact than it did.

How close was I?: Not very, actually. I assumed this would be bigger than it was. But fortunately, I didn’t have to sit through it, so I got that going for me. Which is nice.

Red Riding Hood

What I said about it back in January:

“It’s a retelling of Hood by the woman who directed TwilightDon’t tempt me with Gary Oldman, this is going to be a huge piece of shit.”

2 stars. Maybe 1.”

What I actually thought about it:

“This sucked. But didn’t we already know that?”

“It almost definitely won’t be Unforgivable because — it was just bad.”

“I feel bad for ever putting it on.”

“I should have just masturbated instead.”

1.5 stars.

Final Review:

Really sucked.

1.5 stars.

How close was I?: Pretty exact. 2 stars, maybe 1, and it being a 1.5 — yeah, pretty on the money.

Jane Eyre

What I said about it back in January:

“One of these comes out every two years or so. Last one I remember was Brideshead Revisited. It’s the stuffy, British novel movie that stars either Emma Thompson or Judi Dench. This one stars Judi Dench.”

“I really don’t like these movies.”

2 stars. Because it’ll be boring. Maybe 3 if it passes by quickly.”

What I actually thought about it:

Didn’t see it.

How close was I?: I was still incorrectly operating under the assumption that I’d see it, just because I try to see everything. I underestimated how much of a fuck I did not give.

Kill the Irishman

What I said about it back in January:

“Walken is in it. So is Val Kilmer. And Vinnie Jones.  And then most of the cast of Goodfellas. I’m guessing this is a movie that will be interesting but be bogged down by way too many references to Scorsese movies.”

3 stars. For Walken. Maybe 4 if they don’t rip too overtly from other mobster movies. So, let’s just call it 3, because you know they will.”

What I actually thought about it:

“Liked it. Solid period piece, strong character work, lots of recognizable faces. Only downside was how badly it wanted to be Goodfellas. Or some sort of mafia picture. They lifted half the Italians from The Sopranos.”

“Still though, strong film. Liked it a lot. Really solid.”

3.5 stars.

Final Review:

Really enjoyed this. Very solid film.

3.5 stars.

How close was I?: Pretty close. I expected 3 and said maybe 4 if it wasn’t too derivative. 3.5 is right in the wheelhouse, if you’re not dealing with half-stars (which I really need to do for this year). I’m taking it.

Limitless

What I said about it back in January:

“Seeing Robert De Niro in a movie nowadays is almost certainly a mark of a lack of quality.” (Sorry, Bob. I know it’s probably not your fault.)

“2 points says the novel ends bleakly and the movie doesn’t.”

1 star. On unforgivable watch. There’s potential here. Bad potential. Botential.”

What I actually thought about it:

“This movie actually surprised me.”

“The movie was pretty passable. I mean, it wasn’t good, but, I’d rather this be the bad early year movie that comes out instead of some of the other shit they throw at us. But, I have to say, I wasn’t really bored during it. I did laugh at it — a lot — but I was never bored. So that’s always a nice surprise.”

2 stars.

Final Review:

It was watchable as a standard shitty March thriller. Plus Bradley Cooper drinks up a dude’s blood. That’s worth a star, right?

2 stars.

How close was I?: Not very. I assumed it would be total garbage. Here it was just bad. So, I was wrong, but only in the sense that I thought that I’d fail the test, and I only ended up getting a 70 on it.

The Lincoln Lawyer

What I said about it back in January:

“Marisa Tomei is in this movie. She’s gorgeous. William H. Macy is in this too. So, that alone probably means it won’t be Unforgivable. It’s based on a book. That explains why people wanted to do it.”

2 stars. What did you really think this was going to be?”

What I actually thought about it:

“I was very surprised at how much I enjoyed this movie.”

“This movie far exceeded my expectations. As in, they were low, and I figured, at best, three stars. I got 3.5. That’s awesome.”

3.5 stars.

Final Review:

I really did enjoy this as “cover to cover” entertainment, as I called it. That is, it’s based on one of those Grisham-esque legal thrillers that you know is shit and mass market, but, when you read it — cover to cover — it’s actually a fun read. That’s what this movie is. A fun watch, cover to cover.

