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Archive for December, 2011

Criticker’s Best Films of 2011, #1 – #10

Without a doubt, there are some surprises in the list of the top ten movies of 2011. Documentaries, foreign dramas, cancer, sex addicts all make the cut… but what was the number one film of the year?

Our criteria in compiling the list was that the film has to be on the list of Oscar-eligible films for 2011, and also have received at least 50 rankings at Criticker.

Check out the first part of our list!

10. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy – 7.38 Average Tier

“In an era when so-called “British comedy(?)” and CGI schlockfests are popular, it is remarkably refreshing to see such an intelligent espionage film do so well. The phenomenal performances (Oldman turns in what could possibly be his best straight acting role to date) and the gripping, suspenseful story are undoubtedly the films strong points, as well as how beautiful it looks, but there is quite a lot to take in at a fast rate and it can be difficult to keep up at times. One of this years best.” – RapeyVessey

9. 50/50 – 7.49 Average Tier

“I was legitimately surprised at how good this was. It wasn’t a black comedy or a dramedy, but something that felt altogether different. Like a comedy and a drama woven together but the strands don’t really touch, leaving the other to do its thing, which each does really well. I can’t picture a cancer movie being able to do it better. JGL is great. Kendrick was pretty good. The real surprise was Seth Rogen. To be honest, if I have cancer, I want Rogen’s character to be my friend.” – CMonster

8. Shame – 7.5 Average Tier

“A strong and assured work. It’s tempting to call it an instant classic, Fassbender’s character likely to etch itself into your memory for a long time.” – KasperL

7. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – 7.59 Average Tier

“Fincher hasn’t made something this unsettling since Seven. It’s awesome. Also, say what you will about the rest of the movie, but that opening credits sequence is a fucking trip.” – nateb

6. Hugo – 7.65 Average Tier

“It may be a detour for Scorsese, but it’s also, surprisingly, the most autobiographical film he’s ever made, and one of his most heartfelt as a result. Its moderate flaws (primarily structural) are easy to forgive because it’s never less than charming or entertaining, and for any film geek out there, very touching as well. And the film’s evocation of 1930s Paris is absolutely fantastic.” – Criminal5

5. The Artist – 8.01 Average Tier

“Forget the fact that this is a silent film done in black and white. As risky as that is, balancing the tone of a film that’s a throwback to the 1920’s era of silent film while still feeling fresh and modern is what’s really impressive. As most modern film and television, ‘The Artist’ is self-aware, but it never crosses into a cliche or pretentious territory. It always feels natural within the story. Watching it with a crowd is a must to complete the feeling of a by-gone era. Extremely well done.” – canadianor

4. Drive – 8.02 Average Tier

“Akin to Soderberg’s The Limey, Drive is more of a visceral reflection, than the heist-movie the trailer and plot suggest, but that said, it offers both suspenseful chases and some of the most graphic violence this side of Irréversible. All-in-all: a pulp-story, that with few modifications could have been a random Jason Statham actioner, is given a gritty art-house overhaul by the constantly evolving talent of Nicolas Winding Refn and the brilliant cast.” – FrederikA

3. Take Shelter – 8.12 Average Tier

“Great and engaging from start to finish. It left me thinking about the film for a few days after as it has a particular mood and atmosphere that’s not quite horror, but disturbing never the less.” – MrGreedy

2. Senna – 8.31 Average Tier

“It really is astounding how like a film Senna’s life was – so of course, this is a gripping documentary. However, it’s also incredibly moving – I cried at the ending – and brilliantly edited.” – MinuteMaker

1. A Separation – 8.82 Average Tier

“One might teeter on the feeling that there’s just too much going on in Farhadi’s coming-of-age/class warfare/kitchen sink drama, but the director handles it all so deftly and with such respect for his characters that the film ends up enriched by its various dramas instead of bogged down in them.” – graveyardtan


Criticker’s Best Films of 2011, #11 – #20

1 Dollar DVDs

Here’s the first half of our annual list of the most highly ranked films at Criticker, for 2011. For this list, we only consider the 265 movies which are eligible for the 2011 Oscars, and which have been ranked at least 50 times at Criticker. Come back tomorrow for the top ten of the year. Anything in #20 to 11 surprise you?

