2011: The Year in Review (Part III)

And we reach the final portion of the year in Review. Don’t worry, this isn’t the end (technically that’s next year. Right Mayans? Right? Oh, right, you’re all dead. Too bad. I was curious to know if you guys had an enzyme called Mayan-ase). Later on today, I’m gonna put up an article about all the films I previewed back in January that didn’t come out at all (it’s not many), then tomorrow I’ll put up some numbers about all of this — how well I did and such, as well as talk about the films that surprised me, for better and for worse. That stuff.

But before we do that, let’s finish this up. First, a quick recap: In January, I previewed all the films coming out this year (that were scheduled at the time), and guessed what I’d think of them. This article will cover the films in the September & October and November & December articles. Also, over the year, as I saw the films, I kept track of what I thought about them. I did that here, here and here. Now what I’m doing is taking what I said in January (which I didn’t looked at after writing it, until now), taking what I actually thought about the movie, summing up what my thoughts on the films are now (having digested the films more), and then writing how close I was or not. Got it?

Okay then. Let’s get into the final batch… (Ha ha. Gremlins.)

September

Apollo 18

What I said about it back in January:

(This was originally scheduled for March, but pushed back to the more Sci-Fi, low budget-friendly September.)

“One of those micro-budget movies that got greenlit after Paranormal Activity hit it big. Apparently they were gonna make a big budget version of a similar story and then said, “Fuck that, let’s just make it for like $20 bucks and take the profit.” Good call on that one.”

“I hate these kinds of movies. Sure they show how someone can be creative in the face of zero budget, but they’re just not interesting to me because they’re always thrillers with supernatural elements.”

2 stars. Also, don’t care. Will not see.”

“5 stars if this is really a teaser for Transformers 3. And it’s essentially a prologue to that film.”

What I actually thought about it:

Surprisingly, I did see it. Not sure why. Probably just because I was bored one day.

“I hate these types of films. Found footage shit.”

“You knew there were aliens. It’s always sci-fi. They always take it sci-fi. This was pretty boring, since they spent a good thirty minutes trying to make it look realistic. Motherfuckers, we know the genre by now, just get to the stuff happening.”

“This was forgettable in every single way. No need for anyone to ever see this movie.”

2 stars.”

Final Review:

Didn’t like it, not my kind of thing at all.

2 stars. Doesn’t matter. Don’t care.

How close was I?: Exact.

Shark Night 3D

What I said about it back in January:

“Remember Piranha 3D? Yeah, well this is Shark Attack 3D. Same concept, equal amount of awesomeness. Actually, possibly more awesomeness.” (My reasoning was that Ellis also directed Snakes on a Plane.)

“David R. Ellis knows how to give us the right amount of campy awesome. That’s what Piranha 3D was lacking — true camp. They provided gratuitous nudity and intentional bad plot, when they should have been providing intentionally bad nudity and no plot.”

4 stars. I’m hoping it’s 5, though.”

What I actually thought about it:

“I thought this would be much, much better. I was very, very wrong.”

“This sucked! It wasn’t campy! How are you gonna make a shark attack movie that’s not campy?!”

“Why was there a plot? And why were people behind it? Couldn’t you have tried having fun with this? Even a little bit? Holy shit, this sucked.”

“And don’t tempt me with all the titties, it was PG-13. Fuck you.”

2 stars.

Final Review:

Holy shit, talk about a misjudge. That’s one of those, “let’s just assume I was drunk” decisions. So many things went wrong there. The big miscalculation was assuming the director was the reason Snakes on a Plane worked and not Samuel L. Jackson. Then I assumed this would be campy. It wasn’t. It just sucked. Like, really sucked. Like, I wish I hadn’t seen it, sucked.

I take full blame for this one. But fortunately I did say ‘judge what this means to your personal rankings’, wo at least I acknowledged that I was making a personal call. The film just didn’t live up to my own personal expectations. (It fucking blew.)

2 stars.

How close was I?: Not at all. A full two stars off. This one was just, bad. And it’s one where, probably everyone saw it coming but me. It was so far off, it’s actually just amazing more than anything.

Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star

What I said about it back in January:

(I also had this film on the March list. They pushed it. Probably because it sucked.)

“I’m curious as to what this film is. I’m guessing, based on who is producing it and who wrote it, it’ll be terrible. These were the same dudes who wrote Grandma’s Boy. So, I’m not really expecting much.”

2 stars. Why two stars? Because Christina Ricci is in it, and she is gorgeous. I love her. So, let’s assume she makes this worthwhile.”

What I actually thought about it:

I didn’t see it. The $2.5 million box office gross made me think it would be abysmal (the fact that it was produced by Adam Sandler’s company didn’t help matters much). I avoided it (along with the rest of the country).

Contagion

What I said about it back in January:

“I know nothing about this movie except this and that it’s a thriller like Outbreak. And Outbreak was a really good movie. So, I’d rather go in totally cold for this movie.”

“When Soderbergh makes mainstream films, they’re always interesting.”

4 stars. I hate to say 5, but, there’s a distinct possibility.”

What I actually thought about it:

“This was solid, but not spectacular.”

“Easy to watch, does what it sets out to do, and that’s it, really. Nothing more, nothing less. I’d still rather watch Outbreak.”

3.5 stars is right where it should be.”

Final Review:

I enjoyed this, but it wasn’t particularly memorable. Soderbergh and the cast turned this from a forgettable film into a solid little epidemic film.

3.5 stars is what this was.

How close was I?: Pretty close. The actual film is a 3.5, but I skew closer to my guess of 4 than I would a 3 (remember, no half stars back in January). It was a good movie, but certainly not a strong 4.

Creature

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing. I still have no idea what this is. I just put it here because it managed to get a wide release somehow.

What I actually thought about it:

Never saw it. It’s a horror movie, so I didn’t even bother with a synopsis. Like I said, it got a wide release, so I had to at least mention it.

I bet you don’t know what this is either.

Warrior

What I said about it back in January:

2 stars.”

What I actually thought about it:

“This was actually a pretty solid film.”

“I enjoyed it more as a 3-star movie, but it was well-done and all, so I gave it 3.5. It’s somewhere in between.”

“The film itself was very watchable. I thought it would be throwaway, but it was better than that.”

3.5 stars

Final Review:

The film is somewhere between a 3 and a 3.5. I’m not sure where. I guess I’ll stick with 3 stars. It was solid, but I didn’t really love it.

How close was I?: Pretty far off. I expected it to be okay but I wouldn’t like it. It was actually pretty solid, and I liked it marginally. So I was wrong.

Drive

What I said about it back in January:

“Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan. Anyone else need to hear more?”

4 stars.”

What I actually thought about it:

“This is cinema, folks.”

“From January until now, this is one of two films with a strong chance to make my Top Ten list.”

“Great from beginning to end. The opening sequence is perfect, and it just goes from there.”

“I loved this. So much.”

4.5 stars.

Final Review:

I really did love this a lot. Definitely not perfect, but definitely better than almost anything to come out this year.

4.5 stars. Amazing.

How close was I?: Pretty goddamn close. I didn’t expect this to be perfect, yet I didn’t know quite what I was in store for. But, a 4.5 from a 4 guess, I call that close enough.

I Don’t Know How She Does It

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing. I didn’t even know they were making this piece of shit. Maybe they wrote and shot it in three months like one of those Friedberg and Seltzer abortions. It would certainly explain the quality.

What I actually thought about it:

“I went into this fully expecting for it to be Unforgivable…It wasn’t. ”

“It was bad, don’t get me wrong. It was offensive, and pandering to housewives, but it wasn’t Unforgivable. It didn’t make me angry. It just simply wasn’t good.”

“It’s not Unforgivable, it’s just bad.”

2 stars.

Final Review:

Bad, you shouldn’t watch it, but certainly not Unforgivable.

2 stars.

How close was I?: N/A.

Straw Dogs

What I said about it back in January:

3 stars. I doubt this will be as good as the original. But it’ll still probably be worthwhile. Rod Lurie generally makes worthwhile films.”

What I actually thought about it:

“I made the mistake of watching the Peckinpah version directly before this one. It made this one’s inadequacies more pointed.”