3.5 stars.

How close was I?: Not at all. This far exceeded my expectations.

Paul

What I said about it back in January:

“Here’s a movie that can either be really good, or just really bad. Or, Pineapple Express. That’s what I’m thinking this is going to be. The movie that doesn’t know how to blend comedy or action and ends up being neither.”

“The alien will be terribly and obviously CG’ed…The x-factor here is how funny they are. Since they wrote it.”

“I compared it to Pineapple Express, so, if it plays exactly as that did, 3 stars. 4 if they make it actually funny. I’m hoping for 4, expecting 3.”

What I actually thought about it:

“This movie was exactly what I expected it to be.”

“I knew it was an homage to sci fi movies, which meant I wouldn’t be totally on board. I knew that it probably wouldn’t be as good without Edgar Wright involved. And I knew that Seth Rogen voicing the alien would be okay, but not great.”

“This movie was enjoyable, but not memorable. It was nice, but not great. I watched it once, said, “Okay, that was pretty worthwhile,” then moved on and never thought about it again. That’s what this movie is. Standard three-star diversion.”

3 stars.

Final Review:

That’s it. 3 stars. Somewhat enjoyable while watching, but, afterwards, you never really think about it again.

How close was I?: Exactly. Like, really exactly.

Win Win

What I said about it back in January:

“This is the third film by the guy who made The Station Agent and The Visitor, two very low-key, well-received dramas…I have no such hopes for this film.”

“Not interested. At all. Less so because of Giamatti.”

2 stars. Maybe 3 if Giamatti doesn’t piss me off too much.”

What I actually thought about it:

Didn’t see it.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules

What I said about it back in January:

“Sequel to last year’s movie that I haven’t seen. Apparently it’s a kid’s movie that actually treats the kids like real people. So, I’ll root for it. Might not see it, but I’ll root for it.”

“Let’s call it 3 stars. And say it’s better to be seen by kids than some of the other bullshit marketed at them.”

What I actually thought about it:

Didn’t see it.

Sucker Punch

What I said about it back in January:

“Oh, Zack Snyder, how you do exactly the same thing every time, sans and including Watchmen.”

“Here’s a movie that, I guarantee you, will be awesome. It will look good, despite being horrendously CG and green-screened, have some random awesome moments, have no coherent story to tell of, have complete stereotyped characters, be offensive in some way, and not be boring enough to speak that badly of. Hey, look at that, I just described 300.”

3 stars. Maybe 4, but it’s got to be really awesome to overcome the fakeness of it all. Seriously, stop with the fucking CG shit, Snyder.”

What I actually thought about it:

Yeah…

“This movie is almost certain to be Unforgivable. Not high on the list, probably between 8 and 10.”

“And it’s not even because of the content of the movie itself. It’s mostly because of what that content represents. Sure, the movie is bad. I think we all know that. I watched it and wasn’t angry so much as dumbfounded as to, “What the fuck is going on? Who thought this would be a good movie?””

“It truly was god-awful. Don’t bother watching it unless you’re drinking, and are in a place where you’re going to make fun of it with at least one or two other people. It’s bad.”

2 stars. (Felt like 1 star to me, but we’ll give it 2, because that’s more what it was.)

Final Review:

Oh, you’ll see it in a few days. Trust me on that.

2 stars. Awful.

How close was I?: Not at all, really. I underestimated how much I’d despise this film.

Hobo with a Shotgun

What I said about it back in January:

(Was on the Rest of 2011 article.)

“If I said nothing about this movie, admit that you’d at least be intrigued based on the title. It’s like the movie Dead Hooker in a Trunk. Even if you know nothing about it, the title alone makes it intriguing and worth a watch.”

“I’m very excited to see this.”

What I actually thought about it:

“This film is exactly as advertised.”

“It’s just — dirty. The film feels like it has grime all over it.”

“You know exactly what you’re gonna get when you go into it. And it delivers.”