20. Submarine – 7.03 Average Tier

“If Oliver Stone moved to Wales and remade Rushmore, he might make something like Submarine. I detest quirk for quirk’s sake, but every surreal embellishment in Submarine exists for a reason, as it tackles the messy sides of being a 15-year-old boy. Fantastic!” – KeanuGrieves

19. Certified Copy – 7.07 Average Tier

“CC first presents the idea that it is not the object itself but the observer’s perception of it which produces meaning (duh), then cunningly embodies that idea (audience’s interpretations of the actors’ relationship swing wildly from scene to scene), and then finally — in James — exposes the cold, rational solipsism at the heart of that idea, taken to its extreme. An unbelievably slippery film, with camerawork that at once both subtly and strikingly assists the exploration of its themes.” – theficionado

18. Moneyball – 7.07 Average Tier

“Intelligent, well-crafted, and deeply affecting, with Brad Pitt giving us one of the best performances of the year (and Hill giving comic relief as the worthy sidekick). Truly, the best films about sports are those that don’t focus too much on the game but on the people behind it. Wisely sidestepping sentimentality, Miller gives us a highly entertaining baseball film that is also about daring to revolutionize and challenge the norms.” – RaymundLi

17. Midnight in Paris – 7.11 Average Tier

“This movie is pure magic. It’s engrossing and captivating in such a beautiful Woody Allen type of way. Some great performances and fantastic cinematography, too.” – guscuddy

16. Tyrannosaur – 7.14 Average Tier

“A great companion piece to Figgis’ “Leaving Las Vegas”, with on one hand a victim of alcohol and rage and one of oppression and physical abuse on the other, though unlike the aforementioned, although momentarily presented, their bond is marked by friendship rather than love. Despite their differences, compassion is shared mutually; Considdine approaches this unlikely bond with care and subtle aplomb.” – fredericg54

15. Warrior – 7.15 Average Tier

“This film is insanely predictable and very cheesy. And I loved every minute of it. The acting is great – Hardy is nearing the top of my personal favorites. The fighting scenes are probably the best ever and I was heavily emotionally invested in all of Brendan’s fights.” – Ross

14. We Need to Talk About Kevin – 7.22 Average Tier

“Dark and depressing as all hell. Visually rich while being stylistically unnerving. Swinton gives perhaps the best performance I’ve ever seen from her, with Ezra Miller going toe-to-toe with her in many scenes and doing a fine job as such a contemptuous little shit. Thematically it brings up a lot of interesting questions and doesn’t try and answer them, causing you to – as Eva does – piece through the memories and try to understand Kevin without really knowing for sure why he did what he did.” – bown

13. The Skin I Live In – 7.3 Average Tier

“Frankenstein according to Almodóvar? The Spanish excentric’s most intriguing work since ‘Hable con ella’ – and Banderas’ best part since… well, ever?” – Langelund

12. The Tree of Life – 7.36 Average Tier

“If modern filmmaking is the art of compromise, someone obviously forgot to tell Terrence Malick. Not satisfied with merely tackling love, war and similar hefty themes, Malick this time goes for life itself with an elliptically, associative and lyrically rather than causally told story about people and the ties between them. It’s not so much about the O’Brien family specifically as it’s about the idea of family and individual. “The Tree of Life” is equally ambitious and visually breathtaking.” – KMcNeil

11. The Muppets – 7.37 Average Tier

“Wow, no way, really, no goddam way I expected such an entertainment like this one, and it turns out that it completely delivers with an enormous package of in-jokes and gags. Best family movie of the year, no doubt of that.” – felipelham

Bacon Soda

2011’s Most Ranked Films at Criticker

Tomorrow, we’re going to start counting down our annual list of the Best Twenty Films of the Year. Before that, though, we’re sharing the list of top fifty films, in order of number of rankings. Whether or not you liked them, these were the films which most of you saw. Now, of course this isn’t an exact indication of popularity, since films released in the last month or two won’t have as many rankings as those which have been out since February. But nonetheless, we thought it was pretty interesting…

Note: Films on this list are restricted to those eligible for the 2011 Oscars.

1. X-Men: First Class – 1500 Rankings

In this exciting prequel to the X-Men series, Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) — the future Professor X and Magneto — are best friends dedicated to harnessing their powers and promoting the education of fellow mutants during the turbulent 1960s. The duo works together to stop a powerful adversary that threatens mankind, but their ideological differences drive them apart and turn them into ferocious enemies.

