G-S-T Year In Review – Andrew's 2011 Wrap Up

2011 is almost over and our new writer Andrew Crump of A Constant Visual Feast  has compiled his list of year end Award Winners for Go,See,Talk. Not content to have just one wrap up post, Andrew actually created 2 “Best Of” lists (the other you’ll find here and here on his site). Have a look at everything he had to say about the good and bad of ’11.

Not since Shaun of the Dead have I felt so strongly that I’m observing the birth of a great, energetic, and fresh filmmaker with a lot to say and the verve to make it thoroughly entertaining. Cornish’s writing and direction combine with the universally excellent performances of his young cast and result in something vibrant, humorous, scary, and unabashedly fun that also has something valuable to say.

 

Woody Allen hasn’t been this good in years after spending so much of his working time churning out films which succeeded neither artistically nor commerciallyHere, he’s made a magical little film that’s both a love note to Paris and to the period represented in the naverrati, and also a bit of a rumination on the pitfalls of nostalgia.

 

Maybe there’s an argument to be made here over whether this really fits the category, but Pixar had nothing worthwhile to say this year and Rango, while solid, doesn’t really make the grade when talking about the best 2011 has to offer. Tintin, on the other hand, excites and entertains endlessly without needing to take a breath and speaks to the adventurer in all of us.

 

The conceit is clever and timely, the actors talented, the director proven. And yet In Time fails completely in its execution, and doesn’t fully realize the great ideas at its core.

 

Easily the most personal choice on this list, Bridesmaids failed to bust my gut as so many critical circles led me to believe it would. It’s not a bad film by any means– the performances are good, the drama works, and there are ultimately some laughs to be found– but the hype machine may have gunned this one down for me.

 

When is a film not a film? When it cares little and less about important things like plot, narrative, characters, and structure and instead puts all of its energy into railing against something or someone or a group of someones that the director hates. Case in point: Kevin Smith is so busy making his utter loathing of the WBC clear that he forgets he’s making a movie and ends up bricking the entire project.

 

Red State may be awful, but it’s not a functioning film– so this honor therefore passes on to John Carpenter’s The Ward, which may top “worst of the decade” lists when the time comes. It’s certainly at the bottom of the barrel in his oeuvre, a stiff, lifeless, predictable, utterly hopeless “horror” movie with nothing approaching fright and blank performances from a cast that includes at least three talented performers. If anyone else had made this, I might have given this something of a pass, but there’s no excuse for Carpenter to be outputting films this terrible.

 

Strictly speaking, this isn’t the best performance in terms of raw power and mastery of the actor’s craft– that would have to go to George Clooney in The Descendants(or Michael Fassbender in Shame— if I’d actually gotten to see Shame). But Damon’s turn in Crowe’s abusively sentimental film underscores just how much value a good performance can give an otherwise underwhelming movie.

 

Bellflower, years from now, may only be seen as a hyper-kinetic stylization announcing Evan Glodell’s arrival on the filmmaking spectrum. It may be treated as a quaint relic mapping his start as a director. For now, it’s a crazy, bloody, disturbing, lovelorn movie that demands to be seen.

 

Anybody who’s kept up with my writing should have been able to see this coming from a mile away. By far, Nicolas Winding Refn’s neo-noir thriller about Ryan Gosling’s innominate getaway driver rises above the cream of the 2011 crop– which is plentiful– through its mesmerizing use of high-stylization and examination of the tenets of “cool”.

Comments

  1. I am right there with you on Drive and Attack the Block. Those were two of my favorite films from last year as well. I think Red State could fall under “Missed the Mark” — it was a great idea in theory, but man, what a trainwreck. Such poor execution. Nice list, Andrew!