“Not that this was bad, it just — wasn’t as good as that one.”

“This one felt like it wanted to do what the other one did, but not feel like it was doing the exact same thing, so they just tweaked certain things. And to me, the tweaking is what felt weird.”

“Everything feels like it’s leading toward something, where as the other one was a slow burn.”

“Still, though, this isn’t bad. It’s just not the original at all.”

3 stars.

Final Review:

3 stars.

Interesting to watch in relation to the other one, but, if you’re gonna watch Straw Dogs, just watch the Peckinpah version.

How close was I?: Exact.

Burke and Hare

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing. Had no idea about it. Because it was released in 2010 in the UK. The presence of Simon Pegg, Andy Serkis, Isla Fisher and John Landis is what lead to the limited release and got me to check it out.

What I actually thought about it:

“I quite enjoyed this. It was more like a 3-star movie, but the period nature made me bump it up an extra half-star. This is destined to be one of the hidden gems of the John Landis oeuvre. It’s really quite a lovely film.”

3.5 stars.

Final Review:

I quite enjoyed this. I stand by the hidden gem bit too. A lot of people are gonna pleasantly discover this one in a few years.

3.5 stars.

How close was I?: N/A

Abduction

What I said about it back in January:

1 star. Fucking really?”

What I actually thought about it:

“This is a 2 ½ star movie bumped back to 2 stars because of some unfortunate lead casting.”

“Taylor Lautner has no charisma, talent or appeal to speak of.”

“The first fifteen minutes of the film are essentially pandering to tween girls…(which) made me think this would be Unforgivable. But, honestly, the rest of the film really isn’t that bad.”

“It’s just a generic action-thriller. It’s a standard 2 ½ stars and a film no one will remember after seeing it. The only thing, though, is that the casting of Taylor Lautner docks the film a half-star. He’s really bad in it, and the casting of a stronger lead would have probably bumped it up to three stars.”

“Too bad. This could have been decent.”

2 stars.

Final Review:

Still docking it. 2 stars. Coulda been decent.

How close was I?: Off. I’ll count this as slightly off. I thought it would be easily Unforgivable. But in reality, it was decent to the point where, as I said, with a better lead, this could have been a decent throwaway teen action movie. So, it was slightly better than I’d anticipated.

Dolphin Tale

What I said about it back in January:

“It’s inspired by the “true story” of a dolphin named Winter who was rescued and taken in by a Florida aquarium. Shouldn’t this have been the movie called Abduction?”

3 stars. Inoffensive. Indifferent. We’ll assume generic and not bad. +1 for pun in the title.”

What I actually thought about it:

“God, I hated this.”

“It was inevitable. If the film didn’t make any money, I’d have given it 2.5 stars and said, “Not for me, unassuming, whatever.” But it did make money.”

“It just wasn’t that good. It wasn’t for me, but even films not for me I can at least enjoy on a certain level. This one I just didn’t like.”

2 stars, let’s just forget it even exists.”

Final Review:

I didn’t like it. I admit it wasn’t for me, but my rating still stands.

2 stars.

How close was I?: Pretty close. If we take my remark about the “+1 for the pun in the title” seriously, I hit this right on the head. I’d call it, pretty close, but the film was worse than just inoffensive. It was pretty bad. Inoffensive, but bad. Soul Surfer was inoffensive and good.

Killer Elite

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing. At all. Had no idea this was even coming out. Maybe it was a 2012 bumped up. No idea. Which is strange, since it’s almost a $100 million movie. Usually those get release dates. Hmm…

What I actually thought about it:

“I quite enjoyed this. It was a solid period action film.”

“I think what made it so good was how unassuming it was. It wasn’t trying anything, it just — was. Stathan, De Niro, Owen — really solid all around.”

“Not terribly memorable, but definitely easy to watch. Good film.”

3.5 stars.

Final Review:

I quit enjoyed this. And since it didn’t make any money, this counts as a bit of a hidden gem. It’s not a gem gem, but it’s a solid film, one that people, when they see it, will be like, “How come I never heard of this?” It’s solid enough to definitely make you feel like it was worthwhile.

3.5 stars.

How close was I?: N/A

Moneyball

What I said about it back in January:

“I’m excited for this. Purely because Brad Pitt does not choose bad projects.”

“Also, what makes me interested in seeing this is the fact that you’d think it can’t possibly work. A movie about Billy Beane’s sabermetric approach to building a team? That’s about as preposterous as a movie about Facebook.”

4 stars. Let’s not assume a 5. Let’s let the film blow me away.”

What I actually thought about it:

“This is pure cinema.”

“Utterly fascinating from beginning to end, and the reason it works is because all the baseball clips are archive footage from the actual events.”

“I’m not sure how much it works if you don’t like baseball, but if you like cinema — this is a great film. And that’s all a person can ask for.”

4 stars.

Final Review:

Man, did I love this. I almost want to up it to 4.5 stars, but I’ll stick with 4 stars. It didn’t have that extra, something, like Drive did, that pushes it to 4.5. Still, 4 stars is 4 stars.

4 stars. Loved it.

How close was I?: Exact. I went in expecting for, hoping for five. Got a solid four. Can’t ask for anything more. Great film.

Red State

What I said about it back in January:

It was on my Rest of 2011 article, and I went on a whole long thing about how I was pulling for it and how people should give this a chance. I didn’t rate it, but basically I was like, “I’m really excited for this one, and here are all the reasons you should be as well.”

What I actually thought about it:

I saw this movie at Radio City (having gotten a free ticket the day of…not sure how it happened, but I’ll take it), which was the first public screening of the movie. I avoided posting a review of it, because I came on so strong back in January, I don’t want to piss people off by forcing the movie down their throats.

But suffice to say — I loved the movie. I loved that it was funny, and crazy turns and shit going on throughout it, how he took out fifteen minutes just to have a monologue, how the movie is three films in one. I loved everything about this, especially Michael Parks and John Goodman. It’s impossible not to love Goodman and his performance here. Trust me on that.

4 stars.

Final Review:

I really enjoyed this.

4 stars.

How close was I?: N/A. But I did think I’d love it. So I got that going for me. Which is nice.

Courageous

What I said about it back in January:

“I got this far into the wikipedia page: “Courageous is an upcoming Christian drama film…””

0 stars.”

What I actually thought about it:

Did you not read the part about the Christian drama film?

How close was I?: Like I was ever going to see it.

Dream House

What I said about it back in January:

“Yeah…not exactly a great-sounding movie.”

“I’m sure this will be generic.”

3 stars. Assume throwaway, maybe get better.”

What I actually thought about it:

“I saw this one coming. They bumped it a few times. Lots of reshoots, Sheridan disowned the film, Craig and Weisz refused to do press for it.”

“It blew. Really blew. Not sure what the problem was.”

“What a waste of talent across the board.”

2 stars.”

Final Review:

It was pretty bad. 2 stars. Don’t ever see it.

How close was I?: A bit off. Not sure why I said 3 stars. I guess because of the talent involved. I tend to think that much talent at least makes a film watchable. Not this one.

50/50

What I said about it back in January:

(It was on the Rest of 2011 article.)

“This is a comedy about cancer. You had me at cancer.”

What I actually thought about it:

“I loved this one.”

“It’s so wonderfully low key about everything. It doesn’t try to be anything more than it is, and it does a wonderful job of being what it is.”

“It never felt forced, and never felt like it was doing the “movie” thing. And even when I did see some “movie” moments, they were quickly followed up by moments that were so genuine that it didn’t matter.”

“We need to champion films like this.”

4.5 stars.

Final Review:

This was one of the best films of the year.

4.5 stars.

How close was I?: N/A

What’s Your Number?

What I said about it back in January:

(This was originally scheduled for release in April. They must have realized it sucked and pushed it to September, where films go to die.)

1 star. Maybe 2, but I doubt it. It’s rated R, so that gives it some hope.”

What I actually thought about it:

“Wow, this was awful. Like, really bad. Not sure if it’ll make the final ten for Unforgivable, but this is like — bottom 15. It was really awful.”

1 star.

Final Review:

Terrible.

1 star.

How close was I?: Exact.

Take Shelter

What I said about it back in January:

I didn’t. No idea it was even being made.