2. Source Code – 1448 Rankings

An action thriller centered on a soldier who wakes up in the body of an unknown man and discovers he’s part of a mission to find the bomber of a Chicago commuter train.

3. Thor – 1302 Rankings

The powerful but arrogant warrior Thor is cast out of the fantastic realm of Asgard and sent to live amongst humans on Earth, where he soon becomes one of their finest defenders.

In the second installment of the two-part conclusion to the �berpopular Harry Potter series, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and his best friends, Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson), continue their quest to vanquish the evil Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) once and for all. Just as things begin to look hopeless for the young wizards, Harry discovers a trio of magical objects that endow him with powers to rival Voldemort’s formidable skills.

5. Super 8 – 1203 Rankings

After witnessing a mysterious train crash, a group of friends in the summer of 1979 begin noticing strange happenings going around in their small town, and begin to investigate into the creepy phenomenon.

6. Drive – 1139 Rankings

A Hollywood stunt performer who moonlights as a wheelman discovers that a contract has been put on him after a heist gone wrong.

7. The Tree of Life – 1014 Rankings

The story centers around a family with three boys in the 1950s. The eldest son witnesses the loss of innocence.

8. Limitless – 1008 Rankings

A copywriter discovers a top-secret drug which bestows him with super human abilities.

9. Midnight in Paris – 986 Rankings

A romantic comedy about a family traveling to the French capital for business. The party includes a young engaged couple forced to confront the illusion that a life different from their own is better.

10. Rise of the Planet of the Apes – 976 Rankings

An origin story set in present day San Francisco, where man’s own experiments with genetic engineering lead to the development of intelligence in apes and the onset of a war for supremacy.

11. The Adjustment Bureau – 964 Rankings

13. The Hangover Part II – 910 Rankings

14. Rango – 879 Rankings

15. Paul – 856 Rankings

17. Horrible Bosses – 839 Rankings

18. Bridesmaids – 827 Rankings

19. Sucker Punch – 805 Rankings

20. Hanna – 768 Rankings
21. The Green Hornet – 739 Rankings
22. Transformers: Dark of the Moon – 664 Rankings
23. Crazy, Stupid, Love – 659 Rankings
24. Unknown – 658 Rankings
25. Battle: Los Angeles – 621 Rankings
26. Melancholia – 570 Rankings
27. Fast Five – 567 Rankings
28. Green Lantern – 523 Rankings
29. Contagion – 504 Rankings
30. Insidious – 484 Rankings
31. Scream 4 – 480 Rankings
32. Cowboys & Aliens – 473 Rankings
33. The Mechanic – 460 Rankings
34. Bad Teacher – 460 Rankings
35. The Lincoln Lawyer – 458 Rankings
36. No Strings Attached – 453 Rankings
37. Just Go with It – 414 Rankings
38. Attack the Block – 409 Rankings
39. Kung Fu Panda 2 – 408 Rankings
40. I Am Number Four – 397 Rankings
41. Rio – 395 Rankings
42. 50/50 – 392 Rankings
43. Your Highness – 392 Rankings
44. Friends with Benefits – 377 Rankings
45. Moneyball – 377 Rankings
46. Hall Pass – 367 Rankings
47. Submarine – 351 Rankings
48. Drive Angry – 342 Rankings
49. Super – 341 Rankings
50. Win Win – 328 Rankings

DVD Report – December 27th

Not a single film new DVD manages to be better than average this week — everything is under an average tier of 5. But fans of horror still have a reason to take a look. The latest Final Destination didn’t receive wholly terrible reviews, and an average tier of 4.13 is pretty good for film in that franchise. And Apollo 18 at least has an interesting premise. The French thriller Love Crime, starring, Kristin Scott Thomas and Ludivine Sagnier, is probably the pick of the week.