“I didn’t love it, but I enjoyed the hell out of it.”

“Based on the budget they had, and the expectations they set out to meet, this was a huge success.”

“The Citizen Kane of hobo shotgun movies.”

3.5 stars.

Final Review:

Enjoyable. 3 star movie, but it’s gloriously low-brow, so 3.5 stars. We’ll stick with 3.5.

How close was I?: N/A

APRIL

Hop

What I said about it back in January:

““From the director of Alvin and the Chipmunks,” the poster said, as though it were a boast…”

“That pretty much tells you everything you need to know about this movie. It’s being released the same time such classics as Marmaduke and Underdog were released. This is the kind of movie that will suck, and you hope doesn’t make money so they stop making them and only stick to the good animated movies.”

2 stars.”

What I actually thought about it:

“I knew what I was getting with this one. An Easter Bunny movie by the guys that brought you Alvin and the Chipmunks…I knew it was gonna suck.”

“It was brutal. It was really, really terrible. It won’t make my Unforgivables, because, it’s a kids movie. I can’t hold them to the same standards.”

1 star.

Final Review:

It was really bad.

1 star.

How close was I?: Close. Feelings were right, rating was slightly off, just because it was a bit more annoyingly bad than I expected.

Insidious

What I said about it back in January:

“Oh, no. It’s written and directed by the guys who brought us Saw.”

1 star.

What I actually thought about it:

Didn’t see it. I don’t see horror movies. I hate them. They bore me.

Source Code

What I said about it back in January:

“A Black List script. A very well-thought-of Black List script. However, a thriller, which means it will never translate as well as one thinks. So, that 4 star script almost always becomes a 3 star movie when it’s a thriller.”

“I said, thrillers never break new ground, and the April release date almost assures this is a 3 star movie, despite the fact that the idea is really good. Maybe 4 if it’s really cool…But you know they fuck up the end game.”

What I actually thought about it:

“This is a 4-star movie. In terms of how much I liked it, it was like a 3.5. But, overall, it was still worth 4 stars.”

4 stars.

Final Review:

Yeah — not so high on this anymore. I put it back to 3.5. It was good, but, not great.

3.5 stars.

How close was I?: Really close. I fluctuated between 3 and 4 the whole time, as I said back in January, it would be one or the other. So, I consider this a win for me.

Super

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing, strangely. Somehow, I missed this one completely. Huh…

What I actually thought about it:

“Holy shit, this is one fucked up movie.”

“This movie is disturbing on every possible level — which is what makes it so fucking great.”

“This, to me, is top three for the year so far, along with Hanna and The Adjustment Bureau.”

4 stars.

Final Review:

I fucking loved this movie. It is gloriously fucked up.

4 stars.

How close was I?: N/A

Arthur

What I said about it back in January:

“I read the script. It kept all the hysterical lines from the original. Which is fine, because no one will really remember the original unless they’re fans of it like I am, so it’s okay for them to just reuse the lines because they’re so good.”

4 stars. Just because it’ll never be the original. 3 stars if they really fuck it up.”

What I actually thought about it:

“This is NOT a remake of the original Arthur.”

“You’d think based on what they did to the film, I’d hate it, vote it one star and make it Unforgivable. On the other hand, I’m actually pretty happy about it. It didn’t taint my version because the two are so far removed from each other they’re practically different movies.”

“What saves this from being a simple 2-star movie is — Russell Brand is actually pretty charming in the role. The movie does have a good heart, which is why I gave it that extra half-star. It’s not good, but it’s kind-hearted and non-threatening to the real version of Arthur. So, I’m cool with it. Definitely not Unforgivable. Just, forgettable.”

2.5 stars.

Final Review:

Let’s all take a moment of silence….to appreciate how wrong I was.

Oh. My. God. Did they fuck this up.

Now, while this won’t be Unforgivable — it should be nominated for some Razzies. Also, I will hold a grudge for how badly this idea was and how badly they fucked it up. Not Unforgivable, but terrible idea all around.

2 stars. I don’t care if he was charming — you fucked up.