What I actually thought about it:

“Here’s a movie I knew nothing about at the beginning of the year. Then, come November, I knew vaguely of it, but not much at all. From what I knew, it was some sort of sci-fi movie about Michael Shannon protecting his movie from plagues or something. And that poster made me think, “Why the fuck is he getting awards buzz for this?” I imagine this is what it’s like to be a racist or gay-bashing conservative. Only knowing very little and basing an opinion on that without trying to look into it more.”

“It was pretty great.”

“I’d have liked for the actual rapture to have happened at the end…but what I got was a pretty solid film.”

“I liked it a lot. Shannon is great, as is Chastain.”

4 stars.

Final Review:

Yeah, really solid.

4 stars.

How close was I?: N/A

Margaret

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing. I had my eye on it for a long time. It was shot sometime back in 2007 or something, and just got shelved. And I kept seeing it there (mostly on Matt Damon’s IMDB page. When someone of Damon’s stature has a movie completed and just sitting there for more than a year, it makes you wonder). And I would have never put it on the “Rest of 2011” list because there was no guarantee that it would ever come out.

Apparently there were a bunch of lawsuits with this, and post-production was some crazy business. I have this feeling that this will be a solid film that no one will see because of issues surrounding the film (much like Nothing But the Truth, which never got a fair shot because the studio collapsed and never released it).

What I actually thought about it:

I never actually got around to seeing it. It was near impossible to find. I’ll see it as soon as it goes on Netflix. I’m too interested in this to not see it.

October

The Ides of March

What I said about it back in January:

(It was on my Rest of 2011 list. I knew it would be released, but there was no date, so I just put it on there, since I was excited for it.)

“This is a movie that screams Oscar bait. It was picked up for a December release, this will factor into the Oscar season in some way. I, for one, can’t wait. Clooney always picks good projects.”

What I actually thought about it:

“What I loved most about this film were two things…how non-political it really was…and out 70s with their endings.”

“I love that this film had the balls to do that. It was perfect. Also the performances were great all around.”

“This is definitely going to be in my top 15 films of the year.”

4 stars.

Final Review:

I really liked this. It might not get as much replay as some other films this year from me, but it’s a really great film. Easily a top 15-er.

4 stars.

How close was I?: N/A

Real Steel

What I said about it back in January:

“Is this a real Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots movie?”

“It’s also being directed by titan of cinema Shawn Levy.”

“Despite this, I say 3 stars. I don’t really know why.”

What I actually thought about it:

“Loved this film. This is a film that is better than whatever you think about it beforehand.”

“It’s your standard father/son story, except the reason it surpasses the standard cliches there are.”

“The fight scenes are really well done…Even if you’re like, “Jesus, I know what’s gonna happen…”, once the robots start fighting, you’re totally invested.”

“This is a great film, and definitely a film that surpassed any expectations I had. I really liked this one a lot.”

4 stars.

Final Review:

I really did like this film a lot. At the beginning I started nitpicking some things. But then I got invested in the story a little bit more as each thing happened. And by the time they had the Noisy Boy fight, I was totally sold. The fights eliminate any doubt anyone could have against this one, and, trust me, whatever you think this film will be going in — it’s not. It will pleasantly surprise everyone.

4 stars.

How close was I?: Off. It surprised me. It exceeded my modest expectations greatly. I’ve a feeling it did that for most people who saw it. So I don’t feel bad to have been wrong about this. (Though, admittedly, I did have some sort of idea back in January that it wasn’t going to be shitty. So that’s a silver lining.)

Dirty Girl

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing. Had no idea about this one at all.

What I actually thought about it:

Never got around to seeing it. I might still, in the future, but for now, I haven’t seen it.

The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence)

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing. And rightfully so. I’ll be honest, the only real reason I mention this here is because the poster is so fucked up.

What I actually thought about it:

Didn’t see it. I still haven’t seen the first one. I honestly just put it on here because of the poster.

The Big Year

What I said about it back in January:

Didn’t mention it. It’s a movie about bird watching starring two actors whose films I really don’t like. Even if I knew about it, did you think I’d mention it if it didn’t absolutely have a release date?

What I actually thought about it:

Never got around to seeing it. I feel like I should, not because I think I’ll like it at all (I’m expecting a solid 2 stars here), but because of the morbid fascination that someone spent $50 million on a bird-watching movie.

Final Review:

I liked it. I mean, it’s not great, but the ensemble is terrific, and it was just entertaining to watch. I enjoyed the bird-watching scenes more than I enjoyed the “story” of it. But getting to see all these actors in cameos was really nice.

4 stars. I enjoyed it. It’s kind of a shame people were shitting all over this. It’s not that bad.

Footloose

What I said about it back in January:

“Normally I wouldn’t give a fuck about this remake. I’d figure it would go by the way of the Fame remake — down the toilet. But, the one ray of sunshine this movie has — its director. Craig Brewer.”

“Surely the man who made (Hustle & Flow and Black Snake Moan) can inject a little goodness into Footloose. Right?”

3 stars.”

What I actually thought about it:

“Yeah, it was entertaining. It’s more like a 3.5 star movie in terms of execution, but I only enjoyed it as a 3 star movie.”

“3 stars just felt right. It’s well-done and all, but I just didn’t care all that much.”

“It was for this generation of kids. Which is cool and all.”

3 stars.

Final Review:

I respect everything they did with it and am happy that it succeeded. I just only enjoyed it marginally.

3 stars.

How close was I?: Right on the money. Go me.

The Thing

What I said about it back in January:

“I like Mary Elizabeth Winstead. And I like flamethrowers. I also think this film can be really good.”

4 stars.”

What I actually thought about it:

“Boy, was this unnecessary. Through and through.”

“They spent $80 million on this. Then because they spent more money to go back and add CGI and reshoot stuff.”

“They remade a film that didn’t need to be remade. They went and made it more action-heavy, which is not what the story requires, so they ruined a potentially good prequel sort of thing.”

“They started as a prequel, then just followed the storyline of the original (which was actually a remake) exactly. Plus it was just boring, and obvious.”

2 stars.

Final Review:

The reason it’s a 2 star movie is because it was so unnecessary. I just didn’t enjoy it. They followed the Carpenter storyline almost exactly past a certain point. And they added the terrible thriller movie shit modern films add. Plus the CGI — no. I hated this.

How close was I?: Off. I felt that if they did a legit prequel to this (without all the flourishes they gave it), it could have been a really strong film. But they didn’t do that. They just took the easy road and just remade it and called ia prequel so people wouldn’t get as pissed off. But guess what? They saw the movie.

Trespass

What I said about it back in January:

(It was on my Rest of 2011 article. There was no release date.)

“A Cage movie combo. That’s four movies for him this year.” (Season of the Witch, Drive Angry, this, and The Hungry Rabbit Jumps, since renamed Seeking Justice. That one has no official release date, which leads me to believe it will suffer a fate similar to this one. Dumped in two theaters and put on DVD almost immediately after. Though that one might skip the theatrical release entirely from the looks of it.)

“What’s great about Cage is, every year, I worry that he has all these films coming out, and that next year, we won’t get any Cage movies. Then, next year comes, he magically has like three films pop up out of nowhere.”

“I’m excited. I wonder what Cage will do with this.”

What I actually thought about it:

“It was well-made and all, just — not interesting.”

“Wasn’t bad enough to be a 2, but I didn’t enjoy it enough to be a 3.”

“This is one of those Nicolas Cage films that actually plays it straight. It’s weird to think that there’s an actor who surprises you by not doing something outlandish.”

“It’s competent in every way, and it’s just not that interesting.”

“Pretty generic. Even Cage.”

2.5 stars.

Final Review:

Yeah, the pieces were there, but it just wasn’t very interesting. Even Cage was just — normal.

2.5 stars.

How close was I?: N/A

Father of Invention

What I said about it back in January:

Didn’t know anything about it.

What I actually thought about it:

“Entertaining. Mostly because of Spacey. Very much an independent movie, though. Follows standard progressions. Characters are also very stereotypical. Tries to be extra quirky when it shouldn’t.

3 stars. Not terrible.”