Final Destination 5Average Tier 4.13

Death still isn’t satisfied in the fifth installment of this cult horror franchise, setting out to claim the lives of shaken co-workers who cheated him when they heeded a colleague’s premonition about an unstable suspension bridge.
Final Destination 5 @ Amazon

Apollo 18Average Tier 2.71

If you buy in to official statements, Apollo 17 was NASA’s last manned mission to the moon. But what if found footage of a secret Apollo mission that had taken place the following year could prove otherwise — and explain why we haven’t gone back?
Apollo 18 @ Amazon

The First GraderAverage Tier 4.86

The true story of an 84 year-old Kenyan villager and ex Mau Mau freedom fighter who fights for his right to go to school for the first time to get the education he could never afford.
The First Grader @ Amazon

Love CrimeAverage Tier 4.83

Corporate overlord Christine (Kristin Scott Thomas) is mentor to her brilliant underling Isabelle (Ludivine Sagnier). After one of the women establishes a clear upper hand, the other begins to plot an elaborate plan to exact her revenge.
Love Crime @ Amazon

A Good Old Fashioned OrgyAverage Tier 3.14

A group of 30-year-olds who have been friends since high school attempt to throw an end-of-summer orgy.
A Good Old Fashioned Orgy @ Amazon

DVD Report – December 20th

The best film on DVD this week, the last Tuesday before Christmas, is the latest from Woody Allen. Midnight in Paris stars Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams, and Criticker users are praising the director’s most lightweight film in years. Another movie which the community highly approves of is Warrior, which follows Tom Hardy into the bloody world of Mixed Martial Arts.

Criticker Pick!Midnight in ParisAverage Tier 7.13
A romantic comedy about a family traveling to the French capital for business. The party includes a young engaged couple forced to confront the illusion that a life different from their own is better. Midnight in Paris @ Amazon

Margin CallAverage Tier 5.54
A thriller that revolves around the key people at a investment bank over a 24-hour period during the early stages of the financial crisis. Margin Call @ Amazon

ColombianaAverage Tier 3.14
After watching Bogota gangsters slay her parents in cold blood, young Cataleya Restrepo dedicates her life to becoming a ruthless assassin, working on assignment but always on the hunt for the criminals who killed her family. Colombiana @ Amazon

WarriorAverage Tier 6.87
The youngest son (Hardy) of an alcoholic former boxer (Nolte) returns home, where he’s trained by his father for competition in a mixed martial arts tournament — a path that puts the fighter on a collision corner with his older brother (Edgerton). Warrior @ Amazon

Straw DogsAverage Tier 4.91
In Rod Lurie’s remake of the controversial 1971 Sam Peckinpah drama, screenwriter David Sumner (James Marsden) relocates with his wife, Amy (Kate Bosworth), to her Mississippi hometown. But as detachment strains their marriage, bigger threats loom in their small town. To Amy’s chagrin, David attempts to befriend the locals, including Amy’s ex-boyfriend, Charlie (Alexander Skarsgaard). But resentments re-emerge and tensions rise to an explosive end. Straw Dogs @ Amazon

Batch Edit Your Rankings

New Enhancement! Like? Thumbs-Up?! Plus plus plus! At this rate, by sometime in August 2031, Criticker will be the WORLD’S BEST INTERNET SITE! Assuming the Internet still exists.

DVD Report – December 6th

In a DVD report full of hangovers, penguins, cowboys and aliens, the only two films which we can recommend have strangely similar titles. The Help, and The Debt. The former was a surprise box office hit this summer, and found strong approval among Criticker users. And, though The Debt wasn’t a massive success in theaters, most critics enjoyed the intelligent and well-acted suspense flick.

The Hangover Part IIAverage Tier 4.21
Right after the bachelor party in Las Vegas, Phil, Stu, Alan, and Doug jet to Thailand for Stu’s wedding. Stu’s plan for a subdued pre-wedding brunch, however, goes seriously awry. The Hangover Part II @ Amazon

Cowboys & AliensAverage Tier 3.87
A spaceship arrives in Arizona, 1873, to take over the Earth, starting with the Wild West region. A posse of cowboys are all that stand in their way. (imdb) Cowboys & Aliens @ Amazon

The HelpeAverage Tier 6.30
A look at what happens when a southern town’s unspoken code of rules and behavior is shattered by three courageous women who strike up an unlikely friendship. The Help @ Amazon

Mr. Popper’s PenguinsAverage Tier 3.19
The life of a businessman begins to change after he inherits six penguins, and as he transforms his apartment into a winter wonderland, his professional side starts to unravel. (imdb) Mr. Popper’s Penguins @ Amazon

The DebtAverage Tier 5.60
In 1965, three young Israeli Mossad agents on a secret mission capture and kill a notorious Nazi war criminal. Now, thirty years later, a man claiming to be the Nazi has surfaced in Ukraine and one of the former agents must go back undercover to seek out the truth. The Debt @ Amazon