How close was I?: I don’t want to talk about it.

Hanna

What I said about it back in January:

“This is at minimum a 3 star movie. And that’s if it’s action-heavy like the trailer paints it out to be. However, Joe Wright is not an action director, so that gives me hope the trailer is the extent of the action and this is a character piece, in which case it has a very good shot to be a 4 star movie.”

What I actually thought about it:

“I fell in love with this movie hardcore. I loved every minute of it.”

…I didn’t actually review it. I just said it was awesome and talked about the awesome things in it. Still — I really loved this movie.

5 stars.

Final Review:

Of all the films released between January and the first half of July (possibly even to September), this has the most chance of making my Top Ten list. That’s how much I loved it. At worst, it’s a Top 20 film. Loved it.

5 stars.

How close was I?: I knew I’d like it, but I didn’t expect to love it quite as much as I did. Very glad about that.

Meek’s Cutoff

What I said about it back in January:

(It was on my Rest of 2011 article.)

“I’m pretty sure the only reason I care about this movie is Michelle Williams.”

“That, and, this is a period piece. It’s set in 1845 Oregon.”

“I hear Michelle Williams does a good job in this, so that’s my main impetus for including it on this list.”

What I actually thought about it:

“It looked gorgeous. Was kind of boring. Not for everyone.”

“Decent, but nothing special.”

3 stars.

Final review:

Yeah. Decent. Looked great, but, very slow.

3 stars.

How close was I?: N/A

Soul Surfer

What I said about it back in January:

“Small movie, could be good, I’m rooting for it. It seems like a pleasant enough movie.”

3 stars. Why not?”

What I actually thought about it:

“I actually really liked this movie. Marginally.”

“It’s exactly what you’d expect.”

“It’s a fine film. A bit too much Jesus for me, but still, overall a nice film. You could do worse for 100 minutes.”

3 stars.

Final Review:

You really could do worse for 100 minutes.

3 stars.

How close was I?: Exact. Kind of hard to get something like this wrong.

Your Highness

What I said about it back in January:

“Here’s a movie that, based on what I’ve heard about it, and its trailer, has an opportunity to possibly make a top ten next year.”

“It’s a comedy, so there’s the possibility that it fails miserably, but that trailer alone makes it a 3 star movie.”

“I’m going to assume 4 stars.”

“(Also, if this sucks, I take full responsibility for saying this in the future.)”

What I actually thought about it:

“I sincerely apologize for this movie.”

“What happened here? It was just — bad.”

“The thing, though, about this movie, is — it wasn’t bad. I mean, it was bad, because, expectations where there.

“The trailer was the only funny thing about this movie.”

“All I know is, it wasn’t very good. And not unwatchable at the same time.”

“It’s a very weak three, but, in terms of the other shit I watched, I’d rather have been disappointed in this movie than have seen some of the other ones. I got through it. And they tried. It just wasn’t funny. So, weak three. Which is just very disappointing.”

3 stars.

Final Review:

I think the 3 stars was me being optimistic. I’d go closer to 2.5 stars.

How close was I?: I am so, so sorry for this.

The Conspirator

What I said about it back in January:

(It was on the Rest of 2011 article.)

“I’ve been hearing about this movie for over a year now.”

“Since this did premiere at TIFF last year, and wasn’t picked up, I’m wondering how good this movie actually is.”

“How can this not be a good movie?”

What I actually thought about it:

“I had a feeling I was going to enjoy this one. I didn’t think it would be perfect, but I also didn’t expect it to suck.”

“It’s a very engaging movie, and it’s a trial movie, so that holds a lot of attention, but there’s just something about it that feels — off.”

“You don’t feel like you’re in 1865. You feel like you’re watching this movie, and it’s about 1865, but it doesn’t feel like anything more than actors on a movie set.”

“Still, this is a good one.”

3.5 stars.

Final Review:

Liked it, didn’t love it. Solid film.

3.5 stars.

How close was I?: N/A

Rio

What I said about it back in January:

“This should be interesting. I’m guessing it’s straddling the fence between 3 stars and 4 stars. If it’s too kiddy, 3, and if it’s legit good, then 4.”