Final Review:

Pretty middle of the road. Not bad.

3 stars.

How close was I?: N/A

Paranormal Activity 3

What I said about it back in January:

“Oh, no, this has become another franchise. Diminishing returns are in effect. The last one made over $100 million. Sadly. This one should  not do that (Hopefully we can cut this off before it gets Sawed).”

“I don’t care what it’s about. Still haven’t seen the first one. I know when I do, I won’t like it, but will respect it for what it accomplishes on its budget. And then I’ll just hate the second one, just because.”

2 stars.”

What I actually thought about it:

“It sucked.”

2 stars.

Final Review:

I think I covered it pretty well up there.

2 stars.

How close was I?: Exact. It sucked.

The Three Musketeers

What I said about it back in January:

“In 3D. Directed by the Resident Evil guy. Which means Milla Jovovich will also be in this movie.”

“I am excited about this movie, however. In a marginal way. I’m expecting to be like 3.5 stars entertained from this.”

3 stars. I won’t presume any more, lest I be let down.”

What I actually thought about it:

“This was very entertaining. I had a lot of fun here.”

“It wasn’t without its problems…but the period nature of it helped it overcome those.”

“People who give this a chance are going to be pleasantly surprised.”

3.5 stars is exactly what this is. You might find it a 3, but still, you can’t deny that it’s a lot of fun.”

Final Review:

It was a lot of fun. It got unnecessarily shafted at the box office. It’s a 3-3.5 star film. But I like period pieces like this (that aren’t about the monarchy), so I bump it up to 3.5 stars. Still, fun movie.

How close was I?: Right on. Holy shit, this was even more exact than I was expecting. I figured I’d go 3, but for me to say 3.5 stars back in January — I’m proud of me. That was right the fuck on.

Johnny English Reborn

What I said about it back in January:

“Show of hands — how many of you knew there was a first film in this franchise?”

“The only reason I knew about (the first film) was because it was a trailer at the beginning of the original Bourne Identity DVD. I saw it and was like, “What the fuck is this?” And I saw it was coming out like a month after I bought the DVD. Shows you how well they advertised.”

(I never actually put a rating on this. Strangely. I stopped after a Natalie Imbruglia joke. Let’s just assume I’d have called this 2 stars. I know that’s what I’d have called it, when the first one was barely 3 stars.)

What I actually thought about it:

“I was never a fan of this series. The first one was 2.5 stars as well.”

“I like Rowan Atkinson…but this set of movies — not that funny to me.”

“It feels like watered down mainstream comedy. Not my thing. Utterly forgettable.”

2.5 stars.

Final Review:

2.5 stars, I guess. Though thinking back, I feel like it was a 2 star film. Either way, didn’t like it.

How close was I?: Call it exact. I knew I wouldn’t like it. That’s really enough for something like this. How could someone be wrong about something like this?

Margin Call

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing. Had no idea about it. Only put it on here because I noticed the cast and said, “This can’t be all that bad,” and figured it would spur me to see it.

What I actually thought about it:

“Good. Decent. That’s really it. Watchable, not totally engaging.”

“I don’t really go for these sorts of things. So, I got through it, didn’t hate it, didn’t love it.”

3 stars. You could do worse for 100 minutes.”

“I say stick with Wall Street (or even Boiler Room), though.”

Final Review:

Yeah. watchable. 3 stars.

How close was I?: N/A

Martha Marcy May Marlene

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing. No one knew about it before Sundance.

What I actually thought about it:

“I liked this.”

“I thought it was really well-done, with a good central performance by Elizabeth Olsen.”

“Above average, but not amazing.

“I didn’t go apeshit over this like some people did. Still, though, very solid. One of the better small films of the year.”

3.5 stars.

Final Review:

3.5 stars.

Solid. Liked it.

How close was I?: N/A

Anonymous

What I said about it back in January:

“I have zero faith in (Roland Emmerich) to make a movie that’s not laden with visual effects.”

“This sounds like it can be laughably bad.”

2 stars.”

What I actually thought about it:

I never actually got a chance to see it — and I really wanted to. The studio decided a week before it came out to pull it from wide release and only release it in under a thousand theaters. Which make it impossible for almost anyone to see it. So I guess I’ll have to wait until it shows up on Netflix. Oh well.

Final Review:

I saw it, about three weeks after this article went up. But — it wasn’t bad. It also wasn’t good, but, it had some interesting parts to it. I was more fascinated that it existed than anything else. So I gave it 3 stars. It’s just interesting. I don’t even know what to make of it. It’s an interesting beast.

In Time

What I said about it back in January:

4 stars.”

What I actually thought about it:

“I really enjoyed this film a lot.”

“It’s more like a 3.5 star movie, but I had fun, and the concept is worth 4 stars.”

“Since I had fun and enjoyed myself, I gave it 4 stars.”

Final Review:

More like a 3.5 star film, but I stand by my 4 stars. It’s one of those one-time 4-star films. Not one I’ll watch over and over, but occasionally. I like films like this.

How close was I?: I was right. I didn’t say much about it, but expected 4 stars. I don’t really have any rationalization for it, but to me it was 4 stars. So this to me is exact down to the intangibles.

Puss in Boots

What I said about it back in January:

“Here’s a movie about the cat’s life before he meets up with Shrek and the bunch. So, basically, you kill one franchise, you try to start another. Not a bad decision, but not exactly a creative one either.”

“What can they possibly include in this? This is like American Dad taking what Family Guy did and just copying it, only differently.”

“I don’t care. I won’t see this. Have fun giving this film $150 million, America. You’re all winners.”

2 stars.”

What I actually thought about it:

“Not my thing at all.”

“The amount of a fuck I could not give about this film when I heard about it was just incredible. So I was never going to like this.”

“That said — it was made well, and it looked spirited in its execution. I just didn’t give a shit about it.”

2.5 stars.”

Final Review:

Not my thing, but enjoyable enough.

2.5 stars.

How close was I?: Pretty close. I only liked it enough for 2 stars, but I gave it 2.5 because I recognized other people would like it more than I did. So I say I was really close.

The Rum Diary

What I said about it back in January:

(It was on my Rest of 2011 list. You’ll see why when you read this next part.)

“Here’s a movie I can’t understand why it hasn’t come out yet. This film was shot back in 2009 and was ready to come out last January. Then it got bumped. And bumped and bumped. And it still hasn’t come out.”

What I actually thought about it:

“Entertaining, but not great.”

“It was entertaining and all, but the other Thompson films felt like they had character from the inside. This just felt like they were (added to the top of a bland plot like spices. I used a spice analogy in this review).

“While I enjoyed this — it was just okay.”

3 stars.”

Final Review:

3 stars.

Enjoyable enough, but not great.

How close was I?: N/A.

Like Crazy

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing. But it won Sundance, Jennifer Lawrence is in it and the poster looked nice. So I put it on here, figuring I might see it before this went up.

What I actually thought about it:

“What a beautiful film. This is what independent movies should be.”

“Here’s a film where it doesn’t matter what happens — all that matters is these two people.”

“The relationship in this film is dealt with in such a mature and realistic way, and the film manages to keep you interested throughout without any tricks, or “movie” plot points.”

4.5 stars.

Final Review:

Beautiful film. One of the best of the year.

4.5 stars.

How close was I?: N/A

The Double

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing. The only real reason I put this on here is because I saw the trailer, which gives away the film’s twist in the trailer! I thought that was hilarious.

What I actually thought about it:

I didn’t see it. The trailer is the only reason it’s here, and that basically gave everything away. (And to those who say it didn’t — yes it did. It gave away more by giving away that much.) So I feel no need to ever see this. Sorry Gere.

November

Tower Heist

What I said about it back in January:

“Do mine eyes deceive me? Is Eddie Murphy going back to old Eddie Murphy? Or does he just look like that?”

Brett Ratner is one of those average type directors. He’ll give you something entertaining, but it’s not exactly much more than that.”

“There’s a certain shallowness to his movies that just kind of leaves them there where they are. I don’t really care about them. They just — are. I’m not really expecting much more out of this.”

3 stars. I’ll hope for more, but it’s Brett Ratner. If it is 4, it’s a flatlining 4.”

