While 2011 is only half over, I honestly believe that this could be the best year in cinema since 2007. Nearly every film I've seen this year has been decent, and there are still many acclaimed films which I have not yet seen. So if you are confused why a certain film isn't mentioned, the reason is that I haven't seen it. With apologizes to The Tree of Life, Meek's Cutoff, Beginners, 13 Assassins, Win Win, Source Code, Super 8, X-Men: First Class, Rio, and Certified Copy, here are the top five movies of 2011 so far...
5. Midnight in Paris
Midnight in Paris is definitely not Woody Allen's greatest film, but it's certainly a fun romantic comedy. Midnight in Paris plays like Night at the Museum directed by Woody Allen, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. As a matter of fact, it's usually a great thing! Despite being 15 minutes overlong and an annoyingly bad performance by Kathy Bates, Midnight in Paris is my fifth favorite film of 2011 so far.
4. The Trip
The Trip is a flawed film. The editing is choppy, there are too many unnecessary scenes where nothing happens, and it takes the first 20 or so minutes for the film to find its groove. That being said, there will be absolutely no other film this entire year which will make you laugh as hard as this one. The believable mixture of friendship and rivalry between Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan (playing themselves) creates laughter, along with unexpectedly moving moments. By the time you've finished your hour and a half trip with Coogan and Brydon, you'll want to immediately go again. For these reasons The Trip is my fourth film of 2011 so far.
With Pixar's Cars 2 turning out to be a bonafide critical disaster (currently 33% on Rotten Tomatoes, 39% less than Pixar's previous low point Cars (74%)), Rio being considered a mild disappointment, and Hoodwinked Too, Mars Needs Moms, and Gnomeo and Juliet being just as terrible as their names made them out to be, it takes a special type of movie to save a floundering genre from a year of disappointment. Entering the movie theaters in a blaze of glory, Rango was able to do this. Actually, it was able to do more than this. Rango was also a key factor (along with True Grit) in bringing back the western genre, and introducing it to a whole new generation. With its whip-smart humor, well done action sequences, and some of the most gorgeous animation to ever hit the silver screen, Rango is the third best film of 2011 so far.
I feel terrible that my review of Bridesmaids was so short. Because I spent so much time attempting to convince people not to see The Hangover Part II, I was not able to truly acknowledge the genius of this film. Director Paul Feig has done the near impossible by creating a romantic comedy which is appealing to everyone. But of course he doesn't deserve all the credit; every single actor or actress in this film gives it their all when it comes to this film. I cannot think of a single performer who gave a sub-par performance. Bridesmaids is hilarious, heart warming, touching, disgusting, raunchy, romantic, charming, and the second best film of 2011 so far.
1. My Perestroika
Director Robin Hessman has done the absolute impossible: Create an hour-and-a-half long documentary which not only captures the entirety of the Soviet Union, but makes it one of the most enjoyable movie going experiences I've ever had. Through five mid-life Russian citizens who lived through the fall of the Soviet Union, you see the true Soviet Russia behind all the propaganda and lies. In a perfect world, every documentary or film would be a great as this one. Told through song, stock footage, Soviet television broadcasts, interviews, and pool, My Perestroika is without a doubt the best and greatest film of 2011 so far.
The Green Hornet
The Green Hornet is not the sixth best film of 2011, but it definitely does not deserve all the scathing reviews it's been receiving from the critics. Jay Chou and Christoph Waltz do an incredible job with the material, Michel Gondry's direction is fun and loose, and the film mixes action and comedy fairly well. This is a flawed film, but it's certainly a lot better than Thor, which received bizarrely spectacular reviews. The Green Hornet isn't one of the best of the year, but it doesn't deserve all this hatred.
The Worst Film of the Year So Far:
I feel terrible having hated this documentary because of how much this movie obviously means to director Tom Shadyac. He put his heart out on the line, and now I'm smashing it to pieces with a sledgehammer. Do I want to smash his heart apart? Absolutely not, but something needs to be said about how terrible this movie is. I Am feels like a bunch of uplifting stock footage stapled together with pointless interviews with a half-assed score thrown to go along with it. The only reason I spared this film with a D+ is that I appreciated what Tom Shadyac was attempting to do. Hopefully, I won't have to watch another movie this bad over the rest of 2011.