What I actually thought about it:

“This is by far the best animated movie to come out this year so far. It has its problems, which is why it didn’t get 4 stars, but it’s very enjoyable.”

“My only problems with it are the pop culture references and the terrible songs. What happened to good songwriting?”

3.5 stars.

Final Review:

I seriously doubt if I watched this again I’d rate it that high. My opinion on this has cooled considerably.

3 stars.

How close was I?: I’m calling it exact, because I pointed out exactly why it wasn’t four stars. I was right in line on this one.

Atlas Shrugged Part 1

What I said about it back in January:

(It was on the Rest of 2011 article.)

“This is on this list purely because of how fascinating its journey to the big screen has been. They’ve been trying to make this movie for 40 years.”

“(The) story alone makes me want to see what this film looks like. Apparently it’s only a part 1 of 2. I can’t imagine this being the version of the film everyone wants.”

What I actually thought about it:

Didn’t see it. I thought it would get more attention than it did. No one cared about it, and it got bad reviews. I said, “Yeah…I’m interested, but I’m not that interested,” and gave up on it. Shit happens.

Scream 4

What I said about it back in January:

“I’m actually insanely excited for this.”

“They pulled out all the stops for this. Got everyone back (who’s alive…in the movie. Not like, in life), and pulled in some cameos and roles from stars who are bigger than this.”

“Though I’m wondering who the fuck else could be the killer here if it’s not Neve Campbell. I mean, why bother making a 4th if it’s just some random ass person? Clearly it’s not David Arquette, his character is borderline retarded. And Courtney Cox wouldn’t make sense. It’s either gonna be Neve Campbell, her cousin (who is Emma Roberts), or Adam Brody, since he seems like he’d fit that roll. There’s also random love interest guy, but that would be too simple.”

(Note: Considering I knew nothing about who anyone but the main characters played, I was really fucking close on that one.)

“I’m gonna go out on a limb and say this gets 4 stars. 3 is most likely, but something tells me they’re gonna do this thing right.”

What I actually thought about it:

“I knew what I was getting here. I was holding out hope and thinking the extra time off would make this be closer to a four star movie. But it was a solid three, and I’m very grateful for that.”

“I thought they were gonna play with the shitty conventions of horror movies as they stood today, and they kinda did. The first ten minutes of the movie are a lot of fun.”

“You do see them being troopers about it. They went through the motions with complete conviction. And I appreciate that.”

3 stars.

Final Review:

It’s really 3 stars. I may have let excitement influence me a bit too much. Though I will say — if Neve Campbell was the killer — 4 stars.

How close was I?: Pretty close. A bit too excited, but, close.

Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family

What I said about it back in January:

“Tyler Perry movie. Do not care. Do not care.”

2 stars. Why the fuck not?”

What I actually thought about it:

Didn’t see it. (It’s the second “do not care” that should have alerted you.)

Water for Elephants

What I said about it back in January:

“Here’s a movie that sounded like shit when I heard who was cast, but when you read the synopsis, actually seems like it can possibly be good.”

“Let’s say 3 stars, for the period-ness. It could wow me and go higher, it could be shitty and lose points. Let’s assume 3. I like me some Depression era period pieces.”

What I actually thought about it:

“Liked the film. Pretty okay, for something I’m only gonna see once.”

“Pattinson is just devoid of any charisma at all, and Reese Witherspoon is like the blandest thing this side of that wafer they give you in church.”

“The film looked really nice, so that’s a plus. And I got through it. Who doesn’t like a circus?”

“Worth the first watch. Anything after that is your own responsibility.”

3 stars.

Final Review:

3 stars. You can get through it if you want to. But honestly, I’d just tell you to skip it and be done with it.

How close was I?: Exact. I did a really good job on this one.

Dylan Dog: Dead of Night

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing. Had no idea this even existed.

What I actually thought about it:

Saw this at the last second (literally, the last second) on Netflix Instant.

It was okay. Not good, not bad. I got through it.