What I actually thought about it:

“What a surprise, an utterly forgettable Bret Ratner movie.”

“Here’s a film that you can watch, won’t like, and won’t dislike, and when it’s over, you’ll move on, and forget about everything that happened within the span of it.”

“It’s not good, it’s not bad. It just is.”

3 stars.

Final Review:

So-so. Forgettable. You can get through it, once.

3 stars.

How close was I?: Exact. What a surprise. A generic Bret Ratner film.

The Son of No One

What I said about it back in January:

(It was on the Rest of 2011 article.)

I said that the only reason I put it on the list was because Al Pacino was in it.

“I didn’t really care for Guide all that much. But Al Pacino doesn’t get good work anymore, and every time something remotely promising comes along, I’m all over it, hoping it’ll be good.”

“All those old method actor guys just can’t catch a break in today’s world. They’re stuck playing cops, or, cops, or, bad cops, or, detectives hunting cops, or, make fun of their persona in “comedic” roles, or — that’s it, really. Al really hasn’t had a good movie role in about ten years.”

(Note: This and Jack and Jill — pretty much nailed it, didn’t I?)

“The cast is interesting enough. Hopefully this turns out okay.”

What I actually thought about it:

“Meh, it was okay. Standard cop thriller.”

“I felt about this the way I felt about A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints. I didn’t hate it, I didn’t love it, I got through it, and never really felt one way or another about it.”

3 stars.

Final Review:

Yeah 3 stars. Meh.

How close was I?: N/A

London Boulevard

What I said about it back in January:

(It was on the Rest of 2011 article, but strangely I did provide a guess at what I’d think of it. Quite a good one at that.)

“Keira, Colin? Written and directed by Bill Monahan? Sign me up.”

“I read the script to this. It’s a nice script. It’s not flashy, but it’s a solid little character piece. I’m expecting somewhere between a 3 and 4 star movie with this, and I’m interested to see what Colin and Keira do with it.”

“I don’t want to give away details (but for anybody familiar with the 70s, you already know what I’m talking about), but it definitely feels like one of those 70s crime films.”

What I actually thought about it:

“I was interested in this from the start..I even read the script a year early.”

“And when I saw the finished film — it was more or less what I read in the script.”

“Definitely 3.5 stars. Pretty solid all around. Nothing spectacular, but solid.”

“This will be a bit of a hidden gem, because I know almost no one will see it.”

Final Review:

3.5 stars. This one felt like that from the start. Solid, not spectacular, but well-done.

How close was I?: Amazingly on the money in every single aspect of this. I said it felt like between 3 and 4, it was between 3 and 4. It’s moments like this that make me want to create articles like this. They make me think I’m that good at knowing myself. But yeah — exact on this one.

A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing.

What I actually thought about it:

“Here’s the deal with this one — we knew what we were getting.”

“The first film was a lot of fun, and was actually kind of a good movie, in its own way. And the second one was — not as good. It was quite terrible, even.”

“This one — not great, but not terrible.”

“I got through it okay, but it wasn’t like it was anything great. Standard fare.”

“Small film, accomplished what it set out to do. No complaints here.”

2.5 stars.

Final Review:

Wasn’t good, wasn’t bad. It was. I got through it okay.

2.5 stars.

How close was I?: N/A

J. Edgar

What I said about it back in January:

I didn’t. Which is weird. I guess it was one of those things where, I knew it was being made, but they never announced a date, so there was a chance — honestly, I have no idea. That’s weird that I never mentioned it at all.

What I actually thought about it:

“This is a solid film. Clint directed the hell out of it.”

“It looks gorgeous, the sets and costumes are great, I even like how they colored it. Leo is fine, as is everyone else, and it’s utterly watchable.”

“It shouldn’t win a bunch of Oscars. Nominations are fine.”

“Once you get past the Oscars of it all, it’s still a really good film.”

4 stars.

Final Review:

Really solid. One of the better films of the year.

4 stars.

How close was I?: N/A (But I refuse to believe that if I had known, I wouldn’t have guessed a blanket 4 stars.)

Immortals

What I said about it back in January:

“If there were a spec script based on my life, this would be it.” (Note: I’m hilarious.)

“This sounds amazing. 4 stars. Just in case it sucks. I’m expecting 5 though.”

What I actually thought about it:

“It looked great. And the fight scenes were badass and bloody. But there wasn’t much of a film here.”

“I didn’t give a shit about anything that was going on. I was just watching, going, “Nice composition, great splash of color, great shot, great shot, nice kill — oh, look at Freida Pinto’s ass.” I was never engaged with the actual story. I was just watching the filmmaking.”

“So 3 stars.”

Final Review:

It’s about a 4 on design, 2.5 on story. So I still say 3 stars.

How close was I?: Quite wrong, actually. I underestimated how the presence of any kind of story helps make a film interesting. It was 4 stars in how it looked, but the overall film was not that great. Too bad. I’d have liked to have been right here.

Jack and Jill

What I said about it back in January:

Punch Drunk Love was a long time ago. Remember when we had hope that Adam Sandler would mature as an actor and start doing these good movies that required him to act? Yeah, this puts the final nail into that coffin.”

1 star.”

What I actually thought about it:

I”t’s going to be Unforgivable. Just wait a few more days, you’ll hear all about it.”

“Just know for now: this movie did not deserve the effort Al Pacino gave it.”

1 star.

Final Review:

1 star. Unforgivable.

How close was I?: Was it possible for me to be wrong?

Melancholia

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing. Didn’t know about it at all.

What I actually thought about it:

“Gotta hand it to Lars von Trier — the man certainly does not settle with simplicity.”

“It’s — interesting. It’s simple, yet evocative — just a solid film.”

“I don’t really know how to describe it.”

“I don’t describe von Trier films, I experience them.”

3.5 stars.

Final Review:

Yeah, 3.5 stars. Good. Enjoyed it. Definitely has its merits.

How close was I?: N/A

Happy Feet Two

What I said about it back in January:

“No word on what this is about, at all. But it’s dancing penguins. Does it need a plot?”

4 stars.

What I actually thought about it:

“The first one was a very enjoyable little movie about being yourself. It also had a nice social commentary imbedded in it. It was a lot of fun. This one — it just felt like overkill.”

“It looked gorgeous…but I didn’t enjoy this one like I enjoyed the other one.”

“This one just felt like regurgitation of all the stuff people liked in the first one without the heart and soul.”

“Kudos to Matt Damon and Brad Pitt, though. Their section of the film was awesome.”

“And whoever got Damon to sing “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” and “Never Gonna Give You Up” — you’re a genius.”

3 stars.

Final Review:

Yeah, 3 stars. It’s enjoyable enough. It’s just lacking the heart of the first one.

How close was I?: Full star off. I figured the dancing penguins would cover everything. But they don’t dance here. Or sing, really. All singing is done in groups. That’s no fun. (Though that a capella “Under Pressure” at the end was pretty nice.)

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn: Part 1

What I said about it back in January:

“I wanted a Harry Potter movie, but I guess I’ll have to watch this piece of shit instead. (I won’t.)”

“I really could care less about this movie or the people who go see it. You go see this and leave more seats in my theater where Immortals is playing. It’ll be great.”

2 stars. Not my cup of arsenic.”

What I actually thought about it:

Do you really fucking think I saw this?

How close was I?: Come on, now.

The Descendants

What I said about it back in January:

(It was in the Rest of 2011 article.)

“All I know about this is that it’s directed by Alexander Payne, and that it stars George Clooney.”

“Clooney always makes good movies, and Payne has a certain character in his films that makes them worth watching.”

What I actually thought about it:

“I really liked this. Certain parts made me feel a little hesitant about it, but most of them disappeared by the midway point.”

“This is a really good film.”

“Clooney is great here, as advertised, and the film basically works because of him. He pretty much has to do it all, and he does it well.”

“The real revelation here, though, for me, was Shailene Woodley… This girl deserves an Oscar nomination.”

“This was a really solid film, and is likely to be in my top 15 for the year.”

Final Review:

Really liked it a lot. Probably will be top 15.

4 stars.