2.5 stars.

Final Review:

Meh.

2.5 stars.

How close wasI?: N/A

Henry’s Crime

What I said about it back in January:

(It was on the Rest of 2011 list.)

“This sounds like more than just another Keanu movie.”

“This movie, believe it or not, is a comedy.”

“The plot intrigues me, so I’m going to keep an eye on this one.”

“This feels like an April movie.”

What I actually thought about it:

“I had a feeling about this one from January. It just sounded interesting.”

“Here’s the premise: Keanu Reeves is a dude with no ambitions. He is sleepwalking through life. One day, two guys show up and tell him they’re going to a softball game and need an extra guy. He goes along with it. They stop and rob a bank, telling him they’re stopping at the ATM. He is the only one caught. He goes to jail. While there, he meets James Caan, a dude who loves prison life and deliberately fucks up his parole so he can stay. Once out, Keanu decides, “If you did the time, why not do the crime?”, and decides to rob the bank. He convinces Caan to take his parole and rob the bank with him. Along the way, he meets Vera Farmiga, an actress. Her theater has an underground tunnel to the bank. Somehow, Keanu manages to get the lead role in the play they’re performing (because he’s the perfect mirror to everything).”

“This movie is so funny, simply because Keanu’s character is a complete blank slate. People tell him to do things, and he does them. He’s not an actor (Note: the character), yet they see him as one because he just does what they tell him to do.”

“No one but him could have played this part. It’s really great.”

4 stars.

Final Review:

I loved this. It’s so sneakily good.

4 stars.

How close was I?: N/A

Fast Five

What I said about it back in January:

“Here’s a franchise that was past its welcome after number one.”

“The only thing I got out of these movies was how great they are at naming them. These titles are incredible.”

“I like Vin. I like The Rock. I’m sure this will be worth it for them. The rest, I don’t care about. So, when I watch this movie for free, I’ll probably be indifferent toward it.”

3 stars. Unless they don’t give Dwayne and Vin something to do. Then, oh boy, guns are out.”

What I actually thought about it:

“This was easily the best entry in the series. Outside the first. Because the first was fun for different reasons.”

“It was a heist movie at heart. And it had Dwayne Johnson. And they brought back all the supporting characters from the earlier films. They even unkilled a character. They went for broke here. And it worked.”

“Now, granted, me saying that this is the best film in the series really isn’t saying all that much, but, when you’re going by the standards for this specific set of films, it’s definitely the best. It was fun. That’s all you need.”

3.5 stars.

Final Review:

It was a lot of fun. 3.5 stars. The extra half star was for allowing me to enjoy it past the previous three entries in the series.

How close was I?: I’d say pretty close. It was better than I expected, but I wasn’t expecting four stars. So, I say I was right on the money, only it was slightly better than expected.

Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil

What I said about it back in January:

I didn’t. Strangely. Maybe it didn’t have a release date. That seems weird.

What I actually thought about it:

“It was okay. Nothing great. It looked slick, though. I liked how they directed it. It was very cinematic, some flashy camera angles and stuff.”

“Pretty standard, as kids movies go. Probably because they didn’t have the same people who worked on the first one, and it was one of those, “Let’s try to cash in on the success of the first one.” Which is fine.”

3 stars.

Final Review:

3 stars. Stick with the first one. It’s the better movie. Don’t bother with this one.

How close was I?: N/A

Prom

What I said about it back in January:

“You have to hand it to Disney. They burn out High School Musical, and then move right along to another franchise that’s equally as dumb and twice as likely to make shit tons of money.”

“I mean, I’m sure the movie will be shit, but they have an audience, and this movie will make at least $100 million. I guarantee they don’t spend $100 million, total, on this.”

2 stars. Because, it’s just bad because it’s not my cup of tea. It’d get more if I were ten years younger and a girl. But I’m not, so, 2.”

What I actually thought about it:

Didn’t see it.

But it didn’t even come close to making shitloads of money. So that’s good.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

That’s it for today. Tomorrow we got to Part 2 of the year, May through August.

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