How close was I?: N/A

Arthur Christmas

What I said about it back in January:

“I won’t say anything about this except, this tickles me. Everyone who knows me knows exactly why.”

“Sounds like it could be fun.”

3 stars.”

What I actually thought about it:

“This was actually quite terrific.”

“It took me a couple of minutes to get into — the pacing is breakneck at the beginning — but once the story gets going, it’s actually pretty great.”

“This is a really strong animated film, and actually a really good holiday film as well.”

I’m glad young kids now have a decent Christmas movie they can get into. Everyone needs one.”

3.5 stars.

Final Review:

I really did like this a lot. This might have been my second favorite animated film this year, behind Winnie the Pooh.

3.5 stars

How close was I?: Not sure. I said 3, but didn’t do half stars. Not sure how to call this one.

Hugo

What I said about it back in January:

“You have to hand it to Martin Scorsese. Just when you think he’s done, he reaches into the bag of tricks.”

“This will be probably one of the best children’s movies ever made. I say this with just the right amount of hyperbole.”

“It’s Martin Scorsese. What has he done that hasn’t been good?”

5 stars. Come on, now.”

What I actually thought about it:

“My jaw dropped from the very first image of the film.”

“The 3D here is the best ever put to film. Better than Avatar.”

“Everything about this film is perfect.”

“And most importantly — it’s about a love of cinema. This is perhaps the closest film Scorsese has ever made to his own sensibilities. It’s about preserving old cinema so everyone can enjoy it in the future.”

“What I love most about it is how it introduces children to the films of Georges Méliès.”

“This film will make my Top Ten list this year, and very likely will be in the top three. At worst it’ll be in the top five.”

“It’s a masterpiece.”

5 stars.

Final Review:

See this movie.

5 stars.

How close was I?: Exact. Which is impressive for a 5-star guess, but also not that risky, since it’s a Martin Scorsese film. Still though, I was dead-on here.

The Muppets

What I said about it back in January:

“I’m so excited for this.”

4 stars. Very excited.”

What I actually thought about it:

“This was magical.”

“It was sweet, and fun, and had just enough references to what makes the Muppets ‘the Muppets’ to really make this feel special.”

“This does a very good job of what it intended to do, which was make a Muppet movie for the youth of today. And it worked. I cried at least three times. It was beautiful.”

4.5 stars.

Final Review:

It was a 4 star movie, but because of how enjoyable it was, how taken I was by it, and how the world really did need a Muppet movie — I gave it 4.5. So it’s a 4, but I’m giving it a 4.5 (kind of the way I bumped Pirates and Transformers up because of the theater experience).

How close was I?: I said 4 stars, it was 4 stars, and to me, the extra half-star doesn’t make me any less right. I’m calling it exact.

The Artist

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing. Didn’t know about it. Which is a good thing, because I’d have been way too excited for it.

What I actually thought about it:

“There are no words to explain the joy I experienced while watching this film. It is perfect from beginning to end.”

“From when I first heard about it, I’d pretty much penciled it in as a probable #1 film for me for the year. We’re way past that now. Now, I start campaigning to get this thing to win Best Picture.”

“This is my personal choice for best film of the year. It’s gonna take a lot for anything to top this.”

5 stars.

Final Review:

Attention, anyone who watches movies — if you do not see this movie, we cannot be friends.

5 stars.

How close was I?: N/A

A Dangerous Method

What I said about it back in January:

(It was on my Rest of 2011 article)

“Normally I wouldn’t give a fuck about this movie, but there are a few things that make me really interested in this. One, Viggo Mortensen is Freud and Michael Fassbender is Jung….Two, Keira Knightley is in this. So is Vincent Cassel. Love that guy. Next — this sounds like an Oscar-type movie, doesn’t it? Like, dangerously so. The reason that makes me want to see this is because Cronenberg is directing. There are few directors who scream “Oscar” less than David Cronenberg. So I’m wondering if this is something where he’s trying to go for it, or if it’ll be good enough and accessible enough where they can reward him for it.”

What I actually thought about it:

“This — was a trip.”

“Fassbender does a solid, non-flashy job as Jung, while Mortensen gets to pop in and out as Freud. Both areinteresting, but it’s Keira who steals this show. That’s a bold performance she gives here.”

“The film itself was very engaging, and very well done. It almost doesn’t feel like a Cronenberg movie. Almost.”

“Definitely one of the year’s better films.”

4 stars.

Final Review:

4 stars. Really liked this one.

How close was I?: N/A.

My Week with Marilyn

What I said about it back in January:

(It was on my Rest of 2011 article.)

Basically, I talked about how I was leery about the film, since, at that point, Andrew Dominik’s Marilyn movie was also scheduled to be released, and I was going purely by director, so his film seemed like a much more interesting prospect. I also joked about how Branagh had been trying to be Olivier on screen for years, and now he gets to do it.

“I think this can be a good movie, particularly since it’s not about her and her dying. It’ll be a nice companion piece to the other one that’s coming out.”

“My one gripe with the two movies though — both actresses playing Marilyn are way too thin.”

What I actually thought about it:

I quite enjoyed this. It’s a really well-made film. I have differing opinions on this, one for it as a film, and one for it as an Academy Award contender. Given that we’re only talking about film now — let’s leave it iat, I enjoyed it quite a bit, and I think it’s a fun bit of entertainment that does a good job of presenting a topic in nice, Hollywood soft focus.

3.5 stars.

Final Review:

I really enjoyed this. Not a classic, but fun to watch.

3.5 stars.

How close was I?: N/A

Albert Nobbs

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing. Knew nothing about it.

What I actually thought about it:

“The film was okay. Glenn Close plays a woman pretending to be a man. Oscar-type role.”

“The film was okay. I suspect others will like this more than I did.”

“I think a solid 3 stars ought to cover everything I feel about this one. Well-made, good performances, just not entirely interesting to me.”

Final Review:

Decent. Nothing spectacular.

3 stars.

How close was I?: N/A

Rampart

What I said about it back in January:

(It was on my Rest of 2011 list.)

“It’s about Woody as a police officer — “the last of the renegade cops” — yes! — as he “struggles to take care of his family, and fights for his own survival.” Okay, I’m game.”

“It’s apparently based on the Rampart scandal of the 90s, and the story and screenplay were co-written by James Ellroy, who wrote the book for L.A. Confidential. So, this sounds like both a good movie and Oscar bait. I’m very interested.”

What I actually thought about it:

“This was really solid. Didn’t like it as much as The Messenger, but I did like it a lot.”

“Woody Harrelson is great here, and it does a really good job of being what it wants to be.”

“Solid film. Definitely not for everyone, though.”

4 stars.

Final Review:

Solid film, solid performance. I liked The Messenger better though.

4 stars.

How close was I?: N/A

December

Shame

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing. This is one of those films you hear about from film festivals. (I mean, the director/actor combo is also part of it.) I believe this picked up steam after Venice.

What I actually thought about it:

Holy fuck. This film.

I can’t say anything about this film. You just need to see it.

Be prepared.

What I like about the film is not the specific performances of Fassbender and Mulligan — but rather the pair of them. You know that thing they always try to say in superhero movies, about how good needs evil and one doesn’t really exist without the other? That’s what these two are like. These performances only come together, and one only works because of the other one. I really appreciated that.

4 stars.

Final Review:

Also — lots of dick.

4 stars.

How close was I?: N/A

New Year’s Eve

What I said about it back in January:

“I’m angling to get the screenwriting job on Flag Day. Except I don’t really know where to run my ideas up.”

“Seriously though, I’d be so grateful if they hired me to write Thanksgiving Day. Oh, man, St. Patrick’s Day? I’m your man. Erin-Go-Braless! And Cinco De Mayo? May Day? May Day! I’ll write that one. It can be a biopic.”

“Really though, you saw Valentine’s Day, what the fuck do you think this is gonna be? This is gonna be Love, Possibly.”

2 stars. Actually, 3Valentine’s Day was harmless.”

What I actually thought about it:

“My first instinct was to say, “This sucked.” But you know what? It’s like Valentine’s Day….there was enough of an ensemble, and it went by smoothly enough, to where it wasn’t so bad.”

“I started this going, “Oh no.” But by 30 minutes in, it wasn’t horrible.”

“Even if you think some parts are stupid, there are others that are okay, so really, while it’s not great, it’s not awful, people. It’s really not.”

“I stand by this rating.”

2.5 stars.

Final Review:

It’s really not that awful.

2.5 stars.

How close was I?: Considering I didn’t do half-stars in January, this is pretty dead on.

The Sitter

What I said about it back in January:

(This was originally scheduled for July.)

“At first glance, this sounds like it’s going to be a terrible movie.”

However, here are three points of hope for this movie. One, the script was on the Black List…two, it’s starring Jonah Hill…three, it’s being directed by David Gordon Green.”

“Nowhere in there suggests this movie will become an over-the-top bad studio movie. I’m not ruling it out, but, there’s hope for this, is what I’m saying.”

3 stars. Possible 4, possible 2. So I guess we’ll just see, won’t we?”

What I actually thought about it:

“You know why I liked The Sitter? Because despite its stereotyped characters, flimsy plot and blatant ripping off of Adventures in Babysitting at times (which I don’t really care about so much, but — come on) — it’s a fun movie. And it’s only 80 minutes long.”

“This is the movie 30 Minutes or Less should have been.”

“There’s something about people cursing in front of and to children that’s just inherently funny.”

“As someone who hated every other comedy that came out this year aside from Friends with Benefits, the fact that I enjoyed this is saying something.”

“It’s fun, it’s short, and it’s worth a watch.”

3.5 stars.

Final Review:

I’m telling you. This is a film whose flaws you’re willing to forgive.

3.5 stars.

How close was I?: I don’t know. I said 3, could be 4, could be 2. I gave it 3.5. What does that mean?

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing. Talk about really fucking up. (Though, admittedly, I didn’t quite realize what this blog would become and how much I’d care about it, so it’s not that bad. Still… lesson learned.)

What I actually thought about it:

“This film was so good, that upon its completion, I became convinced that it would be completely shut out of the Oscars.”

“It’s so languid, so deliberately paced, and so low-key that I know Hollywood just can’t deal with something like that.”

“Gary Oldman’s performance is so subtle that it will probably lead to him getting looked over for favor of George Clooney this year. And that’s just a shame.”

“This film, though, is without a doubt one of the year’s best, and I am proud to say it will make my Top Ten list this year.”

5 stars.

Final Review:

I fucking loved this.

5 stars.

How close was I?: N/A

Young Adult

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing. Another one I knew was being made and still didn’t talk about. Man, did I fuck up by not knowing how to do things.

What I actually thought about it:

“The best compliment I can pay this movie is to say that a lot of people are not going to like it.”

“It doesn’t compromise, it doesn’t try to tie things up nicely, it just — does. And people, when they see this, are gonna be put off by it, and they’re gonna say they didn’t like it. And that’s why this film is so great.”

“This is one of the most solid films I’ve seen this year. And whenever I hear someone say it was bad and that they didn’t like it, that’s gonna let me know that this movie succeeded.”

4 stars.

Final Review:

This film was bitter, hard to swallow, and that’s why it’s so great. Great performances all around, really liked this. Top 15 or 20 for the year for sure.

4 stars.

How close was I?: N/A (Terrible, Mike. Terrible.)

We Need to Talk About Kevin

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing. I didn’t hear about this until it started getting notices from Cannes.

What I actually thought about it:

“I liked this. It’s flawed, that’s for sure, but it’s not a bad movie by any stretch.”

“It feels very indie, and the music choices just felt either unnecessary or on-the-nose.”

“Tilda Swinton does a good job here. That’s really what this is about.  It’s worth seeing for her performance.”

“Pretty solid film.”

Final Review:

It’s somewhere between a 3 and a 3.5 for me.

I say 3.5 stars, if I had to choose. Still, though, good movie.

How close was I?: N/A

Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chip-Wrecked

What I said about it back in January:

“Fuck this franchise. Fuck the kids who go to it. All they do to make it is auto-tune! There is nothing redeemable in this movie! It’s awful. The only thing that keeps me from putting these at 0 stars are the puns in the titles. Either way…”

1 star.”

What I actually thought about it:

Didn’t see it. Know why? Because I have a general rule that I don’t put sequels on my Unforgivables list. Or, at least, try not to. Especially animated/kids movies. Here, it’s the third one, and we knew this franchise was shit from the start. I know I won’t like it, I know it’ll make money, I know it’s for young kids, and I can’t, in good conscience, put it on my Unforgivables list. So what reason would I ever have to see this movie?

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

What I said about it back in January:

“I’m sold. Guy Ritchie is back, therefore this movie will have all the personality of the first one. And then some. Just keep up on the scripting duties and we’ll be fine.”

4 stars. Just make the non-action scenes as good as the first movie, and give me a better story. Then I can live when you add chases and shit for no reason.”

What I actually thought about it:

I quite enjoyed it.

Most people say it’s superior to the first film, but honestly, I thought the first film was better in everything but the plot. The supernatural stuff wasn’t entirely my cup of tea, but I thought the banter between Watson and Holmes and all of Holmes’s quirks were played up much better the first time.

Though I will say — this was still very solid and a lot of fun. I enjoyed how they played with the Moriarty story, even going so far as to use the situation that led to Holmes actually being killed in the books. But I just felt like this one was a bit more serious in execution and not as fun as the first one was. Maybe the lack of Irene Adler was the problem (they didn’t actually kill her off, did they? Because if so, that would be sad). I don’t know.

So, this was solid, and a strong film, just — I didn’t quite enjoy it as much as the first one.

3.5 stars.

Final Review:

I’d say this is somewhere between 3.5 stars and 4 stars. I’ll need to watch it again once it’s out on DVD to be sure, but for now, we’ll stick with that.

How close was I?: Pretty close. I didn’t do half stars in January, and I’m pretty sure I’d have gone at half-star down for a sequel just because they typically aren’t as good (unless the first one has a lot of problems). So I think, if I did half-stars, I’d have been right.

Carnage

What I said about it back in January:

I didn’t. Weird. I had to have known about it. I guess I didn’t.

What I actually thought about it:

“I really enjoyed this one.”

“It does what it does and gets out. I respect that.”

“It’s very watchable and very entertaining. Some of the dialogue reeks of stage dialogue, but on the whole, it really works.”

“The performances are pretty great, it’s thoroughly entertaining, and is, above all, great because it’s a film that adheres to what it needs to be (as opposed to the norm). It didn’t need to add another 15 minutes or cut between locations. I like that.”

4 stars.

Final Review:

Yeah, enjoyable. At times it straddled the fence between 3.5 and 4, but since it was only 75 minutes…

4 stars.

How close was I?: N/A (Though there’s no way I wouldn’t have expected this to be anything other than 4 stars.)

Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol

What I said about it back in January:

“You know you’ll see it. Despite the other terrible movies the man’s done lately, he usually delivers when it comes to his Golden franchise.”

“I’ll assume it’ll be the worst in the franchise, even though Brad Bird knows what he’s doing.”

3 stars. It can be a 4, but, let it prove itself. I want awesome. I don’t want your idea of awesome, Cruise, I want real awesome.”

What I actually thought about it:

“I actually really enjoyed this.”

“The film had its flaws, but it was still a solid entry into the franchise.”

“I liked how they didn’t get too crazy on the plot here (twists and turns, and people changing sides. Just — here’s the deal, and here’s what we need to do, for the most part), and just did their thing.”

“The set pieces were really well utilized, and Brad Bird directed the hell out of this.”

“I also liked how they brought on Jeremy Renner as a replacement, but not so obviously. The press on this was a lot harsher than the film was. I respect that.”

4 stars.

Final Review:

I really quite enjoyed this. I think I might like it better than the third one.

4 stars.

How close was I?: Off. I feel like, if I did half-stars, I’d have said 3.5 here, but even so, this was pretty much a 4. This film proved itself. I was off, but gladly so.

The Adventures of Tintin

What I said about it back in January:

“Anyone in America know anything about Tintin? Anyone?”

“Also, there is no secret about the unicorn. It doesn’t exist. There, I just saved you 110 minutes.”

“I have hope for Steve based on (War Horse). I hope that was a private goal of his — have two films directed by him come out on the same day at the box office, so that every dollar taken in by Hollywood goes directly to him. That must be a good feeling.”

“I’m sure this will be good. I’ll call it 3 stars but we know it’ll probably be 4. But really, Steve? Going the Peter Jackson route? Why? You made Jaws….Jaws.

What I actually thought about it:

“I’ll preface this by saying I was never a Tintin person.”

“I was much more interested in War Horse.”

“The film itself was enjoyable. Very entertaining adventure film. Nothing spectacular….but overall — enjoyable.”

“The technology involved would bump this up to a 4-star film, but I only enjoyed it as a 3.5, so that’s what I give it.”

3.5 stars.

Final Review:

3.5 stars.

I enjoyed it, but I didn’t love it. Many people would regard this as a 4, but I only liked it as a 3.5.

How close was I?: Pretty close, actually. I said I’d call it 3 but it would probably be a 4. It was a 3.5, even though I said it’s probably a 4. That’s close enough for me.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

What I said about it back in January:

“I’m really excited for this movie. The original just kind of snuck up on me.”

“Though I will be watching going, “I wonder how many takes he made them do of that….you think he used a real dildo too?””

5 stars. Oscar hopes too.”

What I actually thought about it:

“Holy shit. I expected this to be good. I didn’t expect it to be this good.”

“I loved the original. I’ve said many times how, when I started watching it, it was just something I put on in the background as I was doing work, and by thirty minutes in, I was sitting on the floor, holding a pillow to my chest, wondering what was gonna happen next.”

“This film was just as good as that one. In different ways.”

“A lot of people are going to see only this version and not the Swedish one, and claim this one is better because it’s in English, which is a shame. Both of the films are great but in different ways.”

“Still, this one is definitely one of the year’s best, and is just wonderful from top to bottom.”

“Only thing, though — what’s with that opening credit sequence? That comes out of nowhere. It’s almost like Fincher thought he was making his own Bond movie or something. I think what makes it weird is the scene before it. Even so, it’s just completely out of place. (I get that it’s probably meant to jar you the way the film is meant to jar you, but still — it just doesn’t seem to fit at all.) And the dragons and shit — I really thought it was a Bond credit sequence, not gonna lie.”

5 stars.

Final Review:

Seriously, this was amazing. Top Ten for sure, for the year.

5 stars.

How close was I?: Dead on. Glad that was the case, too.

We Bought a Zoo

What I said about it back in January:

“This really sounds like a deceptively simple movie. It sounds awesome.”

“Cameron Crowe is usually a sign of good things. Let’s hope this works out.”

4 stars. Hoping for 5.”

What I actually thought about it:

Haven’t seen it yet. But based on what everyone’s saying, I’m worried about this one. I feel bad about not having seen it, but — not really. I will see it, just not by the time this goes up. I’ll try to update this and my tally with everything, but I’m not sure when I’ll get around to seeing this. If it’s too far into the future, I might not come back and edit this, just because who cares by that point? We’re already in the future, doing something else. So we’ll see. You know I’ll see this one, though.

Final Review:

I saw it. It was okay, but it just had a feeling of not being quite right. I don’t know. All of Crowe’s movies have been that way since Almost Famous. Is it that he ran out of things to say? I don’t know. But this, while being okay and totally watchable, just doesn’t have the magic of his earlier stuff.

3 stars.

How close was I?: I was wrong.

The Darkest Hour

What I said about it back in January:

(This was pushed back from the summer.)

“+1 star if the sequel is called “The Dawn.””

“Why this intrigues me more than that other bullshit like Skyline: It’s about an alien invasion, in Russia. Not in an American city. Why that’s good? None of those bullshit stock characters that you want to see die. At least I hope.”

“I have hopes that this isn’t that bad.”

3 stars. My hopes aren’t that high.”

What I actually thought about it:

“I enjoyed it. The reviews made it out to be some awful piece of shit. What I got was just a standard horror movie.”

“To me, it’s not about the execution. (Does that count as a pun?) It’s about the set up. Horror movies all follow the same progression, with the same stock characters, with the same shitty set-up dialogue and scenario, and then the set pieces and all of that.”

“This one had an interesting premise (monster-wise), and an interesting location, and then it went through the motions. What more could you really ask for?”

“Of course it’s not good. But it’s watchable. And for someone who hates horror movies, that’s enough.”

3 stars.

Final Review:

Seriously — not that bad.

3 stars.

How close was I?: Exact.

War Horse

What I said about it back in January:

“Once again, a Spielberg film only Spielberg could ever make work. The film is about the horse. How genius is that?”

“I can picture the possibilities now. And knowing Spielberg, he will exploit them to the fullest.”

5 stars. I will be crying within the first 90 minutes of this movie.”

What I actually thought about it:

“I loved this. I knew I would.”

“I watched the first 50 minutes (up until the horse is sold to the cavalry) from a screener at the office. And right there — I knew exactly what Spielberg was going for. The simple staging, two characters on a hedge, fields and sky in the background — it’s the old Hollywood aesthetic. The Quiet Man. Except, here, it’s (probably) actual fields behind them and not a matte painting. But still — I love it. I love how he shot that.”

“And then the middle section is just great. Us following all these different people who come to find the horse. I love World War I, so, so much. The idea of trenches in film is really what made me want to see this. And Spielberg lays down some great setpieces as well.”

“While the sentimental stuff wasn’t that effective — don’t get me wrong, it’s very effective. But I’ve seen Spielberg do it better — it works. This film does a good job of raising important points in that glossy, sentimental, feel-good way. But you knew that was always its goal. It’s not exactly The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, now is it? So I think it does what it wants to do very effectively.”

“I loved this film. I think it’s wonderful, and I think it’s a film that should be nominated for a lot of Oscars, and only win some of them (because it’s not perfect. Voting for this would kind of be like voting for You Can’t Take It With You even though Capra had won for doing the same stuff better before. Oh wait…). Still, it’s terrific.”

“Also, bonus points for the Gone With the Wind lighting in the final scene. Just evoking that sky was enough for me. Man, that was beautiful.”

5 stars.

Final Review:

Of course.

5 stars.

(Though, what’s with all those fade outs? Who edited that thing?)

How close was I?: Exact. Kinda hard not to be, you know?

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing. I really fucked up with some of these. I won’t do that this year.

What I actually thought about it:

“I liked this. I didn’t love it. It’s one of those films — much like Stephen Daldry’s other films — it feels like Oscar bait. The material is classy and strong, but it’s too classy, and too strong.”

“I can’t stand 9/11 films, but this one, to me, worked for the most part. Because it deals with the day in a nice way. And the story of the kid going out to find meaning in the wake of his father’s death — it worked.”

“It’s certainly not a Best Picture by any stretch of the imagination…but it’s a really solid film.”

4 stars.

Final Review:

I did like this. 4 stars is the perfect rating for this. Because it’s solid, but it’s not great. Not that it needs to be. I’m just being relative. But I liked it quite a bit.

How close was I?: N/A

The Iron Lady

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing. Didn’t know about it. Not sure anyone really knew about it until they released those photos of her, mid-year.

What I actually thought about it:

It doesn’t actually come out until the 30th. But don’t worry, I’ll update this article as soon as I see it.

Actually, what I’m gonna do right now is guess exactly what I’ll think about it, then my Final Review will be my review from when I see it. Okay? That way we have something to go with now, for the hell of it.

My guess is, I’ll think the film is 3 stars, and I’ll say that it’s really about her performance, and outside of that, it’s not a particularly great movie, but you can get through it because it’s her. (Just like all of these Best Actress performances.)

Final Review:

Wow, this was — not that good. I mean, it was watchable, but it was just not very good. Not even the performance is really all that great. What a missed opportunity all around.

2.5 stars.

How close was I?: N/A

– – – – – – –

Okay, that’s everything. Tomorrow I’m going to tie off loose ends by covering all the films I previewed back in January that, for one reason or another, didn’t come out this year. For completion purposes. Then, after that, I’m gonna tally this all up and see what it all means.

Again, if you want to go back and see everything, here’s Part I of the Year in Review, and here’s Part II.

http://bplusmovieblog.com

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.